For those of you who don’t know, I live in Cape Town, situated at the bottom of that mysterious and misrepresented continent – Africa.
As an avid YA reader, however, there are many things that I find utterly strange in these books – due to the fact that they are mostly based in the USA, and life is a tad different in your neck of the woods.
So let’s get into it, shall we? Here’s a list of the shiz that just doesn’t resonate:
- You can drive yourself to school. Your school has a student parking lot where you seem to spend a lot of time hanging out. Your parents let you get into a car with someone who has just got their license.
Over here, you can only get your driver’s license aged 18. So there ain’t no driving yourself anywhere. You rely on the parentals to taxi you around. By the end of my last year of school, there were only like 5 people who were driving themselves to school. Also, no way in hell my mother was letting me travel ANYWHERE with someone who just got their license. And how does everyone have a car?! That shit’s expensive.
- You just hop and off public transport, free as a daisy.
This is something of a class thing here, but if you’re middle class, you probably don’t use public transport alone as a teenager because your parents think you’ll be murdered.
- You sneak out the house
Try getting past security alarms, motion sensors, multiple door locks, barking dogs, extremely alert parents, the night time neighbourhood watch patrols…and then how would you get around if you and your friends can’t drive? Bad plan, homie.
- After school jobs
Sure, many of us get part-time jobs as a teenager, but these are for the weekends and holidays. I don’t know of anyone who had one after school – only ending at 3pm, and having to get home and do homework doesn’t leave much time for money-earning activities. (Unless its babysitting, or something like that.)
- Sneaking alcohol
In almost all countries of the world, the drinking age is 18. So we don’t really need fake IDs or have to bribe other people to buy our alcohol – we can all get our own drinks! (or at least, our already-18 friends in our group can do it for us and it’s not such a big deal as its made out to be in books).
- You seem to plan your outfits for school
Uniforms over here, yo. Makes life a lot easier, although today I still have a strong aversion to the colour brown.
- Parties when the house gets trashed
As far as I know, the raucous parties are cordoned off to one part of the house. And destruction tends to be limited to the breaking of a couple of glasses.
But maybe I just wasn’t invited to the cool house-trashing parties.
Scratch that, I definitely wasn’t invited to the cool house-trashing parties.
And as for the rest of you? What thing do you find completely out of place in YA novels that just don’t translate to your country?