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Teenage books without swearing

(34 Posts)
Colleger Wed 10-Oct-12 22:25:00

Or profanity? Although I think that would be impossible to find with the latter.

My 11 year old son is very gifted in English and has been born into a family of English dunces! He is an avid reader of spy novels and has exhausted most of the teenage range. I've been pretty unimpressed by some of the cherub novels which are aimed at kids as young as 9. They talk about sniffing glue, being horny and other crude phrases. Of course I only find that out when he asks what these things mean. Sigh...

He bought some spy novels in the adult section today and when he got them home they included frequent use of the C word and frequent swearing in general. So we're back to finding teenage literature but would like to find well written stuff with florid language - it seems many novels are written to attract non readers so the literary content is weak - but that is as swear-free as possible.

Any ideas? Is this the right place to post it?

quoteunquote Wed 10-Oct-12 22:37:01

what about a Terry Pratchett, I started reading those early on.

hardboiled Wed 10-Oct-12 23:33:45

I hear you! Has he read Tolkien? DS 10 is a book eater too and I have not allowed him to read Cherub series or The Hunger Games. I told him there's a time for everything. He is reading Tolkien at the moment. And lots of mags, like New Scientist etc.

I don't think there is swearing in Luis Sachar books? DS loved those: Holes, Small Steps, The Cardturner.

Gumby Wed 10-Oct-12 23:35:27

Ian fleming?

Primrose123 Wed 10-Oct-12 23:49:38

Has he read the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz? And the Young Bond books by Charlie Higson? My DD enjoyed all these. She also liked the books by Ally Carter, but those were about girl spies so he may not like those!

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 11-Oct-12 00:48:57

Very little if any swearing in Dick Francis, Desmond bagley or any of the adult thrillers I read as a teen. Hardly any sex either, most disappointing!

quoteunquote Thu 11-Oct-12 01:22:29

My Family and Other Animals Gerald Durrell, Gerald Durrell is writing about his life at that age in the book.

I loved the Gerald Durrell books at that age, still do.

OneMoreMum Thu 11-Oct-12 10:16:42

Hive books are good, we have listened to the audio versions of some of those and no swearing.
Also anything by Eoin Culfer (prob not the right spelling) and Anthony Horrowitz and definitely the Charlie Higson Young Bond series if he hasn't already read them. I would imagine the original Bond books would be rather inappropriate.

3nationsfamily Thu 11-Oct-12 11:58:55

Has he tried the Skullduggery Pleasant series, or Artemis Fowl?

lljkk Thu 11-Oct-12 12:09:57

I'm nearly finished with The Hunger Games & haven't noticed a single swear word in it, yet.

HGames (vol. 1, anyway) is MUCH tamer & less disturbing than Darren Shan or Z-Raptor books that school encouraged DC to read at age 10-11.

Not the James Herriott books, quite a few rude words in them DC gleefully informed me blush.

seeker Thu 11-Oct-12 12:13:53

I would rather an 11 year old read a book littered with swearwords than The Hunger Games.

What is your problem with swear words? Once he knows the words he knows them, surely?

lljkk Thu 11-Oct-12 12:16:23

What about Philip Reeves, mortal engines series, I think they're not rude? Jiggery McCue books, too.

Ask your local librarians, & try to stick to the junior section. As soon as you wonder into teen section you get rude words.

Comonsensemedia.org & Good2Read are places to get an idea of how mature kid book content is.

Reading Matters has recommendations, too.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 11-Oct-12 12:22:02

Presume he's read His Dark Materials? If you want to improve his vocabulary you could go with older books which will (obviously) use more old-fashioned language, which is often a shorthand for "clever" language now. Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat maybe? Or The Splendid Spur by Arthur Quiller-Couch? Both good adventure stories.

I got into the Sherlock Holmes stories at a similar age (about 12) and ate them up - there are LOADS too. Or there are the Father Brown Mysteries by GK Chesterton - I doubt anyone swears in those. Both contain violence, murder etc but obviously everything gets solved at the end, so it depends how you feel about mysteries.

lljkk Thu 11-Oct-12 12:22:49

I can't believe after all the Hype, how tame The Hunger Games is. Half of the violence is off-scene (alluded to, discovered but not observed, etc.) The spells of suffering are briefly described, the pain is barely scary & certainly not overwhelming. Darren Shan books or Z-Raptor make THG read like a script for a preschooler's Disney film.

The true horror of THG is the grotesque culture that sees THG as normal. That's something you can only appreciate with maturity, it doesn't go deep with most of its readers.

Colleger Thu 11-Oct-12 13:18:46

Seeker, I do have a problem with swearing in books and so does my son. At times he finds rude or slightly taboo things quite exciting and that's fine but he said the language was shocking and felt quite uncomfortable. Books for him provide comfort and security as well as excitement but some books have caused him to feel the opposite. We don't swear in our home so, where possible, we will not bring such things into our home via tv or books.

Thank you to the rest of the posters and any more ideas on adult books that are not graphic would be great. I assume the issue with adult spy novels is that they may feature details of torture which is written in quite a graphic way.

seeker Thu 11-Oct-12 13:28:25

I understand about comfort and security- I suppose I find it hard to grasp why swearing is the main point- most of the books others have mentioned on as non sweary have incredibly disturbing themes - which would be, I think, much more unsettling than a bit of swearing!

Agatha Christie? Alaisdair. McLean? no swearing, but possibly a bit old fashioned for modern readers...

Colleger Thu 11-Oct-12 13:57:15

I think the C word was upsetting him and that the swearing was nearly every second sentence. In my opinion, swearing is for when someone doesn't have the vocabulary to get their emotions across in other ways linguistically speaking. Maybe my son thinks the same although I have never pushed this view on him.

Reading is now a huge part of his world since HE so I don't want him growing up too fast either...

seeker Thu 11-Oct-12 15:23:14

Absolutely- I suppose that's why I take the very un mumsnet course of censoring reading material. I find it bizarre that people won't let their children play 15 or 18 computer games, or watch 15 or 18 films but let them read anything they like.

MordionAgenos Thu 11-Oct-12 15:35:27

@Startail I think you are misremembering Dick Francis shock I remember reading the one about S&M when I was about 13 and being a bit....hmm

OP - as some people have said Lord of the Rings is good for an 11 year old. John Wyndham books contain very little sex or swearing (Day of the triffids, the chrysalids, the kraken wakes) - but perhaps a little bit implied. Not much explicit sex or swearing in the classics. Dickens, Thackery, etc. How about Hornblower? Not a whole lot of sex or swearing in those, either. Agatha Christie should be mainly fine, too.

DD1 who still likes a good teen book as well as proper grown up stuff loves Skullduggery Pleasant, The Spook series, The Alchymist series, and she still loves the Cressida Cowell 'Dragon....' books - your 11 year old might think they are a bit baby at the start but they get a lot darker and are frankly hilarious, so....

I'd also agree that Terry Pratchett would be a good bet.

And if he likes spy stuff, what about Kim? After all, the Great Game is eternal.....

seeker Thu 11-Oct-12 16:04:02

"misremembering Dick Francis I remember reading the one about S&M when I was about 13 and being a bit...."

No swearing though!

I am a bit surprised at the LOTR recommendations- not sure many modern 11 year olds could manage it!

Anne McCaffery? Like grown up Cressida Cowell.

MordionAgenos Thu 11-Oct-12 16:07:30

I'm sure there must have been swearing. When the bloke had his hand tortured...... no?

It was complete tosh anyway.

Of course modern 11 year olds can manage LOTR!

I've not read Anne McCaffery but are you sure there's no rudity?

seeker Thu 11-Oct-12 16:29:19

Mine couldn't! He was not quite 11, though- maybe the birthday would make a difference?grin

No, no rudity at all in Anne McCaffery-and only alien language swearing. Fantastic stories, though.

MordionAgenos Thu 11-Oct-12 16:33:18

My DS hasn't read it, but he is a reluctant reader. DD1 read it at 7 (and has read it 3 times subsequently), DD2 at 8 going on 9.

MordionAgenos Thu 11-Oct-12 16:33:35

I think it just appeals to some people, and not to others.

lljkk Thu 11-Oct-12 17:07:24

Sam Hutton books? Saxby Smart? Holes by Louis Sachar (most his other books would have swearwords; they're excellent, though).
DS is my bookworm but won't read old fashioned prose.

John Grisham thrillers. They're surprisingly vanilla where language is concerned. Complicated plots.

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