This is a tough time of year for me: the tail end of winter, when more snow is unlikely,* but it's still cold and the trees are still bare. After the rush of winter holidays, there are no more free days off for another couple of months. And Daylight Savings steals an hour of sleep from me.
Also, it tends to rain a lot.
This time of year is about waiting. It's about noticing the buds forming on tree branches, the green shoots poking up through the soil. It's about feeling a slight softening in the weather. Nothing's blooming yet. It's not warm yet. But spring is on the way.
It's said that YA books can be very dark, and can even have unhappy endings, as long as there is some kernel of hope. No matter how bleak and gray the skies are during the course of the novel, the writer can point to a crocus or a daffodil and say, "All is not lost. Brighter times will come."
*Yeah, I love snow. Everyone told me I would grow out of that, but I never did.