YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

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YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby pavloviandoggy » 06 Oct 2010, 18:57

Hey there,

I have a fifteen- year-old male relative that does not read. Everyone else in the family reads, and their vocabulary has benefited from it. I want my teenage relative to have the same advantages. I've already looked into the young adult section at local bookstores, but they all seem rather girly. Since a lot of the excerpts on this forum have been for YA titles, I was hoping the other members may have some suggestions. Thanks!
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby J. T. SHEA » 06 Oct 2010, 19:44

YA Steampunk, maybe? Try LEVIATHAN and BEHEMOTH by Scott Westerfeld. See Sommer Leigh's post about them in this section of the Forums.

He could also try Kenneth Oppel's YA steampunk trilogy, consisting of AIRBORN and SKYBREAKER, and STARCLIMBER.

And Robert Louis Stevenson's TREASURE ISLAND is over 120 years old but still timeless. I reread it only recently.
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby Moni12 » 06 Oct 2010, 20:21

Into the Wild or probably anything else by Jon Krakaur.
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby polymath » 06 Oct 2010, 20:29

Robert Cormier is a boy's author. His The Chocolate War is boys' life with edge. The novel is one of the most challenged novels written for young adults. All Cormier's writing has edge. I'd get a copy, leave it lying around, and forbid young adults from reading it.

S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders is another great boys' life novel, a little less pessimism than Cormier, just as edgy, in the running for most challenged young adult novel.

C.J. Cherryh's Cuckoo's Egg, while not young adult, per se, fantasy science fiction, has a lot of martial arts wisdom, somewhat edgy, and a subtext of the familiar stranger striving for a sense of belonging in an alienating and hostile society. It's stayed off the challenge radar so far.

And of course, the all time boys' life young adult novel, written for adults though, frequently challenged, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

Not a novel, memoir with edge, Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life. A story of shaping young adult self-identity by trying on identity through pathological lies, misadventure, and the complications of broken family life.
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby cheekychook » 06 Oct 2010, 20:45

polymath wrote:Robert Cormier is a boy's author. His The Chocolate War is boys' life with edge. The novel is one of the most challenged novels written for young adults. All Cormier's writing has edge. I'd get a copy, leave it lying around, and forbid young adults from reading it.

S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders is another great boys' life novel, a little less pessimism than Cormier, just as edgy, in the running for most challenged young adult novel.

C.J. Cherryh's Cuckoo's Egg, while not young adult, per se, fantasy science fiction, has a lot of martial arts wisdom, somewhat edgy, and a subtext of the familiar stranger striving for a sense of belonging in an alienating and hostile society. It's stayed off the challenge radar so far.

And of course, the all time boys' life young adult novel, written for adults though, frequently challenged, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.


Forbidding them to read it is good. Placing it on high, out of reach bookshelves worked well for getting me to read stuff when I was younger.

I agree with the above suggestions---and I'm so proud to say that my sons' middle school and high school actually assign The Chocolate War, The Outsiders and The Catcher in the Rye---the open-minded school district was a large part of the reason we bought our house (good thinking ahead on my part seeing as my kids were only 3 and 6 when we moved here).

My 14-year-old son, who's not a big reader, just piped in with The Hunger Games (currently assigned reading at school) and Ranger's Apprentice (a series he's enjoyed without it being assigned).
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby maybegenius » 06 Oct 2010, 23:53

Hmm...

Candor by Pam Bachorz

Flash Burnout by LK Madigan

Break by Hannah Moskowitz

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

White Cat by Holly Black

Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron

Just about anything by John Green

Also, you may want to check out: http://guysread.com/ There are a few recommendations for that age group there. Also, don't discount comics and graphic novels because they're not "real" books. Sometimes they're a good jumping point for reluctant readers, and some of them are really, really good.
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby Sommer Leigh » 07 Oct 2010, 05:47

I'm very much a huge fan of Leviathan!

But can I recommend Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson? The reason I recommend this is because my husband is a high school English teacher in a very low income school so he tends to have large classes full of kids who do not read (or at least, have never been introduced to any book they might actually like.) He recently taught Twisted and he had students in his class who have not done a single piece of homework all semester unable to hand the book back in after reading time was over. They don't have enough books for every kid to take them home, but he was bombarded with requests from non-readers to borrow the book so they could find out what happens. I've read the book and I give it two thumbs way up.

Other very good books boys would like:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Gentlemen by Michael Northrup
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Feed by Mira Grant
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby dios4vida » 07 Oct 2010, 09:07

My input would be The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott (The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer). My parents, my husband and I all love this YA series. It has a fair dose of mythology in it so you get quite an education on demigods and myths along the way. It might by YA but it's one of the best fantasy series I've ever read.
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby Jessica Strider » 08 Oct 2010, 11:24

I'd also recommend the Maze Runner by James Dashner. The protagonist is 16 and stuck in a glade with a bunch of other boys, all trying to solve a maze and escape. It's like Lord of the Flies, only the boys mostly all work together and create a successful community. There's fake swearing and some violence, but no sex.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is also a fantastic book, with 2 teen male and one female protagonists. The premise is that between the ages of 13 and 18 parents can retroactively abort their children, and these three have been chosen for unwinding for very different reasons. It's creepy but there's no real content (swearing, sex or violence).
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby Sommer Leigh » 08 Oct 2010, 11:28

Jessica Strider wrote:I'd also recommend the Maze Runner by James Dashner. The protagonist is 16 and stuck in a glade with a bunch of other boys, all trying to solve a maze and escape. It's like Lord of the Flies, only the boys mostly all work together and create a successful community. There's fake swearing and some violence, but no sex.


There's also no eating people. Bonus!

Another great thing about The Maze Runner is that the second book, The Scorch Trials, is released October 12th!
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby Inheritance » 09 Oct 2010, 14:53

I am not a teenage boy, but I am a teengage girl and I have a brother who loves to read. He likes The Alchymist (frist book of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. The Maze Runner is really good. It's a cross between The Hunger Games (definitely a recommendation) and Lord of the Flies. If he's quieter, a thinker, the Percy Jackson series is a good idea. So is Airman by Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl series.
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen is about the nuclear holocaust. For the Win by Cory Doctrow is about the world of video games and how kids use them to change the real world. The Tomorrow Code, by Brian Faulkner, is about two kids trying to save the world from scientific apocalypse. Awesome.
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby craig » 09 Oct 2010, 16:10

I was not much of a reader till about age 14 or so... and even then I wasn't much of a reader till later in high school... My sister, who is now... oh geez... 20? yeah 20... wait, 21?... is not a reader at all. I think she's read five books of her own choice (meaning not for school). Oh, wait, most of those were for school. Make that ONE book of her own choice.

While all the suggestions here are great, I'd be hesitant to go out and purchase these books assuming they'll be the perfect thing he needs. I believe that the key to getting a non-reader to read is *not* to give them a great book... whether it be one of the classics (which non-readers and even some readers will simply just not be able to get into because it reads as old sometimes) or some contemporary bestseller (as we all know, some bestsellers are kinda poorly written sometimes).

The key, and this is of course very obvious, is to find out exactly what the youth's interests are.

With myself, I was a Trekkie, so my intro into the reading world was through Star Trek books. I eventually picked up a couple thrillers my aunt recommended. From there, it's expanded considerably -- HOWEVER, I'm almost like a non-reader still -- I wouldn't read any of the books suggested here. There are a LOT of "popular" books I've just never been able to get into. I mean, they're good books, I've read some of them, but they're not in my direct line of interests so I just wouldn't be able to make my way through them. But since they're not in my line of interests, I lack the MOTIVATION to pick them up and read.

With my sister, the one book she wanted to read was A Million Little Pieces. She didn't want to read it because it was an Oprah pick at the time, but because Frey's story grabbed her. (I've read it to, it's phenomenal. Forget that it's part fiction, it is an astounding and gripping story.) For school, she had to select some books to read -- the ones that she really got into (though admittedly she wouldn't pick them up if it weren't for homework) were these very tragic YA romances where one of the lovers usually dies in the end.

If this youth is a non-reader, it's not simply a matter of finding a widely-acclaimed good book -- it's a matter of lining him up with a book that is good for him. Also, age 15 is appropriate for getting into adult literature, provided the youth's parents are not overprotective about sex, violence, and language. Does he like horror movies? Find him a horror novel. Does he like anime? Find him some manga or a graphic novel. Does he like sci-fi? Find out what kind of sci-fi he likes and go find a good one. Does he like documentaries? Maybe a non-fiction book would be better. Is he into sports? There are sports books both fiction and non-fiction.

Helping this youth get into reading cannot be imposed upon him. (And I'm not implying that in a negative sense.) It needs to be an effort made with him actively involved -- so that he takes ownership of book selection.

That's my two cents anyway...
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby maybegenius » 09 Oct 2010, 20:41

craig makes excellent points ;)
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby k10wnsta » 09 Oct 2010, 21:50

ummm....hello?
Catcher in the Rye
Sell him on it by explaining its more notorious notability (which I shall recount here for those who weren't aware):
At 10:49 PM on December 8, 1980, having just shot John Lennon 4 times in the back, Mark David Chapman tossed his gun aside, pulled out a copy of Catcher in the Rye, sat down on the curb, and proceeded to read until police arrived. When the doorman approached and asked, "Do you know what you've done?", Chapman looked up from the book only briefly to respond, "Yes. I just shot John Lennon."
At the trial, his only address to the court involved reading a passage from the book.
If that doesn't pique a 15-year old boy's interest, there's no hope for him.

Oh...
There are also several Stephen King books that are great at that age also - the first full length novel I ever read was Pet Semetary when I was about 12 or 13 (it's probably not something 99% of 12-13 year olds could get into, but by 15, definitely). To this day, I can evoke chills in my spine thinking back to the moment I read the last line of that story. What an ending!
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Re: YA books for a fifteen- year- old boy

Postby Cacy » 10 Oct 2010, 23:59

I second Neal Shusterman! I haven't read Unwind, but I've read so much by him and used to check his books out over and over from the library. Downsiders is my favorite.

Also, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card if he hasn't read that yet.

It probably goes without saying, but since nobody has said it so I'ma throw it out there. Harry Potter. It's a phenomenon for a a reason. And I specifically remember in high school a classmate of mine saying he didn't like to read, but read HP cover to cover.

Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (It's the first book in the Chronicles of Chrestomanci, but I haven't read the other books yet so I can only recommend the first)

I also haven't read Sherman Alexie yet, but I keep meaning to pick up his book, Confession of a Part Time Indian, because I'm always hearing about how good it is.

This blogger (who reads and reviews YA books by writers of color around about minority protagonists) posts about a different book for boys every Monday, but even if go to the review by title page you can see which books are by male authors or just peruse: http://blackteensread2.blogspot.com/sea ... e%20monday
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