Monday, December 1, 2008

I need your advice...


I'm committed to buying books for the holidays, as I've mentioned before, and I'm rarely at a loss for books to buy for any occasion. But I need a little help from you creative reader/blogger friends--I need suggestions for books for my son. He's 12 years old, and a good reader (thank goodness), but he has already read or outgrown many of the YA books I know.

He really loved the Harry Potter series, and Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books. He also read all of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. He likes fantasy, and adventure, though I've had a hard time getting him to read the classics that I loved, like Treasure Island, White Fang, and the like.

I think he's ready for something a little more mature, but I'm not sure exactly what to get for him. My husband thinks he's ready for Stephen King, and he did read and get creeped out by The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

So, wise ones, what do you suggest?

19 comments:

litlove said...

Oooh I love this kind of question. My son (now 14) loved Michael Carroll's superheroes series of books, and he enjoyed Cliff McNish's Ghosts. We also enjoyed William Nicholson's first trilogy (The Wind Singer onwards) on audio book. I have also heard great things about Phillip Reeve's Mortal Engines Quartet and, of course Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials Trilogy. Just recently my son has been enjoying Agatha Christie novels, but once again on audio book, which I find is a good way to introduce new things. I'd also recommend Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals as a good crossover book. I imagine Terry Pratchett might be a possibility, but I say this having never read him myself. If I have any other ideas I'll come back!

Fyrefly said...

I'll second His Dark Materials, and add The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, and if he's into baseball (or even if he's not - I'm not, and I still enjoyed it), Summerland by Michael Chabon.

Lexi said...

I'm no expert on YA books, but would he maybe be more inclined to read the "classics" in graphic novel form? I've seen some really great adaptations...

Bookish Ruth said...

When I was his age (granted I'm a girl, but I had my tomboyish tendencies), I was reading a lot of Michael Crichton and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sherlock Holmes stories are what got me hooked on the classics.

Has he read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings yet? What about Neil Gaiman? The Graveyard Book and Coraline have both gotten excellent reviews, and are aimed at the YA audience.

Oh, I almost forgot The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Absolutely FANTASTIC book, and the main character is about your son's age.

Bookish Ruth said...

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow is another YA book that has gotten excellent reviews. I've seen it referred to as "1984 for a new generation".

raidergirl3 said...

My son just finished The City Of Ember series.
Has he read Inkheart and that series?

Iliana said...

Dear Gentle Reader I missed your birthday - I hope it was lovely! Did you get some good books? :)

Now for your son, how about Leonardo's Shadow by Chris Grey? I read that earlier this year and thought it was really good. There is quite a bit of adventure and just a really good story.

Anne said...

I'm sure your son has probably read Chris Paolini's series - Eragon, etc. When my son was 12 (and sadly he is not an avid reader), he really got into the Brian Jacques' Redwall series.

Finally, ever think about Killer Angels by Michael Shaara? It's historical fiction about the Civil War - and the Battle of Gettysburg - a great read.

Good luck!

Carrie K. said...

My son just read and loved The Dangerous Days of Daniel X. He's currently reading 100 Cupboards, and is enthusiastic about it, too.

What about some of Eoin Colfer's titles? Artemis Fowl series, of course, but also The Wish List, Supernatural, and Half-Moon Investigations.

I read Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, and while it was good, it is definitely YA - it has some sexual content. Just for your informations.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--He has read the Pullman, but nothing else on your fabulous list. I'm busy writing down your suggestions now...and Agatha Christie--great idea, I loved her books when I was a kid--still do, actually.

Fyrefly--I'll look into the Stroud, and Summerland is a great idea--I'd like to read it, too!

Lexi--He liked the Bone series of graphic novels, but I had not thought of the classics in that form--great idea!

Bookish Ruth--Great suggestions! I'm going to go out and get some Neil Gaiman, because I'd like to read him, too--he's been on my list forever, and I haven't read him yet! I'll check into Crichton, and Doyle--and The Dark is Rising and Little Brother both sound really interesting. Thanks!

Raidergirl3--He did read the City of Ember, and really enjoyed it, and I know he has Inkheart, but I'm not sure he's read it. I'm going to nudge him on that one!

Iliana--thanks for the birthday wishes, and better than books, I got gift cards for books :) Thanks for the suggestion--I'm going to check out Leonardo's Shadow!

Anne--He has read the Paolini, and much of the Redwall series. Actually, we started on Redwall when he was younger, and I read it to him. I liked it too! I'm going to check out The Killer Angels--I think he might like something fact-based--great idea!

Carrie K.--He's read Artemis Fowl, but no other Colfer, so that might be a good route to go. Thanks for the info!

aloireads said...

Hmm, seems everyone has given great suggestions already!

So I'm behind Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, and Lord of the Rings. Oh, and Inkheart ... trilogies galore!

Matt said...

If the nature of the book is not too serious for the holiday season, you might want to try The Boy in Striped Pajamas. I attended the reading of the book this weekend where boys just sat with their legs crossed and listened so raptly to the story told.

stefanie said...

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's not a YA book but it's sci fi and the main character is a boy. My husband read it when he was a teen and loved it. For fantasy, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende is also fantastic.

Gentle Reader said...

aloi--great suggestions, all--thanks!

matt--maybe I'll read it first, to see if he can handle it--I hear it's pretty intense. But he's been learning about the subject in school and read Elie Wiesel's Night already, so he would probably be ok with it :)

stefanie--of course! I know a bunch of people who loved Ender's Game, and recommended it to my husband. I'll bet my son would love it! Thanks for reminding me. Also, I'll check out the Neverending Story. Funny how all these suggestions are making me think I should read these books, too!

Pursewarden said...

Two suggestions:

Any of the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer

Any of the Hornblower books by C.S. Forester (but it's probably worth starting at the neginning with Midshipman Hornblower)

J.S. Peyton said...

Well, it sounds like you already have more than enough excellent suggestions, but... although I don't read much YA lit, I'd recommend:

"The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly and "The Good Thief" by Hannah Tinti. That later is considered more of an adult novel, but I think a twelve year old could definitely enjoy it. "The Book of Lost Things" has a lot of high adventure, fantasy, and just a little horror. It's the kind of thing that would have had me reading all night when I was 12. =)

Gentle Reader said...

Pursewarden--he's read the Colfer, but not the Hornblower series--but that's a great suggestion, thanks!

J.S.--I'm intrigued by both your suggestions, and will have to put them both on my list...oh, yes, and my son's ;)

Cindy La Ferle said...

When my son was 12, he loved mysteries and the Harry Potter books, too. An author friend of mine has published a new series of mysteries for kids this age -- and she happens to be the parent of a preteen herself. Here is a link to her Mick Morris series:
http://www.totallyunrehearsed.com/MickMorris/mick%20morris%20start.htm

My son is older now, but I know he would have enjoyed this series!

Sue F. said...

I first read To Kill A Mockingbird when I was 12. It still remains my absolute favorite book!