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50 Exciting Books For Boys Guaranteed To Get Them Reading

by | Jan 31, 2019 | Hockey Families, Hockey Store, Sports Books | 3 comments

When I was growing up, it seemed as if there weren’t many books for boys. There were some notable exceptions, of course, such as the Hardy Boys series, but many of the novels lining the bookstore shelves were geared toward girls. Nowadays, middle school and high school aged boys have a much wider selection, however, sometimes parents have difficulty persuading them to read a book. Many say they desperately need books for boys who don’t like to read. Kids today have more distractions, and unfortunately they are often drawn more to Fortnite or Roblox than to a book.

On the bright side though, parents and grandparents tell me that the “right” book keeps their boy riveted and wanting more novels in a similar vein. Below, I’ve highlighted 50 books for reluctant boy readers. I made these choices based upon books I’ve read and recommendations from parents, teachers, and boys ages 10-17.

Girls will also enjoy these books, but I’m calling the post “50 Exciting Books For Boys Guaranteed To Get Them Reading” as most of the choices have male protagonists. I’ve divided them into five categories. Some of these “books for boys” could cross over into other categories also, but I categorized them as best as I could. So, let’s begin! Here are 50 books for teen boys and pre-teen boys who may or may not like to read.

Sports Books For Boys

Face-Off by Stacy Juba – T.J. has gotten himself out of the fancy prep school his father picked for him and into the public high school his twin brother Brad attends. Now T.J. is a shining new star on the hockey team where Brad once held the spotlight. And he’s testing his popularity with Brad’s friends, eyeing Brad’s girl and competing to be captain of the team. The whole school is rooting for a big double-strength win…not knowing that their twin ice hockey stars are heating up the ice for a winner takes all face-off.

Offsides by Stacy Juba – Twin hockey stars T.J. and Brad have finally resolved their differences and forged a friendship on and off the ice. Now high school seniors, they focus on landing a commitment to a D1 school. What should have been the best year ever takes a nasty hit when the boys’ parents announce their divorce, and Brad makes a mistake that could impact his game eligibility.

Heat by Mike Lupica Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat along with aspirations of leading his team all the way to the Little League World Series. But his firepower is nothing compared to the heat Michael faces in his day-to-day life. 

Check out these books for tween and teen boys! #YALit #MgLit #AmReading Click To TweetHeart of a Champion by Carl DeukerJimmy Winter is a born star on the baseball field, and Seth Barnam can only dream of being as talented. Still, the two baseball fanatics have the kind of friendship that should last forever. But when Seth experiences an unthinkable loss, he’s forced to find his own personal strength–on and off the field. 

Ironman by Chris Crutcher – Bo has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. The rage he feels gives him the energy as a triathlete to press his body to the limit, but it also translates into angry outbursts. Now dangerously close to expulsion from school, Bo has been assigned to Anger Management sessions with the school “truants” and finally has to deal with his long-brewing hatred for his father — before it eats away at him completely.

The Final Four by Paul Volponi March Madness is in full swing, and there are only four teams let in the NCAA basketball championship. The heavily favored Michigan Spartans and the underdog Troy Trojans meet in the first game in the seminfinals, and it’s there that the fates of Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. intertwine. As the last moments tick down on the game clock, you’ll learn how each player went from being a kid who loves to shoot hoops to a powerful force in one of the most important games of the year. 

Football Genius by Tim Green Twelve-year-old Troy White has a phenomenal gift: He can predict football plays before they even happen. When Troy’s single mom gets a job working for the Atlanta Falcons, Troy sees this as an opportunity to show what he can do. But first he has to get to the Falcons—and with tight security and a notoriously mean coach, even his mom’s field passes aren’t much help.

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers – Seventeen-year-old Greg “Slam” Harris can do it all on the basketball court, but Slam’s grades aren’t that hot. And when his teachers jam his troubles in his face, he blows up. Slam never doubted himself on the court until he found himself going one-on-one with his own future, and he didn’t have the ball.

Fantasy And Science Fiction Books For Boys

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – A great introduction to the blockbuster series. When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying. 

Warriors #1 Into the Wild by Erin HunterRead the book that began a phenomenon. For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their ancestors. But the warrior code has been threatened, and the ThunderClan cats are in danger. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary housecat named Rusty… who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Book 1 in the bestselling series. Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny. 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – Book 1 in Percy Jackson and the Olympians – Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse as Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. 

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket The Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and baby Sunny, are exceedingly unlucky. Their parents have been killed, and they are forced to go and stay with their Uncle Olaf. It soon turns out that Olaf has evil plans for the children. 

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo When fifteen-year-old Xander and his family move into an old, abandoned house in the middle of a dense forest outside of a small California town, they discover that not only are some of the rooms portals into other places, but that malevolent forces are at work.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. 

Peter and the StarCatchers: Book One by Dave Barry & Ridley PearsonTreacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan.

The Ruins of Gorlan: Book 1 (Ranger’s Apprentice) by John Flanagan Fifteen-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. 

Eragon: Inheritance, Book I (The Inheritance Cycle 1) by Christopher Paolini  Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire. 

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Book 1) by Richard Paul Evans – Michael thinks his electric powers are unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the teens—and through them, the world.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien –  Prelude to The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure.

Action And Adventure Books For Boys

Swindle by Gordon KormanOcean’s 11 . . . with 11-year-olds. After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle’s compound and recapture the card. 

Crossing the Wire by WIll HobbsIn this riveting, action-packed novel from award-winning author Will Hobbs, a teenage boy hoping to help his loved ones must fight for his life as he makes the dangerous journey across the Mexican border into the United States. 

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Brian’s Saga Book 1) – Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is traveling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since his parents’ divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, the sole survivor is Brian. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

Holes by Louis Sachar (Holes Series) Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that has followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. Soon, Stanley realizes the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake?  

My Side Of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George – Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods—all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.

Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand  – In this captivating and lavishly illustrated young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a former Olympian’s courage, cunning, and fortitude following his plane crash in enemy territory. This adaptation of Unbroken introduces a new generation to one of history’s most thrilling survival epics.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run—and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats. 

Greyson Gray: Camp Legend (The Greyson Gray Series Book 1) by B.C. Tweedt – Sports camp has everything twelve-year-old Greyson Gray needs to distract him from his father’s mysterious disappearance. But when Greyson stumbles upon a terrorist’s sinister plot brewing in the observatory, he suddenly toils with two dueling worlds – one of lurking danger and mystery, the other of competition and awkward romance.

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham The thrilling young mystery series from internationally bestselling author John Grisham! In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial.  The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served. 

The Apothecary (The Apothecary Series) by Maile MeloyIt’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows – a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies—Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons.

Guts & Glory: The American Civil War by Ben Thompson History buff, Civil War reenactor, and popular blogger Ben Thompson uses his extensive knowledge and vivid storytelling style to bring the Civil War to life in this first book in a thrilling new series featuring incredible people, events, and civilizations.  

Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat Awasin and Jamie, brothers in courage, meet a challenge many mountain men could not endure. When their canoe is destroyed by the fury of the rapids, they must face the wilderness with no food and no hope of rescue.  To survive, they build an igloo, battle a towering grizzly bear, track several wolves, slaughter caribou for food and clothing.Two lost huskies they tame bring companionship—and maybe a way home from their dangerous adventure.

Books For Boys About Growing Up

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers and friends. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far. 

Tex by S.E. Hinton Easygoing and reckless, Tex likes everyone and everything, especially his horse and his best friend’s sister. Life with his older brother, Mason, would be just about perfect if only he would stop complaining about Pop, who hasn’t been home in five months.  While Mason worries about paying the bills and getting a basketball scholarship, Tex just seems to attract trouble. When everything seems to be falling apart, how can Tex find a way to keep things together? 

Restart by Gordan Korman – Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof and doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again. When he gets back to school, some kids treat him like a hero and others are clearly afraid of him. Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is—it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.  

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher while the rest of the class has religious instruction. But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself. 

Wonder by R. J. PalacioAugust Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. 

Paper Towns by John Green Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew. 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews – It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in fiery young lady Lil Spicer. In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. 

Humorous Books For Boys

Crash by Jerry SpinelliCocky seventh-grade super-jock Crash Coogan got his nickname the day he used his first football helmet to knock his cousin Bridget flat on her backside. And he has been running over people ever since, especially Penn Webb, the dweeby, vegetarian Quaker kid who lives down the block. Through the eyes of Crash, readers get a rare glimpse into the life of a bully. 

Big Nate #1: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce – Nate knows he’s meant for big things. REALLY big things. But things don’t always go your way just because you’re awesome. Nate barely survives his dad’s toxic oatmeal before rushing off to school—minus his lunch. He body slams the no-nonsense principal. He accidentally insults his least favorite teacher. Trouble always seems to find him, but Nate keeps his cool. He knows he’s destined for greatness. A fortune cookie told him so.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Wimpy Kid series Book 1) by Jeff Kinney Being a kid can really stink. And no one knows this better than Greg Heffley, who finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. Author and illustrator Jeff Kinney introduces us to an unlikely hero.

Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life (Middle School series Book 1) by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he’s got an ace plan for the best year ever: to break every rule in his school’s oppressive Code of Conduct.  But when Rafe’s game starts to catch up with him, he’ll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he’s finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he’s been avoiding. 

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber – Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel. It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a much anticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. 

The Kid Who Ran For President by Dan Gutman – A  fast-paced, funny, and surprising account of a boy’s run for the Oval Office in the year 2000. Under the tutelage of Lane, his brainy friend and self-appointed campaign manager, the affable sixth-grader from Madison, Wisconsin, takes on the Democrats and Republicans as a Third Party candidate who can make waves. 

Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer A committed slacker enlists the help of his best friend (who may or may not be the devil) to get his act together in this “timelessly true to life” (Booklist) novel filled with humor, awkwardness, and honesty, ideal for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The Genius Files #1: Mission Unstoppable by Dan GutmanTwelve-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald embark on a family vacation you’ll have to read to believe. With the real-kid humor that has earned Dan Gutman millions of fans around the world, and featuring weird-but-true American tourist destinations, The Genius Files is a one-of-a-kind mix of geography and fun. As Coke and Pepsi dodge nefarious villains from the Pez museum in California all the way to the Infinity Room in Wisconsin, black-and-white photographs and maps put young readers right into the action

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate HattemerWitty, sarcastic Ethan and his three best friends are students at Selwyn Arts Academy, which has been hijacked by For Art’s Sake, a sleazy reality-television show. In the tradition of Ezra Pound, the foursome secretly writes and distributes a long poem to protest the show. But the forces behind the show are craftier than they seem. The web of betrayal stretches farther than Ethan could have ever imagined, and it’s up to him, his friends, and a heroic gerbil named Baconnaise to save Selwyn.

I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand – Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors—but that doesn’t make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly, his dad doesn’t agree. Which is why Henry is being shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp. Strongwoods isn’t exactly as advertised. It looks like the victim of a zombie apocalypse, the “camp director” is a psycho drill sergeant, and Henry’s sure he saw a sign written in blood…

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many exciting books for boys that don’t like to read. I could’ve included a lot more than fifty books for reluctant boy readers, but had to draw the line somewhere.

Do you have any book recommendations for teen and preteen boys? Please share them in the comments.

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