If you happened to read the first two interviews with Rachel and Nicole - my niece and her best friend (see 2Teens and 2Teens2) - you know they have fascinating, even irreverent insights on YA books. The only problem - it's almost impossible to get them to agree to an interview at all. This time, Nicole said she'd go along with it if I gave them each $10. Here's what happened:
I won't pay you - but I agree to a bribe. I'll buy you each a book if you'll discuss what you've been reading lately.
Nicole: I have nothing to say. Except you can say I hate The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien). We're supposed to be reading it in English. In fact, I'm allergic to it.
Ha ha. What do you mean allergic?
Rachel: It actually made her sick.
Nicole: I was reading a musty old copy.
Aside from it making you sick, why did you hate it?
Nicole: It's boring. The Hobbit is bad because it's boring and outdated.
I'm going to try to poke a hole in that remark. I'm sure you've read out-of-date classics you like.
Nicole: Yes - The Hobbit is just boring. I don't like fantasy. I just took out the comic version and it worked fine. It's shorter and it has a lot of pictures. It was tough - I saw my English teacher when I was taking it out of the library.
Did she see it?
Nicole: She didn't. It was just funny. I read the comic book and Spark Notes - but The Hobbit's awful and it should be banned!
What else is on your bookshelf?
Nicole: I read Dear John (Nicholas Sparks) 'cause they made a movie of it - I wanted to make sure it didn't suck - it did.
Nicole: It was just kind of disappointing. It wasn't a happy ending.
Can you elaborate?
Nicole: It just turned around really suddenly in the last few chapters.
It's a love story, right?
Did you see the movie?
Nicole: The movie ending was better than the book ending.
Do you usually read the book before seeing the movie?
Nicole: No - I also re-read The Macdonald Hall Series by Gordon Korman - because it makes me happy. I do love these books because they're funny.
What are they about?
Nicole: Two mischievous boys and their life in boarding school.
They're not contemporary are they?
Nicole: No - they're not current but they're fun - they're not that old. I also like them because they're short and I don't have time for long books.
Do you re-read a lot of books?
Nicole: Yes - if I like a book I re-read it.
What about you, Rachel?
Rachel: I'm reading Cue for Treason (Geoffrey Trease) in English.
Nicole: Is it awful?
Nicole: We have the same English teacher. The curriculum just has boring books.
Rachel: When the book started out, everyone in the class thought it was extremely dull. Then I thought it started to get interesting. The teacher built it up and the book does as well - with a lot of foreshadowing. The author tried to cram too much into a small book and teach us about history. I'm nearly done reading it. In the end, the foreshadowing was way more exciting than the real ending.
Read anything else lately?
Rachel: The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series (Louise Rennison). I love those books.
Nicole: I've read them too.
Tell me more.
Rachel: This is about the third time I've read the series. I've read the ninth book and they just came out with a tenth.
What do you like about them?
Rachel: I like them 'cause it's just fun reading. It's like popcorn for the brain.
Nicole: And it has a fun vocabulary.
Rachel: Yes - like instead of saying America, she'll call it, "Hamburger a-go-go-land," and instead of New Zealand, she calls it, "Kiwi a-go-go-land." They're very relatable.
Rachel: It's about a teenage girl's life and reading it makes you feel like you're not alone. It relieves stress because there's nothing too intense. It's pretty mindless - and now I'm done!
On that abrupt note, the interview ended. I thanked the girls and later gave them each a gift card from a bookstore so they could choose something new. Of course, there's a catch. I plan to follow up with them and find out what they chose. Then maybe I can interview them again - if they consent.
Next up - a Q & A with Seth Grahame-Smith, NYT bestselling author of Pride and Prejuduce and Zombies and the new release, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - I only have about 65 pages to go. Please check back!