Happily Ever After. A word that ends almost every single fairy tale ever written. And something that almost every little girl dreams about. And if you think about it, almost every heroine in the old timey fairytales are teenagers. But how realistic is happily ever after for teenagers?
There are a lot of critics out there that tout that authors shouldn’t include a HEA. That there is no way teenagers no real love at that stage in their life and we shouldn’t show teenage marriage.
|Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Barray and WANA commons|
Of course, the most heavily criticized is Twilight with *spoiler* Bella’s marriage to Edward and the subsequent birth of their daughter. But others have done it, with less detractors. Harry Potter did it. And Hunger Games. Even if both of those made sure to let us know it was many, many years in the future. Some books even hint strongly that the characters we’ve loved for 3 or 4 or 8 books have their HEA.
But a lot of YA books leave the readers with the question of what happened after their happy for now ending?
Did they get married and have kids? Or did they break up even after they went through and how strongly they shouted their love for each other?
But again, how realistic are these views?
I know my first love was in high school and I even married him a few short months after high school. We started dating my sophomore year and 3 years later we were married. 15 years later we’re still married and quite happily I might add. However, one of my very best friends from then, waited until after college to marry a man she met while in college. They were only married about a year before they divorced. Of course, there’s the flip side of that with the opposite results. So what’s more realistic? Is there a standard? One that says if you do this, then this will happen?
|Photo courtesy of sleeplessinnewcastle and WANA commons|
But my biggest question about all this, is what message are we teaching our teen readers by having it or not having it? If we have it are we saying that that’s what’s expected of them? That they should pick their chosen life mate in high school and if they don’t find them, there’s something wrong with them? By not having it, are we saying that they can’t possible be smart enough to understand that marrying their sweetheart right after high school is a big decision and shouldn’t be rushed into blindly? Something in between? As writers, is this even something that we should worry about? Should we choose sides and write that side? Or should we just write what’s organic to the story and not worry about “teaching” something. And trust our teens to know what the right decision is and to talk to us if they have questions?