Books without magic, spies, quests etc for a 13 yo boy?

(44 Posts)
snowynight Sun 22-Sep-13 10:52:28

DS is a keen reader and has read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson, Gone, Hunger Games series and others like them, but today asked if he could have some books that were just about family life - no magic, no quests, no spies. He has "had enough of them"!

Incredibly, this seems a tall order, as most YA books seem to rely on these elements.

Can anyone suggest some authors or series? His request was prompted by reading Half Brother, by Kenneth Oppel, which he loved, and which has opened his eyes to a different style of book.

Many thanks!

EasyMark Sun 22-Sep-13 10:56:24

I know why the cage bird sings
catcher in the rye

snowynight Sun 22-Sep-13 11:25:14

Catcher in the Rye might do it Easy -thanks. Any other suggestions?

booksteensandmagazines Sun 22-Sep-13 15:06:54

The Outsiders by SE Hinton

Spud by John van de Ruit (I've had such good comments from teens about this series)

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen by Susin Nielsen

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Heroic by Phil Earle

Nought and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

I've listed my favourites here, but there are more complete reading lists for 13 year olds that I've created below (with a quick review so he avoid the ones he doesn't like).

www.booksteensandmagazines.com/blog/reading-list-year-9-13--14-year-olds
www.booksteensandmagazines.com/blog/reading-list-year-8-12-to-13-year-olds

applebread Sun 22-Sep-13 15:08:59

Susan hill books like strange meeting?

MoreThanWords Sun 22-Sep-13 15:18:57

When I was Joe by Keren David

KoalaFace Sun 22-Sep-13 15:37:52

Buddy by Nigel Hinton
The follow up is called Buddy's Song which is hard to get hold of but me and my brother loved it as teenagers.

The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell is completely wonderful.

ohforfoxsake Sun 22-Sep-13 15:41:32

The curious incident of the dog in the night time (I think it's called - read it ages ago, both DSs have now read it)

Sherlock Holmes.

BikeRunSki Sun 22-Sep-13 15:43:06

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
To Kill a Mokingbird
Lionboy
Animal Farm
Anything by SE Hinton
Z for Zachariah was v popular when I was a teenager, and may be topical again now ( is about nuclear holocaust)
Anything by Aidan Chambers,

BikeRunSki Sun 22-Sep-13 15:44:26

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
To Kill a Mokingbird
Lionboy
Animal Farm
Anything by SE Hinton
Z for Zachariah was v popular when I was a teenager, and may be topical again now ( is about nuclear holocaust)
Anything by Aidan Chambers,

Waswondering Sun 22-Sep-13 15:45:29

Has he done the Arthur Ransom series?

snowynight Sun 22-Sep-13 21:33:02

Thanks all. Quizzed DS again this evening and he said he wants stories about family life and growing up, rather than adventures. Looks like the Willy Russell one might be in the right area.

He hasn't done Swallows and Amazons - would you recommend? I didn't read them myself as child.

PatriciaHolm Mon 23-Sep-13 09:52:10

My family and other animals, Gerald Durrell.

derektheladyhamster Mon 23-Sep-13 09:54:23

Adrian mole - My ds loved it as did I when I re read it

IndianMummy Mon 23-Sep-13 10:43:53

Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer

UptoapointLordCopper Mon 23-Sep-13 10:45:34

The graveyard book by Neil Garmain. So weird and yet so ordinary. Most definitely about growing up, though in a weird but ordinary way.

DS1 (9) loves the swallows and amazon book. I think he read 3 of them, all of them great big fat books.

SecretSpi Mon 23-Sep-13 10:50:43

I wondered about Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. It's not a children's or YA book, but if he is a good reader and mature for his age, he might enjoy it.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 23-Sep-13 10:53:49

I would not suggest Catcher in the Rye for a 13 y/o!! shock

It sounds like he wants something modern, otherwise I'd suggest classics (Dickens - but not Christmas carol because of, you know, the ghosts). There are some good historically set books such as The Silver Sword and The book theif but again - not modern. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is alright. Actually, most of Roddy Doyle's books (well - not the woman who walked into walls - but The committmets is good. And The van. And The snapper). To kill a mockingbird is superb.

oversomeniagara Mon 23-Sep-13 10:54:32

Yes to Adrian Mole! Also, Submarine by Joel Dunthorne might fit the bill.

GooseyLoosey Mon 23-Sep-13 10:56:41

Ds likes Neil Gamain too - but the magical realism in some may not be what your ds is looking for.

He is also reading Bernard Cornwell books. Great stories in an historical context.

SmokedMackerel Mon 23-Sep-13 10:57:19

I was going to suggest Gerald Durrell too.

James Herriot books are good, I loved them at that age.

Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt?

Theas18 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:57:55

Be a devil. Suggest the classics!

what about David Copperfield

YY to Arthur ransome

He might feel they are " girly" but the Little house on the prairie series are brilliant about pioneer life. Maybe start with" farm boy".

To kill a mocking bird yes

Catcher in the rye no!

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 23-Sep-13 11:00:39

I adore Bernard Cornwell (new book this week! Will Uhtred finally get bebbenburg back? I'm betting not. And how many extraneous ciphers will he shag? I'm betting 2). But I wouldn't be giving his books to my 13 y/o son (although having said that, I let him watch Sharpe on the telly. But then, he knows about Sharpe being a shagger and the 'spot the shag' game, and he theatrically yells 'my eyes! My eyes!' at the obligatory shag interludes. while hiding his head in a cushion). My 15 y/o daughter is reading them now. But then, she's read GoT so as far as she's concerned the whole shagging in literature boat has sailed so far over the horizon it's actually right behind her now.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 23-Sep-13 11:02:19

James Herriot books are ideal yes, althouhgh they aren't about either family life or growing up. But then, to be honest, most books aren't unless they are about dysfunctional family life or some terrible incident. And I'm not sure 13 year olds are ready for that....I would suggest behind the scenes at the museum for a girl, but not for a boy.

BarryShitpeas Mon 23-Sep-13 11:04:02

Try the Knife of Never Letting Go.

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