05
Dec
09

Question for the audience

So it is gift giving time again and I am stuck with an interesting conundrum. I have 2 teenage boys and 1 eleven year old boy on my list, and I’d like to get them books for Christmas. Trouble is, I don’t read a lot of YA or know what’s cool (nor am I seen as being particularly cool). One of the teenagers and the eleven year old both read well above their level, I don’t know about the other teenager (other than he likes XBox and BMX racing).

SO, if you, lovely, well read readers, can suggest books boys would like and not just shove under their beds, I would be ecstatic.  I’d really love some good SciFi, since all 3 like that sort of thing, but I’ll take whatever recommendations you think up! Thank you in advance for helping me save Christmas!

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13 Responses to “Question for the audience”


  1. 1 Terri-Lynne
    December 5, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Unbelievable as it may seem, I have four children, of whom only ONE is a reader. The others? Only when they must. However, have volunteered in school libraries all through my kids’ years and, based on what I found a recurring thing, I will suggest graphic novels for adolescent boys. (Bone, in particular, though you might want to check on age recs.) It’s a sad thing, but boys often feel ‘wussy’ when they’re caught with a book in hand. Caught with a graphic novel, and it’s much cooler.

    Good luck with the shopping!

  2. 2 Terri-Lynne
    December 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Oh, but if you want a book rec, might I suggest Feed, by MT Anderson?

  3. 3 tana
    December 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    for the older teens would say jim butcher.

  4. 4 Rachel T.
    December 5, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    My teenage brother (he’s 18) has been reading Jim Butcher for years. And while these next recommendations are not YA, he also loves William Gibson (“Necromancer”) and Neal Stephenson (he’s read it all but I’d guess the most appealing for a teenage boy would be “Snow Crash”).

    As a younger teen, he was reading Terry Pratchett and Tom Holt.

  5. 5 sue
    December 5, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Two (or more) generations ago there were Martian Chronicles and I Robot. Classics never really go away. And it’s interesting to compare the “futurism” of those books with the reality more than 50 years later.

  6. December 5, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    For the 11-year-old, I’d recommend THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEK DAY by Adam Rex. Although the protagonist is female (and 11), I think it appeals to all genders. SMEK DAY reads like an Earth-based Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, for kids. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and there are little comic book sections within the text. I LOVE this book.

    For the older kids, how about Zelazny’s Amber series?

  7. 7 rachelaaron
    December 6, 2009 at 12:53 am

    Woo, you folks rock! I’ll check all of these out!!

    I was also thinking maybe the Phantom Tollbooth or Hitchhiker’s Guide books. Who doesn’t love those?

    Thanks so much for all the awesome recs!!

  8. December 8, 2009 at 12:48 am

    You might try Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere for the teens. There’s a fun YA series by Sean Cullen which begins with Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates – it’s quite funny, and would be good for an 11 year old, I think.

  9. December 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    My teenaged boy (15) has been liking Garth Nix for years. Now he’s reading Terry Goodkind, though I’m not sure I recommend it. He also thought Piers Anthony was cool for about five books before he burned out. He read the entire Twilight series as a ploy to “meet chicks”, and quite liked the Cassandra Clare His Mortal Instruments stuff, and Philip Pullman of course.

  10. December 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    For the older kids, Philip Reeves’s Hungry City Chronicles, beginning with Mortal Engines. Also Epic by Connor Kostick (especially for gamers), and Scott Westerfeld’s Peeps, The Midnighters, and Leviathan. If they like comics or manga, try out Scott Pilgrim. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. The 11-year-old might like Barry Lyga’s The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. And in the older books category, I really love William Sleator’s Interstellar Pig, Singularity, and The House of Stairs. I also recommend The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki for any age group, though perhaps skewing closer to middle grade, and Dull Boy by Sarah Cross.

  11. December 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    My son is a gifted nine year old, also reading well beyond his level. He’s addicted to the Rick Riordan Olympians series.

  12. December 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Breed to Come by Andre Norton.

    And, The Chronicles of Narnia.

  13. 13 Bennett
    December 15, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I think it depends more on what you are comfortable giving the teenager and less about what the teenager is “ready” for. I think I started reading a little bit of the adult sci-fi/fantasy in middle school (selected titles), and from freshman year in high school on the main sf/fantasy section of the bookstore became my go-to section for books. Not that I still didn’t visit or enjoy the YA section a lot, I did, but I seriously started delving more into that other section.

    However, there are many books, a number of them that I read at that age, that I would NOT be comfortable giving to my little brother yet (he’s thirteen-fourteen). They’re all fantastic books, but they just have certain scenes in them that I didn’t know they had when I originally picked them up, and now that I do know they have those scenes I definitely would not be comfortable knowing my little brother had read those scenes. Know what I mean?

    If you want to give them something a bit more complex, Id go with the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson. Awesome series on an epic scale, with a beautifully unique magic system, and it’s more graphic impact is limited to violence that’s probably not any worse than what’s in most videogames.

    Oh, and I second Epic by Conor Kostick for videogamers.


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