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Iconic books for a boy turning 13?

24 replies

aNoteToFollowSo · 24/08/2014 00:15

My DN will be visiting from abroad. I don't get to see him very often, and have never spent a birthday with him before. He is a keen reader, and I would love to give him some special books that are 'must reads' for a young adult. I wouldn't expect them all to appeal to him at this age, but I'd like to choose books that will have appeal to a boy growing up.

I would be very grateful for your suggestions. So far I've thought of:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm / 1984 (which would be better?)
Northern Lights/Golden Compass - whatever the first in the Philliip Pullman trilogy is now called.
Great Expectations perhaps - not sure about this one.

What do you think of the above list, and do you have any other suggestions for me please?

TIA for any help

OP posts:
aNoteToFollowSo · 24/08/2014 00:17

Sorry, just to say again that I'm essentially looking for modern classics, not just books that will interest a teenage boy. Sorry if I'm repeating myself - just read my original post and it didn't seem very clear.

OP posts:
aNoteToFollowSo · 24/08/2014 00:31

Just thought of another one:

Lord of the Flies - what do you think?

OP posts:
PurplePotato · 24/08/2014 00:36

My teenagers have enjoyed the following (and I think these count as modern classics):

Bridge to Teribithia
Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy
Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
The Book Thief

I would probably stay away from books he is likely to study at school, as my DCs automatically hate set texts (currently struggling with Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men) They also loved the Northern Lights trilogy.

Hope this helps - happy shopping!

MardyBra · 24/08/2014 00:37

My Ds is a similar age and recently enjoyed Lord of the Flies.

Phillip Pullman is a good choice - a great narrative, fAntastic characters and plenty of controversy to get stuck into,

1984 is quite heavy in parts iirc (big swathes of political theory). DD read Animal Farm at that age but didn't really understand the allegory.
TKAM is fairly complex and a wouldn't be comfortable with the rape themes for a 12yo.

Sorry but I think Great Expectations is too dense too - much too much description to keep a 12yo engaged.


MrsDmitriTippensKrushnic · 24/08/2014 00:42

If you're considering Philip Pullman would you consider things like The Hunger Games Trilogy or the Mazerunner books, which seem to be consider 'classics' in the making? Maybe must-reads would be a better term.

Apart from that I'd agree with the others on the list - I read most of those at school in my early teens as did my sons. I'd go for Animal Farm over 1984 though.

Erm.. How about Laurie Lee - Cider with Rosie?

MardyBra · 24/08/2014 00:45

My Family and Other Animals?

MrsDmitriTippensKrushnic · 24/08/2014 00:46

X Post with a few people and forgot to say that Great Expectations may be a bit marmite. I personally loathe Dickens to read (like the stories but the text makes me want to beat my head against the wall) but my DH loved them from quite a young age which reminds me... How about Sherlock? Sir Arthur is definitely a classic and they're actually pretty easy to read imo.

MardyBra · 24/08/2014 00:49

What about the Narnia books?

My teenagers really enjoyed The Power of Five series by Anthony Horowitz. They're not "great literature" but they're a stonking read by all accounts.

Alonglongway · 24/08/2014 01:18

Yes to Lord of the Flies - huge hit with my DD

I got her the Penguin banned books collection - in search of iconic books too - he might be a bit young. We are on holiday at the moment and she's carrying Clockwork Orange around everywhere

aNoteToFollowSo · 24/08/2014 15:05

Some great suggestions, thank you. I'm writing all these down to take to the book store. I can see I'm going to have to set myself a budget to stick to or I'll keep adding just one more to the pile.

Might be a bit poncy to include Dickens I suppose. But do you think this hamper can include books to be read over the next few years, or I should stick to books that will have immediate appeal? I first read Dickens at 17 and loved it, but don't have the staying power for it any more. That was part of my thinking - encourage him to tackle Dickens while his brain is still up to it!

Thanks again for these - please keep them coming.

OP posts:
Takver · 24/08/2014 17:18

I'd say Hitchhikers Guide is a must - so many phrases/concepts have entered the language.

CiderwithBuda · 24/08/2014 17:33

Do you know what he likes to read?

My DS has just turned 13 and wouldn't read any of those mentioned. I appreciate he is odd! Hates any fantasy type books.

I would love him to read some iconic books but really struggle.

callipygian00 · 25/08/2014 00:18

Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses series is great - it's not hard going but still encourages the reader to think about race, friendship and loyalty. It would be my number one suggestion. It does confront difficult issues, some of which some parents might be uncomfortable with, including the death penalty and rape (the rape doesn't happen, but other characters assume it does). It is however aimed at this age group (Blackman is the children's laureate) and I believe it's not too much - although this is a personal opinion.
IMO it's a tad early for Dickens - wouldn't want to risk giving the classics too early, because this can put a kid off them for life, which would be a real shame. But Sherlock I think you could get away with.

MardyBra · 25/08/2014 01:31

There's a big difference between 12and 17, which is Ehy I'd avoid Dickens.

I agree Noughts and Crosses is brilliant but maybe more aged 14/15.

MardyBra · 25/08/2014 01:31

Why nor ehy

Paddington68 · 25/08/2014 03:03

The Outsiders by S E Hinton

dyslexicdespot · 25/08/2014 06:57

Watership Down
The Adrian Mole books
The Earthsea books

What does he like to read?

IsItMeOr · 25/08/2014 07:18

For a bit of variety, how about Jeeves and Wooster?

dyslexicdespot · 25/08/2014 07:33
BikeRunSki · 25/08/2014 07:37

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Age 13 3/4.

A little comic relief.

Jinglebells99 · 25/08/2014 07:40

How about "The hobbit" and"Lord of the Rings" the book Trust list looks good. Has he read Harry Potter.

mistyegg · 25/08/2014 07:43

How about some John Wyndham like The Day of the Triffids or the Chrysalids?

mistyegg · 25/08/2014 07:50

Or Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451?

aNoteToFollowSo · 25/08/2014 14:58

Now I want to read - or re-read - all these myself! Thanks for these suggestions. I've never actually read 'Hitchhikers' Guide…' myself so thanks for that steer.

Truth is I'm not really sure what he likes reading. I know he read, and loved, Harry Potter about two years ago. But after that I havent a clue. It seems to me these books would cater for most tastes though.

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