Vampires, Talking Animals, Eating Disorders: Tween Boy Reading Angst

The Boy is not a reader. I’ve mentioned it here before so it’s certainly not news but with him starting middle school, it’s become increasingly obvious to me that his reading comprehension is not where it needs to be. He struggles a bit with his everyday coursework if reading is involved. He tends to forget important facts and his vocabulary is limited. So we had a conversation about it. I told him that if he read regularly, that these other things would eventually fall into place.

He agreed.

BUT, he said that he has nothing to read. That he goes to the library and all he sees are books about vampires, talking animals and eating disorders. So we headed out to the bookstore and this is what we found:

Bookstore Shelves

…books about vampires, talking animals and eating disorders.


Look at those shelves! 80% of it, if not more, dedicated to books about vampires. Well, the kid doesn’t like vampires and a tween boy really doesn’t want to read about girl issues either. So we weeded through the pile and came up with Alex Rider which has a teen spy as its protagonist. The Boy thinks it’s just “ok” and not fantastic. He wants to read books that are more realistic but written from a boy’s point of view. He really enjoys S.E. Hinton but he’s read everything she’s written already.

I have to say, that for a 12-year-old, The Boy can handle more mature themes. It seems as if he seeks them out but can’t find books that work for him. I figured it was an excuse he was using to get out of reading but he’s right. The shelves are limited if you’re not into what’s popular right now.

Oh, I’m sure there are books out there, but they are aren’t being promoted in any way, shape or form when you go into the bookstore or even the library for that matter. All you see is a sea of black and red.

Is there a problem here that I am not aware of? Is it just a huge marketing push to display these types of books. Are they really THAT popular? I sort of thought the vampire thing was fading out. Or perhaps authors that cater to young adults cater to that genre because it’s what sells? Where are the books about teen boys, dealing with everyday teen issues? It seems as if an entire group is being overlooked. Am I right?

If you have any suggestions for The Boy, please post a comment. Sometimes I think if he got past the cover of a book, he’d actually enjoy the story but apparently he is a cover snob like his mom! He see’s a kid with fangs or a girl looking hungry and he heads the other way and don’t even get him started about talking dragons.

67 thoughts on “Vampires, Talking Animals, Eating Disorders: Tween Boy Reading Angst”

  1. I’m trying to think of what my son read at that age. I know 2 of his favorite books from his middle school years are The Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, but I think he was in the 8th grade when he read those.

  2. I’m commenting solely so I can subscribe to the comments – I’m really interested in what suggestions other readers might have for you. Kiddo is a few years younger than The Boy, and he definitely enjoys vampires, etc., but I’m always looking for new book idea to help him learn to love reading.

    1. If I find the right book, I just feel as if The Boy would magically transform into a reader (one can hope). He did for a short while after reading The Outsiders. It was the one book that he discussed with me freely. He even re-read it! A first!

  3. I’ve had enough of vampires and talking animals for sure.
    What about the book Swim the Fly?
    I also liked Ender’s Game – and the others in that series.
    I’ll have to keep thinking about this a while. I can come up with lots of series with talking animals- ugh.

  4. Rick Riordan’s books– The Read Pyramid & the Percy Jackson books.

    The Hunger Games, etc.

    I am Number Four.

    I’d read The Knife of Never Letting Go first, you may want to wait for a few more years.

    My 12 year old daughter also suggested
    Maze Runner
    The Dark is Rising series.
    The Young Wizard series

    My daughter is going to ask her friends (including some boys), and see what they suggest.

  5. I’ve never read them, but how about Gary Paulsen’s books? His adventure novels (especially Hatchet) were very popular with the boys in my classes when I was teaching. (They were in 12th grade, but reading below grade level. The books are geared toward middle school.) Or perhaps Scott O’Dell or Robert Cormier.

    1. He read the Brian series by Paulsen and liked them but didn’t enjoy his other books as much. We haven’t tried Cormier or O’Dell. When I try to get him to read books that have been around for awhile he does the whole “Mom, I don’t want to read books that were written years ago!” thing. He would prefer contemporary stuff but what can you do?

      1. I understand him…honestly, most of the kids that I deal with on a daily basis are not interested in the classics. They want to read something current and a character that they can identify with. I did recommend Brian Series but didn’t realize that he’d read all of them. Honestly, I can’t bring myself to read O’Dell either!! No one checks them out from my library. But if they reworked The Chocolate War I think that might bring it back in a refreshing way for the kids. I remember loving that book.

  6. I was also going to suggest Ender’s Game by Card.

    And also I think The Belgariad series by David Eddings could work if he likes fantasy.
    Or perhaps the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer.

    It’s 24 years since I was a 12 year old boy myself, and other than that I read a lot of superhero comics I don’t remember what I used to read back then.
    And talking of comics, maybe he’d like Sandman by Neil Gaiman. It’s comlicated enough to help with vocabulary.

    1. Thank you for the suggestions. It’s hard to remember what I liked back when I was 12. I seem to recall there being a bit more variety or perhaps I just liked many different genres and wasn’t as rigid as my son is.

  7. My daughter at that age discovered sports books–Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year remains her all-time favorite book.

    The classics are another way to go–To Kill a Mockingbird is good for this age, as are some Twain short stories, some Jack London, some Robert Louis Stevenson.

    With regards to marketing, I think booksellers really try to ride bandwagons and I think they market to girls over boys.

  8. My boy, now 16, discovered science fiction when he was in middle school. He’s read a lot of the “classics” (Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, etc.), but has settled down into a goal of reading all the Star Wars novels. Who would have know there were so many? My girl has a similar problem to your boy. She doesn’t like talking animals or vampires either. And is weary of the “girly girl” books (gags at all the PINK on the shelves). So it’s a bit of a challenge to find things she likes. Over the summer she loved reading all of the “Mysterious Benedict Society” books.

    1. I can’t believe that he is 16 now!! Time flies. We haven’t tried Sci Fi yet. Well,he tried Hunger Games which is sort of Sci Fi and Dystopian and he got bored with Katniss, but hey.. “I” got bored with Katniss 🙂

  9. I know it’s old school but is he too old for Hardy Boys series? I don’t really know the age range on those books. My father told us how much he loved them growing up.

    1. Hey woman!! Thanks for coming by. I loved The Hardy Boys (and Nancy Drew). They are still very popular and have been re-written to make the series a bit more interesting for readers today, but he’s read ’em. Everyone is coming up with some great stuff though so he should have quite a few choices now.

  10. I didn’t start reading until say… the summer before the 8th Grade. I hated reading with a passion. It was boring. Then I stumbled upon Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings… And I was off. And I haven’t stopped reading since.

    Another book the Boy might like: Ship Break by Paolo Bacigalupi. No vampires. No talking animals (there are strange “dog-mutant” creatures, but they are scary and certainly not the main feature of the novel). And no eating disorders. It’s a book about a 14 year old boy in a post-oil world. It might very well do the trick. It was amazing!!

    1. Ship Breaker looks REALLY good. I may even pick that one up for myself. If I do, I promise to share it with him. I guess that author wrote The Windup Girl too which caught my eye the other day.

      1. Ship Breaker was AMAZING.

        For me, The Windup Girl just did not compare. It actually disappointed me. But I think that’s because I read Ship Breaker first.

  11. I completely sympathize with The Boy and am very glad I’m not a young teen looking for good books to read today because I don’t generally care to read about vampires. But I think there are a lot more books for girls that aren’t about vampires than there are for boys. SE Hinton’s books are great

    I don’t know a lot about books for boys but a Google searched turned up a lot of links. This one has a list that includes covers, since I too am often a cocer snob, I understand!

    Good luck! I hope you find some good books for The Boy!

    1. Great link! That list has Downsiders on it. I read the descr and it looks really good. I’m glad that it includes covers. A plus. Great find! Thanks!

  12. My son is not a big reader either, just because he gets bored. (He loved The Outsiders BTW!) He absolutely loved Malice and now its sequel Havoc is out. It isn’t what you would call realistic, but very provoking for a boy’s mind. I know some of the boys in my daughters class really like some of the war-related novels, like Sunrise Over Fallujah. There is also one that is hot at the library called Kid Lawyer by John Grisham.

  13. I would ditto all the comments saying Ender’s Game. It’s sci fi, but not fantasy. No talking animals in sight, just a tween boy in computer-related military training due to an alien bug menace, and it has some complex themes hidden in there.

    One of the things that popped into my head was “The King Must Die,” about Theseus, but it might have too much sex in it – it’s not written for young readers. I just thought of it because the themes might be interesting to boys.

    Is he too old for “Where the Red Fern Grows”?

    What about the Robinson Crusoes and Treasure Islands and Red Badge of Courages and Count of Monte Cristos?

    1. He’s read Where The Red Fern Grows, Treasure Island and a few other classics. I keep hoping that the publishers will revamp some of these children’s classics, like they did with others to make them more marketable to kids these days. Sometimes they see the old, faded covers and think “antique” instead of treasuring the classic within.

  14. I’m not sure of the reading age but I know our son loved reading Hachette (and all books by Paulson).

    Harry Potter just came when he was 12 so this was exciting for him. One of his favorite books is Tuesday’s with Morrie, which he read around age 12 and at least 20 times after that first read. Have you tried Mitch Albom?

    Our son’s books are not unpacked yet or I would walk to his shelves and take a look. He is a big reader which I was so thankful for after being a non-reader myself until I was in 7th grade (dyslexia).

    If you have time, we would go to the bookstore, order a hot chocolate and start reading to make sure the book was interesting…. a fun activity. I miss him so much typing this!

    Good luck!

    1. Sometimes we do sit and read a few pages first. That’s what we did with the Alex Rider series. He’s not loving it, but he’s still reading it which makes me think that he is liking it at least. I’ve actually thought about getting him a low-end e-reader to see if that would make reading more enticing but I’m not quite ready to go there yet. That could be another topic entirely, actually.

  15. Totally agree with you and I am trying to think of books…like Bridge To Terebithia, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, The Book Thief,

    Terry Prachett books?

    Neil Gaiman?

    Is You too old for him?

    I know there are more out there!!!

    1. We read the Skeleton Creek series together. We were both impressed with the concept more than the storyline itself but I think they are meant for slightly younger readers.

  16. I’m going to be looking at these comments closely. I will be facing this same problem in about 6 years.

    Has he done the Harry Potter books? I think they are good for all ages and it features a boy.

    1. He didn’t like Harry Potter! I know, I almost disowned him at that point. He said that he thought the series was juvenile and that magic wasn’t his thing. Plus, he saw the movies first and now he thinks there is no point in reading the books. I told him he will never go to the Harry Potter experience in Orlando until he reads them. Ha!

  17. A lot of boys in my daughter’s middle school are reading The Hunger Games. Also Rick Riordan, Neil Gaiman, and Ender’s Game as others have mentioned.

    I know what you mean about the current YA selection – hope he finds something interesting from this list.

  18. Oh Ti, I completely feel for you. I see this problem all the time with young, adolescent or even pre-adolescent boys. I think the suggestions here are good ones–also try the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson (fantasy/adventure written especially for reluctant boy readers), Tolkien, C.S. Lewis. Don’t forget that nonfiction books count too! Whatever he is interested in, build up the reading repertoire from it. There are loads of informational books on almost every topic. Good luck & don’t worry–you are doing the best you can 🙂

    1. Oh, I wasn’t referencing a specific series or author, just in general. The YA books that are appropriate for my son lean towards fantasy, which often center around animals (dragons, big cats, etc). On our trip to the bookstore, we picked up several of the books showcased or facing out, if you will, and they were either vampire related, dealt with eating disorders or the fantasy books I just mentioned. It wasn’t even that one bookstore. After that, we visited several more and it was the same thing. Granted, these were big box stores and not independents so perhaps, there is a difference there. Go to your local bookstore and hang out in the YA section. You’ll see what I mean.

  19. I’m sure someone has mentioned them but Gary Paulson and Jerry Spinelli both have books your son might love. Also Jacqueline Woodson’s “Locomotion” and “Peace, Locomotion” and “Incident at Hawks Hill” by Allen Eckhert (there’s a badger but she doesn’t talk”.

  20. You made me curious. I thought, and looked on Amazon. Here’s some stuff:


    – Graphic Classics; various titles. This idea of making literature into comic books is how I was introduced to things like Sherlock Holmes ( a comic of “The Speckled Band.”)

    – The Shooting of Dan McGrew and Other Poems; also The Cremation of Sam McGee; both by Robert W. Service (IMO a must read for everyone – I must find these for my boys at once.)


    – A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier; Ishmael Beah (non-fiction and not a kid’s book, but it says written in easy language, and certainly “real,” if he’s looking for something real and relevant to the world.)


    – Sounder; William H. Armstrong ( & Old Yeller; Fred Gipson)

    – Call it Courage; Armstrong Sperry (I haven’t read it, but it won the Newberry, and popped up on Amazon: “Mafatu has been afraid of the sea for as long as he can remember. Though his father is the Great Chief of Hikueru – an island whose seafaring people worship courage – Mafatu feels like an outsider. All his life he has been teased, taunted, and even blamed for storms on the sea. Then at age fifteen, no longer willing to put up with the ridicule and jibes, Mafatu decides to take his fate into his own hands. With his dog, Uri, as his companion, Mafatu paddles out to sea, ready to face his fears. What he learns on his lonesome adventure will change him forever and make him a hero in the eyes of his people.”)

    – Amos Fortune, Free Man; Elizabeth Yates (also popped up; also Newberry; the true story of a boy sold into slavery at 15)

    – Bud, Not Buddy; Christopher Paul Curtis (ditto the above – OK, there is a vampire in it sort of – a runaway boy in the Depression thinks there’s one, but it’s only a tangental part in a bigger multipart coming of age story)

    – Iron Thunder (I Witness); Avi (about a boy in Civil War times, description says: “…although Tom Carroll really existed, the boy in this story is a compilation of several people on the ship and the author’s imagination. This exciting, fast-paced historical adventure will add a bit of drama to Civil War units. Even reluctant readers will appreciate it.”

    – Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two; Joseph Bruchac

    – On the Edge of Nowhere; Memoir by James Huntington as told by Lawrence Elliott (can’t tell if this memoir is OK for young adult though it popped up through a chain started by a “nonfiction young adult” search on Amazon. Another young boy must become a man in the wilderness type of story, but in this one he is not alone, but has a family. Some reference in the one review suggests sex is referred to yet perhaps not plainly?)

    – Bad Boy: A Memoir; Walter Dean Myers. (“Myers paints a fascinating picture of his childhood growing up in Harlem in the 1940s, with an adult’s benefit of hindsight, wrote PW. What emerges is a clear sense of how one young man’s gifts separate him from his peers, causing him to stir up trouble in order to belong. Ages 13-up.”)

    – The Color of My Paint; Mario L. Vasquez (true short story book about a Mexican artist and his growing up.)

    – The Sign of the Chrysanthemum; Katherine Paterson (boy in Samurai days)

    – The Prince and the Pauper; Mark Twain (for that matter, Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer?)

    – Hatchet; Gary Paulsen (these just keep popping up on Amazon… clearly I am shortly going to be spending even more way too much money on books for my boys… This guy has A LOT of outdoor adventure books for tween boys. Another one that looks good is called Dogsong)

    – Call of the Wild; Jack London (I haven’t read White Fang, I don’t think. This dog doesn’t talk – is it OK to have an animal character if he doesn’t talk? The Incredible Journey is another in this vein. I also personally loved the comedic book The Dog Days of Arthur Cane, in which a teen boy is turned into a dog. Who doesn’t exactly talk. But he is the narrator. I’m not sure it’s a kids’ book, but I first read it at 10).


    – Dear Mr. Henshaw; Beverly Cleary ( Maybe on the young side.)

    – The Misfits; James Howe (something contemporary!: “What do a 12-year-old student who moonlights as a tie salesman, a tall, outspoken girl, a gay middle schooler and a kid branded as a hooligan have in common? Best friends for years, they’ve all been the target of cruel name-calling and now that they’re in seventh grade, they’re not about to take it any more. In this hilarious and poignant novel, Howe (Bunnicula; The Watcher) …”)

    – Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys’ Favorite Authors Write About Being Boys; Jon Scieszka (he also has others: Guys Read: Funny Business, and Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka – which I might have to buy just for the awesome cover design, though it may skew a little younger than the other two)


    – Holes; Louis Sachar (This is a book for young adults, but it got me thinking: in this vein, is he old enough for Lord of the Flies? What about Catch-22? I mean, I’m sure the language is quite blue, but his style is very funny and readable, and I find that a bit of a peek into the “adult” world can interest a tween/teen. Mind you, I’m not suggesting Deliverance or Slaughterhouse Five…)

    – You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys; Betsy Franco, editor

    – Starting With “I”: Personal Essays by Teenagers; Youth Communication et al. (authors & editors)
    – The Yo Momma Vocabulary Builder; Heimberg, Harwood & Schultz, authors (excerpt from description: “The authors use classic dissing and one-upmanship to slyly introduce young readers to a wide range of words. A typical entry, for “emaciated,” first presents the word as a joke (“Yo momma’s so emaciated, she can hula hoop in a fruit loop.”). The pronunciation is then given, along with a detailed, humor-inflected definition (“too skinny . . . skeletal”)”


    – The Giver; Lois Lowry (I bought this book for myself on a whim years ago; it’s very good. In the PC future, emotions and colors have been removed, except one person holds all the memories of what make us human – a specially perceptive tween boy is trained to be that person.)

    – Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1); Margaret Peterson Haddix (totalitarian regime thing)

    – Animal Farm; George Orwell (OK, so it’s talking animals – but if you explain what it’s really about, he might find it interesting.)

    – some sci-fi short stories might be good, like “Nightfall” by Asimov and “All the Myriad Ways” by Niven.

  21. I’m sorry he doesn’t like the Alex Rider books; my oldest loved those. This just reinforces to me something I was talking to a coworker the other day, something that I was aware of when my boys were The Boy’s age–publishers and writers are really missing the boat. I think they’ve decided that boys don’t read so they don’t write/publish books for them. But then the boys don’t read because there’s nothing to read for them. I’ve always wanted to write and for years I’ve been convinced that boys this age are the ones to write for. Now it’s just time to put pen to paper. I’d echo the suggestion of the Among The Hidden series; maybe some of the classics like Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I would advise against A Long Way Gone–it’s about a boy soldier in one of the African countries and very graphic and violent.

    1. I agree. I read A Long Way Gone as well. It’s an important book but perhaps a bit too big for him at the moment. Lisa, you should write!! You have an opening that is just begging to be filled. It’s like this entire segment has been forgotten.

    1. Thanks for the list. I just wish that the YA section was more balanced. The idea is to get kids to read, I get that, but give them a wide variety of books to choose from so they are well-rounded. If you search around the bookstore, you can find a table with the classics or award winners but it’s always in the back, behind something like they are hiding it or something.

  22. Sadly I don’t have anything else to add to the suggestions (as the ones I was going to suggest are already on the list). I have noticed the same thing about the vampires/paranormal in the YA section and I get frustrated because I like to read YA now and then and there is so much paranormal YA fiction out there right now. On the other hand I read so many blogs that review YA that I have a long list of books that I want to read (but most of them are either geared toward girls or as I said, already listed in the comments above).

    My oldest son is 9 and loves talking animal books and fantasy, so I don’t have any problems so far finding books for him. He loves the Warriors books, and is also getting into the Mysterious Benedict Society.

  23. sure have a ton of suggestion to get through. My experience with my own boys and trying to get my boy students to read on a daily basis can tell you that they like the edgy, dangerous, and dark books and then sometimes they just want something funny and stupid!! I understand how daunting those bookshelves look to a kid who just isn’t sure what he wants to read.

    Here’s a list of what has worked for me with my sons and boys at my school:

    Ender’s Game (one of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read)
    Monster – Walter Dean Myers
    The Edge Chronicles (my 15 yo. son loved this series)
    Hatchet – Paulsen (Boys tend to really like Paulsen because he’s genuine, writes what he knows, and it comes across as authentic. I love Paulsen and one of my boys wanted to rough it for a night because of his books!)
    Stuck in Neutral- Terry Trueman
    Acceleration- Grahame McNamee
    Percy Jackson series- can’t keep this one on the shelves
    Shadow Children series (Among the HIdden Book #1)
    Harris and Me- Paulsen (will make him laugh out loud!)
    The Last Apprentice Series-Joseph Delaney (this is fun, spooky and very addicting)
    The Ranger’s Apprentice series-John Flanagan (wildly popular and never on my shelves!!)

    **when I get back to school on Monday I’ll browse the shelves again

    1. Diary of a Part-Time Indian- excellent book that both my son and I adored!!! Much to talk about with him if he were to read this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. This vampire fever is all over, here is Brussels bookshops don’t look very different from the one on the photo. When wil it stop?!

    I got my brother hooked on books with sci-fi. I also support the above suggestion of Ender’s Game. How about To Kill a Mockingbird and the His Dark Materials trilogy?

    1. I don’t mean to bash vampire books. I mean, they’ve gotten “other” kids reading, just not mine. LOL. But when will it stop? The lopsidedness of it all? I remember going into a bookstore when I was a kid and having to actually pick the book up to see what it was about. Not these days and sometimes I bet that doesn’t even work out the way it was meant to. Meaning that you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

  25. My son is 11 and is isn’t really into fantasy or sci fi stuff either. He really liked the newberry award winning Al Capone Does My Shirts and the follow-up Al Capone Shines My Shoes.He latest book he has been talking about is Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata. He tends to like books with some historical real aspect to them. He also really likes Non-fiction so if your son has something he is interested in you can go that route. In fact that is how I got my son really into reading was going the non-fiction route. My son loves biographies as well. Hope this helps.

    1. My son wants to be a roller coaster engineer or a concept architect so he can design theme parks. He’d read anything about this topic so books about Walt Disney have worked and architectural books have piqued his interest as well. There just aren’t that many geared towards his age range. I keep stressing too that if he wants to compete with other students for the highly coveted Disney internships he is going to have to walk the walk and talk the talk. Vocabulary can only be enhanced by getting that reading in. Thanks so much for your comment.

  26. My son is 11 and doesn’t do the whole sci-fi /fantasy genre either. In fact he likes books that have a element of historical realism to them. Some of his recent favorites have been Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes both about a boy whose Dad is a prison guard on Alcatraz and they live on the island. His sister is autistic. Latest favorite is Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam. When he wasn’t so interested in reading last summer we decided to go the non-fiction route. He actually prefers to read that. He likes biographies too so you can try that. My son has turned out to be really into the War of Independence and has read everything he can on George Washington so you just never know!

  27. If he likes a laugh, he may be interested in reading the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett.
    They combine fantasy, humour, satire and serious themes. I also recommend them for anyone else who hasn’t read them.

  28. I have no idea what to recommend. My son use to read a lot but now he is reading the internet and it is always about sports or random stuff. He got to be 16 and books just aren’t that important anymore:(

    1. I don’t even care what The Boy reads at this point as long as it’s reading, and it’s appropriate for his age. He does read the newspaper every now and then. A habit that I hope he keeps.

  29. I can totally relate, Ti.. My older son is a 15-yo freshman and just does not read enough. He also is one who says there is nothing to read whenever we go to the bookstore or library. He is very interested in other cultures (either here in the US or other countries) but its hard to find books like that geared towards boys.

    My younger son (4th grade) loves to read, but non-fiction such as the presidents, etc. so I don’t know what kind of literary leanings, if any, he’ll have as he gets older.

    1. As least now I am aware that it’s not just an excuse he’s using. Walking into a handful of bookstores since that post confirmed it to me. It’s the whole chicken and the egg thing. Publishers and YA authors maycater to girls because they are the ones that seem to be reading, yet boys would read more if there were books geared toward them.

  30. One of the books that got a big push at our fall middle school book fair was Bullyville by Francine Prose. In some ways the premise does bring to mind an S. E. Hinton book.

    My 13 year old who likes WW2 suggests Resistance, a graphic novel by Carla Jablonski. His other suggestions were mostly fantasy (no vampires though) so I’ll skip them here.

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a good one I real several years ago.

    Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is a dystopian book and I know my friend’s 7th grade son raved over it and the following two books in the series. The main character in it is a girl but the subject matter easily crosses gender lines.

    I’ll be curious to see what other suggestions you get, especially as I’m always looking for good books to push at my own crew.

    1. I like Francine Prosebut have not heard of Bullyville so I just looked it up based on your recommendation. It looks really good. Definitely something The Boy would take an interest in as he was just made a student ambassador at school which is basically a peer safety group. I had forgotten about The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I enjoyed that one very much. I worry a tad about the drugs use and sex within it even though he is a mature 12 year old. We would definitely have to discuss that one as he was reading it for him to fully understand it. Thanks so much for the recommendations.

  31. If I think about this longer, I’ll come up with some stuff, but off the top of my head I would recommend Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. And I’m reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to my 11-year-old boy at the moment 🙂

  32. I second Hatchet, Holes, Ender’s Game, The Graveyard Book, and True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. My students loved those. Shameless plug: my new book Last Bus Out is being used in several middle schools; you might check the website and try the free sample. It’s a true “guy” story. And you might help him find magazines and online sights related to his interests. I really liked Marcello in the Real World also, and my guys liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. Good luck!

  33. How about The Shadow Children books by Margaret Peterson Haddix? My 12 year old “ate” them up. He likes lots of others of hers too. Also Peter and the Starcatchers trilogy, Gary Paulsen books. Look up “ Would he like Rick Riordan books on Percy Jackson? My reluctant 10 year old loves them!

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