A few months ago, I wrote a blog post with book recommendations for boys--Books for Boys--and I'm thrilled that it's received so may hits. My younger son, age 12, continues to read books at a pace that almost parallels me at his age. So I'm doing a second post with recommendations based on his latest favorites:
Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull. One of our cousins passed the first book to us, and I handed it to my son when he was out of reading material. He was hooked! He absolutely tore through the entire series: Fablehaven, Rise of the Evening Star, Grip of the Shadow Plague, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, and Keys to the Demon Prison. This is a bestselling fantasy series revolving around a secret sanctuary for magical creatures. The main characters, 13-year-old Kendra and 11-year-old Seth, are the grandchildren of the caretaker of this mystical preserve, which they discover when they solve a puzzle while visiting their grandfather.
The Underland Chronicles is another great, but lesser known, series by Suzanne Collins, the author of the wildly popular The Hunger Games trilogy. These five fantasy novels feature main characters 11-year-old Gregor and his 2-year-old sister Boots, a pair of siblings who live in New York City. When they fall through a vent in the basement of their apartment, they find themselves in a hidden world located under the city, where all types of unusual creatures live along with other humans. The books are Gregor the Overlander, Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, Gregor and the Marks of Secret, and Gregor and the Code of Claw.
As mentioned in the first Books for Boys post, he truly loved the Peter and the Starcatchers series by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. So I did a Goodreads search on the authors, and found that Ridley Pearson wrote a series called The Kingdom Keepers. In a funny twist, I discovered this right before we left for our Disney vacation. So my son enjoyed Disney After Dark while we were actually at Disney, and he's since read Disney at Dawn and Disney in Shadow. The rest of the series currently includes Power Play, Shell Game, Dark Passage, and The Insider. The books revolve around a group of teens who spend their days working as holographic hosts at Disney. But when night falls, they face villains seeking to control not only the parks, but the world.
We often travel on long car rides to visit extended family, and I try to find a book we might all enjoy, which I then read aloud. This is how we discovered The Hunger Games, and I'll never forget how sore my throat was on that trip because of the multiple pleas (from both the kids and my husband) for "one more chapter". So on our recent Easter trip, I brought along Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. This had been on my list for a while, but since it's a YA book about a boy selected for an elite Battle School in space, I figured it might be a hit. We're about halfway through at this point, and my kids really enjoy the descriptions of the military training drills and practice battles in the zero-gravity battle chamber. The main character, Ender, is a clever strategist who sets himself apart as a leader from the day he enters the school--although this, combined with the fact that the adults are grooming him to lead their forces to victory against invading aliens, makes his childhood very different from the one he envisioned with his family on Earth.
Hope this list gives the parents of kids who enjoy fantasy or sci-fi adventure--boys or girls--some new ideas! Feel free to leave any other recommendations in the comments below. Happy reading :)