Tag Archives: Eoin COlger

Audience Research: Peril, Action, Plot and Parasites

This one’s for you, middle-grade/YA writers. Straight from the horse’s mouth – well, actually, straight from my 13-year old triplet grandnephews’ mouths between bites of pizza.

All three are avid readers. I decided to pick their brains during a dinner at Eviva’s Pizza in Edmonds: What books have they enjoyed most lately? And – helpful to us writers – why? Admittedly this is a small survey sample, but I think you’ll find the results interesting.

The oldest by two minutes said the kid version of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is his favorite book of late. He liked learning about World War II and “really rooted for the guy to get through camp.”

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All three boys play many sports and are avid sportsfans. (Last year their Christmas gift exchange had a Seahawks theme.) The oldest says that explains why he likes the Mike Lupica books. “They are easy to relate to.”

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Next up is the youngest.

His top title of late is The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer, “the Artemis Fowl guy.” He likes the action and adventure and the compelling push of this story that pits four kids against a parasite in order to save the world.

John Green’s Papertowns is another of his favorites, which he found “funny and intriguing.” Papertowns is a mystery with a boy/girl relationship at the center.

The middle of the three recommends Unbroken and The Supernaturalist. He, too, likes action in his reading. He gobbles books at a rate about two a week and noted the Supernaturalist is the kind of story that keeps him up late reading. It’s hard to put down. He likes a good plot – so mysteries have big appeal, especially mysteries with kid detectives.

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This middle brother also likes serieses, i.e. Harry Potter (of course). And he put in a word for the Stick Dog series, “even though it’s for younger kids,” and comic books, with their action appeal.

Also anything by Brian Selznik (The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Marvels are his favorites) and “all the sports books by Tim Green.”

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Nancy Pearl, the only librarian I know who has an action figure, says that she thinks readers can be divided into those who read for character and those who read for plot. My grand-nephews definitely come down on the plot side. Most of the titles they mentioned have lots of suspense and action, as well as kid protagonists they can relate to. I guess it makes sense that these active boys would want action in their books.

Thanks guys for sharing your favorite books. And happy writing to the rest of you.

p.s. Eviva’s Woodfired Pizza was voted Seattle’s best pizza, even though it is located ten miles north in Edmonds. Worth the drive. (Note added 11//2017: Now there’s a Eviva’s on Queen Anne Blvd. in Seattle, too. Same wonderful pizza!)

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