October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Lana Gorlinski.
As hard as it is for a bookworm like myself to fathom, many teenagers simply don’t like to read. I know many of the type, and they have a variety of reasons for not enjoying books–they’d rather watch the movie, they find it tedious and can’t sit still for that long, they’d simply rather do other things with their time. Yet I’ve found that most people who “don’t like reading” actually just don’t like the books they’ve read. Indeed, if all I had read growing up were the asinine required reading pieces I was presented with, I too may have learned to loathe the activity. But I’m of the opinion that one can’t hate the act of reading itself, because it’s not a hobby so much as it is a medium for absorbing information of all kinds; saying one hates reading as a whole is just as ludicrous as saying one hates all of music, television, or the internet. Because just as there’s a music or movie genre for every taste, so too exists a near-infinite number of book genres to suit even the most finicky of readers. Below, I’ve listed a variety of books that even the most adamant non-readers should enjoy:
If you can’t put down the video games: Try an action-packed science fiction novel, like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card! Set in a distant-future Earth, young Ender Wiggins finds himself selected for training in zero gravity to learn how to fight against the alien Buggers that are attacking the earth. Besides the usual awesomeness that comes with aliens and outer space, this quick-paced read is also chock full of action and interesting military strategy at every turn of the page.
What next: The Maze Runner by James Dashner
If you’re obsessed with rom-coms: Get all of that sappy feel-goodiness in a quirky romance novel! John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is super-popular for a reason: it’s beautifully written and completely heart-wrenching! You’ll find yourself unable to put this book down, as John Green has a way of pulling you in and keeping you reading hours after you declared lights out. It’s a book about two teens with cancer, yes, but it’s about so much more, including love, death, and life itself, and as you follow the adventures of Hazel Grace Lancaster you’ll find yourself laughing at some parts and sobbing like an idiot at others, a winning combo.
What next: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
If you’re constantly watching sitcom reruns: There are plenty of light, funny novels to tickle your funnybone. One of the funniest books I’ve read is Douglas Adams’ A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Adams’ brilliant, quick-witted narration will keep you enthralled and laughing all the way as the hilariously hapless Arthur Dent journeys through the universe, eventually discovering the meaning of life (which is certainly not what you’d expect it to be). What this book lacks in plot, character development and all those pesky things your English teacher likes to remind you of, it makes up for in page upon page of gut-splitting laughs.
What next: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
If you spend your weekends at the movie theater: Reading the book before you see the movie will really bring the movie to life! The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is an amazing book that happens to also be playing in theaters. A piece of dystopian fiction written before dystopian fiction was cool, this book presents a strange futuristic society in which people have been deprived of all individuality. The book follows 12-year-old Jonas as he navigates this society, creating a thought-provoking read that you’ll find yourself eagerly finishing in one life-changing sitting.
What next: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
If your English teacher is forcing you to read a “classic” book: Do not despair! Though many old books do have their fair share of archaic language that only the most literarily inclined can decipher, there’s plenty of more recent (read: more interesting) books that many English teachers still consider as having “literary merit.” One of my personal favorites is George Orwell’s 1984. Set in an alternate 1984 wrought with constant warfare and a totalitarian government, this novel features Winston Smith as he navigates working for the ironically-named Ministry of Truth while dreaming of rebellion. Written in the modern English that should be intelligible to almost all teenagers, this book should keep you turning the pages in suspense. At the very least, it will certainly make you think.
What next: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
~ Lana Gorlinski adores reading, writer, and spending far too much time playing water polo. She’s currently reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac