Share 14 Boy Books for Long Summer Days

14 Boy Books for Long Summer Days

Sarah Jane Abbott is an assistant editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  She grew up having NANCY DREW books read to her by her father, and is now an avid reader of mystery, thriller, and horror, along with everything from literary fiction to poetry to personal essays.  She graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing.  Sarah Jane is an advocate of quasi-destructive book love—her best-loved volumes are highlighted, scribbled in, dog-eared, and wavy from being dropped in the bath tub.  

We know the many girls of literature—whether they are gone or on a train or marked with a dragon tattoo—but as the hazy August afternoons grow long, I’m looking for something else: the boys of summer! Whether you love literary fiction, memoir, horror, or anything in between, here are some boys you’ll want to meet.


The Boys in the Boat
by Daniel James Brown
This is an intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West came together to form the eight-oar crew team that competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics against Adolf Hitler’s elite German rowing team.
The Boys in the Boat
Daniel James Brown

Re-creating the history of an entire era through the delicate hull of a racing shell, this is the improbable story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal: nine working-class boys from the American West who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world the meaning of commitment, determination, and optimism.

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At Swim, Two Boys
by Jaime O'Neill
Against the backdrop of Ireland’s 1916 revolt against British rule, two boys become entangled in a tender yet ill-fated love affair.
At Swim, Two Boys
Jaime O'Neill

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The Boy in the Black Suit
by Jason Reynolds

Matt wears a black suit every day for his job at a funeral home, which he took to help out with the bills since his widowed dad is an alcoholic grappling with his own grief. Just when things seem really bleak, he meets a girl who just might be able to help him rise up again when life keeps knocking him down.

The Boy in the Black Suit
Jason Reynolds

Matt wears a black suit every day for his job at a funeral home, which he took to help out with the bills since his widowed dad is an alcoholic grappling with his own grief. Just when things seem really bleak, he meets a girl who just might be able to help him rise up again when life keeps knocking him down.

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By Sarah Jane Abbott | August 2, 2016

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Flash Boys
by Michael Lewis
In Michael Lewis’s game-changing bestseller, a small group of Wall Street iconoclasts realize that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders. They band together―some of them walking away from seven-figure salaries―to investigate, expose, and reform the insidious new ways that Wall Street generates profits.
Flash Boys
Michael Lewis

When a small group of Wall Street guys figure out that the US stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and is controlled by the big Wall Street banks, they band together and set out to reform the financial markets. The Flash Boys have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that—and are willing to go to war against institutionalized injustice.

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The Burgess Boys
by Elizabeth Strout

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped their Maine hometown as soon as they possibly could. But when their sister urgently calls them home, long-buried tensions that shaped and shadowed the brothers’ relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

The Burgess Boys
Elizabeth Strout

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped their Maine hometown as soon as they possibly could. But when their sister urgently calls them home, long-buried tensions that shaped and shadowed the brothers’ relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

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A Suitable Boy
by Vikram Seth
Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A SUITABLE BOY takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves as a young woman and her mother search for a suitable boy for her to marry.
A Suitable Boy
Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth's novel is, at its core, a love story: Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, are both trying to find -- through love or through exacting maternal appraisal -- a suitable boy for Lata to marry. Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette and the most appalling violence.

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About a Boy
by Nick Hornby

Will Freeman is a single, child-free man who goes to single parents’ support groups to pick up available mothers looking to meet a Nice Guy. It’s there that he meets Marcus, a strange twelve-year-old who latches on to him. Maybe Will can teach Marcus to grow up cool—and Marcus can teach Will to just grow up.

About a Boy
Nick Hornby

Will Freeman is a single, child-free man who goes to single parents’ support groups to pick up available mothers looking to meet a Nice Guy. It’s there that he meets Marcus, a strange twelve-year-old who latches on to him. Maybe Will can teach Marcus to grow up cool—and Marcus can teach Will to just grow up.

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By Sarah Jane Abbott | August 2, 2016

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Boy, Snow, Bird
by Helen Oyeyemi
This brilliant novel recasts the Snow White fairy tale as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. It boldly confronts the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.
Boy, Snow, Bird
Helen Oyeyemi

This widely acclaimed novel brilliantly recasts the fairy tale Snow White as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. It boldly confronts the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

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Beautiful Boy
by David Sheff

David Sheff’s fiercely candid memoir follows his journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery.

Beautiful Boy
David Sheff

David Sheff’s fiercely candid memoir follows his journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery.

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This Boy's Life
by Tobias Wolff
This unforgettable memoir introduces us to the young Toby Wolff who, separated by divorce from his father and brother, develops an extraordinarily close relationship with his mother. As Toby fights for identity and self-respect against the unrelenting hostility of a new stepfather, his experiences are at once poignant and comical.
This Boy's Life
Tobias Wolff

A beautifully written memoir that at times is hard to read because the story is so intense. A teen-aged Wolff hops from state to state with his mother to escape her violent boyfriend yet when she finally remarries it's to a brutal abusive man. Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with this bully of a stepfather that is riveting.

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The Boy Who Drew Monsters
by Keith Donohue

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors, instead choosing to spend his time inside drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire in this hypnotic literary horror novel.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters
Keith Donohue

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors, instead choosing to spend his time inside drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire in this hypnotic literary horror novel.

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14 Boy Books for Long Summer Days

By Sarah Jane Abbott | August 2, 2016

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The Kitchen Boy
by Robert Alexander

Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days and brutal murder of the Romanovs as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Historically vivid and compelling, THE KITCHEN BOY is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.

The Kitchen Boy
Robert Alexander

Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days and brutal murder of the Romanovs as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Historically vivid and compelling, THE KITCHEN BOY is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.

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The Boy on the Wooden Box
by Leon Leyson

Leon Leyson was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive, in part due to the assistance of Oskar Schindler. The only memoir published by a former Schindler’s list child, THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable.

The Boy on the Wooden Box
Leon Leyson

Leon Leyson was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive, in part due to the assistance of Oskar Schindler. The only memoir published by a former Schindler’s list child, THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable.

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Anansi Boys
by Neil Gaiman
This exhilarating and fiercely funny mythology tale for the modern age is complete with dark prophecy, family dysfunction, and mystical deceptions. After Fat Charlie Nancy’s father drops dead, he learns that his dad was a god—and a trickster one at that. Now, a brother he never knew he had is on his doorstep—and Charlie’s life is about to get a lot more interesting . . . and a lot more dangerous.
Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman

In the novel, "Mr. Nancy", an incarnation of the West African trickster god Anansi, dies, leaving two sons, who in turn discover each other. The novel follows their adventures as they explore their common heritage. The book debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list and won both the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Society Award in 2006. Genre-bending, scary and funny, this is Gaiman at his best.

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