High school senior Adam Balutis of Arlington, Va., has a passion for reading and for spreading interest in young adult literature, reports CBS This Morning's Thalia Assuras.
His Internet site, with its brutally honest reviews, has become so popular, his advice is now sought by publishing firms and by librarians who check with him before placing orders.
For Balutis, 17, reading has always been a hobby. Besides maintaining his Web site, he works at a library and coaching children's sports teams.
This week has been designated "Teen Read Week" by the American Library Association. Balutis has no official role in it, but he does have a lot to say about the important of encouraging teen-agers to read.
"All I do is really give my opinions," he says. "I think it's important toÂ…publishers to have a perspective of the people they're trying to sell the books to. And, you know, often the opinions of an adult and a young adult are extremely different."
In his reviews, Balutis ranks books on a scale of zero to three. He says he came up with the system on the spur of the moment at a library convention.
"I said that, in my opinion, there are four kinds of books," he explains. "Zero is a book that is a waste of a tree. One is a good bathroom read. Two is a good beach or leisure read. Then three is the book you skip your favorite activity forÂ… It sucks you right in."
While he is brutally honest in his reviews, Balutis uses his "zero" rating sparingly. "I don't want to discourage reading, even of bad books," he explains.
As for his own favorite reading material, Balutis says he prefers "anything that's about me. Anything about my life, [like] baseball. Anything that I can relate to is great."
[To visit Adam Balutis' Web site, click here.]