Teen readers choose wide-range of novels

Dave Mathieson
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ARHS librarian Jan Matthews organizes a display of some of the books that were nominated for the Teen Reader’s Choice Award.

AMHERST – Reading is back.

“They’re reading everything,” said Amherst Regional High School librarian Jan Matthews. “Teenagers are reading a really wide range of genres.”

Matthews was surprised at the diverse range of books that made the final list of 10 novels in the Teen Readers Choice Award contest being put on by the Chignecto Central Regional School Board.

“They’re reading things that relate directly to their lives. If there’s a book that echoes their life or their experiences they read about that.”

 The contest is designed to get Students in Grades 7-12 to read more often, and they are being asked to read the 10 books that made the final cut, and then vote for their favourite.

The final list was selected by students in the CCRSB.

“There were 27 schools involved in choosing the 10 books on the list. Students nominated more than 2,000 books, and out of the 2,000 nominations there were 1,000 different titles nominated,” said Matthews. “As much as you want to say students are spending their time watching TV and playing video games, this shows there is a strong interest in reading novels.”

Students are encouraged to read one of the 10 nominated books and discuss it in school and online at http://ccrsbteenchoice.wordpress.com.

Students will vote for their favourite top 10-book from April 25 to May 14 and the winning book will be announced at the end of May.

Matthews said dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games, which provide a dark view of the future, are popular among teenagers.

“They will read classic dystopian novels like George Orwell’s 1984, but they also read new dystopian visions like the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins or The Maze Runner by James Dashner,” said Matthews.

Why do teenagers in 2011 like these dark visions of the future?

“There’s been a lot written about why and whether or not it reflects the idea that teens are aware of a certain amount of uncertainty,” said Matthews. “When you think about what kind of world theses kids have grown up in, they are the kids where, maybe, one of their first memories was 9/11 with the terrorist attack in New York.

“Since then they’ve grown up with wars in other lands and grown up hearing about global warming, hearing about how we’re in a recession and hearing about the economic and political problems all across the world, and dystopian fiction answers that,” she added.

Mathhews was surprised classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird, the Outsiders and Hatchet made the list.

“And I was perhaps a little bit surprised that Twilight was there because I thought its popularity was waning a little bit,” she said.

The top-ten books nominated by students in the CRSB are as follows:

Crank, by Ellen Hopkins

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer



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