Courtesy of all the girl-centric YA thrillers I’ve been reading at the gym lately, and of my amusement at this list of signs you are a YA protagonist and this list of ways to know you are in a gothic horror novel.

How to Tell if You are the Heroine of a YA Thriller

You have just moved to a new town. You moved here either to attend boarding school or to start over with one of your parents after something distressing happened to the other parent.

People react strangely when they see you for the first time. Everyone in your new town either hates you or is irresistibly fascinated by you. Instantly.

Your town is on the coast. It’s not a beachy, touristy coast. It is a gray coast composed of sharp rocks. Sharp, angry rocks.

Teen girls drown off the coast of your town at unusually regular intervals.

A member of your family has died tragically, but you don’t know much about the circumstances. A brooding boy your age might know more about what happened, but when you ask him about it, he only smolders.

Whenever you ask someone else a question, they gasp, stare at you round-eyed, and whisper, “Don’t you know?

You are practical and intelligent. Your single remaining parent is hopelessly incompetent. You basically parent them, which is difficult if you are, in fact, at boarding school.

The brooding boy seems to show up just absolutely everywhere. You are attracted to him, but also concerned that he might be a murderer.

Everyone is secretive except for you. Everyone is also gorgeous except for you. Which is to say that you do not look like the blonde, gossipy bimbos at your new school. Not that you’re judging. No, you definitely aren’t beautiful, except in the sense of your looks having character, in the sense of being classically beautiful. But in a really self-deprecating way, and you never think about clothes.

You read, but only the classics. You love to read, but not in an openly enthusiastic way. In a mature, boring way.

For a teenager, you sure don’t spend much time in class.

You don’t sleep at night. You wander around, glimpsing things out your windows that are distressing but difficult to interpret.

Seriously, is that brooding boy stalking you?

The brooding boy cannot be stalking you, because someone so handsome and interesting surely couldn’t care less about you. It is a coincidence that every vertical surface you pass within five feet of seems to have him slouching against it. Watching you. With his icy blue eyes.

You cannot stop following in the footsteps of the last person to tragically die here. You spend a lot of time looking out over the ocean, the wind whipping at your hair, which you never bother doing anything with because that would be shallow.

The killer is after you. Maybe if you could just leave well enough alone, you wouldn’t have attracted their attention.

You cannot leave well enough alone.

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