publisher’s weekly is the graceful old behemoth of approval in the publishing world. so, when they publish a letter written by a (shockingly articulate) 13 year-old boy named max leone, about what teen guys want in books, it will actually shape things. anyone who loves middle schoolers will love this kid (though he’d likely role his eyes at me/us and tell us to get a life). seriously, publishers not only salivate for this kind of kid as a reader, i’m sure there are already mulitple publishers trying to track him down for a book proposal. and what youth worker wouldn’t hope for a couple of these guys in our middle school groups?
here’s an absolutely classic paragraph from his letter:
And then there are the vampires and other supernatural creature that appear in many contemporary teen novels. Vampires, simply put, are awesome. However, today’s vampire stories are 100 pages of florid descriptions of romance and 100 pages of various people being emo. However much I mock the literature of yesteryear, it definitely had it right when it came to vampires. The vampire was always depicted as a menacing badass. That is the kind of book teenage boys want to read. Also good: books with videogame-style plots involving zombie attacks, alien attacks, robot attacks or any excuse to shoot something.
but, this final point of his really sums it up in a way that reflects what we’ve been trying to do with our line of books for students here at youth specialties:
Finally, here is what I consider the cardinal rule of writing for young adults: Do Not Underestimate Your Audience. They actually know a lot about what’s going on in politics. They will get most of the jokes you expect them not to. They have a much higher tolerance for horror and action than most adults. Most of the books I read actually don’t fall under the “young adult” category. I can understand the humor in Jon Stewart’s or Stephen Colbert’s books as well as any adult.
(ht to ypulse for the link)