book recs 13-yr-old, please! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 06-22-2010, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Our 13-yr-old nephew is staying with us for a month, and we just found out that he is supposed to read 25 books over the summer.

He likes reading and reads fairly well, but would prefer to veg in front of a movie! That program ends tomorrow, and DH will be taking him to the library after morning swim lessons and basketball camp. We can also inter-library loan just about anything.

Please give us your suggestions, thanks!

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#2 of 14 Old 06-23-2010, 12:26 PM
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So, he can read ANY 25 books?
I would go with series--if he likes the first, the rest would be a good bet. If he doesn't like the first, obviously skip the rest.

A lot of these would be "quick reads" for a 13 yr old, but still enjoyable:
The Percy Jackson books
The 39 clues books (may be too young--but they are fast)
His Dark Materials (trilogy by Pullman)
The Mysterious Benedict Society (trilogy by Stewart)
Books by Chris Crutcher (def. a YA author though and covers a large range of themes/topics--look at first if nephew is particularly sensitive, but I usually recommend them to kids 12 and up)
Dark is Rising series by Cooper

And then, nonfiction books about anything/anybody he is interested in. There are also some great urban legend books that are fun at that age (Spiders in the hairdo is a collection that comes in mind that is meant for that age group)

And finally, does he have any favorite authors. He could just cruise through their works. If you need some motivation, maybe offer to watch the movie of the book with him after he finishes to see if they did the book justice.


Mom to three very active girls Anna (15), Kayla (12), Maya (9).
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#3 of 14 Old 06-23-2010, 01:24 PM
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Harry Potter, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, John Steinbeck books, Jane Austen books, if they aren't too "girly" for him to read

There is a new series based on Jane Austen's books that have many of the themes from the originals but throw in some zombies and such.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lizzy and her sisters are highly trained martial artists and zombie killers. I read it and thought it was pretty funny, especially how it would reference specific lines or events in the original.

Some of these are a bit violent. But I guess it depends on the kid.
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#4 of 14 Old 06-27-2010, 02:55 AM
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Good suggestions above.

If he's into fantasy/science fiction, I would add:
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (JRR Tolkien) - if you/he are only familiar with the movies, the books are even better. Also, The Hobbit (prequel). If he's read LOTR, then The Silmarillion might interest him.

The Eragon books might interest him (I think there are four of them now?). The first was written when the author was fifteen and they've been well received.

Anything by Anne McCaffrey - the Pern/dragon books, or the Ship books, or etc.

If he hasn't read the Madeleine L'Engle books (A Wrinkle in Time etc.), or Le Guin's books, he might find those interesting.

The Killer Angels (if he's interested in history - it's about Gettysburg)
Across Five Aprils (another Civil War book)
To Kill A Mockingbird
Little Britches - might be a little dry, but it's kind of the 'boy pioneer' version of the Little House series.

I just read Jefferson: An American Family about Thomas Jefferson's descendants via Martha Jefferson (his wife) and Sally Heming (his slave). It was fascinating, short bits with many different people, lots of photographs etc., and a very interesting examination of the issues of race, family, etc. A good springboard for discussing race, slavery, Jefferson/the founding fathers (the contradictions between what he wrote/believed, and what he did), etc.

I think I read Adam of the Road at that age, and liked it.

Jack London books, if he hasn't read any of those

If he's into sports, anything by John Fienstein would probably work.

He's at an age where he can probably read at an 'adult' level, although he might not be ready for some of the emotional/relational things which show up in 'adult' books. But, if he's interested in them, things like Barack Obama's two books -- or other biographical sorts of books - might be interesting for him. Ted Kennedy's biography was interesting to me, and has so much history, that regardless of one's political stance, it would probably be interesting. Yeager: An Autobiography was one of my husband's favorite books from that age (written for adults but he loved it).

I'd encourage reading some nonfiction with him -- it's a really important skill to develop at this age. So if there's something that interests him (gardening, camping, space) that could be really fun to get him started on.

Hope you find some really interesting books!

Not all who wander are lost.
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#5 of 14 Old 06-27-2010, 12:25 PM
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elanorth mentioned most I was going to. I'd add the Tripod series by John Christopher and of the classic he may not have read already like Robin Hood, Peter Pan, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

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#6 of 14 Old 06-27-2010, 01:02 PM
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Ender's Game- sci-fi/fantasy book about kids in space saving the world. But seriously wonderful. One of my two favorite books, ever.

The Book of Lost Things- dark fairy tale sort of book.

Hippie sympathizer and mom to L, 4.8.10.
Pet-mom to Squirt with FLUTD & Maya the deaf wonder dog .
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#7 of 14 Old 06-27-2010, 05:02 PM
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I devoured all things Poe at that age. IME it's a good age to really enjoy phrases like "liquid putrescence"! XD

ETA: Has he ever read a Hardy boys? There are *lots* of those!

Learning & growing & changing everyday!
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#8 of 14 Old 06-27-2010, 07:32 PM
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Hatchet and Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen

(teen boy lost alone in wilderness must learn to survive)
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#9 of 14 Old 07-05-2010, 01:05 AM
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just subbing on. My 13 yr. old daughter isn't much of a reader. One of her homeschooling goals for next year is to like a book and finish it!
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#10 of 14 Old 07-05-2010, 01:55 AM
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I'll add in the entire David Eddings series of books called the Belgariad and then into the Mallorean. It's a series of 10 books total (5 in each run) that I have ALWAYS loved. They are not huge books, and should be a comfortable read for an avg 13yo I'd think. We're reading them aloud with my 8 & 6 yo's and they LOVE them... There are Knights, vagabonds, sorcerers and magic and a young boy finding out he's destined to be someone very special. Actually, I think Garion is about 13 in the book when the action starts... which might really draw a kid that age in!

Pagan  lovin'  WOW playing mum to 5 boys in the wonderful land of Oz ... FOR THE HORDE! hehehe
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#11 of 14 Old 07-05-2010, 09:37 AM
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25 is a lot! There are what 60-70 days of summer, so that is a book every 2-2.5 days.

I work in a library, and the books that go out the most are magna/graphic novels. Not sure if he is allowed those. They are a fast read, quick paced and graphically stimulating. Try Inuyasha, Bleach or Naruto. They can be a little dark.

Gary Paulsen has a series of short books - including Lawn mower boy that he might like. Funny, fast, and no more than 90 pages.
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#12 of 14 Old 07-05-2010, 01:28 PM
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Agree with Kathymuggle. Twenty-five is a lot. I love reading but if I was forced to read 25 books in 10 weeks I'd surely grow to resent it. I'd probably opt to skip a lot of books I'm otherwise drawn to (like, anything over 300 pages) and instead read short light fare just to log what's necessary ... and I'm guessing I'd emerge from the summer having lost much of my zest for reading. Who is imposing this expectation? Is there any room for negotiation?

If not I would definitely give things like Eragon, Harry Potter 4-7 and Lord of the Rings a miss. They're long -- a week's read for even avid readers. Gary Paulson, Percy Jackson/Riordon are good suggestions. The Wimpy Kid books are quick reads and enjoyed by many peri-adolescent boys. "The Giver", "City of Ember" and "Mortal Engines" are all nifty post-apocalyptic sci-fi that tend to appeal to boys. My 13yo ds loved "Airborn" and "Skybreaker" by Oppel.

Hope that helps!


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#13 of 14 Old 07-05-2010, 05:00 PM
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Gordon Korman has 3 trilogies titled Dive, Everest and Island. Each book is fairly short. One complete trilogy is probably the length of a typical Percy Jackson book. If he reads all 3 series, that's 9 books right there.

Louis Sachar's Wayside School books are likewise fairly short. They are quite funny and appealing to most kids.

For something a little more challenging, but fairly quick reads (about 150 pages), there is The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It's about a dystopian society where families are limited to 2 children. The first is Among the Hidden . I think there are 7 books in total.

The reading level for those series is probably a little younger than 13, but within range. Since he can choose any 25 books, if they appeal to him I think they may be suitable.

When he was 12 or 13, my ds enjoyed
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

- Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

These are more issue-oriented coming-of-age type books with some serious themes.
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#14 of 14 Old 07-05-2010, 05:07 PM
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My son recently liked the Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott, and all of Eoin Colfer's books, and the Tunnels trilogy by Roderick Gordon. Those took him about 2 days each.

ETA: He also really liked the Fablehaven books by Brandon Mull

Cami, wife to a guy and mom to some kids. Expecting someone new in Februrary!â¢â¢â¢â¢5â¢â¢â¢â¢10â¢â¢â¢â¢15â¢â¢â¢â¢20â¢â¢â¢25â¢â¢â¢â¢30â¢â¢â¢â¢35â¢â¢â¢â¢40
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