As a mother of girls hitting the teens, I'm bracing myself for BOYS. So far, my two plans to deal with this part of life - sending them to a convent or hoping the belief in cooties will stick - haven't worked out, so here we are. BOYS.
With that in mind, I appreciated that my girls read The Enchanted by K.B. Hoyle. It's a piece of young adult literature where the author handles BOYS and GIRLS being anywhere near each other in a rational manner, while still keeping it authentic and relatable for the age group.
But this also part of our read-along, and this time my eleven year old daughter, Kate, wanted to take some of the reviews. So we'll get back to my thoughts after Kate gets her turn!
In the fourth book of K. B. Hoyle’s series The Gateway Chronicles, the six go to the magical world of Alitheia. Tellius becomes the king of Alitheia and they set of on a long journey to find to find a portal leading from Alitheia to their world. On the way, they discover many secrets. The book made me feel a lot different feelings, mainly suspense though. Throughout the book, you get to follow the six as they face many challenges, practice their magic, and get into new relationships. My favorite part of this book is when Darcy came in terms with the prophecy agrees to marry Tellius. This is one of my favorite books in the series. I highly suggest to read this book and the rest of the series.
The Enchanted is the fourth book in The Gateway Chronicles, and the six friends return to their camp, and then to Alitheia, in a unique situation. In the books, the characters spend a year in the parallel universe of Alitheia, age a year, and then come back to their world at the same moment, and the same age, they were when they left.
This adds an intriguing dynamic to the plot, because each teenager lives a year of their age twice. So in her world, physically, Darcy is 17 when makes her fourth trip to Alitheia. However, because she has lived each year over, by the time she shows up for fourth year of camp, she's experienced 20 years and turns 21 when she hits her birthday in Alitheia. So although she is 17 in her own world, she's a lot more mature than your typical 17 year old once you consider her years and experiences in Alitheia.
Now that we've established this isn't like a Romeo and Juliet scenario when it comes to age, (No "Younger than she are happy mothers made" business. - Ew. Weird.) we can get to the point - After fighting the prophecy for years, Tellius and Darcy realize that maybe their mentors were right that the prophecy was trying to predict the future, not force it, and begin their love story in The Enchanted.
In The White Thread, Darcy got a chance to experience the fluttery feelings "of when her crush asked her out." With my daughters and their friends, I see this definitely being a thing. Although I remember these fluttery feelings from my tween years, I've been trying to explain to my girls that there isn't much point in "going out" with a boy, without even "going" anywhere, or any intent to be in it for the long haul. Because we follow Darcy and her friends for several years, they go through the crushy-mushy phases like all kids, but then we also see them move on to being more mature, and sensible, in their relationship choices. Seeing that contrast and growth is helpful for a young adult audience. It's showing them that crushes are something you're supposed to outgrow, and commitment is a serious decision to make.
As I mentioned in the last point, Hoyle's characters are pushed into situations where there's too much at stake to make a decision driven solely by emotion, and this also applies anything related to romance. Darcy and Tellius take "It's Complicated" to an intense level, as the two are forced to not only consider their own feelings, but the long term consequences of their potential marriage, not only for Alithiea, but each other.
In too many of popular narratives, romantic relationships are fleeting, and there's nothing wrong with another person serving a purpose in your life for a little while, whether it be one night or one year or whatever, and then "moving on." Anyone who has lived in the real world knows that situations where individuals are treated as disposable in relationships are incredibly messy and complicated, but pop culture tends to romanticize and tidy up situations that none of us would want to be anywhere near "in real life."
The relationships among the teenagers are in The Gateway Chronicles offer a counter-narrative of seeking out relationships not just for recreation or an emotional fix, but as an investment that will shape your entire future. If the investment is made wisely, it can shape your future for the better. However, if it's made poorly, then it's going to do more harm than good.
Missed the rest of The Gateway Chronicles read-along? Click here for the first post.