Daily Archives: June 22, 2010

Guest Blogger: Ms Cherylynne Bago, bookseller and writer extraordinaire

We are happy to welcome Cherylynne as our guest blogger for the next few weeks. Cherylynne has a unique perspective as both a bookseller and an writer. If you have any burning bookseller questions, let us know. Cherylynne has the answers.

Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who sells or recommends children’s books at Barnes & Noble; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A struggling young adult writer. 3. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Origin: The View from Above & Beyond- http://cherylynne.blogspot.com

Every few days, I have the exact same conversation.  A teenage boy comes in looking for recommendations.  He’s read Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, and Harry Potter.

My first suggestions are always novels in the same genre, things like Suzanne Collin’s Underland Chronicles, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, or Rick Riordan’s new Kane Chronicles.

Then I get this response:  “Yeah…you know, Percy Jackson was great when I was twelve, but I’m actually sixteen now. Do you have anything…older?”

Short answer?  Not really.

Here’s a quick list of the YA books that boys are buying:

1.       Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

2.       Maze Runner by James Dashner

3.       Maximum Ride series by James Patterson

4.       Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

5.       Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan

6.       Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer

And that’s it.  Really.

Now, I’ve heard a number of people say that teenage boys aren’t reading.  I don’t think that’s true.  They’re just not reading YA, because there aren’t enough books for them.  They go straight from Brandon Mull to Michael Crichton, James Patterson, John Grisham and Robert Ludlum.

YA, on the other hand, is oversaturated with books for girls, particularly paranormal romance.  And even the books that boy should like (Uglies, anyone?) have covers that look so ridiculously girly that no boy would be caught dead reading it.

What we’ve got to remember is that teenagers are all about appearance.  Their entire existence revolves around “looking cool.”  This is where I think e-readers can come in handy.  No girlish cover, no dog-eared paperback, just the newest gadget.  But that’s a discussion for another time.

What am I trying to say?  Authors, editors, agents, we need books for teenage boys.  Not just any books, but fantasy packed with action (and with REALLY cool covers).  Think about what someone would want to read after finishing Percy Jackson. Eragon used to fit the bill, but Christopher Paolini has taken so long between books that his audience has grown up.

In short, there’s room on the shelf.  So get writing!


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