“[A] masterpiece . . . Denby is especially astute in describing what it takes to capture teenagers’ attention. . . . [A] wonderful book.” ---The Huffington Post
It’s no secret that millions of American teenagers, caught up in social media, television, movies, and games, don’t read seriously---they associate sustained reading with duty or work, not with pleasure. Seeing this indifference as a grievous loss, bestselling author and distinguished critic David Denby goes back to high school to answer two questions: Can teenagers be turned on to serious reading? What kind of teachers can do it, and with what books? Denby sat in on a tenth-grade English class in a demanding New York public school for an entire academic year and made frequent visits to a troubled inner-city public school in New Haven and to a respected public school in Westchester County. He read all the stories, poems, plays, and novels that the kids were reading, and here creates an impassioned portrait of charismatic teachers at work, classroom dramas large and small, and fresh and inspiring encounters with the books themselves. Lit Up is a dramatic narrative that traces awkward and baffled beginnings but also exciting breakthroughs and the emergence of pleasure in reading. In a sea of bad news about education and the fate of the book, Denby reaffirms the power of great teachers and the importance and inspiration of great books.