Help Me Find Books for my 10-year-old
April 7, 2014 12:14 PM   Subscribe

My son reads for an hour every night as part of his homework, and quite often longer than that just for fun. He's a fairly quick reader, and reads at levels higher than his age. This means that we are often in search of new and interesting books for him to read, and I could use some help. More info below.

He gets very attached to book characters, so books which are part of a series are preferred. Kindle is also vastly preferred. He will read books with girls as the main character, but prefers ones with boys.

He enjoys scary books, fantasy books, books about magic. He's not super interested in historical books, short stories, or mysteries.

Series he has devoured:
Percy Jackson & The Olympians
The Heroes of Olympus
Hunger Games
Harry Potter
The Candy Shop War
Nightmare Academy
Cirque du Freak
The Alex Rider Series
The Underland Chronicles

Stand Alone Books he enjoyed:
Dead Boys
Bridge to Terabithia
Broken Symmetry

Books he has not enjoyed:
The Golden Compass books
Ender's Game
Spirit Animals series
Artemis Fowl
Lemony Snicket
Chronicles of Naria
So You Want To Be A Wizard series
A Wrinkle In Time
Vampire Academy

He has also not enjoyed Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, but I don't want to talk about that.
posted by dotgirl to Media & Arts (65 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Set him loose in the bookstore/on Amazon and let him go to town. Vet his choices for appropriateness, but generally ten is old enough to pick your own reading material.

Maybe let him build an Amazon wishlist for himself?
posted by Sara C. at 12:15 PM on April 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't see The Hobbit/LoTR on your list anywhere... They should be. My seven year old isn't at a level where he can read them himself, so I am reading them to him every night. Let me tell you, he LOVES them.

Also, A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy may be a beyond him, but it may be worth a shot. It is all so ridiculous that he only needs to "get" like half of it for it to be enjoyable.

What about The Hardy Boys books?

My sisters and I were (are) huge readers, and not too far from his age we basically just read "grown up" books exclusively. I mean, sure, don't get the kid "A Game Of Thrones" to read (too graphic and sexual) but lots of books meant for adults are fine. My sister, for example, devoured all the Agatha Christie mysteries when she was 12.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:16 PM on April 7, 2014 [5 favorites]

For "series books with beloved characters and a LOT of books," the Doctor Who novels take the cake. (Assuming, of course, he likes this particular set of characters.)

The Tripods series is also really good.
posted by jbickers at 12:18 PM on April 7, 2014

It's actually perhaps a toss-up, because I like books on both his 'yes' and 'no' lists, but I think he might like Ronia the Robber's Daughter. (There's a male BFF, if that's a factor for him.) Badass adventure kids, in a setting that's slightly fantastic but less so than a lot of his 'no's. I read it over and over.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:21 PM on April 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe Doctorow's Little Brother (even though it's not a series)?
posted by antonymous at 12:22 PM on April 7, 2014

You don't mention whether sci-fi is a pro or con for him - but there are a lot of serialized books based on well-known sci-fi franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc) - perhaps the futuristic technology and world-building would scratch that fantasy/magic itch for him?
posted by trivia genius at 12:22 PM on April 7, 2014

Here are some of my favorites from when I was that age:
Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert Heinlein
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
posted by Kriesa at 12:24 PM on April 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is a great age for Sherlock Holmes, and the entire canon is available for free on Kindle.

When I was 10 I was mainlining Michael Crichton, but it's not really kid stuff.
posted by phunniemee at 12:24 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

The first 2-3 Pratchett books are pretty bad, I feel. Maybe something more fun like Going Postal, Guards! Guards!, might work?

Calvin & Hobbes, Foxtrot.

Oh, and seconding TG- A lot of the Star Wars books are age-appropriate (or close enough to pass with review) The X-wing series was good and from what I remember, low on pg13+ content.

Alas, Babylon
posted by Jacen at 12:25 PM on April 7, 2014

I always recommend Daniel Pinkwater to readers in this age range because he is delightful and amazing. They are more wacky/funny than scary, but usually involve elements of the fantastic. The characters are great. In particular, check out Lizard Music and the Snarkout Boys books.
posted by hilatron at 12:26 PM on April 7, 2014 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Couple clarifications - he has tried, and not liked: Terry Pratchett & Douglas Adams, LOTR/The Hobbit, Star Trek & Star Wars novels. He only reads Doctor Who stuff that features the Eleventh Doctor, and he's read all of them.

I have tried letting him create his own wishlist, but it winds up full of "fun" books like Goosebumps, Big Nate, Foxtrot - which are great, but far too easy for him.

He loathes historical or mystery books, so to my dismay, Sherlock Holmes is out on both counts.

Ok, going back to work and no more threadsitting.
posted by dotgirl at 12:27 PM on April 7, 2014

Diana Wynne Jones Chrestomanci series is magical in every sense of the word.

Or more or less anything by Alan Garner, in particular The Owl Service which is more mythical/supernatural, but no less enthralling.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 12:31 PM on April 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

The Mysterious Benedict Society and its sequels (and prequel).
posted by notbuddha at 12:33 PM on April 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Garth Nix has a bunch of great series for many age levels.

The Seventh Tower is probably age-appropriate, but too easy.
The Keys to the Kingdom Series seems exactly right for his age and how well he reads.
The Old Kingdom may be a little old for him, but they are excellent.
The Ragwitch is good, Shade's Children gave me nightmares and I read a Confusion of Princes twice in a row and then listened to it on audio, so I guess I loved it.

Skip the Trouble Twisters.

Also I second the Tripod series.
posted by Duffington at 12:33 PM on April 7, 2014

The Headless Cupid and the other Stanley Family Books. Also by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, try The Egypt Game.
posted by radioamy at 12:33 PM on April 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh, enthusiastically seconding Daniel Pinkwater! How could I have forgotten him? My favorite was Yobgorgle.

That was also about the age when I got hooked on Piers Anthony's Xanth series, which does have some adult content that went right over my head. Stopped reading them somewhere around the tenth book, so I have no idea how the quality or adult content is beyond that point.
posted by Kriesa at 12:33 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, seconding The Phantom Tollbooth and From the Mixed Up Files.
posted by radioamy at 12:34 PM on April 7, 2014

My son liked the Mazerunner books.
posted by wisekaren at 12:38 PM on April 7, 2014

it winds up full of "fun" books like Goosebumps, Big Nate, Foxtrot

I'm going to throw out what my parents did when I was at this age, and at exactly this point in my reading life (had very specific tastes not necessarily shared by my parents, had already read a lot of the usual suspects). It's pre-internet, but I'm sure you could work out something like this.

1. Family descends upon bookshop. My parents send me along my way, with no concern for whether I hit the children's section or any other part of the store that strikes my fancy.

2. We browse for as long as is feasible for a family of six, wherein the youngest person is not yet potty trained. In other words, there's no time limit, no "hurry up and pick something or you're out of luck".

3. I am welcome to bring any book to my parents for purchase approval, however:

4. My parents will only buy what we refer to as "reading books". No joke books. No goosebumps. No comics*. Nothing drastically below my reading level. I don't remember ever hitting up against restrictions in the opposite (too adult) direction, though to be honest my parents erred on the side of not worrying about that unless I was bringing up Lady Chatterly's Lover or something. (Which I wouldn't have.) By the point you're referring to, they were also cold on Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High, but I could make a case for it.

5. Profit.

One thing I liked about this setup was that it trained me to ask and negotiate and stand up for the choices I was making. Another great thing was that around this age I learned to gauge how much I was really enjoying a thing and what I'd do differently next time. If I fought hard for a Babysitter's Club book and then I was done with it on the car ride home, it would feel like it wasn't really worth all that effort. The next time, I'd pick better.

It was also intensely liberating to be set free in the store and be able to look at anything, and only need my parents for final approval rather than running commentary on the goosebumps book I was soaking up on my way to what I would actually pick out.

What about allowing free samples of any junky book he wants, but you'll only pay for the good stuff?

* They weren't anti-comics in general, they just weren't funding that since they knew I was reading at an adult level by that point. My younger brothers were allowed the occasional Calvin & Hobbes omnibus.
posted by Sara C. at 12:43 PM on April 7, 2014 [13 favorites]

Unless I missed them, how about the works of Roald Dahl?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

James and the Giant Peach

The Witches

Just to name a few...
posted by Hanuman1960 at 12:53 PM on April 7, 2014 [7 favorites]

The Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy (!).
The Graveyard Book.
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:56 PM on April 7, 2014

Seconding Garth Nix and Diana Wynne Jones, but it sounds like the stuff he's turning down is the stuff listed under "kids books adults love too!" - not to insult Hunger Games and Harry Potter, of course, but more straightforward language and less referential bits. So I wouldn't expect him to like Water ship Down, for instance, which I loved at that point, or Peter Beagle. Has he read Dinotopia? There's a tie in book series, though I can't vouch for its quality. Jeff Smith's Bone is amazing, even if he loses interest after the great cow race. Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things is top notch.

Honestly, at that age you're just throwing wet spaghetti at the fridge to see what sticks. I really like Sara C's suggestion. You can always buy the kindle version of the books he picks out.
posted by theweasel at 1:04 PM on April 7, 2014

Roald Dahl for sure. Phantom Tollbooth for sure.

Has he tried the Septimus Heap series? It's pretty good; I think the comparison to Harry Potter is overblown, but my girl is enjoying it, and it's a richly drawn magic setting.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:10 PM on April 7, 2014

Walter Moers books that take place in Zamonia are good, "Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures," and, "The 13 1⁄2 Lives of Captain Bluebear."
posted by maleru at 1:10 PM on April 7, 2014

Have you asked him what elements he does and does not like about those series he is respectively fond or not so fond of?
posted by maleru at 1:12 PM on April 7, 2014

Ashtown Burials series by N.D. Wilson (starting with The Dragon's Tooth)

The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner

False Prince series by Jennifer A. Nielsen
posted by Jeanne at 1:14 PM on April 7, 2014

My 9-year-old boy who has similar tastes (although actually he does like The Hobbit and the Narnia books) really liked a couple of aforementioned books: The Phantom Tollbooth, Holes and Wonder. He also liked both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass enough that he read them twice. And he likes the City of Ember series, though he hasn't read past the second book yet (we still need to buy the third). He's also recently been reading some Jane Craighead George books for school, and although some of those are on the easy side for him they have interesting information about animals in them. He just finished The Tarantula in My Purse (a non-fiction essay collection by George) and The Cats of Roxville Station (a fiction book) and liked both of those.
posted by BlueJae at 1:17 PM on April 7, 2014

Oh also my nine-year-old is DEFINITELY into the Hitchhiker's Guide series. His dad is reading them aloud as a bedtime story right now and I think that's for the best because my kid does not always get all the Britishisms without some explanation. But I think he'd still enjoy them if he were reading them on his own. IIRC I was ten-ish when I read them the first time.
posted by BlueJae at 1:20 PM on April 7, 2014

I honestly have no idea how well they've aged, but I was obsessed with the Dragonlance series. Also, Lawrence Watt-Evans' Ethshar series is pretty damn good and pretty tween-friendly.
posted by Etrigan at 1:22 PM on April 7, 2014

Has he tried any John Wyndham? The Day of the Triffids, Chocky, The Chrysalids or The Midwich Cuckoos might appeal.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:34 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

At his age I was all over Edgar Allen Poe. The stories, not so much the poetry...
posted by Gungho at 1:40 PM on April 7, 2014

Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy
Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz series (doesn't appear to be available in e-book form)
posted by zinon at 1:42 PM on April 7, 2014

D.J. MacHale's Pendragon maybe? Or Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle? My younger brother really liked those, and he's not much of a reader. Maybe your son would dig them too.
posted by xenization at 1:59 PM on April 7, 2014

Stephen King has a book called The Eyes of the Dragon that is wonderful - he wrote it for his then preteen daughter, so it is Young Teen friendly.

It ties into the Dark Tower series which might also be excellent depending if you think he's mature enough to handle them. Might be a shade too old for him right now. He also wrote short stories and some novellas (Shawshank Redemption) that apart from language might be ok.

Also the Divergent series, might skew female.
posted by mazienh at 2:11 PM on April 7, 2014

Many of my favorites have already been said..but also, Trumpet of the Swan and CHarlotte's Web (and others) by EB White. Based on his dislike of non-historical, he may not like the Little House Books, but he has similar taste to mine as a kid, so maybe let him try Farmer Boy and continue from there.

I also nth letting him get into a selection of your books too. If you go to the library, let him pop over to the adult side. (I prefer Kindle books too but nothing beats physically wandering amongst books at the library/bookstore...even if you just write stuff down and go home to download...)
posted by Tandem Affinity at 2:15 PM on April 7, 2014

Seconding Mysterious Benedict Society! (I loved them too!) My children devoured them and are actually devouring them a second time.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:43 PM on April 7, 2014

Wingfeather Saga, book 1
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:52 PM on April 7, 2014

My 8 year old grandson absolutely loves Adam Blake's Beast Quest and Sea Quest series. The latest is due for release on his birthday and he practically swooned when I sat him down to pre-order it to arrive on the day.

He (and I!) also loved A.F. Harrold's Fizzlebert Stump books and the whole family enjoyed reading his fun poetry in I Eat Squirrels this past Christmas. He has a great website for kids too.
posted by humph at 3:02 PM on April 7, 2014

Susan Cooper, Dark is Rising and the others in the series.

I was also going to mention Roald Dahl.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:15 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I noticed you have Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus on the "yes" list, but no Kane Chronicles. My now-11-year-old liked those the best of of Riordan's series.

She is also really into the Warriors books. If he likes those, there are a billion of them to go through.

Seconding Septimus Heap and Mysterious Benedict Society.
posted by jeoc at 3:18 PM on April 7, 2014

How has no one said Animorphs? I sunk years of my life (and my parents' money) into that series, although parts of it were a little too scary for me. I really hit my stride when I started reading books like Gone with the Wind, so even though I was not their target demographic, I got hooked anyway.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 3:40 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

A new series that has been getting good buzz for that age group: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. Only the first book is out, the second comes out later this year.

Also try Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series.
posted by wsquared at 3:46 PM on April 7, 2014

Kenneth Oppel (especially his Airbourne steampunk series) and Eric Walters (especially his early stuff like Camp X before he got famous and started pumping out books too quickly) are two authors to look for.
posted by saucysault at 4:29 PM on April 7, 2014

What about The Giver by Lois Lowry? All of her stuff is fantastic as well, but I remember really liking that in 5th grade.
posted by radioamy at 4:38 PM on April 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Dragonlance Chronicles for fantasy. Fear Street for horror. Christopher Pike for horror when he is a bit older.
posted by sacrifix at 5:32 PM on April 7, 2014

Has he tried the Warriors series by Erin Hunter (about warring clans of cats)? The same "author" (several people actually write under that name) also has series about bears and dogs. My kids (11 and 8) are crazy about the Warriors books and also the How To Train Your Dragon series.

He should read Coraline if he hasn't already. Or maybe he'd prefer The Graveyard Book (also by Neil Gaiman) because it has a boy main character. But I think Coraline is better and more exciting, so I'd give him that one first.

Cornelia Funke's Inkworld series (Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath) is really good. It starts out with a girl as the main character, but a lot of other characters, both male and female, end up being important.
posted by Redstart at 5:46 PM on April 7, 2014

Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy. It's very much the story of Ged, a young mage. I think your son would like him as a character and appreciate being able to follow him across books. It's a gorgeous series. I made my dad read it to me so many times (when I was more than capable of reading it himself).

I also loved Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series. And Roald Dahl, including his short stories, which I remember having all kinds of awesome stuff about yogis who could walk across burning coals.
posted by zahava at 6:02 PM on April 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

David Eddings? He's not particularly literary but I enjoyed his Belgariad series as a kid.

Hatchet is well received among 10 year old boys, I think.

Holes? Also popular among young men.

This series by Tad Williams?
posted by dchrssyr at 6:08 PM on April 7, 2014

Seconding the Lois Lowry suggestion. "The Giver" is the first of a series of four books: Gathering Blue, The Messenger, and Son. They are extraordinary.
posted by kestralwing at 6:14 PM on April 7, 2014

What about the Indian in the Cupboard series? I must have read those a thousand times.

Gary Paulson has written many excellent books- not just Hatchet.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
posted by rockindata at 6:34 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

every single thing gordon korman wrote in the 90s was SO HILARIOUS. He started writing novels at 15 or something.
This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall
The Zucchini Warriors
No Coins Please
i could go on and on and on.

I read all of those books. I bet your son would totally love them.
posted by andreapandrea at 6:39 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

At this age, a fair amount of the books I remember were those I read for school: Maniac Magee, The Giver, Number the Stars, etc...

Some recommendations:

The Giver by Lois Lowry
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Anything by Gary Paulsen, but I liked the Mr. Tucket series more than the Hatchet series.
Maybe stuff by Avi
Shel Silverstein, specifically Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale, maybe... I was older when these started coming out, so maybe give it a year or two?
The Ear, the Eye, and The Arm by Nancy Farmer... Again, maybe a little too old?
The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce
The Joey Pigza Series and the Jack series by Jack Gantos
Maybe Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Anyway, the short version of this answer is I bet he'll like the Pendragon series.

Talk to his school's librarian, or a librarian at the public library. They'll be able to turn him into a 2010s reader rather than a 2000s reader (who apparently read a lot of stuff released decades earlier...).

I also recommend keeping those books he doesn't like around. If he's a voracious reader, he'll read them eventually, probably a couple of times, and my like them more. It took me probably ten years to get past the second or third Narnia book despite having them around that whole time.

Source: Former ten year old who loves Harry Potter, loved the Alex Rider series, enjoyed the Hunger Games, but was too old for the other series your son likes. And also liked most of the books he doesn't.
posted by papayaninja at 7:45 PM on April 7, 2014

How about Asimov's robot short stories and books? You could start him off with I, Robot, and if he likes it, there's more where that came from.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:17 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

A Series of Unfortunate Events?
posted by taltalim at 9:52 PM on April 7, 2014

I loved Gordon Korman as well, because he writes about smart, resourceful kids. I read his 80s books, though, and I am not really familiar with the more recent ones.

My 9-year-old loves The Warriors series of books. They are fantasy books about clans of the feline variety.

I also remember like James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, Tuck Everlasting, Bridge to Terabithia, A Wrinkle in Time ...
posted by Ostara at 11:05 PM on April 7, 2014

What about the Inheritance cycle series starting with Eragon (bonus! there's a movie!) or the Laws of Magic series?
posted by latch24 at 1:53 AM on April 8, 2014

OK, here's a META-ANALYSIS of your son's lists!

The problem with his writing down some titles he might want to try isn't that his suggestions are "junky," just that they're too obvious -- asking for book ideas sight-unseen leads a person to pick the "easy" choices, like "um... how about another Goosebumps, I guess?" (It's why there are so many sci-fi books for sale with Isaac Asimov's or Scott Card's or Frank Herbert's names on them, even when those authors didn't actually write those particular books!)

I'm guessing from your remark about Kindle that your son doesn't really operate in the world we grew up in, where you go to the public library or the bookshop and browse around for an hour among the dead-tree paper codexes to find a story that grabs you. So it's harder to get new book ideas for him than it was for us. He has to come up with some other way to discover things besides just stumbling across them, the way I found some of my favorites. That makes his strike-out rate higher than it would be.

It sounds like he enjoys fantasy novels with action, but doesn't seem to care for science fiction, at least where the Sci-Fi element is the core of the book. Hunger Games and Alex Rider are no problem, because the High-Tech or Dystopian-Future Setting is just a background for the action-adventure; Ender's Game and Star Trek don't work because the science fiction is more what the book's all about.

One thing I noticed comparing his Likes List to his Dislikes List is that he wants books where cool things start happening and keep happening, quickly, to a single character or small group of characters. The Golden Compass takes a loooonnnng time to get going with the boom-boom-boom ACTION, though it has a lot of charming and descriptive set-pieces at the beginning. Percy Jackson, on the other hand, drops him into Big Things from Chapter One.

All that said, let me throw out some suggestions of books I liked that seem to fit.
  • The Universe Between by Alan Nourse (scientists discover a gateway to a 4-D universe, but there's only one girl and one boy that are able to go there).
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix (when the necromancer dies, his daughter gains magic powers and has to defend their home against attacking zombies and ghosts by traveling into the land of the dead).
  • Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov (heroes are shrunk into a miniature submarine and take a trip inside the human body).
  • The Danny Dunn series: three kid friends have science-fiction fantasy adventures (my favorite was Danny Dunn And The Smallifying Machine; you can read them in any order but some of the earliest books are too "old fashioned").
  • The Children Of The Lamp series: like Percy Jackson / Harry Potter; a brother and sister discover they are children of djinns (genies) and learn about their magic powers while fighting evil genie bad guys.
  • People have already mentioned Daniel Pinkwater. My favorite of his books when I was your son's age was Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy From Mars, which is now only available in the collection Five Novels. Two kids who are smarter than their stupid high school come up with hilarious pranks and eventually stage a Ferris-Bueller-type day off -- into another dimension.
  • The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy (a teenager joins forces with a skeleton-superhero and they have a lot of martial-arts-fighting adventures against spooky supervillains; Skulduggery is supposedly a "detective," but these books aren't mystery novels).
  • It Looks Alive To Me! by Thomas Baum (the story that A Night At The Museum was loosely based on, if he liked that movie).
  • The House With A Clock In Its Walls series -- and many, many more -- by John Bellairs (classic kids spooky fantasy Scooby-Doo stuff -- go look it up).
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:44 AM on April 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

I read Hitchhikers' Guide when I was eight and loved it. It might seem more dated to a kid today - the references to digital watches - but I thought it was hilarious.
posted by mippy at 3:53 AM on April 8, 2014

One more! Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. When the clock strikes thirteen, Tom goes back in time. The feel of it reminds me a lot of Bridge to Terabithia (though no deaths as far as I recall).
posted by zahava at 5:08 AM on April 8, 2014

Your list is light on biography and non-fiction. Not sure what your son's real life non-fiction interests are (sports, etc) but memoirs of famous people in the area of interest might hold his attention. If you want real adventure/scary things, look at stuff like Into Thin Air and other real-life disaster books.

I started reading Stephen King around that age but as a parent I would not buy that book for my child, they would have to get it from the library or pay for it by chores.
posted by crazycanuck at 7:15 AM on April 8, 2014

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series has many books, lots of characters, fantasy with dragons, and you can start him out on the shorter Harper Hall trilogy to see if he likes it.
posted by jillithd at 7:56 AM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

nthing Phantom Tollbooth. It is my favorite book, period. I don't care that, at 30, it's simple reading for me! I find it appeals to anyone who can appreciate puns and wordplay flying out the nose.

(also I think its latent message as a warning against ignorance is especially pertinent to today's society but that's something else entirely)
posted by Yoshi Ayarane at 5:04 PM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow! So many awesome ideas to review with him.

I'll update once we go through these and tell you all what he liked. Because you're all super curious!
posted by dotgirl at 12:18 AM on April 9, 2014

It seems like your son likes straight up adventure fantasy, rather than the more contemplative sort (and current stuff, at that). So here's my best attempt at that type of book. (I thought I could find some stand alone books, but these are all part of series.)
  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Landy Derek
  • The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis (The Seven Wonders series)
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff (The Tapestry series)
  • Mister Monday by Garth Nix (Keys to the Kingdom series)
  • The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
  • Magyk by Angie Sage (Septimus Heap series)
  • The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (The Books of Beginning series)
  • The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui Sutherland (Wings of Fire series)
  • The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu (The Chronus Chronicles)
  • Rise of the Darklings by Paul Crilley (The Invisible Order series)
  • The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (Ranger's Apprentice series)
  • 100 Cupboards by Nathan D. Wilson
  • A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
  • Invasion By J. S. Lewis

posted by Margalo Epps at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

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