1. DanM
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    DanM Member

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    The psychology of teenage girls...

    Discussion in 'Research' started by DanM, Oct 9, 2013.

    So, it's turning out that a major character in something I'm working on is going to be a teenage girl - maybe 16, 17.

    As someone who neither is a teenage girl, nor knows any teenage girls, I need to do some research.

    Can anyone recommend any books on teenage psychology, or novels with teenage girls as protagonists, or any YA books aimed specifically at that age group?

    I'm going to look through Twilight, Hunger Games, etc - but any other recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It might help to see if your library has Ophelia Speaks or Queen Bees and Wannabes, which are about issues that teen girls face. Those books (and others that may be on the shelf near them) may have some good insight into the world of girls.
     
  3. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Ha...teenage psychology. Well, I'm a teenage girl if that helps so if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I think it would be best to read books with teenage girls as MCs rather than a book on teenage psychology as I think that may make you overthink things.

    - Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
    - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    - The First Time by Lara Harte
    - The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong
    - The Dark Ride by Caroline Green

    That's some books I've read with a teenage girl POV...
    I really suggest going to your local library and going to the YA section...it's usually dominated with teenage girls as MCs in the books.

    Hope this helped.
     
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  4. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    Don't look at Twilight. For the love of all things holy, do not use that as your basis for a teenage girl. As a girl, who was once a teenager, I can tell you... THE WORLD IS ENDING. Now, I don't mean this literally. But everyday life just becomes incredibly hard. It's difficult to look out beyond your little piece of the pie into the great big beyond, and small things that happen have a huge mental and emotional impact. I thought I was a pretty good teenager, but apparently after talking with my parents they were really worried because I liked to stay in my room a lot and stay up really late. I also started looking up Wicca, and as a Christian family, they were scared I was going to turn into a devil worshipper or something. Other girls are normally mean as hell, but sometimes in a backhanded kind of way. I feel like girls find that one close 'bestie', and that's their main support. When that crumbles... hell breaks loose.

    I think that Hunger Games is a good book to read, depending on the setting and the nature of your character. Also, Sabriel by Garth Nix, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Gemma Doyle, UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn, The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston, and of course, any Harry Potter novels. Hermione is a great female character. I think The Host by Stephenie Meyer shows a good example of the typical love triangle with teenagers (although an alien is involved, but that doesn't matter much).

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask too. :) Good luck!
     
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  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've no books to recommend, but i did survive raising 6 teenage girls, so can answer any questions you might have... feel free to email me for details...

    love and hugs, maia [mom of 7, grandmom of 19--at last count]
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
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  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Elizabeth Kostova's narrating character in The Historian is 17. I would not take her's as a typical voice, but certainly an indication of what you can do.
     
  7. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    I think there's not a certain "psychology" for 16-17 year old girls. Because it's the age between really being a child and being an adult (for the law; some girls don't even know how to act mature at the age of 25, guess you get the point). I think you can go in many directions with 16-17 year old teenage girl as your MC. Depending on the people in her surroundings (school, friends, family, neighbourhoos, etc.), her interests, personality, where and how she is raised your character can either be very mature, or the stereotype "dumb blonde" falling for about every handsome boy she meets, nice or a rebel.
    I'd say you can do anything you want, because although there are some "rules" for the fictional behaviour of teenage girls all rules have exeptions.

    Also: try to avoid Twilight if you want to get familiar with the behaviour of fictional teens; it's about the worst example you can get. The hunger games is a good example, but of course the book doesn't take place in a nice and peaceful setting. If your story takes place in a more or less modern setting I suggest reading the House of Night series by P.C.Cast, or at least the first two books. They are pretty recent and written from a teenage (16 in book 1, 17 in a later book) girl's point of view. Stick to the first two or three though, after that it gets pretty unrealistic in some ways.

    Good luck with your story
     
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  8. platerawriter
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    platerawriter Member

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    I agree with some of the other people that replied to you. No two people are alike and no two people have the same exact experiences, even within a demographic. My experiences as a closeted, staunch religious, not athletic, constantly depressed 16 year old probably varies from the 16 year old, straight jock and his experiences vary from the musical, theatrical teen guy. And those are just three. I guess the point I'm trying to say is you need to develop your character as an individual and not so much on stereotypical traits based off of demographics.

    That's just my thoughts on it.
     
  9. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Research Hormonal effects on pubescent teenagers (girls in particular) and how they react with their life. It's all about emotion. Hopefully this will help to shape your MC.
     
  10. motormouth1312
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    motormouth1312 Member

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    50% of the world population doesn't understand 'The psychology of teenage girls' Trust me the world would be a much better place if we all knew, Can u guess who the 50% is?
     
  11. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Males?
     
  12. DanM
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    DanM Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input and recommendations :)
     
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  13. BillC
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    BillC Member

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    Consider looking at some resources on adolescent psychology and education too - those will give you more of a "range of possibles" rather than just mimicking a character from a book.

    Can tell you from experience, out of a classroom full of 16-17yo NONE of the are the same, and NONE are 'typical'. And if your aim is to write something for a YA audience, and you make a cookie cutter teen character, they will pick it up straight away and drop the book. And slag it off to their peers.
     
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  14. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know. I've never understood them, even when I lived among them. As a demographic group. they're probably my least favorite. (Which is not to say that I haven't met some individual teen girls whom I like very much. Now that I think about it, I could make the same statement about lawyers.)
     
  15. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    Just keep in mind that there is more to a person than their gender and age. People don't introduce themselves as "I am a teenage girl." They introduce themselves by name. The content of your character and the development of your character matters so much more than their demographic.
     
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  16. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Teenage girls talk in shrill voices, move in flocks, and get excited easily.
    Teenage girls are quiet, keep to themselves, and consider fun things totally lame.
    Teenage girls flaunt their bodies out in the streets in miniskirts and tiny tops.
    Teenage girls hide their bodies under hoodies and boyfriend-jeans.
    Teenage girls say like and totally and call each other sluts.
    Teenage girls adore the Brontës, write long poems, and have a synonym dictionary app in their phones.
    Teenage girls talk of boys, stalk their FB accounts, and giggle a lot.
    Teenage girls think they'll crush will never notice them, then cry, throw stuff at their moms, then decide not to give a shit.
    Teenage girls listen to Justin Bieber and wallpaper their rooms with his pictures.
    Teenage girls listen to Slayer and want to shave their skulls Kerry King like.

    And so on.

    (Just don't try to contact teenage girls over the internet to ask questions. You'll have their dads on your tail with shotguns.)
     
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  17. DanM
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    DanM Member

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    @KaTrian - I love it, and have copied your post straight into my novel notes. :)
     
  18. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @DanM lol, glad to help :)
     
  19. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know if it's a "girl" thing - but it's definitely a teenage thing. You are convinced that nobody understands you :D You're also far too mature for your own good and wonder why nobody else sees the things you see :p You think you're being cool and individual when in fact you're just conforming with all your friends. You secretly listen to Evanescence and cry in bed contemplating suicide, when you were never really gonna do it - you're just confused all round. You think you've managed to hide everything from your parents when in fact they knew all along, but simply had the respect for you to keep their distance, all the while making you believe they don't love you and of course they don't respect you.

    Ah I'm so glad I'm not a teen anymore.
     
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  20. SarahD
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    SarahD Member

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    I've worked with teenage girls (and I was one myself) I can tell you now that they're all different. One was so organised she scared me, another just so full of angst she was almost a cliché, one of the older ones (18) was so emotionally stunted she still sucked her thumb, others were completely well rounded, a rarity in itself. There aren't any hard or fast rules for teenage girls. If this is your character, you know her, you probably know little details about her that will never make it into your story, you know whether she is a sensible teenager, a flighty one or somewhere in between.

    Saying that though Matched by Allie Condie is good. And was recommended to me by two teenage girls.
     
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  21. slamdunk
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    slamdunk Member

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    Contact a school (call) they usually forces kids to read a certain amount of books. I'm sure there will be at least one teacher that can tell you what books the students tend to borrow if you explain why you ask and are nice.

    Or you can go around the library and peek to see what the "kids" are reading. But do it in a subtle way or people will think you are a creep of some sort.

    After you expose who those who doesn't understand I would like a reference to this 50% statement, or it will sounds like made up statistics.
     
  22. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    I think 100% of people don't understand teenage girls, because teenage girls often don't even understand themselves. (Or maybe that's just a part of being female... which I can say, as I'm female and often don't understand my brain.)
     
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  23. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    I have a feeling you were trying for something that my brain currently isn't comprehending atm, so i am going to be careful and not go rant about this because some of it i have seen is true.

    I am 17, and believe me when i say every girl has their own personality. I have two friends who are liable to explode and go beat the crap out of the person who pissed them off, and another friend who is so into paranormal we all ended up making a werewolf pack (apparently my anatomy has changed so im no longer a pure-blooded werewolf) and as for me.... im the neutral one. I end up defending boys when they go after them, i draw, i listen to metal when i otherwise look like i would never even glance at the stuff, and whenever a cute guy starts paying attention to me my brain shuts down and i can't make much more than squeaky noises and blush.

    Yeah, usually you'd think a girl my age would have had at least one boyfriend or two by now...

    actually I am one of those few i think that does understand themselves. i can be hyper at times and then be glaring daggers at you the next second, but everything depends on the events of the day and who I have to deal with next. I am myself, i was teased for it up until i moved to Nebraska in 8th grade, and I came to the point that i can't not be myself, it is virtually impossible for me to do so. And yet i still have scars that cause me to separate from my group at least once a week, so i am both social, but also a loner.
     
  24. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow, Liz, you're a woman after my own heart. I cannot support the above quoted sentence enough. Teen girls have destroyed modern music and television, and ruined society by their perpetuation of the smart phone culture.
     
  25. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not so sure that they're squarely to blame on that one.
     
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