'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 2 October 2010

Ask Sheryl: Books for Teenage Boys to Compete with DVDs and Movies

Dear Sheryl,
I have teenage sons who have always been avid readers until recently. Now movies and DVDs are getting a lot more attention and I don’t want them to lose that love of books to the quick fix. They have always read above their age level and it has all slowed as they are now having difficulty finding authors or storylines that inspire them or keep their attention, hence the move to quick storylines in film.
There have been a couple of adult storylines that I have been considering but they do cross into concepts that are very confronting. Is there anywhere they can access information by typing in the authors/ titles and having suggestions come up of similar styles/ authors to explore? An example is they have both recently loved Hinton’s The Outsiders but we are having trouble finding a modern day equivalent. I know this service exists for Music but unaware for it for Books? Jane

Hi Jane,

I can understand your frustration! I’ve had a look around and can’t find a specific site like you describe. But public and school libraries are a great place to start.

Most librarians are very happy to help out if you’re looking for authors/titles with similar stories/styles to what your sons already enjoy reading. So that would be my first suggestion.

The next is to check out review websites like:
and of course, Kids Book Review.

You didn’t name the authors your sons already enjoy so not sure what they prefer. Comedy? Adventure? Sci-fi? Fantasy? Realism? I’ll run the risk of suggesting a few names in the Young Adult area....

Have they tried the books of Patrick Ness? His The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first in the Chaos Walking series. And Neil Gaiman – fabulous writer.
Or Australian, James Roy. His Hunting Elephants has had terrific reviews.

Then there’s British author, Jonathan Stroud’s The Bartimaeus Trilogy (brilliant!) the first one is The Amulet of Samarkand. Once you start reading them, you can’t stop. Anything by Australian author, Paul Collins is worth reading too!!

And of course, how could I not mention Aussie writers, Michael Gerard Bauer and James Moloney. If your boys like reading humour, they’ll love Don’t Call me Ishmael. Have they read The Rangers’ Apprentice series? It’s popular with boys especially. There are dozens of writers who appeal to teenage boys.

I’ve mention male writers in this post, but there are fabulous female writers for this age group too. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of room. Maybe I should do a post listing some of our terrific writers for teenagers.

Hope this helps your dilemma. It’s great that your boys have been avid readers – at this age, there are so many pressures working against the reading fiction. But I’m thinking that because they’ve tasted the pleasure of reading stories when they’re younger, they have a far bigger chance of coming back to it when they are older.

Then again, your sons might defy the norm and stay being readers! Good on you, boys! Have fun looking for more titles – you’re only limited by your imagination.

Yours in the love of books,