We are super excited to welcome Nicole to weheartya for our second Teen Spotlight Interview! She's been gracious enough to answer some questions about her life and 'all things teen' to share with our readers...
Lives in: Midwest
1. What YA genres are you typically drawn to, and why?
My favorite YA genres are contemporary and romance or a combination of both. I'm drawn to these genres because I feel they are relevant to my life and deal with similar situations that I have found myself in before. I can develop a deep connection to the characters and feel their emotions as I read. Plus, I'm a "hopeless romantic" at heart so that aspect of a book keeps me intrigued.
2. When you're deciding whether or not to buy/read a book, what are the things you consider most?
The genre is the most important thing to me. After that, my biggest deciding factor is the back cover blurb. It's the first thing I look at after the title, of course. I try not to pay attention to the cover art, but for some odd reason it does play a role in choosing books. If there were two books I was interested in reading, I would most likely pick the one with the "prettier" cover art. I have an open mind when it comes to author and length. I don't usually read book reviews because everyone has different opinions on what they like.
3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? My all-time favorite book is THE LAST SONG by Nicholas Sparks. I love every component of this book. It's devastating, exciting, romantic, and (at times) funny. My emotions are pulled in all directions and I believe it's so much more than just the typical teen romance novel. The complicated relationships the main character has with her family are just as powerful.
4. What do you like to do in your spare time?
5. Do you ever read author blogs/websites? What do you mostly use the Internet for? If you enjoy a book, do you actively search for other books by the same author?
We Heart YA is the only author blog I have ever read. I use the Internet for almost everything, but mostly for doing my online classes. If I enjoy a book, I usually check to see what other books that author has written to see if there's something I would be interested in.
6. What are your feelings about online schooling? What social and academic challenges have you faced not being in the classroom? Benefits?
It's certainly been tough not having a "typical high school experience" and missing out on things like homecoming and prom, football games, boyfriends, and just being social with my friends. On the other hand, there are many negative aspects of high school that teens encounter that I am fortunate for not having to go through. Some academic challenges of doing school online is the need for self-motivation and having to teach yourself the curriculum. On the other hand, I have been able to learn from home at my own pace which is profoundly accommodating for when I am sick. My health has been improving lately and I'm truly excited to start college in August where I'll be attending regular classes and being social with people my age.
7. What issues facing young adults today do you think are the most important / compelling?
Today, there are a variety of issues facing teens and I think a lot of them are due to the influence of social media. I believe the most compelling problems as of now are drugs and alcohol, anxiety and depression, sex and relationships, and bullying. Young adult literature is wonderful in how it shines light on these difficult topics and hopefully encourages parents and teens to talk about them more often.
8. As a teenager, what do you feel are your biggest struggles / hurdles?
As a teenager, my biggest struggles have definitely been dealing with my medical complications. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 11 and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (a progressive liver disease) when I was 13. After that, my life dramatically changed and has involved countless medications, doctors, tests, procedures, and unfortunately feeling extremely sick at times. Consequently, I had to grow up faster than most of my peers and live a different lifestyle. I only went to 9th grade for the first quarter and have been doing school online ever since. Although I have dealt with some hardships, which everyone experiences at some point, I have learned so much and matured as a stronger person.
9. What are your favorite TV shows? Movies? What do you like about them?
I'm a huge TV show and movie junkie. Currently, my favorite TV shows are Survivor, House Hunters, Teen Mom, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Teen Wolf. As you can see, I've been sucked into the lovely world of reality TV, but for some reason these types of shows entertain me the most. As for movies, some of my favorites are The Notebook, Pursuit of Happyness, The Vow, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Hangover, A Walk to Remember, Life as We Know It, The Lucky One, Titanic, and of course, The Last Song. I enjoy different movie genres, but I lean more toward romance/drama, which corresponds with my taste in books.
10. Do you have any ideas about what careers you might want to pursue in the future?
I'm very certain that I want to become a dental hygienist. Ideally, I want to work at a pediatric dental office because I love kids. I have been interested in teeth since I was really young and I find oral hygiene very important. In addition, this career has many benefits such as flexible scheduling, good salary, comfortable work environment, and job stability.
Thank you so much, Nicole, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. You're such an inspiration-- and we love your little dog!