Thursday, September 8, 2011

Books My Brother Actually Liked

Take this post as a suggestion for some good teen guy books. My fifteen-year-old brother, Isaac, isn't a reluctant reader, but he allows computer games to take precedence over his reading habits. Over the summer, though, he managed to read several books. His typical reading practice is to either finish a book in one sitting, take a month, or abandon it as soon as it gets the least bit boring, and I am pleased to report that most of the books he picked up over our summer break he found exciting enough to read in a day.

Swords for Hire by Will Allen
Source: purchased used

I've been trying to get my brother to read this for years because it's one of my all-time favorite books. Isaac found it enjoyable and funny, but childish. Well, I *did* first read it in fourth grade. As there is a tiny bit of mature content in there, I'm now really not sure what age group it's intended for.

Flip by Martyn Bedford
Source: Random Buzzers

This is one of the few books Isaac read before I did. He even wrote a review of it for the blog here. He started it in the afternoon while we were on vacation and stayed up into the night to finish it.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Source: borrowed from friend

This was another start-in-evening, finish-at-midnight book. I think Isaac only picked up this one because he was bored, but he sure devoured it quickly enough! He agrees with my assessment that it's an exciting dystopia but needs more deeper meaning to it to be truly great.

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Source: Holt InGroup

Basically the same as The Hunger Games. We were watching some Mad Max movies a couple nights ago and comparing the 1980s post-apocalyptic themes and scenarios to recent dystopias. I think I'll point Isaac towards Blood Red Road next.

Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling
Source: library sale

This is the only other book on the list that Isaac read before I did. It took him about a month to finish, he claims because it's written for adults rather than a YA audience. Again with the comparisons to Mad Max...

I was surprised by the Wiccan aspects of the novel, but apparently they didn't bother Isaac.

Shade's Children by Garth Nix
Source: blog giveaway

Personally, I wasn't a huge fan of this one when I read it in seventh grade (I think I'd enjoy it more now), but Isaac liked reading it. He says it reminded him of Eoin Colfer's books, which we both read in middle school.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Source: Random Buzzers

Isaac and I agreed on this one, too: It. Was. Awesome. Totally weird and random and resembling The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but hilarious and well-written and like the author got inside a teenager's mind. I think the conclusion confused him, though, because he kept going around saying "The ending blew my mind, the ending blew my mind." My attempts at explanations didn't help much.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Source: publisher

If anything, I think my brother enjoyed this one even more than I did. He saw me reading it and actually couldn't wait for me to finish it so he could read it. I finished at about five in the evening, and he immediately picked it up and read it through in about five hours (I couldn't believe it). He loved all the '80s references to video games and music, two things that he is very much into.

Other books my brother has enjoyed recently: the Ender series by Orson Scott Card and Airman by Eoin Colfer.

What books do you recommend for teen guys?


  1. Great list! My sons are only 5 and 3, but they enjoy having me read to them now. I want to keep them reading with books that interest them. I almost need to bookmark this and come back in ten years for the suggestions! :-)

    I was going to suggest Ender's Game, but it looks like your brother already got to it. My husband loved Tolkien and Dune as a teen, but Dune he was an older teen.

  2. Hi Laura! Several of these books are just outstanding; I hope they're still being read in ten years!

    My brother's already gotten to The Lord of the Rings, too, but Dune could be good. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Wow. This is an awesome list and a fab-tastic idea. Neither my brother nor my husband reads much. They kind of have the same habits as your brother. I will recommend these to my brother for sure. Perhaps my husband will give at least The Hunger Games a try.