Over the past year or so I’ve been working especially hard on trying to turn more of my male students into lifelong readers. Too many of them fake read or doodle or try to goof around during SSR. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to read more guy friendly young adult novels to include in my classroom library. These have been the most successful. Also, if you know of any other young adult novels that are popular with boys, please let me know. This is a forever work in progress
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
In one of my freshmen classes, three different boys read and loved this novel. All of them were heard giggling while reading.
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
During my first year of teaching I had a male student that pushed the line with me any chance he had. I read Twisted that year and thought of him as I read it. I handed him the book, told him I already knew that he doesn’t read, but to go ahead and try it anyway. He sat there the entire class period and never stopped reading.
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
A new book club member told me today (9/11/12) that he cried when he finished reading this.
You by Charles Benoit
Many of the boys who’ve read this or want to read it have said that the main character sounds like them. Even just after reading the blurb, my students can relate with Kyle.
Swim the Fly / Beat the Band / Call the Shots by Don Calame
Sports, humor, girls, and more. What more do you need?
The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
My guys in class that love fantasy can’t get enough of this trilogy! One of my reluctant readers picked up The Warrior Heir and couldn’t put it down. I didn’t have the other two yet (I haven’t read them), but he had to read them. I was lucky and found them at a discounted price at a Borders Outlet
City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
This is a paranormal fantasy series that was popular with my boys before the girls. There’s enough action and Dungeons and Dragons references to outweigh the romantic storyline that’s included.
Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen
This is a mature book, but my freshmen boys who are ready for it have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one of those books that keeps getting requested because of all the talk amongst the guys.
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
A student of mine that was constantly getting in trouble and who would only sleep in class ended up reading this book. It was a few years ago, but I’m pretty sure I just handed it to him because I figured he’d be able to relate to it. For a few days I saw it hanging out of his pocket and he read it for those few days in class. After he finished reading, he asked if he could go down to the library to find another book by Robert Cormier.
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
My boys have picked up this book either before or after reading Twisted and Right Behind You. I’ve only read a few of Crutcher’s books and this one is my favorite. It actually connects with his other book Running Loose but that one isn’t as popular with the boys.
The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner
One of my non-reading freshmen boys recently tried this one and liked it so much, his mom bought him the sequel, The Scorch Trials.
Gym Candy, Night Hoops, Payback Time & Runner by Carl Deuker
Gym Candy has been the most popular of these titles. The guys pass it around over and over again.
Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
I teach this book in my Young Adult Lit class, and it’s the first one my class reads. The first day of reading I assigned the first 30 pages, and when class was over my students asked if they could read more. I about fell out of my chair! The boys especially respond to this novel because Nick is in court ordered anger management classes after he slapped his girlfriend. The judge asks him to keep a journal narrating from when he met his girlfriend to the present. The novel switches between present day and Nick’s journals.
Beautiful Creatures / Beautiful Darkness / Beautiful Chaos / Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Not all my boys have latched onto these, but the boys who generally like to read and those who enjoy fantasy have really gotten into these two books.
Right Behind You and Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
Gail Giles is one of my favorite authors because she writes dark and edgy novels. Shattering Glass is popular with my boys because it’s suspenseful and deals with bullying. Right Behind You hooks you in the very first page when the protagonist admits that he set his neighbor on fire. This book was really popular this past year with my freshmen boys. One of them even admitted to crying when he finished reading it!
Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
I have a very avid sci-fi/fantasy reader who reads about a book per day. I handed him Black Hole Sun and when he finished it, he had big smile on his face as he told me it’s the best book he’s read!
Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns by John Green
John Green really “gets” guys. His characters are insanely witty and relatable. I’ve had a few guys in class that would rather read classics and adult fiction, and are generally skeptical of YA. Looking for Alaska has opened their eyes
Stupid Fast / Nothing Special / I’m With Stupid by Geoff Herbach
Geoff Herbach has won over so many of guys with his debut Stupid Fast. If you haven’t read this or if you don’t have it in your library/classroom, I highly recommend changing that
Crank/Glass/Fallout and Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Every Day by David Levithan
A few of my seniors have read this and loved it. One of the boys updated me on a regular basis about his thoughts as he read this; he even admitted to crying during certain parts. His rave reviews piqued quite a bit of interest.
Legend / Prodigy / Champion by Marie Lu
I Hunt Killers / Game / Blood of my Blood by Barry Lyga
It only took one of my seniors this year (2013-2014) to sell this book to the rest of the guys in class.
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
A couple boys in class have read this book and now more of them are asking about it. I guess word travels fast
Touching Spirit Bear & Ghost of Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
I haven’t read either of these books yet, but one of my freshmen boys asked me if I have any action/adventure books like Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. I have a few Gary Paulsen titles, but he wasn’t interested in those. This particular student is still on the fence about reading and branching out, so I asked around for suggestions. I was at the book store and remembered teachers raving about Touching Spirit Bear, so I bought that one. I brought it in and gave it to this student to try. He loved it! He said he wasn’t sure at first, but he was instantly sucked in. Once he finished he immediately asked about Ghost of Spirit Bear because the ending left him needing to know what happens right away. Of course, I went out and bought Ghost of Spirit Bear for him. The rest of the boys in class have been interested in these two titles because they see this student enjoying them and because of the huge and menacing bear on the cover.
Ashfall by Mike Mullen
Fallen Angels, Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Trapped by Michael Northrup
I already have three copies of this book and I could rationalize buying more considering how popular this book is.
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
I’m teaching this in my freshmen English class and both my guys and girls have been speeding through this novel. They love it!
Boy21 by Matthew Quick
I’m reading Boy21 to my freshmen right now and they are loving it. The only other books I’ve read out loud and have received requests to read more chapters are Hex Hall and The Hunger Games. I know my students have enjoyed the other books I’ve read, but when they ask me to read more, I know it’s a real winner. The boys say over and over again that they really like this book.
Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon
Freefall by Mindi Scott
Quite a few of my boys in class have been picking this one up. They like how real Seth’s character is, and it’s cool that Seth is in a band. I have quite a few musicians and guitar players in my classes.
Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Unwind / Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
A couple of the boys in my classes who “don’t read” picked this one up randomly and ended up not being able to stop reading. It’s a dystopian novel where teens between the ages of 12-17 can be unwound. The unwinding process doesn’t actually kill the child because ALL of their parts are donated to people who need them (i.e. skin, ears, organs, etc.) It’s an awesome book!
Winger by Andrew Smith
I can’t keep this book on my shelf. I have three copies and they are forever being passed around.
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Variant by Robison Wells
This one wasn’t my favorite, but the couple of boys that have read it so far have been raving about it. I can’t wait for them to finish it so I can hear their thoughts.
Food, Girls, & Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
A senior came in and told the class that this is a life-changing book. That’s all it took to sell this book to the rest of his class.