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The Best Books for Teenagers

two teenagers reading books by each other

Reading is a great way to get lost in imaginary worlds and escape the dullness of daily life. With so many books released every year, there is a variety to choose from for every reader—yes, that even includes teenage readers. When it comes to young adult novels, here are four we recommend.

What to Consider in Books for Teenagers

With so many options available in books meant for teenagers, here is what you should consider:

  • Age-appropriate: Consider the topics, elements, and vocabulary of these stories, and if they are age-appropriate for adolescents 13 and up.
  • Characters: The main characters in the book will make more of an impact when they’re personally relatable to your teenager and on par with their experience level.
  • Appeal: With so many genres of books, consider if your teen is interested in non-fiction, fiction, dystopian stories, or fantasy novels.
  • Content: The stories in books for teenagers should be more realistic and less sugar-coated than books for a younger demographic. Consider how the novel handles scenarios based on real life.

Award Winner: The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver won the 1994 Newberry Medal and is an extremely influential novel. This young adult dystopian story focuses on twelve-year-old Jonas who lives a seemingly normal life until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory. He begins to unravel the dark and complex secrets behind his fragile community.

Award Winner

The Giver: A Newbery Award Winner (Giver Quartet, 1)

The Giver is centered around young Jonas and his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory, which unravels his dark and fragile community.

Based on a Hit Show: Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich

From the Broadway Play creators comes the bestselling novel inspired by the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen. This novel centers around a letter that was never mean to be seen by anyone and that draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son. With themes of mental health, this novel is a light love story and beautifully told.

Based on a Hit Show

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel

Based on the Broadway play, Dear Evan Hansen follows a high school senior as his life is turned upside down after the loss of a classmate.

Inspired by Real Events: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds, the poor neighborhood she lives in and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. In The Hate U Give, these two worlds are broken when Starr witnesses the fatal injury of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Based on real-life national headlines, this story is both heartbreaking and powerful and makes for a riveting read.

Inspired by Real Events

The Hate U Give: A Printz Honor Winner

The Hate U Give is based on real events and discusses important themes like race and police brutality.

Most Thought-Provoking: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

A memorable introduction to the Holocaust, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the story of Bruno, who returns home from school in 1942’s Berlin to his belongings all packed in crates. He moves away with his family to a new place, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. He is fenced off from strange people, but he decides to explore this new home. He meets a boy whose life is very different from his own. A friendship with devastating consequences ensues to create a simple and moving story.

Most Thought-Provoking

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the story of a young boy in Germany and a fateful friendship he develops with another boy.

Rachel Shubin Rachel Shubin
Rachel Shubin is a freelance journalist who is passionate about telling stories. Along with writing reviews for LifeSavvy, she writes a book column for Cape May Magazine and is a reporter for the Cape May Star & Wave Newspaper. When Rachel is not writing, she can be found advocating for mental health awareness and animal rescue, reading novels, exploring Cape May, or working on her polymer clay jewelry business, Piper + Pearl Co. Read Full Bio »
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