Realistic YA Stories: The Good, the Bad, and the Love Triangle?

What would happen if YA stories were realistic?

We all know the drill…stories are grand but not always determined to stay true to reality. Which can be good but can also leave us screaming (if it must be external, please use mufflers) “That couldn’t happen!”

Ah, the dual pain and bliss.

However, since it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere, let’s play a game. What if every story tried to be realistic? And for even more fun, let’s target YA stories. Cause reasons. *mischievous twitch-twitch of the eyebrows*


How would the story really unfold?

If YA Stories Were Realistic

The dashing, witty, athletic, genius-of-a-boy actually falls for the brightest, most intelligent, most gorgeous girl in the class. Not the heroine.

Piles of homework keep interrupting the adventures of the main characters. They miss lots of assignments. Their grades tank. In addition to government agents coming after them, they have to run from a SWAT team of angry teachers sent by the principal.

The heroine isn’t a kick-butt fighter. She’s just trying to survive Algebra 2.

There’s still lots of kissing. (Guess some things never change…)

On a dark a stormy night, the group of teenagers decide not to explore the old, abandoned house full of creaks and shadows. Instead they go to the local bowling alley and spend an enjoyable evening not evading cranky criminals and the random ghost.

Everyone is always on their cell phones. All the time. On every page.

Heroine has crush on the hot dude but he totally ignores her. (See first point.)

Texting conversations outnumber real-life conversations.

Taylor Swift and/or Justin Beiber are mentioned at least every fourth chapter.

The romantic interest isn’t a dark, moody guy who’s good with weapons and kisses. He’s just really smart in class and knows how to play the guitar.

Instead of threats against family and promises of danger, the characters deal with more pressing concerns. Not enough FB friends. The latest celebrity gossip. And who to take to homecoming.

There’s not a love triangle. There are actually 2.6 dozen of them.

Plot twist: the government agents catch the characters. Because they have 200% more resources and bigger guns. The characters end up jailed and interrogated.

The heroine tries to run away from home to join the secret rebellion, but her phone dies and she gets lost because can’t go anywhere without her maps app.

The blonde bomb doesn’t fall for the plain, nerdy dude who wears glasses and a worn hoodie. In fact, she doesn’t even realize he’s a living member of the universe. Ever. Even after he saves her life from the villain’s henchmen.

Spiders are scientifically proven not to be radioactive.


In his first fight, the hero gets his butt kicked by a second-rate criminal and ends up unconscious in a dark alley.

After that, the hero stays away from dark alleys forever.

The heroine does lots of things to make herself attractive. It earns her the attention of the third hottest dude in class. They break up after a month cause reasons. She goes through an emotional time and the hottest dude—who she really wants to be with—doesn’t notice.

The hero makes a habit of staying out all night and getting to school late. Before too long, he ends up expelled.

The characters, in fact, do not know everything about everything.

No one can shoot a gun except the professionally trained bad guys. This doesn’t end well for the good characters.

Instead of sneaking out to spend time with his girlfriend, the hero has to do the dishes.


Crying and emotional outbursts aren’t caused by gun fights, killing, and betrayal. It’s because of the SAT.

Rather than dreaming of bringing down the corrupt government, the heroine’s biggest goal in life is to get into an Ivy League school.

The characters don’t get away with lying to their parents. They try but their parents find out and ground them for a month.

When fleeing the unnamed agents hunting them, the characters last for seven hours before being caught.

No one gains amazing powers, abilities, or magical skills. Life isn’t that easy.

When the characters break the rules, they get punished. It doesn’t matter that they saved everyone and defeated the villain and used their breathtaking wits all at the same time.

The apocalypse comes and destroys everything. There is no more world for a dystopian society to exist on.


⇒ What are other ways YA stories could be realistic?


Realistic YA Stories: The Good, the Bad, and the Love Triangle? — 6 Comments

  1. Instead of keeping their giant messes to themselves, the character’s actually talk to the adults in their lives and everything gets handled responsibly, legally, and without any lying/sneaking-out/rulebreaking. O_O

    Daughter and I love to discuss when watching movies what would have happened had said character actually told a parent/teacher/policeman instead of sneaking out to deal with things on their own. And it’s a good time to reinforce that, no matter what, she can always always tell us.

    • Ooohhhh yes! That’s a great example. Imagine that…teenage characters actually talking to the people who know more than they do. What a novel concept. And all above board, too. 😮

  2. People can fall in love with unexpected people. I mean, I go the hottest guy in class, if he would actually have gone to class, and I’m just a geeky bookworm who likes classical music.

    • Thanks for reading, Marisa!

      Yep, falling in love with unexpected people can definitely happen. And in stories, I think that makes the plot more interesting and keeps readers guessing, instead of following the same pattern of the two most obvious people falling in love. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. YES TO ALL OF THESE! Now I really want to read a book that just totally contradicts all the clichés of YA…That would be hilarious. XD

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