Teens enjoy reading many different genres, including young adult fiction, fantasy, romance, and non-fiction. There are excellent books for teens in all of these genres. Here are some of the best books of all time for teen readers, as well as recommended new releases. Many of these are favorites among teens and book reviewers alike.
Best Books of All Time for Teens
Many classic teen books explore moral issues in society, and what it is like to be a young adult growing up. For instance, the Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee examines racial inequalities and the discoveries of childhood. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye describes the journey of a teenage boy who is alienated by society, and by those around him. The Giver by Lowis Lowry imagines a utopian society in which everyone has a role to play, but in which freedom, imagination and memory are limited. Lord of the Flies by William Golding tells the story of a group of boys stranded on an island who must contend with individual needs, the common good, and frightening aspects of human nature that emerge when survival is at stake. These novels give teens an opportunity to consider how they do and do not identify with the characters and their choices, and how their own life experiences relate to such stories.
Other popular teen classics include fantasy novels such as The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, the first in a three-part series about battles against evil, and how hobbits, dwarves, elves and men work together to ensure that good prevails. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis is a seven-part series in which human children travel to a hidden, magical world, and embark on adventures with the creatures they meet. Other fantasy favorites include the Twilight vampire series by Stephenie Meyer, the Harry Potter wizardry series by J.K. Rowling, and the science fiction novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, in which teenagers fight one another for their lives and respond to the oppressive regime of their rulers. Fantasy books allow teens to escape to imagined worlds, and take on magical powers and super-human strengths, an important outlet for teenagers who do not yet have the freedoms of adulthood.
Teen books also explore challenging aspects of coming of age in difficult contexts, such as Lowis Lowry’s Number the Stars and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, which both tell stories of survival and humanity during World War II. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros questions the poverty, cultural richness, and daily life of a young Latina girl’s neighborhood. Books like these may help teens analyze issues of identity and injustice in their own lives.