Friday, September 26

My Top 6 Book Suggestions for Boys

I view myself to be somewhat of an expert in this area, as the majority of my recreational reading centers around books targeted for middle school boys. Why? Well for one, I get fairly squeamish around love scenes. I also can't get enough adventure and magic. Additionally, I just have a soft spot in my heart for boys finding their own way in the world so I lean towards them as main characters much more.

I'm extremely sensitive to the interests of boys and their tendency to only tolerate reading, so I only suggest the best of the best to my favorite kiddos and their parental units.

Do you have a favorite male in your life who might be looking for a new read?

Snag one of these for him and tell him you only happened to pick it up because some mysterious stranger pulled you aside and said "Get this to __fill in his name__ right away and tell him this story contains a secret message that will help him determine his destiny." (Trust me on this.)

1. Artemis Fowl*
The gist: Billionaire boy-genius/criminal mastermind happens upon the underground world of elves, trolls, leprechauns and fairies hoping to steal their gold.

Please note: Don't worry about the word "fairies" they all comprise a very advanced secret military unknown to humans.

Why I give it props: The main character, Artemis, goes through some killer character changes and self-reflection throughout the series that makes you reflect on your own views of the world. Plus, the series really shows the intelligence and tenacity of kids and their ability to make big positive impacts in their world.

2. Bartimaeus Trilogy*

The gist: Brittish magician summons a djinn/demon to carry out his whim. Too bad the one he picks is the snarky Bartimaeus always trying to find loopholes in the commands given to him.

Please note: This book has some big words and is probably better suited for middle school and up.

Why I give it props: Bartimaeus totally makes this book. Each chapter he narrates has hilarious footnotes giving it that grown-up comic book like feel where the reader feels like they're being talked to. Again, this series has an incredible underlying message--people aren't what they seem and heros are found in the most unlikely of places. Plus, there's some great redemption at the series finale.

3. Warrior Heir

The gist: High-school boy discovers he now has strength powers and has to compete in a battle to the death for a secret society he never knew existed.

Please note: This is like a better boy version of the hunger games. It's shorter and there's a lot more fighting and a lot less whining.

Why I give it props: Main character is a great guy/role model and it's a nice story about friendship and duty.

4. The Unwanteds*

The gist: In a distopian society, children who show any form of creativity are purged. However, an eccentric benefactor saves these creative kids and takes them to a place where they can learn to hone their skills and discover the magic behind their gifts.

Please note: I typically never go for distopian novels, but these are just too good to pass up. Plus it's much more fantasy focused than many others.

Why I give it props: The two main characters are twin boys who live in each of these different societies so it does an awesome job at showing how one's heart can become hardened. Plus, you can see a little of yourself in each of them. Also, the whole series really promotes the creative arts: storytelling, drawing, painting, sculpture, drama, and shows boys and girls excelling in all the areas.

5. Series of Unfortunate Events*

The gist: 3 orphaned siblings go to live with their crazy relative where they endure unfortunate event after unfortunate event.

Please note: I read the first book in this series aloud in 3rd grade one year. One of the boys in the class who only read comics previously latched on immediately and was plowing through book 10 by spring.

Why I give it props: I adore how the author talks to the reader in these books and really gets them to empathize with the characters and think about times in his/her own life when things have been unfortunate. It's kooky and slightly depressing, but the main message is one of hope, perseverance and family.

6. Alex Rider*

The gist: Boy's recruited as a child spy/special agent.

Please note: This book series is totally action-packed and keeps you on the very edge of your seat. Plus, they also made it into a graphic novel series as well.

Why I give it props: This is the ultimate boy book because it's pretty much every dude's dream. It's like James Bond, but the main character isn't self-absorbed or obsessed with women. Cool done right.

*The following books are part of a series which makes them all the more fun. 
Note: Warrior Heir is also part of a series, but it stands alone just fine and I was pretty disappointed by the other 2 installments.

And in case you've been living under a rock...

Harry Potter*
Percy Jackson*
Chronicles of Narnia*

Photo props to Emily Weis Photography!

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