The best books for buddies in a bind

Who am I?

I write about buddies in a bind having been in a few binds with my buddies over the years. (They’re the best kinds of binds to face, ones faced with your buddies.) I remind myself that every problem has a solution and that solutions to problems we never had before the solution arrived should be avoided. Books I recommend are well imagined and well narrated but are not necessarily well-researched or written by highly qualified writers. Each book I recommend deals with people who face adversity together—it is a theme that I probe in both my reading and my writing. 


I wrote...

Ancient: Human Gods Book 2

By Joe Jeney,

Book cover of Ancient: Human Gods Book 2

What is my book about?

One boy, Anchie Rantree, carries a rare genetic code that has the potential to rejuvenate the stagnant human gene pool, and pull it back from the brink of viral suffocation. But he does not care to save the human race, or himself, not until he meets the deeply flawed, famously successful, and painfully beautiful literary celebrity, Krisiana, who has herself succumbed to deathly viral infection.

Together with his friends Mickey and Chadder, the homesick teens travel to the other side of the world where everything is strange, and nothing is known, except for their friendship, which itself undergoes challenges they could not have expected.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Body

Joe Jeney Why did I love this book?

Often when I read a book, I don’t see up front what other people see. There’s plenty of intrigue in The Body. There’s also plenty by way of an examination into the boys’ coming of age. But what I really saw was a bunch of kids hanging in a small town like how I remember my childhood. The Body is no different from many of Stephen King’s works, a clear, lucid window into the strangest of things. But it has a warmth and texture for something lost in time that comes from, I think, how the writer remembered parts of his own childhood. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King’s timeless novella “The Body”—originally published in his 1982 short story collection Different Seasons, and adapted into the 1986 film classic Stand by Me—is now available as a stand-alone publication.

It’s 1960 in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Ray Brower, a boy from a nearby town, has disappeared, and twelve-year-old Gordie Lachance and his three friends set out on a quest to find his body along the railroad tracks. During the course of their journey, Gordie, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern…


Book cover of The Outsiders

Joe Jeney Why did I love this book?

Confession, I saw the movie first. But I do recall the impact that reading the novel in the mid-eighties (yes, last century) had on me. The simplicity of the language gripped me mostly in how it evoked so much sentiment that resonated with me. That an eighteen-year-old author wrote the novel years before in the sixties blew me away also. I can’t recommend the novel based on the storyline alone (which I forget.)  But I can tell you that in searching for a copy at my library, I had to put a hold on a copy, and I wasn’t at the head of the queue, if you know what I mean. Given that the book was published over fifty years ago, that’s a recommendation in itself. 

By S.E. Hinton,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Outsiders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

50 years of an iconic classic! This international bestseller and inspiration for a beloved movie is a heroic story of friendship and belonging.

Cover may vary.

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends-true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is…


Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Joe Jeney Why did I love this book?

Not a fantasy fan as such, and having read the three volumes as a single paperback tome, I’m pleased I got through it. My private struggle aside, what remains with me of the story is how people from all walks of life, some people naive, some experienced with the bad in life, came together and cohesively tackled the end of the world, no less, even with different personal aims and ambitions. What I found truly worthy about LOR as a work of literature, though, was how easy it was to embed oneself, me the reader, into the author’s style of narrative. Lord of the Rings is a wonderful winter yarn beside the heater—perhaps lasting for two or three winters.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

52 authors picked The Lord of the Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…


Book cover of On the Road

Joe Jeney Why did I love this book?

On the Road is the adult version (mature readers only) of the all the above. However, for me, the book squarely fits my personal category of works where I miss what other people see (what unnerved and even disgusted other people) to instead see what resonated with me, and which has since stuck. And that is the poetry of the work. I genuinely believe Kerouac was a poet in a long since era of prose. So he did what he could, and his inspiration came of a poetical heart. Chiefly, I see the work as one in which working and lower middle-class people take their shot at life’s beatitude, and On the Road is their record of this.

By Jack Kerouac,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked On the Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The legendary novel of freedom and the search for authenticity that defined a generation, now in a striking new Pengiun Classics Deluxe Edition

Inspired by Jack Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naivete and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed…


Book cover of On the Beach

Joe Jeney Why did I love this book?

Nevil Shute was one of the last of the colonial writers, which can grate on the reader in this day of post colonialism. But I won’t let my prejudices get in the way of a good read. I’m big and bad enough to make my own reading choices. On the Beach is a great end of the world story. On the Beach depicts people within their own communities dealing with global events. And it is absolutely superlative in the way people (for the most part) retain their humanity in the toughest of times, which makes the story such a counterpoint to hyped up action thrillers. I’ve never seen the film(s). But I can say the book is textured and fantastic.

By Nevil Shute,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked On the Beach as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pearson English Readers bring language learning to life through the joy of reading.



Well-written stories entertain us, make us think, and keep our interest page after page. Pearson English Readers offer teenage and adult learners a huge range of titles, all featuring carefully graded language to make them accessible to learners of all abilities.



Through the imagination of some of the world's greatest authors, the English language comes to life in pages of our Readers. Students have the pleasure and satisfaction of reading these stories in English, and at the same time develop a broader vocabulary, greater comprehension and reading…


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The Secret Order of the Scepter & Gavel

By Nicholas Ponticello,

Book cover of The Secret Order of the Scepter & Gavel

Nicholas Ponticello Author Of The Secret Order of the Scepter & Gavel

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Who am I?

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What is my book about?

Vanderough University prepares its graduates for life on Mars. Herbert Hoover Palminteri enrolls at VU with the hope of joining the Martian colony in 2044 as a member of its esteemed engineer corps. But then Herbert is tapped to join a notorious secret society: the Order of the Scepter and Gavel. As a new pledge, Herbert has to prove himself in a series of dangerous initiation rites, even if it means risking his life and the lives of his friends.

Many years later, when Herbert thinks the scandals of his youth are finally dead and buried, a murder occurs in the Martian colony, and Herbert starts to suspect it is linked to the secret Order of the Scepter and Gavel of his past.

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Interested in coming of age, bildungsroman, and good and evil?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about coming of age, bildungsroman, and good and evil.

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