9 Books to Enjoy With or Without Your Teen

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Great reading this coming summer!

One thing that my youngest son and I have done is joined a Cool Mom and Son Book Club. He would completely disagree that we are cool moms, as would his friends that are included in this group. However, the other moms and I think that we are cool, and we have gotten our boys to read a great number of books, approximately one a month for over a year. 

This just goes to show, the power of parenting can manage anything! This has been such a fun group of women and their great sons.  As a group, we gather at each other’s houses once a month for snacks and drinks.  The boys love the food, and we manage to get them to talk if even for a little while about the book for the month. 

Some of the moms already knew each other from other places, but we have all become friends through the struggle to get our boys to read more!  

My son complains almost constantly about this, but I am able to get him to read a chapter or two most days which I consider a win.  If we weren’t doing this together, I’m not sure that I would be able to get him to read at all.  So, thank you to my girlfriends that wanted to start our Cool Mom and Son Book Club with me!  *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means , at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

The following list is from our book club as well as other books that I think you and/or your teen would enjoy.

The Thing About Jellyfish-Benjamin 

This book was great!  My nieces recommended this to me, and I am so glad!  It is about loss, friendship, middle school, and coming of age.  The main character, Suzy, has tragically lost her best friend to an accident.  She sets out to prove that it wasn’t. 

This book gripped me from the beginning, and I could feel this girl’s pain.  It brought back all the memories of not fitting in during those awkward years.  Anyone will enjoy this book as Suzy discovers answers and learns new things throughout the story.

The Language of Flowers– Diffenbaugh 

This book was such a fun read!  Victoria is a girl who has come up through the foster care system.  She discovers that she has a talent for helping people with the flowers that she chooses for them.  The whole Victorian language of flowers is something that she learns and puts to good use, and this was so interesting to read about. 

As she begins to really live her life, she meets a stranger, or is he?  There is mystery, love, and anguish.  Who can she trust, and will this stranger be able to help her heal?   

The Memory of Things– Polisner

This was one of our book club choices.  Both moms and sons liked this one.  The opening scene is NYC on 9/11.  The main character, Kyle, is headed home in the aftermath of the destruction.  He comes across a mysterious girl with costume wings on her back who is unable to talk.  So, he brings her home until he can figure out what to do with her. 

As the story unfolds, every other chapter is told from his point of view and then hers.  She has no memory of anything, and that makes everything more difficult.  A great story of friendship, love, pain and disaster.  

The Graveyard Book– Gaiman

This was another book club book.  It was a bit strange, but I enjoyed it.  I don’t typically like fantasy, but Neil Gaiman is an artist worth checking out!  A toddler escapes death in the beginning of the story and escapes to a nearby graveyard where he is taken in by the resident ghosts. 

It is another coming of age story with a few different twists.  Nobody Owens grows up in the graveyard safe as long as he stays in the confines of the gates…

Long Way Down– Reynolds  This was our most recent Cool Mom and Son Book Club book.  It was so different and really good!  It was written in narrative verse, all different types throughout the book.  The main character, Will, is a fifteen year old black boy is deciding whether or not to kill the man who has just killed his brother. 

The entire novel takes place during one ride down the elevator.  It is such an interesting and thought-provoking look at gun violence.  We all really liked this book too!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas-Boyne

This book is so painful.  The story is so compelling, but heart wrenching.  Two boys from very different circumstances become friends.  One day they make a decision with terrible consequences.  I knew this would probably have a sad ending, but I’m so glad that I read it.  

The Leaving– Altebrando

This was such a good book!  Another of our book club books, that again, we all really liked.  This is a mysterious book that really has you guessing.  Five teenagers show up at the beginning of the story.  They have been missing for eleven years.  There was one more teen who should have showed up with them. 

Where is the missing teen?  Where have they been all of these years?  How did they get back?  This is the story of these teens and the families that they had left behind.  There are plot twists, memories lost, and murky details.  Very suspenseful and gripping, as the truth becomes known or is it truth?  

 

The Book Thief– Zusak

Liesel is living in Nazi Germany in 1939.  She will do anything to get her hands on books to read.  The story is narrated by Death, and he has a lot to say during these years.  This story will grip with with wonderful characters and a story line that you won’t want to stop reading.  I loved this book for so many reasons!

Beautiful Boy– Sheff

This is a tough one.  I can’t say that I loved this, but I am so glad that I read it.  Written by a father with love for his son who got addicted to meth.  Prior to the addiction, his son, Nic was a star athlete, good student, and beloved older brother of two siblings.  Things spiral out of control.  The father retraces all of their steps to see where this all started and to try to figure out WHY?

I just have to add one more that I just finished for our next book club meeting.  I could not put it down!

When the War is Over -May

This story is based on true events.  The author’s grandfather was 15 in 1944 Germany.  He is swept into the war as Germany is fighting a losing battle.  He hates Hitler, yet finds himself fighting for Germany against Russia.  Lots of action, and a bit of a romance.  

 

I encourage you to start your own Cool mom and son (or daughter) book club! 

I know that I am always on the lookout for a great new book to read.  I hope some of you are motivated to start your own Cool Mom and Teen Book Club!  We sure enjoy ours, and I think that deep down somewhere the boys do too, they’re just too cool to admit it!

I will write a post soon on how we started this club.  So, if you have any specific questions post them in the comments!

Other good books to read:  6 Books to Read If You’re the Parent of a Teenager, 8 Books to We Recommend for Great Summer Reading

 

 

11 thoughts on “9 Books to Enjoy With or Without Your Teen

  1. First off, congratulations on getting your son to join a book club and read with you!!! Second, I am adding these books to my amazon list. Thanks for the recommendations. They look awesome. (I have read “Book Thief” and loved it! All of my kids have read it as school assignments.)

    • Laura, it was not his choice and he complains daily. But, I’m sticking to my guns! Reading made a huge difference in our older 2 boys high school and college experiences. The son who read is having a much easier time! My youngest will not have a choice!

    • You should! And, it’s not a choice! We all feel strongly that they need to be reading, so this has been a fun way (even for the boys!) to get this accomplished!

  2. No kids here but I think I’ll be reading a couple of these. As a 9/11 survivor myself, I got shivers reading the description of The Memory of Things. And I think The Book Thief is something I’d been interested in reading at some point in the past but then just forgot about (so many books in the world!) and I’m glad you reminded me of that.

    And I loved The Graveyard Book.

    Have you tried any Matt de la Peña? I work in children’s publishing and I ran across his Mexican WhiteBoy on the giveaway shelf shortly after a sales rep friend was raving about it. I don’t think I would’ve picked it up on my own because I’m not particularly into baseball, but it’s way more than a sports story.

    • Thank you for the recommendation! I love books, and sharing these with my son has been really great! I will look up that book, and maybe it can be our next pick!

    • Thank you! It is a fun group of kids and moms. We really have had a great time picking out and reading the books.

  3. My kids are grown, but what an amazing mother you must be. Most of us would never think about handling it this way I’m very impressed. I’m also pinning this because my niece comes and stays with me every summer and we always do basically the same thing but not with others. We agree on 6 books every summer and then we hang out, read, & talk about it. She lives a hard life when she’s not with me so I try at every opportunity to show her what education & literacy can do for a person.

    • Thank you for the compliment! Being a former teacher, this was my solution to the problem. I wish I would have done this with my older two boys. One is a reader on his own, and the other is not. It makes such a difference in their lives when they are good readers! You are a good aunt to do this with your niece! Good luck picking some books:)

  4. Yes, this is awesome. Reading novels and also non-fiction provides a basis for TALKS. Our best times raising our
    children were dinner table conversations. And if you can’t make it happen then, you can always find five minutes to ask “Where are you in the book? or What do you think about (a character’s) choices? Great way to converse. To also find out what your children’s are thinking.

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