Can teens be compassionate readers? Compassionate people?

The weekend was mostly filled with revisions (two-thirds complete, I think, go me!), but we snuck in a church chicken and biscuit dinner at the fire hall and some dancing on Saturday night. All work and no play makes Laurie a cranky author. (See CATALYST for a great description of a church chicken and biscuit dinner. It is practically a sacrament for Methodists.) We wound up with a little more than 18 inches of snow. I am dying to put on my snow shoes, but those revisions are nagging, so here I sit.

Someone tipped me off to a fascinating discussion of PROM written by librarian Rachael Vilmar, whose blog, Your Fairy Bookmother, is a stitch. (Be sure to read her other reviews!)

She liked the book, but had concerns about the reading audience. In her blog, she discusses her fears that some book-loving teens might be judgmental about a character like Ashley Hannigan. She’s afraid they might not be able to find enough empathy to connect with a character whose life experience is so different from their own.

Then she brings up a larger, darker point… in a culture that prizes educational and economic success above all else, are we raising a generation that rejects people less fortunate or accomplished than themselves? Rachael puts it very well: “Are we promoting achievement at the expense of compassion?”

(The issue of achievement vs. compassion is a major theme in CATALYST, btw.)

I have heard this concern from a couple other librarians who have gave PROM to (privileged) teens and had the teen come back with a snotty attitude saying that she doesn’t like reading about “people like that” (aka working class). Many, many more kids loved the book, but the librarians were stunned at those few with the crappy attitude.

What do you think about this?

160 Replies to “Can teens be compassionate readers? Compassionate people?”

  1. I really didn’t think that the family in Prom sounded working class. or average or slightly normal, but whats the fun in that? I loved the book all the same. I agree, modern society is putting a heavy burden on younger people, making them strive for material and financial success rather than to be the best human being they could. If the world magically changed and people started caring for what others felt and based their actions off of this, what a different place it would be.

  2. I really didn’t think that the family in Prom sounded working class. or average or slightly normal, but whats the fun in that? I loved the book all the same. I agree, modern society is putting a heavy burden on younger people, making them strive for material and financial success rather than to be the best human being they could. If the world magically changed and people started caring for what others felt and based their actions off of this, what a different place it would be.

    1. Being from a working class family myself, I can relate.

      But I turned out okay. I eventually married, I have a decent job (without the college education)in a shipping receiving department. And I have a good number of close friends.

      It is too bad that there are probably hundreds of thousands of kids out there who struggle through high school (because they don’t fit in with the crowd) and then get spit out into the world unprepared for the basics of life.

      I survived. But every year there are those who have a much tougher future ahead of them because of this ‘class’ issue.

  3. I really didn’t think that the family in Prom sounded working class. or average or slightly normal, but whats the fun in that? I loved the book all the same. I agree, modern society is putting a heavy burden on younger people, making them strive for material and financial success rather than to be the best human being they could. If the world magically changed and people started caring for what others felt and based their actions off of this, what a different place it would be.

  4. Being from a working class family myself, I can relate.

    But I turned out okay. I eventually married, I have a decent job (without the college education)in a shipping receiving department. And I have a good number of close friends.

    It is too bad that there are probably hundreds of thousands of kids out there who struggle through high school (because they don’t fit in with the crowd) and then get spit out into the world unprepared for the basics of life.

    I survived. But every year there are those who have a much tougher future ahead of them because of this ‘class’ issue.

  5. Being from a working class family myself, I can relate.

    But I turned out okay. I eventually married, I have a decent job (without the college education)in a shipping receiving department. And I have a good number of close friends.

    It is too bad that there are probably hundreds of thousands of kids out there who struggle through high school (because they don’t fit in with the crowd) and then get spit out into the world unprepared for the basics of life.

    I survived. But every year there are those who have a much tougher future ahead of them because of this ‘class’ issue.

  6. Well, I’m from that “class” of people, although I really hate that term. When I read PROM, I never even thought about it. It doesn’t really matter to me how wealthy Ashley was or what kind of house her family had; my only requirement for reading is that the books are well-written. PROM most certainly was.

  7. Well, I’m from that “class” of people, although I really hate that term. When I read PROM, I never even thought about it. It doesn’t really matter to me how wealthy Ashley was or what kind of house her family had; my only requirement for reading is that the books are well-written. PROM most certainly was.

  8. Well, I’m from that “class” of people, although I really hate that term. When I read PROM, I never even thought about it. It doesn’t really matter to me how wealthy Ashley was or what kind of house her family had; my only requirement for reading is that the books are well-written. PROM most certainly was.

  9. I think overall, we teach only acheivement. There is very little done to educate teenagers about compassion.

    I am a theatre teacher and work with young people in metro-Detroit. It takes a LOT of work to get through the protective layers that they have built up in order to survive in the public school system.

    Of course, this depends a lot on what their families are like.

  10. I think overall, we teach only acheivement. There is very little done to educate teenagers about compassion.

    I am a theatre teacher and work with young people in metro-Detroit. It takes a LOT of work to get through the protective layers that they have built up in order to survive in the public school system.

    Of course, this depends a lot on what their families are like.

  11. I think overall, we teach only acheivement. There is very little done to educate teenagers about compassion.

    I am a theatre teacher and work with young people in metro-Detroit. It takes a LOT of work to get through the protective layers that they have built up in order to survive in the public school system.

    Of course, this depends a lot on what their families are like.

  12. It probably depends on why people want to read. Some people truly only read for escape, so a book with a character in a situation that makes them uncomfortable will only leave them upset. So, i say, it means you’ve done your job. As a teacher, i like to push the comfort zone of my students at times. And i would use books to do it.

    It’s not that teens lack the ability to be compassionate (many of them are compassionate), it’s that they are in a stage of life that is very self-focused. As teachers and parents (and others who work with teens), it is our job to pull them out of that focus at least a little bit by the time they leave high school. But you can’t expect a world focused attitude out of most teens when there is so much internal angst.

    I could go on, but i won’t. In short, there is nothing wrong with the book!

  13. It probably depends on why people want to read. Some people truly only read for escape, so a book with a character in a situation that makes them uncomfortable will only leave them upset. So, i say, it means you’ve done your job. As a teacher, i like to push the comfort zone of my students at times. And i would use books to do it.

    It’s not that teens lack the ability to be compassionate (many of them are compassionate), it’s that they are in a stage of life that is very self-focused. As teachers and parents (and others who work with teens), it is our job to pull them out of that focus at least a little bit by the time they leave high school. But you can’t expect a world focused attitude out of most teens when there is so much internal angst.

    I could go on, but i won’t. In short, there is nothing wrong with the book!

    1. I think it’s a good point to say that high school is a very self-focused/angsty part of life. However, I have to wonder: 60 years ago, when finishing high school was not a must for surviving in America, and 150 years ago, when many people and almost all women didn’t go to high school, and 250 years ago, when high school didn’t really exist, did this problem exist amongst those 13-18? I guess there’s no way to be sure, but from primary source readings I’ve done, it seems like teenage angst and self-absorption are a result of our time. Not that people were any more compassionate 60 or 150 or 250 years ago. Just that I don’t think teenagers are genetically engineered to be self-obsessed. Hell, even modern-day teens in other countries are too busy working/finding food/etc to be worried about this sort of thing.

      So maybe one way to look at it is: because of the general affluence of the country and the amount of time Americans spend in school, this culture of self-obsessed adolescence exists. There’s got to be a way to work against that tendency and instill American teenagers (who will have the power to make lasting change in the world) with more compassion. Some ways might include: working with Habitat for Humanity, studying other political systems, etc. I don’t really know. I do know that this attitude takes root and won’t leave as people age, however; it only gets stronger. So we’ve got to try something.

      1. I kept thinking about this in the shower and I wanted to add:

        I think almost everybody has the capacity for boundless compassion, including teenagers. It’s just a matter of being exposed to the situations that inspire compassion (and hopefully action). And from there, a matter of feeling like being compassionate toward others is a valuable character trait. I think that teens who were “offended” by Prom exist, but I think they are rare.

        1. Lots of high schools are requiring community service as a graduation requirement. Does this ever open the eyes of kids?

          I agree with your comments, btw. I think the kids who have this reaction are rare, but it does surprise that I’ve heard about incidents like this from a couple people now.

          1. Being a student at a high school that requires 40 hours of community service for graduation, I can say that the effects of it vary greatly among different people. Some teens hate it and see it as a chore, but some truly love helping others. Volunteering has opened my eyes to a side of the world that I never liked to think existed.
            When I read a book, I find it hard to not have empathy for the characters. I think that most teens don’t try to get inside the head of the characters. They just read and don’t let the story replay in their minds from different points of view. I am constantly thinking, “what is [insert character name here] feeling?” Most teens are self-centered and can’t put themselves in another person’s position, which results in lack of compassion for others.

          2. I’ve been volunteering since September of 2004.
            I don’t see it as a burden. I mean, I volunteered at Fox Chase Cancer Center for two weeks.

            It’s neither a curse, nor is it a gift.

            I know the second part sounds like I’m heartless, but I’m not.
            Sure, it may bring those who are receiving the help joy and happiness, but is the happiness enough?

            Anyway, I digress.
            Teenagers can be compassionate readers, regardless of what people see us as now. We’re Generation “Y”. Ooh, big stuff, right there.
            Let’s be called the ones who will bring the world down (trust me, I’ve heard that)! Total joy right there.

            I read because I enjoy it. Granted, there are books that we’re assigned during the school year which I absolutely hate, but that’s my opinion.

            Then again, opinions don’t make the book.

          3. Opinions don’t make the book. I have also read many books that I have hated, most of which were not for school. Teens can be very compassionate, but they can also be cold. I just don’t think many teens take time to read much of anything outside of school and the stuff they read for school they hate because they are forced to read it.
            Some teens see volunteering as a burden, another thing to add to their busy schedules. I don’t see my volunteering as a burden, in fact I love it. I wish more people would do it, but I can’t control that. About the happiness being enough, I think that different forms of community service bring different results.

          4. True, most teens now won’t take the time to read a book. However, if they actually read regardless of the medium, whether it be a book, magazine, or whatever, then it’s some progress.

            I don’t think it’s the happiness that’s based on me.
            I think it’s the happiness of those being helped.
            OK. I know. I’m totally being a hypocrite. I should have said it correctly. And double checked my previous post.

            What I meant to say in my previous post is that I’m not big on the happiness that I receive (as cold as that sounds). What’s important for me the happiness they get.

            OK, I must admit. There are times where I will see volunteering as a burden. However, I mostly enjoy it. Of course, there are outside factors, like a busy schedule, school, extracurricular activities, etc., that will affect the time to go. However, I try to go weekly for an hour to at least bring them some sort of happiness.

          5. OK, so I just re-read my first post in this talk.
            I really need to explain. I’m making it even more vague.
            I shall re-explain when I have more time.

          6. We had to do something like 40 hours’ community service to graduate high school, too. I think you’ve pinned down exactly how people react–some hate it, some love it. Freshman year, i spent most of my “service” time playing hide-and-seek in a run-down building; by senior year, i was doing more hours of service than i was required to do. Mandatory community service isn’t the Answer to All Problems, but it sure doesn’t hurt…and i kinda miss it in college now o_O

  14. It probably depends on why people want to read. Some people truly only read for escape, so a book with a character in a situation that makes them uncomfortable will only leave them upset. So, i say, it means you’ve done your job. As a teacher, i like to push the comfort zone of my students at times. And i would use books to do it.

    It’s not that teens lack the ability to be compassionate (many of them are compassionate), it’s that they are in a stage of life that is very self-focused. As teachers and parents (and others who work with teens), it is our job to pull them out of that focus at least a little bit by the time they leave high school. But you can’t expect a world focused attitude out of most teens when there is so much internal angst.

    I could go on, but i won’t. In short, there is nothing wrong with the book!

  15. Still being a teenager (18) and a college freshman, I’m really seeing that compassion, atleast in my area, ceases to exist. I’m the most compassionate person I know. Most people here are uber-Republicans (the party itself isn’t bad, just the people who manipulate), so welfare and such just seem like handouts to lazy people. It makes me so mad that the teens here act that way; they only see life without compassion because they’ve never had to work, suffer, or be poor. xo, H

  16. Still being a teenager (18) and a college freshman, I’m really seeing that compassion, atleast in my area, ceases to exist. I’m the most compassionate person I know. Most people here are uber-Republicans (the party itself isn’t bad, just the people who manipulate), so welfare and such just seem like handouts to lazy people. It makes me so mad that the teens here act that way; they only see life without compassion because they’ve never had to work, suffer, or be poor. xo, H

  17. Still being a teenager (18) and a college freshman, I’m really seeing that compassion, atleast in my area, ceases to exist. I’m the most compassionate person I know. Most people here are uber-Republicans (the party itself isn’t bad, just the people who manipulate), so welfare and such just seem like handouts to lazy people. It makes me so mad that the teens here act that way; they only see life without compassion because they’ve never had to work, suffer, or be poor. xo, H

  18. I think it’s a good point to say that high school is a very self-focused/angsty part of life. However, I have to wonder: 60 years ago, when finishing high school was not a must for surviving in America, and 150 years ago, when many people and almost all women didn’t go to high school, and 250 years ago, when high school didn’t really exist, did this problem exist amongst those 13-18? I guess there’s no way to be sure, but from primary source readings I’ve done, it seems like teenage angst and self-absorption are a result of our time. Not that people were any more compassionate 60 or 150 or 250 years ago. Just that I don’t think teenagers are genetically engineered to be self-obsessed. Hell, even modern-day teens in other countries are too busy working/finding food/etc to be worried about this sort of thing.

    So maybe one way to look at it is: because of the general affluence of the country and the amount of time Americans spend in school, this culture of self-obsessed adolescence exists. There’s got to be a way to work against that tendency and instill American teenagers (who will have the power to make lasting change in the world) with more compassion. Some ways might include: working with Habitat for Humanity, studying other political systems, etc. I don’t really know. I do know that this attitude takes root and won’t leave as people age, however; it only gets stronger. So we’ve got to try something.

  19. I think it’s a good point to say that high school is a very self-focused/angsty part of life. However, I have to wonder: 60 years ago, when finishing high school was not a must for surviving in America, and 150 years ago, when many people and almost all women didn’t go to high school, and 250 years ago, when high school didn’t really exist, did this problem exist amongst those 13-18? I guess there’s no way to be sure, but from primary source readings I’ve done, it seems like teenage angst and self-absorption are a result of our time. Not that people were any more compassionate 60 or 150 or 250 years ago. Just that I don’t think teenagers are genetically engineered to be self-obsessed. Hell, even modern-day teens in other countries are too busy working/finding food/etc to be worried about this sort of thing.

    So maybe one way to look at it is: because of the general affluence of the country and the amount of time Americans spend in school, this culture of self-obsessed adolescence exists. There’s got to be a way to work against that tendency and instill American teenagers (who will have the power to make lasting change in the world) with more compassion. Some ways might include: working with Habitat for Humanity, studying other political systems, etc. I don’t really know. I do know that this attitude takes root and won’t leave as people age, however; it only gets stronger. So we’ve got to try something.

  20. I kept thinking about this in the shower and I wanted to add:

    I think almost everybody has the capacity for boundless compassion, including teenagers. It’s just a matter of being exposed to the situations that inspire compassion (and hopefully action). And from there, a matter of feeling like being compassionate toward others is a valuable character trait. I think that teens who were “offended” by Prom exist, but I think they are rare.

  21. I kept thinking about this in the shower and I wanted to add:

    I think almost everybody has the capacity for boundless compassion, including teenagers. It’s just a matter of being exposed to the situations that inspire compassion (and hopefully action). And from there, a matter of feeling like being compassionate toward others is a valuable character trait. I think that teens who were “offended” by Prom exist, but I think they are rare.

  22. Hey

    Hey Mrs. Anderson,
    This is Alexis Eller. Remember me? Well anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I just read Prom and I absolutly loved it! Your books are awesome keep on writing. Oh and that movie was awesome too. Me and Mer always said that Speak needed to be made into a movie. So yeah all I wanted to say was Hi! Love, Alexis

  23. Hey

    Hey Mrs. Anderson,
    This is Alexis Eller. Remember me? Well anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I just read Prom and I absolutly loved it! Your books are awesome keep on writing. Oh and that movie was awesome too. Me and Mer always said that Speak needed to be made into a movie. So yeah all I wanted to say was Hi! Love, Alexis

  24. Hey

    Hey Mrs. Anderson,
    This is Alexis Eller. Remember me? Well anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I just read Prom and I absolutly loved it! Your books are awesome keep on writing. Oh and that movie was awesome too. Me and Mer always said that Speak needed to be made into a movie. So yeah all I wanted to say was Hi! Love, Alexis

  25. Lots of high schools are requiring community service as a graduation requirement. Does this ever open the eyes of kids?

    I agree with your comments, btw. I think the kids who have this reaction are rare, but it does surprise that I’ve heard about incidents like this from a couple people now.

  26. Lots of high schools are requiring community service as a graduation requirement. Does this ever open the eyes of kids?

    I agree with your comments, btw. I think the kids who have this reaction are rare, but it does surprise that I’ve heard about incidents like this from a couple people now.

  27. Me being 16 years old from a middle class family, and not so great grades I can relate to Ashley in many ways, which is what I believe more teen readers need: a way to relate to the character somehow to show that they are in fact, not alone. In my personal opinion Im a firm believe in that there should be more books like this, whether it be an overachiever from Catalyst, or a Deeeply-wounded girl from Speak, we (and when i say we I mean real teenagers , dealing with real issues) need more of something to say to ourselves.. “yeah, that sounds alot like me, and yeah I can make it through this”. So maybe some girls wouldnt like to read about “people like that”, but let’s face it, not everyone has the option to say their nothing like these characters at all,which I think most of really are, and really do admire.

  28. Me being 16 years old from a middle class family, and not so great grades I can relate to Ashley in many ways, which is what I believe more teen readers need: a way to relate to the character somehow to show that they are in fact, not alone. In my personal opinion Im a firm believe in that there should be more books like this, whether it be an overachiever from Catalyst, or a Deeeply-wounded girl from Speak, we (and when i say we I mean real teenagers , dealing with real issues) need more of something to say to ourselves.. “yeah, that sounds alot like me, and yeah I can make it through this”. So maybe some girls wouldnt like to read about “people like that”, but let’s face it, not everyone has the option to say their nothing like these characters at all,which I think most of really are, and really do admire.

  29. Me being 16 years old from a middle class family, and not so great grades I can relate to Ashley in many ways, which is what I believe more teen readers need: a way to relate to the character somehow to show that they are in fact, not alone. In my personal opinion Im a firm believe in that there should be more books like this, whether it be an overachiever from Catalyst, or a Deeeply-wounded girl from Speak, we (and when i say we I mean real teenagers , dealing with real issues) need more of something to say to ourselves.. “yeah, that sounds alot like me, and yeah I can make it through this”. So maybe some girls wouldnt like to read about “people like that”, but let’s face it, not everyone has the option to say their nothing like these characters at all,which I think most of really are, and really do admire.

  30. teens=compasionate readers

    Well, from my perspective, I’m from a working class family and I’m also a good student, but in some ways I can relate to Ashley Hannigan. We’re a lot alike in temperedness (sp?) and we work hard at whatever we do. I think that teens can be compassionate readers even if they can’t relate to a character because they have to find a lot more about that character.

  31. teens=compasionate readers

    Well, from my perspective, I’m from a working class family and I’m also a good student, but in some ways I can relate to Ashley Hannigan. We’re a lot alike in temperedness (sp?) and we work hard at whatever we do. I think that teens can be compassionate readers even if they can’t relate to a character because they have to find a lot more about that character.

    1. Re: teens=compasionate readers

      I agree… I think perhaps those few readers who reject books because of class differences, etc., are probably feeling insecure – they don’t WANT to find a connection to someone who has a different life because that might upset the very fragile foundation of their identity.

  32. teens=compasionate readers

    Well, from my perspective, I’m from a working class family and I’m also a good student, but in some ways I can relate to Ashley Hannigan. We’re a lot alike in temperedness (sp?) and we work hard at whatever we do. I think that teens can be compassionate readers even if they can’t relate to a character because they have to find a lot more about that character.

  33. Re: teens=compasionate readers

    I agree… I think perhaps those few readers who reject books because of class differences, etc., are probably feeling insecure – they don’t WANT to find a connection to someone who has a different life because that might upset the very fragile foundation of their identity.

  34. Re: teens=compasionate readers

    I agree… I think perhaps those few readers who reject books because of class differences, etc., are probably feeling insecure – they don’t WANT to find a connection to someone who has a different life because that might upset the very fragile foundation of their identity.

  35. What do these teens read who are rejecting books because the main characters are working-class? In my experience most YA novels ARE about “regular” girls… more sisters with traveling pants than “A-List”ers. I pity these kids when they have to read books about actual poor people in high school and college, like Angela’s Ashes or even Huckleberry Finn, and don’t appreciate their messages because they can’t look past class to see universal realities of family, school, and growing up.

  36. What do these teens read who are rejecting books because the main characters are working-class? In my experience most YA novels ARE about “regular” girls… more sisters with traveling pants than “A-List”ers. I pity these kids when they have to read books about actual poor people in high school and college, like Angela’s Ashes or even Huckleberry Finn, and don’t appreciate their messages because they can’t look past class to see universal realities of family, school, and growing up.

  37. What do these teens read who are rejecting books because the main characters are working-class? In my experience most YA novels ARE about “regular” girls… more sisters with traveling pants than “A-List”ers. I pity these kids when they have to read books about actual poor people in high school and college, like Angela’s Ashes or even Huckleberry Finn, and don’t appreciate their messages because they can’t look past class to see universal realities of family, school, and growing up.

  38. That’s pretty weird. I always thought that reading more gave one a bigger perspective, and more acceptance of different people. Walk in another’s shoes for a mile, and such. Maybe this girl who was snotty about Prom doesn’t read much. And there are just some snotty people. I can’t say I know a single person who would cop an attitude about reading a book about working-class people (wait, what are the other categories? doesn’t every family work?). Though maybe it’s just that I live in the suburbs and go to a public school.

  39. That’s pretty weird. I always thought that reading more gave one a bigger perspective, and more acceptance of different people. Walk in another’s shoes for a mile, and such. Maybe this girl who was snotty about Prom doesn’t read much. And there are just some snotty people. I can’t say I know a single person who would cop an attitude about reading a book about working-class people (wait, what are the other categories? doesn’t every family work?). Though maybe it’s just that I live in the suburbs and go to a public school.

  40. That’s pretty weird. I always thought that reading more gave one a bigger perspective, and more acceptance of different people. Walk in another’s shoes for a mile, and such. Maybe this girl who was snotty about Prom doesn’t read much. And there are just some snotty people. I can’t say I know a single person who would cop an attitude about reading a book about working-class people (wait, what are the other categories? doesn’t every family work?). Though maybe it’s just that I live in the suburbs and go to a public school.

  41. Being a student at a high school that requires 40 hours of community service for graduation, I can say that the effects of it vary greatly among different people. Some teens hate it and see it as a chore, but some truly love helping others. Volunteering has opened my eyes to a side of the world that I never liked to think existed.
    When I read a book, I find it hard to not have empathy for the characters. I think that most teens don’t try to get inside the head of the characters. They just read and don’t let the story replay in their minds from different points of view. I am constantly thinking, “what is [insert character name here] feeling?” Most teens are self-centered and can’t put themselves in another person’s position, which results in lack of compassion for others.

  42. Being a student at a high school that requires 40 hours of community service for graduation, I can say that the effects of it vary greatly among different people. Some teens hate it and see it as a chore, but some truly love helping others. Volunteering has opened my eyes to a side of the world that I never liked to think existed.
    When I read a book, I find it hard to not have empathy for the characters. I think that most teens don’t try to get inside the head of the characters. They just read and don’t let the story replay in their minds from different points of view. I am constantly thinking, “what is [insert character name here] feeling?” Most teens are self-centered and can’t put themselves in another person’s position, which results in lack of compassion for others.

  43. I have yet to read any book by you other than Speak (I know, I know…I need to get on it!), but as I am 16 and from the middle class, I felt as if I should respond.

    From where I am in Indiana, most people are middle class. There are some families who are higher up with connections and the family name known all around town, but I’m not one of them. Everyone else either accepts that they’re middle class or they seem ashamed of the fact and try to hide it by putting themselves in large amounts of debt.

    I think that everyone has the ability to be compassionate, but that involves putting down walls or attitudes to make a connection to someone “lower” and that makes some people uncomfortable.

    I feel as if I’m rambling and not getting my point across, but I suppose what I’m really wanting to say is that I’m lucky. My parents have instilled in my brother and me that being happy and making others happy should be our number one priority. They want us to do better then themselves, but they don’t want us to care about the material things in life more then the important things. I am going to be driving a 91′ station wagon and I’m super excited : ). I go to GoodWill and buy t-shirts. My favorite pair of shoes cost me $4. I feel guilty to be spending lots of money of clothing and material items when I see photos of Katrina victims or even the kids around my town who are in poverty.

    Teenagers are compassionate. Many, many just chose not to. Watching people while in the mall yesterday made me realize how different I am then my peers. I’ve embraced that though.

  44. I have yet to read any book by you other than Speak (I know, I know…I need to get on it!), but as I am 16 and from the middle class, I felt as if I should respond.

    From where I am in Indiana, most people are middle class. There are some families who are higher up with connections and the family name known all around town, but I’m not one of them. Everyone else either accepts that they’re middle class or they seem ashamed of the fact and try to hide it by putting themselves in large amounts of debt.

    I think that everyone has the ability to be compassionate, but that involves putting down walls or attitudes to make a connection to someone “lower” and that makes some people uncomfortable.

    I feel as if I’m rambling and not getting my point across, but I suppose what I’m really wanting to say is that I’m lucky. My parents have instilled in my brother and me that being happy and making others happy should be our number one priority. They want us to do better then themselves, but they don’t want us to care about the material things in life more then the important things. I am going to be driving a 91′ station wagon and I’m super excited : ). I go to GoodWill and buy t-shirts. My favorite pair of shoes cost me $4. I feel guilty to be spending lots of money of clothing and material items when I see photos of Katrina victims or even the kids around my town who are in poverty.

    Teenagers are compassionate. Many, many just chose not to. Watching people while in the mall yesterday made me realize how different I am then my peers. I’ve embraced that though.

  45. I have yet to read any book by you other than Speak (I know, I know…I need to get on it!), but as I am 16 and from the middle class, I felt as if I should respond.

    From where I am in Indiana, most people are middle class. There are some families who are higher up with connections and the family name known all around town, but I’m not one of them. Everyone else either accepts that they’re middle class or they seem ashamed of the fact and try to hide it by putting themselves in large amounts of debt.

    I think that everyone has the ability to be compassionate, but that involves putting down walls or attitudes to make a connection to someone “lower” and that makes some people uncomfortable.

    I feel as if I’m rambling and not getting my point across, but I suppose what I’m really wanting to say is that I’m lucky. My parents have instilled in my brother and me that being happy and making others happy should be our number one priority. They want us to do better then themselves, but they don’t want us to care about the material things in life more then the important things. I am going to be driving a 91′ station wagon and I’m super excited : ). I go to GoodWill and buy t-shirts. My favorite pair of shoes cost me $4. I feel guilty to be spending lots of money of clothing and material items when I see photos of Katrina victims or even the kids around my town who are in poverty.

    Teenagers are compassionate. Many, many just chose not to. Watching people while in the mall yesterday made me realize how different I am then my peers. I’ve embraced that though.

  46. prom

    I think that it is a great book, and those people with that kind of attitude are ignorant and naive. Even if you are more privileged than a character, or LESS privileged, or whatever material reason you do not like them, you can still enjoy the book. They need to realized that this kind of situation mirrors real life – there are lots of different kinds of people in this world, and most of them are unlike you. Just because you are different you have no reason to not try to understand them and see things from their perspective.

  47. prom

    I think that it is a great book, and those people with that kind of attitude are ignorant and naive. Even if you are more privileged than a character, or LESS privileged, or whatever material reason you do not like them, you can still enjoy the book. They need to realized that this kind of situation mirrors real life – there are lots of different kinds of people in this world, and most of them are unlike you. Just because you are different you have no reason to not try to understand them and see things from their perspective.

  48. prom

    I think that it is a great book, and those people with that kind of attitude are ignorant and naive. Even if you are more privileged than a character, or LESS privileged, or whatever material reason you do not like them, you can still enjoy the book. They need to realized that this kind of situation mirrors real life – there are lots of different kinds of people in this world, and most of them are unlike you. Just because you are different you have no reason to not try to understand them and see things from their perspective.

  49. Where I live, there are very rich people, very poor people, and a lot that are in-between. Everyone blends in together, something I am very grateful for. But I do think that in pop culture these days, there is a lot of emphasis placed on being wealthy, or at least appearing to be. Those who are less fortunate are frowned upon as being lazy or being in that situation through their own means, which isn’t always true, unfortuantely.

    (See CATALYST for a great description of a church chicken and biscuit dinner. It is practically a sacrament for Methodists.)
    Oh this made me laugh so much. How very, very true!!

  50. Where I live, there are very rich people, very poor people, and a lot that are in-between. Everyone blends in together, something I am very grateful for. But I do think that in pop culture these days, there is a lot of emphasis placed on being wealthy, or at least appearing to be. Those who are less fortunate are frowned upon as being lazy or being in that situation through their own means, which isn’t always true, unfortuantely.

    (See CATALYST for a great description of a church chicken and biscuit dinner. It is practically a sacrament for Methodists.)
    Oh this made me laugh so much. How very, very true!!

    1. Same here.
      People who don’t make as much money than someone else is looked down upon.
      OK, that’s how the world has been always. But to judge someone because of their monetary wealth? Pointless.

  51. Where I live, there are very rich people, very poor people, and a lot that are in-between. Everyone blends in together, something I am very grateful for. But I do think that in pop culture these days, there is a lot of emphasis placed on being wealthy, or at least appearing to be. Those who are less fortunate are frowned upon as being lazy or being in that situation through their own means, which isn’t always true, unfortuantely.

    (See CATALYST for a great description of a church chicken and biscuit dinner. It is practically a sacrament for Methodists.)
    Oh this made me laugh so much. How very, very true!!

  52. I’ve been volunteering since September of 2004.
    I don’t see it as a burden. I mean, I volunteered at Fox Chase Cancer Center for two weeks.

    It’s neither a curse, nor is it a gift.

    I know the second part sounds like I’m heartless, but I’m not.
    Sure, it may bring those who are receiving the help joy and happiness, but is the happiness enough?

    Anyway, I digress.
    Teenagers can be compassionate readers, regardless of what people see us as now. We’re Generation “Y”. Ooh, big stuff, right there.
    Let’s be called the ones who will bring the world down (trust me, I’ve heard that)! Total joy right there.

    I read because I enjoy it. Granted, there are books that we’re assigned during the school year which I absolutely hate, but that’s my opinion.

    Then again, opinions don’t make the book.

  53. I’ve been volunteering since September of 2004.
    I don’t see it as a burden. I mean, I volunteered at Fox Chase Cancer Center for two weeks.

    It’s neither a curse, nor is it a gift.

    I know the second part sounds like I’m heartless, but I’m not.
    Sure, it may bring those who are receiving the help joy and happiness, but is the happiness enough?

    Anyway, I digress.
    Teenagers can be compassionate readers, regardless of what people see us as now. We’re Generation “Y”. Ooh, big stuff, right there.
    Let’s be called the ones who will bring the world down (trust me, I’ve heard that)! Total joy right there.

    I read because I enjoy it. Granted, there are books that we’re assigned during the school year which I absolutely hate, but that’s my opinion.

    Then again, opinions don’t make the book.

  54. well i’m from east new york which is like the red zone or at least one of the red zones and like Ashley says we’re the can’t afford anything extra poor. I mean we come from bad neighborhoods where we go to bad schools where a lot of kids just become statistics. people look down on or criticize the working class because a lot of people don’t understand what it means to be that way their from places like the suburbs where everyone knows each other and for the most part are safe, where getting a car for your 16th birthday is nothing short of ordinary and where they could or could not go to college and inherit their parents business. Me I whole heartily refuse to be another statistic my family has lived in this neighborhood for about 23 years or so the only choice I have is to do well in school or else i’m stuck just like everyone else with so much potential and no way to show it to the world I want to make my father proud because I know he wants for us what he couldn’t do for himself and he has never degraded us or any way told us we could not do something because of the cards which circumstance had dealt us and I love him for that – jessica from sheepshead bay high school

  55. well i’m from east new york which is like the red zone or at least one of the red zones and like Ashley says we’re the can’t afford anything extra poor. I mean we come from bad neighborhoods where we go to bad schools where a lot of kids just become statistics. people look down on or criticize the working class because a lot of people don’t understand what it means to be that way their from places like the suburbs where everyone knows each other and for the most part are safe, where getting a car for your 16th birthday is nothing short of ordinary and where they could or could not go to college and inherit their parents business. Me I whole heartily refuse to be another statistic my family has lived in this neighborhood for about 23 years or so the only choice I have is to do well in school or else i’m stuck just like everyone else with so much potential and no way to show it to the world I want to make my father proud because I know he wants for us what he couldn’t do for himself and he has never degraded us or any way told us we could not do something because of the cards which circumstance had dealt us and I love him for that – jessica from sheepshead bay high school

      1. awwwwwwww no one has ever told me that I feel like an inspiration to someone now! thank you I saw my English teacher by the way from last year she was carrying a class set of speak to her classroom I think she was going to teach it to her freshman so even more people will be touched by speak now which is wonderful to see her with the book made me so happy. She has grown quite fond of Melinda. I want to nudge her to read catalyst now

  56. well i’m from east new york which is like the red zone or at least one of the red zones and like Ashley says we’re the can’t afford anything extra poor. I mean we come from bad neighborhoods where we go to bad schools where a lot of kids just become statistics. people look down on or criticize the working class because a lot of people don’t understand what it means to be that way their from places like the suburbs where everyone knows each other and for the most part are safe, where getting a car for your 16th birthday is nothing short of ordinary and where they could or could not go to college and inherit their parents business. Me I whole heartily refuse to be another statistic my family has lived in this neighborhood for about 23 years or so the only choice I have is to do well in school or else i’m stuck just like everyone else with so much potential and no way to show it to the world I want to make my father proud because I know he wants for us what he couldn’t do for himself and he has never degraded us or any way told us we could not do something because of the cards which circumstance had dealt us and I love him for that – jessica from sheepshead bay high school

  57. Same here.
    People who don’t make as much money than someone else is looked down upon.
    OK, that’s how the world has been always. But to judge someone because of their monetary wealth? Pointless.

  58. Same here.
    People who don’t make as much money than someone else is looked down upon.
    OK, that’s how the world has been always. But to judge someone because of their monetary wealth? Pointless.

  59. Mrs. Kane-Sokol-Hatboro-Horsham High School

    Dear Ms. Halse-Anderson,
    Wow… I just got done “Speak” for a school project in Mrs. kane-sokol’s class. I loved it. It is my favorite book. I am sure you are aware of this, but Mrs. kane has asked us that we do this for extra credit. Of course I wanted to do it anyway. My dream is to be an author when I grow up… and go to Princeton University. I would love to write a book as good as yours. I would like to ask you a few questions. First, what was most difficult for you to write? How did your inspiration come to you? When you were first thinking of an idea for the book, did you write out a ton of plans, and a summary? That’s what I do. When I write, i go in to my room, turn on my music, and just write. I get lost in time, and I’m wondering if that’s a good start to being an author. I love english, and I loved your book. It has a great message to us in High School. It really told me that so much can change in so little time. Like take Rachel for example. My friend Michelle is close to me now, I could not imagine her completley changing and hanging out with someone like Andy Evans, but I suppose it is possible, just like Rachel did in your novel. Right now in Mrs. Kane’s class we are writing a myth. Mine is already up to ten pages… with a minimum of two required-and I haven’t even gotten close to ending it. I will try to cut it down a bit. I also wanted to know what helps you write. What are your special areas, or snacks, that give you inspiration? i really hope you can answer some of my questions. I am not a live journal user, so I wouldn’t know how to read your reply. If you want to email me your reply, that would be great. It’s:

    ShortNSweet7415@aol.com

    Thank yous so much for taking the time to read this. Even if we didn’t get extra credit for this, I would love to hear from you. Thanks again for your help! I really appreciate it.

    Yours Truly,

    Christina Goodreds
    Freshman English/wannabee author

  60. Mrs. Kane-Sokol-Hatboro-Horsham High School

    Dear Ms. Halse-Anderson,
    Wow… I just got done “Speak” for a school project in Mrs. kane-sokol’s class. I loved it. It is my favorite book. I am sure you are aware of this, but Mrs. kane has asked us that we do this for extra credit. Of course I wanted to do it anyway. My dream is to be an author when I grow up… and go to Princeton University. I would love to write a book as good as yours. I would like to ask you a few questions. First, what was most difficult for you to write? How did your inspiration come to you? When you were first thinking of an idea for the book, did you write out a ton of plans, and a summary? That’s what I do. When I write, i go in to my room, turn on my music, and just write. I get lost in time, and I’m wondering if that’s a good start to being an author. I love english, and I loved your book. It has a great message to us in High School. It really told me that so much can change in so little time. Like take Rachel for example. My friend Michelle is close to me now, I could not imagine her completley changing and hanging out with someone like Andy Evans, but I suppose it is possible, just like Rachel did in your novel. Right now in Mrs. Kane’s class we are writing a myth. Mine is already up to ten pages… with a minimum of two required-and I haven’t even gotten close to ending it. I will try to cut it down a bit. I also wanted to know what helps you write. What are your special areas, or snacks, that give you inspiration? i really hope you can answer some of my questions. I am not a live journal user, so I wouldn’t know how to read your reply. If you want to email me your reply, that would be great. It’s:

    ShortNSweet7415@aol.com

    Thank yous so much for taking the time to read this. Even if we didn’t get extra credit for this, I would love to hear from you. Thanks again for your help! I really appreciate it.

    Yours Truly,

    Christina Goodreds
    Freshman English/wannabee author

    1. Re: Mrs. Kane-Sokol-Hatboro-Horsham High School

      1. Every book has been hard to write.
      2. Inspiration is everywhere…but most of being an author is discipline, not inspiration.
      3. I start with character, then I sort of sketch out where the story might go, then I change my mind fifty million times. Every writer has a unique approach to the process.
      4. Places to write – I have written everywhere – basements, attics, bedrooms, kitchens, bookstores, basketball practices, planes, trains, cars, soccer games. If you really want to write, you’ll be able to do it anywhere.
      5. Snacks = popcorn, tea, coffee.
      6. What helps me write are a) my insane imagination b) my bills that must be paid.

      Why do you want to go to Princeton?

      1. Re: Mrs. Kane-Sokol-Hatboro-Horsham High School

        I think Princeton is a great school, nearby, and has a great academic program. Sorry this has taken so long. I haven’t gotten back to this site in a while. I really appreciate you taking the time to write me back. I am getting into poetry now, too. I think writing is all sort of a way to relieve stress(if it doesn’t drive you up the wall trying to think of things) and is much better than watching TV. I hope someday to get a book published. Thanks again for replying.

  61. Mrs. Kane-Sokol-Hatboro-Horsham High School

    Dear Ms. Halse-Anderson,
    Wow… I just got done “Speak” for a school project in Mrs. kane-sokol’s class. I loved it. It is my favorite book. I am sure you are aware of this, but Mrs. kane has asked us that we do this for extra credit. Of course I wanted to do it anyway. My dream is to be an author when I grow up… and go to Princeton University. I would love to write a book as good as yours. I would like to ask you a few questions. First, what was most difficult for you to write? How did your inspiration come to you? When you were first thinking of an idea for the book, did you write out a ton of plans, and a summary? That’s what I do. When I write, i go in to my room, turn on my music, and just write. I get lost in time, and I’m wondering if that’s a good start to being an author. I love english, and I loved your book. It has a great message to us in High School. It really told me that so much can change in so little time. Like take Rachel for example. My friend Michelle is close to me now, I could not imagine her completley changing and hanging out with someone like Andy Evans, but I suppose it is possible, just like Rachel did in your novel. Right now in Mrs. Kane’s class we are writing a myth. Mine is already up to ten pages… with a minimum of two required-and I haven’t even gotten close to ending it. I will try to cut it down a bit. I also wanted to know what helps you write. What are your special areas, or snacks, that give you inspiration? i really hope you can answer some of my questions. I am not a live journal user, so I wouldn’t know how to read your reply. If you want to email me your reply, that would be great. It’s:

    ShortNSweet7415@aol.com

    Thank yous so much for taking the time to read this. Even if we didn’t get extra credit for this, I would love to hear from you. Thanks again for your help! I really appreciate it.

    Yours Truly,

    Christina Goodreds
    Freshman English/wannabee author

  62. Speak

    I just finished Speak for a school project (I read it all today) and it was absolutely fantastic! I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner. Now if only my english teacher didn’t ruin a good book with discussion questions, and journal entries. oh well. We can’t all have our druthers.

  63. Speak

    I just finished Speak for a school project (I read it all today) and it was absolutely fantastic! I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner. Now if only my english teacher didn’t ruin a good book with discussion questions, and journal entries. oh well. We can’t all have our druthers.

    1. Re: Speak

      Yeah, I know what you mean. English teachers can’t help themselves. At least you got to read a book you enjoyed, props for that.

  64. Speak

    I just finished Speak for a school project (I read it all today) and it was absolutely fantastic! I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner. Now if only my english teacher didn’t ruin a good book with discussion questions, and journal entries. oh well. We can’t all have our druthers.

  65. Opinions don’t make the book. I have also read many books that I have hated, most of which were not for school. Teens can be very compassionate, but they can also be cold. I just don’t think many teens take time to read much of anything outside of school and the stuff they read for school they hate because they are forced to read it.
    Some teens see volunteering as a burden, another thing to add to their busy schedules. I don’t see my volunteering as a burden, in fact I love it. I wish more people would do it, but I can’t control that. About the happiness being enough, I think that different forms of community service bring different results.

  66. Opinions don’t make the book. I have also read many books that I have hated, most of which were not for school. Teens can be very compassionate, but they can also be cold. I just don’t think many teens take time to read much of anything outside of school and the stuff they read for school they hate because they are forced to read it.
    Some teens see volunteering as a burden, another thing to add to their busy schedules. I don’t see my volunteering as a burden, in fact I love it. I wish more people would do it, but I can’t control that. About the happiness being enough, I think that different forms of community service bring different results.

  67. We had to do something like 40 hours’ community service to graduate high school, too. I think you’ve pinned down exactly how people react–some hate it, some love it. Freshman year, i spent most of my “service” time playing hide-and-seek in a run-down building; by senior year, i was doing more hours of service than i was required to do. Mandatory community service isn’t the Answer to All Problems, but it sure doesn’t hurt…and i kinda miss it in college now o_O

  68. We had to do something like 40 hours’ community service to graduate high school, too. I think you’ve pinned down exactly how people react–some hate it, some love it. Freshman year, i spent most of my “service” time playing hide-and-seek in a run-down building; by senior year, i was doing more hours of service than i was required to do. Mandatory community service isn’t the Answer to All Problems, but it sure doesn’t hurt…and i kinda miss it in college now o_O

  69. I looove speak

    I am reading your book Speak right now and I love it so much! You are an amazing author and I love the way you use all the metaphors. Right now I am about half way through your book and I cant wait to finish it!! My friend Chris just bought the movie and he said I could borrow it so I’m going to hurry and finish the book and then watch the movie! Well, please e-mail me back at clairedafreak456@yahoo.com! -Claire-

    P.S. Are you planning on making a sequel?

  70. I looove speak

    I am reading your book Speak right now and I love it so much! You are an amazing author and I love the way you use all the metaphors. Right now I am about half way through your book and I cant wait to finish it!! My friend Chris just bought the movie and he said I could borrow it so I’m going to hurry and finish the book and then watch the movie! Well, please e-mail me back at clairedafreak456@yahoo.com! -Claire-

    P.S. Are you planning on making a sequel?

  71. I looove speak

    I am reading your book Speak right now and I love it so much! You are an amazing author and I love the way you use all the metaphors. Right now I am about half way through your book and I cant wait to finish it!! My friend Chris just bought the movie and he said I could borrow it so I’m going to hurry and finish the book and then watch the movie! Well, please e-mail me back at clairedafreak456@yahoo.com! -Claire-

    P.S. Are you planning on making a sequel?

  72. True, most teens now won’t take the time to read a book. However, if they actually read regardless of the medium, whether it be a book, magazine, or whatever, then it’s some progress.

    I don’t think it’s the happiness that’s based on me.
    I think it’s the happiness of those being helped.
    OK. I know. I’m totally being a hypocrite. I should have said it correctly. And double checked my previous post.

    What I meant to say in my previous post is that I’m not big on the happiness that I receive (as cold as that sounds). What’s important for me the happiness they get.

    OK, I must admit. There are times where I will see volunteering as a burden. However, I mostly enjoy it. Of course, there are outside factors, like a busy schedule, school, extracurricular activities, etc., that will affect the time to go. However, I try to go weekly for an hour to at least bring them some sort of happiness.

  73. True, most teens now won’t take the time to read a book. However, if they actually read regardless of the medium, whether it be a book, magazine, or whatever, then it’s some progress.

    I don’t think it’s the happiness that’s based on me.
    I think it’s the happiness of those being helped.
    OK. I know. I’m totally being a hypocrite. I should have said it correctly. And double checked my previous post.

    What I meant to say in my previous post is that I’m not big on the happiness that I receive (as cold as that sounds). What’s important for me the happiness they get.

    OK, I must admit. There are times where I will see volunteering as a burden. However, I mostly enjoy it. Of course, there are outside factors, like a busy schedule, school, extracurricular activities, etc., that will affect the time to go. However, I try to go weekly for an hour to at least bring them some sort of happiness.

  74. OK, so I just re-read my first post in this talk.
    I really need to explain. I’m making it even more vague.
    I shall re-explain when I have more time.

  75. OK, so I just re-read my first post in this talk.
    I really need to explain. I’m making it even more vague.
    I shall re-explain when I have more time.

  76. Achievement vs. Compassion

    “Are we promoting achievement at the expense of compassion?”

    YES!! I’m a senior right now in high school at a public school, one of top 5 in Texas, and it’s so unbelievably competitive that it almost feels like nothing is as important as grades and being “number one.” Argh! I HATE this. I take all AP classes, most of which I don’t like, and I really don’t care about the work, at all. So many kids at my school have lost touch with reality and like someone mentioned above, only read what is assigned to them for class. My junior year, I actually went for months without reading a new book! When I look on it now, I can’t believe it — I was the nerdy shy girl in elementary and middle school who read at least a book a day and always pestered the teacher to let me go to the library, racing through my work so I could go. But I got so wrapped up in the pressure, from teachers and parents and friends, that I let that part of myself go.
    My family has always been “working class” and I could really identify with the book Prom (absolutely LOVE all of your books, Ms. Anderson!). But since my family moved (for the millionth time!), this time to a rich suburb in Texas, I definitely feel like a fish out of water. Our parking lot is filled with jaguars and bmw’s, etc., and I’m the only senior on the bus. I’m the editor of my school’s newspaper and I wrote an in-depth feature on this girl whose been bullied maliciously since middle school, and my principal cut it (we have prior review) because it is “sensitive.” Basically, he was afraid that he might get calls from parents and that it would show our school as less than perfect. I cannot begin to explain how angry I still am about it!
    But even though I have to talk to alot of people for newspaper, I honestly don’t like most of them. I have a few good friends, but even then, I constantly notice the differences between us. Does this, in some reverse kind of way, make me a snob? I don’t know. I just hate that for the past four years I’ve been among people that I can’t really get a connection with because their view of the world and what is important is so drastically different from mine.
    I believe that teenagers can be some of the most compassionate people, if they understand the true value of life and relationships. Sounds kinda sappy/cliched, but at a summer journalism workshop, I met some of the most empathic and dedicated teenagers I have ever known and it really motivated me to see others with such passion. I know we’re out there, and I think it’s horrendous that so much value is placed on stupid grades in high school and the myth that if you’re accepted into an Ivy League college, you’re set for life and will get that white picket fence around your fancy house in the suburbs with your handsome husband, three kids, and a dog.
    Don’t people see that that is not the most important thing in life?!
    Maybe since I am just utterly freaked out myself, about impending college, etc., but I never realized how unprepared I really am! Compared to last year, have I grown so significantly that I’m ready to be on my own? For the past 13 years I have been in mandatory education, and now I’m supposed to suddenly know all the answers and have a black and white plan set out for my life.
    Wow, this got to be pretty long, sorry! But this just raised alot of my own concerns. 😉
    If anyone bothers to read this too long post, do you feel the same way about any of this?
    Seriously frustrated,
    Anna

  77. Achievement vs. Compassion

    “Are we promoting achievement at the expense of compassion?”

    YES!! I’m a senior right now in high school at a public school, one of top 5 in Texas, and it’s so unbelievably competitive that it almost feels like nothing is as important as grades and being “number one.” Argh! I HATE this. I take all AP classes, most of which I don’t like, and I really don’t care about the work, at all. So many kids at my school have lost touch with reality and like someone mentioned above, only read what is assigned to them for class. My junior year, I actually went for months without reading a new book! When I look on it now, I can’t believe it — I was the nerdy shy girl in elementary and middle school who read at least a book a day and always pestered the teacher to let me go to the library, racing through my work so I could go. But I got so wrapped up in the pressure, from teachers and parents and friends, that I let that part of myself go.
    My family has always been “working class” and I could really identify with the book Prom (absolutely LOVE all of your books, Ms. Anderson!). But since my family moved (for the millionth time!), this time to a rich suburb in Texas, I definitely feel like a fish out of water. Our parking lot is filled with jaguars and bmw’s, etc., and I’m the only senior on the bus. I’m the editor of my school’s newspaper and I wrote an in-depth feature on this girl whose been bullied maliciously since middle school, and my principal cut it (we have prior review) because it is “sensitive.” Basically, he was afraid that he might get calls from parents and that it would show our school as less than perfect. I cannot begin to explain how angry I still am about it!
    But even though I have to talk to alot of people for newspaper, I honestly don’t like most of them. I have a few good friends, but even then, I constantly notice the differences between us. Does this, in some reverse kind of way, make me a snob? I don’t know. I just hate that for the past four years I’ve been among people that I can’t really get a connection with because their view of the world and what is important is so drastically different from mine.
    I believe that teenagers can be some of the most compassionate people, if they understand the true value of life and relationships. Sounds kinda sappy/cliched, but at a summer journalism workshop, I met some of the most empathic and dedicated teenagers I have ever known and it really motivated me to see others with such passion. I know we’re out there, and I think it’s horrendous that so much value is placed on stupid grades in high school and the myth that if you’re accepted into an Ivy League college, you’re set for life and will get that white picket fence around your fancy house in the suburbs with your handsome husband, three kids, and a dog.
    Don’t people see that that is not the most important thing in life?!
    Maybe since I am just utterly freaked out myself, about impending college, etc., but I never realized how unprepared I really am! Compared to last year, have I grown so significantly that I’m ready to be on my own? For the past 13 years I have been in mandatory education, and now I’m supposed to suddenly know all the answers and have a black and white plan set out for my life.
    Wow, this got to be pretty long, sorry! But this just raised alot of my own concerns. 😉
    If anyone bothers to read this too long post, do you feel the same way about any of this?
    Seriously frustrated,
    Anna

    1. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

      I want to make you a cup of tea right now.

      Take a deep breath. You have a lot of control about whether or not you freak out about college. You do not have to buy into the mass hysteria about the experience… unless you want to, of course.

      There is no “right college”. There is only the college that is right for you. Think about it this way – these colleges are applying to you, trying to get you to accept them. You should only accept the college that you know will value the gifts and energy you bring. If a college winds up rejecting you, then you’ll know they did not see the value in you, and if they couldn’t see it, you definitely don’t want to go there.

      You do not need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. You need to find a school that feels comfortable and safe, that your family can afford, and that will give you the opportunity to explore your passions. If you don’t like it, you can always transfer.

      You can do this. You will be fine. I promise. Let me know how it’s going, OK?

      1. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

        Thanks for the tea! Lol, I have taken a deep breath and am trying to keep my stress level normal.
        Alot of it comes from the fact that I am going out of state for college (probably?) because my family and I have some problems that I want to get away from, and the money issue is pretty big, too, so sometimes, that really gets to me.
        But, I know that in the end, I have to make the decision that makes me the happiest. Right now I’m stuck between one in-state college (that I don’t really want to go to, but it’s my “safe”) and a university in Nebraska with a really awesome journalism department (although, of course, even though I think I’ll major in journalism, I am still not sure, but it looks like it’d be fun and interesting) and Northwestern (the “prestigious” university) that looks challenging, but maybe too much so.
        Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to figure out the college stuff without causing myself to have a teenage heart attack, and thank you so much for replying to my post! I can’t wait to read your next book!

    2. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

      Anna, I feel exactly the same way. I moved to a wealthier area in 6th grade, and it was like moving to a different universe. Here, it is not the typical “popular” kids like in movies or books, but the intellectual snobs who put down other students- not only if they don’t have as much material wealth as them but also if the other student isn’t in NHS or all APs or seriously stressing themselves out just to be “smart”. Kids here put others down for not being in Honors classes, and I find it ridiculous. It’s scary to be in the higher classes for me because even if you ARE in AP, kids still treat you a certain way depending on how well you debate or take tests or WHATEVER. I’ve cried a LOT over doing well- not just for myself- but also so that I don’t stick out in my AP classes as someone who doesn’t fit up to par. My friends are all much better off than I am (financially, I mean), and even through all our laughter I still feel awkward and left out… especially because I live far away from the school in a small ranch while they all live in giant, sprawled homes next door to our high school. One friend actually thought I was silly for not wanting to ask my parents to buy me a car… as if it was that simple!

      Through all my stresses, however, I am so happy to have the loving family I have even in our quaint home and simple ways of life… when seeing some of the pressure parents put on the kids around me, I’m happy my parents are there to hug me and tell me it’s not the end of the world.

      Carly

  78. Achievement vs. Compassion

    “Are we promoting achievement at the expense of compassion?”

    YES!! I’m a senior right now in high school at a public school, one of top 5 in Texas, and it’s so unbelievably competitive that it almost feels like nothing is as important as grades and being “number one.” Argh! I HATE this. I take all AP classes, most of which I don’t like, and I really don’t care about the work, at all. So many kids at my school have lost touch with reality and like someone mentioned above, only read what is assigned to them for class. My junior year, I actually went for months without reading a new book! When I look on it now, I can’t believe it — I was the nerdy shy girl in elementary and middle school who read at least a book a day and always pestered the teacher to let me go to the library, racing through my work so I could go. But I got so wrapped up in the pressure, from teachers and parents and friends, that I let that part of myself go.
    My family has always been “working class” and I could really identify with the book Prom (absolutely LOVE all of your books, Ms. Anderson!). But since my family moved (for the millionth time!), this time to a rich suburb in Texas, I definitely feel like a fish out of water. Our parking lot is filled with jaguars and bmw’s, etc., and I’m the only senior on the bus. I’m the editor of my school’s newspaper and I wrote an in-depth feature on this girl whose been bullied maliciously since middle school, and my principal cut it (we have prior review) because it is “sensitive.” Basically, he was afraid that he might get calls from parents and that it would show our school as less than perfect. I cannot begin to explain how angry I still am about it!
    But even though I have to talk to alot of people for newspaper, I honestly don’t like most of them. I have a few good friends, but even then, I constantly notice the differences between us. Does this, in some reverse kind of way, make me a snob? I don’t know. I just hate that for the past four years I’ve been among people that I can’t really get a connection with because their view of the world and what is important is so drastically different from mine.
    I believe that teenagers can be some of the most compassionate people, if they understand the true value of life and relationships. Sounds kinda sappy/cliched, but at a summer journalism workshop, I met some of the most empathic and dedicated teenagers I have ever known and it really motivated me to see others with such passion. I know we’re out there, and I think it’s horrendous that so much value is placed on stupid grades in high school and the myth that if you’re accepted into an Ivy League college, you’re set for life and will get that white picket fence around your fancy house in the suburbs with your handsome husband, three kids, and a dog.
    Don’t people see that that is not the most important thing in life?!
    Maybe since I am just utterly freaked out myself, about impending college, etc., but I never realized how unprepared I really am! Compared to last year, have I grown so significantly that I’m ready to be on my own? For the past 13 years I have been in mandatory education, and now I’m supposed to suddenly know all the answers and have a black and white plan set out for my life.
    Wow, this got to be pretty long, sorry! But this just raised alot of my own concerns. 😉
    If anyone bothers to read this too long post, do you feel the same way about any of this?
    Seriously frustrated,
    Anna

  79. Fine! Go read your gossip girls then!

    Personally, I could relate much more to the main character in Catalyst, because it was so reminiscent of my high school experience, as opposed to the mc in Prom, who I could only vaguely relate to, but still enjoyed reading about. Both main characters are just so well-done, I feel like they could easily have been classmates of mine. However, I’m not biased about what kind of characters I like to read about, and I’d like to think that a lot of avid readers are not as well.
    Just so you know, none of your books are trash, including Prom.
    Gossip Girls is trash.
    Okay, I haven’t actually read Gossip Girls myself, so I can’t say from experience, but from the synopsis, it doesn’t sound worthy of sharing a bookshelf with anything by you, Laurie.

    Can I be a pest and ask if your WIP has an mc that we’ve never met before? And you were talking in an earlier post about music. What kind of music have you been listening to lately?

  80. Fine! Go read your gossip girls then!

    Personally, I could relate much more to the main character in Catalyst, because it was so reminiscent of my high school experience, as opposed to the mc in Prom, who I could only vaguely relate to, but still enjoyed reading about. Both main characters are just so well-done, I feel like they could easily have been classmates of mine. However, I’m not biased about what kind of characters I like to read about, and I’d like to think that a lot of avid readers are not as well.
    Just so you know, none of your books are trash, including Prom.
    Gossip Girls is trash.
    Okay, I haven’t actually read Gossip Girls myself, so I can’t say from experience, but from the synopsis, it doesn’t sound worthy of sharing a bookshelf with anything by you, Laurie.

    Can I be a pest and ask if your WIP has an mc that we’ve never met before? And you were talking in an earlier post about music. What kind of music have you been listening to lately?

    1. Re: Fine! Go read your gossip girls then!

      Gossip Girls…. heh….

      Music – I’ve been listening to the newish Coldplay a lot, the soundtrack from Lord of the Rings, and anything that has a fast beat. What are you listening to? Any suggestions for me?

  81. Fine! Go read your gossip girls then!

    Personally, I could relate much more to the main character in Catalyst, because it was so reminiscent of my high school experience, as opposed to the mc in Prom, who I could only vaguely relate to, but still enjoyed reading about. Both main characters are just so well-done, I feel like they could easily have been classmates of mine. However, I’m not biased about what kind of characters I like to read about, and I’d like to think that a lot of avid readers are not as well.
    Just so you know, none of your books are trash, including Prom.
    Gossip Girls is trash.
    Okay, I haven’t actually read Gossip Girls myself, so I can’t say from experience, but from the synopsis, it doesn’t sound worthy of sharing a bookshelf with anything by you, Laurie.

    Can I be a pest and ask if your WIP has an mc that we’ve never met before? And you were talking in an earlier post about music. What kind of music have you been listening to lately?

  82. Late to the party

    I don’t think this is about The Culture, per se — or if it is, then in a larger socioeconomic sense.

    As a teacher, I see a lot of parents who care deeply about helping their children turn out successful, smart, athletic, popular, even happy. (Sounds pretty good, right?) But “decent” is often not high on the list. (Quick quiz: If I told you your child was excelling academically and seemed happy but could be mean to her friends, would you feel (a) relatively pleased (b) devastated? What if the other way round?)

    And if caring for others isn’t a family priority, it won’t be the child’s priority. All the speeches about Being Kind won’t trump that you just don’t feel like playing with Janie because she’s weird, or that it’s fun to tell other people what to do.

    Schools can make a difference, literature can make a difference, growing up can make a difference. And some families raise enormously compassionate children; I believe this is actually the one area (versus academics, or popularity, or freedom from depression, for example) where parents who try hard are least likely to be disappointed. But I think it comes down to individual values.

  83. Late to the party

    I don’t think this is about The Culture, per se — or if it is, then in a larger socioeconomic sense.

    As a teacher, I see a lot of parents who care deeply about helping their children turn out successful, smart, athletic, popular, even happy. (Sounds pretty good, right?) But “decent” is often not high on the list. (Quick quiz: If I told you your child was excelling academically and seemed happy but could be mean to her friends, would you feel (a) relatively pleased (b) devastated? What if the other way round?)

    And if caring for others isn’t a family priority, it won’t be the child’s priority. All the speeches about Being Kind won’t trump that you just don’t feel like playing with Janie because she’s weird, or that it’s fun to tell other people what to do.

    Schools can make a difference, literature can make a difference, growing up can make a difference. And some families raise enormously compassionate children; I believe this is actually the one area (versus academics, or popularity, or freedom from depression, for example) where parents who try hard are least likely to be disappointed. But I think it comes down to individual values.

    1. Re: Late to the party

      P.S. Forgot to explain my first sentence. Living in the middle class has become increasingly complicated and frustrating since our parents’ generation. Even on two decent college-graduate incomes, it is incredibly difficult, for example, to live in a successful suburban school district or to send your child to college without scholarship assistance.

      Parents feel that they and their families will have to perform some outstanding feat of finances or athletics or academics just in order to keep their children in the same socioeconomic class. I have met relatively sane persons who force elementary school children to “specialize” in a sport they’re good at but don’t like, not because they are bad parents, but because they can’t figure out how else to pay for college.

      So I think the relief at hearing that a child is successful is greater, and thus the disappointment at hearing that she is not very nice can’t take up as much mental energy.

      1. Re: Late to the party

        I have a sense that we are shortly going to see a revolution. The hard-wroking middle-class parents who can no longer afford to send their kids to college are finally going to wake up and say.. “um… is it possible that a degree from Prestigious University is simply not worth $120,000?”

        College administrators should be very nervous about this.

        1. Re: Late to the party

          Of course, the pressure to get into Prestigious University in the first place is related to the notion that a child with the same decent public education that got her parents nice white-collar jobs may no longer be able to find work that pays well enough to live in the neighborhood where she grew up.

  84. Late to the party

    I don’t think this is about The Culture, per se — or if it is, then in a larger socioeconomic sense.

    As a teacher, I see a lot of parents who care deeply about helping their children turn out successful, smart, athletic, popular, even happy. (Sounds pretty good, right?) But “decent” is often not high on the list. (Quick quiz: If I told you your child was excelling academically and seemed happy but could be mean to her friends, would you feel (a) relatively pleased (b) devastated? What if the other way round?)

    And if caring for others isn’t a family priority, it won’t be the child’s priority. All the speeches about Being Kind won’t trump that you just don’t feel like playing with Janie because she’s weird, or that it’s fun to tell other people what to do.

    Schools can make a difference, literature can make a difference, growing up can make a difference. And some families raise enormously compassionate children; I believe this is actually the one area (versus academics, or popularity, or freedom from depression, for example) where parents who try hard are least likely to be disappointed. But I think it comes down to individual values.

  85. Re: Late to the party

    P.S. Forgot to explain my first sentence. Living in the middle class has become increasingly complicated and frustrating since our parents’ generation. Even on two decent college-graduate incomes, it is incredibly difficult, for example, to live in a successful suburban school district or to send your child to college without scholarship assistance.

    Parents feel that they and their families will have to perform some outstanding feat of finances or athletics or academics just in order to keep their children in the same socioeconomic class. I have met relatively sane persons who force elementary school children to “specialize” in a sport they’re good at but don’t like, not because they are bad parents, but because they can’t figure out how else to pay for college.

    So I think the relief at hearing that a child is successful is greater, and thus the disappointment at hearing that she is not very nice can’t take up as much mental energy.

  86. Re: Late to the party

    P.S. Forgot to explain my first sentence. Living in the middle class has become increasingly complicated and frustrating since our parents’ generation. Even on two decent college-graduate incomes, it is incredibly difficult, for example, to live in a successful suburban school district or to send your child to college without scholarship assistance.

    Parents feel that they and their families will have to perform some outstanding feat of finances or athletics or academics just in order to keep their children in the same socioeconomic class. I have met relatively sane persons who force elementary school children to “specialize” in a sport they’re good at but don’t like, not because they are bad parents, but because they can’t figure out how else to pay for college.

    So I think the relief at hearing that a child is successful is greater, and thus the disappointment at hearing that she is not very nice can’t take up as much mental energy.

  87. Re: Speak

    Yeah, I know what you mean. English teachers can’t help themselves. At least you got to read a book you enjoyed, props for that.

  88. Re: Speak

    Yeah, I know what you mean. English teachers can’t help themselves. At least you got to read a book you enjoyed, props for that.

  89. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

    I want to make you a cup of tea right now.

    Take a deep breath. You have a lot of control about whether or not you freak out about college. You do not have to buy into the mass hysteria about the experience… unless you want to, of course.

    There is no “right college”. There is only the college that is right for you. Think about it this way – these colleges are applying to you, trying to get you to accept them. You should only accept the college that you know will value the gifts and energy you bring. If a college winds up rejecting you, then you’ll know they did not see the value in you, and if they couldn’t see it, you definitely don’t want to go there.

    You do not need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. You need to find a school that feels comfortable and safe, that your family can afford, and that will give you the opportunity to explore your passions. If you don’t like it, you can always transfer.

    You can do this. You will be fine. I promise. Let me know how it’s going, OK?

  90. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

    I want to make you a cup of tea right now.

    Take a deep breath. You have a lot of control about whether or not you freak out about college. You do not have to buy into the mass hysteria about the experience… unless you want to, of course.

    There is no “right college”. There is only the college that is right for you. Think about it this way – these colleges are applying to you, trying to get you to accept them. You should only accept the college that you know will value the gifts and energy you bring. If a college winds up rejecting you, then you’ll know they did not see the value in you, and if they couldn’t see it, you definitely don’t want to go there.

    You do not need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. You need to find a school that feels comfortable and safe, that your family can afford, and that will give you the opportunity to explore your passions. If you don’t like it, you can always transfer.

    You can do this. You will be fine. I promise. Let me know how it’s going, OK?

  91. Re: Fine! Go read your gossip girls then!

    Gossip Girls…. heh….

    Music – I’ve been listening to the newish Coldplay a lot, the soundtrack from Lord of the Rings, and anything that has a fast beat. What are you listening to? Any suggestions for me?

  92. Re: Fine! Go read your gossip girls then!

    Gossip Girls…. heh….

    Music – I’ve been listening to the newish Coldplay a lot, the soundtrack from Lord of the Rings, and anything that has a fast beat. What are you listening to? Any suggestions for me?

  93. Re: Late to the party

    I have a sense that we are shortly going to see a revolution. The hard-wroking middle-class parents who can no longer afford to send their kids to college are finally going to wake up and say.. “um… is it possible that a degree from Prestigious University is simply not worth $120,000?”

    College administrators should be very nervous about this.

  94. Re: Late to the party

    I have a sense that we are shortly going to see a revolution. The hard-wroking middle-class parents who can no longer afford to send their kids to college are finally going to wake up and say.. “um… is it possible that a degree from Prestigious University is simply not worth $120,000?”

    College administrators should be very nervous about this.

  95. Re: Mrs. Kane-Sokol-Hatboro-Horsham High School

    1. Every book has been hard to write.
    2. Inspiration is everywhere…but most of being an author is discipline, not inspiration.
    3. I start with character, then I sort of sketch out where the story might go, then I change my mind fifty million times. Every writer has a unique approach to the process.
    4. Places to write – I have written everywhere – basements, attics, bedrooms, kitchens, bookstores, basketball practices, planes, trains, cars, soccer games. If you really want to write, you’ll be able to do it anywhere.
    5. Snacks = popcorn, tea, coffee.
    6. What helps me write are a) my insane imagination b) my bills that must be paid.

    Why do you want to go to Princeton?

  96. Re: Mrs. Kane-Sokol-Hatboro-Horsham High School

    1. Every book has been hard to write.
    2. Inspiration is everywhere…but most of being an author is discipline, not inspiration.
    3. I start with character, then I sort of sketch out where the story might go, then I change my mind fifty million times. Every writer has a unique approach to the process.
    4. Places to write – I have written everywhere – basements, attics, bedrooms, kitchens, bookstores, basketball practices, planes, trains, cars, soccer games. If you really want to write, you’ll be able to do it anywhere.
    5. Snacks = popcorn, tea, coffee.
    6. What helps me write are a) my insane imagination b) my bills that must be paid.

    Why do you want to go to Princeton?

  97. ive got “fever”

    Dear mrs anderson….

    Hi!! i absolutely love fever and you are like the best ever. I was wondering where did you write fever and when did you start it? sorry im so nosy but im doing a report for communications. it said in the “questions most asked ” that you are thinking of making a sequal to fever??? omg if you did it would be like ‘The best’ ever!! I think if you make a sequal i think you should name it bitter drops like you were going to name the first one…. Oh-kay now i was wondering … how do you start a book because i try to write books, and all my starting pages suck. so just one last thing … i think you are the greatest auther in like the world!!!

    your biggest fan,
    (anonamys)

    p.s …sqwee!!

  98. ive got “fever”

    Dear mrs anderson….

    Hi!! i absolutely love fever and you are like the best ever. I was wondering where did you write fever and when did you start it? sorry im so nosy but im doing a report for communications. it said in the “questions most asked ” that you are thinking of making a sequal to fever??? omg if you did it would be like ‘The best’ ever!! I think if you make a sequal i think you should name it bitter drops like you were going to name the first one…. Oh-kay now i was wondering … how do you start a book because i try to write books, and all my starting pages suck. so just one last thing … i think you are the greatest auther in like the world!!!

    your biggest fan,
    (anonamys)

    p.s …sqwee!!

    1. Re: ive got “fever”

      Sqwee back!

      Yes, I’d love to write a sequel to FEVER, but it’s going to be three or four years before I get to it.

      You start a book….. I’m not sure how, exactly. I just start writing about a character. Don’t worry if your opening pages suck – you can make them better when you revise. Revision is an author’s best friend!

  99. ive got “fever”

    Dear mrs anderson….

    Hi!! i absolutely love fever and you are like the best ever. I was wondering where did you write fever and when did you start it? sorry im so nosy but im doing a report for communications. it said in the “questions most asked ” that you are thinking of making a sequal to fever??? omg if you did it would be like ‘The best’ ever!! I think if you make a sequal i think you should name it bitter drops like you were going to name the first one…. Oh-kay now i was wondering … how do you start a book because i try to write books, and all my starting pages suck. so just one last thing … i think you are the greatest auther in like the world!!!

    your biggest fan,
    (anonamys)

    p.s …sqwee!!

  100. Re: ive got “fever”

    Sqwee back!

    Yes, I’d love to write a sequel to FEVER, but it’s going to be three or four years before I get to it.

    You start a book….. I’m not sure how, exactly. I just start writing about a character. Don’t worry if your opening pages suck – you can make them better when you revise. Revision is an author’s best friend!

  101. Re: ive got “fever”

    Sqwee back!

    Yes, I’d love to write a sequel to FEVER, but it’s going to be three or four years before I get to it.

    You start a book….. I’m not sure how, exactly. I just start writing about a character. Don’t worry if your opening pages suck – you can make them better when you revise. Revision is an author’s best friend!

  102. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

    Anna, I feel exactly the same way. I moved to a wealthier area in 6th grade, and it was like moving to a different universe. Here, it is not the typical “popular” kids like in movies or books, but the intellectual snobs who put down other students- not only if they don’t have as much material wealth as them but also if the other student isn’t in NHS or all APs or seriously stressing themselves out just to be “smart”. Kids here put others down for not being in Honors classes, and I find it ridiculous. It’s scary to be in the higher classes for me because even if you ARE in AP, kids still treat you a certain way depending on how well you debate or take tests or WHATEVER. I’ve cried a LOT over doing well- not just for myself- but also so that I don’t stick out in my AP classes as someone who doesn’t fit up to par. My friends are all much better off than I am (financially, I mean), and even through all our laughter I still feel awkward and left out… especially because I live far away from the school in a small ranch while they all live in giant, sprawled homes next door to our high school. One friend actually thought I was silly for not wanting to ask my parents to buy me a car… as if it was that simple!

    Through all my stresses, however, I am so happy to have the loving family I have even in our quaint home and simple ways of life… when seeing some of the pressure parents put on the kids around me, I’m happy my parents are there to hug me and tell me it’s not the end of the world.

    Carly

  103. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

    Anna, I feel exactly the same way. I moved to a wealthier area in 6th grade, and it was like moving to a different universe. Here, it is not the typical “popular” kids like in movies or books, but the intellectual snobs who put down other students- not only if they don’t have as much material wealth as them but also if the other student isn’t in NHS or all APs or seriously stressing themselves out just to be “smart”. Kids here put others down for not being in Honors classes, and I find it ridiculous. It’s scary to be in the higher classes for me because even if you ARE in AP, kids still treat you a certain way depending on how well you debate or take tests or WHATEVER. I’ve cried a LOT over doing well- not just for myself- but also so that I don’t stick out in my AP classes as someone who doesn’t fit up to par. My friends are all much better off than I am (financially, I mean), and even through all our laughter I still feel awkward and left out… especially because I live far away from the school in a small ranch while they all live in giant, sprawled homes next door to our high school. One friend actually thought I was silly for not wanting to ask my parents to buy me a car… as if it was that simple!

    Through all my stresses, however, I am so happy to have the loving family I have even in our quaint home and simple ways of life… when seeing some of the pressure parents put on the kids around me, I’m happy my parents are there to hug me and tell me it’s not the end of the world.

    Carly

  104. awwwwwwww no one has ever told me that I feel like an inspiration to someone now! thank you I saw my English teacher by the way from last year she was carrying a class set of speak to her classroom I think she was going to teach it to her freshman so even more people will be touched by speak now which is wonderful to see her with the book made me so happy. She has grown quite fond of Melinda. I want to nudge her to read catalyst now

  105. awwwwwwww no one has ever told me that I feel like an inspiration to someone now! thank you I saw my English teacher by the way from last year she was carrying a class set of speak to her classroom I think she was going to teach it to her freshman so even more people will be touched by speak now which is wonderful to see her with the book made me so happy. She has grown quite fond of Melinda. I want to nudge her to read catalyst now

  106. Re: Late to the party

    Of course, the pressure to get into Prestigious University in the first place is related to the notion that a child with the same decent public education that got her parents nice white-collar jobs may no longer be able to find work that pays well enough to live in the neighborhood where she grew up.

  107. Re: Late to the party

    Of course, the pressure to get into Prestigious University in the first place is related to the notion that a child with the same decent public education that got her parents nice white-collar jobs may no longer be able to find work that pays well enough to live in the neighborhood where she grew up.

  108. I want to be an author some day but for right now all I write is poetry all though one day I hope to write a novel sometimes ideas just come to me unexpectedly though this is the reason why I have about five different writing books. I think I got the writing bug from my sister she can write poetry like you wouldn’t believe some of her poems are published in the u.k. – jessica from sheepshead Bay High School

  109. I want to be an author some day but for right now all I write is poetry all though one day I hope to write a novel sometimes ideas just come to me unexpectedly though this is the reason why I have about five different writing books. I think I got the writing bug from my sister she can write poetry like you wouldn’t believe some of her poems are published in the u.k. – jessica from sheepshead Bay High School

  110. I want to be an author some day but for right now all I write is poetry all though one day I hope to write a novel sometimes ideas just come to me unexpectedly though this is the reason why I have about five different writing books. I think I got the writing bug from my sister she can write poetry like you wouldn’t believe some of her poems are published in the u.k. – jessica from sheepshead Bay High School

  111. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

    Thanks for the tea! Lol, I have taken a deep breath and am trying to keep my stress level normal.
    Alot of it comes from the fact that I am going out of state for college (probably?) because my family and I have some problems that I want to get away from, and the money issue is pretty big, too, so sometimes, that really gets to me.
    But, I know that in the end, I have to make the decision that makes me the happiest. Right now I’m stuck between one in-state college (that I don’t really want to go to, but it’s my “safe”) and a university in Nebraska with a really awesome journalism department (although, of course, even though I think I’ll major in journalism, I am still not sure, but it looks like it’d be fun and interesting) and Northwestern (the “prestigious” university) that looks challenging, but maybe too much so.
    Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to figure out the college stuff without causing myself to have a teenage heart attack, and thank you so much for replying to my post! I can’t wait to read your next book!

  112. Re: Achievement vs. Compassion

    Thanks for the tea! Lol, I have taken a deep breath and am trying to keep my stress level normal.
    Alot of it comes from the fact that I am going out of state for college (probably?) because my family and I have some problems that I want to get away from, and the money issue is pretty big, too, so sometimes, that really gets to me.
    But, I know that in the end, I have to make the decision that makes me the happiest. Right now I’m stuck between one in-state college (that I don’t really want to go to, but it’s my “safe”) and a university in Nebraska with a really awesome journalism department (although, of course, even though I think I’ll major in journalism, I am still not sure, but it looks like it’d be fun and interesting) and Northwestern (the “prestigious” university) that looks challenging, but maybe too much so.
    Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to figure out the college stuff without causing myself to have a teenage heart attack, and thank you so much for replying to my post! I can’t wait to read your next book!

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