Our all time favourite 40+ Best Books for Boys ages 8-16
Books for pre-tween boys (ages 8 and up):
Big Nate – Lincoln Pierce
Every book in the series is a winner. My 14 year old has been a Big Nate fan for years, and he’s read them all. Written in comic book fashion, the Big Nate stories revolve around Nate, an energetic and rebellious 6th grader whose shenanigans are are always landing him and his friends in hot water.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
Both of my sons are huge fans of the books in these series. My husband and I have read several of these a well, and we’ve been known to laugh ourselves into tears at some of the situations that the main character, middle-school student Greg Heffley, gets himself into.
The Cricket in Times Square – George Seldon
A heart-warming and entertaining tale about the adventures of a musically talented cricket who finds himself living in a newsstand in a New York City subway station where he befriends some other small animals and the news vendor’s son.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket/Brent Helquist
As I mentioned earlier, every book in the Snicket series is a literary treasure. Night after night, my boys and I howled over the hilarious hijinks of the conniving Count Olaf. Time and time again, on the edge of our seats, we cheered on those brilliant Baudelaire siblings as they plotted their escape from the devious Count. For the better part of a year, we worked our way through all 13 books, and each one delighted and thrilled us as much as the one before. You MUST read this series. Parents, teens and kids of all ages will enjoy it immensely.
Peter and the StarCatchers – Dave Barrie & Ridley Pearson
My boys adored this novel, and I, being a life-long fan of “the boy who never grew up” found it absolutely captivating. Dave Barrie and Ridley Pearson have created this “prequel” of sorts – an adventurous back-story to the classic tale of Peter Pan. Anyone familiar with the J.M. Barrie original will find it fascinating to learn of the thrilling adventures and trials that Pan experienced long before he entered the lives of Wendy, John and Michael Darling.
Peter Pan in Scarlet – Geraldine McCaughrean
This was another one that we Peter Pan fans fell in love with. Peter Pan in Scarlet is the first authorized sequel to Peter Pan ever to be written. If you loved the original story, you’ll be swept away with the adventures that ensue after Peter leaves the Darling family a Neverland much more dark and dangerous than the one he left.
Best Books for Tween Boys (10 and up):
Zoobreak – Gordon Korman
Gordon Korman is one of my boys’ favourite authors. He writes with the middle-school and teenage boy in mind, and my boys love his stuff. My younger son read Zoobreak when he was 11, and re-read it again when he was 12, if that’s an indication of just how good it was.
Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
I read this remarkable account of solitude and survivorship to my older son when he was 12. It is based on the true-life story of a young Indian girl who gets left behind when her people are rescued from the remote island they inhabit. For 18 years, years, Karana, the sole inhabitant of the island keeps herself alive by, working the land, providing herself with food and shelter and fending off the dangers in the wild. Karana’s determination and strength will move and inspire you and stay with you forever.
Lost in the Barrens – Farley Mowat
Another tale of survivorship and bravery, this time about two young teenage boys who set out on an adventure only to find them selves horribly lost and alone in the northern wilderness. Together, they face the countless dangers and challenges that that nature throws at them – wild animals, foraging for food in the frozen tundra, frigid temperatures and finding their way back to civilization. Written by the late Farley Mowat, a world-renowned author from our own small town, this thrilling adventure ranks high on our list of all-time favourite reads.
Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
My younger son read this novel when he was 10 and in Grade 5, and it’s one of his top 5 favourite books of all time. Tuck Everlasting is the enchanting tale of a family who is granted eternal life after drinking from a magical spring. A thought-provoking fantasy that both parents and children will love.
Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
For both of my boys, Hatchet is their very favourite Gary Paulsen novel. Hatchet is yet another thrilling tale of survival. 13 year old Brian Robeson is forced to survive all alone in the Canadian wilderness when the small plane that he was flying in crashes. Armed with nothing more than the hatchet his mother gave him, he draws on his inner-strength, determination and instinct to survive 54 days of solitude while awaiting rescue.
Holes – Louis Sachar
Holes will definitely interest even the most reluctant readers. You can’t help but be pulled in to the intriguing story line. Boys at a detention camp digging 5 ft. holes in the sand as a form of punishment and character-building. But is that really why they’ve been assigned to dig these holes? Hmmm… maybe, maybe not! Read it to your boys! They’ll love the story-line, and I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
Lord of the Deep – Graham Salisbury
I read this one to my oldest when he was about 11. Mikey, a 13 year old, is excited to be on a 3 day fishing trip, bonding with his step-dad Bill and a couple of Bill’s friends when a moral dilemma arises. My son found the action and excitement of the sport intriguing, and of course, the moral dilemma had us pondering is honesty, trust and integrity.
The Complete Screech Owls Series – Roy MacGregor
If you have a hockey player in your family, he will love the Screech Owl series. For years, my boys enjoyed following the adventures and escapades of teammates and school chums Travis, Nish, Larss and the gang. I’ll admit, I developed quite a soft spot for those loveable characters as well.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
I confess, I am probably one of the few people on the planet that haven’t read this book, but my younger son read it in Grade 5, for a book study, and 4 years later, still claims that it was one of the best novels he ever read.
City of Ember – Jeanne DuPrau
My older son, the more reluctant reader of the two, read City of Ember when he was in Grade 7. He raved about it. And when that boy raves about a book, I know it’s a book worth reading.
Best Books for Teenage Boys: (13-up)
Half Brother – Kenneth Opal
This is another novel that I have not yet read, but my 14 year old devoured it while on vacation this summer, and then handed over to his best friend who read it with the same voracity.
The Lightening Thief – Rick Riordan
My younger son plowed through this one when he was 13. I haven’t read it myself, but I’ve heard that readers young and old find it hard to put down.
Endangered – Eliot Schrefer
In the reviews that I’ve read, “Gripping, thrilling, tear-jerking, powerful and heart-pounding” are a few of the words used to describe this novel. My 14 year old couldn’t put this down while cottaging last summer. He claims it’s one of the best books he’s ever read.
The Giver – Lois Lowrey
My 14 year old gave me The Giver for my birthday last year, after reading it and loving it himself. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and could see why he was so enthralled by it. It’s an odd mix of old fashioned, and sci-fi, but my-oh-my, that did make for a great story!
The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins
When my 14 year old (reluctant reader) blew through this trilogy during a 2 week vacation, I knew it had to be good. I read all 3 as well, and absolutely loved them. My husband followed suit and a couple of years later, my younger son read them as well. Filled with action and suspense this trilogy thrilled our whole family.
The Maze Runner – James Dashner
This book, the first in a series, swallowed my 14 year old whole. He couldn’t put it down. Again, being that he is quite a reluctant reader, that speaks volumes about the book. He went on to read the sequels: The Scorch Trials and the Death Cure, and he enjoyed those thoroughly as well.
And three final books which I could not find on Amazon in paperback or hardcover, but ARE available in the Kindle version, and are also available through the following links on Amazon .ca were written by another one of my boys’ favourite authors Eric Walters:
And there you have it, folks; oodles and oodles of fabulous all-time favourite books for boys that even the most reluctant readers will love.
Looking for MORE terrific novels for the boys in your life?
Check out 25+MORE great books for boys. It’s a new list I’ve written after asking my followers to share their favourites