Reading for me has always been my escape. The worlds I would run off to, the people I would meet, the mysteries I would solve and I never once was required to leave my bedroom to experience it all.
Through the years that love has only increased and although my genres have evolved a bit since the days of staying up well after bedtime with a flashlight reading Nancy Drew, I’ve found that one thing has not changed:
I like my hero or heroine to be seventeen. Because of this, despite the fact that I’m now an adult, I am still inadvertently pulled to the Young Adult section of the bookstore. There is something about being seventeen and the classic “Coming of Age” story that I am drawn to.
I love the challenges they face, the newness as well as the bravery required for stepping completely out of their comfort zone. The feelings they grapple with of inadequacy and the triumphs they feel when they vanquish a seemingly unconquerable obstacle.
I love the fact that at seventeen the world is wide open to you. No path is unattainable. Love is new and independence exhilarates you. When I was seventeen I had already graduated from high school and was in University; my adventure had started early and the world was mine for the taking. Even with all of that, I wish I could go back and tell myself to stay on point. Not to get distracted; to not be so selfish. I feel in so many ways that I failed the potential of my coming of age story.
But then, would I be as brave as I am now? Would I be as kind? Would I have ever learned that my opinion doesn’t always need to spoken out loud? Would I be able to see the forest and not stare at the tree?
Of course not because even though I didn’t realize it at the time, all those choices I made at seventeen – the good and the bad – that was my coming of age story. I learned who I was. I was introduced to love. I experienced heartbreak. I conquered fears. I stepped into adulthood.
So now I read about other seventeen year olds as they navigate the writing of their stories. Yes, they aren’t real and many of them aren’t even human, but I indulge myself in their fictional worlds and deep down a part of me connects.