Dec 7, 2010

The "My Best Friend Is More Popular And Prettier Than Me" Syndrome in YA

We see it all the time in YA Lit. MCs' BFFs whose lives seem to be amazing (but that sometimes hide terrible secrets), who have the perfect boyfriends, and are just great girls in general.

The MC would spend several pages wondering why she isn't like her BFF, complaining about her looks, and just accepting that that's all she can do about it.

Well, I say there needs to be a revolution! Main characters -male or female- are MCs for a reason! They've got a story to tell, and I doubt that the story is all about whining about her looks.

Thank goodness there aren't that many books that apply to this rule nowadays.

Take The Hunger Games for example. Katniss is a fierce MC, and the last thing on her mind is her appearance. All she cares about is getting everyone she loves to safety. And just then she stops and thinks about herself. Now that is a strong MC.

However, there are books that are all about this syndrome. And that's not always a bad thing. Perhaps the book is about a girl/boy who's self conscious about her/his appearance (I'm saying his because boys go through these dramas too!), and about how she/he learns to overcome this. And that is great! Depending, of course, on the writing. If the book is about a girl who thinks she's ugly and gradually learns that she truly is beautiful, like everyone in the world, AND the writing is great, showing us how this girl goes through that experience, then awesome. But if the book is about a shallow girl that only cares about looking better than her friends, then I'll toss the book in the bin, and don't look back or regret my decision.

Teens (myself included) want to read books with substance, with meaning and depth, and love, and friendship, and betrayal, and all that means to be a teen. Of course, we also want the light-headed book that'll make us laugh and giggle like crazy when thinking back on it. (We don't want people staring at us when that happens, though. *ahem*)

So, I refuse to fall into this rule. It's always present in my mind when writing, which I'm doing a lot these days.
My MC is strong, she's had a few setbacks, but she'll learn how to bounce back from them, and she'll have her best friend by her side. A best friend who is beautiful in her own way, and who loves her for who and what she is. My MC's name is Cora, and her best friend's Audrey.

What's you opinion on the matter? And what do you think of my characters' names? :P


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