Suzi over at Words, words, words has posted a review of Shrimp and asks, "What is UP with the whole nursing home trope? Seems to be a common thing now. Do YA writers think Oh, my character isn’t very deep; perhaps, as a teen, s/he needs to connect with an older person as her/his parents aren’t providing enough guidance? Not saying that I wouldn’t do that; just wondering if that’s why all of the nursing home characters keep appearing."
Other YA that has teens/ nursing home: Storky by Debra Garfinkle. I know there are a couple of others, but my mind is a blank. Plus, there are books like Criss Cross and Prom, where teens help older neighbors who probably should be in nursing homes.
Suzi points out one reason for this: the idea of an adult, not a parent, giving guidance. Another reason: diversity of age. Also, seniors and teens have the commonality of not being treated with the respect they want, being unnecessarily babied. If you can think of other reasons -- or other titles where the teen helps out/ gets involved with a senior citizen -- please post in the comments. I think its a good question.
But here is my big question, inspired by Suzi: why, in all these books, is the senior citizen not related to the teen? This seems especially odd in this day and age, when more people are living longer, so today's teens, more so than previous generations, have living grandparents and great-grandparents.