There seem to be three general rules for writing good Young Adult fiction these days:
1.) Always write in the first-person.
2.) The protagonist should absolutely be involved in some kind of love triangle.
3.) Over-express the emotional angst of your characters as to better relate with your teenage readers.
I didn’t follow any of these rules and I’ll explain why:
First, While there is nothing wrong with writing in first-person narrative, I don’t believe that young people feel that they must be immersed in the driver’s seat of the character to remain engrossed in a story. If the story is interesting, they will read, whether it be first-person, third-person, or other.There have been some very successful, Young Adult novels in recent years written in first-person (e.g., Twilight and The Hunger Games), and I think it is for this reason and no other, that this rule is being touted so prevalently of late. I wrote my books in the third-person because I wanted to change the point of view to other characters from time to time, and it just works better.
Second, the protagonist of my book is twelve years old and is quickly thrown into situations where the last thing he needs to worry about is a love triangle. There is a bit in the beginning of the first book, where he is hurt when he sees a girl that he likes kissing another boy, so you can call that a “Love Triangle” if you want.
And lastly, as for brimming my young characters with angst and emotions, I decided against it. That’s not the book I wanted to write. Perhaps, in this way, I didn’t realistically portray my character’s emotions as a modern teenager would, but I think I did a fair job. In my defense, in my made-up fantasy world, pre-teen boys don’t fall to pieces and start wearing black when they don’t get the girl. Its Fiction!
So, do my books follow the “YA Fiction rules”? No
Are they still Young Adult Fiction? Absolutely, Yes.