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What book(s) would pull my 15-year-old son back to reading?

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Replies to: What book(s) would pull my 15-year-old son back to reading?

  • Hannahbanana69Hannahbanana69 626 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 681 Member
    I'm a seventeen year old girl who has been reading cereal boxes and Charlotte's Web voraciously since age four, so this ma or may not be helpful.
    I personally love love LOVE Douglas Adams. HGTTG is fantastic, but not given enough love is Dirk Gently. Absolutely hysterical, some of my favorite books ever. I could read them thirty times in a row.
    I also love Terry Pratchett. While the quality of the newer books has been going slightly down, the series as a whole (there are about 40 books) is great. If that seems intimidating, start with Mort or Guards, Guards! and work through their respective story arcs.
    I also agree with the proponents of nonfiction. I really love reading Malcolm Gladwell's articles, which I nearly shelled out money to read in book form before realizing that they're all online. His books I'm not crazy about (and yes, I've read them all besides David and Goliath), but he's an incredibly gifted writer who can make the history of hair dye marketing riveting and explain why there's only one dominant brand of ketchup before you even have time to realize that the question never even struck you.
    Most of what I read, actually, is nonfiction along with classics (I'm in the middle of a major Sherlock Holmes read-through, up to The Red Circle), and while some of them may be off-putting to someone who hasn't liked reading for a while, starting off with the kind of nonfiction that explains something he's interested about in a really vivid, entertaining way can really help make reading exciting. I personally love science, and while I haven't read one recently I love Sam Kean's books. (I actually just finished a different science/medical book, The Doctor's Plague, which I'd recommend [as the story of how doctors realized that they needed to wash their hands] had a seventeen year old guy not handed it back to me with a disgusted look on his face after reading three chapters.)
    I personally don't think that it's enough to recommend the latest best-sellers off the Barnes and Noble shelves- figure out what topics he likes and find the best, funniest, most relatable books in that genre.
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  • shawnspencershawnspencer 3098 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,110 Senior Member
    I found series to be very attractive at that age. I often ate them up within the matter of days.

    Among my favorites: Alex Rider, Pendragon, the Inheritence series, and Percy Jackson
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  • momofmusician17momofmusician17 630 replies54 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 684 Member
    I second the John Krakauer recommendation. My son, daughter and I have read several of his books and enjoyed them all.
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  • mathmommathmom 32019 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,177 Senior Member
    Another suggestion Carl Hiassen. He can be a little raunchy, but very, very funny. I was listening to Skinny Dip while driving my oldest on college visits and he was chortling away with me.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 36,935 Senior Member
    Non-fiction that my D2 enjoyed at about the age of 16 was "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World". About tracking down a cholera outbreak in London, author is Steven Johnson. Sparked an interest in epidemiology in D2... she has moved off to other career interests now, but it would not surprise me if she came back to this one someday. I read it and also thought it was really good.
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,883 Senior Member
    ^^
    That's a book that D is reading in preparation for her summer program. I think I'm going to steal it from her when she's done.
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  • compmomcompmom 10602 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,678 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    Several people have suggested it, but my daughter was upset by Into Thin Air, in which the protagonist dies from starvation (as I remember) after living on his own in a remote spot for some time. Any kid with instability and a notion that solitude in nature could be healing might be vulnerable reading this book!
    edited May 2014
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 36,935 Senior Member
    You are thinking of Krakauer's book "Into the WIld". Although "Into Thin Air" isn't for the faint of heart, either (expedition gone wrong on Everest). Nor is the book about the cholera outbreak, and probably others that have been listed here. It depends on the kid -- my oldest might have been bothered by some of these at 15, while the youngest would have loved them.
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  • momofmusician17momofmusician17 630 replies54 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 684 Member
    We were talking about my daughter's summer reading list at the dinner table last night and my son mentioned that he really liked The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.
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  • katliamomkatliamom 12745 replies167 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,912 Senior Member
    If he likes fantasy, you might want to try Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, part of a trilogy (though each book stands on its own) called His Dark Materials. One of my son's (and reluctant reader's) very favorite at that age.
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  • marysidneymarysidney 555 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 572 Member
    The book that really got my son going (as a reader that got tired of YA books and stopped reading) was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Fabulous books, great story line, complex, not aimed at kids but not inappropriately adult in subject matter (that's a tough balancing act, IMO).

    Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens is a very good book, too, funny and thought-provoking at the same time (also well done on audiobook). (Although warning: it's not for the fundamentalist. It's not anti-religion, at all, but it makes fun of sacred cows, rather like many of Christopher Moore's books.)

    My son recommends Neil Gaiman's other books, as well.

    Also Brandon Sanderson.
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  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,185 Senior Member
    Brandon Sanderson might be a little long-winded for someone just coming back to reading. :P
    My boyfriend loves his books though, so that's a solid recommendation if your son is into fantasy
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  • mathmommathmom 32019 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,177 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    I'm wading through Brandon Sanderson now because my son loves him, but I do not love his 1000+ page books! LI like them enough to read them, but often find them hard going.

    Another recommendation on the sci fi front is The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness - first book is The Knife of Never Letting Go. Todd Hewitt lives on a world where all the women have died and men (and animals) can hear each other's thoughts. The first thing you learn about dogs is "they ain't got much to say..."
    edited May 2014
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41288 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,733 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    ^wow great idea -- just to warn SouthernHelp though, Chaos Walking isn't for the faint of heart, especially volume 2 (torture) and 3 (civil war), but the writing is fantastic and should interest a 15 year old boy. It's still classified YA so it's not like Stephen King Horror.
    edited May 2014
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  • Hannahbanana69Hannahbanana69 626 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 681 Member
    Oh, yes, nearly forgot- I LOVE LOVE LOVE Good Omens. Hysterically funny (and I'm very religious- not Christian, though, if that makes a difference). Combining two awesome authors just made something even awesomer.
    Same goes for Neil Gaiman's other books, like Neverwhere. Fantasy that doesn't feel like fantasy, but rather real life that happens to involve the impossible.
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  • Evergreen1929Evergreen1929 137 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 153 Junior Member
    My 15 yr old does not particularly like fiction and I am determined to get home to read fiction. He does like discussing big ideas so here are a some he has "not liked" but discussed endlessly

    Gate to women's country by Sheri temper
    I, Robot by Asimov
    Parable of the sower by Octavia butler
    World war Z be max brooks
    Oedipus Rex (we read that one out loud together and had a great time)
    Watership down (from his sister)
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  • BrdngschlmomBrdngschlmom 26 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28 New Member
    I'm reading World War Z myself right now, and loving it. It reminds me of Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson, another great read.
    Also, if your son joins Goodreads.com and enters the names of some books he has enjoyed, he can get recommendations for other books that he may like.
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  • acollegestudentacollegestudent 1461 replies90 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,551 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    I wanted to give a bit of a different take. Consider getting him an e-reader.

    Let me explain. I have always loved school/learning, and my parents truly read a lot (we had a whole library in our very small apartment - literally a floor to ceiling book case). My mom read a lot to me when I was little too, so by all rights, I should have loved to read. But I never read a lot, other than what I was assigned in school. I just had no real interest in reading for pleasure.

    Then, in my 20's, I got a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday (I asked for it but was planning to use it just for travel). That changed everything for me. It made me WANT to read. The first year I had it, I read over 40 books, whereas before, I would read 1 or 2.

    This is not an add for a Kindle, by the way, a different e-reader may work as well(Sony? Nook?). Personally, for me it has to be a dedicated e-reader - I have no interest in reading on a computre or a tablet or a phone - no Kindle Fire or the like for me.

    But, if it's something he is interested in, it may be worth a try.

    By the way, read World War Z and LOVED it! Devil in the White City was also fantastic.

    I get a lot of inspiration just from browsing Goodreads and letting things catch my interest.
    edited May 2014
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  • scout59scout59 3470 replies67 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,537 Senior Member
    For those that love "World War Z" - try "Dead of Night" by Jonathan Maberry. A real page-turner!
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  • hawkbirdhawkbird 102 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    My son's favorite books in high school were (he is now 21):

    Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Great Gatsby....yes another teenage boy who enjoyed The Great Gatsby!
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