I work with tweens and teens so I'm under no illusions about the kinds of things they're involved in. Life just keeps getting more and more complicated in a world where change seems to happen overnight.
My last chapters involve some fairly drastic twists and turns - a night out which ends with a spiked drink, serious humiliation and the inevitable mobile phone video. Bad as this seems, it pales beside the finale - an act of terrorism with devastating consequences.
In the middle of all this is my hero, a teenage boy called Adam from a rather unusual family. He's smart and funny and a little bit geeky. He's confronted daily with all sorts of life and death issues when all he really wants is a normal life.
Tween and teen fiction can be a mixed bag - either trying to protect young people or going to the other extreme; in-yer-face 'issues' or gore. I'm constantly amazed and humbled by the challenges life throws at some teenagers and the grace with which so many acquit themselves. In the end most teenagers, like Adam, are simply trying to find their place in the world and a way of making sense of the madness.
So maybe the writer's job is to be honest and unflinching - as long as it's not all doom and gloom. A little bit of humour and escapism goes a long way towards easing the pain - in books as in life!