Yesterday I spotted a Facebook post from the Wall Street Journal. It link to this question a parent asked about recommendations for books for boys ages 13 through 17. I stopped to take a look at the books being recommended and was surprised to see I knew two maybe three tops. Where was the Westerfeld? The Dashner? The Green? The parent in the article states that their family has enjoyed the Hunger Games and are looking for more books like it. I didn’t see anything on the list (that I knew of anyhow) that was comparable to Hunger Games. Sports and Westerns? I think boys like more than that.
While, yes, I am female I made up my own list that I plan on passing along to my 13 year old nephew (in the hopes that he’ll suddenly come to love reading). I think these are books that can appeal to both teen boys and girls. They aren’t romance driven, but it’s also not completely absent (and who’s to say boys don’t want to read about a little romance? How else are they going to learn how to woo their teenage crushes and what NOT to do on a date). They have action and/or male main characters that the boys can relate to. I think it’s a good list. If anyone disagrees or has books to add on, please feel free to comment. Especially you guys. I’d love to hear if you wouldn’t touch one of these books with a 10 foot pole.
- Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian– Sherman Alexie (everyone should read this)
- The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins (Yes some romance and a female MC, but every guy I know who’s read the series LOVE it. Your boys will too)
- Going Bovine – Libba Bray (a hysterically funny journey of a boy with mad cow disease)
- Leviathan & Behemoth & Goliath – Scott Westerfeld (steampunk retelling of how WWI started)
- The Uglies series – Scott Westerfeld (OK a little more romance in this, but a great dystopian/sci-fi series about how being perfect isn’t quite as perfect as people think)
- Anything by John Green and I mean anything. If his stuff comes in a box set, snatch it up.
- Percy Jackson & The Olympians – Rick Riordane (comical and educational about Greek Mythology)
- The Kane Chronicles – Rick Riordane (again, comical and educational but about Egyptian Mythology)
- The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel – Michael Scott (a series about magic with historical figures and events weaved in)
- Harry Potter – JK Rowling (need I say anything about this?)
- The Gregor the Overlander series – Suzanne Collins (a great Middle Grade series by the author of the Hunger Games)
- The Inkheart Trilogy – Cornelia Funke (especially great for a book lover. Who wouldn’t want to see characters from their favorite stories in the real world?)
- Stardust – Neil Gaiman (A fantasy/faerie book boys can get into)
- The Graveyard Book – Neil Giaman (a human raised by ghosts, need I say more?)
- The Maze Runner & Scorched Trials & The Death Cure – James Dashner (excellent dystopian series with a mosty male cast)
- Enclave – Ann Aguirre (another dystopian story, although there’s a female MC, her male partner has equal time and there’s a lot of fighting and action and just a little romance)
- Young Samurai series – Chris Bradford (kind of a kid’s version of Shogun. Lots of boys want to be a samurai or ninja!)
- Eragon series – Christopher Paolini (dragons rule man!)
I’m sure I’m missing some great ones so again, please feel free to add your top picks to the comments so I can add them to the list! There are plenty of great popular recent novels out there that can appeal to boys. You just have to do a little digging and have an open mind.