Two Views of Twelve Year Olds

Sometimes I have to wonder, what twelve year olds do authors know. Some authors really nail the personality of the pre-teen, while others seem to think there’s not a big difference between nine and twelve.

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On one hand, we have Derek Landy. Skullduggery Pleasant is a fun story, a little more mystery-action than fantasy. However, Stephanie is resourceful, witty, smart, individual … she’s fascinated by magic, she’s a great kid who (frankly) reminds me of my daughter. When she faces problems, she works hard at overcoming them. Stephanie is more like Harry Potter- still a kid but with some great structure and a great personality.

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On the other hand, we have King Lathmar in Blood of Ambrose. He’s a boy, also 12, who, when faced with problems, cries. His grandmother helps him escape from a bloody coup, and he cries all the way out of the castle, then some nice peasants find him and help him, and they take him back to the castle. He just goes along with it. He couldn’t be any more different from Stephanie if one of them sprouted wings and a snout. It’s not a terrible book, it’s darker fantasy and aimed more at adults than kids, but I think Grim Skulduggery was a more enjoyable read.

Of course, the environments these two kids grew up in shaped them. Stephanie has to handle a lot of stuff on her own. Her best friend was an author (he died and left her his house). Lathmar has been coddled, has had guards every day, his grandmother had done everything for him.

So, ask yourself; what sort of 12 year old are you raising? And where do these authors get their models?

Note: The links to books on this post are, of course, affiliate links. Because “baby needs new shoes.” However, I stand by my opinions :)

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