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Reading suggestions: 10 year old boy
Hello chaps: this is a sort of semi-regular 'recommend books for my child' post.

Background. Daughter is voracious, self-directed reader who works with libraries to find the sort of thing she likes to read.

Son isn't pro-active about books, preferring non-book entertainment when it's available. But has moved on from sharecropping series such as BeastQuest and Warrior Cats, and likes Lemony Snicket and Cherub. Quite a lot of what he reads are the books his sister has just finished reading.

He's currently devouring Little Brother with great enthusiasm.

He needs, I think, plenty of plot and strong young characters. Definite bonus points for computers and video games. We have pretty much no luck with classic books for him.

Only You Can Save Mankind?

smallclanger is devouring Doctor Who novelisations at the moment, as well as Harry Potter, the newest David Walliams one (which he finished in about 2 hours!), and my old Diana Wynne Jones books. He's read all the Wimpy Kid books recently too.

Will you be at Eastercon? We should probably introduce J to smallclanger.

Mark Walden, The Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E.) and its sequels went down well with my nephews. The hero is a trainee supervillain with lots of gadgets.

H.I.V.E. does sound perfect.

one specific book he might like:

Gamer's Quest by George Ivanoff (it's an Aussie title)

he might also like the Matthew Reilly books or the James Patterson YA books. Both authors have been popular with capable "non-readers"

Also popular for our 10 year old students are:
The Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan)
The hunger games series (Suzanne Collins)
Skulduggery Pleasant series (Derek Landy)
The Rangers Apprentice series John Flanagan

Yeah, they are all series but they are great stepping stones to other stuff

Thanks! He's read at least some of Percy Jackson; we did the first one as bedtime reading and M bought several of the others.

Has he tried Eoin Colfer? Those are pretty young male orientated. May still be a bit old for him, though.

Ah, good call. Artemis Fowl is a fantastic young supergenius hacker protagonist, and that series combines great twisty plots, great characters, and delightful gadgets.

Fowler's others such as The Supernaturalist are also good, but IMHO less good than the Artemis Fowl series.

Ender's Game. But it might not be good for him...

Yes to this. There was a y/a edition published by Atom a few years back.

Has he tried the Australian author Paul Jennings? Collections of short stories, not many computers but kind of a less harsh Roald Dahl with significant little boy appeal (a boy befriends a naiad who helps him win a pissing contest, the family home is saved when a child helps his father dynamite a rotting whale and it turns out there's ambergris within, pants get microwaved and thus imbued with magical powers...)

I found James Patterson's Maximum Ride series to be exciting and action packed (and apparently there is now a computer game...). There's also F. E. Higgins - Tales from the Sinister City, a sort of gothic "Eerie, Indiana" series of stories where the "author" introduces mysterious item he has got hold of and then reveals the gut-wrenching, tragic, adventurous story behind it. I've only read "The Eyeball Collector" - the first in the series is called "The Black Book of Secrets". Garth Nix has a series for younger readers called "The Seventh Tower" - I enjoyed the first 2 books "The Fall" and "Castle", and there was also his "Keys to the Kingdom" series starting with "Mister Monday" - of course all these are more fantasy than techno. I presume you are already aware of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series and Charlie Higson's Young Bond series, and Philip Reeve's "Mortal Engines" series. He's possibly a bit young yet, but there are also Darren Shan's series - the vampire one beginning with "Cirque du Freak" was pretty good.
Good luck

Super! I think he's read at least one Alex Rider but not most of the rest of these. I've definitely seen a Garth Nix around the place but it might be M's.

Diana Wynne Jones (particularly The Ogre Downstairs and Archer's Goon?), Robin Jarvis, Brian Jacques?

I wouldn't immediately have said that these are quite age appropriate yet, but if he's reading Little Brother ... the Patrick Ness books might be a good bet: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask & The Answer and Monsters of Men.

I'd have to agree with your caveat there - the middle book in particular is very "bleak" - torture isn't really appropriate for a 10-year old, even these days. The presence of a love story might also deter a 10-year old boy!

Would strongly recommend them for everyone over the age of 13 or so, however.

Other than that - Ender's Game & Only You Can Save Mankind were my first two thoughts.

Alex Rider? (I haven't read Cherub, but I gather it's the same sort of thing. Maybe the Young James Bond series too (which I also haven't read).)

Mine are mostly reading Warhammer 40k books at the moment....

He's definitely been exposed to Alex Rider.

They might be a little old, but Scott Westerfeld's stuff is pretty good - So Yesterday is a standalone and probably aimed slightly younger than the others, so you could start there and if that suits then there's a whole bunch of other Westerfeld YA novels. Some of Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series?

The Hunger Games and the Patrick Ness books are very good, but I'm not sure how good they are for 10 year olds - the Ness is quite bleak as noted above, and The Hunger Games is probably fine but lots of violence and the last book has some discussion of the rape and torture of several of the characters. I'm sure I was reading much worse when I was ten (both in content and in quality) but you might want to check first.

Yes, he loves Uglies & its sequelae.

He needs, I think, plenty of plot and strong young characters. Definite bonus points for computers and video games. We have pretty much no luck with classic books for him.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson? Maybe now, maybe a bit later?

Farah in The Inter-Galactic Playground talks about how boys considered to be 'not reading' are often in fact voraciously reading non-fiction. My own recollection, confirmed with my mother, is that this is very much how it was for me - what fiction I did read was Doctor Who tie-ins, though I did read an awful lot of those. Have you considered going down the non-fic route? Failing that, I think there's still mileage in Doctor Who tie-ins (as long as you stick to BBC 9th, 10th or 11th Doctor or novelizations of past stories - I wouldn't let a 10-year old loose on New Adventures).

He reads plenty of stuff online, and is fascinated by clever sciency YouTube videos (think Vi Hart here). But he doesn't much read non-fiction books.

I should probably add that I'm not trying to persuade him to read; he reads well, and happily enough. But I want to get to the stage where I can reliably contain his behaviour in boring, adult-oriented situations by giving him a book he hasn't read yet; at the moment it's very hit and miss.

Edited at 2011-03-17 05:54 pm (UTC)

If he can manage Little Brother then I would certainly try him on the Garth Nix Keys to the Kingdom books -- the first is Mister Monday. And though the protagonist is a girl, you might also see if he takes to Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy. Nix and Westerfeld are both strong, fast plotters, Westerfeld especially, and write good, solid young protagonists.

Uglies & it sequels were how we first noticed that J could read anything that wasn't a starter book; he went, quite literally, straight from beginning chapter books like BeastQuest to Uglies. It was as if he hadn't previously realised that a story could be actually absorbing, and I do think that's part of it.

Garth Nix sounds like a good bet. I will consult with my daughter.