Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy October, everyone! This week, we are super excited to be spotlighting another wonderful, talented teen... 

High school freshman Emily is a soccer  goalie, on the robotics team, and in the Latin Club. She loves all things computers and technology, and spends her free time working on projects like building her own desktop computer and organizing mini photography shoots with her friends! But despite her busy schedule, she still finds time to read a little YA... 

Age:  14
Grade:  9

1. What YA genre(s) are you typically drawn to, and why?

I’m typically drawn to realistic fiction novels. I can easily relate to them and I’ve always been attracted to these kinds of books. While I generally hang around realistic books, I will occasionally get my hands on some science fiction, such as THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner. More and more, I’ve found myself reading science fiction due to its vastness. Within this genre, you have a great range of books--anywhere from modern times with technological advancements to futuristic settings with space age-y gadgets.  Despite these characteristics, most authors are still able to make their themes and ideas relatable.

2. What is the most recent YA book you've read, and what did you think of it?

The last young adult book I read was THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky, and in one word I can describe my feelings toward this book: Infinite. (You see, if you’ve read this book, I would hope you might chuckle at my attempted humor there). In other words, I could go on and on about this book; it is absolutely phenomenal. It’s such a unique book in and of itself.  Most books of this kind try so hard to mimic the lives of teenagers that they end up over-exaggerating the details and losing sight of the big picture. But Chbosky was dead on; he focused on the big picture and wrote from there, making the story a comfortable read and an overall success in terms of properly relating to teens. The content was extremely accurate of teens' lives today regarding family, high school and (for some) medical struggles. Even if I wrote a one-thousand page essay, I wouldn’t be able to fully describe my love for this book!

3. When deciding whether or not to buy/read a book, what are the things you consider? (covers, blurbs, reviews, etc.)

When it comes to deciding whether or not to read a book, I don’t really have any clue what I’m looking for, to be honest. So I generally look through the recommended books on Amazon and read their synopses until I come across one that interests me. When it comes down to it, I’m pretty open to any type of book, but other than friend recommendations, the book's description is what I most take into consideration.

4. Do you prefer stand-alone books or books that are part of a series?

On the whole, I prefer stand-alone books better than a series of books. It’s not that I don’t enjoy books that are part of a series, it’s simply that two and three books later, the characters tend to grow old. On the contrary, I find it rather upsetting when my favorite books end, because then I’m sitting there wanting more. Then again, all good things must come to an end. I feel that in most cases when an author extends a book into a series, the story and characters get worn out rather quickly, depending on the individual situations.
5. What do you think are the biggest hurdles/struggles that teens face? Do you think the issues portrayed in YA literature are important/realistic/relevant to teens?

I feel like one of the biggest hurdles for teenagers to overcome is growing up in this world full of technology. I feel like social media and texting has added an unbearable amount of drama to our lives.  While we greatly enjoy all of our electronics, it makes growing up that much harder. Without technology, bullying might just happen at school, but now it follows you home and you can’t escape it. This is portrayed in some young adult books, but not very often. Most of the time, I see books that address suicide, drug abuse, or other dramatic struggles. It’s not that these aren’t issues many teenagers face; it’s just that they're less common than an issue like social media.

6. Do you read most books in paper edition or digital format? Which do you prefer?

I have a Kindle and I read most of my books on it. However, I often miss paperback books. I love that I can get whatever book whenever I want electronically, but you’re never going to get that papery feel from an e-reader.

7. Do you ever read author blogs/websites/tweets? What do you mostly use the Internet for? 

I don’t read any author blogs other than this one. I do, however, have my own anonymous blog that I use mostly to vent my thoughts and ideas without fear of being questioned by my peers. I mostly use the internet for social media, YouTube, and general web browsing.

8. If you enjoy a book, do you actively search for other books by the same author? Do you have a favorite author?

If I enjoy a book, I don’t necessarily look for other books by that author.  However, if I happen to come across a book by that author, it definitely catches my eye. I don’t really have a favorite author, just favorite books.

9. Why do you like reading Young Adult books? Do you discuss books with your friends?
I enjoy reading YA books because I feel like I can connect to most of the characters and the situations they face. In some instances, the books even help me through some of my own issues. In other instances, they broaden my view of life. In almost all cases, I find myself discussing these books with my friends.

10. What is your all-time favorite book? Why do you love it?

My all-time favorite book is most definitely THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. Not only am I obsessed with the book, but prior to the finishing it, I purchased the movie and fell in love with the story all over again. Despite the different formats, I am utterly obsessed with the storyline, the characters... absolutely everything.  This book has my highest of recommendations.

Thanks so much, Emily, for a fantastic interview and for sharing your thoughts on young adult literature with us!
For the record, all of us WHYA girls were wild about PERKS too. Have any of you read it yet, or seen the movie? What YA book(s) are you obsessed with right now?  



Unknown said...

Emily!!! Great interview...I LOVE the Perks movie. I can personally relate because I was a teen in the 90s and in Pittsburgh (where it was filmed). So cool that you relate to it as well. Those are the best stories that mean something to each generation. Now, I'll have to read it!!

Kristan said...

Love this interview -- she's so smart! Her insights about what's missing from YA (social media vs. other types of issues) is really interesting. I also love that she's a techie AND a bookworm! I'm a bit like that myself... ;D

Unknown said...

Awesome interview, and I totally agree about the social media thing. I feel like maybe authors are a little bit behind because I spend a disproportionate amount of time on my phone every day so it's obviously a huge part of my life as a teenager, but it's not really written about in YA. I once attended an author speech and the author said that she doesn't include technology because it would "date" her book, which I didn't think was that good of an idea, but it makes sense.

Also, this interview really makes me want to read The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I watched the movie and it was great, but I still haven't read the book. I'll have to get on that :p

-P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I actually haven't read or seen PERKS yet-both are on my list due to the buzz I've heard!

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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