Last month, when Amazon featured At The Walls Of Galbrieth, I asked my teenage son to get his friends to download the book and leave a review. He responded that most of them don’t have a kindle or even the app on their phones.
I was surprised and pushed back, but he persisted. When most have finished their homework it is late and they only want to chill, play a video game or read a graphic novel at best. No one has the energy to read.
Well, he admitted, some do.
Are they the ones who don’t do their homework?
He thought for a moment then decided that these were his friends who are academically the high-achievers. Actually they also participate in crew, debate club, or hold down a part-time job.
We left the conversation there, but the next day he asked if he could download a book to read. It has just come out and is part of a series he was reading in the summer vacation and before. He is excited about its release.
I am proud that he joined the dots and decided to begin reading again. He spends almost all his waking hours at school or doing homework. I know and appreciate how much energy he invests just to keep up. But he realized that those friends he wishes to emulate are reading.
It is no surprise that teenagers who are reading are flocking to series. They grew up on Harry Potter and a host of other great series. These books offered long months or years of reading, of living in a world they got to know as well as their own, and of meeting characters who turned into good, steady friends. They got sad when they finished the last page of the most current book and counted down to the new release. In an age of instant gratification, waiting a year or two for a new novel is unthinkable!
My son and I stood at midnight (actually he fell asleep leaning against me) in Borders waiting for the fourth Christopher Paolini book. By the time we returned home, he was too tired to read it, but that did not stop him falling asleep hugging the book.
It is fun to see that even now, years after the Harry Potter series began and even ended, how excited everyone gets when J.K. Rowling tweets a thought.
So when you consider what to buy a teenager or pre-teen for the holidays, you could do worse than buy a few books and begin them on a journey to another world that they envisage on their terms (with a little input from a humble author!). And, though this article is not meant as a promotion, well, I’ll leave you with a gif.
Alon / elfwriter
Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, and five other Wycaan Master books all released by Tourmaline Books. The link above takes you to the Kindle versions. For all other eReaders, please click here.