Kari Maaren


I like young-adult literature.  I write young-adult literature.  However, I am also hyper-aware of the cliches of young-adult literature.  If I have to read one more book with a pointless love triangle in it, I am going to find a nominally socially awkward but stil breathtakingly beautiful sixteen-year-old who just wants someone to take care of her and shake her until her extensions fall out.


Hey, you:
Can't you see
That the psychotic things you
Do to me
Are not
"Just a stage"
In my necessary
Coming of age?

It's so clear:
I can tell
You love putting me
Through hell.
You claim it's
For the plot.
You think I'm grateful?
I'm not.

You start with misery, then
Pile on misery some more.  You
Manufacture crises so I'll
Be more miserable than before.
And then I guess the fate of
Earth requires I decide
My destiny, whatever that is.
Oh:  at some point, someone died.
I really wish I didn't have to stay
In your YA.

Look, dude:
I'm sixteen.
I already feel like
I'm between.
It's not
Really fair
To shove paranormal
Crap in there.

You'd say
That it's more
That you're setting up
A metaphor.
Well, yeah,
Here's the deal:
To me, the metaphor
Is real.

And then you add a boy,
And then another boy because it
Wouldn't be exciting without
Angsty lust and drama, and it was
So damn romantic when
Boy One saved me; let's tick that off the list.
It's become unclear
Why I am the protagonist.
Things would be different if I had a say
In your YA.

So I'm a misfit
But somehow drop-dead gorgeous too.
I don't have any friends
But never do anything wrong.
You don't remember
What being me is like, do you?
There are many ways of being strong.

If I
Have to whine
About being different one more
Time or pine
Someone hot
While saving the society
That time forgot

As the
World turns grim
And Boy Two leaves me and I
Long for him,
I'll leap
Our of your prose
And land a mighty punch on
Your nose.

Could I not come of age
Without some world-destroying fray?  Could
I, perhaps, do something that
Is not an adolescent cliche?
Be insignificant
And fail at everything for real,
Get along with both my parents
And possess no sex appeal?
That would suck, but in a less annoying way
Than your YA.

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Content copyright Kari Maaren 2013
Images copyright Kari Maaren, Phil Mills, Erik Mohr, and Karl Stahl 2013