Monday, December 17, 2012

Guest Post: Best Guy Books by Geoff Herbach


With the holidays upon us, I thought this would be a great time to invite some of my talented friends to guest post. Today Geoff Herbach tells about his favorite novels for guys!



The following are all great books for boys. You know, I wanted to write a post about YA books only, but I have to admit, one book shook me up so much in the last couple of months, I had to add it. Even though the thing is really, really famous already and is probably MG (although, these distinctions are a little bit meaningless – I just really like good stories), I had to add it, because I love it… and really, there are female POVs in this book so can I even call it a “boy” book? Are you looking at me funny? I you mumbling curses at me? Do I seem defensive? Or sort of paranoid, because I’ve put a multi-perspective MG book in my list? I’m sorry. I really loved Wonder. I need to have it in here. I guess I’ll start with it.


WONDER by R.J. Palacio: Auggie, the main character (yes, a 5th grader), was born with a facial deformity that makes him shocking to look at.  He’s surrounded by lovely parents and a good sister. They can’t protect him forever. 5th grade is his first formal year of school. Luckily Auggie is brilliant and reflective and funny. Yes, your heart breaks for this kid and had the story been constructed entirely from his POV that would’ve been true. What makes the book totally killer, however, is Palacio (a nom de plume) allows just about every kid that matters in the book to speak. Auggie’s friends, his sister, his sister’s former best friend, his sister’s boyfriend. Each POV sheds a little more light on this world (and more understanding). Each adds depth, a new sensibility, a new perspective on a shared set of events, and a different pace. These different POVs work thematically (the theme is revealed so beautifully through different eyes).  They work to reveal Auggie’s true character (he’s not always aware of his impact and his strength).



BLUEFISH by Pat Schmatz (2011 Candlewick): This is another book with a couple of POVs, one of them a girls (she calls herself Velveeta, which makes me love her). Main thing: Travis, who has just moved to town, can’t read. He actually moves through the world with some confidence, because he can handle himself physically. But his inability to read has closed down his world). With the help of a great teacher and the growth in his friendship with Velveeta, Travis begins to put things together. Lovely, subtle, touching book.






OUT OF THE POCKET by Bill Konigsberg (2008 Dutton): I have to admit, I was skeptical. I played high school football. I couldn’t imagine a quarterback coming out of the closet. But, in Billy Framingham, Bill Konigsberg has created the perfect character who you believe in and believe would have the strength to make it through. Billy is a great quarterback, a funny human being, and so likeable, you’d believe even the less than enlightened would eventually come around and be on his side. Great book with a great message.






THE PULL OF GRAVITY by Gae Polisner (2011 FSG): I had to put this in, because I’m such a Gae Polisner fan. Nick’s family is a mess and he’s a nerd boy given to high, hallucinatory fevers. But he’s not concerned about himself. He and his pal Jaycee take an action-packed trip to find the father of a dead friend. Armed with the wisdom of Yoda and a copy of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, the two stumble into the secret tearing his family apart. Touching and entertaining.







WHALE TALK by Chris Crutcher (2001 HarperCollins): Here’s one of the books that made me want to write sports YA in the first place. The Tao “T.J.” Jones is a racially mixed kid in a small town. He’s sensitive to the racism he sees and he’s naturally rebellious, refusing to join team sports, even though he’s a mega jock. To combat unfairness he leads a crew of misfit swimmers in pursuit of a varsity letter, his high school’s golden egg. Great sports story that touches on themes of inequality, bullying, and kindness.






Geoff Herbach is the author of the award winning Stupid Fast YA series. His books have been given the 2011 Cybils Award for best YA novel, selected for the Junior Library Guild, listed in the year's best by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association and many state library associations. In the past, he wrote the literary novel, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, produced radio comedy shows and toured rock clubs telling weird stories. Geoff teaches creative writing at Minnesota State, Mankato. He lives in a log cabin with a tall wife.

To learn more about Geoff visit: http://geoffherbach.com/ and http://herbachisamess.wordpress.com/

14 comments:

  1. Great guest post (and great blog)! I really loved Out of the Pocket, and have been meaning to read Wonder. Excellent thoughts!

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    1. Thanks David! I have also had Wonder on my need to read soon list!

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  2. Terrific list, Geoff! I skipped Wonder because it was MG, but now I want to read it.

    I'd add:
    1. your Stupid Fast (great voice!)
    2. Tangerine by Edward Bloor (upper MG)
    3. Feed by M.T. Anderson
    4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
    5. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Viizzini

    Adult Fiction with teenaged boy MCs:
    6. Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
    7. Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

    Cari, thanks for hosting!

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    1. I agree with you about Stupid Fast and I would also say Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach! I love his voice!

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  3. Great recommendations from a great author.

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  4. I can't wait to listen to Wonder. I have it but I've been waiting for the right mood.

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    1. I was thinking of Wonder on audio!

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  5. as Geoff knows, it's a mutual admiration society. Stupid Fast tops every list that there is. Also agree, Geoff, that Wonder is a good "any" book - any gender reader, any age, any genre. It's a must read. It's a wonder.

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    1. Gae: I can't wait for Geoff's new book: I'm with Stupid!

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  6. Wonder was such a fabulous book. Everyone should read it in my opinion.

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    1. I'm so excited about Wonder! I feel like I have been missing out. Thanks for visiting!

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  7. I need to read WONDER too! I loved OUT OF THE POCKET and of course PULL OF GRAVITY. Great picks from a very cool author whose books deserve to be on the list too! :-)

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    1. I agree! Geoff is my go to guy author!

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