Top 10 Summer Reading for Teens

If you have teenagers, you know that summer is a time for them to decompress, to get a break from schoolwork and busy schedules, and to prepare for the school year ahead. While these are both critical years, for school and future paths, they are also critical in terms of the emotional and physical stresses teenagers can have to deal with.

Giving teens the gift of books can mean you also give them the time to read, time to unplug from the world around them – especially if you opt for paper books over ebooks. It can also give them a place to escape from the world that may seem a little too much, into a world of fantasy, or a world simply focused on something other than themselves. Here are some top picks to consider for your teen’s summer reading list.

  1. The House on Mango Street

    Made up a series of short vignettes, which piece together a year in life of the Esperanzas, Mexican-American family, The House on Mango Street depicts the struggles of everyday family life as well as the coming-of-age problems faced by Sandra Esperanza a regular 12 year old.

  2. The Outsiders

    A classic novel, also a movie worth watching, The Outsiders is the story of Darry, Johnny, Pony Boy and Sodapop, of their challenges growing up on the wrong side of town, and of the ways friendship and belonging to something bigger than themselves helped them survive. While girls will love this classic just as well, this may be exactly the book to inspire your reluctant teenaged boy to read.

  3. Before I Fall

    These days, it seems every great novel is made into a movie, and Before I Fall is no exception. One great model you can use with teens, especially the more reluctant readers, is to make reading the book a condition to seeing the movie. Not only can it be fun to see the differences and to decide which version you like better, but it can motivate teens to get through the book, with the movie the reward at the other end. This story follows the tale of Samantha Kingston, her death, and the day she lives over and over again trying to make sense of it all.

  4. Lord of the Shadows

    Cassandra Clare is author of the best selling Shadowhunters series. Her latest novel follows the adventures of Emma Carstairs, her struggles, and the complexities of the parabatai connection. Those new to the series may want to pick up one of the original books just for context, but really each tale stands on its own.

  5. All the Bright Places

    New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places tells the tale of “two teens who find each other while standing on the edge.” Described as touching and heart-wrenching, this one too will be headed for the big screen.

  6. We Were Liars

    Another New York Times bestseller, We Were Liars is the tale of a private island, a mysterious girl, four friends, an accident, a secret, and of course, lies. Described as unforgettable and with a shocking twist ending, this one promises to be hard to put down.

  7. Monster

    An older book, this best selling, award winning tale takes the reader on a journey with Steve Harmon, a boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Uniquely told as part screenplay, part journal entries, readers will discover how one decision can change your life, and what that feels like from the inside.

  8. Missing

    Described as a romantic thriller, this one promises to “leave fans trembling for more.” A perfect page turning escape, readers will get caught up in the story of Winter Crane and what she discovers in the woods that will change her life forever.

  9. The Hate U Give

    Because teens are exploring and experiencing challenging years and there are many issues outside the realm off their own scope of knowledge, both in the world around them and internal, reading about some of these real issues can be a help. In The Hate U Give, readers gain insights into the life of a young black girl whose best friend is killed at the hands of police, the secrets she holds about what really happened that night, and her decision about whether to tell.

  10. Finding Audrey

    Best selling author Sophie Kinsella enters the world of the teenaged mind in this story of 14-year old Audrey and her anxiety disorder. Told with Kinsella’s usual comedic twists and through characters that are relatable and likable, readers are in for a “terrific blend of comedy, romance and psychological recovery.”

    Make sure everyone in your family decompresses a bit this summer, with a summer reading list for teens that will keep them motivated, inspired, and that may just help them escape a bit of the drama around them.


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