Hello Book Ravens!
So apparently, in YA, everyone over the age of thirty is dead. Or missing. Or evil. And what are these “parents” you speak of?
Let’s be honest: a lot of YA characters could seriously use a parental figure around. So where are they? Why do authors exclude them? Do we even need them?
Let’s talk about that.
I wanted to write this post for two reasons. ONE) because you guys wanted another Tackling Tropes post, and TWO) because I am currently planning my own novels. And what am I realizing?
That parental figures really get the way of my storyline. Like, could you not be responsible for your child’s life for two minutes?? I need them to go and do some dangerous stuff and they can’t with you around.
And this got me thinking: Is this why there are no parents in YA? Answer: Partly.
At first, I think the lack of parents was due to needing trauma. I mean, the character has to have an emotional backstory right? And certain books really pull this off. But what teenager\child knows how to handle themselves and become completely mature when their parents die\dissappear? None that I know.
Another thing to note is what I said earlier: writing parents is hard! They provide great emotional support but when I want to put my characetrs in harm’s way they just won’t let it happen. And that is irritating.
After a while I think missing parents just became the norm, especially in dystopian, sci-fi and fantasy. Do we really need them? The answer is, unless your character is from Six of Crows or has a similar career in villainy…you probably do need a parent or guardian.
Parents and parental figures are some of the most crucial reasons we are who we are. We watch them and learn how to act…and how not to act.
Take a second and really think how your life would have been without your parents, or a guardian. They often get pushed to the side, in real life and in books, especially when to comes to friends, but they’re more important than you think.
Which is why I’ve made a point of not taking them out of my stories unless it really makes sense. Not just because they’re hard, or inconvienent.
So what do you think of the absent parents trope? Keep it, or let it die? Are siblings more important to have than the parents?
Have a delightfully thoughtful day, Book Ravens ❥