My very final thoughts on MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS. Something else Sydney Salter does that’s unusual — besides her brief, if beloved (by me), embrace of the scatalogical for girls — is to have main character Jory be interested, or potentially interested, in many different guys at once.
Not like a love triangle, where she’s interested in two guys and has to choose (or maybe was interested only in one at first but realizes he’s The Wrong One). More like… endless possibilities. Like every guy she meets is being scoped out as a potential boyfriend/crush object, and they might stay in that category for a while.
It struck me because it both felt very true to life, and also very rare in teen fiction. Usually all a character’s romantic hopes and dreams will be invested in one or, at most, two people at a time — and if two, they’ll feel it as a conflict. Jory, on the other hand, does have the one guy who she’s had a huge crush on forever, and the guy she ultimately ends up with, but there’s also this other guy, who seems kind of promising, but then it doesn’t really work out…
Why is this so rare? Is it because romantic conventions dictate that protagonists’ affections not be too promiscuous, or because fiction conventions dictate that the ultimate end of these books — the hero getting what she wants (and maybe realizing along the way it’s different from what she thought she did) — is cleaner if the major roles are filled by only one character?