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Friday, May 7, 2010

Guest Post: Suzi Katz

Today I have a guest post from Suzi Katz, author of A Life Revealed. Before you read the guest post, here's a bit about the novel:

Tragedy can strike in a split second. But what if that tragedy brings with it both heartache and mystery? After her parents are killed, seventeen-year-old Chloe Jacobs discovers that she's been part of the Witness Security Program her entire life. While enduring twenty-four hour protection from U.S. Marshals, Chloe secretly searches through her tangled family history...and realizes that in order to find the truth, she'll have to fight for her safety, dreams, love...and ultimately her life.

For more information on Suzi and her books, please visit her website (it has an incredibly cool design).

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People often ask me why I enjoy writing in the young adult genre. It’s not something I have to think hard about. Young adults like Chloe, the main character in my book A Life Revealed, are at a major turning point in their lives. They’re under a lot of pressure as they make important decisions about relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol, personal safety and their families, while simultaneously thinking about college and their careers. These are not easy decisions. In fact, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve worked with college student-athletes as a life skills coordinator for many years. I developed programs to help them become well-rounded individuals and successful members of society teaching about all of these major issues.

I think it’s crucial that teens get support and information so they can make educated decisions. There are so many things in society today, like gender violence, diversity issues and more that teens need to learn about. Unfortunately, not all teens have that kind of guidance or role models. When writing A Life Revealed, I decided to portray a young heroine who is imperfect and makes mistakes to show teens that it’s okay to be human. I didn’t want to make Chloe perfect because I just don’t think that is realistic today. Everyone makes mistakes. Chloe is a role model because she’s determined to achieve the goals she has set for herself. She makes mistakes on the way, some she learns from, others she doesn’t.

I read a lot of books. When I say a lot, I mean maybe three books or more per week. I’m pretty much an insomniac, so I spend many nights up with my books flying through the pages waiting to see what will happen next. While I tend to read in many different genres, one thing I noticed across the board is that the teenage characters portrayed, seemed to really have it together. While today many do, there are often serious underlying issues that need to be dealt with.

Knowing someone who is so together in one aspect of their life doesn’t mean that are that way in all of them. I recently read a book where one of the main characters was dealing with an eating disorder. The other leading characters knew there was a problem, but they all looked the other way. Somehow this illness went away by itself. However, it really bothered me that the issue wasn’t addressed more seriously. This character was smart, knew where she would go to school, had been working her entire life toward this goal and even she had an underlying problem in her life. I thought it was a great teaching moment, but it was lost in the shuffle of everything else going on in the book. Some of which was not relevant to the story as a whole. It is incredibly difficult to address our peers when they’re faced with any problem. You don’t have to be an expert on any given issue, but letting a person know you’re there for them and where they can go for help is a huge and positive step in helping someone.

Sometimes, a person doesn’t realize they are in a compromising or dangerous situation. This happens a lot with gender violence, harassment or assault. It is something an individual might see in their home and think is okay, so when it happens to them, they don’t know it’s wrong. I encourage teens to pay attention to their friends who might be put in compromising situations, and to help them get the same assistance.

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Thank you for guest posting, Suzi!

4 comments:

  1. This is a great post! I REALLY have to read this book. I love the premise. :)

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  2. Awesome post. I love the cover for this novel.

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  3. Great post - something to think about when writing anything for YA or A.
    Thanks for this post.
    Blessings

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  4. I think this is a wonderful post. It definitely a great thing to spread awareness

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