Using Forum Reviews

What is this?

We offer two resources for parents of voracious and reluctant readers alike.

First, the Review of Contemporary Literature.  Our faculty review new releases weekly. Engagement with contemporary lit is a good thing for boys, but let us guide you and your reader in the right direction!

Second, Heights Books.  These are more classic books that The Heights, our parent institution, actively encourages boys to read for extra credit. These are the good and great books, time-tested for your sons (and for you).  For now, the list is hosted on, but stay tuned for an interactive list right here on

There is much more to come! Stay tuned for online courses on some of the good and great books, and how to present them to boys.

How to Use this Resource

Why are we reviewing books?  Because we want to know what our students are reading, and because we want to direct them towards great modern literature. Believe us… it’s out there!

If we can accomplish these goals, while helping other parents and teachers engage their boys with quality contemporary literature, it’s a win-win.  We want nothing less than an entire generation of boys drawing upon the classics to engage contemporary works with a discerning and often appreciative eye.

When you go to a Barnes and Nobles, or when you log onto Amazon, and your child asks to purchase the latest best seller, have you ever wondered what exactly the book is about?  More importantly, have you wondered what the author is trying to communicate to your son?

The Heights Forum’s Review is here to help you accompany your son through his adventures in literature.  There are great pearls and perils alike. Lean on us to find books that cultivate a positive moral imagination.

"Popular literature has the power to refresh us. It is both a break from, and preparation for the very same mysteries that are explored in the more refined kinds of literature."

How are we different?

Our reviews are not writen for all parents everywhere.  Instead, we write for parents and educators who share our vision of education and reality.  Books shape moral imagination, and if you care about your son’s view of himself, you will care deeply about the books he consumes.  Most book review sites will give Diary of a Wimpy kid a 4 or 5 star review.  Because we don’t want boys to be skeptical of adults and cynical about the world, we will not.

On the other hand, we don’t embrace classics to the exclusion of the contemporary.  New books can be great, and every classic was a new release once upon a time.

How to use us:

You can either lean on us to review books your son is reading, or you can come our way for recommendations.  Here’s how the reviews work:


Think of this as the book’s intended audience. Just because a book was intended for boys your son’s age, however, does not mean he should read it. Check the review and the rating to make sure the book will be a good fit.


One a scale of 0 to 5 stars, this is a gut rating by our faculty reviewers of a book for the intended audience. A 5 star review for a book intended for ages 14+ is precisely that. It means that the encounter wouldn’t be wholly positive for a young lad of 7.

Content Flags:

If a book contains content that might be of interest to parents of boys in the intended age range, we will indicate this using the following icons:

  • Language
  • Violence
  • Sexuality
  • Substance Use
  • Gender Concepts

If you don’t think your son quite ready to engage with some of these substances or themes, use the nifty filter to help you narrow your search.


These are books that are not only good, but actively endorsed by our reviewers after peer review.  Our recommenders will provide this certification to books that give rise to a good encounter that positively influences a boy’s imagination.  Forum Fit books must be 4 out of 5 stars or above.


We’ll do our best to sum up the plot, and more importantly, the worldview and imaginational impact of the book.

Discussion Questions:

Books should be discussed!  We provide here a short list of questions for you to ask your son in a friendly manner.  Please don’t sit your son down and ask him every question.  Rather, weave them into natural conversation, else you take the fun out of the game.