Sunday, January 26, 2014

Do teens want to read YA Classics???

Do teens want to read Young Adult classic books???? If you read my post about Goodreads and it's book clubs  then you know I have had issues with staying motivated and keeping my clubs going.  Especially my Young Adult Book Club.  I have been moderating it now for 6-7 years.  Well with so many young adult books clubs on goodreads there seems to be less and less participation in the group as far as group reads.  In fact.. really it's only my co-mod, myself and another member that read along. This month I figured since really we are the only ones reading I would me the poll all classic YA books since I have been wanting to read a classic for a while now.   The response wasn't great.  Clearly the teens in the group are very upset that the list was complied of books that were written in the past. 

Scroll below to see the comments on the poll.  I find it sad that teens aren't even interested in attempting a classic.   I mean the comments are crazy!  I must be ancient to teens.  For one thing my YA group used to be one of the only groups on goodreads and now they are everywhere.  You can't look through the groups without finding tons of them. I suppose that what we consider "classic" books do seem to teens like school.  I mean.. I remember having to have to read Great Expectations and The Scarlet Letter.  OH NO (I actually liked both). I do think though by having teens read only classics in school that this does cause them to think of these books as torture... I think that present day some high schools do have newer books in their reading programs but mine didn't. 

I was excited about this month.. having a poll full of classic reads and thought the group would also be excited about it.  I have learned in the past I get more participation in a group read if that book is popular that month... so I try to make sure one of those books are on the list.  But this time I thought we could branch out.  Boy was that a crazy idea! 

What do you think??  Are you a teen and love classics?  Loathe them?  What is your opinion about teens and reading classics?  If you are a librarian or teacher how do teens react to classics?

BARE with me... I had to copy and paste the conversation from goodreads,  You should also be able to click on the links to get to the original post:

  30 votes, 16.9%

  27 votes, 15.2%

  24 votes, 13.5%

  22 votes, 12.4%

  21 votes, 11.8%

  17 votes, 9.6%

  12 votes, 6.7%

  11 votes, 6.2%

  9 votes, 5.1%

  5 votes, 2.8%

change your voteembedinvite friends
Poll added by: Angie
Voting started on: January 21st
Ends at: January 28th

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by 

Megan [can anybody find me] Oh my gosh I want to vote for pretty much all but one or two of these. How can I decide??

message 2: by 

Pat Alan Seriously? Can we get some novels that have been written in the last 10-15 years most f these are 60+ plus old, they appeal to adults but it's not what young adults read. The outsiders is the most modern and that was written i the 1960's.

message 3: by 

John The Princess Bride, because I already own it. :D

message 4: by

Hyosun  ___ wrote: "Seriously? Can we get some novels that have been written in the last 10-15 years most f these are 60+ plus old, they appeal to adults but it's not what young adults read. The outsiders is the most ..."

Pat I read half of these when I was in my early teens so they do appeal to young adults, maybe not to you but they are worth reading. Don't put your reading tastes onto everyone else please just read something else if you don't like the book that's chosen.

message 5: by  (last edited Jan 22, 2014 05:15AM)

Pat Alan Exactly my point. YOU read them when you where younger. Back when there was no internet and Smart phones, the world is a different place, modern successful authors like Stephenie MeyerStephenie Meyer Anthony Horowitz (Author) Mark A. Cooper Mark A. CooperSuzanne Collins Suzanne Collins Eoin ColferEoin ColferJ. K. Rowling Ally Carter Ally Carter understand what young people of today want to read.

I am not trying to cause an argument it's just you are like the teachers at my school and Liberians who think we want to read books written 60 + years ago. Some of the modern young adult authors are fantastic and so are the books you have on the list.
My frustration is that the list contains everything written over 50 years ago and you want us to vote. Not a single book written in the last 30 years, Nothing from Anthony Horowitz? Eoin Colfer? etc. I will vote on a book you have but would really like to have the chance to vote on a book that is popular TODAY. My little sister was given an Enid Blyton book last week by her teacher to read, my sis hates reading and is being forced to read a book written by an author who has been dead for 50 years, and written over 80 years ago. If young people are going to start reading they need something they can relate too. As we get older we can choose or not to pick up a 100 year old novel and read it. I asked my friend s in class who has read a book by Edgar Alan Poe? They looked at me like I was high. Who cares was the most popular answer. If I ask who is your favorite author they come come with the names I gave above, yet you don't have a single book in the list.
Sorry f my answer offended you, I like the group and read the updates, I just saw red when I got an email with this list of really old novels and really could only think that reading any of them was like a form of punishment rather than enjoyment.

message 6: by (last edited Jan 22, 2014 05:18AM)

Harry Routhaug  ____ is right i would not read any on that list.... Edgar Alan WHO? lol :)

Please put some real young adult books on a list that people 12-16 actually enjoy reading

message 7: by 

Jennika I actually am pretty happy that we will be reading a more classic book this month. I'm always telling myself that I need to read more, but they are so intimidating. I think it will be nice to have a group read for one to help push me along. Usually we do read more current YA books, but I'm okay with switching it up one month out of the twelve...

message 8: by  (last edited Jan 22, 2014 06:21AM)

Harry Routhaug That's what I thought people over 21 would say _____.

Maybe this isn't the right group for young readers. I just started my own group for those 21 and under.

message 9: by 

Wayne Tousley I will join your group _____, these books are like "???" most written by cavemen.  _____ should join your group as well.

message 10: by

Helen Jenkin  ___.. Thank you for saying something. _____ I will join your group if you allow girls to join, I am 14 and would not read any of this months books I would rather suck on mice vomit, or as Jason Steed said in Absolutely Nothing Absolutely Nothing (Jason Steed #3)

“He's given me enough homework to last ten years. I'm gonna die of nerdism."

I thought that was so funny.

message 11: by 

Megan [can anybody find me] Wow...I wasn't going to say anything, but this just makes me so so sad. I was reading classics when I was 14 and loving them, and now I'm 18 and still lovin them. I think it's perfectly fair for there to be ONE month out of years and years that this group has been around that has classic novels (which many many young adults DO like!). Especially since (and I may be wrong now, but at least this is how they used to do it) the books are chosen randomly from a list that group members add suggestions to.

I'm not trying to fight anybody or anything, I do see the point that one of you was making about kids being forced to read this type of thing when they don't even like reading, but honestly...this isn't school. This is a voluntary online book club for people who do like reading and want to be able to discuss books with other people. So let us just have this one month out of the year to enjoy some classic discussion, okay? Please? :)

message 12: by 

Harry Routhaug Good point _____, sorry if I offended anyone,

message 13: by 

Megan [can anybody find me]  _____ wrote: "Good point _____, sorry if I offended anyone,"

That's okay. I just needed to get that off my back, heh heh.

message 14: by 

Hyosun wow so because I read them when I was a teenager I'm ancient and there was no internet??? I'm 23 ... we definitely had internet and I was reading Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter alongside Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. I love classics and modern YA and I encourage trying new things. Also I totally agree with ______ that this isn't mandatory. It's not like you don't like reading or you wouldn't be in a bookclub so if you choose to read the book that's chosen awesome if not that's cool too it's nice for those of us who enjoy these books to talk about them.

message 15: by 

Deborah Love this:) It gets me to finally pick up and read one of the classics off my list:) It may not be the one chosen for the group as a whole, but I will be reading one. Thanks much!

message 16: by Angie

Angie Mod
Have you actually participated in any of the group reads? No I didn't think so. Most book club picks are modern and this month we are doing a classic. You can easily just skip March's group read. I am shocked and saddened at the comments in this thread. Maybe if you participate in a group read you would see that we don't just read old fogie books. Kim and I work hard at this group so trashing it is fun isn't it?

message 17: by

Anthony Cobb ______ wrote: "Seriously? Can we get some novels that have been written in the last 10-15 years most f these are 60+ plus old, they appeal to adults but it's not what young adults read. The outsiders is the most ..."
Holy shit reading that made my IQ drop 10 points.


  1. Wow. Well, my first thought is, why are 178 people voting if no one intends to actually read the book?

    I also have to laugh at a) calling the 23-year-old "ancient" and b) not even taking the time to confirm the dates the books were written before complaining about them. I'm not checking all of them but I know The Princess Bride is more recent than the '60s.

    But, rudeness aside, I do understand kids not wanting to read the likes of Charles Dickens or Mark Twain. It's unfortunate, but schools really do ruin reading. I was an avid reader as a child and thankfully rediscovered it as an adult... but if high school lit classes can turn someone like me off reading, you know something's wrong.

  2. Oh. My. God.
    I honestly can't believe these people!
    Those books are some of the most famous and most beautiful books of all time, (I've only read half though)
    Don't let these people's comments ruin your mood, they just don't appreciate classic books like we do.
    I really wish more people weren't afraid to read these books.
    Good luck with everything :)

  3. I did read through high school myself. Not because high school MADE me read crappy books but because I was into other things. After thinking about it and putting myself in the teen's position I guess as a teen I did think of classics as books you learn in school. I didn't really think of them different until college. Though if I was participating in a voluntary book club I just wouldn't read the book.

  4. I was surprised at the comments too. AND for them to call Stephanie Meyer great literature over classics blows my mind. It also makes me wonder what is being taught in high school English lit classes!

  5. A lot of these kids seem ignorant. Like how I was in middle school and thought classics were the worst thing in the world, but in all honesty I appreciate classics. Do I read them often? No, but I do try to pick one up every now and then. I really don't like how most teens my age or younger are bashing in form of literature because it's for "old" people. Do they not realize that soon Harry Potter will be considered for "old" people? It seems like they are being a tad hypocritical in their dislike for classics.

  6. I personally would've died. I can't go a day without even checking Instagram. I think it's funny how they dismiss classics, but most books they consider popular will one day become classics. Divergent has become one at my school and it's very recent. I don't understand a lot of these kids mindsets on classics and readings. It's seems like everyone has a different opinion.

  7. I think our English teachers grapple with this at my high school because the required books were all published so long ago, but once the students read them many, not all, really end up liking them. Yet for the required Summer Reads we select modern, current best sellers and several students still complain. I get their points about books being published 60 years ago not seeming that relevant to them. I remember in high school having a teacher show a film made in the 50s. I thought he was so square. And it was only 15 years out of date. I can offer no suggestions, just sympathy.

  8. When I put myself back to their age ... I think how cool it would've been for my teachers to give us a modern reading assignment. We never had summer reading. I remember those movies we had to watch too! I forgot about those. My teachers would bring in the big old tub TVs on those huge carts with a VCR tape ready. LOL... ok maybe I am an old fogie!

  9. "Though if I was participating in a voluntary book club I just wouldn't read the book."

    Exactly. It's not really an excuse for the reaction itself, but I understand the feelings behind it.

  10. Wow these comments make me sad. I also have to admit that I am in this group and rarely do the read, most of the time it is time related, I do read the discussions though. I cant believe so many people would have an issue with these choices! They are great books (the ones I have read) and as a READER even a YA one I think it is important to know how literature got to this point.

  11. A lot of the BookTubers that I watch on youtube are teens or early 20-somethings. They refer to classics as books that were published 10-15 years ago. I think what people consider a classic has changed so much.

  12. Oh my god! I can't believe some of the things that were said! That's ridiculous! And holy crap, I mean some of them I didn't even know were classics! Some of them I grew up reading - like A Wrinkle in Time. I dunno, I mean I was one of the odd kids out there that loved classics. I'd read a good portion of them before I'd even hit high school, so I acknowledge I'm not in the norm here, but holy cow!
    I think it's so sad that people are so antagonistic to even the thought of classics. Madeline L'Engle in particular out of these authors had a huge part in shaping my childhood and how I saw the world both in her Time Quartet and her Austin family series. I can't imagine not being excited to read that! I mean in 20 years, is that what they're going to be saying about Harry Potter?

  13. LOL!! I love what you said about Harry Potter! But that's true. I mean that will be "so dated" by then. What really shocked me though was thinking just because someone's been dead for a while then their work is obsolete. I remember my mom reading the Secret Garden to me as a child and just loving it sooooo much. Even then that book was a classic.

    I have to say I was really surprised at the reaction but it also bring to reality what some teens really are thinking.

  14. How rude and irritating. While you definitely have some heavy literature on the list (Dickens being the heaviest, to me.), you also provided options that are actually quite easy and enjoyable. 'A Wrinkle in Time'?

    I'm a little baffled by the responses. What's the point of a book club without having it push your comfort zone a little?

  15. I think part of the scare is when people think classics, they think long books with old English or Victorian style, which can be difficult to read. Not everything is like that though, for one I love Lord of the Flies. My other favorites are Frankenstein, Beowulf, Island of Dr. Moreau, and the Divine Comedy.

  16. Looks like the Princess Bride won and I have been wanting to read that one for a while. That should be a light and enjoyable book, though it's too bad those group members won't give it a shot to even see what it is like. Perhaps I am just too old to be running a YA group. LOL... I don't know what the teens want these days.

  17. There were some rude comments there!! Sheesh. Books can be great reads regardless of when they were published. The Outsiders is one of my all-time favorite books and I don't care that it was written and published before I was born. It's still an amazing story that many can relate too. I think mixing up your reading is important. If you branch out, you might find a classic or two that you really like. I was in an online book club when I was a teen and we read all sorts of books from popular adult to more indie things to classics. I loved it!
    From your list, I'd love to re-read The Outsiders or A Wrinkle in Time (I actually read it for the first time about a year and a half ago) and I really want to read more Sherlock Holmes stories so A Study in Scarlet would be cool too. I'm 23 and I say classics are cool, regardless of age. :)
    Lauren from

  18. Oh, and Edgar Allan Poe! Who doesn't know who he is?! I took a whole class on him in college. It was great. :)

  19. Let me start off by saying that those reactions to your poll are simply rude and only prove that you really are dealing with a bunch of teenagers...

    I thought your idea was cool to encourage teens to read classics. Most of the classics aren't really meant for young readers because they deal with more mature themes. You did the effort to choose classics that actually sound interesting and would appeal to teenagers (talking about The Princess Bride, The Diary of a Young Girl and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - those are good picks!) and instead of just judging the book by its content, the only comments you got were about how old the stories/authors were...
    I think you should just read the classic and the group member that actually want to read along, will read along.

    I'm 18 and never had to read a classic in school (I'm from Belgium and we have a different approach to reading in school) but I would want to read more of them. I just need a lot of encouragement to pick them up because they are so different compared to YA, which is what I'm used to read. So far I've read about 3 and enjoyed all of them.

  20. Thank you! I did try to pick good classics. I even picked Sherlock Holmes only because Holmes is popular right now with the shows. The Princess Bride ended up winning and I am quite excited about.

    The YA classic books are very different then the books of today. For example, the Catcher in the Rye to me is a YA book... but it is about some serious subjects and I feel that a lot of the YA books today are more fun topics.

    Really I am still surprised about the reaction. But honestly the people who commented have never participated in any group reads. In fact... it is pretty difficult to get people to read along. So I am not too worried about a couple of people complaining anymore.

  21. You weren't suggesting War and Peace, although that's what these comments reminded me of. Plus, the majority of these are young adult novels, The Outsiders and The Diary of a Young Girl were two of my favorites in middle school. It is bothersome that people can be so closed minded.

  22. I understand why they might feel that way, but wow ... if they only gave the books a chance. I had my son and goddaughter reading these books outside of school before they were assigned, so they never saw them as a chore. Just this week my son started The Great Gatsby (I know it's not YA), but the teacher told them "it's not really that good." Sheesh, really? My son is enjoying it. He read The Outsiders in 7th grade and it's still one of his favorites. They'll feel foolish in a few years, just watch. It's quite sad, really. Not the fact that they don't want to read them, but their mindset.

  23. Wow, I'm so sorry for the response you've gotten. Yes, high school makes most people hate assigned reading books, but I wouldn't take it so far as to ignore a well love genre. I have friends who are teens and read exclusively classics and I look up to them. The Princess Bride is one of my favorites and I hope you get a chance to enjoy it.


  24. I even researched titles for the poll. I looked on the internet to see what good YA classic books are. I looked for opinions on it and everything. Really the group hasn't read a classic in a long long time. Years

  25. I love The Great Gatsby. I studied it in college. Maybe because like your kids I was always exposed to literature and books in my house. My mom always had (and still does) huge bookcases. It still blows my mind when I meet people who have never read a book for fun.

  26. Honestly I can't wait to read The Princess Bride. I have been wanting to read it for a long time so even if some of the group members aren't excited I sure am!!

  27. Great discussion topic! I'm not a teen anymore, but I definitely read them as a teenager, both for school (some I loved, some I didn't) and my own pure enjoyment (everyone should read The Princess Bride!).

    It's really unfortunate that there's some teens who can't seem to get that just because it's a classic doesn't mean it wasn't or isn't for YA readers.

  28. See these are the teens I don't like. I am an avid teen reader myself, but I'm not a "We must read only YA only contemporaries are good YA fiction is the bomb all other books suck" reader. I love, love, love classics, but I don't think they should be compared with contemporary YA because there are different reasons to love the two. I am in your group on Goodreads, and I (very much a teen) was excited and ecstatic to see that we were reading YA classics. I hate how some teens are so narrow-minded and can't be mature enough to appreciate other books. You can't really call yourself a book lover if you don't value other books and put down other ones. That's just immature and proves you're not really a reader. I'm sorry there are still some of us teens who do enjoy classics AND YA. I also think part of the problem as far as group read participation is that teens also have a ton of college and school stuff to worry about, so as much as I want to participate, it isn't always feasible.

  29. I mean... maybe this book is going to be terrible! Who knows. But that's why it's a book club and we discuss that it was a terrible book. Point out what made it boring and bad. Maybe sometimes people even forget what book clubs are all about. Thank you for your nice comment about this!!