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Topic: My 13 YO Son is in 8th Grade...Experienced help, please!

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Subject: My 13 YO Son is in 8th Grade...Experienced help, please!
Date Posted: 9/29/2007 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2006
Posts: 20
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My son has read all of the Harry Potter Books, over and over. He has read the Star Wars novels. He reads Graphic novels. He loved The Outsiders. He reads sports hero biographies, but only plays for fun-hates "organized" sports of any kind, although he is very good at baseball and basketball. He loves computers, plans to major in computer science and be an architect-engineer. He loves to watch those forensic crime solving tv shows. He is a T.A. in the library at school, and tutors in the computer lab. He is a fun kid- makes everyone laugh, the teachers put that in on every report card. :-)

We are having trouble finding books for him to read! He wants to read Clancy or other books like that, but I am afraid they are too old for him. People with teen boys who like to read, any ideas for us?



Date Posted: 9/29/2007 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
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I work with children and Young Adults at my library and a lot of the boys are reading the new series for teens by James Patterson with characters from his adult novel, the Lake House.

Also, have him try the  Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowicz. Stormbreaker, Point Blank and at least 3 others.  Also the Gatekeepers series by the same author.  I am positive that he will enjoy any and all of these books.  Please let me know if I am correct.

Oh!  Just thought of another.  Gregor the Overlander series.....can't remember the author though.



Last Edited on: 9/30/07 10:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/29/2007 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 295
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Well, I have a couple of thoughts.  First, I would try something like Postcards from No Man's Land.  It is a really entertaining book.  Or perhaps something like From the Gospel of Larry.  If he likes The Outsiders, you might want to consider some other SE Hinton books, Rumblefish is a kind of sequel of sorts to the book and it is really good.  Another good one is The Chocolate War (like the Outsiders, it is banned in many schools, but still has a lot of potential and really appeals to intelligent boys).  The Catcher in the Rye is another one which many boys that age will enjoy (if you haven't read it in awhile, remember, it has a lot of swearing in it)

Quite frankly though, if he really wants to, there is no reason that he can't be permitted to read adult novels (as long as they arn't something which will give him nightmares).  Many children start reading adult books at about that age, and most young adult books are made with a forth to eighth grade mindset.  When it comes to reading adult books, it is always a good idea to pre-read them and make sure they are acceptable material, and to discuss the books with him while he is reading them to ensure they are something which he is okay with reading (especially for the first few...he may think he is ready for grown-up books and may not be).  Most kids decide themselves when they are done with young adult literature, after a certain point of maturity, it is difficult to keep them reading the books.  After all, the goal of young adult literature is to help children grow up.  If he has read alot he may be ready to move on.

Date Posted: 9/29/2007 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2006
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Thanks, both Pam and Sheena,

I showed him the list, and we checked out the book descriptions-he seems very interested in all of these!

Date Posted: 9/30/2007 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 861
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I must disagree with Sheena's comment about YA books being written with a 4-8th grade mindset.  Maybe if you were reading them 10-15 years ago that was the case.  But now!!!!  You would not believe the topics that they cover!!!!!.  Sex, peer pressure, drinking, bulimia, cutting, drugs, unwed parenting, runaways facing all sorts of evils.  Very sophisticated teen topics; some handled very well while others are like sex-in-the-city for teens.  Gossip girls, the Clique and others. 

High fantasy and suspense titles abound in the modern YA collection.  Why, Young Adult novels are so popular that adult authors like James Patterson are cashing in on the genre.  And.......many of our YA books are being read and enjoyed by adults.  Take a turn by the YA section of your library or bookstore the next time you are there, Sheena.  You will be surprised at the mature topics and treatments on the shelves. 

Last Edited on: 9/30/07 10:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/30/2007 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/5/2006
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Try the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. It's really long (30+ books) and they're really funny.

Date Posted: 10/1/2007 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 295
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Really, I'm not surprised by the topics covered by most YA novels, I have taken way too many college classes in the last two years which focus on the current trends in YA lit.  The one's which I listed are all novels created for the higher grades (in fact, the recommended grades for Postcards is not until High School)...but the one thing which defines YA lit is that "while children's lit is to make the child feel more secure in their immediate surroundings of friends and families, YA lit is created to further the child's surroundings, making them more curious about the greater world".  Whereas, I was a little harsh placing a general age range on YA novels (we all know some children who begin reading YA novels as early as second grade and some who will not touch a book distinctly created for adults until well after their local peers) the goal of YA literature is perhaps the most intriguing of all genre's of books.  No one put it better than my professor, "YA lit is the only genre which at it's heart desires to destroy it's readership".  In other words, for something to be placed solely in the YA genre, it' should further the child's intellect as well as their maturity (I don't have to do these things becuase I saw what happened to ___________ in _________ book).  The more a child reads the quicker they (usually) feel the draw to adult novels.  Not saying that they won't still read YA novels, after all, I am sure that we are not here debating the merits of YA literature because we haven't read an adult novel in five years (I think I finished my last YA novel two days ago), but children tend to wish to expand their horizons further by reading adult novels.  My point was that age is not necessarily, in and of itself, a reason for children to read solely YA novels.

While I am back on this topic though, I thought of another book which he might enjoy, Feed by MT Anderson is a really great novel, my brother stole it from me as soon as we were done with it in my class and refuses to give it back to me, he also really enjoyed Monster by Myers.

Last Edited on: 10/1/07 12:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2007 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2007
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I have been reading a lot of books for the younger set lately as I am doing the book swap at one of the schools.  Some of the ones I have liked are:

The Inkheart & Inkspell books by Cornelia Funke

The Artemis Fowl series(I don't know if this is YA or younger but I enoyed it and I am 29+<G>) by: Eoin Colfer

Gregor the Overlander series (I think these are by Suzanne Collins)

I have heard good things about the "Shadow Children" series which I know is YA because it is popular at the Middle School

Septimus Heap series(Magyk, Flyte & Physik)...I read Magyk and I am working on Flyte....I have enjoyed these a lot...They are by Angie Sage

Last Edited on: 10/1/07 5:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2007 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2007
Posts: 50
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Try these, sorry I can't remember the authors.

Nailed. Catch. Chasing the Falconers.

Date Posted: 10/2/2007 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2006
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I have a 13 year old. He has a thing for Garth NIx and Lloyd Alexander. He read Harry P. of course, but prefers books that he can whiz through quickly. He tends to read on the school bus to and from school on  45 minute rides.  

If he likes really long stuff, let him try some of Michael Crichton's stuff. It should appeal to his love for scientific deduction (crime tv shows) Jurassic Park was an amazing novel. Just don't let him read disclosure, there's adult sex in that one.


Date Posted: 10/2/2007 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
Posts: 6,447
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There's a lot of fantasy novels that would be a great bridge between YA and adult literature. I remember reading them as a prehighschooler and my son did too.

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider of Pern series

The Dragonlance books

Mercedes Lackey has some YA and also fantasy

Back when I was a YA(LOL) there wasn't the choice of books like there is now. I love reading YA. I discovered the genre when my son was that age and I'd read what he was reading. He also read all of Terry Goodkinds books as a freshman in HS so that's not to far away for you.


Date Posted: 10/3/2007 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
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Diana Wynne Jone's Chrestomanci series is excellent.

Also Megan Whalen Turner's books.

Date Posted: 10/3/2007 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 6
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Last Edited on: 9/29/12 8:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/4/2007 8:29 AM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 277
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The Golden Compass series and Animorphs. Animorphs is out of print, but I've seen a lot of them on here. TGC books are a little longer, but still easy and the movie is coming out in December! Animorphs he should definetly be able to breeze through, they may be a little young for him, but I liked them through freshmen year. I only got tired of waiting for new books in that series to come out, which isn't a problem any more. ^.^ There are something like 60+ books in that series!

Anywho, I've been reading both adult and YA books since I was 10 or so. I still prefer YA, because I believe you're much more likely to find a book with a moral or a point to it in that section than you are in the Adult fiction section. I could talk about that for hours!

Date Posted: 10/4/2007 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
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Oh, and my absolute favorite YA author is Tamora Pierce, but she writes more towards girls than to boys. The other two series I gave you are more for boys or both than geared towards girls.

Date Posted: 10/7/2007 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 4/29/2007
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Michael Crichton is a good idea and maybe Robin Cook too.

Date Posted: 10/7/2007 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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Has he read all of the S.E. Hinton books (Rumble Fish, Tex, etc.)?  How about Lois Duncan?  Edgar Allen Poe? Also, since he likes Harry Potter, what about the DragonLance books?  They'd be a step up with a bit more maturity.  I would recommend the ones written by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman as they are really good.  Dragons, Knights, Magic, Humor, Good, and Evil...they're fun books.

My nephew was really into Jurassic Park at that age.

Last Edited on: 10/7/07 4:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/7/2007 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 172
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Someone above mentioned Funke's _Inkspell_ and _Inkheart_ - both excellent. I'd put her _The Thief Lord_ ahead of them for a 13 year old boy.

Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men books: Wee Free Men, Hatful of Sky, and Wintersmith are really excellent. The protagonist is a young girl but boys love the books too. And it's a good intro to Pratchett whose Discworld books are wonderful and young adult appropriate.

Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books: Book of Three, Black Cauldron, Castle of LLyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.

Lloyd Alexander's Wastmark trilogy: Westmark, The Kestral, and The Beggar Queen.

I was in 8th grade when I first read _Lord of the Rings_ - that would keep him busy for a while.

And Rudyard Kipling's  "Stalky & Co."  -  It's a semiautobiographical set of fictional stories about boys in an english boarding school. Stalky was the Sirius Black/James Potter of his school and the stories are delightful. A lot of Kipling is too dated to young modern readers but Stalky really stands the test of time.

I've sent you a PM - I've a copy of Westmark I'd be happy to send for free. I've also a copy of Stalky I'm debating listing. I probably can't justify having three copies (plus a copy of The Complete Stalky & Co.)... but some books it's hard to part with...


Last Edited on: 10/25/07 2:15 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/8/2007 12:14 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2006
Posts: 20
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See, this thread is proof of what an amazing community we have here!!! We will continue check out many of your suggestions. He is currently reading The Gospel According to Larry, and I heard him laughing! <BG>

Anne, I tried Aremis Fowl a while back, but it didn't click with him....me, on the other hand, I loved it, and read the whole series! LOL

I have made a list of all suggestion, and have ordered about 6 or 6 of them already. Thanks....YOU GUYS ROCK!



Date Posted: 10/8/2007 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2007
Posts: 185
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Hi Mericee,

My son had a similar profile at age13. Now at 16+ he barely has time to read at all. Try the Orson Scott Card books--Enders game, Lost Boys, Shadow of the Hegemon.. How about High Wizardry (Young Wizards, Bk 3) Author: Diane Duane I have the 3rd  +5th book son my shelf and the first one is posted.


Good Luck, Jill

Date Posted: 10/10/2007 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2006
Posts: 249
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Margaret Peterson Haddix's Shadow children series is GREAT! I second that suggestion. I will also say that Ted Dekker and Frank Pereti are "tense" without being "graphic".

Date Posted: 10/11/2007 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
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I ran into the same problem with  my daughter who is 12 and in the 7th grade.  I started letting her read my Dean Koontz books earlier this year and she loves them.  There have been no nightmares or anything like that.  She says she likes to read these because she can picture the scenes in her mind in a way that doesn't scare her.  (My thoughts were the same as I will not watch horror films, but will read the books)  So maybe start him on some adult books.  I always read what she reads first so I can tell her if I think it is an ok read for her, and I can help her to understand something that may confuse her.

Date Posted: 10/11/2007 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2007
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Anne, I tried Aremis Fowl a while back, but it didn't click with him....me, on the other hand, I loved it, and read the whole series! LOL

Come to think of it.....I listened to the Artemis Fowl series on Audio CD so maybe that makes a difference.   I am really enjoying the Septimus Heap books and I am not cheating....I am really reading them<G>

The one book I listened to on audio recently that was hard to get into for me was "Sea of Trolls".  It wasn't a bad story but extremely drawn out.....I don't think I could have read it as a book.



Date Posted: 10/12/2007 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/1/2007
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Eragon and Eldest.  Then perhaps Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.


Date Posted: 10/17/2007 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
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I just found this thread and hope it's not too late to chime in!

First of all, Meircee, it sounds like you've raised a great kid! Congratulations!

I also read A LOT as a kid and was reading at an adult level by the 6th grade.M y parents encouraged me to read anything I was "able" to; they only screened for content, not difficulty. As a former middle school teacher, I'd have to reccommend that approach. If he finds a book too difficult, he won't enjoy it. As long as you're comfortable with him reading the subject matter, let him try it.

I was also going to reccommend Ender's Game and The Golden Compass. I know that when I was teaching, many of my more advanced readers enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, even before the movies came out.

Good luck and keep us posted!


Last Edited on: 10/17/07 5:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1