Realistic Fiction

Avi. Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel. (Orchard Books, 1991)

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Margarita Engle, illustrations by Olga & Aleksey Ivanov. Mountain Dog. (Henry Holt, 2013) Gabe is a rescue dog, an amazing hero who saves the lost, the injured, the frightened. Tony has lost his mom, has been nearly destroyed by being forced to make dogs fight to the death, and is frightened that there is no future for him. No boy and his dog were ever better matched.

Pete Hautman. Godless. (Simon & Schuster, 2004)

Gordon Korman. The Juvie Three. (Hyperion, 2008)

Walter Dean Myers. Handbook for Boys. (Amistad, 2002)

Gary Paulsen. The Car. (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994)

Jerry Spinelli. Maniac Magee. (Little, Brown, 1990)

Primarily for Teen Guys:

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Don Calame. “Swim the Fly” (Series)
Swim the Fly. (Candlewick, 2009)
Beat the Band. (Candlewick, 2010)
Call the Shots. (Candlewick, 2012)
When I recommend a teen angst novel, or a series of them, with all the old standbys – dorky guy who doesn’t have a chance with the way too hot girl with the big gorilla-ish boyfriend who is sure to beat the snot out of the dorky guy – well, you know it is special. Swim the Fly, Beat the Band, and Call the Shots are unapologetically teen angst novels that are just so over the top funny they have to be experienced. And it is guy humor, too; bathroom and bodily function jokes, stupid pranks, and insanely complex schemes that go horribly wrong. So laugh it up with three loser friends who have vowed that this is the summer they will see… well, you’ll figure it out.

Lesley Choice. Running the Risk. [Orca Soundings] (Orca, 2009) You’re sixteen. You live in a nice neighborhood. Your father is an accountant for God’s sake. You KNOW what it means to be careful, to be safe. Until someone puts a gun in your face…

Barbara Snow Gilbert. Paper Trail. (Front Street, 2000) “The distinctive crack of a Sako TRG-21 sniper rifle shattered the glossy stillness of the April morning… Silence. Worse than sounds…He should look. Sometimes even Soldiers of God missed.” A hair-raising thriller of a boy caught up in the web of the Patriot Movement of anti-government militias.

John Green. An Abundance of Katherines. (Dutton Juvenile, 2006)

Gordon Korman. Jake Reinvented. (Hyperion, 2003)

Kris Kroatin. Heavy Metal and You. (Push, 2005)

Laura Langston. Last Ride. [Orca Soundings] (Orca Books, 2011) Five thousand pounds of roaring, customized, racing machine. That’s all Tom Shields has between him and the ghost of his dead friend, tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and the despair of the only girl he cares about. It isn’t enough. Last Ride is raw, gutsy, and full of street-level reality.

Chris Lynch. Angry Young Man. (Simon & Schuster, 2011) Chris Lynch gets right to the ideals that get left out of too many teen books: honor, responsibility, loyalty, all the things that aspiring young men so often need to explore. Alexander is different, and that is fine with him. After all, “normal” is mean, brutal, heartless, and cruel. But when he finally sees a chance to stop fuming and actually do something to change the world, does he know any way to do it other than becoming the things he despises?

Chris Lynch. Pieces. (Simon & Schuster, 2013) When a beautiful woman places your hand on her hip and tells you to feel your brother’s kidney, yeah, things get wierd. Darkly funny and oddly disturbing, Chris Lynch’s quick read will keep you so off balance you’ll be clutching for the seasickness pills.

Norah McClintock. Guilty. (Orca, 2012) Two teens, their lives devastated by the adults in their lives. Her father killed his mother… twice. His father sent her father to prison, and when he got out took him away again by killing him. In the shattering aftermath, there are few parents left, and precious little comfort, but enough guilt for everyone.

Walter Dean Myers. Handbook for Boys. (Amistad, 2002)
Walter Dean Myers. Monster. (Amistad, 1999)
Walter Dean Myers. Shooter. (Amistad, 2004)
Walter Dean Myers. Sunrise Over Fallujah. (Scholastic, 2008)

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Matthew Quick. Boy21. (Little, Brown, 2012) Everybody has secrets. Nobody talks. So when Boy21, the greatest basketball prospect since Koby Bryant shows up in a mob infested New Jersey slum, claiming to be from outer space, all you really know for sure is that the truth is more explosive than the lies.

Robert Rayner. Off Limits. (Lorimer, 2012) If it’s forbidden, it’s in here, so be forewarned. Deal with it; teens have to every day.

Robert Rayner. Scab. (Lorimer, 2010) Just think how bad your life would have to be as a high school senior if you preferred your camera to people. Then think how amazing you would be as a photographer. But what are the costs of holding onto a camera instead of reaching out to living, breathing people, especially those who need you?

Neal Shusterman. The Schwa Was Here. (Dutton, 2004)

Neal Shusterman. Antsy Does Time. (Dutton, 2008)

Jerry Spinelli. Maniac Magee. (Little, Brown, 1990)

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Todd Strasser. Wish You Were Dead. (Egmont, 2009) When queen bee Lucy Cunningham disappears from a well-to-do, and supposedly safe, community there are plenty of suspects. Cyber-stalkers, loners, goths, losers, cheating boyfriends, even Lucy herself might have orchestrated the disappearance. All the undercurrents of modern teen life bubble to the surface as fear grips a community that maybe wanted to believe those kinds of things wouldn’t happen to THEIR kids.
Also by Todd Strasser:
Boot Camp. (Simon & Schuster, 2007)
Give a Boy a Gun. (Simon Pulse, 2002)
If I Grow Up. (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
The Wave. (Laurel Leaf, 1981)

Greg Trine. The Second Base Club. (Henry Holt, 2010) The perfect next title for those who loved Don Calame’s Swim the Fly, a lighter, more whimsical look at the high school jungle through a boy’s eye.

Richard Uhlig. Boy Minus Girl. (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008)

Ned Vizzini. It’s Kind of a Funny Story. (Hyperion, 2006)