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12 Teen-Friendly Books That Will Help Foster A Love Of Literature

by Kelly Glass
Kelly Glass is a writer whose work focuses on the intersections of parenting, health, and pop culture. She lives in an Illinois college town with her educator husband, wildly ambitious sons, dog, and several fish. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Romper, BlackGirlNerds.com, HelloGiggles, Oxygen.com, What to Expect, and more.

I spent every day after middle school in the library, poring over the newest books in the teen section.

My love for reading had persisted from my days as a preschooler who would hole up in my closet — the quietest space I could find — with a good book. The library was a magical place for me, even as a teen. The library is still that same wonderful, magical world that it once was, but that world is much bigger now that teens can access books right there from their smartphones. The options seem limitless. Such wide access to books is great until it becomes overwhelming — until it relies too much on what’s popular on social media.

Help your teen discover a love for literature with these tried-and-true recommendations featuring some modern titles and some classics they’ll enjoy.

A Wrinkle in Time

<i>A Wrinkle in Time</i>

Meg Murry is an awkward high-school girl who is transported through time and space with her little brother Charles Wallace and her friend to rescue her scientist father from evil forces.

Themes: Family, coming of age, self-awareness.

Buy it on Amazon for $5.49.

The Bluest Eye

the bluest eye by toni morrison

This beautiful Toni Morrison novel tells the story of a black 11-year-old who prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America.

Themes: Race, peer pressure.

Buy it on Amazon for $11.93.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

<i>The Perks of Being a Wallflower</i>

Teenager Charlie struggles to cope with the complexities of high school, including common temptations and losing friends.

Themes: Coming of age, friendship, peer pressure, sex.

Buy it on Amazon for $6.59.

The Lord of the Flies

the lord of the flies

A group of boys survive a plane crash only to be stranded on a remote island with no adults and little to no resources. Things get real pretty quickly.

Themes: Conflict, survival, leadership.

Buy it on Amazon for $5.99.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in a televised fight to the death. In a similar vein as The Lord of the Flies, a group of children and teens are forced into a situation to survive, but only one is meant to make it out alive.

Themes: Class, love, survival, leadership, revolution.

Buy it on Amazon for $8.79.

The Women of Brewster Place

the women of brewster place

A sentimental classic that tells the story of seven women in an inner-city sanctuary called Brewster Place. The interwoven stories display to teens the different paths of women’s lives. 

Themes: Relationships, hopelessness, home.

Buy it on Amazon for $14.83.

The Outsiders

the outsiders book

Author S.E. Hinton was a teenager when she wrote The Outsiders. The story follows 14-year-old Ponyboy and his journey to do anything to belong.

Themes: Class, society, loyalty.

Buy it on Amazon for $5.80.

Flowers for Algernon

flowers for algernon

A science-fiction story of a mentally disabled man who undergoes an experimental procedure to increase his IQ. The experiment seems to be working until Algernon, the mouse who received the same procedure, begins deteriorating.

Themes: Bullying, wisdom, happiness.

Buy it on Amazon for $9.38

The Hate U Give

the hate u give

A teen living in a poor, black neighborhood has a political awakening as she discovers the injustices in society.

Themes: Racism, injustice, family.

Buy it on Amazon for $11.76.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

are you there, god by judy blume

Judy Blume’s novel displaying the inner turmoil of teen Margaret Simon, who just wants to grow up already.

Themes: Coming of age, identity, puberty.

Buy it on Amazon for $13.71.

Tuck Everlasting

tuck everlasting

The Tuck family is immortal. Soon, they discover that a 10-year-old girl and a stranger (and soon-to-be enemy) share their secret.

Themes: Death, love, family.

Buy it for $7.45 on Amazon.

1984

1984 by george orwell

George Orwell’s dystopian world where the government is always watching and controlling those who don’t think freely.

Themes: Government, identity, technology.

Buy it on Amazon for $7.99.