Where Are The Books For Teenage Boys?
by Chris Reynolds
There’s nothing wrong with the likes of Twilight. No matter what you may personally think of the novel, teenage girls loved it and are continuing to read because of it. But what are the boys reading? There doesn’t seem to be a lot on offer to them.
When I started writing for young adults, I was told that boys tend not to read books with a girl heroine, whereas girls are happy to read books about either sex. It’s one of the reasons I chose to make Michael my hero — the other being that he seemed suited to the type of adventure book I wanted to write. I was never into all that lovey-dovey stuff when I was a teenager, I wanted an exciting story that kept me turning the pages, so that was what I was determined to write.
It’s unfortunate that there is any separation between the sexes when it comes to books at all. The best books should be enjoyed by everyone. Of course, there are certain subjects that are going to appeal more to girls and others which are going to appeal more to boys —and there’s nothing wrong with writing a book about ponies or one about football. But when everyone jumps on the same bandwagon — like with the recent vampire craze — it leaves behind the readers who want something different.
I found it interesting (and a little annoying) that when I first started showing my novel, Mind Secrets, to editors I received a lot of enthusiastic letters, but many turned it down because it seemed they were looking for anotherTwilight-type book and not an adventure novel about teenagers with mind powers. They wanted love interest, whereas I wanted action and adventure. Michael is, after all on the run and trying to stop his friends being ‘cured’ of their mind powers — and has little time for a girlfriend.
I could have gone back to the manuscript and re-wrote it to appease these sort of editors, but I chose not to. I believed in what I had written and I wanted to give young adults a chance to read it, just as I had devoured these sort of books when I was younger. Moreover, there were other books out there that were doing this sort of thing perfectly well and they didn’t need another Twilight clone fighting for shelf space.
Now that Mind Secrets is finally out in the wide world, people are telling me how they love stories about teenagers with mind powers and how they are turning the pages to find out what happens next. I’m so pleased that people are reading it, and I hope I have done my job to appeal to everyone from boys and girls to men and women. If only more writers and publishers could do the same.
Chris Reynolds is a lover of adventure stories. Chris spent her time growing up avidly reading them, watching them on TV and writing them in her school exercise books. She was often frustrated that stories written by other people didn’t go the way she wanted them to, so she decided to write her own. In the interim, she has worked for the BBC and independent radio as a journalist, written for magazines and some published non-fiction books. Now her stories are available for all to read, following the release of her acclaimed debut novel Mind Secrets. Chris lives among the Chiltern Hills, north of London.
Chris’s online home is: http://www.chrisreynolds-writer.co.uk
On the run and without his memories, Michael escapes from a man called Carter onto the unfamiliar streets of London. There, he meets a gang of teenagers with the power to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. They live in fear of ‘the cure’, a mysterious process which takes away their power and, some believe, destroys their personality. Suspecting the cure caused his memory loss, Michael goes undercover to investigate the truth behind the doctors of the cure clinic. What he discovers leads him to a conspiracy that runs to the heart of government and reveals the shocking reality of his own past.
Mind Secrets is a compelling thriller set in a contemporary world and will appeal to anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like to have mind powers.
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