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A StorySnoop’s True Confession about a Boy and Books

NOTE: We have a bit of a “Boys Read” theme going this week (see here and here)

This is hard for me to admit as a StorySnoop, but here goes.

My name is Shannon, I’m a book reviewer and reading enthusiast, and a mother to three children. One of whom – gasp – no longer likes to read.

I’m not sure how it happened but here is my story:

My oldest son (now 16) was a fantastic reader. He read everything he could. He brought Newbery books home from the library. He read Harry Potter in grade school and Lord of the Rings in middle school. But, then came high school.

As soon as he hit high school, the reading came to halt. Sure, he read the assigned books for his English class, but he did no recreational reading of his own. He was supposed to read every night, and track the books and the page numbers every night, but I am pretty sure he “manipulated” that data.

I tried everything, but you know, the more YOU want a teen to do something, the less THEY want to do it.  The only success I had was with John Green books. He loved those, and I felt good about it because Mr. Green’s books are great and have won just about every award there is.

Fast forward to now. Last night, he asked me to sign his reading log, which tracks what he chooses to read on his own – 30-50 pages per night mandatory.  Intrigued (and, dare I say, hopeful) I peered at the reading log, pen in hand and deciphered his messy chicken scrawl. There, in the log, he had written:

His name

The date

36 pages of the book named “Sh*t My Dad Says”


He replied, “I read all the John Green books already.”


I didn’t sign the reading log, and we searched the house for a book that wasn’t “stupid” or “lame”.

Moms and teachers of teens: are you familiar with this phenomenon? What happens to our avid boy readers when they become teens? Where do they go and will they ever come back? In the meantime, what do they read that isn’t stupid or lame, when they have blown through all of the John Green books…..

Please help!

-Shannon, StorySnoop

4 Responses to “A StorySnoop’s True Confession about a Boy and Books”

  1. Kristen M. Says:

    My brother stopped reading for a long time. Then, when he was maybe 19, I gave him the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. He loved it and he’s a fairly constant reader now as an adult! I hope your son comes back to the reading fold!

  2. Margaret Says:

    You should read the book “Readicide” by Kelly Gallagher. The book discusses how schools are essentially doing more harm than good when it comes to reading. Also, you might suggest “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini or anything by David Levithan or “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” to your son. And he should definitely follow the vlog brothers on you tube if he is a John Green fan. Ask him if he knows what DFTBA stands for. : ) Good luck!

  3. Shannon Knowlton Says:

    Thanks for the advice and the comments. Margaret – it is so funny that you mention those books as they are my favorites. And yes, I did pass them along to my son, as well as all of the John Green books. He really liked them. I have seen John Green’s U-tube videos – very funny! Such a clever guy. I’m a BIG fan. I’ll have to check out “Readicide” – and ask my son about DFTBA! Hmmmm, I feel another blog percolating …..

  4. Hope Says:

    I’d recommend John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. It’s science fiction. It was written for adults, but it has the mindset of YA. It may be that even if he liked John Green he’d like a radical change of pace.

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