Last November, I was in the Young Adult Fiction section of my local bookstore, wondering whether or not to purchase a set of Keeper of Lost Cities books by Shannon Messenger for the library.
You should get them all,” said this voice behind me.
The speaker was a teenaged boy. Bespectacled, way taller than I was, and holding a stack of books in his arms.
They’re really good,” he continued. “I’ve read the lot and I’m just bummed number eight’s still not out yet.”
He must have thought I was an idiot because I literally stared at him, mute, for several seconds before remembering my manners and thanking him for the recommendation. And that yes, I would buy the set.
His mother joined us as he was describing the stories in Book Three and promptly apologised for him annoying me.
I assured her he was doing nothing of the sort, and that I was learning a lot from him. We chatted a bit more about the other books he had with him, then parted ways.
I could not have imagined that my book buying jaunt would result in the privilege of meeting this young man and his mother, and learning so much about seeing books through the eyes of an actual teenaged reader of books, the group I’d feared misplaced in modern techo-civilisation. Indeed, he had been a joy to chat with. He was articulate, knowledgeable, well mannered, and a credit to his mother.
I highly doubt he or his mother will read this but if they do, thank you. The young man’s unexpected act of kindness in taking the time to share his enthusiasm for some books restored my faith in young readers and, more importantly, in the future.