I'm in the middle of a great YA right now titled, TRAPPED, by Michael Northrope. I heard about the book through a friend who knows the author and when I read the book description on Kobo it had all the elements that I love...
A serious snowstorm, where kids are trapped in a remote New England school with no hope of getting out for days. Dynamics between characters that are as simple as they are complicated...especially because they are in high school where emotions rule. I'm one of those people who didn't hate high school. I didn't love it all the time, but most of my memories are pretty good. And I love reading about kids in high school today, and realizing that not all that much has changed since the l980's (I'm 40). Other than technology, like cell phones and computers, the basic dynamics aren't that different.
But another reason why I like reading YA books is because it helps me keep up with what's happening. Youth rules and there's no escape. Right now I'm finishing up a book of my own that has a main character who meets someone who is a sophomore in college. This character is only twenty and he's one of the star basketball players on his team. By coincidence, when I started reading TRAPPED, I noticed that there's a character that loves basketball, too. And when I read a few of the generic terms and phrases this character uses in the book...a small example would be he says hoops instead of saying basketball...it helped me gain a better knowledge of how my young character might behave and react and speak with his peers.
Those of you who have teenagers know what I'm talking about. I have teenage nephews and nieces and I'm cautious about everything I say in front of them. In other words, if you're an author and you're over thirty and you're not willing to keep up with what's trending, you might want to stick with characters who are over thirty. Because there's nothing worse than coming off as lame and old and tired when you're writing young characters. Whenever I see it, I cringe. And reading YA books helps more than most writers realize.