This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.
As a teen librarian-in-training, I’m always reading young adult literature to add to my ever-growing mind bank of future book recommendations. I can’t stress the following enough: I do not hate this. I adore YA books. But when I read these books, I often find myself thinking “so-and-so will love this book” or “I have to remember to talk to the girls about this series,” and this librarian autopilot response keeps me from really diving into and appreciating a story. Things changed when I read Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers.
I was already familiar with Lyga’s work, having processed his previous novels into reader’s advisory categories in my mind bank. But reading I Hunt Killers was a different experience entirely. I was completely absorbed in the story; I was wrapped up not only in the suspenseful plot, but also in the characters’ psyches and motivations. I couldn’t put the novel down. It wasn’t until after I finished and processed my reaction to the ending (which, in case you’re wondering, was “jkBn!!!di7sq!!4hu$#jbsu!!”), that I began thinking about which of my students would have similar reactions.
This occurrence was a refreshing change of pace for me. Reading I Hunt Killers brought me back to my teen years when I read books purely for fun. Granted, I still have fun while I read (again, I love YA novels), but there’s always a tinge of work lingering over the experience. So now I go about selecting my reading material in a new way. I still look for books that I wouldn’t normally read in order to serve my patrons better, but I also take more time to pick out books that interest me to reemphasize the fun of reading. After all, isn’t developing a lifelong interest in reading what we want for our teens?
— Nicole Perrault