Nothing Special Blog Tour: Geoff Herbach Guest Post & Giveaway

I’m very excited to feature a wonderful guest post written by Geoff Herbach about why writing for guys is so important:

Stupid Fast has been out for almost a year.  It’s been really great.  I’ve traveled a bit, met lots of writers and librarians and bloggers.  Best of all, though, I’ve met “elusive” teen boy readers – both through my blog, email and in person.  Good stuff.

 I do have some concerns, though.

 A really smart 16-year-old from Brooklyn wrote to tell me how much he loved Stupid Fast.  He also said, “I hate books, always have.”  What?  A freshman at a high school I visited the other day told me: “I only like two books.  Stupid Fast and this other one I can’t remember.”  Okay…  I have had similar exchanges again and again in the last year.  It reinforces the reason I wanted to write Stupid Fast in the first place: there is a good-sized subset of kids who don’t have enough books to read.  I was that kind of kid.

 When I was fourteen-years-old, I played sports and played in the orchestra, tried out for plays and did okay in school. On paper I looked like a normal kid, maybe even a pretty high achieving kid.

 Here’s the truth, though: I was all crazy on the inside. I was all like: “I should shower again because… is there a weird smell? What are you looking at? I think Kerri and Audrey are laughing at me. I hate them!  My shirt doesn’t fit. What’s that smell?   I love Jenny. I love her. She hates me! What’s wrong with my shirt? There’s definitely something wrong with my ear. What are you looking at? What’s that weird smell?” ETC.

 Crazy. But… here’s the truth: not abnormal.

 Having taught writing to college kids for the last six years, I know something for a fact: Almost everyone (male or female) felt like a dork as a teen. They write essays about it. But, boy culture puts a premium on hiding the truth. The girls in my classes are better at expressing it.  Many have read books for years that help them make sense of things.  Boys, who need the help most, have very few books that address their concerns.  A few years ago, my son decided fantasy no longer spoke to him, then he read a few books that did then stopped reading, because he could find nothing that spoke to him.

 I had a similar experience.  When I was fourteen, I read. A lot. If I hadn’t read Catcher in the Rye my life would’ve been much worse. Holden Caufield’s thoughts were so familiar to me. Even if they were a little terrifying, and he was on the edge, I knew that I wasn’t alone. I began to devour anything with a male protagonist. The more gritty, the more down to earth, the better (this was a big change, because up until that point, I pretty much read fantasy). Vision Quest, The Chocolate War, I am the Cheese, A Separate Peace… But soon, I ran out of material.  I read some adult titles, but slowed down and almost stopped.

 The publishing industry believes that boys don’t read, so they don’t publish books for them.  My anecdotal evidence contradicts this belief to some extent.  The boys I’m meeting enjoyed reading books that were meant for them, that directly address their way of thinking – which isn’t always pretty, but isn’t dumb or simple, either.   

 I’m on a mission, I guess. I want to write good stories aimed squarely at teen boys. In a decade, I want to have dudes come up to me and list ten books they love.  The girls I’m meeting are able to do this!  Girls are so lucky to have dozens of great books coming every month that speak to their experience. 

 If you’re a writer, maybe think about writing for boys?  If you’re a reader, ask a librarian what’s new that speaks to boys.  They’ll know (because there aren’t many titles).  Maybe we’ll build a bigger market for these young men who need material so much!

 Yeah, that’s my dream.

Thank you, Geoff, for sharing this post with us and stopping by the blog today! :D

Not only is today awesome because Geoff Herbach wrote a post for my blog, but also because the fab people at Sourcebooks Fire are offering a copy of Nothing Special to one lucky winner!

Entry Guidelines:
To enter, please leave a comment about a book you recommend with guy appeal or a comment about the post :)
You must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada.
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
No extra entries required, but spreading the word is appreciated!
The winner will be announced through a blog post here & emailed.
The winner will have 48 hours to respond.
Giveaway closes 5/19/12 @ 12:01 EST

Comments

  1. Stupid Fast is definitely at the top of my guy-reads recommendations. My guys (8th graders) also enjoy Gae Polisner’s PULL OF GRAVITY (She wrote it for her sons for similar reasons as Geoff) and Sherman Alexie’s ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART TIME INDIAN. If they are into sports (and even if they’re not jocks), they like anything by Carl Deuker–GYM CANDY is this year’s favorite. More sports include books by Mike Lupica and Tim Green. And always, I say SE Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS is required reading for life. And now I have to confess that I’ve never read CATCHER IN THE RYE. It’s going on my summer reading pile!

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      The popular books in your classroom are the same as in my classroom :) I completely agree about reading The Outsiders; it was my favorite book in middle school.

  2. Stupid fast was one of the best books I read last year and I always recommend it to ANYONE looking for a good read, girls and boys alike. And I liked Geoff already, this post just makes me like him even more. :)

  3. Don’t enter me, as I already have my own copy of Nothing Special, but I have to share one of my favorite boy-narrator books – Ordinary Ghosts by Eireann Corrigan. So so so funny.

  4. Stoich91 says:

    Oh, yes please!

  5. My boys enjoy the Chaos Walking Trilogy and Gary D. Schmidt’s books. I appreciate this reminder that I need to get a copy of Stupid Fast for my classroom I really enjoyed it last year when I read it. I look forward to reading Nothing Special!

  6. deadtossedwaves says:

    A great series is the Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I also think the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld is excellent stuff for boys!! It has maps…who doesn’t love maps?!?!

  7. I think the Chronicles of Nick is a great series for guys, as well as Joshua Cohen’s Leverage, and maybe even Showalters Intertwined. I love books for guys! They give you another perspective.

  8. The Knife of Never Letting go and the rest of the Chaos Walking series

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