Young Adult Fiction for Adults discussion

Recommendations > Young Adult BOY books

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message 1: by STEPHEN (new)

STEPHEN (syost7) | 8 comments What are some great books for boys in their tweens? I'm often asked this by parents and I give a few suggestions, like Iain Lawrence novels. Responding to this topic, can we post examples that are NOT fantasy novels.

message 2: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) My son and his friends loved "Al Capone Does My Shirts" when they read it for 6th grade lit last year. Most of the boys had read it before 6th grade, so it was a second reading for them.

My son also loved the Crispin books by Avi and "Call of the Wild" by Jack London.

The classics like "Where the Red Fern Grows" and "Old Yeller" are usually pretty reliable, but I haven't been able to get my son to read them.

message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa) (letsread) | 22 comments My son really liked "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen and "Tangerine" by Edward Bloor. Even thought it falls in the fantasy genre "The Ranger Apprenitce" books by John Flanagan are wonderful.

message 4: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danm) | 11 comments I don't know how easy it is to find them anymore, but the Dinotopia novels series was fantastic. Different authors, but John Vornholt and Scott Ciencin stand out in my memory.

Has your tween read any Bruce Coville? Richard Peck?

message 5: by Lucy (new)

Lucy  (lucytc) | 2 comments Gary D. Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars is a perfect tween boy book.

message 6: by STEPHEN (new)

STEPHEN (syost7) | 8 comments Thanks for all of the suggestions. Actually, I'm a middle school teacher that lives in the same community where I teach, so I get this question a lot. Some of these books, like Hatchet and Al Capone, I have suggested. I loved Lizzie Bright by Gary Schmidt, Lord of the Nutcracker Men, and Skellig by David Almond.
Keep the suggestions coming, if we can.

message 7: by Llama (new)

Llama Castillo | 8 comments Yeah, Avi and any Gary Paulsen are great but also some Robin McKinley's books such as, Outlaws of Sherwood, Hero and the Crown and the Blue Sword to name a few. There is also Cynthia Voight's Tillerman series. Its a good read for boys and girls as it deal with a family of four kids and their journeys. Some are more directed to boys like The Runner, A Solitary Blue, and Sons from Afar. But Homecoming is the first one. Classics of course are always great and Tolkien is something most boys i know love to read. There is also C.S. Lewis and his scifi triology as well. If he likes sci-fi, Star Wars maybe? Oh and Christopher Paolini's books are good. I also would recommend Fuyumi Ono and her Twelve Kingdom books. They are very interesting. And lastly, Scott O'Dell has some great books.

message 8: by STEPHEN (new)

STEPHEN (syost7) | 8 comments I don't know John Vornholt or Scott Ciencin. I'll have to look into them. Bruce Coville's a great suggestion. I enjoy Richard Peck, but I think it takes a specific child to enjoy his historical fiction. I taught A Year Down Yonder a few years back, and the historic themes took A LOT of explaining. If you've never read Skellig or Kit's Wilderness by David Almond, give them a try. They are unlike any other novels or styles.

message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danm) | 11 comments I did read Skellig and loved it. I haven't read anything else by David Almond yet.

Ciencin and Vornholt are only two of a group of authors that wrote on the Dinotopia series. I recall liking their books best. I used to work in a book store when the series came out and I recommended them a lot. Adventure, unique, good morals, strong boy characterss often the primary focus, and a challenging read so it's not an early reader, but it's not quite adult fiction either.

I really like the books of E.L. Konigsburg and Andrew Clements. I think there's tween interest in both authors.

message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa) (letsread) | 22 comments "The Dark is Rising" Sequence is good. "Charlie Bone" books by Jenny Nimmo, anything by Jenny Nimmo is sure to be a middle school page turner. "The Book of Three "and the othe Prydain novels by Lloyd Alexander. "Hoot" by Carl Hiaasen.

message 11: by Marianne (new)

Marianne | 4 comments Oh yeah, the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is good. My 10 year-old son loved it so much that he made me sit and listen while he read a whole book to me! :)

message 12: by Marianne (new)

Marianne | 4 comments oh yeah, that one is fantasy, but so are the "Spiderwick Chronicles," which is also good, for those who are looking for a variety.

message 13: by Ken (last edited Aug 30, 2008 07:59AM) (new)

Ken Hi, Stephen. I, too, teach middle school (8th grade). My resistant boy readers (their numbers are legion!) loved these books last year:

War Genre:

Soldier Boys (Dean Hughes) -- WWII
Search and Destroy (Dean Hughes) -- Vietnam
Soldier X (Don Wulffson) -- WWII
Fallen Angels (Walter Dean Myers) -- Vietnam

Sports Genre:

Crackback (Jon Coy) -- football
Gym Candy (Carl Deuker) -- football/steroids
Night Hoops (Carl Deuker) -- basketball
Runner (Carl Deuker) -- running/adventure
High Heat (Carl Deuker) -- baseball
Painting the Black (Carl Deuker) -- baseball
Rash (Pete Hautman) -- football/futuristic
Slam! (Walter Dean Myers) -- basketball
Hoops (Walter Dean Myers) -- basketball

Other Genres:

The Lightning Thief and all Percy Jackson/Olympians series (Rick Riordan) -- fantasy
Alex Rider series (Anthony Horowitz) -- James Bond-like
Inside Out (Terry Trueman) -- hostage drama w/disabled kid
House of the Scorpion (Nancy Farmer) -- fantasy/cloning
Son of the Mob (Gordon Korman) -- mafia humor

Well, it's a start...

message 14: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalowry) | 3 comments I couldn't recommend any more highly that the Heir series by Cinda Chima Wariior Heir, Wizard Heir, Dragon Heir. great series

message 15: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Newengland, I'll have to check out some of the war books. My son loves watching the Military Channel and my husband has him watching Generation Kill on HBO. (I'm not at all happy about the latter.)

message 16: by Ken (new)

Ken Generation Kill? I've never heard of such a thing. It doesn't sound pleasant, though (especially for the older generation).

Anyway, although I enjoyed BOTH of the WWII novels, I especially liked Soldier X. Let me know how (if) he likes them.

message 17: by Dramasister (new)

Dramasister | 4 comments Phillip Klass is one to look for. He's written for several television shows (Cant remember wich right now) but has now turned to writing young adult novels. I went to a reading he did and he said that the reason he started writing specifically for boys is that he read a statistic that says that boys usually stop reading around the age of 11-14, and if they aren't encouraged to read they most likely will never pick up a book again until they are about 30. So He is an excellent choice. Firestorm is the first book in his series. There is also an amazing book out called Gone by Michael Grant. He used to write the Animorphs series and has recently returned with this one. Couldn't put it down. Good luck. Best advice also is to ask the most experienced childrens bookseller (I was in the industry for 7 years) about the new and upcoming stuff. Librarians are great but half the books I found out about is because we got the advanced copies.

message 18: by STEPHEN (new)

STEPHEN (syost7) | 8 comments I'm getting a lot of suggestions for Percy Jackson and the Olympian series. I'll have to check that out. I'm reading Airman by Eoin Colfer now, and it's very well written. When I'm done, I'll get back to you. Another friend of mine recommended the Ranger's Apprentice.
My intention was to get a list of non-fantasy books, not because I dislike fantasy. On the contrary, I read a lot of it. But, I was hoping to have to suggestions for non-fantasy readers.

message 19: by STEPHEN (new)

STEPHEN (syost7) | 8 comments Thanks Newengland. I'll have to print that selection. I love Walter Dean Myers and my daughter loved the Alex Rider series. I'll have to look into Deuker and Riordan.

message 20: by Ken (last edited Sep 01, 2008 03:26PM) (new)

Ken I've heard raves about Eoin Colfer's Airman and it's in my sights for next trip to the bookstore. I look forward to your review.

message 21: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa) (letsread) | 22 comments I just finished reading a book called "The Treasures of Weatherby" it could be put in the realisitic fiction genre. It's about a young boy (12) who lives in a big mansion with a lot of adults. He's small for his age and lonely. A girl flies over his fence and the adventures begin. It's by Zilpha Kaeatley Snyder.

message 22: by Sharon (new)

Sharon | 1 comments The Silverwing Trilogy (Silverwing, Sunwing, and Firewing) by Kenneth Oppel is wonderful story about a silverwing bat and the other types of bats he meets along the way and his adventures as he matures. Silverwing has won many awards and my children and their friends, both male and female, have really enjoyed them.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm surprised no one seems to have mentioned Robert Cormier or is he passe nowadays? I am the Cheese and After the First Death would be high on my recommendation list.

message 24: by STEPHEN (new)

STEPHEN (syost7) | 8 comments I am the Cheese is one of THE BEST novels. Cormier should never be passe. He is a tremendous author. The heaviness of his themes, however, is a bit too intense for the 10-12 year old crowd. Fourteen and above would probably understand and appreciate Cormier much better.

I did enjoy Silverwing, the first, but I never finished the series. I own it, so I should give it a shot one of these days.

Zusak's The Book Thief is also a fantastic and creative story, but like Cormier, it's probably too intense for younger teens.

message 25: by rebecca j (new)

rebecca j (technophobe) | 15 comments Doesn't hurt to throw a few westerns into the mix, like Max Brand or Louis L'Amour. Some of my sixth grade boys requested them. And of course they still love anything by R.L. Stine!

message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (trmite) I'd also add to this growing list a few graphic novels. The Bone series is very popular with this age group as is The Diary of a Wimpy Kid which is now a series as well. Manga rated 10+ or Youth would also be a sure fire hit as well. Go to Tokyo Pop or Viz Media and search by age range.

message 27: by Bev (new)

Bev The audio version of the Percy Jackson series is wonderful--the narrator has the perfect voice for Percy! He has lots of fun with the other characters, too, particularly some of the gods and goddesses. There is lots of humor in these stories, and this narrator has great fun with it! We listened to this whole series over a span of time in the car and loved it. It was perfect for my 10-year-old son.

message 28: by Jarris1 (new)

Jarris1 | 2 comments warriors is a great book series for tweens.

message 29: by Ann (new)

Ann | 48 comments I highly, HIGHLY, suggest Philip Reeve's "Larklight" I think this book is SO fabulous and I know I've recommended it on other feeds, but it's just SO great! And I think a young boy would really enjoy it! It's written in first person by Art Mumby, an 11 (I think) year old boy. It's sort of a sci-fi, Victorian, fantasy-ish, action/adventure, all rolled into one! Art lives in a Victorian house that happens to float in space - something that is common, but also still a little solitary. When giant talking spiders invades their house, Art and his older sister Myrtle must escape into space. They run into space pirates, giant moths, all kind of space-life, including a giant talking crab, whose so incredibly sweet! If this wasn't enough for a great premise, the story includes excerpts from Myrtles diary that are so well written and made even more hilarious by Art's footnotes to her writing! Such things as:
"And then she goes on to discuss dresses for two pages, so I'm leaving that part out" - so SO fun!!

message 30: by Ann (new)

Ann | 48 comments Also, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is good. Especially for those are aren't as into reading. It's a really thick book, but it's got loads of pictures, so doesn't take too long to read. Also, the pictures help tell the story - almost like a graphic novel, I guess, but more on the "novel" side of it. Anyway, it reads really fast, and you have a huge sense of accomplishment when you're done!

message 31: by STEPHEN (new)

STEPHEN (syost7) | 8 comments Thanks Ann. I loved Hugo Cabret and sold a few of my students on it. I'll try Larklight and get back to you. Once again, I'm loving Airman by Eoin Colfer, though it's slow going.

message 32: by Ann (new)

Ann | 48 comments I'll have to take a look at Airman, I'm not too familiar with it. Nice title though!:)

message 33: by Jules (new)

Jules | 8 comments My son loves the LEVEN THUMPS books, also. He liked the MAXIMUM RIDE books, but he's stopped reading them lately.

He's been loving 39 CLUES, the book, the cards, and the online thing. But then he loves all things Rick Riordan.

One of all of our favorite books is NO MORE DEAD DOGS by Gordon Korman. He and we love Gordon Korman.

And what boy does NOT love R.L. Stine? Goosebumps, Fear Street (a little older), & Rotten School.

He also just told me that Jon Scieszka (don't ask me if that's spelled correctly!) is another of his favorites.

I'm trying to get him to read the Cinda Williams Chima books. I've read the first two (WARRIOR HEIR & WIZARD HEIR) and am going to get the 3rd (DRAGON HEIR) tomorrow. I heard her speak and she's coming out with another trilogy that I can't WAIT for! It'll be another hit for boys.

I'd recommend the Pendragon books, too, by DJ McHale.

message 34: by Bev (new)

Bev I agree with Jules--Gordon Korman is fantastic! He has several series that are very engaging (Dive, Kidnapped, Meet the Falconers, etc.) and No More Dead Dogs is a real hoot. For an adolescent boy, I recommend his Son of the Mob. It is hysterically funny--one of my all-time favorite YA books!

message 35: by Bev (new)

Bev Forgot to mention Chris Crutcher...ANYTHING by him is fantastic, particularly for boys. Most of his protagonists are male adolescents with voices that ring true. One of my favorites of his is Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. He is also an author here on Goodreads!

message 36: by Carmen (new)

Carmen | 26 comments I really like The Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale.

When my son was 12 he used to read Artemis Fowl (there are four books I think) by Eoin Colfer, the Charlie Bone books by Jenny Nimmo, The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and Eragorn by Paolini. A little older he loved the Cirque Du Freak saga by Darrne Shan (It's a little dark for younger kids).

message 37: by Ann (new)

Ann | 48 comments Carmen, I keep getting recommendations from Amazon for Artemis Fowl and The Pendragon series, but I didn't know how good they were (well, I've heard a lot on Artemis Fowl, but not from anyone I knew), so I'm glad that you would recommend them!:D

message 38: by Carmen (new)

Carmen | 26 comments Ann,

I hope you like both of them.

FYI the books I mentioned before are or were my son's favorites when he was about twelve.
My own favorites are:
The Shamer's Chronicles by Lene Kaaberbol
On Fortune’s Wheel by Cynthia Voigt
The Thief, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner.
The Name of the Wing by Patrick Rothfuss
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

But I'm not sure whether boys would like these.

message 39: by Carmen (new)

Carmen (carmentheblue) | 10 comments I don't know if "The Lies of Locke Lamora" is young adult- not saying it isn't swashbuckling fun, i just finished it last night- it just has *a lot* of swearing and references to sexual acts that are kinda lewd [not descriptions, mind you, just references:].

It's all based on opinion, but i would take a look before you recommend it to your young adult boy.



message 40: by Carmen (new)

Carmen | 26 comments Thank you Carmen.
What a coincidence we have the same name and just read the same book. (I finished three days ago). Don't tell me you are reading now "The Wand of the Words"?
Just kidding.
As for my boy, he is sixteen now and into Philip P. Dick, Jose Samariego (Blindness) and Kurt Vonnegut. None of which I recommended to him.
He has his own mind this boy of mine.

message 41: by Carmen (new)

Carmen (carmentheblue) | 10 comments I am a huge fan of Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut and YAY for boys with minds of their own!

message 42: by rebecca j (new)

rebecca j (technophobe) | 15 comments I have a thirteen yr. old girl, and I say Yah! for any boys who use their minds and imaginations! We're in a small town and she's already discouraged at the possibility of having to date some of the prospects here when she gets older!

message 43: by Cathy (new)

Cathy  (cathygreytfriend) Non-fantasy? That's harder for me, but I'd say to try Holes (not a bad movie, either), Carl Haissen's teen books (Hoot, and I'm forgetting one) and definitely 39 Clues, it was super fun and sneakily educational.

message 44: by Cathy (new)

Cathy  (cathygreytfriend) And The Westing Game! It could very well make a mystery lover out of any boy or girl. | 1 comments I read Interworld by Neil Gaiman and enjoyed it. I don't think there was any questionable content in it. My nephew likes the Maximum Ride books by James Patterson. I got him the Dangerous Days of Daniel X by the same author and he read it in 2 days. Which is a record I believe. He's 13 by the way. He also liked the Giver and Hatchet alot.
I thought that the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn was one of the best epic fantasies that I have read in a long time. But due to some sexual content and graphic violence, I would suggest for older teens. The Sea of Trolls and House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer are really good too.

message 46: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (rennifred) | 6 comments My eleven-year-old will NOT touch anything other than fantasy. But he picked up a book I was reading, read it and liked it. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

The main character has a nice "voice" - slightly neurotic. He is best friends with a girl, and both of them are groping their way towards their grown-up identities. The core of the book is the two of them trying to solve the mystery of how to open a box that Jeremy's father gave him posthumously. It is affirming and the grown-ups in Jeremy's life are looking out for him, but it is not saccharine.

message 47: by Clickety (new)

Clickety (clix) | 5 comments I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Bloody Jack books.

message 48: by Ms Threlkeld (new)

Ms Threlkeld (wordnerd153) | 2 comments I teach 6th grade reading and my boys love all of the titles already suggested. Korman, Nimmo, Riordan and Paulsen are faves. I often recommend Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time to my low-level or reluctant readers. The Schwa Was Here is pretty popular, and Spinelli books are always a hit. I've had a couple kids get into the Blue Balliet art mysteries (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3, Calder's Game). Silent to the Bone is a great suspense book by E.L. Konigsburg.

message 49: by Ann (new)

Ann | 48 comments Okay, I know I already recommended Philip Reeve's Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space, but I just finished the third book in the series, Mothstorm, and feel compelled to give it another plug! I adore these books and they've become instant favorites. If you want just a taste of the wit and amusement of the stories, visit the website:
to see if you'd even be interested in the books:)

message 50: by Ann (new)

Ann | 48 comments Just finished Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. I really, really liked it! The protagonist is a 13 year old boy and the story is refreshingly different and writing style quite unique and hilarious (in my opinion at least;>). I highly recommend it!!

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