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Books for 12 Year Old Boys

Updated on April 7, 2014

The Best Books for 12 Year Old Boys

Are you looking for top books for 12 year old boys. This article features lots of suggestions of books from all kinds of genres including science fiction, fantasy, manga and anime, factual books, sports books, biographies, true life stories and more.

Obviously the best books for 12 year old boys will depend upon their interests, reading ability and personality. The article aims to give suggestions for reluctant readers as well as more the more advanced. Even if you don't find the exact book your looking for, it should get you thinking and give you more ideas.

The article also features lots of ideas to encourage 12 year old boys to read or read more and there are lots of further resources to give you more ideas of some excellent books.

Read on for popular and good books for 12 year old boys

Bestselling Books and Authors for 12 Year Old Boys

If you're not sure what's currently popular with 12 year old boys, it's worth checking out bestseller lists to see what other children are buying and reading.

One resource to check is the New York Times Bestseller Lists. Check out the bestselling books for middle grade and young adult. They give age ranges for each of the books too.

As well as giving you specific books, it also give you ideas of authors to check out. One of the bestselling authors on the young adult list at the moment is James Patterson. James Patterson writes for both adults and kids and his children's books are extremely popular.

Check out one below.

It's also worth checking the bestselling lists on amazon as their lists are updated more frequently.

Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill
Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill

This book is one from the bestselling Middle School Series.

Follow the hero Rafe Khatchadorian who s going to Summer school camp. He makes friends with his troublemaking cabin mates and bunkmate, a boy nicknamed Booger-Eater, who puts up with endless teasing from the other kids. Rafe soon realizes there's more to a person than a nickname, though, and Booger-Eater might be the kind of friend you want on your side!

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1)
The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1)

The School Library Association recommends The Hunger Games for kids in year 7 and up but beware it can be a brutal in places.

It tells the story of the USA in the future. It's been divided into 12 different districts and has been hit by famine and war.

Eacn year two teenage participants from each district are selected to take part in The Hunger Games. The story's main character 16 year old Katniss is cast into the televised games where she must fight for her life in harsh terrain against the other contestants.


Fun Books

The main thing about reading for kids is that the reading must be fun. This will encourage them to pick up more books. There are some great factual and fun books that many 12 year old boys will love. Check some out below.

Time for Kids: Big Book of Why - 1,001 Facts Kids Want to Know (TIME for Kids Big Books)
Time for Kids: Big Book of Why - 1,001 Facts Kids Want to Know (TIME for Kids Big Books)

Find out the answers of all the questions you wanted to ask.

Why do we have eyebrows? What's a black hole and what happens if you fall into one? What's the fastest a human is capable of running? Why do wet fingers stick to metal in the freezer? Where is the deepest point on Earth? And lots more.

Guinness World Records 2014
Guinness World Records 2014

Lots of new and updated records. Lots of new photos in this new edition.

The Big Book of Boy Stuff
The Big Book of Boy Stuff

Lots of stuff to get 12 year old boys investigating and active.

Features chapters on gross stuff, magic, emergencies, fireworks, games, experiments, jokes, activities, insults, pets, flying things, and duct tape!

Lots of fun and interesting project.

Top 10 of Everything 2013 (Top Ten of Everything)
Top 10 of Everything 2013 (Top Ten of Everything)

More than 700 updated lists revealing exactly who or what is the best, worst, richest, deadliest, biggest, or baddest of almost everything under the sun! Featuring over 7,000 of the most intriguing facts about history, science, sports, music, movies, nature, people, and places, this fascinating full-color resource will astonish, inform, entertain, and educate.

Ripley's Special Edition 2014 (Ripley's Believe It Or Not Special Edition)
Ripley's Special Edition 2014 (Ripley's Believe It Or Not Special Edition)

This book is full of crazy (and gross) facts and amazing pictures which will fascinate boys of this age.

To give you an idea, it includes the kitten who came out an exhaust pipe, the “mystery marbles” that fell from the England sky, the bus inside of which you can ride your bike.


How To Find the Best Books for 12 Year Old Boys

This article has some great ideas to get you started on books for 12 year old boys but if you can't find anything here, there are some great resources on the Internet and around you to find more great books.

We have already mentioned the New York Times Bestseller lists and this is a great place to start.

Library - the library is a great place as you can try books and authors out without having to waste any money. It may also be well worth asking the librarian if they have any ideas as they will be familiar with the kinds of books other 12 year olds borrow.

Friends and Family - Friends and family may be able to offer suggestions of books they enjoyed or their own children enjoyed aged 12. They may also have kids of the same age and be able to suggest books and ideas other people have borrowed.

Amazon - It's worth exploring the amazon website as they have tons of reviews of the books you may be interested in to give you an idea if they are any good. You can also read samples of books that interest you. Additionally there are bestselling lists and editor recommendations of books as well as a selection of top books chosen every month.

Teachers - Don't forget teachers! Teachers teach 12 year olds every year so they should know books other kids have enjoyed.

Other websites - There are absolutely tons of websites to give you ideas. Just doing a few google searches will point you in the right direction.

One good website is - there are tons of book reviews and you can search via all kinds of categories including middle grade.

Royal Ranger's Apprentice Series

The Royal Ranger's Apprentice is a series of fantasy books. The author John Flannagan originally wrote the them as a series of short stories for his son to get him interested in reading. Ten years later, he decided to publish them as a book.

Book 1 is featured below.

The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1)
The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1)

Its not too far in the future and the USA has collapsed due to drought, famine and war. It has been replaced by a state called Panem which is divided into 2 district. Every year, two students from each district are selected to compete in the Hunger games when the object of the game is to eliminate the other contestants. This story is compelling, enthralling and will keep the reader on edge. Not just for 12 year old boys, adults and older kids will love it too.


Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers

In the age of video games, tablets and 24 hour media its often hard to get 12 year old boys to read rather than participating in more screen time. If the 12 year old you know is a reluctant reader here are a few strategies to encourage them to read.

Offer a wide range of reading material - Reading doesn't have to be reading a classic novel. Some boys prefer non fiction, visual books, graphic novels, magazines or other reading material. If they are reading they are improving their literacy and increasing their vocabulary.

Make sure they have access to books and reading material - This may sound obvious but not everybody follows this advice. Make sure that there are lots of books in your home that 12 year old boys can pick up if they want to. It does't just have to be books, buy magazines that they may be interested in. Even if they are reading a video games magazine or sports stats book, it will improve their reading ability.

Take them to a bookstore to choose a book - Treat your 12 year old to a book store trip. Let them have a certain amount they are free to spend on a book and choose it themselves. This will encourage them to find something they really like.

Start them on a series - If you do choose a book for them, choose one that is the first in a series. Therefore if they like it, they will just read the rest in the series without you having to nag them to read!

Amazon Best Book Lists from 2013

Amazon have a best book list for the age group between 9 and 12 for 2013.

Escape from Mr Lemoncello's library has been voted one of amazon's best books for this age group.

It's a mix between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night at the Museum.

The author Chris Grabenstein has already been a co-author a New York Times Bestselling Book I Funny with James Patterson.

Stormbreaker - Graphic Novels

Graphic novels often appeal to 12 year old boys because they are very visual in nature. They can often be quite good choice for more reluctant readers.

Stormbreaker: the Graphic Novel (Alex Rider)
Stormbreaker: the Graphic Novel (Alex Rider)

The graphic novel is about 14 year old Alex Rider who lived with his Uncle until he died suddenly.

Alex discovers that his recently deceased Uncle was in fact a spy.

Alex is recruited to finish the mission that his Uncle never did.



Manga are comic styled books which tends to be associated with Japanese comics and orginated from there although now there is mange from other countries too. The books are often published in a Japanese format, which means the books seems to be printed backwards with the front cover at the back. This is how manga is published in Japan and many publishers like to keep this original format.

Manga is getting increasingly popular with 12 year olds and teenagers. They are often attracted by their visual comic style and compelling storylines.

If you are a 12 year old boy who is not really interested in the classic fiction or factual books mentioned in this article, reading manga can give you a love of reading that you never realised you had. You'll be clambering to read more and more. Check out some ideas below.

Naruto, Vol. 1: Uzumaki Naruto
Naruto, Vol. 1: Uzumaki Naruto

Naruto must pass the difficult test to enter the Ninja Academy; deal with his rival, Konohamaru; and learn to get along with his new classmates. Assigned to a three-person team, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura must survive a brutal test against their upper-level ninja instructor, Kakashi. Only two can pass - will Naruto be one of them?


More Websites and Resources

Here are a few more websites and resources to consider.

More Science Fiction and Fantasy

Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare
Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare

Cirque Du Freak tells the story of Darren and his friend Steve who go to the travelling freak show visiting their town with sights such as the snake-boy, the wolf-man, and Larten Crepsley and his giant spider, Madame Octa. They sneak in through broken windows to the theater and end up entangling themselves with vampires and spiders.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 25th Anniversary Edition
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 25th Anniversary Edition

Join Douglas Adams's hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway.

The Merchant of Death (Pendragon)
The Merchant of Death (Pendragon)

14 year old Bobby Pendragon is a good student, has a great family, good friends and was lucky enought to have kissed the most perfect girl. But there's something that Bobby never knew about himself, and is about to find out. He's destined to save the world. on an alternate dimension called Denduron. Meanwhile his friends are trying to find Bobby...

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1)
Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1)

Twelve-year-old Artemis is a millionaire, a genius-and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories-they're dangerous!


Books on Hobbies and Interests

Reading should be fun and many 12 year old boys won't be interested in reading fiction but they may be interested in picking up a book about their favorite sport, hobby or interest. Books that may not seem to offer any literacy value can in fact be teaching a 12 year old book a lot about using a book for research, using the content page properly and learning how to use an index. It can get them used to handling and using books. Books on statistics can be excellent at improving maths skills and literacy. Learn how to read between the lines and pull out statistics that matter and are interesting. Not all reading skills are about pulling apart the plot of a book.

Ideas include books about basketball, skateboarding, video games or cooking.

Reader Recommendations

There have been a few suggestions in the comments book below of some books 12 year old boys may like. Here is a suggestion from one reader.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Jeremy Fink receives a box the Summer he turns 13 with a message from his deceased father - "the meaning of life - for Jeremy Fink on his 13th birthday".

However, there is no key to open the box so Jeremy and his best friend LIzzie undertake a mission to find one. Their journey takes them across the city of New York where they meet all kinds of characters who give them insights into science, religion, art, friendship, and family.

A book that will make you consider the personal and bigger meaning of life.


Feedback on Top Books for 12 Year Old Boys

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Some of the magazines we love for the kids are:

      Boy's Life

      Ranger Rick

      Your Big Backyard

      Derrek (

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Patterson writes some great kid's books. Our grandson is more of a magazine guy. He likes Zoobooks, we got for him last Christmas from

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      @anonymous: mee to it was one of my favorites

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      @anonymous: i like books guys!!!!! har-hardy-har-har!!!!!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I really like Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass and think 12 year old boys would enjoy it. Also, When You Reach Me (Newbery) by Rebecca Stead would appeal to this age group as well. There's also the beautiful classic: Where the Red Fern Grows which is about a boy who works up to save money for a pair of Coon Hounds. Better have some tissues on hand for that one. That reminds me too of another classic: Old Yeller which again is about a bond between a boy and his dog. Loved all these books and 12 year old boys would love them too (and girls also!).

    • Michelllle profile image


      5 years ago

      Great list. My son loves Percy Jackson.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @inbarshahar: Rona is moving to a new city

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very nice stuff. i also released a book for a kids, have a look on it

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      was a great book. there was a bit of mystery, there was a reasonable amount of action, and it was pretty realistic for the most part. but at times it could get a bit confusing when the author switched from time period to time period. But it was still a great book. I read it when I was in fifth grade, and I could still read it now. : )

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Holes is a good book i loved it age 12

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @OhMe: My son loved it (also a good movie).

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I will have to ask my grandson about Holes. That sounds like one that he would definitely enjoy. He recently read Bystander which I also read and created a lens about. I appreciate your Top Books for 12 Year Old Boys

    • profile image


      6 years ago



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