Tuesday, June 12, 2012


By Jennifer McAndrews

Back in January I had the honor of being asked to write a short story for a young adult anthology. The theme was - loosely - spring. Beyond that, we were free to choose the type of story we wanted to tell then trade the stories among ourselves for editing and proofreading.

For me, no matter what genre I write in, a hint of romance always sneaks into the story. So it didn’t surprise me in the least when my main character Rachel came face-to-face with Bowie - the soft-spoken tenor who would reveal himself as the story’s hero.

Bowie did surprise the author for edited for me. ‘He’s awfully smooth for a high school kid,’ she noted (though I paraphrase). And I thought, is he? Or is he the classics young adult hero?

Let’s think about this for a minute (and when I think, I think in movies, so just go with it, ok?). Consider a few of the more swoon-worthy, full hero moments: Jerry Maguire admittine “You complete me” (Jerry Maguire); Melvin Udall confessing, “You make me want to be a better man” (As Good as It Gets); and of course, Johnny Castle proclaiming, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” (Dirty Dancing). Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the moments that take your breath away aren’t limited to “grown up” movies. Those same men who capture the leading lady’s heart were one young men, showing the very same awareness of what it takes to be a hero. We saw it when Duke Orsino turned up to escort Viola to the debutante ball (She’s the Man), when Patrick Verona fessed up to accepting cash to date Kat, but “screwed up” by falling for her (10 Things I Hate About You). And who can forget Jake Ryan waiting outside the church for Samantha and insisting “Yeah, you” (followed, as all romantics know, by the iconic birthday cake scene; Sixteen Candles).

No doubt you can think of more examples, but the evidence is apparent: heroes do not have a ready-by age on them. The traits that give us heroic men are often present in heroic teens. A hero shows up at just the right moment, and, in romance, a hero sees the heroine for who she really is, and loves her for being herself.

Yeah, I think that’s something that girls of all ages can embrace.

Jennifer McAndrews is proud to be part of the stellar group of authors in the young adult anthology ETERNAL SPRING -- now available at Amazon in print, or download the ebook FREE. Read excerpts from her other novels at http://www.jennifermcandrews.com/.

TOMORROW:  Elizabeth Knowles writes about heroes and stress.



  1. I agree completely. Some guys are so smooth that no high school girl is safe even though the guy is young. Others are awkward from age 12 to 70. And every guy has that one moment when he says the right thing. It all goes back to motivation, and who may I ask is more motivated to impress the ladies than a teen boy.

  2. I love how smooth Bowie is...very swoon-worthy. When writing the teen hero, I always cite the Dawson's Creek conundrum. If teens talked and acted like typical teens, the show (or book) would be so boring and awkward nobody would care. ;)

  3. Don't forget Twilight there are a number of breath taking moments in that movie. Great post!

  4. You are so right, Jen. As I think back on high school, there are a few guys who were so smooth that yes, they still give a little hitch in my breath. Those are the guys we want to read about, YA or adult. Four from Divergent comes to mind. Smooth as peanut-buttah!! *sigh* :)

  5. Sometimes I think young men have a better chance at being heroic because they don't have the baggage yet to be cynics :P

  6. When I think of young males as heroic I think of my son Devon who was homeschooled but was involved in the local high school's track and cross country teams. When Prom time came along Devon arranged with one of the local restaurants to go private for the evening so that all the track guys could take the track girls as a group to dinner and the prom. Then he had the guys decorate the restaurant with twinkle lights and every girl received a single stem rose. So no 'athletic' girl got left out of this tradition. So I think there can be very romantic young males out there :-) And Jen - this has to be most quotable line ever - heroes do not have a ready-by age on them -- love it!!!

  7. Oh, yes. Jake Ryan realizing who he's really mean to be with *Swoon* Then, of course, there's Say Anyhing. And I loved Ten Things I Hate About You. The thing is, sometimes the ideal heroes are larger than life. That's what makes them heroes.

  8. A terrific homage to the young hero who, I believe, dwells in many a young man. I saw an episode,of Pit Bulls and Parolees that showed a truly gallant young real life hero. As a tornado bore down in rhe animal rescue place run by his teen girlfriend's Mom, he helped them all hunker down, grabbed his girlfriend and lashed her to a tree with dig leash es s, saving her life, and was himself then caught unprotected, ending with a crushed oelvis. He used a walker to help get around in the aftermath. Never underestimate a hero, no matter his age.