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Books for 9th grade boy?

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Hey, all!

This summer I'm tutoring a boy entering 9th grade at the private school where I used to teach.  He'd like me to help him pick his "free choice" summer reading book.  Required title for all 9th graders is THE COLOR OF WATER by James McBride.  From a short list the school provided, I suggested, for book two, THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN.  Now, this boy is bright, and from our discussion of (and his writing about) the first book, I can tell he'll have no trouble reading and understanding just about any book for this age group.  But, he's not into reading, and at his other schools didn't have to do much beyond a novel each year (last year it was THE GIVER).  When he reads for fun, he picks autobiographies, mostly of athletes.  His favorite sports are football, basketball and golf.  His mom told me that he often chooses books based on how thin or fat they are. :biggrin

But like I said, he's open to anything.  I'd like to introduce him to some excellent current books that may help him like fiction a bit more.

#1 - July 22, 2011, 07:13 AM

I know that Chris Crutcher has written several YA boy books about sports, but I haven't read any of them myself....anyone want to weigh in on these?
I've only read WHALE TALK so far, which is about a boy forming a swim team from the school's misfits, and it's fantastic.

Other sports-related books to consider:

SUMMERLAND by Michael Chabon (baseball)
HOOPS by Walter Dean Myers (basketball)
TANGERINE by Edward Bloor (soccer)
SLAM by Nick Hornby (skateboarding)

Edit to add: THE MILLION DOLLAR PUTT by Dan Gutman might be a good choice as well, about a blind teenager who golfs.
#2 - July 22, 2011, 08:25 AM
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 01:30 PM by Rachel »
CLAWS, Chicken House 2012
JALA'S MASK, Pyr, November 4, 2014

Katrina S. Forest

I read Chris Crutcher's Ironman for a children's lit class. It tackles some serious issues, if I recall, and the athletic competition is more in the background. Haven't read any of Chris Crutcher's other books.

I'm not sure Percy Jackson would interest an intelligent 9th grader -- that's more MG than YA, and to me, The Lightning Thief talked down to its audience as it was. But, if he's in the mood for something light-hearted, he might enjoy it. Along those lines is also, Zen and the Art of Faking It. I felt like that book had a more enjoyable protagonist. (Granted, I only read the first Percy Jackson book, so maybe the others do a better job the first one.)

Has he read Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow? He might enjoy those. Also, Acceleration by Graham McNamee. It's about a teenage guy who finds a serial killer's diary. Kept the suspense very well. (Though he'll probably laugh at the "class discussion" questions at the end of the book -- I know I did.)
#3 - July 22, 2011, 08:28 AM

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Has he read Hatchett? Another good one is Touching Spirit Bear. And don't forget an oldie but goodie, The Outsiders. A couple of recent thriller-types are Maze Runner and I Am Number Four.
#4 - July 22, 2011, 08:44 AM


YOU by Charles Benoit is amazing (and on the thin side) and so is BLACK HOLE SUN by David Macinnis Gill. A little older, but just as great, are RASH by Pete Hautman and UNWIND by Neal Shusterman.
#5 - July 22, 2011, 08:53 AM

TWISTED by Laurie Halse Anderson
IRONMAN or STOTAN! by Chris Crutcher
OPEN ICE by Pat Hughes
#6 - July 22, 2011, 09:39 AM

I LOVED Alan Gratz's SAMURAI SHORTSTOP which is a historical baseball book, all about a young man coming of age, figuring out what it means to be a man, a great ball player, and a samurai. Like I said, LOVED it, but I imagine a teenage boy would love it even more.
#7 - July 22, 2011, 10:36 AM

ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card.  Hands down.  It's the book I have always given people who fall into one of these three categories:

1.  Younger boy cousins
2.  Boyfriends
3.  Anyone who loves a good story with amazing character development

9th grade is perfect.
#8 - July 22, 2011, 11:49 AM
SHUFFLE, REPEAT (2016, Random House)


Check out The Magnificent Twelve by Michael Grant. It is technically MG, but really well done and it made me LMAO. If you've got a reluctant reader on your hands, I think you can't go wronge with this one. Really hilarious, clever witty humor--the video on Amazon doesn't do it justice. The boy protagonist, well, you just gotta love him. My dh teaches 8th graders and also read it, and opined that his boys would enjoy it, fwiw. 
#9 - July 22, 2011, 12:08 PM

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Wow, this is an incredible list!  THANK YOU!!!!  But how will we choose from so many amazing suggestions??
#10 - July 22, 2011, 01:15 PM

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IQ by Roland Smith (there are two books in the series so far)

Steel Trapp by Ridley Pearson (two books in this series)

Me and the Morgue (sorry I have misplaced my copy of the book - it is in one of I don't know how many boxes.)

Zack's Lie - Roland Smith

Jack's Run - Roland Smith

These are mostly mystery, spy and intrigue books
#11 - July 22, 2011, 07:09 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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EPIC and SAGA by Conor Kostick  (Epic was much better)
Alex Rider series
H.I.V.E series

I got my teen into reading Bill Bryson's WALK IN THE WOODS and SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING also Dave Barry 's collections (Dave Barry does Japan etc.)

And he is also really into Terry Pratchett.
#12 - July 23, 2011, 07:39 AM
How Things Work (Publications International, 2006)
Bugs & Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter (Boyds Mill Press, 2010)
Touch the Earth (NASA, 2009)

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I second HUNGER GAMES and Roland Smith's books.

I think he may like the Chronicles of Nick series by Sherilyn Kenyon -very fast paced with A LOT of humor
#13 - July 24, 2011, 05:03 AM
The Safest Lie in stores now
The End of the Line - VOYA Top Shelf & YALSA Quick Pick
FB/twtr/Tmblr AngelaCerrito

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That's a good point Robin. 

I'm going to compile these and go through them with him, see what piques his interest (also, if he can get it easily).  Still not sure what his fiction interest might be -- he said he really liked THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY -- and, again, he's a bright kid who seems to really comprehend well, so I think it's just a matter of finding something that will hook him. 

Thanks again everyone for your fantastic suggestions!    :clap: :clap: :clap:
#14 - July 25, 2011, 05:04 PM

Oh I loved that book! (Part-time Indian...)
You know Robin, there's violence in the Hunger Games but for me, it wasn't nearly as horrific or nightmare inducing as Lord of the Flies, which was required reading for me in 10th grade. *shudder... I still shudder* But I have heard the trilogy gets more violent and I haven't read the other two books, yet.
#15 - July 25, 2011, 07:30 PM

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If he likes sports, he might like Pops by Gordon Korman. He might also like the Maze Runner by James Dashner or Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Mayberry. Rot and Ruin is a terrific zombie book.

#16 - July 25, 2011, 11:36 PM

What about FEED by M.T. Anderson?

Someone mentioned BLACK HOLE SUN - that was a fun sci-fi romp.
#17 - July 26, 2011, 07:43 AM
NO PLACE TO FALL (Harper Teen, 2014)


One of my sons just finished 9th grade. In the last year, he's read all of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, including the one that came out a couple days ago. His friends read them, too.
#18 - July 29, 2011, 10:31 AM


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