Sunday, October 23, 2011

Men like YA books too

Last Tuesday my local library, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, sponsored me as their guest at the Illinois Library Association conference in Rosemont Illinois. While there, one of my readers came up to me and told me he was almost finished with my book and he loved it. Part of my goal in writing PULL was to attract boys back to reading, so the gender of my fan wasn't a surprise.

His age was.  He was an adult male.

This is the third time this has happened to me. I have been told, by adult MEN, that they enjoyed the book, did not find it childish or "young adult" (the protagonist is a 17 year old African American male living in Chicago's inner city) and felt that I accurately captured what it meant to be a boy.  BTW - all three men were middle-aged and white.

I have heard some negative comments--mostly from mothers--about the language, the sexual situations and, especially, the ending. None of the men had a problem with either of these. Nor have teens, although one girl wrote that she couldn't do what David, PULL's hero, did herself, but she fully understood why he did it.

I find it interesting,  unexpected, and strangely exhilarating to think that my book has crossed-over from the YA shelves into the hands, and hearts, of adult males.

What made this most interesting is that a week earlier I gave a presentation at the Ohio Educational Media Library Association, on Attracting Teen Boy Readers.  One of the attendees mentioned how difficult it was to find male role-models who would admit to reading, and that even the Principal at her school seemed proud to announce that he "did not read."

Maybe she could think about a father-son book club, armed with male-oriented YA books

Obviously, PULL should be first in line.

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