Are you looking for a ‘next read’ to keep your teen motivated?
We’ve been chatting to lots of parents about their teens’ reading recently. Here, we list some (25!) of the books that have come up in our conversations. (Click on the titles or cover images below for more information about each book.)
New on the shelves
Among the books released towards the end of 2015 and proving popular are:
Girl Online: On Tour, the second novel from Zoe Sugg, who is better-known as the YouTube sensation ‘Zoella’.
The Red Queen, the long-awaited final book in Isobelle Carmody’s ‘Obernewtyn Chronicles’. These are complex, wonderful high fantasy tales which will keep teens (and many adults) reading for weeks.
Zeroes, a collaboration between three Australian powerhouse authors, Margo Lanagan, Scott Westerfeld and Deborah Biancotti. This is the first in a series about Californian teens who have ‘special powers’ – powers which might actually get in the way more than they help. Our friends at Booktopia describe this as ‘a glorious mix between a comic-book adventure and a heist film’, but with teen characters.
And another collaboration, Illuminae, which pairs Australians Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The first in a series, it’s set in 2575 in a world where rival megacorporations are at war over a planet – the planet our heroes Kady and Ezra live on. The story’s told through a clever mix of emails, interviews, medical reports, diagrams and more.
An eclectic mix, from both the YA and adult shelves:
Chatting to parents, and teens themselves, has reminded us what eclectic readers teenagers are! High-school students are often asked to tackle ‘adult’ books in their school classes, and they’ll also seek out adult books for leisure reading – looking for characters and themes that resonate with their own lives and interests – as well as browsing the YA shelves. Many will also read a range of both fiction and non-fiction (especially stories about people facing adversity).
(If you have concerns about your kids tackling adult themes, our advice is to keep in touch with what your kids are reading, talk to them about each book, and stick to your family ‘rules’ about what’s acceptable and appropriate. We’ve tackled this issue in more detail in this article about age-appropriate reads.)
One teenage girl we know is reading Harry Potter from the ‘children’s’ shelves at the same time as tackling Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Dan Brown’s Inferno from the ‘adult’ section.
Other ‘adult books’ of interest? One sixteen year-old boy, who is spending a term overseas, took Stephen King’s The Shining with him and wants to be sent Jasper Jones. And we spoke to a mum whose daughter is tackling the novel My Sister’s Keeper, alongside the non-fiction investigation of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, Madeleine, and autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala.
Books from the YA shelves the teens we know are enjoying include John Marsden’s Tomorrow series (reading the books before watching the movie on DVD); Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes; the Divergent series (we’ve suggested this reader, a fan of dystopia, try the Pandora Jones series next); and Tamara Ireland Stone’s books, including Every Last Word (about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
No vampires here
Recently we received a facebook message asking for recommendations for books which might appeal to a 14 year old, but aren’t ‘the normal vampire girl’ books.
We suggested she try some contemporary realistic novels: A Straight Line to My Heart, The Best Day of My Life, We Were Liars (which does have some ‘sophisticated’ content), and The Cardturner.
Also, some clever sci-fi romance: Jump and A Thousand Pieces of You (again, some ‘sophisticated’ content).
And, an extraordinary, moving life-after-death story, Elsewhere.
What are your teens reading and loving right now? We’d love to hear your recommendations, in comments below.
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