Is it weird that I'm starting to think the nice, reliable, nice guy love interest in middle grade horse books is kind of creepy? Going over my posts for just about every middle grade horse book I have ever read for this blog (and the ones that I vaguely remember from yesteryear that I can't be bothered with reading again), the trend is to place the adorable, determined main character who cannot brush her hair and sneers at fashionable jeans with a boy who is two years older than her. Determined main character is always twelve to fourteen when this happens. Nice, reliable boy is always fourteen to sixteen, depending on her age. It's always a two year age difference. Occasionally three, if you count boy age confusion, because he's commonly "fifteen or sixteen." Also, you know, Brad (initially 15) and Ashleigh (initially, um, almost 12). Don't try to tell me that wasn't lust fueled madness. I won't hear it.
For some reason, it didn't bother me until the other day when I stopped everything I was doing and suddenly had to ask my mother if this trend disturbed her.
Her answer was yes. Yes, it does. And then there was a long discussion about developmental differences, because that's what I get for talking to someone who's both a mother of two daughters and in the medical field.
So I started thinking about Chris Platt's Astra. About how this book essentially gives the main character two options: aggravating, immature boy that is the main character's age (13) or nice, reliable, helpful boy (15 or 16). Of course, she's going to choose nice, reliable guy because thirteen-year-old boys are more interested in being self-absorbed, pseudo antagonists who are mean to the girls they like. But would the nice, reliable sixteen-year-old boy be interested in our thirteen-year-old determined girl? Should he be? Shouldn't someone be throwing on the breaks to this relationship? Like, say, a parent? Logically, shouldn't the determined girl be interested in the boy who is her age?
Maybe it's moot because determined horse girls basically act like they're forty by the time they hit puberty. But, it's still something that I find troubling. I open the floor to discussion.