Connecting with Young Adult Readers the Emotional Way

I was going through my old journals from my younger years today and found many short stories and poems written by me when I was as young as twelve or thirteen. Here are a few samples:


Love is like a bed of roses beautiful and painful in one pretty package.

It is always alive or so you feel.

Then the white dove gets wounded and your heart is left harpooned.

Crying doesn’t help it is a useless waste of tears.

Even if love goes out the door it leads you back in for more.


Life gives life and peace ushers peace.

You can be you, if you let me be me.

The important thing is knowing how to let things be.

This is the way to a better life.


The rain, the tears,

the lightning to the heart,

the thunder, the yelling.

All life’s things can be compared.

The cold, the shutting down,

the sun of reuniting,

the light breaking through.

It all looks so good on the up and so bad on the down.

THE TUNNEL (I remember writing this for my mom after a fight.)

She is always left out but only in her mind.

She is light in the dark when I am blind.

There is still a bond with me,

it started long ago and

I am nothing without her.

Wish she could see we have far to go.

She brought me through the tunnel and showed me life.

She taught me how to feel.

Now we can walk apart because life is still a whisper and she is still the voice.


I was a bundle of emotion back then. I have about ten journals filled with short stories, poetry, notes on my thoughts, and reminders of my emotions. There are also several love hearts with various boys names written in them, some of which I do not remember even liking as much as these hearts indicate. I don’t write as much poetry these days and I don’t put guys names in little hearts any more but the journals were a good reminder about how much emotion teens feel, even really young ones.

As with any audience it is important to connect with readers on an emotional level. As a young adult writer who is now beyond my young adult years it is good to get back down to that level and see life in the way I did then. It seems I cried almost daily because of something that seemed so traumatic but would not faze me today. Young adults can’t filter the negative emotions in the same way as older adults can. They focus on them.

My journals reminded me of how boy crazy I was at that age. They reminded me of how hard social interactions with my peers could be and that if my friends were mad at me the world felt as though it were coming down on top of me. My attachments to television, films, music and even books were powerful back then because I felt the emotions those things portrayed even stronger than I would do today.

This experience has truly taught me that tapping into those feelings is a good start for getting the emotion right in young adult writing. Hopefully this will make the reader’s experience all the more real.


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a primary and middle school teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three and a wannabe author.
This entry was posted in Mad Ramblings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Connecting with Young Adult Readers the Emotional Way

  1. Evelyn says:

    its really traumatic and embarrassing to relive if you ask me lol
    your girlhood poetry is way more mature than mine!

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