"Hey y'all!If you follow me on Twitter, your feed was probably flooded with my tweets last night. I had a really interesting experience. I work closely with a lot of 30 year olds, but I also work with lots of teens, many of whom I consider to be lovely friends. A year or two ago, we actually banded together to create a group blog called Lit Up Review.Last night, it all started with this: a few other teen bloggers and I were discussing classes that were dated, and how they still pop up in YA. We were mostly talking about APs that most kids take nowadays. Our primary example was that books still refer to AP English. Now? That doesn't exist. It's AP Literature and AP Language, which are referred to Lit and Lang.I loved the conversation, so I suggested making a hashtag. Whenever bloggers gather 'round to talk about topics like these - that are prevalent throughout our reading experiences - we like to make hashtags so we can keep our discussion all in one place. So, #RealYA was born.
Some of our intentions were to:
Share details about personal experiences.Figure out how ours differ from others (who are both in high school and not.)Inform authors about technology and modern experiences that may make YA exchanges feel aged.
It blew up really quickly. It started with a few of us, but before I knew it, I was twenty tweets in and switched to the Lit Up account to moderate. I've never had a discussion go so VIRAL before. I generally consider myself to be well-respected within the industry, and connected, but it was a bizarre and empowering experience to watch something I did affect authors, publicists, literary agents, and other readers. I had work in the morning, but the rush of talking about high school in literature gave me the energy to moderate for two hours. And when I fell asleep, it was still going! (It's still going now, so feel free to pitch in your thoughts!)
Some topics we covered:
Quoted are tweets; non-quoted are general statements.
APs vary from state to state and school to school. Some schools allow you to do MANY. Others don't let you.
"I never once had a hot male teacher." - @Kody_Keplinger
Class rankings are competitive! It's not enough to just get As anymore. Extra classes!
Jocks and cheerleaders take difficult classes too.
"Ivy leagues are REALLY hard to get into. Not every smart kid gets into Harvard. Even brilliant students get college rejections. It was actually the kids in AP/honors classes who cheated the most. There was so much pressure to get good grades." @BrigidRose
"Scholarships are a LOT harder to get than books make it seem. It takes a lot more than just decent grades." @nerdherdreads
All-girls high school isn't a punishment. It can be a really positive experience.
Some kids choose not to go to college and that's fine.
Dual enrollment exists.
Guidance counselors sometimes aren't helpful (usually dependent on size of the school.)
Some teachers give kids a hard time, rather than supporting them.
College deadlines matter. They aren't flexible.
LOVE & DATING
There's a thing called "talking" nowadays.
A lot of kids will text you before they are brave enough to actually face-to-face ask you out.
"I made excuses for guys' behavior. I thought it meant I was in control. It didn't." @gwynnkelso
"And that relationship I set aside? We got married back in March. Sometimes your high school sweetheart is the one." @AiKempWriting
You learn how to move on.
Not everyone who is LGBT can date; some parents and situations make that impossible.
Guys that are jerks will not change for you just because it's convenient.
Boys say no to physical acts too; it's not just girls who have boundaries.
"More girls as friends -- real friends -- would be nice. Because I don't recall being in competition w/ other females all the time." @VickiLWeavil
Platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex exist.
Friendships evolve over the course of the four years.
We don't all have clear skin!
Fat girls don't all want to be skinny.
Girls who want to lose weight sometimes can’t.
Not all guys smell good.
People don't really care what you wear to school.
DIVERSITY, RELIGION, & ISSUES
Diversity exists in some form everywhere, and they are not token characters.
Food security is a problem for many, more than most realize.
Suicidal and depressed teens aren’t a stereotype.
Teens can be religious without being in your face about it.
POPULARITY & PARTYING
Some people are just popular because they’re nice — not all mean girls!
Not everyone goes to parties. Not everyone drinks.
PARENTS & FAMILY
"Not all parents let their older teenagers go outside or hang out with friends (if they even have any) without permission." @nanogeekette
Being friends with your parents or siblings isn't unusual.
LITTLE THINGS THAT DIFFER BY SCHOOL & PERSON
Trig: does it exist?
The presence of big house parties
Kids making out in the hallways
Enjoying high school
What we had to understand:
Not everybody's experience is the same! What's real for one person may be unthinkable for another. It's all real. We need to see more diverse experiences in YA.
There are SO many more but I had to give up typing them all. Some ideas are similar; others are completely different. Chip in about your high school experience and how it relates to the coverage in the books you read! If you haven't gotten to high school, there's plenty of great advice and people who would be happy to answer your questions.