Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Being Stuck in Teen Drama

Don't worry, this isn't another deep blog post that shares the inner secrets of some crazy drama that I'm messed up in or even know about.  Nobody else close to me is dealing from some tough issues that need to be addressed, and my own teenager is doing just fine.


This is about teen drama that I've been sucked in to...and just can't walk away from on a whole other level.

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I went out with the kids to find Peanut a new TV for her room.  When I say new TV, I mean a used TV from a thrift shop because with Christmas fast approaching we didn't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a TV.  We just wanted something that would do her for now.  Being that all of my kids now have their own rooms, Peanut didn't have a TV in her room because she so graciously let Jelly have hers.

So, TV hunt.  We went to Goodwill and found a great TV for $5.  That's what I'm talking about.  Five dollars for a 32" TV is right up my alley.  But, I can't just walk in to a Goodwill store and leave it only having looked at one  I have to look around.  Usually in the book section.

Which is where I discovered six books all from the same series.  Peanut had been wanting some new stuff to read, so I figured that it was a great deal to get all six books.  It would give her something to do for the rest of the summer.

Well, little did I know that there were actually 14 books in the series, plus two prequels.  And, the six I bought didn't include the very first book - which I did actually know when I bought the books.

I ordered the first one when we got home that day, and it arrived a few days later. 

Peanut jumped right in to reading them.  She was done with the first three books in two days.  I was intrigued.  That's a lot of reading for a teenager to do...even one that loves reading as much as Peanut does.  

So, I decided to start reading the first one.  Within a couple of hours, I was done with it.  I was hooked from the very first page...and just couldn't stop reading.  And then I went on the next book.  And the next day I was finished with that and went on to the next.  

In a matter of a week, Peanut was finished with all seven books and I was fast on her heels.  And I just had to order the rest of the collection, which I luckily found on eBay super cheap.

The series is The Private Series by Kate Brian.

It's really nothing special.  A normal teenage girl gets a scholarship to go to a fancy private school.  She meets the most popular girls there, and despite them being the spitting images of the girls portrayed in the Mean Girls movie, the normal girl wants to be friends with them.

It's the typical teen drama.  Mean and spoiled rich people.  Normal innocent girl from a troubled family. Normal girl wants to feel popular, and does what she can to fit in with them.  

But, then throw in some messed up secrets (like drugs and alcohol usage) and a little murder...and it somehow morphs in to a series that I can't put down.

Last night I finished book seven.  I stayed up way past my bedtime just so I could get it finished.  And now all I want to do is crack book eight.

How an author manages to write 14 books that take place over a three year timeline...and can keep her readers interested that long is beyond me.  But, she somehow managed to do it to me.

I've always loved reading teen literature.  Give me a Twilight book or a Harry Potter book or a Hunger Games book any day.  Apart from my curiosity over the hype of reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, I don't really get that in to adult novels.  I've read some... but I'd much rather spend my reading time lost in a teen fantasy novel over an adult murder mystery.  

Except for teen literature that is nothing but mean girls and innocent victims that rally together to knock their popular rivals off of their pedestals.  Those types of books I've never really cared for... simply because there's just so many of them.  They've been done over and over and over again.

However, for some reason, this series is different.  It's the longest I've ever gone reading a series about this topic AND still enjoying it.

I will say, though, that this series does hold a lot more scandal and drama than other books I've read along the same lines.  In fact, I wouldn't really be comfortable describing this book as "teen lit".  Even though the book is about high school kids, the topics and language are NOT suitable for kids.  Peanut is 13 and reads at a 12th grade level (that's the highest it goes up to), but I've cringed a few times during my reading and thought that I should have read the books first.  Not that I would of stopped her from reading them, because I'm pretty lenient with that kinda stuff... but at least I could have been prepared to warn her.  Mostly because of the sexual stuff that takes place in the book.  Nothing graphic.. but just the mention of teenagers that are having sex is something I should have screened for first.  I didn't expect it, honestly... but it's a little too late now, I guess.

This is why it is so important for teachers to read all of the books they put in their classroom libraries.  I have a few books like this series... minus the graphic language, drug references, murder, blackmail, and sex.  They are the typical, run of the mill, teen girl drama books.

Peanut has already read the first three books that arrived a few days ago.  She's now ready for book 10, but it hasn't arrived she's anxiously waiting.  She's even read a couple of the books over again just to bide her time until the next one gets here.  Craziness.

It's actually been quite nice to have something like these books to bond over.  Not that we have any trouble with bonding... it's just nice to be able to discuss a book series that we are both loving, and discuss know..."awkward moments".  

Of course, now I only have a couple of days left before the crazy of work kicks in to full force.  It figures that I get in to reading this late in to the summer... but it's a lesson learned, I suppose.  Maybe it will spark something in me to actually start reading again all of the time.

The reason I'm so lenient with Peanut is because she's very much like me.  When I was her age, I always had a book in my hand.  I always loved reading.  My parents were OK with me reading pretty much whatever I wanted... because I was reading.  Period.  I could have been finding other things... less appropriate things... to fill my time.  Living in a teen fantasy world that came from book pages were much more up my parent's alley.  Peanut is free to read whatever she chooses, except for books that are basically book porn.  I draw the line at graphic, detailed sex.  There's just no reason she needs to be reading about stuff like that.  It's one thing to have sex mentioned, it's another when it's discussed in great detail.  

My love of reading has followed me in to my adult years.  There are times when I wish I could read more.  Even as a teacher who reads to her class every day.  That's what I want to instill in to all of my kids.  Reading is fun.  Reading is a vacation that requires no money, no packing, no movement even.  It can take you to magical places, or places you just dreamed about going.  

And regardless of what it is that I'm reading.  It's just good to be doing it again.

And that's it for me today.



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