Here at Coliloquy HQ, we often feel bonded to the characters in our books, sometimes influencing how we interact in the real world: Totlandia has given us a shorthand for how we refer to overbearing moms, and Lisa has caught herself looking for tattoos on hot young guys in black hoodies (though we’re pretty sure she did that already). She’s also been trying to befriend a large raven in her backyard. And Waynn now approaches women by asking them about their erotica preferences (though we’re pretty sure he did that already).
But since the launch of Georgetown Academy, we’ve all found ourselves paying a little extra attention to Malia and Shasha, particularly around the inauguration. The coats…the hugs…the dance moves (go Malia)…we caught it all.
The girls look so normal yet their lives have become so utterly atypical. Malia will turn 18 during her father’s second term. Remember what you were like at 16? 17? I do, and it’s not always pretty (unless pretty = mid-riff tops, pegged jeans and copious amounts of hair mousse).
That’s one of the reasons why we fell in love with our YA series, Georgetown Academy. It takes all-too-common teenage issues and asks how much worse they would be on a larger and public scale. We’re not talking about hissy fits and wardrobe malfunctions. Georgetown Academy tackles topics of real substance, from Adderall addictions to being a gay public figure; and with the release of Book Three, date rape.
The First Daughters are symbols of so many things that we celebrate in the US: diversity, female strength, the joys of family and childhood. But they’re not infallible and will experience teenage pitfalls. And someone will be around with a camera phone.
When those videos hit the internet, will we remember our 16-year-old selves and look away? Most people will still look. But maybe we can do it through a lens of understanding, instead of judgment.
Here’s wishing Malia and Sasha the best coming-of-age-before-the-eyes-of-the-world possible.
(And here’s hoping we publish a book soon about totally normal start-up cofounders. Just kidding, we luffs your inappropriate ways.).