Monday, June 13, 2016

5 Great Summer Reads for Teen Boys { #5faves }

  Summer's here and if you're a bibliophile like me
you're not only organizing the quintessential summer activities,
you're also compiling lists of books to reserve at the library 
or order on amazon!
Because nothing says summer like stacks of great reads.
A huge gift of the down time that is July through September
has always been, for my family, literature.
There's no doubt that book lists recommending "the best"
for all ages abound.
Buuuuuuut, here are a few personal favorites that have
 impacted me and my kids.
They are what we call landmark books
in our lives and I'm happy to share them with you! 

~ 1 ~
The Giver
milestone book for me.
It will always be at the top of my list.
Any list. Anywhere. Any time. For any reason. 
Arguably, the book that is THE BASIS for the entire genre of
dystopian, futuristic, apocalyptic literature, movies, television.
This book had it all. And first.
I will unequivocally state that this literary gem is
 The Most Underrated Novel of the 20th Century.

When The Giver was published in 1994, 
I was already a huge Lois Lowry fan.
 I read it with enthusiasm.
And read it.
And read it again.
Then I read it to my class ( and got in heaps of trouble! )
 Dumb ALA and their banned books.
Ah, well, too late. The kids can't  un-read it.
Nor  would  they want to!
I'm still in touch with the "kids" who were in my classes from years ago and
when talk rolls around to books, as it often does,
yup, The Giver is still The One that has made an impact on them..... 

This masterpiece changed me, my students and, I daresay, 
anyone who picked it up and turned a few pages. 
When I became a Mom, I could not WAIT until the boyw were old
enough to sit still long nough to listen to the pure magic within its pages.
It quickly became a book that defines our family literary culture
and the book by which we measure all other books.
The premise, the characters, the plot, the setting, the descriptions, 
the swelling crescendo to the final outcome....
 It's all genius to me. Pure genius.
WHATEVER you may think 
of the book's final scene and however you interpret the characters' situation 
in the last pages...well that's still the source of much debate.
The suppression of the community ....the sameness......
the, well, everything.
Read it.
And if you haven't read it since way back then, read it again! 

Just for fun, here's my son in 2011, at a then-friend's book party.
I guess  you can tell  his fave character??
He was eight and in love with Ms Lowry and this book already.

 BY the way, the movie?
Yeah, cynics argue that the Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift roles
were not significant in the novel. 
That the movie is not as true to the novel as it could be.
They're correct.
 The Giver DVD
 But the film  has Lois Lowry's seal of approval;
so for heaven's sake, let's not condemn it.
We all know the movie is never as good as the book anyway....
but how many of the film versions can boast of the author's involvement?
So go watch it! And enjoy!

 ~ 2 ~
The Hobbit

Honestly, not one of my personal  faves, but it's high on my sons' lists...
 and that's what matters, right?
Tolkien should be an integral part of every childhood, doncha think?
The fantasy setting, the brlliant language. 
Just brilliant. It took my kids and I so so long to read it the first time around,
but honestly, we had to stop and ponder SO many of the descriptions.

It's as if Tolkien waved a magic wand to create words woven together as 
gloriously as he does.
How we all have the same words at our disposal
and yet he forges this gem is just mind boggling.

The movies, by the way?
My family and I disliked all of them. The Hobbit, the LOTR ....all.
But that's us. 
That not even SHerlock and Watson could save The Deolation of Smaug,
was, for us, very disappointing!

Sherlock: Season 1                   Product Details

 ~ 3 ~
The Chronicles of Narnia

I truly feel that my kids' childhoods would not have been "complete" if 
they missed out on Narnia.
I did, as a kid and I'm fine.....but there's just something about the
four siblings, the lamppost, Mr Tumnus and Turkish Delight that sparks
a love of escape into other worlds through literature, isn't there? 
The enchantment C.S. Lewis invites us to,
the allegory that is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,
the parallels to Christianity? 
There is truly no book in the same league.

The books in the series were published and should be read in this order~
 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
  Prince Caspian(1951)
  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  The Silver Chair (1953)
  The Horse and His Boy (1954)
  The Magician’s Nephew(1955)
  The Last Battle (1956)

But is there any "wrong" order to read Lewis? I think not.

 ~ 4 ~
The Hunger Games trilogy

If you have not read yet  the three books in Suzanne Collins's series~
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and  Mockingjay, well, for heaven's sake,
you need to. You really really need to.

The Hunger Games is as gripping to me now as The Giver was, back in the 90s.
Pretty much, my take on the culture of Panem, the Capital and
the Games in general is right here.
But really, I wish for you an epic addition to your reading life
when you crack open these books, if you've not already.
ANd if you have, well, you know what I mean by the need to read these titles.
 As for the movies....well, we watched all of them and they're certainly
not as compelling as the books. But I wouldn't say you
should exactly avoid them.
Read the trilogy and start out with the first movie.
I found the film creators' visions and the manner in which they 
brought the setting and plot to life intriguing!

And because my kids were heavy into The Hunger Games for a while there,
here's the party we held for my son's 11th birthday ...
from invites to decor to costumes and treats 
The parallels to our current political climate
as well as to ancient Roman history, struck such a chord with us
that we really lived this title for quite some time
and through many different lenses.

And here is the Victory  Tour "Boy on Fire"
cake we created for his big day.

My hope  is that The Hunger Games books resonate as strongly
for you as they did for us!

 ~ 5 ~
The Ascendance Trilogy 

Not quite as well known, but our current fave.
My son was given book 1, The False Prince, as a library
book club assignment.
Honestly, we read it together and hated it. 
Until about chapter 6 or 7 when we began to see the potential for 
greatness. Are we happy we stuck with it!
So no sooner did the bookclub meet and discuss, he was then reading
book 2 The Runaway King and Book 3, The Shadow Throne.

Jennifer Nielsen's larger than life characters
from Carthya and Avenia, fictional lands in what we surmise to be medieval times, 
as well as the
unpredictability of  the royals, the pirates and the
kingdom's subjects made this a page turner!
You know what it feels like to finish a book and want MORE?
You've needed sequels too, right?
Well, when you close book 1, you'll be relieved that there is a book 2.

Now, we're all hoping that this series is developed into a movie!!


How do you limit a list of books to just 5?
It's hard...really hard to streamline....

Honorable Mention has to go to~

To KIll a Mockingbird
You know the movie's a must-see~ 
 Gregory Peck rocks Atticus Finch!

  A Separate Peace

Profiles in Courage

A Study in Scarlet

And last but not least~
Of Mice and Men

and for my LOSTie friends~

...because we'll never be able to separate 
the Steinbeck classic and Sawyer.
And if you don't know what I'm talking about~
find out here!

 Gratefully linking this to Carolyn's Open Book party!
Please click over to see what's on everyone's reading lists!

Also happy to join the weekly #5faves linkup
at The Koala Mom and Baby Stylista!
 Please click over to peruse many bloggers' favorites...
and thank you, Bonnie and DeBalino, for hosting!

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

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Until next time,



  1. I've read the first three books on your list and love them too. :) I've seen the Hunger Games movie and should read the books - I know the books are always better than the movie. Have you read the Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant series? I am really enjoying those movies right now - better than Hunger Games, I think. And supposedly the books are even better too. :) Thanks for linking up with #5Faves this week!

    1. Thanks for the rec, Bonnie! My oldest read the Divergent books a few years ago and did enjoy them!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. What a wonderful list, Chris - thank you! Cordie & I loved the Giver and its sequels. I just wish it was available as an audiobook so Jasper could enjoy it too (he's not a fan of read alouds at the moment). I bet he'd love the Ascendance trilogy (and they ARE available on Audible, yay!).

    I shall also put Of Mice and Men on our list - haven't even read that one myself, but that wonderful pic of Sawyer has inspired me. (How I mourned when I got to the end of the box set. Have you seen Josh Holloway in interviews? Swoon ... )

    1. Yes, I do think he's enjoy Ascendance! And yes, I think OMandM should be enjoying a resurgence of interest, given its prominence on Lost, right? Yup, I've seen Josh...seems like a real gentleman in addition to being super cute!

      Thanks Lucinda for the visit!

  3. I've always wanted to get into the Chronicles of Narnia! Thanks for the reminder. Super curious about The Giver too (even the movie :). Thanks so much for linking up and sharing your awesome 5 faves! xx

    1. Oh my, you'll def love Giver and, landmarks books for sure.... ENjoy!!

      Thx for stopping by my friend!!

  4. The Giver is one of my all time faves. Tolkien and Lewis are faves, too. I've steered clear of The Hunger Games and Ascendence because I have an overactive imagination that makes me worry about dystopian futures ;)

    1. Definitely understandable!! WHen you really live the books, that topic can affect you terribly!!

      Thanks for visiting!

  5. Oooooh, three of these are new to our teen boys! Thanks tor these great ideas!

    1. SO happy you found a few new titles!!

      THanks so much for the vsit!

  6. Thanks for linking up! It's so odd that I don't really know ANYTHING about The Giver, yet my son just told me yesterday that his class was going to begin reading it! Same with A Separate Peace. Read it in high school. Haven't thought of it in decades. Second time it's been mentioned this week! Also not a huge fan of The Hobbit. I've never been able to finish it, but my husband and son love it. So much to read, so little time!


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