I've been asked a few times to suggest reading material for teen boys who feel a little alienated in the girl-reader dominated market of YA fiction. Being a girl, of course, all of these are great for girl readers too, and I can't say I've read many marketed-toward-boys books (if there are even many out there). Also, most on this list happen to be some of my favorites (of all time). (Also note that these are YA, not MG. However, if the boy has read Hunger Games, most of the other recommendations will be the proper reading level).
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Amazon). Despite being told in a girl's POV, boys are able to connect with Katniss's story: thrust into the lime light, forced to grow up before she's ready, sacrificing herself for her family and country. Action level is very high in the entire series. Great for the reluctant reader.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (website) (Amazon). Told in alternating POVs of a boy and girl (tomboy), boys will be able to connect with both characters. It's a smart novel that voracious and reluctant readers alike will love. It combines action with history and steampunk. Also a great novel to introduce readers into steampunk.
Paper Towns (Amazon) by John Green (website). I would start a boy reader with this book, then give him Looking for Alaska (Amazon), then all his other novels (Will Grayson, Will Grayson is my favorite, but for reluctant readers start with the two above). And actually, you can reverse the order (I had a long debate with myself which to list first--Paper Towns won because it opens with an "adventure"). John Green embraces the nerd in his novels (online, he has a community of writers and readers known as "nerd fighters").
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (website) (Amazon). Also told in alternating POV of a boy and girl, this novel balances the dual struggles of the protags as well as the unique identities of the genders. Often called light scifi, or dystopian mystery on a space ship, it's a great way to get into the scifi genre.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (blog) (Amazon). Told in the POV of a boy with the adventure of Hunger Games and a mystery that is never fully revealed (we're only on book two of three and we still don't know who the good and bad guys are!--third installment comes out Oct 2011), this is a must read for boys and girls alike who want a good adventure/fantasy, or are looking for something similar to The Hunger Games.
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (website) (Amazon). Though told in the POV of a girl, I recommend this to boys because of the suspense aspect and the gruesome angle (she finds dead bodies). Also has a light romance angle that doesn't overwhelm the story.
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden (website) (Amazon). I read, no, devoured this series in 8th grade, and it has stuck with me all these years. Still some of my favorite books of all time. Told in the POV of a girl, it follows a group of friends in Australia who wage a guerrilla war on an army who has invaded the country while the group was in the bush camping. How does that description not hook you?
You'll notice that my list is all recently released novels (with the exception of the Tomorrow series by John Marsden). I could have included on my list Holes, The Giver, etc, but I'm a believer in giving boys (especially reluctant readers) something they are (99%) guaranteed to like. I respect the classics (they are classic for a reason), but kids are forced (yes, forced!) to read older books in school, and something just isn't working. I also haven't included Harry Potter (if they haven't read it by now, they won't), Eragon (beautiful writing, but might not captivate the reluctant reader), or Percy Jackson (heavy into the Greek mythology that also might turn off a reluctant reader).
Goodreads has a list for boys here. I haven't read the majority of the books and am curious as to your opinion; which of the listed books would you recommend?
And here is a list from Amazon here, mostly for comparison (I wouldn't recommend most of these books to boys unless they are tried and true voracious and advanced readers).
Any books you highly recommend for boys? Or books that you know for a fact boys have enjoyed?