I’ve received several messages from parents of teens asking for books for teen boys. Although I already have a list of books for teens, I understand the need for books starring teen males. On this list, I’ve rounded up several great options, including one mystery-thriller starring a girl (ha!). You’ll find a range of genres including romance, mystery, sports, fantasy, and dystopian fiction. Hopefully, there’s something for your teen boy on here.
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20 Great Books for Teen Boys
Here are 20 awesome books for teen boys:
Published: March 17, 2020
Gene understands stories―comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins.
But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it’s all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.
Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.
Published: April 18, 2023
When Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in high school, he was part of a program that sent students to be counselors at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. He documents this life-changing experience in this wonderful graphic memoir.
Rhythm and Muse
Published: May 30. 2023
Darren Johnson lives in his head. There, he can pine for his crush—total dream girl, Delia Dawson—in peace, away from the unsolicited opinions of his talkative family and showboat friends. When Delia announces a theme song contest for her popular podcast, Dillie D in the Place to Be, Darren’s friends—convinced he’ll never make a move—submit one of his secret side projects for consideration.
After the anonymous romantic verse catches Dillie’s ear, she sets out to uncover the mystery singer behind the track. Now Darren must decide: Is he ready to step out of the shadows and take the lead in his own life?
It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)
Published: April 7, 2020
I loved the adult version of this book and I’ve heard great things about this young readers edition. Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, shares his remarkable story of growing up in South Africa with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist–and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government.
In a country where racism barred blacks from social, educational, and economic opportunity, Trevor surmounted staggering obstacles and created a promising future for himself thanks to his mom’s unwavering love and indomitable will.
Published: January 12, 2021
If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.
Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.
Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.
Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.
When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can’t just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.
The Hunger Games
Published: September 14, 2008
Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun. . . . In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.
The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Published: May 31, 2022
I adored this swoony romance about a teen who’s a DJ and radio host and the girl he falls in love with. The protagonists have depth as Prince looks after his mom, who has multiple sclerosis, and Dani is reeling from a traumatic sexual harassment incident. Great for teens ages 15+
Not So Pure and Simple
Published: October 27, 2020
Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.
His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.
With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?
When You Look Like Us
Published: February 8, 2022
When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades—everyone else thinks you’re trouble. No one even blinks twice over a missing Black girl from public housing because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister Nicole just got caught up with her boyfriend—a drug dealer—and his friends. But she’s been gone too long. Nic, where are you?
If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she would be at our house, spending time with Grandma.
If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list.
It’s time to step up, to do what the Newport News police department won’t.
Bring her home.
Published: August 1, 2017
Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.
In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.
Charming As a Verb
Published: October 13, 2020
Charming As a Verb is a charming (pun intended), realistic young adult novel about finding one’s place in the world. Ben Phillipe’s sophomore YA book tackles several themes from the immigrant experience, familial expectations, the pressure of college admission season, and finding a person with whom we can be our truest selves. The protagonist and his love interest are dynamic and relatable — you’ll be rooting for them by the end of the story.
Published: May 2, 2011
Fans of the Divergent movie will find the book packed with just as much emotional depth and exhilarating action as the film, all told in beautiful, rich language. One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous. Supports the Common Core State Standards.
The Boy in the Black Suit
Published: January 6, 2015
My first book by Jason Reynolds — I loved it! Matt is a teenager dealing with the loss of his mother to breast cancer and his father’s relapse into alcoholism. He begins working as a funeral home attendant and finds himself attending strangers’ funerals as a way to cope with his grief. My favorite things about this book are Matt’s vulnerability, his friendship with Chris, Lovey (as a character), and all the wonderful subplots, from his parents’ history to Mr. Ray’s.
American Born Chinese
Published: October 30, 2007
American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable.
Queen of the Tiles
Published: April 19, 2022
This was a super fast-paced mystery thriller about a girl at a Scrabble contest trying to figure out who murdered her friend. Great pick for younger teens too.
Frankly in Love
Published: September 1, 2020
When Korean-American Frank Li falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen.
Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.
Published: October 9, 2018
Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive. So moving, with tough subject matter.
Lost in Taiwan (A Graphic Novel)
Published: May 23, 2023
This is a forthcoming graphic novel about an American kid who gets lost in Taiwan. It’s an ode to embracing travel without technology and immersing oneself in a new place.
Published: September 12, 2023
These days, Tre Brun is happiest when he is playing basketball on the Red Lake Reservation high school team—even though he can’t help but be constantly gut-punched with memories of his big brother, Jaxon, who died in an accident.
When Jaxon’s former teammates on the varsity team offer to take Tre under their wing, he sees this as his shot to represent his Ojibwe rez all the way to their first state championship. This is the first step toward his dream of playing in the NBA, no matter how much the odds are stacked against him.
But stepping into his brother’s shoes as a star player means that Tre can’t mess up. Not on the court, not at school, and not with his new friend, gamer Khiana, who he is definitely not falling in love with.
After decades of rez teams almost making it, Tre needs to take his team to state. Because if he can live up to Jaxon’s dreams, their story isn’t over yet.
Malcolm Kid and the Perfect Song
Published: August 1, 2023
What does the perfect song sound like?
Normally, Malcolm Kid wouldn’t give this type of question the time of day. As a straight B-student with a heart of copper, he is far more concerned with overcoming mediocrity than he is with achieving perfection. But that all changes when he stumbles across the LK-2000—a strange keyboard cursed with the soul of an old jazz musician.
Malcolm soon learns that the only way to free this musician’s soul is by performing the perfect song. With much hesitation, and the help of his lifelong friend January Young, Malcolm embarks on a musical journey across the city of New Bronzeville in the hopes of discovering the perfect song and finding himself as a musician along the way.
There they are: 20 of the best books for teen boys! Which of these books have you read and loved? What did I miss?
What do you think? Leave a comment