Some British readers shy away from teen books which feature rich, blonde female Californian characters. I’m very open-minded. Never have I been one of these people. I simply love American characters in YA books as much as I like American culture, music and the people. But I do feel this is an interesting topic of conversation.
After speaking with a few of my friends, they told me that they would prefer to read books like the Harry Potter series with a quintessentially English cast, rather than tucking into an equally good book featuring a Californian socialite or beauty queen. This small pocket view comes from the idea that these type of US female characters are loud and annoying rich kids, who bring nothing new to YA novels. Of course, I totally disagree. Californian book characters have just as much depth as British book characters.
I have a blonde Cali girl in my new novel Unshatter Me. Her name is Becca Richardson-Smith. She is the pretty, opinionated bestie of Alena, who is a former winner of Miss Teenage California. On the surface, nineteen year old Becca seems to be the stereotypical blonde, wealthy, hip, popular, smart mouthed yawn worthy character we all love to hate. However, look a little deeper, and the opulent San Franciscan girl with designer clothes and daddy’s plastic, is one of the most kind and intelligent girls you will meet. And she has a very sad story to tell. One that will take you completely by surprise. Her secrets from the past are shocking and will make you want to cry.
Becca is blonde, yes. She is rich, yes. She is a White Chicks knock-off character to some degree, yes. Yet beneath it all, she has a really compelling backstory and a good arc. This girl shows that there is much more to blonde Cali girls than meets the eye.
Never judge a character by their appearance. It could be one of your biggest literary mistakes.
Becca quote from Unshatter Me:
“Those friends aren’t real, Alena. They only like me ‘cos my daddy is rich now. He lives in Georgia with his entrepreneur girlfriend. He’s given me plastic since he and my mom separated last year and he met his million-dollar piece of arse. I have three credit cards with crazy limits. Money seems to excite people. It’s easy gaining pals when you can buy their affection.”
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