Amazing Teens: TeenBookReviewer

Posted May 17th, 2015, by Marie C. Collins

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So … after I published my last post — the one about TeenBookReviewer’s review of A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp — I got to thinking: What DOES it take to motivate a teenager to be a book blogger in his/her “spare” time?! Fortunately, TBR was willing to fill me in.

If you’re just catching up, TeenBookReviewer is an anonymous U.K. teen who blogs about books. Welcome, TBR!

TBR: I’m glad to be here!

Me: If I’m seeing this correctly, this summer will mark two years that you’ve been blogging. Is that right?

TBR: Yes, you are correct. However, I am going to celebrate the 17th September as my first year of blogging because it was on this date last year that I truly became serious about the blog and started blogging properly.

Me: What does it take to be a teenage book blogger? I mean, how did other things in your life have to shift to make room for this kind of pastime? Did you have to give up any other activities to do it?

TBR: I’ll admit it does take a certain person to be a teenage book blogger. It takes a persevering person, a person willing to sacrifice time and effort. It’s a difficult thing, but I have to admit that it was the best decision I made, and it’s very rewarding. I didn’t have to give up any other activities, no. You don’t have to give up anything as long as you take a little time to make sure your blogging fits around you and your lifestyle.

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Me: How did your friends and family react to you being a book blogger?

TBR: My friends and family were actually very supportive. I knew my family would be, of course; I’ve always loved books so it wasn’t that surprising and they’re very supportive of everything I do. I thought my friends might take a little less of an open-minded approach, but I was wrong. They were just as excited as I was, which was fantastic and gave me the confidence I needed to get started.

Me: What is the most surprising thing you learned about life/the world/people as a result of being a book blogger?

TBR: Wow, what a good question! I suppose I learned that books are nothing without people. Without the reader, a novel is but ink on a page. I learned that people are what make books important. They are so much more than entertainment. They are beautiful, and they makes dreams and imagination.

Me: That’s quite an insight. You’re right, of course — if a book fell in the forest … What have you learned about yourself as a result of being a book blogger?

TBR: From being a book blogger? I would say I learned that I am much more organized than I thought. I learned that I can do whatever I want to do. I can tell people what I think about something and have people take is as more than just the opinion of some random person they don’t know!

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Me: What a great thing to learn. Save that paragraph, TBR. It belongs somewhere on your college applications. What have you found to be the hardest part of being a book blogger? And how about the most rewarding?

TBR: The hardest part is probably making sure things are reviewed as quickly as possible, and that scheduled posts go out on time, no matter what. That’s what I mean by perseverance; I’ve only missed one post before, and I’ve been known to post when I’ve been sick. The most rewarding part is seeing the reactions of the authors and the readers to the reviews, definitely!

Me: What would you do differently if you were starting your blog today?

TBR: If I were starting the blog today I would definitely read up more, looking at advice of other bloggers, before starting my own. I would certainly have researched about blog creation a lot more so I made a strong start in the blogging world!

Me: What advice would you give another teen who was starting a blog today?

TBR: I would tell any other teen starting a blog that it is honestly the most rewarding thing. I would say to not give up and keep going, even if you find it hard to keep going. Even if you feel that you aren’t getting rewards, I promise you are and that you’ll see them if you just keep going. There were times when I felt like I just wasn’t doing well enough with the blog, because I made the mistake of comparing my blog to others. Never do that, because nothing good can come of comparing yourself to others.

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Me: How has reading and writing for your blog impacted the reading and writing you do for school?

TBR: Well, it’s done quite a lot for me actually. I have improved a lot at feeling more confident with critical writing and analysis, and I can read books more objectively if I need to, like I do for reviews. I would say it has actually impacted my reading and writing a lot, albeit in lots of small ways. To be honest, there isn’t much that I feel that the blog hasn’t benefited me in, it’s great!

Me: On your blog you say you started TeenBookReviewer because you wanted to be a journalist, but elsewhere on the site you hint that that’s changed. What do you see as your future profession now? And has blogging played any role in that change?

TBR: Yes, I did start the blog because I wanted to be a journalist. And yes, that has changed. I would love to be an archaeologist, a goal I am working towards. I know it’s a far cry from what I do in book reviews, but my love of archeology is just as much a part of me as my love of reading is. No, blogging hasn’t actually played any role in that change, it was all just part of a personal growth and a realization of what I truly want to do.

Me: How exciting! Considering how much you love to read, do you ever see yourself writing a novel?

TBR: Oh yes, quite frequently actually. I would love to write a novel, it’s something I have dreamed about doing for a long time. But I have a small problem with my writing; I will begin to write an idea and enjoy writing it, however when I look back on it a day or so later, I hate it and get rid of the idea. I can never really get beyond about 2000 words and it is sometimes quite discouraging.

Me: That’s exactly what it’s like to write a novel, TBR. Some parts come easily, while others require more thought and planning. But beware of the harsh voice in your head that makes you throw things away. It’s not always trustworthy. I go through something similar when I tell someone what I’m working on. Instead of throwing it away, ask yourself what it needs to work better — how you can improve it. Is there anything else you would like to share?
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TBR: Yes, I would just like to leave a little note of encouragement to anyone thinking of making a blog. I promise you, if you love what you blog about, it will be the best and most rewarding decision you will ever make. It is incredible, and a completely beautiful experience.

Me: Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences as a blogger, TBR!

TBR: Thanks for having me, Marie.

Remember, you can read TBR’s book reviews on his/her blog. While you’re there, check out TBR’s new “About Me” page, which gives a great sense of who TBR is without revealing his/her gender or identity. Post a comment to let TBR know what an amazing teen s/he is.

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  1. Kai-

    Thank you for your kind words! I love blogging, and I’m really glad for the help it gives authors. I’m glad it means as much to you as it does to me!

  2. Great interview. I love that reading and writing for your blog has given you more confidence in your school work and in other places in your life. Thanks for the time you put into our books! It means so, so much to us.