One of the happiest things in my life is having a son who is a big reader. If you’d asked me for a list of dream goals for my child, when I was pregnant, this would have been right up there at the top–along with a sense of humor (check) and enough height to get down the dishes on the next shelf, that one that I just can’t reach (check, check). Partially, I’m happy for him, but honestly–there’s an element of selfishness in this, too. Finally, I have someone around all the time to talk about kids and YA books with! My husband reads, too, and we’re bringing him along on the you’re-not-too-old-for-this ride with authors like Eoin Colfer and JK Rowling, but he also spends a lot of time sharing gory, lost-on-the-mountaintop books with me, as well as those science articles about what my brain’s doing right now, thank you very much. He also does read a lot of sci-fi and dystopian, which is probably my son’s favorite genre right now.
Anyway, my son is a big reader, but he doesn’t always jump right onto a new bandwagon–he does a lot of rereading, and he looks first for authors he knows and loves (Thank you, Sir Terry Pratchett, for being brilliant and prolific). He definitely responds to covers and to jacket blurbs. Or he doesn’t respond.
The bottom line is that, when I want him to try something new (one of those books that I’ve fallen in love with and want someone else to join me in fandom), I have to be a bit sneaky. I can’t just paraphrase the story as I see it, because we don’t latch onto the same things in that kind of a description. So I just share a few passages out loud, here and there, as I read the book–pieces I know he won’t be able to resist.
So, should you stop reading this book? I mean, you thought you were getting a witch, and so far all you’ve gotten is two girls and an old woman herb doctor. I don’t blame you for wanting your money back. Let’s march right back to the bookstore and demand–
Wait a minute.
I thought I saw something.
Yes, I’m pretty sure I saw something over–over–over–
It’s a piece of paper falling out of a book.
I wonder what it says.
That’s it. Chapter end. Seriously, who could resist?
Not my son. He’s about halfway through the book and loving it–loving the language, loving Isabelle Bean, loving the way she spirals thoughts into imagery.
Personally, I think publishers should hire me to pick that line–that paragraph–the one that shows the story’s absolute irresistability, and they can print it right on the back cover. Okay, they can keep their paraphrase, too, but we know what will grab those readers. 🙂