I was having a personal pity party a few days ago, and went into my closet to unearth the dozen or so journals I have stored there, from 5th grade up until currently. And upon reading them, I was struck by how much emotion filled each and every page.
Anger, despair, heartache, elation, depression, love... I thought, boy, I was an angsty little thing, wasn't I? On the flip side, I was impressed with how in touch with my emotions I was, how much of my life at the time was spent living in the moment.
Good YA does exactly that. It takes you to that deep core of yourself, where you are insecure, hopeful, unsure--where you are truly you. As a writer, it's an excellent reality check to make sure that I portray my characters as having lots and lots of heartfelt, honest, emotion, that the readers can identify with.
My own teenage years are something I continually draw upon for my own books because it was such a magical time of firsts: first kiss, first love, first heartbreak, the first tenuous toe-dip into the vast ocean of adulthood. There is so much possibility. The world is wide open.
Now how do you feel about that? :)