For those of us who write fiction for teens, there’s a great resource out there when you’re looking to do some research. And by that I mean…real teens! And real teens who read the type of books YOU want to write. New to the blog is TEENS WHO READ, a monthly interview with avid teen readers.
Please welcome our very first reading teen, Rachel Sargent.
Rachel Sargeant is a Canadian model who has read more books in her nineteen years than most people have in their entire lives. A large fan of tea, thrift shopping and Marvel comics, she can usually be found writing novels in coffee shops or walking runways in shoes that make her feet hurt. Rachel can communicate in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Sign Language, Swearing and Sarcasm. She prefers reading high fantasy and dystopian, and is quickly running out of shelf space.
Q1 – What are your top five favorite YA books?
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, the Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Strange Angels by Lili St.Crow, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (I Hunt Killer by Barry Lyga and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld are honourable mentions. Does this count as cheating?)
Q2- What do you love about YA?
I like reading YA best of all is because of the excitement factor. The stakes are always high, the action is always intense, and while the emotions of the main characters may sometimes be over-dramatic, they at least make me feel something. I find regular fiction or crime novels don’t have that level of freshness to them; YA novels pick you up and slap you around until you can’t do anything but flail around when the villain comes back from the dead and cry at four in the morning when the author kills off someone you’ve grown to love.
Q3– Is there anything that bothers you about YA?
While I do have some complaints about types of character development or love triangles, what bothers me the most is the stigma attached to YA. I always feel like I have to hide the cover if I’m reading in public, or that I’m prattling on about this girl in love when I talk about it to my friends. I wish that when I say the book I’m reading is YA, people wouldn’t look down on me and tell me to read ‘better’ types of novels instead. I understand where the stigma comes from since I have seen the repeating patterns of girls hopelessly in love with the mysterious boy and the main character being the chosen one, but at the same time there are so many more books that don’t use these cliches that I want to share with the world.
Q4- Is being able to talk to the author important to you?
Yes! I love being able to see the process as much as the finished product, and meeting/taking to the author is a way to not only meet the character but the driving forces behind the story that you know and love. Getting to know the author as a person I feel makes me like the book more, since I get to see who I’m reading.
Q5– If you could meet one author, who would it be and why?
This is really difficult, but I would say Sarah J. Maas, author of the Throne of Glass series. This series has to be my favourite (or at least in the top 5) high fantasy YA series and I would love to meet and interview the heck out of her. I want to know how she came up with Celaena’s story and pry some hints out of her for the next three books! The world she invented draws you in so completely you forget there’s an outside world where buying food is a thing and taking out the garbage has to happen.
Q6– If you were to write the perfect YA book, what would it be like?
A6 – I don’t think there is a way to write a perfect YA book! I know what I always look for (some good action sequences, a slow build for romance, and an equal balance between dialogue and action) and attempt to write those threads into my own novels. I am also leaning towards writing alternative type characters, such as a girl with tattoos, a boy with a mental disorder, or same-sex relationship partners. Plus a bombshell-drop of information that leaves me jumping around in excitement or bawling my eyes out at 3AM is always accepted, so I feel like it’s only fair to give that to my readers as well. It’s fun playing God.
Q7– Do you read ebooks or paper books?
I only own paperback books. I love the feeling of a physical book with pages that flip and that new-book smell of ink and paper. It’s also oddly satisfying to place a bookmark into the pages to count your progress!
Q8 – Romance: Yes or no?
Yes, but only if it’s done realistically. YA usually writes romance in a super ‘fluffy’ way that makes me either roll my eyes or gag a little, so if there is a romance thread it has to have a steady build up of emotion and the characters have to have a good reason for falling in love besides the fact they are the opposite sex.
Q9 – Are you bothered by YA tropes? (ie, love triangle, bad boy, useless best friend)
The answer to this is a maximum YES. I am so tired of the same five characters with different names. If I pick up a book and within the first chapter can identify one of these tropes, I usually put it down. However there are ways in which these can be done right, and I think the trick with that is to write them in unconventional ways. Cassandra Clare gives us the dreaded love triangle in the Infernal Devices series, but (spoiler!) it works here because of the mutual love, trust and friendship all three characters have for each other. Laini Taylor gives us a conventional ‘Mary Sue’ character in Karou, but it works because of Ms. Taylor’s writing style and the harsh development Karou goes through in the second and third books.
Q10 – Mostly important question: Coke or Pepsi?
Coke. DUN DUH!
Find Rachel Online:
Model FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/RachelSargeantModel?ref=hl
Youtube, Instagram and Wattpad: AModelWhosRead
If you have questions you’d like to see featured on TEENS WHO READ in the future, or you know know a teen who loves to read who would like to be interviewed, feel free to email me at erinRlatimer@gmail.com