Pat McDermott here, posing a question about YA fantasy: Aren’t there enough troubling issues to write about for teenage readers without making stuff up?
Sure. That’s one reason why I write fantasy. Not only did I used to be a teenager, I also had two in the house for thirteen years or so. Their experiences gave me some knife-edged refreshers on what it’s like to be a teen. As if I could forget.
I recall my own teenage years well because I disliked them so much. Many teens do, for reasons ranging from embarrassing skin to curfews and cliques, STDs and mental health, body image, peer pressure, bullying, depression, drug abuse, and worse. Being a teenager is, and always has been, hard work.
Some teens find comfort reading about characters plagued by problems akin to theirs. Others prefer to bury themselves in rousing adventures that help relieve stress for a while. Those looming final exams don’t seem so desperate when vampires, werewolves, dragons, and aliens threaten the world.
During my teens, I often sought refuge in tales like Treasure Island, Great Expectations, the Hardy Boys mysteries, Peter Pan, and all sorts of fairy tales. Even better, I started creating my own escapes. I love to write and have three adventures coming soon from MuseItUp: the "Band of Roses" stories, alternate histories set in an Ireland that might have been. Glancing Through the Glimmer is the "prequel" to that trilogy.
Glimmer’s hero and heroine, Liam Boru and Janet Gleason, struggle to deal with their own teenage issues. Their problems fall by the wayside when the King of the Fairies decides he’d like to dance with Janet—for the next few centuries. Danger and magic shadow her and hinder her budding romance with Liam. What would you do if you were Janet? Or if you were Liam, could you fight fairy enchantment to save her? Can Janet save Liam when the Fairy King turns on him? (I sure hope so. I need them both for the sequel.)
Whether readers identify with a character, or whether they simply enjoy going along for the ride, fantasy offers a respite from the world’s afflictions, and not just for teens. I love all genres of YA—but I still like the fantasy best.
* * * * *Pat’s Website
Put the Kettle On (Pat’s Blog)
Glancing Through the Glimmer’s Facebook Page
(Photo of Teen Reading Courtesy of Photobucket)