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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 32008 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,166 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 10599 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,675 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 12744 replies167 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,911 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 32008 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,166 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 41268 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,713 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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