The Importance of Learning to Choose in YA

Thanks to Sarwat Chadda for sharing ideas on process, character and the writing life with Talia yesterday.
We liked Sarwat's interview so much, that the YA Muses will be musing on it all week.
Here's an excerpt of Sarwat's answer when asked about his main character, Billie, and the sacrifices she must make:
I think the Billi/Arthur dynamic meant the most to me, both as the parent trying to guide their child but also from the child’s POV, resenting the lack of control they have over their own lives. Do you choose what you’re good at, or what you want?
I love this quote. It encapsulates so much of the coming of age journey. Who didn't struggle with this growing up? Should I do what my parents and peers want me to do, or should I do what I want?
What do I want, and how do I choose?
To me, that question defines the young adult years. Of course, we ask this of ourselves throughout life. There is always a give and take. There is always decision, and indecision. But I think as writers for young adults we need to be especially attuned to this question. The first real steps to independence happen in the teenage years. First job. First time behind the wheel of a car. First kiss. First time voting. They're big moments, every one calibrated on that fine scale of what do I want, and how do I learn to choose?
Are your characters grappling with that question? I hope so. It's a good one to do battle with.
Thanks again Sarwat and Talia for an enlightening interview! I can't wait to read DARK GODDESS!

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