"I'm tired," he said.
Seniors are tired this time of year. They are busy with college applications and school and work.
I asked him when was the last time he read a book for pleasure.
He had to think for a few seconds.
"I don't know. A long time." Thinks. "The Knife of Never Letting Go."
I brighten, because I love this book.
"Yeah. That was four years ago."
I sag a little, because that's a long time to go without reading a book for pleasure.
I asked him if any of the books he'd been assigned during his school years appealed to him.
He liked 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.
I asked him which books he didn't like.
"Tale of Two Cities. I hated it. I didn't even read it. And to make them do it in the 9th grade. That's just not good."
So I asked, "What is the best book that represents the kind of reading that spoke to you least?"
Instant, reflexive reaction about this book. Since the author is still alive, I do not want to say which one it is. My boy expressed his opinion about it succinctly and vehemently.
And I get it.
I taught English for a long, long time. I know that not every book will speak to every kid.
But why isn't there room for kids to choose books and do more with them than write book reports?
I hate book reports.
What's wrong with just reading because it is a good thing to do?
So I made part of my student's assignment to read The Ask and the Answer, the sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness.