Bookworms Want YOU to Know
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10 Things Middle School Bookworms Want You to Know

For those of us that were the bookworm, we can relate to the struggles of middle-school-age avid readers.

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10 Things Middle School Bookworms Want You to Know
Tayler Klinkbeil

Growing up, I was that kid with my head in a book at all times. From the 5th grade, when I raced my teacher to finish "The Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series, to college when I realized I love reading books so much I want to write them, Young Adult (YA) readers have a special place in my heart.

My little sister is the spitting image of me in that respect. There are times when I can't summon her out of her room for dinner or to finish her homework. She's part of a middle school book club, an elective reading class, and a ten-person group chat with fellow bookworms. As she's reached the YA realm, I've recommended her books that I read when I was her age (and she's put me on new things too). I gave her "Hush Hush," she gave me "Cinder." I gave her "Hunger Games," she spoiled "The Selection" for me (out of frustration with a plot twist) before I could read it.

When I asked if there were things she and her reader friends wished the general population knew about bookworms, they did not disappoint. This is their list of grievances, very much Martin Luther-style, and beautifully articulated if I may add.

1. Reading doesn't have to just be classics or nonfiction.

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I think we've all heard the lament from non-readers that reading is boring. Or unimportant. Or something you only do for school. I've convinced one or two in my day to finish a YA fiction book, and although I faced some resistance, once they completed the novel they were quick to change their tune. Classic literature and nonfiction are important parts of any reading appetite, but I tend to allow those to remain on the academic side of my reading. Fiction is where it's at.

2. Don't interrupt me while I'm reading. Ever.

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There's nothing more annoying than reading in a public place and getting interrupted every few seconds because "you're only reading." You wouldn't stand in front of the TV screen while Netflix is on, nor would you try to distract me because I'm "just binge-watching." This is important, don't interrupt my internal reading voice, please and thank you.

3. Reading books is a healthy escape.

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Even at a young age, kids can get bogged down by school, friends, chores, etc. Reading was my way of living outside of all of that. I'm glad to see that love for freedom isn't lost on today's generation of YA readers.

4. Some books aren't for everyone. (Even for us bookworms).

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Some books are a little eccentric. Whether its the plot, characters, relationships, or world, authors sometimes take risks in their writing that isn't for everyone. (From a publisher's perspective, it was a calculated risk as well). If you get halfway through a book and realize it's not for you, I'd move on. There's no shame in knowing your taste (so don't shame the people who read for fun for doing the same).

5. Don't ask me what I'm reading while I'm reading. I'm just going to show you the cover.

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Again, if I'm watching Netflix and you ask what show I'm watching: look it up. If I'm mid-conversation, character fight, or all-out war, I am not down to chat. You can read the back, while I continue to read.

6. I can experience thoughts and feelings from a character's perspective.

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The human imagination is an incredible thing. Just look at series like "Harry Potter" or "Hunger Games." Those ideas came from someone's mind, and as readers, we get the deluxe privilege of living in those worlds for a couple of hundred pages at a time. It goes back to the healthy escape thing. Reading teaches empathy. Empathy makes good human beings. Have I said enough?

7. PLEASE don't bend the pages of a book.

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The publisher spent blood, sweat, and tears on the design, cover art and editing of that book. Please don't disrespect their work (or my book!)

8. Don't ask me what page I'm on.

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If I promised to let you borrow the book when I'm done, you'll get it when I'm done. If you're bored, go get your own. I'm busy.

9. Don't ask me what it's about if you can see I haven't finished it yet.

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"So, at the end of 'Dirty Dancing,' is there a dancing scene?"

Okay, so maybe that's a bad example, but if I haven't finished the book, don't ask me for a synopsis. Again, I'm just going to show you the back. I'm trying to get to the payoff the traditional way: by reading it.

10. My imagination picks up where the author's left off.

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The best feeling is being able to daydream (if you ask me). Fanfiction writers have taken this concept above and beyond I think anyone in the publishing world would have imagined, but it's amazing to see how readers can take ideas from an author to the next level. Alternate universes, One True Pairings (OTPs), and just extemporaneous writing can be so helpful for beginning writers. As a past bookworm and current writer, I can never thank the YA authors of my childhood enough for exercising the muscles of my imagination.

If you know a YA bookworm, or you are one or used to be one (like myself), these things may mean different things to you. Either that bookworms are snarky and don't want to be bothered, or that they could be the future authors of their generation. I tend to lean towards the latter. My favorite childhood series definitely inspired the type of writing I want to do in my career, and I think you never go wrong discussing a plot twist or OTP with a young reader. Their opinions take creativity beyond any page or book cover, which I think is pretty awesome.

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