Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Feature: The Lit Chicks

I have a confession to make. I've been holding out on you people. For the past year or so, I've had an awesome resource in my neighborhood that has helped me in ways I can't count. Their names are Portia and Liesl and these sisters are incredible readers of all things YA. I give them stacks and stacks of books, they read them and then we get together and talk about what they liked and didn't like. In short, they are awesome.

I've started to feel a little guilty about my riches, so I've decided to share my wealth with the rest of you. Every Thursday (barring epic amounts of homework or summer camp) we're going to run a new feature called the Lit Chicks. Portia and Liesl will come over to the blog and talk about the books they like and why they like them. This is not to say that they love everything they read (take it from me, they can be picky), but for purposes of the blog, we're going to focus on the positive rather than the negative.

The other day, I plied them with popsicles and sat them down for a rather lengthy interview to get to know the girls. So lengthy in fact that I'm breaking it up into two parts, one this week and one next week. Their reviews on the books they love will start the following week.

And now (drumroll please) The Lit Chicks:

Me: So, tell me a little bit about yourselves and what you like to read. Portia, you're 13 and Liesl, you're...?
Liesl: 14. I like girly books, books about friendship. I also like mysteries. I’ve read every Nancy Drew book.

Me : Susane Colasanti, Sarah Dessen, things like that?

Liesl: Yeah. And I loved Harry Potter. But I couldn’t get through Eragon.

Portia: I loved Eragon. I like fantasy.

Me :What else do you like?

Portia: I like a lot of stuff that Liesl likes, but sometimes they’re too cute. She’ll recommend something that she loved and I’m like, uh okay. But then she read 13 Reasons Why and said she liked it but it was a little slow in the beginning but I started reading it and I LOVED it. I like books about depressed people.

Liesl: Me too. I like sad books that make me cry.

Portia: I also love books about girls who are in sports.

Liesl: Ooh. Me too.

Me : Note to writers, write more books about girls in sports.

Portia: I really liked Immortal Beloved [I gave them the ARC]. Her past life had really affected her and I liked how she was trying to heal from that.

Me: Do you like scary books,like Neil Gaiman?

Liesl: Not really. I haven’t touched that stuff since Goosebumps.

Portia: I do. Honestly, most of the books that she just raves about, I haven’t read.

Me: Okay, that’s a good question. Do you read what you read based on what other people recommend?

Liesl: Sometimes.

Portia: Usually if Liesl says it’s good, I’ll give it a try, but I usually read books from my friend Jasmine. We get a lot of books from Ms. T and if she says it’s good then I’ll read it. [Ms. T is an English teacher who works at a bookstore over the summers].

Me: But you don’t tend to like the romancy stuff.

Portia: Oh no, I like a good romance. But not a cheesy romance.

Liesl: Come on. Sometimes you just need a break from reality.

Portia: I like books that make you think about life. North of Beautiful. That was a really good book. I’ve had that on my birthday and Christmas list for ages and I still haven’t gotten it. Pretty Face was good too. [A discussion ensues about that book and the mom in it].

Me: What about series? Do you guys like them? Hate them?

Liesl: The problem with a lot of series is that they can get so repetitive. Like what was that one about the bras?

Portia: Oh, I didn’t read that one. There was this one series [title redacted] that were like 20 books and my teacher kept loaning them to me. I got to like book six and they were all the same so after that I just kept them in my locker until I gave them back.

Liesl: The first one was funny.

Portia: Yeah, but after that they were all the same. Same story different people.

Me : What about cliffhanger endings? I know that some people will wait until all of the books are out before they start the series.

Liesl: Oh, I would totally do that.

Portia: Yeah the wait would kill me. There is another book in the Inheritance series coming out and it’s so hard to wait.

Liesl: I didn’t like those books.

Portia: You only got to like page 39. You have to give it a chance.

Me: Sometimes I’ll get to page 10 and be done with it.

Liesl: I feel guilty if I do that though. I try.

Portia: I got to like p. 200 of [title redacted] before I finally quit.

Me: So how far will you go before you quit?

Liesl: If I’m not sure I like a book I’ll read the ending and see if I want to keep going.

Me: You’re an ending reader!

Liesl: Well, if it’s a really good book I won’t. But if it’s slow, then I’ll skip to see if it’s worth it.

Portia: I’ve read so many good books with bad endings. Totally ruins it. I’m like, oh this book is so cute, the ending is going to be great and then it’s like ‘that’s it?’. Waste of time.

Me: I’ve heard that a lot of teens have problems with the ending to Dirty Little Secrets.

Portia: No. Not like that. The story isn’t about what she does at the end of the book, the book is about why she does it. [And this is why I love them so.]

Me: So if you go through one of these longer books…

Portia: You want the ending to be worth it.

Me: And not wuss out. Endings are hard for writers, as you guys know [they’re my beta readers and are helping me with the ending to my new book].

Me: You guys read a ridiculous amount of books. How many do you think you read a week?

Liesl: Like ten.

Portia: It depends on how busy I am. We’re going on an 8 hour car trip and I can read a couple of books in the car.

Me : You can read in the car? Makes me puke.

Portia: Well, I have to hold the book up, not down. Otherwise it makes me sick.

Me : You don't have a TV but you watch movies right?

Liesl: We have a projector. And a DVD player.

Portia: This is what I get a lot at school. “You don’t have a TV? What do you do all day? Read?" And I’m like, yeah.

Liesl: And they’re usually like, well you mean you don’t have a TV in your room, right?

Portia: And I'm like I don’t have a TV anywhere.

Me: But you don’t seem to miss it.

Liesl: Not really. We watch it when we’re on vacation but it’s not that big of a deal. I like Iron Chef.

Portia: And when we visit our Grandparents.On vacation I only bring like five books to read in the car.

Me: YA writers everywhere are grateful to your parents.

Tune in next week for part two of our informative interview where we talk about blurbs, covers and books with purple vibes.

On this date: In 1919, Iris Murdoch was born.


Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Cute chat! Reading in the car makes me want to puke too - it's quite a talent. And ick, repetitive series. Looking forward to hearing more! :)

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

awesome new feature. I loved it :)

i wish I could read in the car... :(

Cheryl Renee Herbsman said...

LOVE this feature! So cute! Thanks for sharing the wealth ;)

cynjay said...

Glad you like it! All fun aside, listening closely to what they have to say about books they like (and don't like) has really helped my writing.

shelley said...

What a great idea! This is great to hear from real readers in the age I write for. Plus, I love their parents and the fact the made the choice not to have TV. Hooray for their parents. They've grown a reader.
(Hooray for you, too. For seeking out your/our audience.)