Here, in no particular order, is everything I learned from reading contemporary YA novels for the better part of one month:
- A lot of teens want to go to Stanford. Not all of them will get in.
- You can love your best friend or hate your best friend or actually be in love with your best friend. You still won’t end up at the same college.
- Colleges no longer send out acceptance letters in big envelopes or rejections in little envelopes. It’s all digital. Except when it isn’t and someone frames a rejection letter to stay humble. Then it might be analog.
- If two teens are involved romantically and over eighteen they will have sex (or come close anyway).
- You can’t buy love or happiness, but you can win the lottery.
- It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a girl’s father is a mechanic she will know more about cars than her love interest.
- You can have widowed or divorced parents but you cannot have a daughter living with her single mother. Same goes for sons living with single fathers.
- STEM-loving girls are drawn to art-loving boys–opposites attract.
- There will be dancing.
- Teens might worry about affording their dream college or getting into their dream college. Teens will not apply to college based solely on proximity and financial aid packages.
- Everyone goes to prom. No one goes to prom alone.
- There will be pining.
- If anyone loses something of great sentimental value they are not getting it back.
- Some people might wear glasses or contacts but no one wears sunglasses.
- Even if it feels like the absolute worst thing has happened, it’s going to be okay because life goes on and you’re still heading toward that happy ending.