If your teens are on the hunt for good summer reads, here's a list of Clean Books for Teen Boys (and girls!). We've read them all and they're great!
Every summer when school gets out, people start asking for good books that their teens will want to read, especially their teen boys. I don't necessarily believe in "books for boys" and "books for girls." You like what you like. That being said, I can see why The Princess Academy may not immediately grab your 14 year old teen boy's attention.
What I have here is a list of books for your teen boys, approximately ages 12-16. But while they are books that are likely to appeal to boys, they are not just books for boys so feel free to share them with your teen girls too.
They're all Clean Books, meaning No Sex, No Drugs, No Language, so you can feel comfortable with even your youngest teens reading them on their own. There are a variety of genres here and I've indicated the different genres for each book in the descriptions below so your teen can pick a book that fits his interests.
There's a little bit of everything here - from Adventure, to Fantasy, to Realistic Fiction - so there will be something for everyone.
All of the clean books for teen boys here are linked to Amazon (Note: Amazon links in this post are affiliate links). If you scroll to the bottom, you can also Download a PRINTABLE READING LIST that you can take to the library and book store.
Have any questions about specific books? Just let me know in the comments and I'll get back to you!
If you find a book on this list that you love, I'd really love to hear about it! Come back and tell me what you think.
Clean Books for Teen Boys
Pathfinder Trilogy: Pathfinder; Ruins; Visitors
Rigg is a teenager with a special skill that allows him to see the paths of people's pasts. His father is the only person who knows about this unique talent, so when his father unexpectedly dies Rigg is shocked to find out that his father had been keeping a lot of secrets from him. Now he has to figure out how to use his skill to change the past.
This is my favorite series by Orson Scott Card. Excellent Science Fiction Fantasy.
The Crossover (The Crossover Series)
This Realistic Fiction book is FANTASTIC! It’s best enjoyed as an audiobook because it’s written in verse. It’s about a middle school basketball star and his twin brother. It’s a fast paced read and will turn even the most skeptical boy into a fan of this poetic style. Give it a listen – great for car trips this summer!
Mark of the Thief Trilogy
This Fantasy Adventure Trilogy is set in ancient Rome where Nic is forced to work as a slave in the mines. One day Nic is forced into a sealed cavern where he finds an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to Caesar himself. It contains powerful magic that should only belong to the gods, but when Nic gets his hands on it, the adventure begins. Fast paced, full of magic, and so much fun to read. Also, really great on audio.
The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy)
A Classic Adventure story that follows 15 year old Sage, an orphan and gifted thief who has managed to survive on his own since his parents’ deaths. But a civil war is brewing in the kingdom and a nobleman with a treacherous plot is kidnapping orphans. When Sage unwillingly becomes a part of an evil plan, he has to compete for his life. He’ll either end up in the palace or dead. Read and find out. But be warned, these are hard to put down once you get going. Also, great on audio
Peak (A Peak Marcello Adventure)
This 3 book series is Realistic Fiction and Survival Adventures of the best kind. Peak is a 14 year old boy who loves to climb, but when he gets busted for climbing skyscrapers in New York City, he’s sent to live with his estranged father who runs a climbing company in Thailand
But it’s not all fun and games. Peak is expected to become the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. It’s an action-packed adventure that’s impossible to put down.
The Giver Quartet
This 4 book series begins in a dystopian community with 12 year old Jonas, who has just been called to become the village’s “receiver.” As he comes to understand the dark secrets behind his community, he realizes everything has to change. Each of the books in the series is a little different, but the fourth book ties them all together wonderfully. Really great on audio. Also, after reading the book watch the movie The Giver – I was so pleased with how well done it was
This is Realistic Fiction with a Fantasy Twist. Float tells the story of Emerson who is being sent to a government mandated summer camp for RISK kids. Emerson has a RISK factor (Reoccurring incidents of the strange kind) which causes him to float, uncontrollably. So far, his RISK factor has made his life miserable. He’s also pretty sure a mandated camp full of RISK kids is going to be pretty awful too.
What Emerson doesn’t know is that he’s about to have more fun than he can even imagine, make the best friends he’s ever had, and find himself in the most dangerous and complicated situation he’s ever encountered. It’s quite a summer! In fact, it’s quite a read! We all LOVED this book at our house – an instant hit!
My Side of the Mountain
This Adventure/Survival book is a classic for a reason. It’s really a must read! Sam Gribley is tired of living in crowded New York City so he runs away to the Catskill mountains where there’s no shortage of solitude. But now, he has to figure out how to survive.
The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co.)
This 5 Book Series will appeal to the ghost story lovers. This Mystery Fantasy series is set in London where there has been an epidemic of deadly ghosts for more than 50 years. Anthony Lockwood runs the smallest and most ramshackle Psychic Investigation Agency in the city, but he’s convinced that they will soon be recognized as the best ghost hunters in the city. (If you want to listen on audio book, it’s read with the most fantastic British accents)
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)
There are 4 books in this series (The Wingfeather Saga) and they begin in a cottage on the edge of a dark sea of darkness. This is Fantasy Adventure packed full of epic fun, impish humor, and courageous heroes. The subtitle really says it all: Adventure, Peril, Lost Jewels, and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree. What are toothy cows? Where is Skree? Read it and find out.
The Wednesday Wars
This is the fantastic Realistic Fiction. It’s 1967 and seventh grader Holling Hoodhood has a problem. His teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him and because she hates him she makes him stay in on Wednesday afternoons to read Shakespeare. At least that’s the way Holling sees it. There’s also a bully demanding cream puffs, the Vietnam War, and Holling’s sister who wants to be a flower child. This book is laugh out loud funny, but it will also give you a lot to think about. It’s one of my most favorite books
This 5 book Fantasy series has been a favorite at our house since we read them for the first time a few years ago. SO GOOD! Kendra and her brother Seth are sent to stay with their grandparents for the summer. What they don’t realize is that their grandparents are actually caretakers on a very secret magical preserve that is home to some very dangerous magical creatures. By the time they realize what’s going on, the adventure is already well underway
This Fantasy Adventure trilogy is fantastic! Henry York is sent to live with his Aunt, Uncle and cousins that he hasn’t seen in years. They put him up in the attic bedroom where he hears a mysterious thumping in the wall in behind his bed. One morning, he sees a doorknob poking through the plaster on the wall. Curious, he begins to chip away at the plaster. Underneath, he discovers a wall of doors. 99 doors! Henry’s life will never be the same again.
There are 5 books in this Adventure Survival series (Brian’s Saga). Brian is on his way to Canada to visit his father when his plane crashes and he finds himself alone, stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only his clothing and a hatchet. If you love a good survival story, this is a must read classic.
Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising Series)
This 5 book Fantasy series has become a classic for a reason! It begins in an attic in Cornwall when 3 siblings discover an ancient map. It ends in the Welsh hills with a final bid to stop the dark from rising and taking over the earth. It’s a fantastic series from start to end!
Okay for Now
This Historical Fiction / Realistic Fiction book is a young adult masterpiece. With the Vietnam war as the backdrop, this book tells the story of Doug Swieteck, whose family has just moved to a small town in upstate New York. He has to figure out where he fits in, how to make new friends, and how to be himself after growing up with a neglectful father and two cruel older brothers. There’s a lot of humor mixed in, but this book will definitely make your heart grow a few sizes.
This Mystery Adventure begins the night Tom’s school teacher comes to dinner and ask’s Tom’s mother to marry him. Tom slips out of the house to a raft on a nearby stream. Lulled by the peaceful waters, Tom accidentally falls asleep. When he finally wakes up, the adventure begins. There’s a mystery, a buried treasure, and a lot of exciting action.
The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice Series)
If you like this Fantasy Adventure series, you’re in luck, because there are 11 books! You’ll have plenty to read for weeks to come! 15 year old Will is small for his age, but he’s been chosen to be the Ranger’s apprentice. The Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom, highly trained warriors, and a battle is brewing. This is a classic Robin Hood type story, with sword fights and rollicking adventure. It’s been a big hit at my house.
This Realistic Fiction book is really sad. I think you should read it, but I’m warning you. The story is narrated by Jack, the 12 year old son of foster parents. When 14 year old Joseph joins their family, they’re all in for a lot of changes. Ultimately this a powerful book about friendship.
The Dragon's Tooth (Ashtown Burials Series)
This is the first in the Ashton Burials Fantasy trilogy. Cyrus and Antigone Smith run a roadside motel with their older brother Daniel. One night a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives and demands a specific room. 24 hours later the man is dead, the motel has burned down, and Daniel is missing. Ohh, it’s so good!
Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms)
The adventure begins in this 5 book Fantasy series on a Halloween night when Cole and his friends go to a party in a basement. But it’s scary than they could have imagined and before the night is over, they’ve been kidnapped and sent through a portal to another kingdom. Will they ever get home? I don’t actually know yet because I haven’t finished the series. Let’s find out.
Edge of Extinction (The Ark Plan Series)
This two book Science Fiction series is as good as it gets! I can’t recommend these books highly enough. If you have a reluctant reader, start here. In fact, get the audiobook version and turn it on in the car and I guarantee, you’ll hook ’em! It’s Jurassic Park exciting!
It’s set in the future after a dinosaur cloning experiment has gone very wrong and the enormous beasts have taken over the earth. The main characters, Sky Mundy and her best friend Shawn, live in an underground compound to survive. But Sky’s dad has disappeared and an Action Packed Adventure that will literally keep you on the edge of your seat (really!) ensues.
Peter and the Starcatchers
This 5 book Fantasy series tells the story of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan, but it's nothing like you'd expect. It’s classic adventure and dangerous fun. They are really fantastic on Audio. We love them!
The Graveyard Book
This Fantasy Horror book is so gripping and one of my favorites! After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Are you hooked yet?
The Shakespeare Stealer
This Historical Fiction trilogy is so fun! Set in Shakespeare’s London, Widge is an orphan who has been tasked with stealing one of Shakespeare’s plays. The problem is that the closer he gets to the play, the more he doesn’t really want to steal it. Colorful characters, exciting drama, and a lot of fun!
Beth Stratton says
Thank you thank you thank you! Best list I’ve seen. All ready for Christmas shopping now. 🙂
Thank you Beth! So glad it was helpful. Merry Christmas!
Midwest Mama says
Love this list! Thank you. My son is into climbing so Peak is especially appreciated. Keep 'em coming.
I'm so glad it's helpful to you! I hope he enjoys the Peak series. Thank you so much GB for taking the time to comment - I really appreciate the feedback.
Agree with the comments above! Best, most helpful list out there! Thank you so much!
Thank you so much Jodi!
Thanks so much...looking for books, especially series to keep my 13 yo interested 🙂
Awesome list! And I was pleased to see you included books by non-white authors too - it helps a lot.
This list has been so helpful! When I realized that there were several series my son loved on the list, I knew we had to give the others a try. Your descriptions of each book/series are to the point--making us interested without giving too much away. He has read almost all of these now. He enjoys reading before bed, and it is hard to find good, interesting, clean books for teens these days. He's at a higher reading level than most of these, but I've always been a believer that kids need to read what they enjoy. Thanks for helping us find truly good books!!
Thank you for taking the time to comment Lisa. This just made my day! I'm so happy this list has been useful for your son. I've got more clean teen book lists in the works!
Thanks so much for your list of books! It’s hard to find good books that are not littered with inappropriate material for our impressionable young men. My son has read some on the list and he is enjoying the Peak series! Looking forward to reading more from the list! Will you be posting more for Summer 2019?!
Thank you so much for your comment Mair! I'm so glad your son has found books to enjoy. I am working on another list like this right now - coming soon!