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Likable Young Adult Protagonists...


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Ah, "reassemble her feet"?  Put her shoes and socks back on after wading the creek.

If we keep encouraging our younger writers, there will be more!

Not arrogant, sassy at the right times, doesn’t already have max stats in intelligence, stamina, dexterity, and strength, has a distinct personality

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1 minute ago, Wesley Southern said:

 

how about in the non-fantasy realm?

That's harder because (in my experience, at least) most YA books are fantasy or dystopian (and a lot a romance but I don't read those so I can't offer advice there). 

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6 minutes ago, Just_Me_ said:

That's harder because (in my experience, at least) most YA books are fantasy or dystopian (and a lot a romance but I don't read those so I can't offer advice there). 

 

this is the Goodreads 2020 Choice Awards for YA Fiction

 

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14 minutes ago, Wesley Southern said:

how about in the non-fantasy realm?

Now that I think of it, most of the YA I've read recently is fantasy ... Maybe someone else has some suggestions?

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11 hours ago, Wesley Southern said:

...are hard to find.

 

Have YOU found any lately?

I certainly hope mine is.  She's mid-20s, but discovers later on that she's a couple years older than she and her new-found friends guessed her to be.  One reader said she's too squeaky clean and got no faults.  I want my writing to be fun and not drama.

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I read a short little YA title recently that I really enjoyed, and the protagonist, LaVaughn, was lovely. The book was called “Making Lemons” and I believe it’s part of a series, but I haven’t read any others. The setting is contemporary.

 

Esther, the protagonist of “Rebel Daughter,” while a more complex person, is also likable, in my opinion. The setting is early AD Roman-occupied Jerusalem.

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I have a YA protagonist in one of my novels, which will span a three book series. It starts when he's 23 years-old. He's generally likable, seeks to do the right thing, but prone to making unwise (dumb) choices - as most of us did at that age. The over-aching story follows his maturity in the backdrop of intrigue. He's not a Christian, but surrounded by some who try to steer him in the right direction (while making mistakes of their own).

 

Overall, I haven't been a fan of most contemporary YA protagonists.   

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Technically, your protagonist wouldn’t be considered “YA” unless he or she was under eighteen. If you’re not a young teen, you’re not a YA protagonist these days. 

 

@Accord64 and @Paul but not THE, your protagonists would actually be “New Adult.”

 

 I figured this out when trying to determine the appropriate “slot” for my series. It’s a little confusing, because the actual Young Adult protagonists aren’t actually adults at all...

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3 minutes ago, Zee said:

Technically, your protagonist wouldn’t be considered “YA” unless he or she was under eighteen. If you’re not a young teen, you’re not a YA protagonist these days. 

 

@Accord64 and @Paul but not THE, your protagonists would actually be “New Adult.”

 

 I figured this out when trying to determine the appropriate “slot” for my series. It’s a little confusing, because the actual Young Adult protagonists aren’t actually adults at all...

 

That's actually a relief to hear! Because my "New Adult" protagonist doesn't act nearly as dumb as a typical YA protagonist. 🙂 

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1 hour ago, Accord64 said:

 

That's actually a relief to hear! Because my "New Adult" protagonist doesn't act nearly as dumb as a typical YA protagonist. 🙂 

I like to think my new adult protagonist comes across as naive, but when needed, she shows quite a sensible smartness.

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Hard for me to tell if my protagonist comes across as YA or NA (I keep thinking "not applicable when I see NA): 

 

...Redtail arrived at the spot at the creek where Sarah had hopped across a few days earlier.  Redtail gave a sigh.  The water level rose about six inches since then, making rock-hopping impossible –well, without getting wet, anyway.  She weighed her alternatives.  She could wade across with her shoes on, and squish soggy-footed the rest of the day.  She could take her shoes off and wade across and put them back on when her feet dried.  She could also put off her exploration for a few days when the water level went back down.  Redtail didn’t have the tools and didn’t want to take the time to build a bridge or cut a sapling stout enough to vault the creek.  She smiled as she pondered another option.  I’m a big girl now, so I probably shouldn’t sit down and pout.  Redtail glanced around and found a fallen tree.  She spotted a place and sat down.  No, she didn’t pout, but took off her shoes and put them in the forage bag.  She carefully went to the creek and crossed.

 

On the other side, a large rock stuck up out of the forest floor.  Redtail figured it to be a fine place to reassemble her feet for exploring.  She approached the rock and started to sit down.  She froze in mid-action.  She gasped and her heart raced when she saw what she was about to do.  Redtail breathed a sigh of relief as the reality of her situation sunk in.

 

A little embarrassed, Redtail said, “Well hello there.  I’d never met a hog-nosed snake before.  I thought you were a copperhead at first.  I’d never met one of those, either.  Shouldn’t you be on a south-FACING bank, rather than on a south bank?” 

 

The snake answered, “I’m hunting, not sunning.”  At least Redtail imagined the snake saying that.  The snake slowly slithered off and under the leaves.   

 

Redtail cautiously sat down and waved her feet around in the air.  She stood up on the rock and gave a couple light, flat-footed stomps to shake off excess water and debris from her feet.  Sitting back down, she looked around and listened.  After a few minutes of watching, listening, rubbing  and airing, Redtail decided her feet were ready for reassembly.  She put herself back together and headed out to check the May apple patch she spotted while her feet dried..."

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