Great Reads for Secondary Boys

View all Best Picks for Boys book lists; This list was last updated on 4/4/2013
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release date: Jan 01, 2009
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Leviathan
It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.
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Shattered
Fifteen-year-old Ian must complete community volunteer service to pass social studies. Choosing to work at “The Club” sounds like fun, until he arrives at what turns out to be a soup kitchen for the homeless. It is here that he meets Sarge, the pipe-wielding homeless man who saved Ian from a near-mugging. His real name is Jacques, and he was a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. His last tour of duty was as a peacekeeper stationed in Rwanda, an African nation Ian knows little about. What he learns will change Ian's view of the world—and may just help Jacques, too.

With a Foreword by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd), force commander for the United Nations Mission to Rwanda, Shattered is an unforgettable story, one that asks what one person can do to make a difference.

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Street Pharm
If a brother wanna get ahead, he gotta use every minute to better himself. Everything I did made me better -- tougher, stronger, richer, smarter -- or I didn't do it.

Take high school. A waste of time. Nobody there taught me what I needed to survive on the streets....


Ty Johnson knows survival. Since inheriting his pop's business at sixteen, Ty's developed smarts, skills, and mad discipline. The supply game's in his blood. And life is pretty sweet when you're on top.

But one slip -- or one serious competitor -- and life turns ugly fast. Suddenly, Ty's got to rethink his whole strategy. And for the #1 dealer on the streets, strategy is not just about staying ahead. It's about survival.
release date: Jan 01, 2007
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Rucker Park Setup
Rucker Park—a place where basketball's greatest pro players go up against street legends. Best friends Mackey and J.R. have waited their whole lives to win the basketball tournament here. But when the day of an important game arrives, J.R. is fatally stabbed. While Mackey didn't wield the knife, he feels responsible. Now he has a score to settle, but the killer is watching his every move. Mackey is determined to finish the final game of the Rucker Park Tournament on his own terms. The question is, can he do it?
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Rikers High
It started out as an innocent day for Martin, but it quickly turned into his worst nightmare-arrested for something he didn't even mean to do. And five months later, he is still locked up in jail on Rikers Island. Just when things couldn't get worse, Martin gets caught in a fight between two prisoners, and his face is slashed. He's scarred forever, but one good thing comes from the attack-Martin is transferred to a part of Rikers where inmates must attend high school. When he meets his caring and understanding teacher, will Martin open up and learn from his situation? Or will he be consumed by prison and getting revenge on his attackers?
release date: Sep 15, 1981
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The Wave
The Wave is based on a true incident that occured in a high school history class in Palo Alto, California, in 1969.



The powerful forces of group pressure that pervaded many historic movements such as Nazism are recreated in the classroom when history teacher Burt Ross introduces a "new" system to his students. And before long "The Wave," with its rules of "strength through discipline, community, and action, " sweeps from the classroom through the entire school. And as most of the students join the movement, Laurie Saunders and David Collins recognize the frightening momentum of "The Wave" and realize they must stop it before it's too late.
release date: Jan 01, 2011
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Solitary

Alex tried to escape.
He had a perfect plan.
He was almost free. Even felt the cool, clean air on his face.
Then the dogs came.
Now he's locked in a place so gruesome―so hellish―that escape doesn't even matter.
He just wants to survive.

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Death Sentence
Alex's second attempt to break out of Furnace Penitentiary failed. This time, his punishment will be much worse than before. Because in the hidden, bloodstained laboratories beneath the prison, he will be made into a monster. As the warden pumps something evil into his veins—a sinisterly dark nectar—Alex becomes what he most fears . . . a superhuman minion of Furnace. How can he escape when the darkness is inside him? How can he lead the way to freedom if he is lost to himself?
release date: Jan 01, 2010
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Lockdown

Furnace Penitentiary: the world's most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth's surface. Convicted of a murder he didn't commit, sentenced to life without parole, "new fish" Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates―some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers―Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace's deeper, darker purpose, Alex's actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that's hidden from the eyes of the world.

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The Demonata #6: Demon Apocalypse
Fire! It's all around me, fierce, intense, out of control. I feel the hair on my arms singe and know I have only seconds before I burst into flames. Total panic. There's a horrible shrieking sound, piercing and destructive. My eardrums and eyeballs should burst. "It's hell!" I moan.

One boy's life ripped to shreds before his eyes...
One wrathful demon master hell-bent on revenge...
An army of grisly Demonata on the rampage...

It's the end of the world as we know it.
release date: Apr 01, 2009
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The Demonata #8: Wolf Island
As the mysterious Shadow builds an army of demons, Grubbs Grady and his team search desperately for answers. But when they follow up a new lead, it takes them to an old, unexpected foe - the Lambs.

"We spot the werewolves as we skim the treetops. Mutated, vicious, hairy monstrosities, all fangs, claws and muscles. The beast within me tries to force its way to the surface, howling silently at its warped brethren. I've never rid myself of the wolf..."


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The Demonata #2: Demon Thief
Kernel Fleck has always known he's weird. He sees lights. Strange, multi-colored patches of light, swirling through the air. But it's not until a window opens into a demon world, with horrific consequences, that Kernel discovers his powers. As a Disciple, his mission is to hunt vicious, powerful demons to the death...
release date: Jan 01, 1980
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The Demonata #3: Slawter
Lights. Camera. Slawter!

Grubbs Grady and his half-brother Bill-E are thrilled to join their uncle Dervish as onset consultants for the newest movie by cult horror producer David A Hayms. Shot in a deserted town renamed Slawter, the demon-themed movie is to be Hayms's masterpiece. But as strange incidents disrupt the set, Grubbs begins to wonder whether more than filming is afoot.
release date: Jan 01, 2006
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The Demonata #1: Lord Loss
Grubbs Grady has stiff red hair and is a little big for his age, which means he can get into R-rated movies. He hates history and loves bacon, rats, and playing tricks on his squeamish older sister. When he opts out of a family weekend trip, he never guesses that he is about to take a terrifying journey into darkness. Hungry demons and howling werewolves haunt his waking nightmares... and threaten his life.
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Vampire Mountain
Darren Shan and Mr. Crepsley embark on a dangerous trek to the very heart of the vampire world. But they face more than the cold on Vampire Mountain-the vampaneze have been there before them.

Will a meeting with the Vampire Princes restore Darren's human side, or turn him further toward the darkness? Only one thing is certain-Darren's initiation into the vampire clan is more deadly than he can ever have imagined.
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Cirque Du Freak #3: Tunnels of Blood
Darren, the vampire's assistant, gets a taste of the city when he leaves the Cirque Du Freak with Evra the snake-boy and Mr. Crepsley. When corpses are discovered--corpses drained of blood-- Darren and Evra are compelled to hunt down whatever foul creature is committing such horrendous acts. Meanwhile, beneath the streets, evil stalks Darren and Evra, and all clues point to Mr. Crepsley. Can they escape, or are they doomed to perish in the tunnels of blood?
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The Vampire's Assistant (Cirque du Freak, Book 2)
Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a Vampire's Assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling. The Wolf Man is waiting.
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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Cirque Du Freak
Darren Shan and his best friend, Steve, get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a wonderfully gothic freak show featuring weird, frightening half human/half animals who interact terrifyingly with the audience. In the midst of the excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognizes that one of the performers-- Mr. Crepsley-- is a vampire!

Stever remains after the show finishes to confront the vampire-- but his motives are surprising! In the shadows of a crumbling theater, a horrified Darren eavesdrops on his friend and the vampire, and is witness to a monstrous, disturbing plea. As if by destiny, Darren is pulled to Mr. Crepsley and what follows is his forrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires.

This is Darren's story.
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Revolver
A LOADED GUN. STOLEN GOLD. And a menacing stranger. A taut frontier survivor story, set at the time of the Alaska gold rush.

In an isolated cabin, fourteen-year-old Sig is alone with a corpse: his father, who has fallen through the ice and frozen to death only hours earlier. Then comes a stranger claiming that Sig's father owes him a share of a horde of stolen gold. Sig's only protection is a loaded Colt revolver hidden in the cabin's storeroom. The question is, will Sig use the gun, and why?
 
Revolver is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
release date: Mar 01, 2008
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Ball Don't Lie
Newbery Award-winning author Matt de la Pena's Ball Don't Lie about basketball "is a must-read." [The Bulletin]

   Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He's a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn't seem to belong.
    But Sticky can ball. And basketball might just be his ticket out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn't have to be the person everyone else expects him to be.
    Matt de la Peña's breakout urban masterpiece, Ball Don't Lie takes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it.

[STAR] "[An] inspiring story. Sticky is a true original, and de la Peña has skillfully brought him to life."-School Library Journal, Starred

"Riveting...Teens will be strongly affected by the unforgettable, distinctly male voice; the thrilling, unusually detailed basketball action; and the questions about race, love, self-worth, and what it means to build a life without advantages."-Booklist

"Stunningly realistic, this book will hook older readers, especially urban teen males."-VOYA

"The characters live and breath...This is a must-read."-The Bulletin

"De la Peña does an excellent job of combining the streets with the sport. Gritty and mesmerizing."-Kirkus Reviews

"I have never before seen blacktop ball depicted so well. In this novel, you will find its flash, its power, and its elegance without chains. This is powerful stuff."-Antawn Jamison, forward for the Los Angeles Clippers

"From the very first sentence, this book grabbed me and didn't let go. The deeper I got into it, the more I felt like Sticky's story was my story. His heart, his handle, the guys in the gym, his potential pitfalls, his dreams. All of it. In a weird sense, this is my life."-Grayson Boucher ("The Professor") of tha AND 1 Mix Tape Tour

"Truly authentic in its examination of both the game I love and the invariable missteps toward manhood. You cannot fail to be moved by the eloquence and truth of this story."-Rick Fox, former forward for the Los Angeles Lakers

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers



From the Hardcover edition.
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Fallen Angels
An exciting, eye-catching repackage of acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers' bestselling paperbacks, to coincide with the publication of SUNRISE OVER FALLUJA in hardcover.

A coming-of-age tale for young adults set in the trenches of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, this is the story of Perry, a Harlem teenager who volunteers for the service when his dream of attending college falls through. Sent to the front lines, Perry and his platoon come face-to-face with the Vietcong and the real horror of warfare. But violence and death aren't the only hardships. As Perry struggles to find virtue in himself and his comrades, he questions why black troops are given the most dangerous assignments, and why the U.S. is even there at all.
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Marked
When Colin accepts the job to clean up the graffiti in an upscale neighborhood he worries that he might be targeted by gangs. But he didn't expect to become a suspect in a series of robberies. Every time he is sent to clean up graffiti, the police are nearby investigating a crime. Colin knows he's done nothing wrong, but even he acknowledges his presence at the crime scenes looks suspicious. The only way he can clear his name is to figure out what is really going on.
release date: Jan 01, 2011
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Rot & Ruin
In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
release date: Jan 01, 2007
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Burning for Revenge (The Tomorrow Series #5)
The action doesn't let up in the most explosive Tomorrow book yet -- another international bestseller from John Marsden.

The journey to Stratton isn't an easy trip, especially when the enemy's headquarters lie somewhere along the way. And that's exactly where Ellie and her friends unwittingly find themselves. With only five of them against hundreds of armed soldiers, escape seems like a suicide mission. But Stratton is where Ellie's grandmother lives, so the journey must be made -- even though the odds aren't good.
Ellie must summon all of her courage and guerrilla instincts to survive the latest high-stakes installment of the action-packed Tomorrow series.
release date: Feb 01, 2007
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The Other Side of Dawn
This is it -- the final explosive chapter in an epic saga of war and rebellion. An international bestseller that fans will not be able to resist.

Since their town was invaded by enemy soldiers and transformed into a war zone, Ellie and her four surviving friends have been fighting for their lives. One year later, a resolution may finally be in sight. But as enemy forces close in on her hideout, Ellie discovers that the final battle may be the most dangerous yet. And not every soldier is fated to see the end of every conflict.

There are no more hiding places left in this exhilarating conclusion to Ellie's struggle for freedom, dignity, and, above all else, a sense of peace.
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Darkness Be My Friend
The battle continues as five ordinary kids must journey back into the heart of an epic conflict.

Five months into World War III, Ellie and her four remaining friends have barely escaped the Australian town of Wirrawee with their lives and their sanity intact.
But as the next step becomes clear, they realize they must once again sacrifice their hard-won comfort and safety. A group of soldiers has recruited the kids to guide the way to the Wirrawee air base.
What could possibly motivate Ellie and her friends to return? This risky sabotage mission may be their only hope of rescuing their families, too.
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A Killing Frost
Life in the war zone enters its sixth month of heart-stopping tension in the latest installment of the internationally bestselling Tomorrow series.

In the third installment of the Tomorrow saga, the anything-to-survive existence of Ellie and her friends has sharpened their senses and emboldened their plans. They aren't merely on the defensive anymore; they're also striking back. Their strategy? Attack the enemy not just on land, but also on water. If they have any hope of sabotaging the formidable container ship at Cobbler's Bay, then stealth is a must, but so, too, is one very big explosion.
And if they fail, they may face a whole new kind of terror -- imprisonment.
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The Dead of Night
War rages on! The second installment of the internationally bestselling Tomorrow series is even more action-packed than the first...

A few months after the first fighter jets landed in their own backyard, Ellie and her five terrified but defiant friends struggle to survive amid a baffling conflict. Their families are unreachable; the mountains are now their home.
When two of them fall behind enemy lines, Ellie knows what must happen next: a rescue mission. Homer, the strongest and most unpredictable among them, is the one to take charge. While others have their doubts about his abilities, Homer has no choice but to prove them wrong - or risk losing everything to the enemy.
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Tomorrow, When the War Began
World War III becomes an unstoppable reality in the action-packed first installment of the Tomorrow series--an international bestseller in an eye-catching new paperback.

When Ellie and her friends go camping, they have no idea they're leaving their old lives behind forever. Despite a less-than-tragic food shortage and a secret crush or two, everything goes as planned. But a week later, they return home to find their houses empty and their pets starving. Something has gone wrong--horribly wrong. Before long, they realize the country has been invaded, and the entire town has been captured--including their families and all their friends.
Ellie and the other survivors face an impossible decision: They can flee for the mountains or surrender. Or they can fight.
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Hothouse: A Novel

If you do it right, it can be a life. The hothouse, the guys, the glory. But just like that, it can all go up in smoke.

In the beginning it was strange, ya know, because of all that we had lost. But there was something about it that felt so good and so right, too: "I'm so proud of you, Russ." "We'll always be here for you, man." "Heroes don't pay for nothin' in this town." It was nonstop. The mayor shook my hand. Ladies sent food. I've never eaten so much baked ham in my life.

And now? Now the phone won't stop ringing from the crazies ready to blame me. My mom has to cry herself to sleep. They take a firefighter, a man, and they pump him up so big. . . . But once they start taking it away from you, they don't stop until they leave nothing on the bones.

First they needed heroes, then they needed blood.

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