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Ask Epic Reads: The Official YA Advice Column

Is there anything worse than when the main character you’re rooting for picks the absolute *worst* approach to their current dilemma? We think not. Whether they’re putting their trust in the wrong person, revisiting a doomed relationship, or picking the riskiest way to save the day, we’re finding ourselves screaming at the page more and more often.

So, we decided to take it upon ourselves to dole out advice to some of our favorite (anonymous) YA characters in the hopes of helping them make better decisions in the future. And today, we’re focusing on those YA clichés we know and love.

We’ve got some special guest advisors from Annie Barrows’s new book NOTHING—Frankie and Charlotte—who are experts at calling out YA clichés, so you can count on them to chime in with some hilarious advice about how to handle these over the top dilemmas!

 

The Dreaded Love Triangle

 

Dear Epic Reads,

Help! The most unimaginable thing has happened to me—I’m caught in the middle of a steamy love triangle! It all started when my first love (we’ll call him Bachelor #1) disappeared with no notice, leaving me to assume he was dead (obviously).

That’s when Bachelor #2 came in to save the day.

I was just starting to really fall for #2, when out of the blue, Bachelor #1 is back in the picture. Turns out he left suddenly completely out of selflessness and for my own good! But now here I am, having to choose between my first love and the boy who helped pick up the pieces—who do I choose!?!

Sincerely,
Torn

 

Dear Torn,

We typically recommend AVOIDING love triangles at all costs.

Frankie says: Triangle? Triangle? Cry me a river. I’d take a line segment.

Charlotte says:  Same here. Sometimes both the cats want to sit on me at the same time—that’s as close to a love triangle as I get.

Yes well… love triangles do tend to be rare in real life. But seeing as you’re already caught in the middle – there’s only one thing to do. Find a dramatic, life-changing, cliffhanger situation to insert yourself into (and be sure to invite both love interests to attend).

Whichever one you lock eyes meaningfully with is your true love, the other one will just sort of vanish from the picture once you figure this out – no worries!

Best of luck,
Epic Reads

 

The Chosen One

 

Dear Epic Reads,

I’ve always felt different, like I don’t quite fit in with my peers, but I’ve never understood why. It turns out I’m the descendant of a mysteriously powerful line of humans with super abilities. Now, it’s down to me to save the world as we know it from an ancient, evil force! But I’m just a teen! What do I do?

Sincerely,
The Chosen One

 

Dear The Chosen One,

Unfortunately, you don’t have a lot of options here. You must immediately find a super-hot sidekick who you kind of hate (but who you also kind of love), and get to saving the world.

Charlotte says: Hold up – how come the Chosen One always has to feel “different?”  You know what bugs me? When celebrities say, “I was really an outsider in high school. I know the pain.” Yeah, yeah. I don’t buy it.  I want a Chosen One who says, “I was really ass-kick popular in high school. I also got fantastic grades and incredible ACT scores! Plus, I was raging hot. And talented! Everyone loved me!”  That would be different.

… And to Charlotte’s point, you really might have more in common with everyone else than you think. But either way – hurry!

Best of luck,
Epic Reads

 

Forbidden Romance

 

Dear Epic Reads,

I’m the fiercest warrior my people have ever seen – and it’s up to me alone to defend them from our sworn enemies. However, I was off being a loner one day, (it’s not easy being the best!), when I had a meet-cute with this AMAZING guy.

Turns out he’s one of the people I’m supposed to be fighting against – but I KNOW from this one meeting we definitely, totally in love. What do I do!?!

Sincerely,
Strong and Swooning

 

Dear Strong and Swooning,

Wait till the battling between your people reaches a fever pitch, then (very publicly) have a standoff with your true love. Loudly declare your love for one another and watch the whole problem disappear. (Well, either that or you’ll both have to run away together and wait for book two.)

Best of luck,
Epic Reads

 

My Mysterious, Brooding Love

 

Dear Epic Reads,

I’m just your typical high school senior, counting down the days until graduation. At least I was, until I met (insert typical brooding love interest name here), a mysteriously guarded classmate who I’ve never gotten to know until now.

We’ve got this inexplicable romantic attraction even though we literally just started talking in the hallway yesterday—but I can already tell he has a tragic and closely guarded secret that’s keeping him from declaring his love for me. How do I break down his walls!?!

Sincerely,
Hoping

 

Dear Hoping,

We always advise you give people their personal space.

Frankie says: There’s a guy in my Bio class who’s exactly like this. He’s got these eyelashes you can’t even believe, and he’s always looking down, so they sort of scrape his cheek. Insanely hot. And get this, he wore a cardigan last week.
Charlotte: Oh my god. Really?

(Gotta love a guy in a cardigan!) But back to your question – if you choose not to follow our advice, be sure to swoop in and save the day for him at some point, that tends to get people to open up!

Charlotte says: Tell him you’re the Chosen One!

Don’t take action too early though – you’ll want to finally get through to him right before you’re both set to take off on your different future paths for ultimate dramatic effect. Feel free to write us back for more advice once you get there!

Best of luck,
Epic Reads

 


About Nothing

Nothing ever happens to Charlotte and Frankie. 

Their lives are nothing like the lives of the girls they read about in their YA novels. They don’t have flowing red hair, and hot romantic encounters never happen—let alone meeting a true soul mate.

They just go to high school and live at home with their parents, who are pretty normal, all things considered. But when Charlotte decides to write down everything that happens during their sophomore year—to prove that nothing happens and there is no plot or character development in real life—she’s surprised to find that being fifteen isn’t as boring as she thought.

It’s weird, heartbreaking, silly, and complicated. And maybe, just perfect.

 


What other cliché dilemmas would you like to see Epic Reads tackle? Tell us in the comments below! And be sure to check out NOTHING by Annie Barrows for a refreshingly funny look at how real life is nothing like a YA novel.