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Book Lists: For Teen Boys Who Hate Reading

Let's face it; some people don't like to read. While I can't understand it, I know it's a lifestyle choice. When I am working with a student who would rather do anything other than read, my response is that my job is to make their required reading suck a little less. Why do I say that? Because it's the truth.

I can't make someone love reading. I can't even make them like it. But I can try to make it tolerable. And you never know... a well-recommended book just might be the key to turning a book hater into a reading superstar!

So here are my Baker's Dozen for Teen Boys Who Hate Reading.

Fiction Series

* Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins by Andrew Lane. Set during the mid-1800s, this series is chocked full of everything you would expect from a Sherlock Holmes novel. It's all suspense, the action and adventure, and a glimpse at how Sherlock became, well, Sherlock.

*Guys Read edited by Jon Scieszka with contributions by NYT bestselling authors and more. Guys Read was designed to entice boys who don't like to read, for whatever the reason. Each book is a collection of short stories (which means no long plotlines to follow) and focuses on a theme such as Comedy, Thrillers, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Sports, True Stories and coming in September, Horror. And for those students who have to make AR or Lexile goals... there's a test for each book!

*Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. For those students who don't like violence or the slightest hint at romance, this is not a book I would recommend, but if they like military strategy and a fast paced suspense, this is definitely a go to. If students aren't quite ready for Hunger Games, Collins also has a series called The Underland Chronicles which features an 11 year old main character who sets out on an adventure to save a world he's only just arrived in. I will warn you, the first five chapters of the first book are a little slow, but once you get past that, hang on to your seats. It's going to be a bumpy ride. Again, there is violence in this series.

*Treasure Hunter by James Patterson. This series is about a sibling group who has grown up exploring shipwrecks until one day, their parents disappear. Determined to find out what happened to them, the kids start off on an adventure that will have your gasping for breath. Great read for middle schoolers and younger.

*Morus Chronicles by J.R. Roper. This little known series is one that I can't recommend highly enough. Its part National Treasure, part Percy Jackson without the Gods and part Lord of the Rings (the quest part of it). Seriously... this is a killer book for any student, particularly middle grade boys.

*Ashfall Trilogy by Mike Mullin. This is a book I would recommend for high school students. It has some violence and language, but it's one of the most realistic natural disaster series I have ever read! Set in the moments after the super volcano under Yellowstone National Park erupts, it's a story of survival and finding out what it means to be alive. The books are long but the action moves so fast, teens will be begging for more. This is good, because there are 2 more books.

*The False Prince by Jennifer A. Neilsen. A missing prince, hidden agendas, political deceit. What more could you ask for in a delicious trilogy about toppling a dynasty and placing an imposter on the thrown. This does move a little slow in parts and there is a romance in the storyline, but there are also pirates, near-death escapes and poisoning, so that helps to balance it out.

Fiction Stand Alones

* Pop by Gordon Korman. When Marcus moves to a new town, he's determined to earn the QB position on his new school's football team. He even has the fortune to meet an NFL legend who helps him prepare. But not everything is going to go smoothly, especially when he meets the current star quarterback and realizes that this new school may be harder to fit into than the thought.

*Gym Candy by Carl Dueker. Another football book, this one takes a poke at the need to be the best and live beyond the shadow of a failed parental figure, even if it means doing something you know is wrong. Gives an honest look at what steroids can do to an athlete and gives the reader a glimpse into why someone would take "gym candy" in the first place.

*Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herback. This is a decidedly less serious book about high school but still takes on the powerful subject of cliques. When the money to operate the band is diverted to the cheerleaders, the trombones are tossed aside for an all-out battle between the cool kids and the not-so cool kids. Who will win the stand-off? You'll have to read this cleverly written and hilariously poignant novel!

*Paper Towns by John Green. When the most amazing girl you've ever known enlists you in a night of insane revenge, you go, right? But what if she's missing the next morning and you're the only one who has any clue as to where she's gone? A classic John Green book with all the teen angst and tension we have come to expect, this is definitely a book I am more inclined to recommend to the high school boys.

Graphic Novel Series

*Kill Shakespeare by Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, Andy Belange. Not only is this a 4-volume series, there is also a board game! The heroes and villains of the classic plays have had enough and they are going after the wizard who goes by the name of Shakespeare to put an end to his meddling in their lives. A fun approach to literature, this series also for a little passive aggressive reading for those teens that would rather die than read Shakespeare.


*One Hundred Young Americans by Michael Franzini. If you have a teen who is interested in understanding other people’s lives, then you have got to introduce them to this book. Rather than a biography that focuses on the rich and famous, this book looks at the lives of ordinary teens living around the country and how their lives are the same and more importantly, different.

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