If Book Bloggers Grew Up Together…

These are the kinds of things that book bloggers would have done if they grew up together. But here you find us, kindred spirits uniting at BEA, playing MASH with fictional YA boys. All credit goes to Anna from Anna Reads for this WONDERFUL idea during some down time at BEA. I didn’t have any bookish friends when I was growing up and my sister most certainly did NOT share in my passion for reading and frequently made fun of me for having my nose in a book. Being at BEA (and having chats with book blogger friends who weren’t at BEA) made me wish that I had bookish friends…and especially that I grew up with them. Can you imagine the sorts of shenanigans we would have gotten into? Who knows…maybe I would have read HP as a middle schooler and had such a good time at release parties if I had crazy bookish friends! I sure know how much fun I had at BEA and felt like I was called home to the mothership or something!

And then growing up…going through the middle school and high school years…what would that have looked like? I thought about this A LOT today after a really fun conversation with some of my closest blogging friends — Jen, Ginger and Anna. We were chatting about what we were like in high school and if we would have all gotten along. I won’t tell you what they classified themselves as, but for me, I was the GOOD girl. I strived for good grades, I was such a prude despite ENORMOUS pressures and I didn’t really party. I would always toe the line and get close to “bad girl behavior” but would promptly return to Good Girl Land. This isn’t to say I was perfect…I did sneak boys over and drink on occasion and lie to my parents…but it wasn’t what I knew some girls were doing. 

I keep trying to see myself in characters in YA, and while I see bits and pieces of myself from various characters, I don’t have one character that I wholly identify with. You know I see it humor-wise, how the approach relationships with parents and guys, etc. etc. I was complicated. I was that annoying sibling character that my sister, who would be the MC, would have hated…she would have felt overshadowed by my accomplishments  and resented my Good Girl Status. I judged the “Bad Girls”…yeah I probably labeled them as sluts and the like. But I did grow up…I did. I learned A LOT. My mom got sick and I had to grow up. I learned a lot about finding kindness and friendship in very unlikely places…from people I might have written off. But I do know…I would have been a good girl in YA lit.

All that being said, all of this talk about how were in high school, made us all wonder would we have all been friends? Would we have come together in our bookish ways or would we all have been too different? Maybe now we can come together, as adults reading YA, only because we have lived through those times and have fully digested those experiences and issues? Maybe, while we were and ARE so different, we are able to come together as lovers of books but also as former teenage girls who all had the same core experiences — negative self image, peer pressure, pressures from other sources, wanting to fit in, etc. etc.  Maybe THIS is why we read YA literature…because those core issues still resonate within us as women? I’ll tell you., even as a 25 year old, I want to fit in, I care about what people think, I am hard on myself, etc. etc. I have changed so drastically from when I was a YA but I don’t know…I think sometimes YA lets me stay close to some of the crucial points in my life that really helped shape me into who I am. That being said, as most of you know, I don’t exclusively read YA so sometimes I DO need to get away from that time and explore other areas of life and other worlds.

But I do have to say…all of my blogging friends and I…we would have had the most amazing time growing up together. Can’t you tell from how much fun we all had together at BEA?

So what about you? Even if you don’t read YA… Did you have bookish friends growing up? What were you like in high school? Are there any characters in YA that remind you of yourself? And for the YA readers, why do you feel such a connection to YA literature…especially those of us who are adults?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I so wish I had known a group of girls in real life who were as passionate about books as I was (although I wasn't as passionate back then as I am now). Perhaps mostly a group of girls as nerdy as I was.

    I'm hoping that some of the younger bloggers in the YA blogging community can be positively influenced by us. Even if they may feel alone at school, they have a place where they're valued in a way that us older folks didn't (feel so old – I'm not even 30!)

  2. Heather R. says:

    I am LOVING the idea of MASH with literary characters. I would have totally done that as a kid if I had more bookish friends too!

  3. I'm extremely fortunate to be a teenager in the book blogging world. I have a couple book-ish friends in real life and when they can't properly fangirl/gush with me, I can turn to other bloggers of all ages.

    But this brings me back to your point on if you would've been friends with other bloggers as a teenager. There are quite a few teenage bloggers with blogging friends with all different ages. Were you like other teen bloggers when you were a teenager? Maybe that's a way to tell if you'd still be friends with the same people?

  4. Jillian says:

    Wow I wish!! That would be lovely.

  5. Peaceful Reader says:

    I would have loved to have bookish conversations with good friends in HS. Instead conversations always seemed to focus on boys, cheerleading, boys, parties and other girls. I had my nose in a book but never really found others like that; not even in college.

    I try to encourage this behavior as an elementary librarian; reading, talking about books with your friends through several book clubs. Great post!

  6. <3 <3 <3

  7. Yani {AvidReader} says:

    I love this! I definitely wish I knew more book lovers growing up, I had/have a really great group of friends from high school, but none of them are readers. I can just imagine the conversations and the events we would have all gone to if we had all been friends back then =)

  8. Meg @ A Bookish Affair says:

    I wish I had more bookish friends growing up and I wish I had more bookish friends now. I have a good group of friends that I still hang around with from high school but none of them are particularly bookish. Most of them read but they're only casual readers.

  9. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Great discussion post Jamie. You already know how much I HEART you. As we said in our convo yesterday, I wonder how our little group would have clicked as teenagers. From what was described we were all so different. But I think you said it right, that reading YA and books is what brought us together as adults. For whatever reason we were meant to be our own individuals as teens, and come together as adults. Your friends help shape you in to who you are. And just because we're "adults" now doesn't mean we will ever stop growing.

    I was not a reader in my teen years, but I so wish I would have found books and bookish friends then. I know it would have changed SO much of my life. If I had to relate my teenage self to a YA character, it would be Bianca from The DUFF. I had major low self esteem and always felt like the "fat friend". I let silly boys take advantage of my low self esteem, and used it as a means to deal with harder issues at home that I was avoiding. Looking back I know where I messed up, but I don't regret any of it because it's part of what's made me ME today!

    Love this post & love YOU!! <3

  10. Meredith says:

    Well, (I'm still a teen) but I really don't have too many friends (besides book bloggers) that share my love of reading. It makes me sad. 🙁 That's one of the reasons I love blogging so much! There is such a great community! 🙂 And the MASH with fictional characters sounds pretty awesome. I'm going to have to try it! 🙂

    -Meredith

  11. Bethany says:

    First of all, this is awesome.

    While I was always a big bookworm, my teen years were spent reading the classics and smutty chick-lit…I didn't return to YA until I started watching John & Hank Green's VlogBrother series on Youtube as a junior in college. And I am SO glad that I made the return. 🙂

    Let's see, I think the YA character that my teenage self was most like is Charlotte Locke from Girl Wonder. I was definitely a good girl, but with a chip on my shoulder, and was constantly trying to become more popular. I didn't ever necessarily go to the lengths Charlotte does, but I absolutley went through a destructive I'll-do-anything-to-make-this-boy-like-me period and I had to get hurt and betrayed to grow out of it and become a better, stronger, more confident person.

    Anyway! I LOVE this post and love that I now have bookish friends as an adult. 🙂

  12. So wish I'd grown up with some of my book blogger buds! I did have one friend in high school who I shared trashy novels with but we didn't really talk too much about them (except to giggle and say, "You have to read this one! Great scene on page…" LOL).

    Nowadays, NONE of my friends read much (gah! How can people NOT read? I just don't get it.). Thank goodness for bloggers! LOVE this post.
    Happy Reading!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  13. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    Love this post. Love you. We already discussed all this yesterday, but I still think we need to make up for lost time and all move into McMansions that are all on the same block.

  14. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    You brought back memories with the MASH!

    I did not have bookish friends growing up. I was a jock…I think that's what people would call me. Maybe even a popular jock, even though I didn't think of myself that way. I was #5 in my graduating class, so of course I wasn't stupid, I didn't even really read the required reading…horrible I know.

    Why YA? Everyone(well not everyone) wishes maybe they could change certain things from high school. YA gives us a chance to relive it. 🙂

  15. thelibrarianreads says:

    This post makes me sentimental! I have a best friend from high school who is also a huge reader. In the years since HS we've moved apart and chosen different paths…but we are still Reading Best Friends! We text each other almost daily to talk about books and even started a book club of two where we read the same book at the same time and talk our way through it. I don't know how I'd function without her bookish friendship 😉

    great post…off to txt my friend and gush…

  16. Sarah B. says:

    Fantastic post! I'm a fellow constantly reading good girl from high school. I never did anything too crazy (especially compared to what I know was going on there!) and wished I knew other readers. I've definitely got to make a group of book friends now to make up for back then!

    I'm into YA now (at 28) because I love reading about that time in a person's life. There is so much room for growth, and so much uncertainty…

  17. lisamft says:

    Such a great post. I've had one or two bookish friends over the years, but I'd love to have a group of friends who love reading quite as much as I do! I'm lucky that my boyfriend is a reader as well, so we can swap books and talk about them – I got him into the Hunger Games, and he leant me Game of Thrones. Books are even better when you can share them with others.

    I stopped reading YA after I grew out of its "target audience", but nostalgia has brought me back and now I've discovered there are so many well written books out there that people shouldn't be discouraged from reading just because they're YA. There's just something about YA characters that make them easy to identify with emotionally, because we've all been through comparable emotional issues at some point our lives, even if the stories are fantastical.

  18. Rie Conley says:

    Great discussion.

    There were the bookish people in high school, but they were also the ones that attempted to push religion at every moment. I was not part of that group, but the group that you would have called "sluts". The ones that partied non-stop and were having sex by age 12. Not that I was mind you, but my best friend was the most promiscuous of my class.

    I on the other hand was on the bowling team, read and wrote nonstop, and was generally her opposite.

    It's weird how we pick friends that are so unlike us, so I'm not sure had there been more bookish people I would have gotten along with them.

    But it would have been fun had we all been together back then.

  19. terri-maree says:

    I think I would have been different person if I had had bookish friends growing up. I can relate to you on so many levels – I was the only kid in my class that enjoyed reading, the only one in my family too. And it is the same today – the only bookish interaction I get is online. Very sad. It just makes me happier that I discovered your blog and found a kindred spirit 🙂

  20. April (BooksandWine) says:

    I'm lucky in that I had a few bookish friends growing up, even one that comes with me to bookish events 🙂

    Actually, come to think of it, a lot of my friends read for fun, one was really into fantasy novels and those Star Wars serializations, one was into manga, one was really into poetry, and one into pretty much everything.

    I think what helps that is I was on the poetry team lol, so of course the people who like words were there. And also AP English, as only the nerdy kids took it.

    But yeah, I don't know if you guys would have been friends with me if we all grew up together. I was vain, self-absorbed, low self-esteem, boy crazy, and conceited. Also wore clothes from Hot Topic on occasion ha ha. So yeah…

    BUT as grown ups? Definitely.

  21. I agree with with Jen said – I could be the transfer from England!! <3 your face!

  22. Aww, I miss you! <3

  23. Jennifer O. says:

    I read a lot in high school, and I tutored even our high school valedictorian when it came to writing papers and studying for the AP english test. But I was never what you could call a "good girl." I was more like that sarcastic girl that would verbally cut you off at the knees if you crossed me. which is why no one crossed me.

  24. thatcovergirl says:

    I didn't have any bookish friends growing up. I read from elementary school all the way up until 8th grade, where I deemed reading uncool. And I always "read up," where you read for an older age than you actually are. I was reading Crichton and Koontz in the effin 7th grade. Ridiculous. What were my parents thinking?! =) And I wrote a lot. A TON of unfinished stories about step-siblings and adventure and danger and finding missing artifacts and crushes and sci fi fun. Then I started reading again when the Twilight phenomenon happened and haven't turned back. 😉

    I was a pretty straight laced kid in high school. I strived for good grades, graduated with honors, was on student council, in TAG and the like. But I never had a lot of friends and hung out with only a few people, and I liked it that way. I always felt like an oddball, I felt too old to be hanging around the girls who wanted to gossip about boys all the time. I wanted to nerd out about movies, TV, and technology.

    Obviously not a lot has changed, except for the book factor, and I'm much less anxious as a 28 y/o. 😉