A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Teens Doing Great Things: Tessa the 9th Grade Book Blogger

I'm always amazed when I meet kids who are able to go above and beyond the regular craziness of teen life. I have two teens so I know how busy their lives are. I ran across From the Bookshelf of T. B. when I was sending e-mails out to bloggers about signing up for the Class of 2k12 Newsletter. I was already impressed with the reviews on her blog, then I found out she's a 9th grader! As soon as I read that, I knew I had to feature Tessa on my blog.

It was fun to turn the tables on a book blogger and interview Tessa. I found out that besides school and blogging, Tessa runs cross-country track and she got to run in the Cross Country National Championships in Florida her first year of running. Here are some other things I found out about Tessa:

1. What made you decide to start a book review blog?

My grandpa was actually the one who got me started blogging. I was with him one day and we were talking about how I wanted to get more serious about my writing. He suggested, why not start a blog? I could blog about whatever interested me and it would be a way for me to get to write more. I thought it was a fantastic idea, but I wasn’t too sure if my parents would be okay with it. They loved the idea of starting a blog as well! So, From The Bookshelf of T.B. was born, all thanks to my grandpa and my parents.

2. What's been your favorite part of doing a book blog?
The little notes of thanks I get from people. Every now and then I get a comment from someone telling me how much my reviews and suggestions have helped them, and how much they love reading now. Little things like that have made running my blog worth it.

3. What's been the hardest part of doing a book blog as a teen?
The most difficult thing by far has been the issue of time. Being a teen, school takes up most of my day, and I have cross country practice right after school which can go until late as well. By the time I get home, I usually just want to eat and go to bed. Then I’ve got homework I have to finish and try to catch up with some blog stuff. Ever since starting high school the work load has increased and teachers expect more of you. My blog has definitely suffered because of it, but school has to come first.

4. Do authors take you seriously as a book blogger and a teen?
I think that overall they do. Most of the time people don’t realize that I’m only a ninth grader, and are shocked when they find out. A lot of times the authors enjoy hearing what someone in their target audience thought of their book. A few authors have been very supportive!

5. I have a 15 year old son and a 13 year old daughter and their lives are crazy, how do you find time between homework, school and other commitments to do a book blog? How much time does your blog take up?
It’s tough. I try to catch up on reviews and blog-related things on the weekends, but even that has been hard lately. Sometimes I have cross country meets on the weekends and there just isn’t time to fit in writing reviews. Also, I tend to write reviews that are more on the longer side of the review spectrum, so it’s hard for me to just knock them out real fast and post every day. I don’t know exactly how much time my blog takes up, but it’s definitely a lot.

6. What kind of books do you enjoy reviewing?
I enjoy reading anything and everything. Books are books, whether they’re new or old, fantasy or realistic fiction, traditionally published or self-published. Each has their own story to tell. I especially enjoy reading and reviewing books that haven’t been done before, and have some “x factor” that sets them apart.

7. Do you think YA books do a good job of portraying teens today? What critiques would you give young adult authors?
I think young adult authors are capturing the essence of being a teen very well. There are some books that I’ll read and it feels as if it was written by a teen, because I can relate to the main character so well. Then again, at times it’s hard to place myself into the same situation that the main character is in. They could be in an entirely different world, or have a special power, and I might never know what it feels like to live with that. I constantly wonder if I would have made the same choices as some of these characters do if I was in their shoes. One thing that unites me and the characters within a book is the fact that despite our very different lives, we are both still teenagers trying to survive.

8. What kind of books would you like to read?
I’ve been told I have a very eclectic taste in books, but one of my favorite genres is dystopian, and lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been enjoying a lot of young adult books that are a bit edgy and take on issues that not every author would venture to write about. I tend to shy away from romance a bit more as well.

9. Anything else you'd like to say?
I’ve learned so much from blogging and have gotten to meet so many amazing people that are really passionate about what they do. The book blogging community is more supportive and accepting than I could have ever imagined. Who knew that a love of reading could set all of this in motion?

10. What is your wildest dream?

To get to have a job that I truly enjoy and not drag myself to every morning. My dream job would be a news anchor on Good Morning America and a young adult author.

10. Just for fun, pick any "bests" you’d like to share.

Best Ice Cream Flavors (According To Tessa) - Ice cream is one of the staple food groups of my diet. I could eat it all day, if only my parents would let me. These are the best ice cream flavors (according to me):

-Cookies ‘n’ Cream

-Ben and Jerry’s Stephen Colbert Americone Dream: Vanilla ice cream with fudge covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl. Delicious.

-Ben and Jerry’s Jimmy Fallon Late Night Snack: Vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge covered potato chip clusters. Don’t judge it before you’ve tasted it.

-Rainbow Sherbet

-Any ice cream with brownies

Thanks so much Tessa! You can read Tessa's fabulous reviews at From the Bookshelf of T.B. Congratulations on having a successful blog and best of luck for a future full of great things and ice cream!


  1. I'll have to pop over and visit Tessa, especially since she runs cross country. Now if we could just find some teen BOYS who are book blogging, that would be great!

  2. Boys who are book blogging, THAT would be fabulous. must search for some.