Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Old is Too Old?

During a five hour drive, interrupted only by the dulcet tones of Justin Bieber, I got to thinking about ages in YA fiction. Specifically, age differences between the protagonist and her/his love interest (since I rarely read a book without at least a little romance!) Obviously there’s the example of Edward and Bella,* clocking in at 108 and 17, respectively. But when people nitpick Twilight, that is not generally the first thing they glom on to (at least in my experience). Perhaps it’s excused** by virtue of the fact that Edward is 1) a vampire and 2) looks perpetually seventeen.*** So when both characters are of a more mortal persuasion, how old is too old?

I guess, personally, I’m all right with a slightly older love interest. I think there’s a lot that can be done with that (and it might be more interesting to me now that I’m older??) But I know when I was sixteen I would not have felt comfortable dating a twenty year old. If the protagonist is sixteen or seventeen (as a lot of YA protags are), how large a gap are you comfortable with? 18? 19? 20? Older? And if you’re comfortable with nineteen but not twenty (or any other ages), what pushed it over the line? Does the line change if it’s a same-sex couple you’re reading about?


*Do I write about Twilight way too much?

**“Excused” is maybe not the word I’m looking for.

***If Edward didn’t look seventeen, would we be having a longer conversation about why an old, old man is dating Bella? (And pairings in other books as well, that I am perhaps not aware of at the moment).

****Could I HAVE more of these things? /carried away


P.S. The little box has been fixed. ^_^


  1. Hmm, I think being old because they're a vampire gives them a pass for me. If I think about it I have no actual logical explanation.

    I really don't like the "older man" relationships, particularly when it's made a point of as with student/teacher relationships.

  2. It looks like the following line in your code is causing the box: Lt img src="file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/User/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-1.png" alt="" / Gt. Lt being < and Gt being >. Hope this helps.

  3. Thanks--that took care of it.