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Recently I made a house rule that my daughter needs to start choosing at least one young adult book at the library each week. She has always loved to read, but she likes what she likes. . . and she likes the children’s section. She enjoys the comfort of familiar plot lines. The juvenile chapter books have been read so many times that the characters are like old friends.
I’m not taking that away from her, but I am gently pushing her out of her comfort zone a bit. She turned 14 this week and her reading ability is above average. I want her to start exploring new plot themes and books with characters her own age.
The purpose of young adult books is to ease the transition from children’s books to adult novels. That is exactly what my daughter needs.
We walked through our local library’s small young adult section last week and were a bit disappointed. Nothing caught her eye. We flipped over book after book, read the description, and set the book back on the shelf. There was very little that sounded interesting to Hannah.
I knew that we needed to make a young adult book list so that she wouldn’t leave empty handed again. Goodreads.com is a great place to keep a ‘want to read’ list. We will simply request books ahead of time online.
Young Adult Books for Young Teens
Every family has different ideas of what is acceptable. Please preview the books to make sure you approve of the content.
A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story is the story of two children who live very different lives from our own children. One of the children, a girl in 2008, must walk a total of 8 hours each day to provide her family with water. The other child, a boy in 1995, walks through the Sudan as one of the lost boys.
My daughter and I read this book a few years ago, but it was so good that I couldn’t resist putting it on our young adult books list. It is a great choice to make young teens realize all they have to be thankful for.
This book is about stepping out of your comfort zone to take new chances. Shane has worked hard in college to earn great grades, but she is stuck in a rut. A semester abroad might just be exactly what she needs to broaden her horizons.
Romanov is an intriguing blend of fairy tale and magic. It is the story of Anastasia Romanov, a girl being exiled to Siberia. She has magical abilities, but will that be enough to save her family.
Have you ever wondered what becomes of meme babies? You know, the memes featuring cute babies that go viral. Abbi is a teen who became a meme after September 11th. She craves anonymity and goes to camp in search of it. At camp she meets a new friend and begins to ask difficult questions about what was really happening in that famous photograph.
The Giver is a dystopian tale of a community where there are seemingly no problems. When Jonas, 12, is assigned the role of Receiver of Memory he realizes just how much his community has given up in the name of peace and security.
Jude and her mother fled violence in Syria and went to America. She must adapt to a complete culture change while worrying about her father and brother. Life is hard, but there is good if she searches for it.
Jane Austen fans will love this modern take on Sense and Sensibility. This story tells the tale of two sisters. On the surface they seem incredibly different, but a family hardship makes them realize they have more in common than they originally expected.
Growth spurts are a part of growing up. But what happens when they go hilariously wrong? Will wanted desperately to hit a growth spurt so his height would catch up with his peers. He may have gotten more than he asked for though.
The Hobbit is the prelude to the classic Lord of the Rings. Readers are introduced to a fantasy world that includes dwarves, dragons, wizards, and elves.
Melody is an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy. Her life is very different than other children her age. She can not speak or write. No one knows how smart she is, but Melody intends to show everyone that her disability does not define her.
This Newbery Award winning book is set in medieval England. A girl known only as Brat has nothing – no family, no home, and no purpose. A midwife takes her under her wing and teaches her about life.
Catherine has spent her life trying to teach the rules of life to her younger brother who has autism. A new friend makes her question ‘what is normal?’.
Twelve year old Hattie is comfortable with life in her predictable small town. Everything changes when her long lost uncle shows up one day. His mental health issues present some challenges, but also some blessings.
Nora is looking forward to summer vacation. Unfortunately, several inmates break out of the local maximum security prison, turning the town upside down. Summer break as she knows it is over.
This story is told through text messages, letters, poems, news stories, and comic strips.
Mattie is going about her ordinary life when disease takes over. The fever turns her life upside down. Her sick mother insists that she leave the city of Philadelphia and seek refuge in the country. The disease has spread wider than expected and Mattie must learn to survive.
Do you have any favorite young adult books? Share them in the comments!
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