I picked up Need by Carrie Jones a few days ago. Reading it, I was struck by the fact that Zara, the protagonist, is handed a car within the first few pages.

“Why do all of these kids have cars?” I asked as I shut the book and bitterly recalled my own car-free adolescence.

Then I realized that not one, but two of the boys in Hemlock have cars. Pot meet kettle.

Of course, not all of the teens on the YA shelves have cars (the cast of Wicked Lovely seems to make out just fine and MM’s sales haven’t suffered). My own reasons for giving my characters the wonderful gift of wheels were:

  • A status symbol. Jason drives a shiny, new SUV while Kyle drives a 2001, rusting Corolla. Mac has to rely on bumming rides or walking.
  • Freedom of movement.
  • Intimate conversations by the dashboard light.
  • And, more recently, fun action scenes.
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