Thursday, November 13, 2014

Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Children's Boy-Friendly Reads

I was talking to a colleague today and she mentioned how difficult it is to find great middle grade and young adult books that are suitable for boys. Let's face it, there are quite a few series "aimed" at girls. As a reader/reviewer, I've come across several that might just ease her pain a bit, so I figured I'd share here too. (Girls are just as likely to love these books as well ... just sayin')

In no particular order ...
Middle Grade/ Children's:
Book/ series Title: Shadow Children series
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Genre: Children's
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars
Summary: Luke Garner is a  Shadow Child (a forbidden third child born to a family in a society that has outlawed having more than two children).
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- The series is 7 books that combine action, mystery, intrigue, and a wee bit of social commentary.
- Haddix has several series that usually have very cool premises. I don't think all the books live up to those very cool premises, but I admire her wide range of ideas.

Book/ series Title: The Rithmatist
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Children's/MG
 Overall Rating: 3 stars
Summary: Joel wants to be a Rithmatist, but he's the son of a chalk-maker.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Strange, neat premise... features a boy doing all he can to learn a magical art.
- Bit of a math/educational mystery with magic.
- Why would I only rate it 3 stars? I just didn't connect well with the idea of magic 2D figures that suddenly turn violent. Too much math or something.

Book/ series Title: The Awesome Adventures of Pickle Boy
Author: Jack Bee
Genre: Children's/MG
 Overall Rating: 4
Summary: Danny Green stumbles upon a secret formula that changes his life forever.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- What kid doesn't want to dream of having super powers?
See official review here.

Young Adult/ Adult:
Book/ series Title: The Hunger Games (maybe Catching Fire)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult

 Overall Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister's place in the Hunger Games.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Cool concept - teens killing teens for bloody entertainment; could be construed as society commentary, but I choose to take it as sci-fi.
- Full of action
- hot, strong female protagonist

Book/ series Title: Steelheart
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Young Adult

 Overall Rating: 5 stars
Summary: What would happen if a bunch of people suddenly got super-powers? This book takes a "realist's" look at it: they would immediately abuse the power. David saw an Epic kill his father, now as a teen, David wants to join the Reckoners (a group that spends their time tracking down Epics and assassinating them).
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Magic, mystery, intrigue
- superpowers
- Brandon Sanderson is an amazing writer who has the world-building thing down. While I don't think the book is as good as his Mistborn series, it's YA friendly.

Book/ series Title: Star Wars Expanded Universe
Genre: Young Adult, Adult

 Overall Rating: 3-5 stars
Summary: Generally, Star Wars books are exciting, full of action, great dialogue, charming characters, etc. There are a few bombs, but here are some of my favorites.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Young Jedi Knights Series by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta: Sci-fi at it's kid-friendly best.
- Jedi Apprentice series (mostly by Jude Watson): Obi-Wan Kenobi's adventures as a teenage Padawan.
- Thrawn Trilogy  by Timothy Zahn - Arguably, the book series that breathed new life into the Star Wars Expanded Universe. (Pretty much anything mentioning Mara Jade is awesome....except that Legacy of the Force series)
- Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn - tries to get back the Star Wars magic and mostly succeeds
- most of the New Jedi Order - Star by Star was excellent.

1 comment:

James Simmons said...

Back when YA was called "Juvenile" Robert A. Heinlein wrote some terrific books that IMHO still hold up:

I read all of these in high school, many times.

I also recommend The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Not YA but good for all ages.