Books For 13 Year Old Boys

This post is a combined effort from me and my soon to be 13 year old son. He listed titles he has read over the last year that he thinks most 13 year old boys will like and gave me a brief description of each. (And in the true form of a teenager some of his descriptions are very brief!)

My son read some of these books when he was 11 or 12 and he knows some boys older 14 and 15 are still reading these books, so this list does cover interests for more than just 13 year olds.

Each listing is actually part of a book series, which could actually make great gift ideas for Christmas for teenage boys. My 13 year old loves having the whole series of books, so for family reading here is a long list of books for his up coming birthday or Christmas!

Please note: Please use discretion when choosing books from this list as some of these books do contain violence, sex and drug references. These are topics we talk openly about with our son and I am aware of what he is reading. Not all parents may feel comfortable with the references contained within some of these books.

Scarecrow Series by Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is an Australian author. At 37, he has an amazing nine novels which are international bestsellers. Matthew seems like a pretty popular guy with over 10,000 fans on facebook and 4,500 followers on twitter. Scarecrow and The Army Of Thieves is the latest installment in the Scarecrow series.

From the publisher:

From my soon to be 13 year old:
Action packed, mile a minute. Contains swearing and guns. Complex plots.

Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

As an adult, the covers of the Skullduggery Pleasant have always turned me off these books! But my son loves them and there are six in the series now and with a fan base of 14,000 on facebook, they certainly have a dedicated audience.

From the publisher:

The sixth instalment in the historic, hysterical and horrific Skulduggery Pleasant series. Think you’ve seen anything yet? You haven’t. Because the Death Bringer is about to rise…

The Necromancers no longer need Valkyrie to be their Death Bringer, and that’s a Good Thing.

There’s just one catch. There’s a reason the Necromancers don’t need her any more. And that’s because they’ve found their Death Bringer already, the person who will dissolve the doors between life and death.

And that’s a very, very Bad Thing…

From my soon to be 13 year old:
Fantasy style series. About a skeleton that goes around the world solving mysteries.

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Technically my son tells me that there is two series from Riordan: The Percy Jackson Series and the Heroes of Olympus Series, which does star Percy Jackson, but is a different series.

From the publisher:

From my soon to be 13 year old:
Lots of battle scenes and a very complex fantasy oriented plot.

Holes Sereis by Louis Sachar

This is a book that makes me think about how we treat literature with teenagers. Holes by Louis Sachar is part of the year 7 curriculum for my son. When we were writing down books he likes for this list, he didn’t say Holes. I thought this strange as he actually read this for the first time a couple of year ago an really enjoyed it. When I suggested it, he said to me, “It was a good book, but I have read it so much for school, I don’t like it anymore.”

From the publisher:

Stanley Yelnats was given a choice. The judge said, “You may go to jail, or you may go to Camp Green Lake.” Stanley was from a poor family. He had never been to camp before.

And so, Stanley Yelnats seems set to serve an easy sentence, which is only fair because he is as innocent as you or me. But Stanley is not going where he thinks he is. Camp Green Lake is like no other camp anywhere. It is a bizarre, almost otherworldly place that has no lake and nothing that is green.

From my soon to be 13 year old:
Plot is interweaved in the story very well. Story about never giving up and always remaining hopeful.

Once, Then, Now, After by Morris Gleitzman

once by Morris Gleitzman
My son wrote about sitting in on a session with Gleitzman at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival back in 2009. The images in these books have stuck with him as they are ones he will mentions when discussions of the Holocaust comes up.

From the publisher:

Once I escaped from an orphanage to find Mum and Dad.

Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house.

Once I made a Nazi with toothache laugh.

My name is Felix.

This is my story.

Everybody deserves to have something good in their life.

At least once.

You can find Gleitzman on facebook here.

From my soon to be 13 year old:
Sad story about what happened in World War II. Makes you think about family.

Cherubs by Robert Muchamore

My son has been reading the Cherub series for the last couple of years. He really does love his teen spy genre! People’s Republic is the latest in the series (book 13). Muchamore can be found on Twitter and facebook.
From the publisher:

From my soon to be 13 year old:
Really enjoyable series about kids my age. Contains some swearing and lots of cool gadgets.

Young Bond Series by Charlie Higson

More teen spy action! By Royal Command is the most recent in this series.

From the publisher:

Following a treacherous rescue mission high in the freezing Alps, James Bond is preparing for life back at Eton. But James is under surveillance; his every move is being watched. He alone holds the clue to a sinister plot that will bring bloodshed and carnage to his school – and his country.

SilverFin begins with James Bond arriving at Eton for the first time. He is about to continue his schooling having been educated at home by his Aunt Charmian following the deaths of his parents in a climbing accident.

As he begins to get used to the rules and traditions of Eton, he makes new friends, but he also incurs the wrath of George Hellebore and his arms-dealing father, Randolph.

From my soon to be 13 year old:
A great prequel to the real James Bond books. Shows what a teenager can do on his own. The plots are always action packed.

Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz

You guessed it – teen spy! I have listened to many hours of audio books of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and I can see why this series is so successful with boys this age. Horowitz uses language they use and shows a teenager can outsmart adults. Scorpio rising is the latest novel.

From the publisher:

From my soon to be 13 year old:
Easy to read series. Excellent gadgets. Story lines are set in lots of different countries.

Do you know of other series that would appeal to 13 year old boys?

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23 comments...read them below or add one

  • Tanya November 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

    If he enjoyed a story about WWII and the Nazis a young adults book I would highly recommend is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I read it and loved it. My 20yr old daughter loved it and so did my book club. I hope my 13 year old son will enjoy it too.

    Another note, I took out one of the ‘real’ James Bond books on CD and was shocked by the racist language. We enjoyed listening to the Yougn James Bond books but I think I’ll just let the boy watch the newer Bond movies.

    • PlanningQueen November 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks for the tip on the James Bonds books!

  • Jenny November 16, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I recommend The Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan. The Aussie author originally wrote them to encourage his 12 yr old son to read. I have read them myself, and I know my 13 yr old cousin is enjoying them. Set in a sort of alternate medieval world. They start with a teen boy who wants to be a knight but instead is chosen to join the mysterious Ranger corp. Plenty of mystery and warfare. http://www.rangersapprentice.com.au/home.aspx

    • PlanningQueen November 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks for the link, I haven’t heard of this series.

  • jenny @ let the children play November 16, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Nicole, thank you to both you and your son for this wonderful list – I have a soon to be 13 year old son as well and am on the look out for new books to give him for christmas so this couldn’t be more perfect :)

    • PlanningQueen November 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      I think this post will indeed be very helpful to family members for my son too!

  • Katie November 16, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Great list! My husband and I are reading the Skullduggery Pleasant books (at 29 and 30) and a friend and her husband love Matthew Reilly, so those will both go well beyond 13.
    Also, did you know that Matthew Reilly has written a teen sci-fi? It’s called Hover Car Racer and was a great, fun read.

    • PlanningQueen November 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      No I didn’t! Sound like a perfect Christmas gift, thanks Katie.

  • Life In A Pink Fibro November 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Ditto on the Ranger’s Apprentice series, though they’re good for any boys 10+ and my seven year old has read the first four and loves them.

    Books for boys are hard. Thanks so much for sharing these! I’ll keep them in mind for a few years down the track.

    • PlanningQueen November 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      I like to keep list of books!

  • MultipleMum November 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I gave my 12 year old nephew The Outsiders last year for Christmas. He loved it and has lent it to many of his friends this year. You can’t go past the Greasers x

    • PlanningQueen November 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Agreed. He has read The Outsiders and enjoyed it. He also picked up 1984 of the shelf and read it recently too!

  • Jackie@My Little Bookcase November 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I just love that your son helped you to put this list together.

    • PlanningQueen November 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      I really loved doing it with him. Love talking books and literature with him. He is on a real discovery phase at the moment picking up lots of books of our shelves. He has just finished reading Dude Where’s My Country by Michael Moore! It made him ask lots of questions which was great.

  • s November 17, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I don’t have a 13 yr old boy (mine are younger) but I do have an almost teen girl and she has enjoyed the James Patterson Young adult novels and from what I skimmed through (again caution for violence, language, etc – not for every family but like you I like the exposure through good books so we can talk about certain topics in the safety of discussing books) they would appeal to boys. My daughter actually has enjoyed many of the books you’ve mentioned – it seems like there is a ton of vampire-related, romance, gossip type girl books out lately which she doesn’t care for (thankfully). She enjoyed the Roland Smith series which boys would also enjoy (Elephant Run). Other books she really enjoyed are Joshua’s Song and Lost Dog – both VERY sad, but good books and gender neutral. Thanks for your list – my middle child is almost 10, so this list will be handy. He hasn’t gotten the reading bug yet, but I remain hopeful.

    • PlanningQueen November 20, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Some great suggestions there thanks will definitely check them out!

  • Brooke November 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I have an 11 year old nephew and am about to start shopping for his 2012 birthday gift. I usually do books for birthdays and toys for Christmas.

  • Annie November 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Yes my 12 year old daughter has read and reread Holes, Percy Jackson series, Cherub series and Once, Then, Now, After so definitely girl friendly. Like two others have mentioned The Ranger’s Apprentice books are great AND written by an Australian. I made my son a cloak for Halloween as Ranger Will was absolutely who he had to dress up as – no discussion! I just read Gregor the Overlander after trying to get my kids to read it (still not interested – can’t work out why??!!) and it was great too. I read a lot of Young Adult fiction myself and it’s great to be able to discuss the books with the kids. ; )

  • Annie November 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Yes my 12 year old daughter has read and reread Holes, Percy Jackson series, Cherub series and Once, Then, Now, After so definitely girl friendly. Like two others have mentioned The Ranger’s Apprentice books are great AND written by an Australian. I made my son a cloak for Halloween as Ranger Will was absolutely who he had to dress up as – no discussion! I just read Gregor the Overlander after trying to get my kids to read it (still not interested – can’t work out why??!!) and it was great too. I read some Young Adult fiction myself and it’s great to be able to discuss the books with the kids. : )

  • Liz November 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    There is a 3rd Rick Riordan series which my nephew devoured the first couple of: “The Kane Chronicles” which are similarly teen-history-legend-adventure oriented but around Egyptian mythology. I enjoyed The Red Pyramid (bk 1) but am yet to read The Throne of Fire (bk 2).
    I think these would be girl-friendly too as the narrative switches back and forth between brother and sister team Carter and Sadie.

    Has he discovered the Hardy Boys yet? These are real old but have a modern update or two. Teen Detective rather than spies.

  • Jenna November 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

    This will be such a help in choosing a present for my 13 year old nephew – please thank your son for his input, much appreciated.

  • Gillian November 20, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Ditto on the Ranger’s Apprentice Series my 13 year old son loved the series and the stand alone – The Lost Stories. Johan Flanagan has a new series that he’s about to start The Brotherland Chronicles set in the same world as the Rangers Apprentice. He also LOVES all three series by Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus and Kane Chronicles. Other series he can’t get enough of: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott, The Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey, The Immortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and her new series Infernal Devices, the two series Fablehaven and Beyonders by Brandon Mull, and the two Young Samurai series by Chris Bradford. Thanks for the list mentioned above he has read some but not all … will look at getting him some you mentioned.

  • Sarah_Kaye November 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Hi Nicole, my son is 9 and a little young for some of these books, but i’ve written them down for later. He loves reading and i think he would particularly love the Alex Rider novels as he often imagines himself as a spy.

    I’m a huge Matthew Reilly fan myself. Have you tried the Jack West Jnr series he has written. Matthew himself has commented that they are a lighter read than the Scarecrow books – but still as enjoyable. He also wrote a book called Hover Car Racer that was aimed at a younger audience (although i read it and loved it too). It’s being looked at by Disney for a movie adaptation.