· By Jessica Paul
Late Teen Boys
It can sometimes feel like there isn't a whole lot out there for your teenaged boy especially if he's not too fussed about reading in the first place. So we've put together a list to get him back into the habit and once again hooked on books...
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
First rule of Fight Club? You gotta read the book if you liked the movie. In a world of white-collar jobs and catalog-bought apartments, a group of men gather in abandoned basements across the country to fight barehanded. They fight for as long as they need to - until the numbing dissatisfaction dissolves in blood and pain - then they leave. They don’t talk about it. And at the centre of it all is Tyler Durden, our charismatic anarchist with a plan to bring down modern civilisation. This is a great one to get your boys back into reading if it’s been a little while. It’s short, fast-paced, and action-packed. But don’t let the hype fool you; Fight Club is more than its title, it’s a critique of consumerist culture with a strong message to think for yourself and never settle for the mundane. In Palahniuk’s own words, it’s ‘just The Great Gatsby updated a little.’
The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater
This is the adventure of a lifetime. We centre around a group of unlikely friends: Blue - the weird yet sensible daughter of a band of psychics, Gansey - the golden boy of Aglionby Academy, Ronan - a boy made entirely of sharp edges and even sharper words, and Adam - the scholarship kid with an urgency to prove his worth. Gansey is chasing after a legend, on a quest to find the grave of the Welsh medieval king Glendower who, so the tale goes, will grant you a favour if you succeed in waking him. Through insomnia, magical dream-things, tattoos, first kisses, fast cars and fist fights we follow these characters through every good and terrible decision. This is fundamentally a story about the fierce ties of friendship we forge in our teenage years. It’s tender and explosive and an absolute essential for every teen’s bookshelf.
The Outsiders - S. E. Hinton
If your boy is thinking about his own place in the world and where he might belong, The Outsiders could be for him. Ponyboy is one of the youngest members of the gang of ‘greasers’. He’s sensitive, likes to read, does alright in school and generally stays out of trouble. But a rumble with the ‘Socs’ changes everything and Ponyboy finds himself on the run with his good friend Johnny. S. E. Hinton started writing The Outsiders at fifteen years old, inspired by the gang rivalry in her own school. Widely regarded as one of the first ever YA novels, Hinton writes with startling clarity, never allowing the pace to drop. An instant classic, this is a story of brotherhood, community, and the lengths we’ll go to in order to take care of our own.
Gone - Michael Grant
If your boy was a fan of Harry Potter or the Percy Jackson series as a kid, he might enjoy something with an element of fantasy like Gone. We open in a small town in southern California where in an instant every person over the age of fifteen disappears. Only children and teens are left to figure out what has happened, all while attempting to hold together some semblance of order in a lawless, adult-less existence. Sam Temple and his friends are doing all they can to survive. But how long can this last? What does it all mean? And why is the nuclear power plant quite literally in the middle of it all? Gone is the modern day answer to Lord of the Flies, a story of chaos and anarchy but also leadership and humanity. An addictive series with the dark sense of foreboding you get from any good dystopia.
The Hunt for Red October - Tom Clancy
The recent Jack Ryan series is pretty much a guaranteed crowd pleaser so why not introduce your boy to the book that started it all? Ramius has abandoned his orders aboard Russia’s ultra-secret missile submarine. He’s heading west. With the submarine’s stealth technology nobody will realise until it’s too late. But Ramius doesn’t count on CIA analyst Jack Ryan. With the Americans and the Russians after her, the race is on to capture the Red October. The Hunt for Red October was a runaway bestseller in the ‘80s and continues to hold a well-earned place in the crime section all these years later. Although this title is slightly longer than your boy might be expecting, the payoff is well worth the perseverance so don’t let the page count put him off!
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption - Stephen King
Andy Dufresne is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary despite his claims of innocence. There, he meets Red, our first-person narrator and the guy who can get you anything on the inside. Andy asks for a rock hammer and a poster of Rita Hayworth to hang up in his cell. The rest is a tangle of unjust imprisonment, deep friendship and an escape to rival all others. With his characteristic straightforward prose and vivid descriptions, it’s no wonder Shawshank has remained a permanent favourite for King’s readers. At an undaunting 144 pages, it’s another great title to get your boy back into reading (and a bit of classic too!)
Bullet Train - Kotaro Isaka
Yes, it’s another Brad Pitt movie! Kimura is on the hunt for the innocent-looking school boy who put his son in a coma. He has tracked him to the bullet train heading from Tokyo to Morioka. But he’s not the only passenger onboard looking for trouble. A deadly duo, Tangerine and Lemon, as well as the self proclaimed ‘unluckiest assassin in the world’ are also pursuing their own missions on the train. There’s a suitcase full of money and a whole load of unanswered questions, who will survive the trip? An original, darkly funny, high octane thriller rolled out at 200mph. If your boy needs a page-turner and plenty of action then this one’s for him.
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
In a town of men, Todd Hewitt is the only boy. And since being infected with the Noise germ, he can hear everyone’s thoughts and they can hear his. But they’re hiding something from him. Something so big and awful that Todd packs his bag and his leaves with his dog in tow. So it’s only Todd and Manchee. Until suddenly it isn’t. Until suddenly someone else is there and it’s… a girl. The Knife of Never Letting Go is an enduring story of bravery and humility, loss and acceptance. It might look a little bit scary at 496 pages but this is not a dense book at all - it’s extremely readable to the point that you hardly notice yourself flying along. Patrick Ness is an absolutely beautiful storyteller who keeps the reader engaged from the first page.