Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Real Teen Answers

Today we share lots of love from our teen spies and analysts - answers to all your questions from Ask A Teen Friday!

Social/School Questions

What did you watch the Super Bowl for, if you watched it? The game, the commercials, or the music?

Laura:I did watch the Super Bowl! It was really lucky that I was able to because it isn’t normally broadcasted in Australia, but it was this year. I love football so I watched for the actual game, not the commercials, though I admit I was pretty excited about The Hunger Games trailer.

Lennon: I watched part of it and it was only the half time show.

Erica: I didn’t watch, but if I had had time, I definitely would’ve watched for the commercials. I watched the puppy bowl earlier in the day instead.

Lynsay: I pretty much watched it for the game.

Katie: I didn’t watch the Super Bowl.

Lexie: I didn’t watch it. I do not understand football and have no interest in it.

Emily: I actually have never watched the Super Bowl, or even any football game for that matter. Both my dad and my brothers are not real sports fanatics, so that’s never been a big thing at my house.

Gracie: I didn't watch the Super Bowl... I'm not into football...

Lissa: I was planning to! I really, really was! But then I sort of didn't want to anymore, haha. The only reason I'd watch it would be for the music, though, definitely. I hate all types of commercials and football, honestly, is one game that does. not. commute.

Riv: I didn’t watch it, but I think most of my friends (all girls) watched it for the half-time show concert.

Who is the newest hot (guy or girl) celebrity right now?

Laura: I don’t follow celebrity news so I wouldn’t have a clue! Although, Sam Worthington (yes, I know how patriotic I sound) is a celebrity I’ve loved for a long time that seems to be rising in popularity right now. I’ve also developed a deep admiration for Jennifer Lawrence whose fame will get a well-deserved boost this year.

Lennon: I think a bunch of people are still swooning over Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez (um.. eww)

Erica: Can I just say The Vampire Diaries guys? Particularly Ian Somerhalder?

Katie: I don’t follow the celebrity rubbish.

Emily: Umm...most of the hot guy celebrities that I know of, aren’t really that new (or that well known). However, my top 5 would probably be: Orlando Bloom (of course!), JJ Feild, Jeremy Northam, Zach Efron, and Taylor Lautner.

Lissa: Personally, I'd say Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling. (I have a thing for Ryans haha)

Riv: My friends are still kind of obsessed with Lionardo DiCaprio, I think. And hey some girls are all over Ryan Gosling right now. (Me? I’m more of a Bradley James kind of girl, because a clotpole prince wielding a sword and a sharp tongue is awesomesauce.)

How likely are you to buy/know someone who has a fake ID?

Laura: Just wait. I’m summoning my inner party pooper. Uhhhhhh-mmmmmm – okay. I’m ready. What was the question? Oh, right. No, I do not nor want to own a fake ID. Not that I’m a real prude or anything. I just know better ways to have fun. Like staying in with a fat book, pot of tea, my ancient cat and – alright, shut up.

Lennon: It depends. I don't ask if my friends have fake ID's but I wouldn't care that much what they do in their spare time is not my business unless they want it to become my business. As for me purchasing a Fake ID the only reason I would get one is to get a tatoo a couple years earlier than is allowed.

Erica: It’s not hard to know someone who has a fake ID.

Lynsay: Knowing someone who has one, pretty likely. Buying one, not a chance. I'm already 18, and I'm not interested in doing anything that requires me to be older than that.

Katie: Interesting question… I’m not very likely; I’m in a redneck part of the world so I’m not the best person to ask. I think only people in bigger cities would be more exposed to fake ID’s.

Lexie: Me? Very unlikely, considering I never go clubbing. Since I also am not friends with the people who go clubbing, I can’t say I know anyone with a fake ID.

Emily: Not very. Most of the people I know (including myself) have pretty high moral standards.

Gracie: I don't have a fake ID, but I know people in my classes and stuff who have one.

Lissa: Um. I think I know like 5 people with fake IDs, but I doubt I'd ever buy one.

Riv: As far as I know, none of my friends have fake IDs, or will be getting them anytime soon.

How many of your classmates participate in charity/non-profit work (whether it’s school assigned or not)?

If you don’t, is it something you’d like to do if you had enough time?

Lennon: Well, at my school we all go visit an elementary school to build a nature trail for them. A lot of people do stuff like that after school and during the weekends. I don't have much time to those type of things but if I did I would want to work at a Humane Society (which you have to be 18 to volunteer at) and I really really really really want to work at St. Jude's hospital but I can't at such a young age. Another example of ageism.

Erica: I did tons, and because of that, I was friends with a lot of people who did service. I was very involved in my schools Key Club, so I had a lot of friends through that. My high school required 40 hours of service to graduate, so everyone was doing some as well.

Lynsay: A lot of people do volunteer work, but a good portion of them only do it because it's required for clubs and stuff.

Katie: Classmates 75-80%, friends 95-100%. It’s something I do and enjoy.

Lexie: I know a decent amount of upperclassmen who are doing it for their applications, and some kids who are doing them for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah project, but otherwise, not many. I’m currently volunteering for several organizations, though if I had the time I would do more.

Emily: At least a few of my friends volunteer/have volunteered at the hospital, the humane society, etc.

Gracie: All of them, to some extent. It is school assigned, but I know lots of teens who do that kind of stuff just because they want to. I love volunteering at different places. It's a great way to help others, but it's also a great way to discover what you're good at and what you really love doing.

Lissa: About half. Most, yeah, participate because we need 40 community hours to graduate, but a lot of people I've noticed try to go over the 40 hours and then end up enjoying the work! I try to participate within my community as often as possible; I make time for it and plans.

Riv: My school has a required charity program, which most girls actively participate in. I’ve been trying my best to do it, but I’m kind of overworked right now. I’m still trying to join my school’s “adopt a little sister”-type program.

Book Questions

What are you absolutely over seeing or reading about?

Laura: I’m seeing a lot of new, fresh topics broached in books and movies at the moment, so I don’t think I have a lot to complain about this time! The old “mysterious boy comes to town, girl falls for boy, finds out boy is not normal yet isn’t wavered” is still lurking about, though.

Lennon: Nothing. I think that every book/movie has their own twists in it so there's nothing really overdone.

Erica: For me, there is nothing I am really over – I love pretty much every genre and am always read new things. The thing I am most over is the constant taglines of “The Next Hunger Games” or “The Next Twilight,” I read those stories, and I want to see something new, not the “next” anything.

Katie: I’m tired of seeing the forbidden romance. It’s been done over and over again.

Lexie: Slut-shaming. Writers seem to think it makes their main character more likable if she points out how very loose all these other girls at her school are because—gasp! They wear short skirts! They kiss boys! I hate that nowadays, if a girl is wearing tight clothing it’s considered cool to call her a slut, whore, etc.

I’m also tired of the typical YA PNR formula, the love triangles that are often a part of this, and the YA Dystopian formula where a girl needs a boy to open her eyes to the flaws in their society.

Emily: I’m tired of paranormal romance (most of it anyway). I feel like almost ALL of them have total idiots for the main characters. It’s like the people in horror films. They’re always doing the stupidest stuff. Opening the door, going down a dark hallway, etc. I mean seriously, if you know someone lives off blood, DON’T go near them!!

Gracie: Popularity. Every single book about popularity is so predictable and annoying. I'm over it.

Lissa: Love triangles! As I heard the other day: If you have to choose between two people, you're not good enough for either. Also: dystopia. I'm so exhausted of it. Hardly anyone quite captures the genre like Suzanne Collins.

What book took you by pleasant surprise? Meaning, you didn’t think you’d enjoy it, but you actually did.

Laura: I was really, really convinced that I wasn’t going to enjoy Unearthly by Cynthia Hand at all…but I did. Both the summary and the cover put me off, and then I read a lot of negative reviews that stated it wasn’t worth the read. So what did I do? I read it. I’m really glad I did, too. While I didn’t enjoy the entire story, the perfectly woven ending had me on the edge of my seat.

Lennon: I think that I'll enjoy all the books that I read but if I had to pick one it would be the required reading of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Erica: Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler. I wasn’t too crazy about book 1, Hunger, but a friend told me that my favorite character from Hunger played a bigger role in Rage. It intrigued me enough to pick it up, and I was shocked at how much I loved Rage. I now cannot wait to read book 3, Loss

Lynsay: I've read a lot of war books that I liked, like Fallen Angels and Killer Angels. There not brand new or anything, but I remember liking them a lot more than I thought I would.

Katie: The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman, because it had a slow beginning but interesting story line.

Lexie: There’ve actually been quite a few in the past month that have pleasantly surprised me. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, which is incredibly dark but incredibly powerful; Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion—didn’t think a philosophical zombie romance could be written until I read this book; and Legend by Marie Lu, which sounded like the typical YA dystopia but proved to be absolutely fantastic.

Gracie: A Million Suns by Beth Revis, because I'd read Across the Universe and I didn't really like it so I had low expectations for the sequel.

Lissa: Paper Towns by John Green. Even though I'd enjoyed Looking for Alaska, I'd tried John's other books and didn't like them. I was really pleased and surprised that I loved Paper Towns!

Riv: This was a while ago, but Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson was fantastic. And I’m really not a contemporary person.

What do you think of cross-genre books, like historical fiction mixed with sci-fi, or a fantasy mystery? (Or any other genre mixes)

Laura: I like it! As long as it’s well-written and properly constructed. If the world building is sloppy or the two genres tend to collide instead of mingle, I’ll lose interest quickly. I think one example of good genre mixing is The Future of Us. It’s a contemporary with a real sci-fi edge. The two genres are intertwined so well that you don’t even realize they’re completely different!

Lennon: I like books like that, as long as the plot doesn't get TOO complex. Reading is my escape I don't want to think too hard at it.

Erica: THEY ARE THE BEST THING EVER. Seriously, historical fantasy is my favorite genre. I find the cross-genre books so fascinating, and they prove to be awesome most of the time.

Lynsay: As long as you can create a cohesive plot out of the two genres, I'm in.

Katie: I think that they are more interesting to read. It covers more information and is a further developed book.

Lexie: I think that if the author pulls it off, more power to them. Sometimes they can get a little messy, but when they’re done right it can work out fantastically.

Emily: Eh, they’re cool, I guess. I haven’t actually read that many of them.

Rebecca: From what I’ve experienced it’s good. Read Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood and it’s a historical fantasy. Absolutely loved it!

Gracie: I don't really keep track of genres when I read books... if the summary is good, then I'll read it. So I can't really recognize genre mixes, although if I could I don't think it would matter to me!

Lissa: I think they're cool, if done well. A good example would be Imaginary Girls (if you'd count that) because it's pretty contemporary, but then there are fantasy elements thrown in, too.

Riv: It depends. When you say “cross-genre” I immediately think steampunk, and the response is YES. But, in general, I need to be interested in both genres, or at least in love with one of them to read it. I won’t read a paranormal psycho-thriller (whatever those are), because I only sort of like paranormal, and I’m not a thriller fan. I wouldn’t read a sci-fi historical either, unless it was more in the ways of steampunkery, because those aren’t two genres that interest me. But, as a fantasy lover, I would check out a fantasy mystery, even if mystery isn’t usually my kind of thing.

Do you really care about the age of a character as long as the writing and story are good?

Laura: For as long as I can remember, I’ve read books with characters older than myself. When I was eleven, I was reading about fifteen or sixteen-year-olds. Now those characters are my age, give or take a couple years, and I still read about them. Why? Because I can relate more to that age range. Even when I was a lot younger, I could never connect with characters under the age of thirteen. The narrative and the subject (at least in the books I read) were too juvenile. Ultimately, I’ll try anything once, especially if the writing is good, but I do care about age.

Lennon: It doesn't matter all that much as long as the character remain relateable. I think the reason we like characters around our age is becasue we can easily connect to their lives.

Erica: The age doesn’t matter to me – I love middle grade, young adult, and adult books. For me it’s all about the story, the writing, and what the character is actually like.

Lynsay: Nope. It's about how you write about the character, not their age.

Katie: Honestly I don’t think about the character’s age. It’s the voice of character that gives the age, not the number given.

Lexie: Not . . . hugely. I’ll admit that I do prefer to read about older teens simply because I can often relate to them more and (in general) the books tend to have a slightly more mature tone, but if the writing, plot, and characters are all great, it won’t really matter to me. I still read MG and enjoy it.

Emily: Yeah, I don’t think age really matters a whole lot. I mean sure, I’m less interested in a book about an 80 year old man but if it’s a good story, I’ll probably still read it.

Rebecca: Not really. It’s good to have a range of characters who are younger and some that are older.

Gracie: It really depends, although the age of a character usually wouldn't turn me off. I think there's a lot more than the age of a character that determines the age of the audience the book is for. However, I'd definitely be less likely to read about like, people in their 30s and 40s and up, just because it's such a strange world that I don't understand yet and all their problems don't really apply to me.

Lissa: I'd like to say no to that question, but honestly, I have a hard time reading books about teens 15 and under. I don't know why - maybe I like the more mature characters (in theory)?

Riv: Usually, yes. This is a bit off-topic, but I’ll connect it when I’m finished: A while ago, I was at a book event with Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire), Lisa Desrochers (Personal Demons) and Leah Clifford (A Touch Mortal). I posed them the question: Why are the MCs in all of your books 17? The answers were pretty much all the same, along the lines of “Too old was unrelateable for teens, and too young could go around killing demons/reapers/evil people.”

So, to bring this back to your question: Too old is unrelatable and too young just can’t be as angsty and hormonal as us...

Would you be interested in reading a novel that was from the guy’s point of view?

Laura: Of course! They are some of the best, in my opinion.

Lennon: Why not?

Erica: Definitely. I think books from guy’s points of view are always a ton of fun.

Lynsay: Absolutely. Why not?

Katie: YES! So many books in YA are done in the girls it would be such a nice change to see it though a guy’s point of view.

Lexie: Oh yes! I love guy POV when it’s done well, and it’s sorely lacking in today’s market.

Emily: Yeah. Some of my favorite books are from a male POV.

Rebecca: Sure. I read Noah’s Law by Randa-Abde Fattah, and loved it not only because it was a fun teen mystery but because Noah (the MC) had such a great voice.

Gracie: Yes!! I love books from male POV, almost more than books from female POV. Which is weird, because I'm a girl.

Lissa: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES. YES. I. love. YA. books. from. guys'. POVs. I try to read everyone I can and I love the majority of them. YES YES YES YES YES.

Riv: I’m assuming “the guy” refers to the love interest. And YES. But, two rules: It has to be a boy author. And we can’t have a damself in distress, or a cry-baby boy.

Would you or your peers read a novel with an unlikeable (but interesting) protagonist? How about a novel without a serious love interest?

Laura: It depends. To what degree is this protagonist unlikeable? If they had their reasons and a lot of depth, then yes. If they went around insulting people for no real reason and were inexplicably violent, then no. And no serious love interest? Hallelujah! Less mush, more action and this world will improve dramatically

Lennon: Yes!! I like unlikeable characters, such as Freddy Kruger and Lord Voldemort, they're just misunderstood. Poor dears. And it depends. I like romantic novels simply because I have no romance in my life and it's fun to think about but if it's a good book I won't not read it just because it doesn't have a serious romantic interest.

Erica: It depends what you are meaning by unlikable – there have been a few instances where I have liked a book about an unlikable protagonist, but more times than not, I would say I would pass. As for without a love interest, sign me up! Books without romance are a breath of fresh air, and I absolutely love when I can find one.

Lynsay: A book not having a serious love interest is no big deal for me. I'm not sure what kind of protagonist I would dislike. It would probably depend on what made me dislike them.

Katie: Yes, I think people would read a novel with an unlikeable protagonist. I think if a book is written it will always be read by somebody. The trick is to have it read by a big group of people. So yes I would read a novel without a serious love interest, it would be great. YA is flooded with love and crushes it would be a wonderful change.

Lexie: I would most definitely read a novel with an unlikeable, interesting protagonist. In fact, I’ve read some. I can’t really speak for my peers, but I prefer a character who is deeply flawed but intriguing to one who is blandly nice. I would also read a novel without a serious love interest; I’ve read several of these before. While I am certainly a fan of well-done romance as a way of spicing up a book, if the author has a fantastic plot and characters and writing, it won’t really matter to me.

Emily: Yeah, I guess so....but it’s definitely going to make the reading process a lot less enjoyable. I will sometimes put up with a nasty main character, but a lot of times I stop reading because I don’t care as much about what happens to him/her.

Rebecca: Hmm, probably not. But for instance, Sam from Before I Fall is a character I hated at the beginning but loved by the end as she changes into a better person as the story progresses.

Gracie:I don't really know how you can have an unlikeable protaganist that is interesting. If the protagonist is interesting, they're going to be likeable. So by "unlikeable", do you mean to the other characters in the story? Or to the reader? Because if the reader doesn't like the protoganist, then no, nobody would want to read that. I've found the best way to do turn the reader off with a protagonist is to make them really, really stupid. That tends to get on people's nerves. ;)

As for a novel without a serious love interest... yes!!!! There are lots of books that are ruined a bit by the addition of a love story that really doesn't need to be there. I want to see a book with an amazing story that focuses more on friendship than falling in love. (Seriously, if you read a book, the best friends get left behind ALL THE TIME... I mean, come on. What did they ever do???)

Lissa: I love novels with unlikable protagonists - that is, as long as they're SUPPOSED to be unlikable, and are unlikable for a purpose. I hate reading about characters who are terrible and think terrible things, characters who are racist or sexist or homophobic/etc. without it being purposeful or noticed. If that makes sense. And novels with a serious love interest rock...all good books have a good love interest.

Riv: Maybe to both questions. I wouldn’t read a book with a spoiled, annoying, or nagging protagonist. If your reader is stuck with someone, they want to enjoy them. But don’t do first person if that’s the case.

On the second question, it depends what you mean by “serious.” Do you mean that the main character is just messing with their head? Then no, I don’t want a book about a girl that yanks a guy’s chain. If by “serious” you mean that it’s not the focus of the book, then I’d love to read it!

A gihugic THANK YOU to our readers for asking and to our spies and analysts for answering! And HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!


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