Yep, I have a teen at home (and yeah, it makes it much easier to find teen readers with her around!) – and yea, she is a member of TTT. We talk about a lot of things, my teen and I – including books.
Mom: So, did you finish the book yet?
The Teen: Duh. What do you think? It HAS been a day, you know.
Mom: Did you like it?
The Teen: It was…(dramatic pause)…okay. The mc didn’t seem, IDK, relevant.
Mom: Hmm, what do you mean “relevant”? (Good time for research…)
The Teen: You know, relevant.
Mom: (WOW, clears that right up). Like, you couldn’t relate, connect?
The Teen: Yeah…relevant.
Mom: So, would you recommend it?
The Teen: Oh, I’d still recommend it. But it’s no (INSERT NAME OF A GOOD FRIEND’S UNPUBED BOOK). Seriously – that one RAWKS! When is she getting it pubed? My friends are waiting to read it.
Mom: (note to self, email friend and let her know)…So, what made that story better?
The Teen: Duh (she really uses that word a lot) – relevance. I could totally connect with the mc. (yep, bet she could…that character is a bit snarky, just like my teen)
Mom: So, what are you reading next?
The Teen: (Silence…she has already found another book and walked away.)
Ahh…teenagers. They ARE fun!
The moral of the story: YA readers want to connect to the characters.