YA authors often hear discouraging or negative comments: too much sex, swearing, etc. I've heard it, too.
A BLUE SO DARK: features "rough" language.
But here's one thing I've heard--more than once, more than often--that's great.
Actually, it's incredible:
"I like to read YA books because they just seem more real to me."
heard it from teens and young twenty-somethings and even a few readers
who could technically be classified as "seniors." I've heard it from
teachers. I've heard it from parents.
Once I heard that word, I felt--well--understood. I felt as though I'd done my job.
If the book doesn't breathe--if I don't
think it has a pulse--if I don't think it walks and talks and that main
character seems like she could very well be a person walking the streets
of my readers' hometowns--it's back to the drawing board.
Whatever the subgenre, from here on out, I'll always be aiming for "real."