Last night, two of my blogging friends (Grace of Words Like Silver and Willa of Willa's Ramblings) and I started a hashtag on Twitter—#RealYA—to spotlight the differences between real life and YA books. It all started when Jen of Books and Other Happy Ever Afters tweeted that trigonometry isn't offered in most high schools anymore and YA authors should stop mentioning it as a class, and I responded in agreement. Then Grace jumped in to say we should make a hashtag about aspects of real teen life that are under- or mis-represented in YA, and #RealYA was born.
The conversation grew and grew, amassing more participants and clever observations than I ever thought it would. It's still going strong, but I wanted to take a moment to share a few of my favorite tweets from the discussion so far:
1. The truth about where students end up after high school? It's usually not NYU.
Half my class of 600 either went to community college or didn’t go to college at all. Many of us didn’t leave the state. #realYA— Julie (@DailyJulianne) November 29, 2015
2. Few YA girls take AP science classes, but many real girls do.
A girl can slay in STEM classes. AP Calc AB or BC? AP Stat? AP Chemistry? AP Biology? AP Physics? You name it. #RealYA— Monica (@mgrluce) November 29, 2015
3. The nerdy-girl makeover isn't a thing (and most people who wear glasses look better with glasses than without).
When I take my glasses off, I don't automatically look like a supermodel. #RealYA— Julie Hammerle (@JulieHammerle) November 29, 2015
4. An accurate description of who really takes AP and honors classes
Who was in honors/AP with me: star athletes, cheerleaders, band kids, theater kids, school pageant winner, goth kids, rednecks. #RealYA— Emma Gisclair (@TheEmmaKate) November 30, 2015
5. The near-impossibility of finding an attractive, nice, and relatable person (see also: tutoring partners and the student body in general)
Also cute new exchange student?? Only if you're delusional 99% of the time. #RealYA— Kit Cat (@KainesCat) November 29, 2015
6. As a result, it's totally normal to date only casually—or not at all.
As for dating, mostly I stressed about the fact that I had absolute no clue how to do that and if I ever would (spoiler: no) #RealYA— Gillian Berry (@mizgillianberry) November 29, 2015
7. Cliques are as unlikely as long-term, serious relationships.
At my school, there were no real 'cliques'. People were decent human beings and (mostly) either got along or left each other alone. #realYA— Heather M Bryant (@heather_b88) November 29, 2015
8. And not to self-promote, but I've been waiting for over a year for the right time to tweet this.
YA characters are always touching/kissing each other's foreheads. Many teenage foreheads are too oily for this to be cute. #RealYA— Emily Rasmussen (@foreverliterary) November 29, 2015
9. Finally, a tweet about what high school is really about
High school isn't glamorous. It's teenagers being awkward and pretending they aren't. #RealYA— Senator Pamidala (@PamelaJean0) November 29, 2015
10. Except not, because this is what high school is really about.
Check out the rest of the tweets here, and feel free to add your own! We'd love to keep the conversation going.#RealYA - Horrible, horrible exams.— Tanaz Bhathena (@bhathenatanaz) November 29, 2015