Want to get the teens in your life a book for Christmas, but don’t want it to end up like the boxed set of Little House on the Prairie books I got when I was young? (They sat on my shelf, untouched, and collected dust for years… I was so NOT a Little House kind of girl. The lack of electricity and modern conveniences sounded more like torture than anything I wanted to read about.) Anyway, one of my passions is connecting young readers with books they’ll actually enjoy. So, look no further than this list.Note: All of these purchase links will take you to Amazon, but most of these titles should also be available at your favorite book store. Happy shopping!
For those who have enjoyed The Hunger Games:
The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. I can’t say enough good things about these books… I have tons of respect for Roth as a writer, for Tris Prior as an unforgettable and selfless protagonist, and for the fact that Theo James is in the movies (but who wouldn’t love that, right?). This series is intense, but it’s appropriate for middle school readers and up.
The Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis. It’s futuristic and fascinating and well written all the way through. It’ll grab any reader’s attention from the very first chapter, which will stick with you long after you finish reading it. Again, this series is appropriate for middle school readers and up.
For girls who love a good romance:
On the Fence or The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. Or both of them, because once you read one Kasie West story, you’ll want more and more and more. Both of these titles feature good, healthy relationships and strong female characters who, of course, want love and romance but don’t become weak and brainless in the quest for a boyfriend. These are good for 8th grade and up.
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. Told in a unique way using two points of view and a series of flashbacks, Better Off Friends feels like a conversation the reader gets to be a part of, and the effect is nothing short of charming. Also good for 8th grade and up.
For the music lovers:
Are You Experienced? by Jordan Sonnenblick. I’ve been a long-time fan of Sonnenblick’s work. This story involves a little time-traveling back to the days of Woodstock, where the main character ends up hanging out with his family members when they were teenagers. It’s a cool book with a positive message. Because of the Woodstock content (which is not nearly as graphic as it could have been), this is a high school and up book.
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown. This one’s fun and sweet and inspirational as the main character draws on old standards and bluegrass to highlight her sweet NC mountain voice. Highlighted on She Reads earlier this fall, this is perfect for those teenage girls who dream of making it some day.
For those who enjoy a good mystery/thriller:
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This story took me so much by surprise! I loved the story and the mystery and the creepiness… and the twist ending left me absolutely speechless. This is one for high school and up.
Golden by Jessi Kirby. I’m a pretty serious fan of Jessi Kirby (the one she has coming out next April is absolutely fantastic – I can’t wait to share it with you guys). In Golden, she weaves Robert Frost poetry into a cleverly written mystery with elements of romance and adventure. Plus, the cover for this is so gorgeous no girl would be able to resist it.
For girls who dream of a Hollywood love connection:
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson. This is a super sweet and thoroughly enchanting story of a summer in a small town, where a movie is being filmed. A local wholesome local girl is hired to pose as the film’s bad-boy heartthrob’s girlfriend in an effort to clean up his image, but things don’t stay that simple. Good for 8th grade and up.
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. I have so much love for this book, and the cover instantly draws in any reader. It’s also told in a somewhat unconventional way, beginning with a series of e-mails that accidentally go to the wrong person, so it has a fun feel to it. This is perfect for high school and up.
For those who would enjoy a classic, but who don’t know where to start:
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. One universal trait of teenagers is the awkward feeling of not really belonging. This book was written by Hinton when she was a teenager herself, and I have yet to talk to a teenager who didn’t really enjoy it. If you get this one, make sure you grab the movie, too!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. These days, it’s hard to turn on the TV or scroll through your twitter timeline without seeing talk of racism and prejudice related to Ferguson, or to any number of other incidents. To Kill A Mockingbird is all about compassion and love in the face of hatred, making it an essential read for the modern teenager.