YA Boy Books

All the book covers link to the Tattered Cover bookstore page for that book.

stormStorm, by D.J. McHale
This was an enjoyable sequel to the first (Sylo). I thought the tension continued throughout, and the look at the new world after the destruction of the U.S. was very interesting. Tucker and his friends continue to find devastation, and they’re unsure whom to trust. I liked the back-and-forth they all experience, but I did find the teenage romance a little annoying (Tucker was very young in his approach to relationships — which is true to his age — and that part didn’t always fit in with the rest as seamlessly as I would’ve liked). Other than that, this is an entertaining and intriguing book. The story: Tucker and the others continue their journey to discover what’s really going on as two branches of the U.S. military appear to be fighting each other — and destroying the world as they knew it, in the process. Worst yet, Tucker discovers there’s a traitor in their midst — perhaps more than one. He struggles with knowing where to turn and what to believe…and in the meantime, the world continues to fall apart around them. (lower YA sci-fi/adventure, released 3/14, publisher: Razorbill)

michaelveyMichael Vey Battle of the Ampere, by Richard Paul Evans
Like the other two, this is a very quick read, with the plot spinning quickly out from the start. As always, I enjoyed Michael and all his friends, and the death of one of them was truly sad (and made me teary-eyed). The suspense kept me reading, and the next adventure sounds just as intriguing. The story: Michael has to find the rest of his friends, although they are spread throughout the Peruvian jungle. But then he learns that they’ve been put in jail, awaiting trial for terrorism after they all shut down the power plant (which used Elgin power). Hatch is still out there, looking for them and fighting to take over the world. Michael risks it all to save his friends, and only then do they learn of the true threat. (YA adventure/suspense/science fiction, released 8/13, publisher: Simon Pulse)

the darkest pathThe Darkest Path, by Jeff Hirsch
Whew, talk about an emotional roller coaster! This is truly dystopic (ie, the worst-case scenario of the future), and my heart hurt for Cal throughout his struggle to make sense of his life. I liked Cal’s loyalty and his ability to think through the circumstances around him. He made some hard choices, and some of them didn’t turn out well — but he learned from those mistakes, and I thought that was good. His connection with Bear (a dog) really humanized him, and I thought that was one of the best aspects of the book. It’s a dark tale, though, and although the end is hopeful, I suspect there are many more struggles ahead of Cal before he finds his parents. The story: Cal and his brother were taken by the Path six years ago. Now 15, Cal is discovering many sides to the Path (a religious group) that he finds unsavory, but his younger brother (who can’t really remember much of his life before the Path) has become quite the acolyte. Cal simply wants he and his brother to be citizens so they don’t have to do the grunt work anymore. For this purpose, Cal agrees to help the leaders of the Path take over a small town — and in the process, he is beaten (to make it look realistic). When Cal sees the Path murder many of the town’s inhabitants (including children), he’s had enough…and then, he and James aren’t even granted citizenship. Cal decides right then he’s done with the Path, but James won’t leave with him. Soon, Cal and Bear (a dog he rescued from the Path) are on their own, trying to navigate their way from the Path states (in the southwest) to New York, where Cal hopes their parents still reside. But the U.S. is united no longer, and if the Path doesn’t have control, the feds do (with help from many different European nations). The world is in turmoil, and everywhere Cal ends up, people are fighting for power — and dying. In the end, Cal has to decide if he’s willing to free everyone from the Leader of the Path or just make his own way…can he let others fend for themselves or can he take a stand? (YA dystopic, released 9/13, publisher: Scholastic)

boy nobodyBoy Nobody, by Allen Zadoff
This was intriguing. I liked the short bursts of chapters and the slowly revealed information. I liked the flashbacks too, and although I was frustrated for a bit, by the end, I was mostly just intrigued. I’ll definitely look for the next book, because I want to know where this is going. The story: ‘Ben’ is surprised to receive his new job because it’s a rush. Usually he has a couple of months to infiltrate his target’s life before he must kill him/her. But this time, he has only five days. On top of that, when he meets the target — the mayor of NYC — he’s thrown back into memories of his own father, his old life (the life before he became an assassin) and he cannot make the kill. His reluctance then changes his assignment, and he finds himself faced with killing the mayor’s daughter — a girl he’s strangely drawn to, a girl who has secrets of her own. Will Ben be able to complete his assignment? Will he learn what truly happened in his own family? And how will he handle the truths which are slowly revealed? (YA suspense, released 6/13, publisher: Little, Brown)

the paladin prophecyThe Paladin Prophecy, by Mark Frost
I really enjoyed this — so much so that I immediately handed it off to my husband to read, as well! I think D will enjoy it too, and although it’s tense in places (and has some violence), I don’t think it’ll be beyond what he can handle, even at 10. One of my favorite aspects (besides the basic plot, which was nicely put together) is the overall pacing. The story starts slow, and we meet one character at a time. At no point did I feel overwhelmed or like there were too many people to pay attention to. Interestingly, we don’t even find out what ‘paladin’ means until a good halfway through the thick book, but it didn’t bother me. I was caught up enough in Will’s story and his own personal mysteries that I didn’t think to wonder about the title of the book. It wasn’t a huge surprise, once revealed, as many hints had been dropped (and I suspected where it was heading); however, knowing what was probably coming (in that sense) didn’t in any way reduce the enjoyment I experienced. Truly, this is one of my favorite reads of the year, and I can’t wait for the next one! The story: Will has been taught to ‘fly under the radar’ by his parents, and with all the moving they’ve had to do because of his father’s job, he’s gotten pretty good at keeping his extraordinary abilities under wraps. However, one standardized test later, and he’s suddenly caught the attention of one of the top (and most secret) boarding schools in the nation. Normally, he and his parents would never allow Will’s involvement, but the same day someone from the school comes to meet him, strange men in black caps begin trailing Will — and they do something to his mom, something which makes her ‘different.’ Will doesn’t know what to do, and when his dad doesn’t return from his latest business trip, Will finds himself alone, relying only on the list of rules his dad has taught him throughout his life. Eventually, he ends up at the elite school and meets four other teens who also seem to have some special abilities…and the mystery and danger increases from there. (YA sci-fi thriller, released 9/2012, publisher: Random House)

rise of the elginMichael Vey: Rise of the Elgin, by Richard Paul Evans
I enjoyed this sequel. It was fast-paced, and I liked the whole cast of characters (electrical and non-electrical). It’s a little blood-thirsty in places, and I feel like the ‘bad’ guy isn’t as three-dimensional as I personally prefer (nor are a couple of his teen minions), but there’s definitely some nice tension, and I was reading feverishly throughout. Be forewarned — it’s a cliff-hanger! The story: Michael and his team of electrical kids are on the run from the Elgin. To make things worse, they discover the Elgin are going after their families — and keeping them in South America. Plus, they have some way of tracking the non-electrics who are helping Michael. Will Michael find his mom in time? And how will they deal with the compound and the electrical rats? (YA suspense/thriller, released 8/12, publisher: Simon Pulse)

The False PrinceThe False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen
I loved this! It reminds me (in all the best ways) of The Lost Prince, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s definitely more contemporary than that, however (I have reread TLP many times, but I couldn’t get my son to read it even once because of the small print and detailed ideas). I loved Sage’s humor, I loved the changing interactions between Sage, Roden, and Tobias, I loved Mott’s loyalty, and I loved how it all was resolved in the end. Did I suspect the underlying truth from the beginning? Well, yeah. I was fairly certain from page one about the truth, but I think that’s because I *have* read TLP so many times. Still, it’s a sign of a great book that even though I suspected, and even once it was revealed (about 2/3 through), I still couldn’t put it down and had to see how everything played out. My only (extremely minor) complaint has to do with the vagueness of the final scene (not how the book ends, but the actual setting of the scene) — for the only time during the book, I couldn’t picture what was going on, and it seemed like everything (and everyone) faded to the background a bit while the plot was figured out. Still, very minor, and it didn’t detract from my delight in the book at all! When I used to read TLP, I’d imagine what it would be like if there was a sequel — and as this book says ‘Book one’, I’m guessing there is more to come — yay! 🙂 The story: Sage is plucked from his orphanage and taken, with three other orphan boys, to a noble’s land. This noble, Conner, has a plan to ‘restore’ their country’s security — or so he claims. Sage has no interest in restoring anything, and he wants nothing more than to find his way from Conner…but soon, Sage is concerned for the other boys. For Conner’s plan is to replace a dead prince with one of them — and Conner can only take one. The others are disposable, and Sage fears that their involvement means certain death for the boys who aren’t chosen. He begins to work his own plan within Conner’s, and soon things are more complicated and tricky than he expected — is it more than a pick-pocket and thief can manage? And what if he’s chosen to be the false prince, what will he do then? (lower YA/Tween fantasy, released 4/12, publisher: Scholastic)

the tomorrow codeThe Tomorrow Code, by Brian Falkner
I really enjoyed this! I liked many things: 1) the Michael Crichton feel; 2) the creative challenges and ideas; 3) the Maori influence; 4) the ending (which was a little open-ended, yet not really). I love many of Crichton’s books, and finding a teen version of that style of writing is wonderful! I liked the characters; I liked their growth and smartness; I liked the setting. It was just a great book from beginning to end! The story: Tane and Rebecca discover a strange code when Rebecca is doing a gamma ray search on Tane’s computer. When they begin figuring out the clues, the results are astonishing — someone is sending them information from the future. Although skeptical at first, Rebecca’s desperate situation (she and her mom are kicked out of their apartment with little money to survive) calls for serious risks, and the two begin following the ‘tomorrow code.’ Soon Tane’s older brother, Fatboy, is involved, as well, and things heat up as the world around them begins going insane. When their home town of Auckland is threatened and the lives of everyone there are at risk, Tane, Rebecca, and Fatboy frantically try to solve the problem and figure out how to save humanity. (YA thriller, released 7/09, publisher: Ember)

michaelveyMichael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, by Richard Paul Evans
I was surprised by this one — mostly because Evans is well known for writing completely different books than young adult (I believe this is his first YA). However, although there were aspects which had some rocky rhythm (to my writing eyes), I definitely enjoyed the plot and the characters. In fact, I once wrote a book with a similar premise (yikes) — although my characters weren’t electrified 😉 The story: Michael likes Idaho okay, except for the fact that he’s always bullied because of his small size and his tics. However, when he tires of the actions of the other kids and fights back (using his electrical skills), he gains the attention of one of the cheerleaders — who has some secrets of her own. Soon Michael, Taylor, and Ostin (Michael’s best and only friend) are working together to solve the mysteries behind their unusual abilities — until the wrong people discover them, and those they love are threatened. (YA science fiction, released 8/11, publisher: Mercury Ink)

brain jackBrain Jack, by Brian Faulkner
I really liked this one! I liked the thriller feel to it; I loved the computer jargon. I liked Sam and Dodge too. Interesting concept, definitely. The story: Sam hacks into a huge telecommunications company to order the latest rage in computers — the neuro-headsets, which allows people to be the computer themselves. When he’s caught, days later, he’s taken to ‘prison’ — which he learns is the just the first step in working for the ‘good’ guys and taking his hacking to a new level…hopefully in time to save the world from a dangerous computer threat. (YA spy/dystopic, released 9/10, publisher: Random House)

i am number fourI Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore
I quite liked this. It had some cliche-ish moments, but overall, I liked the MC, the subplots, the mysteries (though many went unsolved) and the plot. I haven’t seen the movie, and I suspect the movie isn’t nearly as good as the book, so I might hold off. I’m assuming there will be more books, since it kind of left off in the middle of the story. Speaking of — the story: Four (also known as John Smith) and his ‘dad’ Henri, are on the run again. They stop in Paradise, Ohio, and Four meets Sarah — and falls in love for the first time. However, Four knows it probably won’t be a long-term relationship, since he and Henri are from another planet (Lorien) and have crazy aliens (the Mogadariens) chasing them. In fact, the bad guys have already found three of the nine special kids, and as they have to go in order, Four knows he’s next. This time, though, he really wants to stay in Paradise with Sarah and his new friend (his first friend?) Sam…but the bad guys have their own agenda, and it involves doing to earth what they did to Lorien…so Four knows the stakes are higher than ever. (YA science fiction, released 8/10, publisher: Harper Collins)

carters big breakCarter’s Big Break, by Brent Crawford
Okay, so I thought there was no way this would be as funny as the first one (Carter Finally Gets It — which was laugh-out-loud funny, and I laughed so hard I cried) — and it wasn’t as constantly funny, it’s true. However, I still spent a good portion of the book chuckling and even guffawing out loud at Carter’s sarcastic and oh-so-boyish outlook on life. A very entertaining read! The story: Carter gets cast in the main role of a movie set in his home town, right after his girlfriend dumps him. He loves acting, but much of the stuff he experiences overwhelms him, and through it all, he continues to pine over Abby. (YA contemporary/humor, just released, publisher: Disney-Hyperion)

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About Robin

I'm a reader, a writer, a mom, a writing coach...and someone who loves the outdoors.
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