What Teens Love, Hate, and WANT in Literature: A Survey, Part 1 by Lindsay Bandy

As a writer of YA fiction who is, um, not a teenager anymore, I wanted to know firsthand what my readers really want. What keeps their attention? What makes them put a book down? How can I create their next favorite book? So, I asked a group of 9th graders at Conestoga Valley High School! Big thanks to Mr. Brandon Hershey for helping me out. I’ll be posting their replies in a series of upcoming posts. Hope they are as useful and fascinating to you as they are to me!

question makr

The first question I asked the students was: What was the last book you read that you loved? What kept your attention? Check out their responses!

Group 1 – Honors Students

  • I would say Three by Ted Dekker. I loved it because the plot was interesting. It was close to impossible to guess the ending, but the action and adventure kept me hooked at every turn. The underlying theology of man’s capability to choose good and evil was really enthralling.
  • Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury. It kept my attention because it was so realistic, and it felt like you knew the people in real life.
  • The Mortal Instruments series. It was just really interesting and the plot kept moving. There were cute, heartfelt moments but also action and battles.
  • Moneyball – It was an interesting book about an event that actually happened, which interests me.
  • MockingJay because it had a well-thought-out plot and was very well rounded. It also kept you in suspense and wasn’t predictable.
  • The last book I read that I loved was The Book Thief. It’s interesting storyline and plot line kept me interested.
  • City of Heavenly Fire. It had multiple storylines throughout the book that came together in the end.
  • Brisingr – the detail and scope of the story was amazing. I also loved the small sub-plots.
  • I really like the book that I am currently reading. Its title is The Fallen. What keeps my attention all throughtout the story is the element of surprise. The author adds enough plot twists and curve balls to keep the book as interesting as possible.
  • The Fault in Our Stars. It was romantic and realistic with a sense of excitement and upredictability.
  • Fever 1793. The many problems in the book were mainly what kept my attention. The ability for the author to resolve these problems constantly and with good purpose was truly what set this book apart from others.
  • Lone Survivor – action
  • The last book I read and loved was The Fault in Our Stars. It kept my attention because it had plot twists, suspense, and some romance.
  • Insurgent: I really enjoyed it because of the ongoing suspense and the love story between the 2 main characters.
  • Gone by Michale Grant – Fast paced and always changing.
  • Lone Survivor because at every moment Marcus could have been killed. It was pretty thrilling.
  • The Help – it didn’t spend chapters and chapters and chapters describing the weather or a tree. It got to the story quickly, but with enough description so I could picture it.  It had a lot of different stories to the whole book, which kept it interesting.

Group 2 

  • Dark Life, because it mixed action, adventure, and fantasy into a story that had me on the edge of my seat until the end.
  • Weapons of WWII, the Weapon’s Statistics
  • Cat in the Hat. the way it was written kept my attention.
  • Cat in the Hat. I liked the cat.
  • Sophie and Carter. The details and real life conflict in the story.
  • The Healer’s Apprentice. I loved the story line with the romance.
  • I don’t read a lot, but The Giver was one that I liked. And To Kill A Mockingbird.
  • Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. At the beginning it was so fast. I loved how it changed perspective.
  • The Last Olympian. Greek mythology.
  • Percy Jackson. The surprises of other characters.
  • Million Dollar Throw – the sports parts.
  • A Child Called It. It was good and had real and interesting points.

***What are your thoughts after reading their replies? Were you surprised, inspired, or intrigued? Stay tuned for part 2!

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7 Responses to What Teens Love, Hate, and WANT in Literature: A Survey, Part 1 by Lindsay Bandy

  1. anitanolan says:

    I loved this! Thank you! My question is– who made up group 2? You singled out Group 1 as honor students. Were group 2 a mixed ability class? I’m wondering what the “Cat in the Hat answers were about–just some kids being silly?

    • I’m not exactly sure of the makeup of Group 2, but I do know that it contains lower level/at-risk students. As for the Cat in the Hat….probably a kid being silly, but I said I’d include their answers, so I did!

  2. I will definitely make a point of reading some of the suggestions. I have already read a couple of them. It really helps to know for sure. I substitute teach in so many grades that it is hard to get a grip on what they are into. Thank you.

  3. Pingback: What Teens Love, Hate, and WANT in Literature: A Survey, Part 2 | EasternPennPoints

  4. Nadine Poper says:

    This is great. Do you think you could do this same survey with elementary children? I would love to know what they think. Thanks.

  5. It would be fun to do with elementary kids, too! I’ll look into it.

  6. Pingback: What Teens Love, Hate, and WANT in Literature, Part 3 by Lindsay Bandy | EasternPennPoints

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