While I was watching the series premiere of LA Shrinks and washing a cup at the kitchen sink, one of the doctors on the show talked a bit about her past. She had felt depressed as a teenager and instead of receiving a reminder that at her age, hormonal upheaval will intensify any emotion and the sadness she feels will pass, she was prescribed medications that didn’t exactly help her feel better. Her remark stayed with me as I was rinsing off the cup and thinking about the (mis)adventures the characters have in Twilight films and the American version of Being Human.
I’d always regarded existence as a 12 to 17 year-old to be an unbalanced potion of chaos, monotony, euphoria, fearlessness, and nonsense. Though I was made fun of by classmates in 8th grade that honest-to-Odin were nice to me the preceding month, any experience of agony, shame, or hatred were self-inflicted or imposed (as a response to current events and learning about the terrible things humans have done to each other all in the name of land, loyalty, loins, and lords).
What if puberty involved mandatory transformations and paranormal romance instead of the hormonal and bodily changes that are characteristic of humans? Between the ages of 11 to 14, you became a vampire, werewolf, satyr, soothsayer, minotaur, or vaporous entity that fell intensely in love with a fellow adolescent and you had NO control over what you became or whom you wanted? The transformations and obsession would stop either gradually or abruptly by your 18th birthday.
You could go to sleep one night, wake up the next morning, and experience an unease with your surroundings and likely your own reflection. On the other hand, you could go to sleep one night, wake up the next morning, and realize that the “love of your life” means nothing at all. You might feel unsettled by your “non-choice” object of affection.
And then biochemists would discover that you could change your paranormal manifestation if you were given a blood injection from the creature of your choice? For instance, if you turned into a satyr but you wanted to be a werewolf instead, a fellow werewolf would have to donate a little bit of blood. Moreover, science would uncover a way to offer teenagers the option of steady or sudden cessation of morphing and uncontrolled loving.
Young adult fiction would consist of non-paranormal, non-romance.