Listening is a great way to experience a story.
Go to Guys Listen to check out more.
You can find books in any of the following groups:
And click below for some recommendations from some authors we trust.
I loved no writer more than Kurt Vonnegut as a teen. His short stories might be an easy entry for the uninitiated.
Michael Northrop is a writer living in New York City, author of three YA novels: Gentlemen, one of the American Library Association/YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults; Trapped, an ALA/YALSA Readers' Choice List selection, an Indie Next List pick, and a Barnes & Noble Must-Read for Teens; and Rotten. His first middle grade novel, Plunked, was named one of the best children's books of the year by the New York Public Library. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids, McSweeney's, Weird Tales, and many other places. His latest YA novel is Surrounded by Sharks. You can find him on the internet here.
"Fantastic World War II nonfiction: a high-stakes British spy thriller that just happens to be true."
"Hilarious, endearing, and includes a polar bear - what more do you want? This book made me wish I could draw (or at least doodle really well)."
"Lovecraft's stories are profoundly weird, insanely good, and they changed horror writing forever, and for the better (which is to say, weirder)."
"A short, tough book that hits hard and leaves a mark. Not as famous as The Outsiders, but it had just as big of an impact on me. It was the first novel I reread when I decided to write YA."
"Darn near perfect: a little masterpiece that quietly tackles the big questions."
Elizabeth Partridge is the author of over a dozen books for children and adults, among them the highly celebrated Marching to Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary, as well as biographies of Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Lennon. Her books have received many honors, including National Book Award Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Michael L. Printz Honor, SCBWI Golden Kite Award, SLJ's Battle of the Books, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award.
Her story, "Mojo, Moonshine, and the Blues," appeared in the fifth volume of the Guys Read library: True Stories.
Elizabeth is on the core faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults.
The following is a list of books she's either loved reading with her two boys, or that she just thinks are fantastic.
I love this wordless graphic novel. A dog builds a robot and they become friends, but the robot rusts and can't move after he goes in the water at the beach. Both funny and sad.
The Monkey King, a Chinese folk hero, messes with the main character who is trying to fit in at his all-white school. Graphic novel.
How can you resist a book with these first two lines: "The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade sharper and finer than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you'd been cut, not immediately."
What if you found a gun and were told never to shoot it, and one evening you shot at a flickering shadow, and you thought you might have hit a cat, right in the eye? How would you deal with the cat, and your guilt, fear, and shame?
Get the biggest, fattest version of this book you can find from the library. It should come in at 150-200+ pages. Total adventure and high jinx.
Danny and his father feed rum-soaked raisins to the pheasants on the estate where they are never allowed to go hunting. They set out to poach a record number of pheasants from the dreaded estate owner. Dahl is the guy who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mister Fox.
Why were 50 sailors, all African American, tried for mutiny by the US Navy during WWII when they refused to go back to work after an explosion killed 300?
Jarrett's mother takes in two foster kids: one a baby, one a boy a year older than Jarrett. As it says on the back cover: "Kinda like enemies. Kinda like friends. Kinda like brothers."
This book is a hybrid. It's a novel that takes place during Freedom Summer in 1963, and yet it is full of photographs and real quotes. Mesmerizing.
Two smart, funny, quirky misfits find each other. This book has one of the most tender love scenes ever, so go get a copy right away.
Jeffrey Brown lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons. As a kid, he loved comics and dreamed of making them. With a long line of publications and art shows behind and in front of him, we'd say he's certainly living that dream. He's definitely a case of if you can dream it, with a lot of hard work, you can do it. Most lately he's the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy series.
photo credit: Jill Liebhaber
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
I only knew the Disney version of Winnie-The-Pooh until I had a son, and discovered I'd really been missing out. I was familiar with Shepard's excellent drawings, but had no idea just how funny and smart the original Pooh stories are.
There have been some notable Dahl adaptations - the original Willy Wonka film, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox - but Dahl's books are more than just great source material for movies. They're endlessly entertaining, often laugh-out-loud funny, and great to read at any age, alone or with someone else also of any age.
Going in reverse, here's a novelization of film I loved, and read a ton all the way to my teenage years. Recently reprinted in a nice edition that includes some of Brian Froud's goblin sketches, it's a fairy tale informed by the imagination of Jim Henson and the humor of Monty Python's Terry Jones.
Fans of Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien should be sure to check out this fantasy series. The tone is earnest and sincere, and the adventure is full of wonder and mystery.
Here are some of my favorite spooky novels (in some cases thrillers or otherwise twisty), and in particular books that influenced me while I was working on Amity!
"The ne plus ultimate haunted house story, I like to think of Amity's Gwen as sort of a modern spin on Eleanor, a young woman seeing and experiencing ghostly things, whose mind and perceptions can't be trusted."
"A slow-burner filled with atmosphere. Merricat is the platonic ideal of an unreliable narrator."
"A suggestible man, prone to violence, isolated in a hotel that exerts evil force over his will... Jack Torrance is to Amity's Connor as Hill House's Eleanor is to Gwen."
"A modern take on The Turn of the Screw, Griffin draws from chilling source material and makes it her own for today's teen readers."
"A dark and twisty thriller (the movie's great, too) that serves up multiple POV's on a platter. I spent a lot of time poring over the many distinct voices of that book."
"Epic and sprawling, boldly visionary, and still she manages to tie all of her narrative threads together by the series' conclusion. To spend ten minutes in that woman's head!"
"Pacing, pacing, pacing. Totally un-put-downable."
"(That one probably goes without saying.)"
"The pages turn and the ending twists!"