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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!

Somethingyesterday Mon 23-Sep-13 11:23:31

Helen DeWitt - The Last Samurai (astonishing, sophisticated, completely meets criteria if he likes a challenge....)

Stella Gibbons - Cold Comfort Farm

Richard Hughes - A High Wind In Jamaica (definitely about growing up; stupendous and subversive...)

Michelle Magorian - Cuckoo In The Nest (if he's read Goodnight Mister Tom it's worth trying the rest of her books. They can seem a little dated but still very absorbing.)

Meg Rosoff - How I Live Now (brilliant); What I Was (unutterably superb.)

gleegeek Mon 23-Sep-13 11:50:50

Would Nevil Shute appeal to him? I loved them at that age... Slightly dated though.

UptoapointLordCopper Mon 23-Sep-13 12:01:14

How about Michael Morpugo? I don't get on with many of his books, but thought Kensuke's Kingdom was genius.

And the Little Women books? There are boys in the later series. I loved all of them when I was young.

I forgot about all the ghosts and whatnots in The Graveyard Book. blush But it read so real. Note to self: don't believe everything you read. blush blush blush

chefpants Mon 23-Sep-13 12:05:01

There is an Australian author called James Marsden he wrote the tomorrow series, it has 4 books I think. It is a great set of books about a group of friends who go camping in the outback and come back to war there town being overthrown by the Japanese and what they do to survive ect ext. Its really is great if you could get them in the UK

Somethingyesterday Mon 23-Sep-13 12:08:29

Would second Nevil Shute! The Pied Piper is awesome.

A couple of randoms:

John Buchan - The Island of Sheep (on the edge of meeting the criteria, but it's such a good read and Buchan is much better at writing children than he is at women. Only it would be a shame to read it out of order - it's the last of the Richard Hannay iirc.)

Jean George - My Side of The Mountain (comes highly recommended by a boy, haven't read.

Also has he actually read:

The Wind In The Willows; Watership Down; The Call of The Wild? Boys seem to avoid animal books because they think they'll be babyish. But these are all surprisingly dark and surprising.)

Takver Mon 23-Sep-13 13:53:16

Some of these I would think would be rather young for a 13 y/o? (Swallows & Amazons I love, but still . . .)

What about biographies of people he admires (sportspeople / politics / historical figures / whatever is his thing) ? I can imagine they might appeal to a teenager

Merrylegs Mon 23-Sep-13 14:05:18

Ds (who doesn't enjoy many books!) loved 'Inside my Head' by Jim Carrington. About 3 kids at secondary school.

Naggity Thu 26-Sep-13 08:35:25

Where the Red Fern grows by Wilson Rawls is an excellent book. The cover makes it look like it is aimed at a younger audience, but this is misleading.

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 26-Sep-13 23:26:09

Try the following authors:

Dave Cousins, Keith Gray, Mal Peet, Kevin Brooks, Alan Gibbons, John Van de Ruit, Catherine Bruton, Mark Lowery, Andy Robb, Rebecca Stead.

There are lots and lots of YA books which are not fantasy/sci fi. They can tend towards high drama/misery, though, too.

The above authors are a mix of gritty and more lighthearted, but all grounded in reality.

gfrnn Sat 28-Sep-13 09:04:19

Louis Sachar - Holes, Small steps, there's a boy in the girls bathroom
Michael Morpurgo - alone on a wide, wide sea; an elephant in the garden
Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer
Eva Ibbotson - The dragonfly pool, The star of kazan, Journey to the River Sea
Lois Lowry - the giver, number the stars
Scott O'Dell - island of the blue dolphins
Joan Aiken - go saddle the sea

LittleRobots Sat 28-Sep-13 09:07:43

Black swan green? I really enjoyed that recently. An adults book but written about a boy of a similar age growing up in a generation ago, with a lot more freedom than now. Addresses a lot of topics relevant to teenage boys.

iheartdusty Mon 30-Sep-13 18:32:40

"the night sky in my head" Sarah Hammond

"Wonder" R J Palacio

Did someone already suggest "The curious incident of the dog in the night time"?

Curiously, there are hundreds of books aimed at teen girls which are all about families and/or friends, but inevitably relationships, set in recognisable contemporary surroundings. The Meg Rosoff one mentioned above could be easily enjoyed by a boy, but many of the others seem to treat boys as an alien species.

What about memoirs and reminiscence? Steering clear of poverty-porn, what about one of the many books describing an early 20th century childhood? For example this one from William Woodruff which is very readable and not preachy.

Neena28 Tue 01-Oct-13 12:23:29

Agree with Adrian mole. Ds (nearly 13) can't get over the fact that he has enjoyed a book so much that I read at a similar age!!

Also louis sachar and michael morpego as above. (Sorry my name spelling is awful and I'm on my phone so can't copy the correct spelling from above!!)

SecretSpi Tue 01-Oct-13 15:06:14

Another idea is The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall. It's about a group of teenagers during the 2nd WW, set in North-East England. It has a good authentic feel to it and, although it's set over 70 years ago, feels timeless.

goingtobefree Tue 01-Oct-13 17:25:00

Dd really enjoyed The fault in our stars by John Green.

goingtobefree Tue 01-Oct-13 17:26:38

She has also started Stephen King,The gunslinger series.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 05-Oct-13 21:25:11

A Monster Calls

Allalonenow Sat 05-Oct-13 21:51:41

Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Holes by Louis Sacher
They are not exactly about everyday life, but do feature families in difficult situations.

Allalonenow Sat 05-Oct-13 21:54:46

As Adrian Mole has been mentioned already, how about "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, maybe too young for him though?

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