We make a section of "boy books" in our booth at the National Council of Teachers of English because teachers always ask us, "Which books will appeal to teenaged boys?"
Well, here's another book for our "boy" section: Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin. Still, I don't want you to think that girls won't like this one: 15-year-old Charley Thompson is a character that everybody will root for.
At the end of its starred review for Lean on Pete, Booklist added, "YA: Vlauntin's novel could well be The Red Pony for the twenty-first century." Here's a bit more from that review: "A tough-and-tender account of a boy, a big-hearted horse, and a mostly unforgiving world. What Daniel Woodrell does for the hardscrabble Ozarks, Vlautin does for the underside of the New West. Unforgettable." Did I mention that this is a starred review?
Willy Vlautin is also the author of Motel Life and Northline—and he's the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine.
You can learn more about Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin in this video.