If YA Novels Happened In Real Life: Volume III
It’s a series! Back by popular demand! Just like Veronica Mars, or that Poppy Montgomery show Unforgettable!
Either that or I’ve run out of original ideas. Probably both.
None of these titles have dragons, feudal societies, magic, nor do they take place in space or after the fall of the United States as we currently know it. But how realistic are they, really? Don’t worry, you don’t need to wait too long for an answer to that burning question. I’m going to answer that (super scientifically and with a critical eye worthy of my bachelors degree, of course) right now.
tldr: REAL OR NOT REAL?
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
A lot happens in this adorable book. Romance, amazingly realistic friendships, strong families, etc. But I’m just going to talk about one tiny part of the book today. The realism of small big towns! One the opening page of The Start of Me and You, Paige describes her town as big enough that you don’t know everything about everyone, but small enough that everyone knows one small fact about you, and latches onto it. In Paige’s case, her small fact is that her boyfriend died, which is honestly a pretty big thing, but it’s hard for her because she didn’t actually know him for that long, or that well. Other people were affected by his death so much more than she was. So along with that small fact not being totally accurate, she doesn’t feel like she deserves it.
Realism (8 out of 10)
Here’s a small fact about me: on my first day into the office here at Macmillan, I wore a bright yellow cardigan to work. I was trying to look professional, I was trying to look mid century modern, you get it. I was not, however, trying to look like “summer sunshine” which is hard to believe considering I wore this bright-as-a-highlighter cardigan in January in New York, knowing full well that my name is Summer. Rookie mistake. A woman at work called me “Summer sunshine” for at least 6 months. The moral of this story is twofold: (1) Don’t wear bright colors in the winter unless you are Doing It On Purpose, and (2) People remember small things about you even if you just do those things once, even if you they are more about someone else than about you, even if those things aren’t even true.
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
In Everything Leads to You, Emi (our main character) just graduated from high school, is now a set decorator/designer, she lives in an awesome house with her best friend/assistant, and her new crush is the long lost daughter of Hollywood royalty who gets an insane inheritance out of the blue and moves into a penthouse in Santa Monica.
Realism (7 out of 10)
I know what you are thinking… what could be realistic about a book where the main character just graduated from high school, is now a set decorator/designer, lives in an awesome house with her best friend/assistant, and her new crush is the long lost daughter of Hollywood royalty who gets an insane inheritance out of the blue and moves into a penthouse in Santa Monica?
There’s a moment in the book where Emi is super excited because Ava (long lost Hollywood royalty girl) has shown interest in hanging out with Emi and her best friend, and Best Friend is basically like “slow your roll, Emi.” And Emi says “Don’t you think she’s so great, though?”
As if, to Emi, the only reason she wouldn’t want to hang out with Ava all the time (to paraphrase TSwift) would be if she isn’t great. But she is! Don’t you think she’s so great, though? What a perfect line! I stand by 7 out of 10.
*Also, points for the killer descriptions of Los Angeles, particularly how much of your day/life you spend driving around to get anywhere. I lived in LA for college, but I didn’t have a car, and not having a car in LA means that I didn’t really really “live” there, but I more “slowly died” there.