...And So the Girl Fell In Love With a Man

I just re-read yesterday's post, and in so doing discovered a topic for today. I was going to rant about how I have yet to read Mockingjay and am scared stiff that I'm going to read a spoiler somewhere, but, well, I'll save it.

Here's what I want to know: When did Daniel, age 18-21ish, become a man, and why is Ivolet, age 16-18ish, a girl? (And we'll discuss the fact that I don't know old they are...later.)

I mean, this sounds slightly wrong, because, yes, they have a romantic relationship. The man fell in love with a girl. The girl fell in love with a man. There's something...not right about this.

I did say he was a young man.

But I can't bring myself to call him a boy. It makes my girl sound immature - to fall in love with a mere boy. Neither can I call her a woman. She's a teen, for goodness' sake! This is YA! I'm not writing chick lit, here!

I have a feeling this scenario comes up more often than we YA authors care to admit. Young man, not a boy. Girl, not a woman. What's the answer, the secret? Or is youngman/girl completely acceptable and only sound weird when you take the time to look? Has anyone else come across this and wondered what was going on?

I feel like there's some culture laws here. Thoughts on the westernization of romance? Because, 'back in the old days,' we'd have bigger age gaps and less discussion about said gap.


Anonymous said...

Hm, I can't say I've thought about this that much, being a girl who fell in love with a man. =P It's definitely an interesting question, though. I'm one of those people who refer to characters as "girls" even though they're reaching 25. I feel as if the term "girl" doesn't have the same feeling as "boy," where one thinks of a boy as someone young and probably immature, while a girl can be older but still referred to as a girl.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that the general audience of readers probably don't even pick up on that. I suppose perhaps "girl" is a more open term, often used to describe a wide age range of females. Whereas "boy" and "man" both bring with them very specific boxes.

Cruella Collett said...

Funny how I almost didn't read this post because it said "Mockingjay" right at the beginning and I'm doing the same as you - desperately trying to avoid spoilers since I haven't read it yet (actually I only finished "Catching Fire" yesterday).

As for your "girl meets man" problem, I don't know how bad that actually is. If you go with the maximum age difference there, it is getting fuzzy. 16 and 21 is, in my opinion, perhaps not entirely unusual, but at least a little questionable. Then again, as soon as she hits 17 I feel the problem is solved. Somehow 17 and 21 or even 17 and 22 sounds a lot better than anything with 16...

In the end I think it matters how you describe their maturity. And I think anyone writing in English has an advantage, because you have the less age-specific "guy". Girl and guy doesn't sound so bad, does it?