Looking for new reads for yourself? Or have a son/grandson/brother/friend who prefers a story about a boy? I asked my 9-year-old super nephew to name his favorite recent reads. He’s not the kind who likes everything he reads, so these are the really top notch ones that get a golden star. Don’t be put off by Gabe’s young age—many of these books would be great reads for kids much older than 9, he’s just an amazing reader. He’s also an incredibly thoughtful, kind soul. I’m a huge fan.
Charlie Bone Series, by Jenny Nimmo (Book One: Midnight for Charlie)
"Charlie Bone is this boy who figures out he has special powers, and he fights evil and solves mysteries. He becomes friends with others who are “endowed” and are really powerful. I liked them about the same as Harry Potter. They’re great books and have some great adventure in it. And I love fantasy. The first four I just couldn’t put down, but I’m not pleased so far with the fifth book—boring."
The Jimmy Fincher Saga, by James Dashner (Book One: The Door in the Woods)
"This is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s about this boy called Jimmy Fincher, he’s just a regular boy about fourteen, and he finds out a man called Raspy has an evil plot to get invincible powers, but his plan backfires and Jimmy gets invincible powers. I read all four and they’re really good."
The Last Apprentice, by Joseph Delaney (Book One: Revenge of the Witch)
"Ooh, okay, it’s about a boy who was a seventh son of a seventh son. There are all the regular jobs like farming, blacksmith, and stuff like that. But he’s a special person. There’s a job called a “spook,” to protect a village or town or city from goblins, witches, and all of those demons. He finds out that when the spook comes by, he’s given the choice of becoming a spook. It’s really, really good."
The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
"Oh! The Lightening Thief. There’s a boy (he thinks he’s a regular boy) named Percy Jackson. He flunks out of every single school. So he goes to this one school and finally gets a friend named Grover. And he finds out he’s a half-blood, the son of the Greek god Poseidon, and then the adventure starts. It’s a really good fantasy and adventure book."
Of Mice and Magic, by David Farland
"Oh yeah! Of Mice and Magic. This boy takes care of his friend’s lizard and has to feed it mice. He goes to a pet store to get a mouse, and he’s about to feed it to the lizard when something strange happens—he becomes a mouse! It was a really good fantasy, adventure, and I’d rate it 10 out of 10 like all of them."
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
"It’s a really good mystery. It’s about these people who are chosen to live in this place called Sunset Towers. They all get a perfect place and settle down, and it’s near the Westing House. Bombings and explosions start happening, and they’re all called upon to figure out some clues to find who murdered Westing."
Why do you like to read?
"Well, it’s just like real life—if you become a good reader, you can really imagine it well. You can imagine what the person’s like, and if it’s a good book with lots of details, you can imagine the place, the creatures, and I feel like I’m on another planet, except made out of words."
I don’t want to perpetuate the rumor that boys only read boy books, so I should tell you that he wanted to list The Books of Bayern and Princess Academy among his favorites (I know, seriously headed for Favorite Nephew). I asked him which he liked best. He says, "If I had to choose my favorite out of all of them, it would be Enna Burning. I liked that Enna learned how to burn things, and she used it to help. I’d give them all 10 out of 10."
Isn’t he sweet?