Top Ten Things Thirteen-Year-Old Boys Would Like to See More of in Books

Hi all,

Welcome to my Ten On… series, where I pose a question to a group of readers for their top ten answers on a topic.

Ten On

The manuscript I am currently working on is a contemporary fantasy novel targeted at the lower end of the young adult market i.e. twelve to fifteen-year-old readers. After being told by a publishing industry insider last week that, “Boys don’t want to read the same ‘types’ of books boys read twenty years ago” (a big generic statement, I know), I thought I’d get a group of thirteen-year-old boys together and put one question to them. I chose eight boys and asked them to each come up with five answers, without talking to or showing their companions, to the question below:

“What would you like to see more of in books?”

These are their top responses, from tenth to first:

10. Settings in out-of-space, but not necessary including aliens

9. Heroes and villains that aren’t too obvious/stereotypical eg. one boy said they could have similar personalities (this one I find especially interesting)

8. Settings in fantasy worlds reached through portals

7. Protagonists with major anger issues (another interesting one)

6. Medieval settings with dragons and knights

5. Race against time quests

4. Action fights

3. Twists that aren’t obvious – like to try to solve them

2. Protagonists they wish they could be like eg. due to their special powers or to their brains, courage or strength

and the top answer (drum roll please….)

1. Humour, humour, humour (yep, including that down-in-the-gutter type)

Hmm, now I don’t know about you, but I’d say that pretty much all of the above can be found in books dating back…forever?

Books really are timeless, don’t you think?

Happy writing,



3 thoughts on “Top Ten Things Thirteen-Year-Old Boys Would Like to See More of in Books

    1. So am I, Lou! It just goes to show, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Young readers today (or, at least, these boys) are asking for the same ingredients in books as ten, twenty, years ago.


  1. Pingback: Top Ten Things Ten-Year-Old Girls Would Like to See More of in Books – Rebecca Chaney

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