They’re transitional people, and since they are, they can f**k up in a way that Captain America can’t. He can’t f**k up in a way that a teenage character can, because they’re growing and learning to be themselves. That makes them really dramatic by definition. It’s hormonal, you feel everything more intense when you’re a teenager, at least in part because you’ve never felt it before.
Kieron Gillen, on writing teenagers, from this interview.
I’ve been thinking about this, lately, in reference both to books I edit and to my own writing. Teenagers are defined by this fantastic, all-consuming imbalance of desire and power. They’re hardwired protagonists: every small struggle has the narrative arc of a high epic. It’s why, I think, books like The Hunger Games gather such huge followings so fast: teens look at this story of an unlikely hero fighting for survival with a bow and arrow, bringing down a sprawling, corrupt system, and see not a metaphor or a fantasy but life as they experience it.