A month ago I was having coffee with a girlfriend when we started chatting about books. Shocker, right? Anyway, I began talking about a paranormal romance (young adult) novel I was reading when she asked me what my attraction to the genre was.
HER: “You can’t relate anymore and wouldn’t you rather read about adult relationships, hot men and steamy sex?”
ME: “No. Not really.”
But her question got me thinking…do I search out tales about young love because I am immature and can’t relate to my age group, or do I connect with the emotions of high schoolers more? Well, after some thoughtful self-reflection, I realize the answer is neither. It all boils down to recapturing something that is forever gone. Something that was so special; however, the memories of those important moments from our pasts become clouded by adult pain and fear.
Remember what it felt like the first time that boy or girl you pined over endlessly finally gave you the time of day, asked for your number, scribbled theirs on the back of your hand, or sat next to you in the cafeteria barely grazing your leg and sending electricity shooting through you? Can you recall the sensation of hundreds…no thousands of tiny butterflies fluttering around in your tummy causing your body to respond irregularly just from the sight of someone? Knee buckling, stuttering, I can’t eat in front of them for fear of spilling on myself, writing their name on my Pee-Chee folder, soul crushing infatuation? I do and even though I am married and in love with my husband, I will never get to experience that feeling ever again, regardless of whether we stay together for eternity or he leaves me for some hot young replacement (not gonna happen 😉 ).
We are adults and are tainted by experience. We don’t look through rose-colored glasses anymore. Our hearts experienced the burn of betrayal or we have seen it done to people we love. We are no longer innocents, but many romantic young adult books get my heart and mind as close to that euphoric feeling as humanly possible. Breathing with the character as they draw their first ragged breath after the first make out session, feeling light headed from one glance. That my friends is what I want when I read young adult. To live through the characters firsts and these novels are as close to those as I will get.
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