On Friday you asked the questions. Today, we provide the answers!
Have you read and liked any self-published books?
RANDI: Well, here's the thing. I help run a mermaid blog here on the inernets, and there's a lot of mermaid books that are self published. So yeah, I have. The Fins series by Ashley L. Night is good, very romantic (it will give you feels). I also enjoyed Black Waters by Maija Barnett, a bit darker. And not related to mermaids, Harold Finn, Ninja Warrior is also laugh out loud funny.
LEXIE: Not yet, but I have a few on my shelf that I intend to pick up.
RIV: Not really. I'm sure there are some lovely ones out there, but I try to avoid the whole thing as much as possible, because I don't have the time to wade through all the garbage to find the gold.
LENNON: I don't know if I've ever read a book that was self published, simply because I can't tell if a book is self published or not.
BRIANNA: I recently read a self-published book called The One by Heather Self. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was!
Have you read any new genres that you really loved or books you fell in love with lately?
LENNON: I just recently fell in love with Beautiful Creatures. I really wanted to see the movie and I have to read the book before I see the movie. I loved it, one of my favorite books now.
BRIANNA: I've always been a fan of YA Fantasy and Sci-fi, but I recently realized that what I love the most is YA Dystopia. And as for books, I'd say the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. I read Shatter Me when it first came out, but I recently reread it and fell in love all over again. The sequel, Unravel Me, came out on February 5th. It's a spectacular series!
LEXIE: I read Everneath by Brodi Ashton and was surprised by how emotional and fantastic it turned out to be. Much more than your average paranormal. Also, I'm currently reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and I'm in love.
RANDI: I kind of have fallen into the pit known as Jane Austen spin offs. Admittedly, I was already obsessed with the source material, but there are so many books dealing with these characters and whatnot in really funny and unexpected ways.
RIV: I've found myself reading more contemporary lately, and also realizing that I don't entirely hate the dystopian and paranormal genres anymore--I've just read City of Bones (finally) by Cassandra Clare, and All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin, and both of those were really good.
Kindle or paper?
REBECCA: Paper, always paper. To feel the book in your hand, turn the pages, smell that familar bookish smell you've grown up with, it's just better, not to mention more enjoyable. I pledge to read the printed word!
LENNON: I got a tablet for Christmas and I'm reading some books on its Kindle app since it so much easier and cheaper to get books on there then go to Barns and Noble. At the same time, I am still very much a "book sniffer" and love reading an actual book.
RIV: I don't own an ereader, so paper. Though I would love to have one. They protect the environment, and Doctor Who told me that paper books will never end.
RANDI: Paper. Kindles....I don't know. Yeah, you're still reading, but it's going to drive books stores out of business and it's just..ugh. I don't like Kindles.
LEXIE: Paper. Always paper.
BRIANNA: Paper. There's nothing like the feeling of the pages and the smell of a book in your hand. Meanwhile, I also have a Kindle and I can most certainly see the perks of one. Books that are $20 in hardback are $3 on Kindle. It's very cost effective.
Are there any new trends, or just subjects, you'd like to see (or see more of) in books? For example, paranormal with crypto zoological creatures, witch stories, or mysteries?
REBECCA: I'd like to see more contemporary issue books that deal with disorders. Maybe not so much eating disorders because even though the subject should be discussed there are already quite a few books on the matter so broadening disorders that teens are suffering from and going through but are kept ore on the down low.
RANDI: I'd like to see more video games-esque fiction like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which wasn't Young Adult, but was easily one of the best books I read last year.
LENNON: Yes! I would love to see more actual monster books, not fake monsters. Don't get me wrong, I love vamps and werewolves but they are getting extremely played out. Also, this could be my inner-shrink coming out, I think there should be more books centered around insanity and mental disorders.
RIV: This may be a result of my recent desire to see Warm Bodies, but I'd love some good YA zombie books. And I'm ALWAYS looking for high fantasy.
Would you like or dislike a YA book with some illustrations (color or black and white) or do you consider that too old-fashioned and babyish?
REBECCA: Illustrations in YA books? BIG YES. Just look at Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard which was actually illustrated by the author herself. It's such a popular book and though it wasn't my cup of tea, the detailed, luscious illustrations were absolutely gorgeous and made the book leap and bound off the page. It was by far my favourite aspect of the book.
BRIANNA: I don't think I've ever read a YA book with illustrations. It'd be a little unusual for me, but illustrations don't affect the writing and that's all that matters.
LEXIE: I ADORE illustrations. Honestly, that's one of the things that still enchants me about middle grade books. I think they bring such a wonderful presence to the story. (Although, I have to say they're more appropriate with some genres than others. I don't think illustrations would be very appropriate in most contemporary YAs, for example.)
RANDI: I LOOOOOOOVE illustrated YA. But it does depend on how you do it. I loved David Westerfeld's Leviathan illustrations. It'd have to be something more like that. But yeah, I wouldn't want it to become a common thing, but it can be used effectively.
LENNON: It depends. If it seems like the author or publisher is forcing the images into the story or, worse, they have nothing to do with the story, I would throw the book across the room. But if the pictures fit the story and aren't taking attention away from the plot, I think that would be great.
RIV: I'm not sure. It sounds like it could be really interesting, or really distracting, depending. On one hand, I want to be given the freedom to picture scenes in my mind, but on the other, having a little help might not be so bad. I wouldn't reject a book on the basis of there being art in it, though. (Also, some added art in the front or back can be really exciting. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm really looking forward to getting Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, and ooing over the art that was added.)
Do you listen to a lot of books on tape (or CD)?
RANDI: Only if I like the narrator. I really enjoyed listening to Holly Black's White Cat series because Jesse Eisenberg narrates. Or Alan Cummings doing the aforementioned Leviathan audio. Those two were really good. I cringe at an awful lot of them though.
BRIANNA: I have never listened to an audiobook, but I'd be open to try. I think I'd appreciate them in certain cases but overall not use them.
RIV: Almost never. I'm not doing mindless work for extended periods of time too often. I have a half hour walk from school everyday, but I usually just listen to music. I don't always have patience for audiobooks--I hate stopping in middle of chapters to go do things, for example.
LEXIE: I never listen to books on tape.
LENNON: Not anymore. I did when I was reading the Harry Potter series. When I got into I was very young and both my parents loved the series as well. So my dad and I used to make my mom read it out loud to us and when she slowed down to drink water or breathe, we would yell at her. So she went to get all the books on tape, which we listened to on road trips and such.
My main character in my WIP is the head of her high school newspaper. I am only writing as I would imagine it is like but are any of you involved in a school newspaper or any kind of publication thing in school and can give some insight as to the structure of it? How many times you meet, what is required of you, what kind of people usually are involved? Anything at all would help just gain some inside scoop.
BRIANNA: While I've never been on the school newspaper (and my old school before I started homeschooling didn't even have one) I have a friend who writes for hers. She meets every Friday after school with the rest of the team to update each other on who is writing what and when it's due, etc. Any issues are brought up there. Otherwise they keep in contact through email or in passing at school if needed. They have a wide range of students involved, but most of them are in advanced classes or have good grades. Good luck with your WIP!
RIV: I go to a private school, and we run things differently here, but I'll impart my "wisdom" anyway. There are four of us on the committee (originally 5, but she switched schools) and we're paired off in groups of two. Every other week we put out the newspaper. The front page is news, like upcoming events and recaps of what different committees have been doing, and the second page is fun stuff, like interviews or recipes. We don't really meet much, just do things over the phone, email back and forth, occasionally stop each other in the halls to nag about deadlines. We have a teacher in charge, but she doesn't really get involved, just lets us do our thing. In the week before my newsletter goes out, I'm usually spending a few hours on the phone, getting information about what news needs to be added. (I'm the better writer of the two of us, so I do all the news and Letter From the Editor and stuff.)
I recommend trying to get a few copies of newsletters from your local high or, if that's weird/creepy, asking your neighbors(?) with high school students if they have any copies lying around. The best way to get information on it is to actually see it, I think.
Huge thank yous to our SPIES and ANALYSTS! And thank YOU for asking such amazing questions! Also, if you've thought of another question, or missed the post to ask it--don't worry. We'll be back with another ask-a-teen feature next month!