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My Journey as a Teen Blogger: Guest post by Aneeqah

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the best way – the very best way – to serve teens well is to know them, spend time with them.  And to spend time reading their blogs! There are some amazing teen bloggers out there reading books and sharing what they think.  We’ve talked before to Marissa and Jasmine from Beneath the Moon and Stars, now meet Aneeqay from My Not So Real Life.

Before I go on and on talking about myself, I thought I would thank the fabulous Karen who has graciously invited me to write this post. You are fabulous, Karen, and we all know it!
Visit Aneeqah’s blog My Not So Real Life
My name is Aneeqah, and I am a teen with a passion for reading. And I’m here to tell the story of how I became the avid reader that I am today.

My love of reading started in 2nd grade, really. I had a fabulous teacher who encouraged me to read. She is actually now a librarian and you can find her on her blog The Brain Lair. You’ll find that she has a huge part in my story. Anyways, moving on. My teacher, Ms. B, was always giving me new books to read, and I flew threw them. After 2nd grade, I started going to a new library right in my area. The librarians there helped me find books to read. Two series that I was a huge fan of when I was younger was the Abby Hayes series and the Warriors series. I loved both these series to pieces. I used to reread them over and over again. That’s where my original love of books came from.

While I read quite a bit, it wasn’t a whole lot in reality. That all changed when I came into 6th grade. Remember that teacher who I was talking about, Ms. B? She was now a librarian at my new middle school. She gave me more and more books to read, and I joined the book club that she ran. I can’t tell you how much fun I had during those times. My fondest memories are the times where I used to stop by in the library and talk to Ms. B for almost all of my lunch time, just chatting about books. In 7thgrade, we started talking more about the social parts of reading, and she told me about Goodreads one day. I went home and asked my mom for an account, and when she said yes, a whole new aspect of reading was opened up for me.

Suddenly, I had not only a new way to keep track of all my books that I read, but also what I thought of them. And then I started writing reviews. I’m going to be honest, my very first reviews were not pretty at all, but I haven’t deleted any of them because it shows how much I’ve grown, in my eyes.

In short, I fell in love. Goodreads had so many passionate people about books all in one place, and it got me so excited. And I never realized how books there were truly out there, and how many new releases there were. I spent hours and hours just going through books and adding them to my TBR. Pure bliss. I still do it today. It’s a lot of fun, to just waste away hours on Goodreads. [You should try it, someday, by the way.]

Anyways, one day in 7th grade, Ms. B and some members of the book club I was in, were hanging out at the public library on a weekend. [Yes, Ms. B is that awesome. She hangs out with teens on her weekends.] Suddenly, the whole idea of blogging came up. After telling us what book blogging was all about, she told us that she was going to give up blogging. But then, we all came up with the idea of joining her blog as side reviewers [ok, fine, it was her idea, ok?]. We would each have a name for our little section, and we would post reviews occasionally. I was so excited to start blogging, and so was my fellow book club member, Lucy.

Eventually, Lucy and I both became the primary co-bloggers on Ms. B’s blog. I learned about the book blogging world. I learned about how book blogging worked, how to gain followers, how to be polite, how ARCs worked, how to comment well, and how to just generally be a book blogger. The stuff I learned was invaluable. And from it, I also got to know two very awesome people even better than I knew them before, Ms. B and Lucy. These two people are now dear to my heart.

While I was co-blogging on Ms. B’s blog, I had to move to another state. I had to leave the place I had lived for nearly 10 years. I loved everything about where I lived. My beautiful and cozy house, my fabulous book loving friends, and most of all, the fabulous librarian who knew me so well. I was losing it all when I moved. And it wasn’t a type of move where I could visit my friends often. I’m talking about moving to a state 16 hours away. Texas.

It broke my heart. Having all of that taken away is tough, and for a teen who doesn’t know her place in the world, it’s even tougher.

I was heading into the unknown. I can’t say that I’ve totally adjusted to Texas yet, but I know it has its upsides. But more importantly, the move made blogging even more important to me, because I saw it as my way to keep connected with my two closest friends.

After a while of co-blogging on Ms. B’s blog, and after the move, Ms. B one day suggested that I start my own blog. My first response was something along the lines of “Why in the world I do that?!” But the seed was planted. I started thinking about starting my own blog. What would it feel like to do everything myself? To have a blog of my own?

Ms. B encouraged me endlessly, saying that I had a unique “voice” [which you can’t really see in this post, since this one is kind of serious. In my next guest post, don’t worry, you’ll see more of my true sarcastic self!]. So after talking with my mom about it, I started it. At this time, Lucy and I were constantly texting, and I encouraged her to start her own blog as well. 2 days after I started my blog, she started her own as well.

It was also around this time that I went to my first few book signings. I realized how big of a book community there was in Texas. But the book signing that really changed everything for me was the Lauren Oliver signing, where I met the fabulous Karen and Marissa, who are both book bloggers. I realized that there were so many bookish people in my area, and that we really got along well together. Karen has been encouraging me so much with talking about my bookish thoughts, and Marissa and I have talked endless times on Twitter. I can honestly say that I definitely have found 2 new close friends that I hold dear to my heart. It gives me hope that Texas isn’t all that bad.

And that’s how I started blogging. That’s my story.

I’m going to apologize if this post is super long and everything. I warned Karen beforehand that this was going to be long and rambly!