Teenagers are hard to handle, and it’s a fact universally acknowledged. Having been a teenager ourselves, we can say that books have taught us more than any school could. These books taught us how to forgive, how to hope, how to love, and how to exist in our bodies in a troubled world.
Reality has been harsh, and real-world disappoints more often than not, but thankfully we have books to remind us of good times and happiness. Whether you like books deeply or you are a mood reader who picks a book every once a month, we highly recommend you read these books.
This list features a collection of books that we have read and think you must read, along with books that everyone believes a teenager must read. And PSA, you can read these books even if you are an adult. Because there are no rules to follow when it comes to reading.
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The Hate U Give
Starr Carter is a sixteen-year-old girl torn apart between two worlds. She lives in a poor neighborhood, but she attends a fancy suburban prep school. Her life is already off-balance, but when she sees Khalil shot by a police officer, everything shatters for her. Khalil was her childhood best friend who was unarmed when he was shot.
His death becomes a national headline, with people all around calling him a thug and a drug dealer. What Starr says or does not say could upend the community and endanger her life but she’s the only person who can reveal what happened that night. What will this teenager do as everyone turns to look at her, searching for answers?
A ten-year-old boy born with a facial difference, August Pullman can’t describe what he looks like. He believes that whatever we imagine, he’s probably worse in real life than that imagination. These facial abnormalities have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, as all the regular kids do.
He was homeschooled up until he started his fifth grade at Beecher Prep. There he wants everybody to treat him like any ordinary kid. But the other kids in his class can’t get past his extraordinary face. How will August settle in his new school?
Life is already confusing, this huge thing that we can’t seem to understand when we are kids. But Jazz Jennings was merely five when she transitioned to life as a girl. She has become one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults as well.
However, like all normal teens and children, her journey hasn’t been an easy one. Jazz has dealt with many challenges, bullies, discrimination, and rejection for most of her life, and in this memoir, she recounts her experiences. Life as a teen is already unbearable but more so when you are a transgender teenager.
I Wish You All The Best
Ben de Backer has come out to their parents as non-binary. To this news, their parents react harshly, throwing them out of their homes. Ben is forced to move in with their sister Hannah and her husband, Thomas.
They are hoping to survive the last half of senior year by being invisible. But their hopes are shattered when the funny and charismatic boy, Nathan Allan, decides to take them under his wing. What starts as a friendship between the two soon grows, and their feelings change for each other. Perhaps there’s hope for even Ben, after all!
Bridge To Terabithia
Jess Aarons wants to become the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He has been dedicated to running and practicing all summer so he can achieve that. And he almost is when something happens. Leslie Burke, the new girl at school, outpaces him. They both become quick friends, spending most days in the woods.
During their time together in the woods, the kids invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning Leslie decides to go to Terabithia alone when a tragedy occurs, shaking everyone to their core. To deal with this grief, Jess will need his family’s love and support and the strength that Leslie has given him.
Girls have always been held up to unexpected standards. Be it in terms of fashion, body, intelligence, or beauty; society will never be pleased with a woman. A list appears online ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade, but that’s just the beginning. Eve didn’t expect to be ranked as the number one prettiest girl, but it happened to her.
Sophie only wants to be titled The Prettiest, but she is ranked number two. Nessa knows she will never be one of those pretty girls, and she might be fairing well. But, when the list appears, these three will band together to show there’s more to women than just a pretty face or the lack thereof.
One Of The Good Ones
Kezi Smith is a teen social activist and history buff. The girl is mysteriously killed after attending a social justice rally. Her family and her sister Happi are devastated, reeling in the aftermath.
Meanwhile, Kezi becomes yet another victim immortalized in the fight against police brutality. Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor their beloved sister, but there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that nobody had expected. This twist could end up changing everything all over again.
Don’t Breathe A Word
Lisa is a 12-year-old girl who went into the woods behind her house but never came back. Before leaving, she had informed her younger brother Sam, about a door. She told him the door led to a magical place, and there she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen. Fast forward to fifteen years later.
Sam has grown up to become a practical and sensible man. Phoebe loves Sam, and he even helps her ignore her bad dreams. But when some unexplained occurrences take place, they will be asked to question their reality, and a promise Sam made years ago will be revealed, destroying everything.
You Should See Me In A Crown
Liz Lighty has a plan that will get her out of her small Midwestern town. She has always felt like she was too black, too poor, and too awkward, so she is really counting on this plan of hers. But when the financial aid she wanted so badly falls through, her plans of escaping her small town are threatened.
Until she realizes the school provides scholarships for the prom king and queen. Liz decides to get into the spotlight and run for prom queen. But she meets the new girl in the school Mack who is smart, funny, and also an outsider like her. However, falling for her competition might not be wise for the girl who wants to win the scholarship.
The Book Thief
In Nazi Germany in 1939, everyone was holding their breath. Liesel notices something hidden in the snow by her brother’s graveside. She picks up the object, which turns out to be a book. This is her first act of book thievery, but it’s also the beginning of a love affair with books and words.
Liesel learns to read with the help of her foster father, and soon, she is stealing books from wherever they are found. But these are dangerous times in the country when death has never been busier. Liesel’s foster family is risking their lives by hiding a Jew in their basement. This will both open up and close down the little girl’s life.
A List Of Cages
Adam Blake is happy when he lands the best elective ever in his senior year. He is serving as an aide to the school psychologist. The doctor asks him to track down a troubled freshman who won’t meet with her, and suddenly Adam’s life changes.
The troubled boy turns out to be Julian, a foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years. Adam notices Julian still resembles the boy he used to know, and he is ecstatic to be reunited. But as the boys spend time together, Adam will learn more about Julian. Determined to help him, will Adam’s involvement help him or only add further to the kid’s problem?
TJ Powar Has Something To Prove
Being a brown girl in a white country is already tough. Add to it the wild and crazy times of being a teenage brown girl, and you’ve got yourself a big entertaining story. TJ Powar is a pretty and popular debater. But when TJ and her cousin Simran become a meme at her school and the neighboring schools, TJ is bothered a lot.
She decides to take a stand by giving up shaving, waxing, and any form of hair-removing methods. TJ is fighting the biggest debate of her life: she can be her hairy self and still be beautiful. Don’t be mistaken, her journey will be full of surprises and hurdles, and the biggest one of them is named Charlie.
The Spinster Club Trilogy
The trilogy includes Am I Normal Yet?, How Hard Can Love Be? And What’s A Girl Gotta Do? The books follow Evie, Amber, and Lottie, respectively. Evie has a problem that she hasn’t told anyone about except her close ones.
Amber wants a little bit of love, but she very well knows that love is hard. And Lottie is all set to start a feminist revolution with her #Vagilante vlog. These three girls deal with tough issues like feminism, mental health problems, and other such issues accompanied by each other’s friendship and lots of cheesy snacks.
It Only Happens In The Movies
We all have watched countless rom-com movies. And most of us have wished to have a love like it’s shown in these heart-warming movies where love conquers all. But Audrey isn’t one of those. She is over romance, what with her parent’s divorce, her own breakup, and the shifting friendship dynamics.
But, when she begins to work at the local cinema, she meets Harry, who is a flirt, brash, and also impulsive. Despite trying to resist the boy, Audrey falls for him. But the bigger question is will her story end happily ever after like in the movies, or will love to fail her again?
One True Loves
So you must be wondering why is TJR’s book here. There’s nothing wrong with her books, but when suggesting something to a teenager, her books wouldn’t be in the usual top recommendations, and it’s okay. But let us tell you, that most of the time, we, as a teenager, will find ourselves in a spot where we don’t know what to do.
Emma is like us as well, except she is a grown woman. She has been married to her high school sweetheart Jesse until he dies. Now, Emma is engaged to her old friend Sam. But when she learns that Jesse is alive, she finds herself torn between the two men. Emma’s story reminds us that there are different kinds of love and it’s okay to fall in love more than once.
Nick and Charlie are the cutest couples out there, and everyone loves them! Nick and Charlie meet in a class at their all-boys grammar school. Charlie is highly strung and openly gay. He’s also an overthinker. Nick, on the other hand, is a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player and also a straight guy, at least until he meets Charlie.
When they begin to spend time together, they become good friends. Charlie’s feelings turn romantic soon, and Nick finds himself questioning his sexuality. Their relationship is the cutest, but it’s challenging as well. Will their love be able to overcome these hurdles?
All The Bright Places
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and Violet Markey has recently lost her sister. They both meet each other on the ledge of the bell tower at school. Later they pair up for a school project. As they discover the “natural wonders” of their state, they help save each other as well. But, how powerful can love and friendship be to save a loved one when the person doesn’t want to be saved?
The Astonishing Color Of After
When Leigh Chen Sanders’ mother dies by suicide, she is certain that she turns into a bird. She travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time in her life. But she is more focused on finding the bird; her mother. What she will learn while chasing the bird will uncover family secrets forging a new relationship with her grandparents. Along with that, she will learn to grieve for her mother and accept her past.
The Fault In Our Stars
Gus and Hazel meet at the Cancer Kid Support Group. They form a friendship quickly, going on adventures with each other and their friend Isaac. They share their favorite books and reveal their wishes. They fall in love despite their cancer. Everything is perfect until it isn’t. This book is a heartbreaking story focusing on the tragic business of being alive and in love.
On The Fence
Charlotte Reynolds is a 16-year-old girl who is raised by a single dad and three older brothers. So she can outrun, outscore and outwit any guy, but she doesn’t know a single thing about being a girl. She starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off her speeding ticket and suddenly, she is swept up in a world filled with makeup, lacy skirts, and cute guys.
She seeks refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden, her neighbor. But soon, their conversations turn into something more, and she falls for him. Love is risky, and the stakes are always high, but how far will Charlie chase after love?
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