What Are Teens Reading? You May Be Surprised…

June 22nd, 2011

When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I am the Young Adult Librarian at the Perryville Branch Library, inevitably I get asked the following question: “Do teens really read anymore?” I think it’s a common fallacy that today’s youth are so wrapped up in video games, social media, and gossip that they no longer appreciate a good book. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Running the teen book club, Book Hook, I’ve found a large group of teens that love to read and know what it is they like and why they like it. Our book discussions are very interesting and the teens always have a wonderful grasp of the material we read. Some of the discussions we’ve had in Book Hook have been in-depth and enlightening, both to myself and the teens participating.

Some of our best discussions have revolved around what other titles we’re reading—the teens are very open and love to talk about their favorite reads and offer book recommendations to others. As a result of their passion for books and reading, I had a talk with my Teen Advisory Board about writing book reviews and recommendations to share on the CCPL website. Although I love Young Adult books, let’s face it—I’m an adult and don’t always have my pulse on the teen scene. I believe this is a great opportunity to see what our teens are reading and what books they think are worth sharing.

It’s no surprise that teens are more interested in reading reviews and recommendations from their peers than from someone like me! If a book is recommended by someone they see as “like themselves,” with similar life experiences and interests, they’ll be more likely to be interested and give it a try. I’m all for it! Whatever it takes, I just want to see these wonderful books get into the hands of our teen readers. In addition, if you’re the parent of a teenager and you don’t read YA books yourself, reading reviews from teens may help you in choosing books for your own teen. And don’t be surprised if you find some that you can’t wait to read yourself!

CBR001043So I extend the invitation to all you teens, parents, teachers, librarians, etc. out there: Stop by the teen section of CCPL’s website and take a look at the teen recommendations.  You may be surprised and inspired to find out what our teens are reading and enjoying.

What is your teen reading?

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Confessions of a Young Adult Librarian

January 6th, 2011

hunger-games bookI confess… I use my job as an excuse to read all the Young Adult fiction I want. Unlike the ladies I’ve noticed at the salon who have taken the cover off of their Stephenie Meyer books and are trying to hide the title from judgmental eyes, I boldly display my teen Paranormal Romances with colorful covers all over my home. When the Twilight Moms made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show and women in their 20s and over could be seen with Team Edward/Jacob tees at the midnight showing of the Twilight Saga films, I realized that Young Adult Lit had gone main-stream. Many parents have been in on the secret for a long time — YA books are lots of fun! Just like adult fiction, they cover many genres from love-struck vampires to historical fiction. Although the main characters are teenagers, adults can still relate to the common themes or enjoy reliving their teen angst.

We can trace the popularity explosion of YA Lit back to the larger-than-life success of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Next, vampires became a popular theme with the Twilight series wooing both teen and adult audiences. While Vampire Lit is still popular, with series such as Blue Bloods and Vampire Academy flying off the shelves, there’s a new genre on the rise – Dystopian Societies. These books are all about imperfect worlds, rebellion, and freedom. If J.K. Rowling started a magical revolution and Stephenie Meyer led vampire tales to the top of the bestseller lists, then the leader of the Dystopian Society Lit wave has got to be Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games Trilogy has been hugely successful and adults and teens alike can’t put them down. Also, this series appeals to both women and men. I gave The Hunger Games to all my female friends for the holidays and none of them have been able to get around to reading them yet. Their fiancés are a different story — two have read it and moved on to the next book in the series.

We’ve been offering Teen Book Discussions for quite a while, but what about all those adults out there who can’t get enough of YA Lit or would simply like to give it a try? Good news! You can sign up for Not Your Mother’s Book Club at the North East Branch, an adult book discussion on YA books.  See more details at our online calendar and sign up by calling 410-996-6269.

If you have read The Hunger Games and are looking for your next dystopian society fix, try The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, or Matched by Ally Condie. And here’s a list of YA reads in many genres that you might want to try out, whether you’re a young adult or a young adult at heart…

Tell us – what’s your favorite YA read?

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