Teen books aren’t just for teens. They are well written, engaging books that are grabbing the attention of all ages – maybe because a younger family member introduces the book, or because the story is being made into a movie, or perhaps because it has won an award. Whatever the reason, here are some fantastic teen books that we think you should read.
A teen book is any book or story that has primary appeal to teenagers. This usually translates into young protagonists exploring their place in the world. Sometimes this coming of age is completed in a contemporary, realistic setting, but more often than not lately, these big questions are answered through tableaus of mortal danger and dystopian settings.
The following list is not comprehensive. It’s not a list of award winners. It’s not a list of the best sellers. It’s not a list of the newest, hottest, most daring or whatever “-est” adjective you can think of. It is a list of titles found on YA Lit bloggers’ websites that I thought sounded like they might appeal to adult readers interested in YA Lit. Hopefully some of these titles will appeal to you.
The Chocolate War (1974)
by Robert Cormier
Jerry Renault is forced into a psychological showdown with Trinity School’s gang leader, Archie Costello, for refusing to be bullied into selling chocolates for the annual fund raising.
The Mockingbirds (2010)
by Daisy Whitney
When Alex, a junior at an elite preparatory school, realizes that she may have been the victim of date rape, she confides in her roommates and sister who convince her to seek help from a secret society, the Mockingbirds.
My Beating Teenage Heart (2011)
by C.K. Kelly Martin
Two unexpected and heartbreaking deaths cause the lives of two very different teenagers to become intertwined as one struggles to deal with his grief and stay in this world, and the other finds herself inexplicably caught between this world and the next.
Once Was Lost (2009)
by Sara Zarr
As the tragedy of a missing girl enfolds in her small town, fifteen-year-old Samara, who feels emotionally abandoned by her parents, begins to question her faith.
Rats Saw God (1996)
by Rob Thomas
In hopes of graduating, Steve York agrees to complete a hundred-page writing assignment which helps him to sort out his relationship with his famous astronaut father and the events that changed him from promising student to troubled teen.
The Space Between Trees (2010)
by Katie Williams
When the body of a classmate is discovered in the woods, sixteen-year-old Evie’s lies wind up involving her with the girl’s best friend, trying to track down the killer.
The True Meaning of Smekday (2007)
by Adam Rex
When her mother is abducted by aliens on Christmas Eve (or “Smekday” Eve since the Boov invasion), 11 year-old Tip hops in the family car and heads south to find her and meets an alien Boov mechanic who agrees to help her, and save the planet from disaster.