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WW1 fiction for 13 year old?

(24 Posts)
Hakluyt Mon 10-Nov-14 17:46:17

Does anyone know of any historical fiction for teenagers set around WW1?

BrendaBlackhead Mon 10-Nov-14 18:26:31


Leeds2 Mon 10-Nov-14 18:53:40

War Horse. Could be read by a Year 6, but suitable for a thirteen year old I think.

HappydaysArehere Mon 10-Nov-14 19:26:09

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo.

skylark2 Mon 10-Nov-14 20:03:04

DS (15) says War Horse, and "does poetry count?"

I rather liked the Lord Peter Wimsey books as a teen, but maybe a bit older than 13. They're set in the early 1920s IIRC.

MissMillament Mon 10-Nov-14 21:12:03

Flambards by KM Peyton. Also Remembrance by Theresa Breslin. How Many Miles to Babylon by Jennifer Johnston is wonderful also for a mature 13-year-old, but very sad.

LaVieBoheme Mon 10-Nov-14 21:14:00

Another one here for Private Peaceful. Also The Butterfly Lion by Morpurgo.

HmmAnOxfordComma Mon 10-Nov-14 23:14:21

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave is the new title by John Boyne (of Boy in the Striped PJs fame), set in WWI. Very good.

Also When The Guns Fall Silent by James Riordan about the apocryphal Christmas Day football match of 1914.

A great new collection of WWI short stories edited by Tony Bradman.

Oh, and course Remembrance by Theresa Breslin. She's brilliant.

And Eleven Eleven by Paul Dowswell (sp?) set right before the armistice.

AuntieStella Mon 10-Nov-14 23:20:17

Does it have to be fiction? If not, then Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain.

BackforGood Tue 11-Nov-14 00:19:22

Marking spot to show to dd tomorrow.

Hakluyt Tue 11-Nov-14 06:21:03

Thank you all. I'm looking for fiction because was hoping for some painless background learning! I think they seem to absorb the basics about WW1- they do it at Primary school and people seem to talk more about the invasion of applaud and so on...but the origins of WW1 are less generally known about, I think. He's read the Michael Morpurgos already and I don't think he's ready for Lord Peter (I've only just bullied persuaded my 18 year old to read him!) I have a horrible feeling he might think of some of the others as a bit "girly. blush I'll look into all you suggestions- thank you all.

I heard Ben Elton on Radio 5 talking about his latest- which is a WW1 book. I might get that as well. It sounded really interesting,and I've found him a surprisingly engaging writer in the past.

BrendaBlackhead Tue 11-Nov-14 08:32:58

I didn't realise it was a ds; in that case Flambards is way too girly! Hmmph, yes a bit of a hole for teenage boys here I think. Private Peaceful is good but as you say he's read that. It is difficult to find something gripping and not terribly worthy or written with a modern hat on.

Is All Quiet on the Western Front too much of a challenge?

Takver Tue 11-Nov-14 09:01:50

Maybe a daft suggestion, but what about the early Biggles novels (eg Biggles Learns to Fly and The Camels are Coming)?

Somewhat at the other extreme, maybe Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man and Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (maybe better for a 15/16 y/o, though?)

Personally I'd have thought Testament of Youth was a bit much for a 13 year old?

Takver Tue 11-Nov-14 09:04:10

I'm guessing if Flambards is too girly, Rilla of Ingleside would get the thumbs down!

BrendaBlackhead Tue 11-Nov-14 09:13:16

This is quite a good list, and it is indeed noted that there is a bit of shortage of "boy" WW1 fiction:

Hakluyt Tue 11-Nov-14 09:15:57

"I'm guessing if Flambards is too girly, Rilla of Ingleside would get the thumbs down!"

Biggles is a good idea- I think I might have a copy of Camel Squadron somewhere. I'd like to read it again anyway!

And I do have high hopes for the Ben Elton one..........

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Tue 11-Nov-14 10:28:16

Would he be able to cope with the Pat Barker Regeneration trilogy? DD1 read it at that age. Then there's Richard Hannay - some of his adventures were WWI weren't they? I'm thinking of Greenmantle and Mr Standfast both of which I read at that age. Great books. Not 'girly'. Some of the RF Delderfield books have WWI segments but they are typically sagas covering decades so not specifically WWI (good, though).

Hakluyt Tue 11-Nov-14 10:59:26

I forgot about Buchan. He read The 39 Steps and really enjoyed it- and I remember Greenmantle being fab. I think he's a bit young for Barker- but certainly in a year or two.

He's just read and loved Stephen Fry's Making History, by the way, if any of yours are looking for WW11 light reading. A bit "explicit" if you mind about such things......

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Tue 11-Nov-14 11:55:12

smile Oh, it's not that bad...It's the stars' tennis balls I haven't left around for DD1 or DS to read. I haven't let DD2 read Making History yet but she's probably read other 'worse' stuff, to be honest. The perils of having a voracious reader with older siblings. Making history is great though, you're right (although I do prefer the liar just because of the Toast).

Greenmantle really is a cracking read. It's not mainstream WWI because it's not about the trenches but it's a great story and obviously deals with a less well known aspect of that war.

Michaelahpurple Tue 11-Nov-14 11:58:47

William Boyd Icecream war? Goodbye to all that by R Graves?

mumslife Tue 11-Nov-14 22:25:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bobthebuddha Wed 12-Nov-14 20:24:32

Seconding Paul Dowswell; he's an excellent writer. He specialises in historical fiction set in various eras. I read Auslander (Cold War East Berlin) to DS and it had me on the edge of my seat! DS read the WW1-set Eleven Eleven independently recently and highly recommends it.

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 13-Nov-14 00:52:11

How about a play? Journey's End. Just remembered ds is studying it; he's year 9. Lots are: maybe your ds will too?

elkiedee Thu 13-Nov-14 05:51:37

Eleven Eleven is quite good, but I would say give All Quiet on the Western Front a try. Henri Barbusse wrote Under Fire during the war. Pat Barker's Regeneration is excellent. If your son's already read some of the best teen books set at the time, it's worth a bit more of a challenge.

Or for a different perspective, and a reminder that WW1 was not just on the Western Front, and didn't just involve white Europeans, A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie has parts set in what was then India (under British rule), now Pakistan.

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