The sixth book of Ranger's Apprentice, John Flanagan's YA fantasy series is coming out this summer in the U.S.!
My 12-year-old discovered this series in September, finished the first book in a couple of days and immediately started the second one. He had nearly finished it when he got distracted by all things skateboarding. If there was skateboarding in The Ranger's Apprentice he'd have read the entire series in a week or so. Keep that in mind, ye writers of boy-friendly fantasy: an X-treme sport or two never hurts a boy book.
He's ready to get back to the series now, and he's been filling me in on the first two books. The series begins with fifteen-year-old Will hoping to become a warrior but alas, he's too small. When Ranger Halt chooses him to be an apprentice ranger, he's pretty bummed. It seems Rangers aren't as cool as Warriors. But Will turns out to be rather good at this Ranger stuff and he likes it more than he expected. Adventure ensues.
According to Ben, while there's some action, Flanagan is all about the characters. Ben's favorite is Ranger Halt, who reminds him of Quest on the cartoon The World of Quest, "except he doesn't kick Will over a fence or anything" and is nicer. Just for fun, here's a sample of Quest:
So, the Ranger is a man of few words and even fewer displays of emotion. Ben describes one especially memorable scene from the second book: "Will defeats a boar and everyone's like, Yay!! and the Ranger just sort of nods politely toward him, and another character says, 'For the Ranger, that was like 3 cheers.'"
Ben also liked the way the book shifts perspective occasionally, so every few chapters the reader is following another of the boys who's training to be (I believe) a warrior.
Any recommendations for realistic fiction with a contemporary setting for a 12 year old boy, preferably with skateboards? What fantasy book (child or adult) do you recommend to people who don't love fantasy?