13 year olds: ready to be done with middle school, but not yet in high school. Officially “teenagers,” but plenty of maturing still to do. 13 year olds straddle the “middle grades” and “young adult” line, not quite ready for some of the more mature content in many YA books but anxious to move out of the more childish stories of the broad middle grades label.
It’s a stereotype, but true: girls at this age have an easier time than boys do when it comes to finding books to read. Why? For one, many classics that are accessible to this age group simply appeal more to girls than boys (Jane Austen’s novels and the Anne books are good examples). In addition, images abound of feminine reading habits, clothing, memes, and merch. Guys? Not so much. Traditionally, images targeting young men are more focused on action than cozy reading.
Not to worry! We’ve got 13 books for 13 year old boys (that girls will enjoy, too). Full of adventure, daring, heroism, and interesting things to think about, this list could be better labeled “13 Books, Book Series, and Categories of Books for 13 Year Olds,” but that’s a mouthful!
13 Books for 13-Year-Old Boys
Titles are linked to Redeemed Reader reviews where available. As always, read our reviews (and others’) and be discerning about what works for you and your family and students. Books are listed in no particular order.
- The Larklight Series by Philip Reeve (humorous and very British science fiction)
- The Ranger’s Apprentice Series and the Brotherband Chronicles by Flanagan (alternate Medieval world adventures)
- Books by Roland Smith: Peak, Beneath (a series opener)
- The Airborn Series by Kenneth Oppel (an old-fashioned Victorian adventure)
- The Ashtown Burials Series, 100 Cupboards Series, and the Outlaws of Time series by N. D. Wilson (complex fantasy packed with literary, historical, and mythological references)
- The Sports Beat mysteries by John Feinman (each takes place at a different famous sporting event)
- The MindWar Series by Andrew Klavan (sci-fi, cyber terrorism, and a moving account of a young man coming to terms with his unique gifts)
- Watership Down by Richard Adams (a classic that still captivates thoughtful young readers)
- The Beyonders Trilogy by Brandon Mull (Original, highly imaginative, full of action and characters who are ready to give their lives for a worthy cause.)
- The Monster Blood Tattoo Series by D. M. Cornish (a complex world where men and monsters clash)
- True-to-Life Adventures and Current Issues: Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh (refugee crisis), Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (civil war in Burma), Illegal by Eoin Colfer (refugee crisis), The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson (OCD), Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri (memoir), Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri (boy and father relationship)
- Adventure Classics and Epic Stories: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Dracula, The Tripods Series, The Iliad and The Odyssey, Beowulf, etc.
- Thoughtful Nonfiction: Try the Young Readers Editions of popular grown-up books. These are a little shorter than their adult counterparts, but still pack plenty of emotional resonance, drama, and meaty content. They are best for ages 12-15. Unbroken (Young Readers Edition) by Erin Hildebrand, In the Heart of the Sea: the True Story of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Edition) by William Kamkwamba, The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Edition) by Daniel James Brown, The Disappearing Spoon (Young Readers Edition) by Sam Kean, 1493 for Young People: From Columbus’s Voyage to Globalization by Charles C. Man. Biographies such as The Faithful Spy are also a good choice.
What books do YOUR 13 year olds enjoy? Let us know in the comments!
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