Best Books For Teen and Tween Boys
Top Picks For Great Reads For Guys
We have put together a list of the best books for teen and/or tween guys according to T. He read a lot this last school year! So many books came and went but in the end, when we sat down to sort through them he chose these five as the best reads from last year. For the record, these were from his eighth-grade year. I don’t generally make selections regarding grade level but more often on what he was interested in or currently studying. Some may be considered a little behind and some ahead but all were reads he adored. These are the books that he brought in the car with him, that he had in his back pocket even on the hiking trails, just in case he could find a minute. They went where he did until the story had been told.
Number One Best Book For Teens- Top Choice – Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
This award-winning contemporary classic is the survival story with which all others are compared—and a page-turning, heart-stopping adventure, recipient of the Newbery Honor. Hatchet has also been nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.
Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson, haunted by his secret knowledge of his mother’s infidelity, is traveling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since the divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, the sole survivor is Brian. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present. The story follows Brian as he struggles to survive the harsh Canadian wilderness.
Number Two Best Book For Teens – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This is such a great series and I was anxiously waiting for T to get old enough to read it. When the time finally came he loved it as much as I did. It’s a heart-wrencher, guys. I won’t lie. You’ll probably cry. You will likely stay up way too late reading it simply because you can’t stop. The writing is beautiful and feels real and all the feels are in this read. That said, my teenage son loved it. Why? It’s adventure, high stakes, full on warrior material too. Simply spectacular.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.
Number Three Best Book For Teen and Tween Guys Goes to Hoot by Carl Hiassen
T has the heart of a conservationist and that really pulled him through this story. He was ready to head to Florida and do his part to protect these tiny owls. You’ll likely be ready to head that way too but there is that and so much more in this story. Any heart will open to it.
This Newbery Honor-winning, hilarious Floridian adventure involves new kids, bullies, alligators, eco-warriors, pancakes, pint-sized owls, and more. A New York Times bestseller!
Everybody loves Mother Paula’s pancakes. Everybody, that is, except the colony of cute but endangered owls that live on the building site of the new restaurant. Can the awkward new kid and his feral friend prank the pancake people out of town? Or is the Owls’ fate cemented in pancake batter?
Number Four Best Book For Teens According to T is Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Now keep in mind T volunteers at the stables every week so he loves a good story with a horse in there. But I read this book too and I loved it! It was so good!
Nobody could capture the Phantom. She was the wildest mare on Assateague Island. They said she was like the wind, that the white “map” on her shoulders was her mark of freedom. Paul and Maureen Beebe had their hearts set on owning her. They were itching to buy and tame her and worked hard to earn the money that she would cost. But the roundup men had tried to capture her and for two years she had escaped them… Pony Penning Day holds a surprise for everyone, for Paul not only brings in the Phantom but her newborn colt as well. Can Paul and Maureen possibly earn enough to buy them both?
Number Five Best Book For Teens Goes To A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Parker
This is a quick read but it has a lot of power and makes a deep impact. It is based on a true story and it lead us down a whole new series of lessons that weren’t on my lesson plan but I wouldn’t have missed for the world.
Few children can imagine walking eight hours a day or digging by hand deep into the mud, just to find water for their family. But the backbreaking work under the hot African sun is just a typical day for 11-year-old Nya, growing up in Sudan circa 2008. She rarely complains; it would do no good.
Salva, also 11, is from a prominent, upper-class Sudanese family. As the Second Sudanese Civil War erupts in the mid-1980s, Salva is forced to run as bombs hit his village. Fleeing quickly and leaving his family behind, he joins up with bands of strangers—all headed out of their war-torn homeland to Ethiopia.
Difficult as it may be, both Nya and Salva come to accept their own long walks to water—each peppered with challenges and each tied to family and survival. Nya’s sister becomes very ill; Salva loses several loved ones. But Newbery Award winner Linda Sue Park’s brilliant dual narrative provides a soulful insight into both journeys.
Both Salva and Nya are urged on by their individual reserves of hope—for a better tomorrow, a better future—but neither really knows what lies beyond. The book’s denouement, however, intertwines their stories in a soul-satisfying and optimistic way.
A Long Walk to Water is based on Salva Dut’s true story of perseverance amid adversity. But beyond that, it’s a touching narrative about strife and survival on a scale most American readers will never see.
T wanted it noted that his all-time favorite book is still The Count of Monte Cristo. He has read this book over and over every year since fourth grade. It was the book that made him like reading. He insisted I include it here for any of you thinking about what to get for your son to read.
T’s Choice – Best Book Of All Time Goes To The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
A popular bestseller since its publication in 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great page-turning thrillers of all time. Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, Alexandre Dumas’s grand historical romance recounts the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantès, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason. The story of his long imprisonment, dramatic escape, and carefully wrought revenge offers up a vision of France that has become immortal. As Robert Louis Stevenson declared, “I do not believe there is another volume extent where you can breathe the same unmingled atmosphere of romance.”
So there you have it! Straight from a teenage boy himself! Please feel free to submit your suggestions in the comments section below. We love to hear from you!
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I did a full review of Hatchet here and I also created some supplemental worksheet materials as part of this read.
I created the Hatchet Writing Prompt Worksheet which asks the student to choose from three locations and then write a piece about how they would survive in that environment. I also created a Hatchet Letter Writing Assignment which asks the student to write a letter to Brian after he misses his chance at setting his signal fire the first time a plane comes around. It is a letter of encouragement. Also, I made a Hatchet Book Review. I have him do a book review on everything he reads. Finally, I created this beautiful Hatchet Printable Quote to display in our homeschool room. It features the lesson he learned from Mr. Perpich, his English Teacher. It is the message that kept him going. “Stay positive and stay on top of things.”
You can get the Hatchet worksheet and quote series here.
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