Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Real Teen Life: Kacey

Usually on Thursdays, we'll ask a question and pick a winner to select a book from THE VAULT. But we're already having a huge giveaway this week, with lots of books to choose from. So instead, today, we're really kicking it off with a view from a teen's perspective.

My teenage friend, Kacey, graciously allowed me to interview her. She answered my questions about books, her life, and the teenage experience.


Without further ado...

Kacey is a 15-year-old sophomore. She plays soccer (both on her high school varsity team and a competitive travel team), and she wants to be a therapist someday.

On Books

I'm currently reading Smokin' Seventeen, by Janet Evanovich. I really like the drama in it.

I also recently read Divergent, by Veronica Roth and loved it. It reminded me of The Hunger Games, but I liked it better. It felt more adventurous to me, and Beatrice's character development really drew me in. Like how she went from Abnegation to Dauntless--two totally opposite factions. I really liked her internal conflict.

I also really liked the Lightening Thief--and the early books in the Maximum Ride series.

I go for books that grab my attention right away. I usually can tell by the first page or the blurb on the back. Sometimes cool covers draw me in, but the story has to be good. I hear about books from my mom and my friends. Sometimes I see them on tables at Barnes and Noble. Every once in a while I'll check a book out from my school library--but only rarely because it's hard to remember to return it on time! I never go to the public library.

(**Sara intrusion** When shown a list of the big buzz books that twitter/blogosphere/Sara goes crazy over, Kacey had only heard of a couple of them. Which might be because:) 

I don't really know anyone who reads author blogs, or follows authors on twitter.

The book I'm most excited to come out is the next book in the Divergent series.

On a Day in the Life

The summer is a time to be lazy. I relax and unwind from the pressure of the school year, which can be totally draining. I get time to myself, which is nice. I also get together with my closest friends. Then, when August hits, summer sports start up and things get back into school-mode.

When school's in session, I get up at 5:45 am to get ready. At 6:30 I head to my friend's house, and her father drives us to school. We hang out in "our" spot in the hall for ten minutes or so before class starts. At lunch we can sit wherever, but after the first week or so, everyone has their regular seats and it stays that way all year. At the end of the day, we've got another few minutes to socialize in the halls and then it's off to practice. (Or, on the days we have off, to take a nap!) After that, it's homework for hours, dinner, and eventually bed. Like, around 11 or so.

Honestly, the school year is really stressful and overwhelming. Between the one or two honors classes I take (no more than that because I have to stay sane!) and soccer practices and games (for two teams), I get really swamped.

On Cliques

There are little groups of people who all mingle with each other. The biggest clique is the popular crowd, but it's filled with potheads and big drinkers. Really, the "popular" kids are the group who've known each other/been around the longest, so more people know who they are.  Back in 7th grade, it was like, "Oh, they're popular! We want to be like them!" But by now, we're all kind of over it.

Basically, all the other cliques are just circles of friends, and they're not exclusive. If you're friends with one person from a group, everyone else pretty much accepts you.

On Drugs

I don't do drugs, or drink. But I know of people who do. Mostly if people do drugs, they smoke pot. Sometimes I've heard of coke, but that's not very often. And from what I hear, people who smoke pot do it mostly because it relaxes them from the stress of school. Worries and troubles seem less intense. And everyone quits for sports.

On Bullying

My school's actually pretty chill. And if anyone ever did bully someone, another person would step in and make them stop. I mean, sometimes we tease each other about things--but only our friends and not ever in a mean way. When girls don't like each other, they're very verbal about it, but they don't push or shove or anything like that.

We're very inclusive, even to socially awkward kids. Like, when they want to sit at our lunch tables, we always invite them.

Cyber bullying happens all the time though. Social media makes it much easier for people to gang up on someone. People get in fights on Facebook all the time. Formspring is the worst. There's a lot of bullying there, because people can post anonymous comments. I've seen people get told they're hated, and that they suck, or that they're ugly--when all the commenter is supposed to answer is a question about how many cats the person has. There've been some really mean things. I don't have Formspring. I'm not going to add that sort of stress to my life. I've seen it happen to too many other people.

Too much time on Facebook causes drama. It's way worse than it was before all the social networking was around. Social networking gives us access to each other 24/7, instead of just the hours we're in school. So there's a lot more socializing, which lends to a lot more fights. Drama gets pretty nasty on the internet, instead of just resolving things in person, like we used to.

The thing is, people will do anything to be accepted. So if someone online makes them feel insecure about something, they'll try to change it. Like appearances. If someone makes fun of a girl for how blonde her hair is, she'll come in the next day as a brunette.

It sucks. When you're a little kid, people just accept you for who you are. Then you get older and boys (or girls) come into the picture and girls start caring about their appearances. So you feel the pressure to care about your appearance--and judgement when you get it wrong.

Teens don't talk to school counselors about our problems, because counselors have to tell parents things. Teens don't talk to our parents about being bullied, because little kids do that. We turn to our friends instead. Sometimes we're lucky and have great friends who listen to us, and sometimes we're not.

On Email

Nobody really uses email anymore. It's just not as instant as a Facebook post/message or whatever.

At lunch during our interview!
Kacey, thank you so much for the interview!



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