Originally Posted by plantmama
I liked a lot of books christinabybaby mentioned as a teen (though I was a girl), loved Staying fat for sarah byrnes
I was also going to suggest Into Thin Air and Into the Wild both by Jon Krakaur. I think they might be appreciated by more outdoorsy boys though, so depends where you live etc.
I think a lot of books written even 20 years ago and certainly in the 70s and back can be a little hard to get into for reluctant teen readers. My mom is a children's librarian and she claims there are tons of great current y/a books and gets fed up with the usual "lord of the flies" and Robert Cormier standards.
The July issue of "the Sun" (the essay magazine) had several great essays which I think teen boys would like.
I think it is important to offer a mix of the two- modern and classic.. I have lots of reluctant readers, and Frederick Douglass is a constant favorite (especially when Mr. Covey gets knocked to shreds). It is precivil war material. If I only offered modern books, my students would never get accustomed to reading classics. And that is what I think separates teachers from librarians for the most part.. Librarians are looking for readers to enjoy reading in the hopes they will ask questions and pick up a second book, I on the other hand, am reading in the hopes of education with book one, and if they enjoy it all the better, but certainly is not my primary goal. Also, I think OP was going to put these books in her classroom. Depending on the school, it can sometimes be ill advised to put a book in a classroom that is not already on the approved curriculum list. A teacher recently got in big trouble for having her students read "Freedom Writers." Sure, it is interesting, and it certainly is modern, but I wouldn't put it in my classroom unless I was sure I could have a student read it. Having it available in your room for readers gives an implicit permission to read it , kwim? The same holds true for other classics that have censured over the years, though as well, The Bible, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn...
I read once about a famous librarian (I don't remember her name, just thought it was funny when I found a librarian action figure) who had a quote about people having the right to put down a book and not finish it. Now see, that is not a right I would want my English students to exercise frequently.
Here's a modern one for you- Kids From Nowhere..
By the way, if anyone chooses to teach the books Into Thin Air or Into the Wild there are some interesting articles about people attempting to retrace the steps and almost risking their own lives in the process. It has people kind of up in arms in certain remote towns, since it costs state dollars to helicopter people out of their own ill-advised life threatening situations- and usually these people are NOT state residents..
Here's the basic premise- if you read a book where someone's life is in danger because they are ill prepared, DO NOT go to that same place, similarly ill prepared to see what happens.