60 more tried-and-tested books for 13/14-year-old boys

60 more tried-and-tested books for 13/14-year-old boys

60 more tried-and-tested books for 13_14-year-old boys | allisontait.comWelcome to the third post in my ‘tried and tested’ series of great books for boys aged 13 and 14.

You’ll find 21 tried-and-tested books for 13/14-year-old boys here.

And 15 more tried-and-tested books for 13/14-year-old boys (plus 13 expert choices) here.

These two posts are far and away the most searched on my entire blog (and, given I’ve been blogging more 10+ years, that’s saying something). It tells me that people are desperately looking for books that will keep their early teenage boys interested in reading.

So my lists offer books that have been read and recommended by boys this age.

This time, I’m including books that have been read and enjoyed by my youngest son, Book Boy Jr, and you can read his reviews of several of them at bookboy.com.au by following the relevant links.

Section two offers a wide range of suggestions from the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community members who have readers this age. I asked them to nominate the best book that their 13- or 14-year-old boy had read recently, and have also included a few that my older son Book Boy (now 16) enjoyed when he was 14.

The last section offers recommendations of very new releases from Pauline at Riverbend Books. Booksellers see everything and have a good idea of what will appeal to young readers.

Click each book title to find out more about the book, or to buy it from Booktopia* or Riverbend Books.

Of course, boys this age are all very different. Book Boy Jr swings from re-reading Treehouse and Wimpy Kid novels for comfort, to throwing himself into deeper and more interesting reads. Some boys this age have already skipped over YA novels and developed an abiding love for Stephen King (Book Boy was one of these). Some are immersed in graphic novels, others adore non-fiction.

But this list, and the other two linked above, offers a great starting point. Think about your reader and what he is interested in and follow those interests. Don’t worry about what he should be reading, and look at what he likes to read.

The reading is the thing.

Lastly, don’t overlook this list: 20 tried-and-test books for 13/14-year-old girls.

You might find just the right book for your 13/14-year-old boy there.

As Book Boy (then 14) wrote in his piece for Raising Readers: How to nurture a child’s love of books by Megan Daley, ‘I also read books that are ‘for girls’ or aimed at girls (or books with girl protagonists) because a good book is a good book, no matter who the target audience is.’

Offer them everything because you never, ever know what will hit the mark.

Books recommended by Book Boy Jr (13)

Holes by Louis Sacher. (Kid review here.)

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. (Kid review here.)

Rebound by Kwame Alexander (Prequel to The Crossover)

Ghost (Track series) by Jason Reynolds (Kid review here)

JT: The Making Of A Total Legend by Johnathan Thurston (and James Phelps) (Kid review here.)

The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence. (Kid review here.)

The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble

Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson

Book recommendations from the Your Kid’s Next Read community

Feels real/adventure

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

A Song Only I Can Hear by Barry Jonsberg

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

CHERUB (series) by Robert Muchamore (*nb: series content escalates)

Shooting Stars by Brian Falkner

Recon Team Angel (series) by Brian Falkner

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The Wrong Train by Jeremy deQuidt (*nb: horror themes)

Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald

Cloudburst by Wilbur Smith

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

Mike by Andrew Norris

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Science Fiction

Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle series) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Hive (The Vault series) by A.J. Betts

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe series) by Neil Shusterman

The Secret Runners of New York by Mathew Reilly

The Lorien Legacies (series) by PIttacus Lore (James Frey, Jobie Hughes, Greg Boose)

How to Bee by Bren MacDibble

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. (Kid review here)

The Road To Winter (series) by Mark Winter

Renegades (series) by Marissa Meyer

The Enemy by Charlie Higson (nb: themes might feel too current for some readers)

Skyward (series) by Brandon Sanderson

Mortal Engines (series) by Philip Reeve

Non fiction

Adam Spencer’s Numberland by Adam Spencer

Amundsen’s Way: Race To The South Pole by Joanna Grochowicz

Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

Able by Dylan Alcott

Woo’s Wonderful World Of Maths by Eddie Woo

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through The Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Kid review here)

Songs Of A War Boy by Deng Thiak Adut (with Ben McKelvey)

Limelight by Solli Raphael

Young Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe


Ice Wolves (Elementals series) by Amie Kaufman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Summoner Trilogy by Taran Matharu

Section 13 (The Lost Property Office series) by James R. Hannibal

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle series) by Christopher Paolini

The Keys To The Kingdom (series) by Garth Nix

The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

Arkanae (Medoran Chronicles series) by Lynette Noni

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (series) by Christopher Healy

Book recommendations from Pauline at Riverbend Books, Brisbane

Red Day by Sandy Fussell

The Between by David Hofmeyr

Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw

Game On (Gamers #1) by George Ivanoff

The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse

Riverbend Books offers a Standing Orders service. Subscribe and they’ll send a pack of books every quarter. There are lots of different packs for different age groups, and each pack is carefully selected – and reasons given as to why each book is chosen. Find out more here

Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher.

 You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.


*This post contains some affiliate links. See my contact page for details. Riverbend Books links are not affiliate links.

10+ GGSD (Girls Getting Stuff Done) Middle-Grade Reads

10+ GGSD (Girls Getting Stuff Done) Middle-Grade Reads

10+ GGSD (Girls Getting Stuff Done) Middle Grade Reads | allisontait.com “Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.”

Anne Lamott’s quote has always resonated with me for two reasons. One is that you don’t really know how to write a book until you get in there and write one.

The second is that sometimes you don’t even realise what you’ve written until you reach The End – and, even then, sometimes not until someone else tells you.

In the spotlight today is my good friend Allison Rushby, the author of many books for children, YA and adults, who can also relate to this quote.

Discovering what you’ve really written

When The Turnkey was released in 2017, I was overjoyed with the reviews it received – until  one stopped me in my tracks.

The reviewer called The Turnkey “surreptitiously feminist” and I found myself reading her review over and over again, because it made me think A LOT about exactly what it was that I’d written.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the review in question was a lovely one (you can read it in its entirety here). In her review, one of the main points the reviewer makes is that, throughout the novel, Flossie remains in charge.

No older male steps in to tell her what to do, or how to save the day. Rather, she’s put in charge of large groups of men, including soldiers, and these men all happily report back to her as she works out how she’s going to save her cemetery and country.

At the time of reading this eye-opening review, I was finishing up the first draft of The Seven Keys (the second book in The Turnkey series, released this month with Walker Books Australia). I began to ask myself if what I was writing was also “surreptitiously feminist”…

I didn’t have to ponder this question long. There was nothing “surreptitious” about it. By the end of The Seven Keys, almost every key role in London’s twilight world is filled by a female character. The Seven Keys is just flat-out feminist.

When it comes to the portrayal of females in others’ work, I wasn’t surprised to find that a lot of the middle-grade fiction I connect with also has strong female protagonists. I do so love a good go-getting heroine. A girl who GSD (Gets Stuff Done) just like Flossie and her friends do in The Turnkey and The Seven Keys.

With this in mind, I came up with a list of some of my favourite GGSD (Girls Getting Stuff Done) middle-grade/upper-middle-grade reads that I hope you and your little reader love as much as I do.

10+ GGSD (Girls Getting Stuff Done) Middle Grade reads

Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Melody’s body might not be strong (she has cerebral palsy), but her mind is fierce. She’s on a one woman mission to let her classmates know just how smart she really is.

The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley

Ada’s fight for self-worth and a life to call her own is absolutely heartbreaking, as is her carer’s backstory of love and the loss of her partner. Together, these strong-willed characters manage to help each other strive for a happy ever after.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The star of the show is Ivan (a caged gorilla who lives in a shopping mall), but clear-eyed Julia, the custodian’s daughter, is underrated in this tale. Her actions and courage will stay with you for a long time.

The Ateban Cipher series by A.L. Tait

In a world of monks and a stolen illuminated text, it takes a couple of smart girls to get in there, work out what’s going on and begin to set things to rights.

The Family with Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor

Set in 1920s Poland and centred on a very religious Jewish family, this might seem a strange choice, but the historical setting and different way of life provides so much to discuss from a feminist perspective.

Everything I’ve Never Said by Samantha Wheeler

Ava is desperate to communicate with her family, but Rett Syndrome makes this impossible. That is, until some new people in her life allow this strong, driven character to finally show the world her true personality.

The Ratcatcher’s Daughter by Pamela Rushby

It’s 1900 and Issy’s father is a rat-catcher. When he becomes ill, it’s up to Issy to – wait for it – help rid Brisbane of the plague.

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

Lenny’s world is falling apart, but how she deals with this (and, especially, her mother’s abusive partner) shows the depth of her character.

A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

Jena must deny herself food and wrap her limbs in order to stay small so she can slip inside rock crevices and retrieve precious mica. It is only when she begins to question the inconsistencies in her world that she can be set free.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia’s immigrant parents are doing it tough and so is Mia, who tends the desk at the Calivista motel while they clean rooms. She might be small, but this tenacious heroine packs a lot of “I can do it!” action into one book.

Allison Rushby is the author of more than 20 books. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Seven Keys, is the sequel to the award-winning The Turnkey. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.







Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher.

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’d like more book suggestions for your young reader, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community.

*This post contains affiliate links. Click the title of each book to find out more about it or to purchase from Booktopia.

The Book Of Secrets + The Book Of Answers out now in the US!

The Book Of Secrets + The Book Of Answers out now in the US!

Out now in the USA: The Ateban Cipher series by A.L. TaitWelcome to 2019! I hope you’ve had a fantastic and very restful holiday break.

I’ve spent a few weeks away from my blog and everything that goes with it, and I confess to feeling much refreshed by the virtual vacation.

But I’m back at my desk today and ready to do some serious editing (or, let’s face it, as ready as I ever am to face editing…)

While I was off at the beach, however, some exciting things have been happening.

My two Ateban Cipher novels, The Book Of Secrets and The Book of Answers, are now both available in the United States through Kane Miller, the fab people who have already brought The Mapmaker Chronicles series to US and Canadian readers.

The Book Of Secrets (Ateban Cipher 1) by A.L. Tait out now in the USA

The covers may be different  but the epic adventure story, about the secrets of the mysterious coded manuscript known as The Ateban Cipher, remains the same.

As does the dedication in The Book Of Secrets.

Dedication from The Book Of Secrets by A.L. Tait

You can find out more about the books and purchase them directly here on the publisher’s website

I hope that US readers will take Gabe, Merry, Gwyn and the rest of the gang to their hearts in the way that Australian readers have done (you can read the Goodreads reviews here and here)! Thanks for all your support.

Looking for the Australian editions of The Ateban Cipher? You’ll find them here.

100+ gift book ideas for kids of all ages

100+ gift book ideas for kids of all ages

100+ book gift ideas for kids of all ages | allisontait.comToday the very last of my 2018 book lists was published by Vanessa over at Style & Shenanigans, so it seems a very good time to collate them all in one place for easy reference (as much for me, as for you…)

So, here it is, the ultimate list of my recent book lists. Hundreds of books for readers aged from babies to teens.

If you’re looking for a new read for your kids for Christmas, for the holidays, or at any time of year, bookmark this page for easy reference. Click the post title to visit the full list.

Your Kid’s Next Read: Recommended reading lists for kids 10+, 12+, 14+ (2018 edition)

15 more tried-and-tested books for 13/14-year-old boys (+ 13 expert choices)

5 picture book picks for Christmas

10 spooky (or scary) middle-grade books for Halloween

40 YA books for tweens (+ 25 middle-grade books that feel like YA)

23 newish books for tweens by Australian women

21 book gifts for reluctant readers they won’t be able to resist

30 books by Australian authors to give to kids this Christmas

30 (more) brilliant books for girls this Christmas

The best kids’ books for Christmas

I’m sure you’ll find the perfect book for your young reader on one of these lists!

Need more? You’ll find another 100+ book ideas for your young reader here, in my round-up on last year’s book lists (great books remain great books, no matter what year they’re published, after all…)

If you’re after specific recommendations for a very particular kind of reader, why not join my Facebook community Your Kid’s Next Read, where you’ll find 5000+ parents, teachers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and other interested parties all ready to help with recommendations? We’d love to see you there.

Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m the author of two epic adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and you can find out more about me here.

Both The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher are great for kids aged 9+ and you can find out more about them here

40 YA Books for Tweens (+ 25+ MG books that feel like YA)

40 YA Books for Tweens (+ 25+ MG books that feel like YA)

40 YA Books for Tweens (+ 25+ MG books that feel like YA) | allisontait.comAside from ‘what to read after Harry Potter?’, the most frequent question that come up in the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook group is this one: ‘Can anyone suggest YA fiction suitable younger readers?’

While there is an entire ‘middle-grade’ (8-12) section of the bookshelf available, many younger readers (tweens), particularly advanced readers, want to move up. They want to read what older kids are reading and, often, they’ve read the library dry of the books deemed appropriate for their age group.

They’re hungry readers, and parents are often at a loss as to what to give them to read next – because, let’s face it, just because you can read a book, doesn’t necessarily mean that now is the best time to read it. It’s not just that YA fiction can feature themes and subject matter that’s just not suitable for tweens, but that books are best enjoyed when you’re ready for them.

Go in too early with a book that you love and your young reader may put it aside after a chapter or two, and never, ever pick it up again.

So, because I am the helpful sort, I have canvassed not only the YKNR group members (made up of nearly 4000 parents/booksellers/librarians/publishing professionals/teachers/grandparents/authors), but other interested parties (authors, booksellers, librarians) to come up with this list* of YA books that they would recommend for tween readers.

I’ve cheated a bit (not really but it sounds intriguing, right?) by splitting the list into two sections – what I would call Proper YA (aimed at readers 14+) and then a section that is Technically Middle-Grade But With A YA Feel. It might be that your younger tween is just looking for something in the latter category that feels more grown-up than what they’ve been reading. Proper YA has been divided into categories,  but other than that there’s no particular order.

As with any book recommendation, you know your child best, so be sure to read the book’s description closely to make sure it will be suitable for your particular reader – as noted below, some series get darker as they progress, so look beyond book #1, and check with your local bookseller or librarian regarding any themes or storylines you may be wondering about!

Good luck – and do join us over in Your Kid’s Next Read if you have any questions about these or other books for your young readers! 



The Other Side Of Summer by Emily Gale “Had some mature themes but nothing inappropriate for the younger readers.” – YKNR Member

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Spurt by Chris Miles

Shooting Stars by Brian Falkner

How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather (Kid review)

The Wonder Of Us by Kim Culbertson (Kid review)

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

From The Cutting Room of Barney Kettle by Kate De Goldi

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Blueback by Tim Winton

The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham (Suggested by Una (12))

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

Pink by Lili Wilkinson


I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

The Fall by Tristan Bancks

Missing by Sue Whiting (Kid review)

A little bit romantic

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Two Summers by Aimee Friedman. “A really good book that provides a gentle intro to this theme.” – YKNR Member

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell “Is sweet… Some more serious stuff touched on but not too heavy.” – YKNR member (Kid review (mini))

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Unrequited by Emma Grey

Fantasy/Sci Fi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (series)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (series)

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson (series)

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (series)

Obernewtyn by Isabelle Carmody (series)

Tiffany Aching by Terry Pratchett (series)

Arkanae by Lynette Noni (series) “Recommended for tweens/teens done with Harry Potter. The themes get darker as it progresses but not too much that they cause problems. It’s not overly romantic and has a great focus on adventure and friendship.” – YKNR member (Kid review)

Contagion by Teri Terry “I’ve read the first book in the series. I loved her ‘Slated’ series too but it got darker by the third book.” – YKNR member

Pandora Jones by Barry Jonsberg

The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

Little bit scary

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Kid review)


The Other Side Of Truth by Beverley Naidoo

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Septys “Perfect intro to World War Two – historical fiction without language or storylines that are too advanced.” – YKNR member

Once series by Morris Gleitzman. ‘It’s in hot demand with the Year 6s at my primary school library – girls and the boys.” – YKNR member

Technically middle-grade but might be just what your YA-seeking tween is looking for

The Secrets We Share by Nova Weetman “The sequel to Nova Weetman’s brilliant The Secrets We Keep – Clem starts high school in this book.” – YKNR Member

My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Quincy Jordan by Jen Storer

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Lily Alone by Jacqueline Wilson

Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy

Stay Well Soon by Penny Tangey

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter

Survival Strategies Of The Almost Brave by Jen White

Drama by Reina Telegemeier

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes “Deals with a first realised crush that doesn’t turn out the way she hopes.” – YKNR Member

Parvana by Deborah Ellis

A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon “The next level up for Lemony Snicket fans.” – YKNR member

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

The Timeslip series by Belinda Murrell

Pennies For Hitler by Jackie French “Really opens up tricky themes in sensitive ways.” – YKNR member

The Family With Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor “There’s lots to talk/think about from an historic and a feminist perspective.” – YKNR member

A Night Divided by Jennifer A Nielsen

Nevermoor (The Trials Of Morrigan Crow) by Jessica Townsend

The Girl Who Brought Mischief by Katrina Nannestad

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

I am Malala (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick

AL Tait cartoon by Mick Elliott

Image Credit: Mick Elliot

Are you new here? Welcome! If your middle-grade reader loves epic adventure stories, be sure to check out my two series: The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher – click the title links to find out more.

Tweens who like mystery stories will love my brand new series, the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. Check out book #1 THE FIRE STAR here.


Other booklists you might also find useful:

24 books for tween boys with ‘nothing to read’

31 books for tween girls with ‘nothing to read’

21 tried-and-tested books for 13/14-year-old boys

100+ great books for your young reader

YKNR: Recommended reading lists for kids 10+, 12+, YA for Tweens

Jazzy’s Diamond Dozen (12 favourite reads from a kid book reviewer)

*As with all my book lists, if you click on the title it will take you to online bookstore Booktopia, where you can read the blurb and purchase the book if you like the sound of it (disclosure: this will result in a small commission to me at no extra charge to you). International visitors will find most of these titles in either paperback or ebook form on Amazon. Australian authors are denoted with a •

Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here), which is perfect for girls 10-14.

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

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