This has been on my mind ever since I read How to Eat a Cupcake. A major theme for one of the poor-tagonists is that of being stuck in high school. Granted, what happened to her at the time was pretty awful. However, an objective view makes it pretty obvious that her focus on the past makes her look like and live as an immature loser. Her best friend actually bitches at her in jealousy when she makes another friend. That’s childish and sad. I say this because when she finally lets go of the stale grudges, she finally starts sounding like an adult and is happy.
Of course, while reading this, I noted that she had an unhealthy idée fixe and tried to put it into my own perspective. Some pretty bad things happened during my high school years. I mention them in conversation sometimes, I think. But they don’t prey on my thoughts. If I met someone who had been awful to me in high school, I’d probably only be uncomfortable if I recognised them. I really doubt I would. The only person I remember by name is Ed. So… people who know me well are probably laughing now.
But I still tend towards writing YA and I like to read it. I definitely don’t have rose-coloured glasses for the days of my youth, nor do I remember it with loathing cringes. It was high school and it’s over. It’s been over for eleven years. I only even know the number of years because I had a graduation year keychain that I used to like.
For whatever reason, people like to read about school and school-aged people. I think this is interesting. Not bad or good, just interesting. And not in an analytical way, either. It’s hard to explain. It’s like The Red Room (Matisse). People can certainly analyse it. But you can also just say, “It’s red. I like to look at it.”
It’s one of the reasons that people still write school-themed books. I think Harry Potter was one of the first (and effectively the “last” since people screech about copying if you even write about a magic school) but I don’t think it’s all that important as an example. I think people just like reading about schools and they’re easy to write about. When I was in high school (lol) I read the Harper Hall trilogy and could not walk anywhere downtown without someone stopping me to say what a great book Dragonsinger was.
The trouble is finding schools one wants to “attend.”