And guess what?? I found a boy! That all-elusive male teenaged reader.
BRIAN, 15. ROUND ROCK, TX.
What are you looking at?
He holds up Ender's Game and The Hunger Games.
What gets you to pick up a book?
Mostly I come in knowing what I want. Like my mom has been telling me to read Ender's Game forever, so I finally came in to buy it. But if I'm just browsing, it's the cover. I know they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I usually do. That's why I picked up [The Hunger Games]. It looks different.
And not super girly?
What makes you decide to buy a book?
The amount of time my mom's been nagging me to read it. Or if friends I trust say something's good. I also really like series, so I'm always checking to see if the next book is out.
Most YA writers are adults in their thirties or older. Do you think they get the teen experience right?
I don't know. I don't read a lot of normal YA, like about high school and dating and stuff. Mostly what I read is science fiction or fantasy, so the teens in those books have a completely different life experience from me. I don't know what it's like to be, like, an teen alien caught in some intergalactic war, so I couldn't tell you if the author was writing it right or not.
Whenever I have read normal YA, there's usually something that feels off about it to me, but I've never really been able to put my finger on it. Like the author thinks teens my age are a lot more grown-up than we really are, or like we're a lot more childlike, but at the same time. I don't know. Being a teen can be really complicated because you're right in between being a grown-up and being a kid, and I'm not sure a lot of books can really get that across.
Are you sick of vampires?
I don't read those kinds of books. I don't really read any books with hot guys on the covers, because they're always just about how perfect and hot that guy is.
Do you ever have trouble finding YA books you're interested, what with the glut of hot guy covers out there?
Yeah, it can be hard. I definitely feel like there are more 'girl' books around than 'guy' books, which sucks. Guys read too. Lately it seems like it's gotten better, though, I've been finding more stuff.
How much do you read?
It depends on how busy school is I guess. I'd say about a book a week.
What do you think about e-books?
I've never read one. I think it'll probably be like music was, though. At first everyone was all upset because they liked having the actual CD with a case and the liner notes and stuff, but then everyone got an iPod and realized how much easier it was to just download music, so now we don't miss CDs at all. You can still buy them, but hardly anyone does.
Do you ever read book blogs or search out favorite authors online?
I've never read a book blog. When I was younger, I used to go to this message board for fans of this certain book...
He shakes his head. I'll never tell.
Anyway, we used to talk about the book and stuff and that was fun. But I think I'd have to really love a book to do something like that. Sometimes I'll look for an author's website to see what else they've written if I really like their books, but that's usually it.
What's the one book you've always wanted to read and never found?
I always thought the Grandfather Paradox would make a really good book. Something about time travel and all the timelines start to get mixed up, and the two main characters could be the same guy except from different timelines. It'd probably be really confusing, but I think it'd be cool.