Check out these teen book recommendations from the CHB Staff!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I read this novel so many times throughout high school. For those of us who felt (or feel) alone and alienated in our youthful age this was the book that became a friend. I know how cheesy that sounds but teenagerhood is a cheesy time. Suffice it to say, this book is important and you should read it.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
All praise to LHA who is, in my opinion, the best writer of young adult fiction. Anderson understands teenagers, and she doesn't talk down to them. She writes books that deal with serious issues without them becoming "cautionary tales." Anderson's stories (of which Speak is my favorite) are about fully formed people, albeit young people, and they spread messages of both hardship and hope.
Dark Water by Laura McNeal
This is a great novel about life, love, fear, and wildfires in southern California. McNeal does an excellent job telling a story about about a complex political issue while remembering her teenage audience. Definitely a great read for the classroom as well.
The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman
Another complex and wonderful novel written for a young adult audience. Sherman has written a fantastic novel about heritage, history, and race that speaks brilliantly to its audience and adults as well.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This book follows the viewpoints of Amy, a girl cryogenically frozen for centuries of space travel on the ship Godspeed, and Elder, the future leader of the society that has grown and adapted on the ship through several hundred years. When Amy is unplugged too early and wakes up on a ship full of humans who have never seen Earth, she is met with a secretive, controled society to which she cannot possibly conform. This trilogy was impossible to put down; the second and third books only improve upon the fascinating concepts established in book one.
Half Bad by Sally Green
This was a book I stayed up all night finishing. Sally Green knows how to craft a compelling story populated with interesting and relatable characters. The story centers on Nathan, the son of a White witch and the most powerful and dangerous Black witch, in a society where Black witches are ostracized and persecuted. Nathan is an excellent character who perfectly fits the mold of a confused teen just trying to figure out who he is and find his place in the world. Green captures Nathan's feelings of isolation and anger at the injustice he is forced to endure. Anyone who has ever been bullied by their peers or even by adults in authority will understand what Nathan is going through.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season is the first in a seven book series about clairvoyants living in an underground crime sydicate in London. Paige Mahoney is a dreamwalker, one of the rarest and most powerful kinds of voyant. When she's caputured and taken to a camp for voyants run by otherworldly and powerful creatures called Rephaim, she must fight for her life and her freedom. She must learn to control and master her abilities if she is to ever have a chance to escape captivity. Shannon has created a believable and complex society of clairvoyants. Paige is a spirited and tough protagonist with a lot of potential. I have very high hopes for this series, if its compelling and well-written first book is any indication of the quality of the books to follow!
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Aliens. Deadly ones that work by slowly anihaliating the earth's population through attack, disease, and fear. The book follows one lone girl whose mission is to find her little brother and stay alive in the midst of a perfectly executed alien invasion. This book was a fantastic read. Yancey conveys Cassie's realistic mixture of fear and determination beautifully. This post-apocolyptic tale will keep you up all night on the edge of your seat, desperate to find out what happens next.
Splintered by A.G. Howard
I am a huge fan of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, so this book was an absolute treat to read. Howard merges the original story beautifully with her own vision of Wonderland (which is quite different from how Carroll imagined it). Fans of the original stories will love the nods she gives to the source material, and new readers will find themselves drawn into the madness that is Howard's Wonderland. With a wonderful cast of characters and a love triangle you'll atcually enjoy, Howard crafts an intriguing and unique twist on the classic story.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Reading Fangirl was almost like reading a fictionalized autobiography of myself. Rowell beautifully captures the messiness of transitioning to adulthood. Cath is shy, introverted, and socially insecure. Her anxieties are true to life; anyone who has ever been a fan of something they "shouldn't" be will understand how she feels. Cath makes a colorful cast of friends, from the perpetually sunny Levi to her tough and non-nonsense roommate, Reagan. You'll find yourself wishing these guys were your friends in real life. Add in the exerpts Rowell includes from the Simon Snow books and Cath's fanfiction, and you'll find yourself a Simon Snow and Rainbow Rowell fan by the last page.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Fantastic book! I read this book in junior high and went on to read all of S.E. Hinton's books. The characters are cool and relatable. Loved these books!
On the Road by Jack Kerouac