Friday, June 7, 2013

Real Teen Answers

Two weeks ago you asked the questions. Today, our teens provide the answers!

I'd love to know what your best and worst summer jobs were please!! Also, your dream summer job.

LISSA: Babysitting is the worst, for sure - I love kids when I'm not holding hands with them for 8 hours. Still, babysitting is the only job I've had, so it could be worse. My dream summer job? Working in a bookstore. 

LEXIE: Well, I can't answer the first part of the question, because until this year, I've never had one! My dream summer job would probably either be working at a bakery or teaching little kids for dance/gymnastics--and the latter might be happening this summer, so that's preeeetty exciting.

LENNON: I have yet to have a summer job. However, my dream summer job is working at Barnes and Noble, how geeky of me, I know.

RANDI: Well, I'm technically just now old enough to get a job, but I'm holding off on that for a little while, but I do a lot of volunteer work. My favorite job of those thus far has been working at the library, though.

MADISON: My worst summer job was the one I just recently quit (I kept it throughout last year.) I worked weekends at a vet clinic, feeding and cleaning dogs and dogs cages, and checking them in and out to their owners. God, the smell of that place was terrible. 

RIV: I haven't had too many jobs, but the worst was probably working at a day camp with little five year boys, getting paid less than everyone else and putting in just as much work because they gave my job a different title. (It's a long story and I'm being ambiguous, I know.) My dream job would probably something along the lines of getting paid to be up in the country doing next to nothing.

GRACIE: I've only ever done volunteer stuff with day camps in the summer, but I loved it. I love working with kids, and I love being outside in the summer.

As both a reader and a writer, my preferred POV is third-person omniscient, which isn't as common or popular as it used to be in the U.S. I keep hearing people claiming it's too impersonal or old-fashioned for teens in particular to relate to. Is there any truth to that? I personally give teens more credit for being able to follow more than one storyline and main character through a book, without having it split up by multiple narrators!

LENNON: I agree with you completely, my favorite POV to write in and read is third-person omniscient. I like knowing more than what just a single character knows. It's also easier to like the book if I don't like a particular character, so I don't have to hear the entire story from them. 

RIV: I really enjoy third-person, especially because it's a welcome surprise whenever I come across it. I'm pretty impartial to omniscient, though. PoV doesn't usually make or break a book for me, and I would probably stick with anything that wasn't too confusing. Also, it's important to have distinct voices. (I was writing something with dual third-person PoV, actually, and I had to make myself write them differently, even though the "narrator" wasn't a character.) I read Game of Thrones, and didn't find it too confusing, storyline-wise (discounting, of course, the million and a half side characters). If you write what feels natural, and do it with enough clarity, you'll be fine.

RANDI: I've noticed that! I personally don't have a preference, because some of the best stories I've ever read have been in third person, but it just so happens to most YA is written in first person. It just depends on what works best for the stories.

MADISON: I do feel like third person omniscient is too impersonal, and would much rather read first person. Although, I do disagree with saying that it's too hard for teens to follow. 

GRACIE: Usually after the first couple chapters I'm used to whatever POV the book is in, and I don't even pay that much attention to it. If the book is written well, the POV shouldn't matter, in my opinion anyway. King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner is third person omniscient, and that book is amazing.

LEXIE: I wouldn't flatly deny that there's truth in that statement, because there are some who I know find it too impersonal/old-fashioned for their tastes, but I, personally, think it can be great when used properly.  In general, I believe almost any style can work if done well, and third omniscient is no exception. I think there's at least a fair amount of others who'd agree.

LISSA: I'm one of those people who has a strong dislike for writing where there is more than one POV going on -- I feel like the author is cheating by letting the reader see sides and feelings other than those of the main character. To me, I just feel the author is putting less effort into making characters 3-D because they have the opportunity to tell each character's story, rather than actually showing, not telling. That being said, when it's done correctly -- and by that I mean the omniscient writing serving a purpose - I like it when a third-person when the author sticks to less than 4 POVs. For me, the simpler, the better, since voices tend to sound familiar after the first page or so. 

What do you think about the increase in books with unreliable narrators? Good or bad trend?

LISSA: LOVE this trend. It's so much more fun to read about dishonest and non-upstanding citizens. 

LENNON: I think it's a good trend. People are flawed as are their opinions. Characters should be flawed and therefore all narrators should be a bit on the unreliable side.

MADISON: If that means why I think it does, then it's definitely a good trend in my opinion. 
LEXIE: Good trend! At least, when it's being done properly.  If you try for an unreliable narrator and things go wrong it can get a bit messy, but when they're done right, I love reading through unreliable narrators. It's fascinating!

RANDI: MAKE IT STOP NOW PLEASE. I cannot count the number of times in the last year that I have read something, and some of it wasn't even YA, where the narrator was constantly blacking out or getting sick or having a break from reality, and when the wake back up, some important plot point has gone down without them. It's lazy writing and it's disappointing as a reader too.

Do you read a lot of multicultural books? Would you like to see more YA set outside of your own country, or featuring people from a different culture?

MADISON: I don't read a lot of them only because I never SEE any. The ones that I have are really great, and I would absolutely read more of them if I could. YA set outside my county is so interesting to me, and I would like to see more of it. 

LISSA: Truthfully, I don't read many multicultural books. I find most too moral-heavy, and for me, that is one of my biggest turn-offs when reading. I'd like to explore more cultures though, so I'm definitely open to books that aren't so white-washed. 

GRACIE: Since a large number of books are written by American authors, I don't read as many multicultural books as I'd like to. But it makes me really excited if books are set outside of the US. I love books with characters from different cultures.

LENNON: I don't mind them. Some of them are good, some of them are eh. I find them to be interesting but difficult to relate to.

RANDI: I've read some multi-cultural YA, but mostly set in Europe or places that are actually kind of similar to America. I'd love to see more from other places, definitely.

LEXIE: Sadly, I do not, currently, because I haven't really been able to find many.  I'd love to read more YA set in foreign countries, and I definitely, definitely, definitely want more YA featuring people of different cultures--and not just as side characters.  Diversity is super important nowadays, and it's also really fascinating to read about people whose culture is so different from your own.

What do you think of older books that are republished with "updated" references, like changing a record player to an iPod or using a current TV show in place of some 1980s show? Does that make the book feel more relevant to you, or would you prefer to read the original, dated references and all? Also, how would you feel if, 20-30 years in the future, you discovered a current favorite contemporary book had been updated for your children's generation?

RANDI: It depends on how old the book is. For example, I'd be crushed if someone updated The Perks of Being A Wallflower. But books from the early 2000's being updated is a little bit like overkill to me. I don't think I've ever actually read anything that's been updated though, so I can't really say.

GRACIE: I think that's a really good idea. I know I've read books like that before that are older, and the stuff like that, like letters instead of email, etc kind of throws you even if the rest of the story is completely relatable. Some books it's not just references that need to change though, sometimes you can tell by the writing style that books are older. But I'm all for updated books!

LENNON: I don't think that I have ever read a book that had updated references. Personally, I see it as an insult to the original work. However, if original works were published with the updated works, with the author's permission, it's not that bad. I would be extremely pissed if one of my favorite books changed to fit the fancies of another generation. 

MADISON: I dislike re-published books with updated references. I think that reading it with the original, dated references makes the book more interesting (in my opinion.) And the thing about the children's book: that would devastate me to find out that they'd change anything. It could take away everything that I loved about it in the first place. 

LISSA: I've never heard of this happening, but I dislike the idea. One shouldn't be allowed to disrupt the state of a book once it's published, just because then we'll be finding excuses to change other little details and nobody will be reading the same book. Also, I think it's important that books reflect the era, and I think it makes the book more authentic. 

LEXIE: I...wasn't even aware that was a thing people did. I really hate that concept.  Those books weren't meant to be written with modern gadgets. In many cases, it just wouldn't fit--Holden Caulfield would not be running panicked through the streets of New York on his cellphone. That's just weird.  If I saw that happening, I'd be horrified.

HUGE thank yous to our teens and to YOU for asking such awesome questions! We’ll be back for another round of questions in July. Stay tuned!

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