Books: YA Titles that are like King Dork

King Dork listed here(Amazon).

My 12-year-old liked KD - a bit too grown-up for him, but it had the right combination of an insider-cool narrative voice that expressed how it felt to be a total outsider as a teen. References to goth, sex and drugs, maybe suicidal thoughts or cutting yourself-type stuff - but nothing that would blow a suburban pre-teen’s mind - just enough to feel like he is getting a glimpse of teen-hood.

Basically a boy’s version of My So-Called Life in book form - honest and unsentimental, and better for it.

What else fits in that category? And just how edgy is it?


I haven’t read King Dork, but today when I ran across The House of Tomorrow I thought it might be similar.
However, one of the reviews recommends it for older teens because of bad language and references to sex.

Is The Perks of Being a Wallflower (by Steven Chboski) too much?

The main character tries drugs but decides they’re not for him. It is also revealed that he has been molested by his aunt.

How about James Howe’s The Misfits? Not sure if he’ll find it too preachy, but I really enjoyed it when I was a preteen/young teenager.

I’d stay far away from his fiction books, but Ned Vizzini’s memoir Teen Angst? …Naaah. might be a good choice.

I like John Greene for this sort of thing, try Looking for Alaska. The plus side, if you’re 12, is that his books tend to be the same story told in slightly different ways, so if he likes it, there’s more.

There’s this book I read when I was in 6th grade or so called “Who Is Bugs Potter?” Apparently it’s out of print, but it was a Scholastic book so it’s not hard to find used. I haven’t thought about the book in ages but I remember really digging it.

It’s about a nerdy kid who gets paired up with a crazy drummer kid as roommates while they’re in town for some national concert band gig. It’s more funny than insightful but I did really enjoy it and I think a 12-year-old boy would enjoy it too. It’s something that’s not sci-fi or fantasy that’s geared towards boys his age.

I also really loved Gary Paulsen’s books as a teen but they might be too heavy for your son just yet. They’re not so much “ordinary kids doing ordinary things” but “ordinary kids finding themselves in extraordinary situations.”

Oops, misread the title. I thought you meant this guy.


Nice start of ideas - thanks. And no, Poor Yorick - no YA Tittle :wink: although I am trying to educate my son about great SF 49’ers and YA Tittle qualifies!

Thanks for the recommendations - please keep 'em coming!