Local bookstore asks teens: Which books do you like?

Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, N.J., is establishing a teen advisory council, asking young readers to review books with their peers.

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    Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, N.J., is enlisting a group of teen readers to create an advisory council.
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Bookworm teens in Montclair, N.J., rejoice! There is a place for you. Watchung Booksellers, a local bookstore, is setting up a teen advisory council, reports booksellers industry newsletter Shelf-Awareness.com. Beginning on Feb. 1, the teens will meet every other month to read, discuss, and review advance copies of books under the eye of store employee Liane Freed.

The goal is to get teens reading and thinking about “what sorts of books they like to read, when they’ve got the time,” Freed told Shelfawareness. Their reviews will be posted online at Watchung’s website. The store hopes that teens' commentary on their favorite titles will offer reading recommendations for other young readers and gift ideas for adults.

Publishers have already offered to send advanced reading copies and Freed has reached out to local high school teachers to find participants. The council is expected to begin with eight members although others may join as they go along.

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Freed acknowledges that, between the search for college, homework, and extra-curricular activities, it's hard for some high schoolers to find time for reading, but she told Shelfawareness that she hopes the advisory board will be "only a small burden." She also says that she would like to see the young readers take charge to some degree. “Hopefully they can rally to bring in an author or plan a trip to a publisher.”

In an era when many worry that young readers are distracted by TV and the Internet, the notion of an active community of teen readers in a neighborhood bookstore is an appealing one.

According to Freed, the council could also be “a place for teens who are readers, but not necessarily involved in other activities and clubs.” If the end goal is more teen readers, then a lively new community of them is an elegant solution.

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