Wednesday, October 12, 2011

High School

For a YA author, it's important to know a thing or two about high school, because chances are, that's where your characters will spending most of their time, or, in the case that they're from another realm in which school is outlawed, that's still where your readers are. 

The thing about high schools, is they can be so different. Not only can two schools be structured entirely differently, but two people in the same school-even in the same classes- can have two completely different experiences. 

For my next non-fiction piece, I think I might write about high schools, so I've been thinking about them a lot lately. It's been almost four years since I graduated (which seems WAY too long), so I thought I'd propose a fun few questions that can hopefully help anyone writing YA of any genre:

What was your high school like? Did you enjoy it? Did you despise it? Was it pretty, disgusting, or something in between? Best parts, worst parts, strongest memories? 
I was not a fan of my high school experience. We had over three-thousand students, but it was designed to hold about a thousand, so some of us had to have classes in trailers. I made some really great friends, but I met a lot of people I wished I hadn't. The lower classes were full of people who didn't care and cheated just to pass, while the upper-level classes had a few stuck-up snobby kids who called their parents in to argue for them if they made a B or lower. 

Have you ever read a book that really seemed to really capture high school life for you? 
For me, Perks of Being a Wallflower and Speak seemed to really recreate that feeling of a social environment more or less controlled by the students, who could be exceptionally mean, or incredibly nice. They captured the atmospheres of both being accepted and excluded (and how that could change a person dramatically) very well. 

Have you ever read a book where the school life was so off, you stopped reading it?
I feel like this has happened to me before, but it was so long ago, I have no idea what it was. I just remember reading something once where all the pretty teenage girls were complete brats, and yet everyone seemed to love them, and the main character who was nice and sweet was always a target by the other students and adults alike... wait, did I say one book? I meant a few...


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