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Editorial

Best Teen Books to Expand Your Consciousness and World View

Last Updated August 13, 2021

By  Janice Warren

No matter how much technology evolves and we learn new ways, reading will never go out of style. So if you're in your teen years and have been looking for new ways to grow your knowledge base and explore new worlds, we've got you covered with these best teen books.

There are several advantages to reading, including expanding your perception, gaining new knowledge, improving your navigation in the real world, and improving your score on standardized tests. After all, who doesn't love an A?

Even if you believe that reading is not for you, you may be surprised to learn that you'll enjoy some of these books. Young adult literature is a great substitute or complement to Netflixing. So let's dive into some of the best books that young readers worldwide love and enjoy.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Gregory Peck
  • Atticus Finch
  • Scout
  • Boo Radley
  • Truman Capote

Harper Lee entices us to go on this journey to explore consciousness in a small southern town. This classic tale gets to the heart of our human behavior. You'll get to learn what guilty means, who's innocent and who's not, and the limits of hate and love.

These young adult books will expand your perception of humor and pathos, love and hatred, innocence and experience, and much more. Harper Lee takes you on this journey with this deeply moving book, dramatic and compassionate. Translated to over 40 languages, this masterpiece is at the heart of American literature.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Sale
The Hunger Games (Book 1)
  • The Hunger Games (Book 1)
  • Suzanne Collins (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 07/03/2010 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Press (Publisher)

If you've watched the movie and loved it, you'll be more blown away by the graphic novel. Young readers will follow Katniss Everdeen with awe as she fights for her life in this world that is set on destroying her.

This world of Panem's annual Hunger Games has a similar feel to our modern world that will leave you in contemplation. The story follows our star in the nation of Panem, where the glamorous Capitol is surrounded by twelve districts.

The annual hunger games were formed after the twelve districts waged war against the Capitol and lost. Part of the surrender terms was that each district must send a boy and a girl to the televised "Hunger Games." Join Katniss Everdeen and the other kids on this chilling adventure.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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The Book Thief
  • The Book Thief
  • Markus Zusak (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 608 Pages - 09/11/2007 (Publication Date) - Knopf Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

In the pages of this New York Times Bestseller, it's before world war II, and the passion for reading keeps this young girl sane as the world crumbles around her. Leisel Meminger lives outside of Munich during these hectic times in 1939. Her foster father helps her learn to read, and she shares her stolen books with her neighbors.

The Jewish men who hid in their basement also go on this adventure with her during these devastating bomb raids. Young adults globally have enjoyed going through these times with Leisel, thanks to Markus' great writing. You will too.

4. We Were Liars Deluxe Edition by E. Lockhart

Sale
We Were Liars Deluxe Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lockhart, E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 05/23/2017 (Publication Date) - Delacorte Press (Publisher)

Even reluctant readers will enjoy reading this thriller by the National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. We Were Liars is a modern and sophisticated novel that meets all the requirements of a thriller.

A group of friends who aren't what they seem, a private island where our main character - Cadence - spends her time and mysterious happenings. These books for teens will have you sitting at the edge of your chair biting your nails off.

You are not ready for the end.

5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Lord of the Flies
  • ISBN13: 9780399501487
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Tracking provided on...
  • William Golding (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

These best books for teens will take you on an adventure as you follow a group of schoolboys who get stranded on a remote island after surviving a plane crash. Be prepared to see how extreme conditions can bring out the real nature of young people.

This is one of the best books you'll come across that's perfect for young adults. Very well-written, William takes you through the stages of freedom to fear. You'll see how the boys enjoy their freedom of being away from adult supervision only to be met by the gripping fear that their adventure may not be what it seems.

Follow them as they try to survive their new reality.

6. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

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The Outsiders
  • Speak
  • S. E. Hinton (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 04/20/2006 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers...

S. E. Hinton wrote this classic when she was a teenager like yourself. In addition to writing a masterpiece that would be relatable to her peers, she made something special that continues to be appreciated by generations to come.

In this work of art, you follow Ponyboy's journey on the search to belong. You get to see how things can escalate when you do anything to belong. According to the New York Times, this international bestseller transformed the young-adult fiction genre.

Diving into a much darker and realistic world, this novel deviates from the usual storyline of high school crushes, prom queens, and football players.

7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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The Catcher in the Rye
  • Great product!
  • J.D. Salinger (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 05/01/1991 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown and Company (Publisher)

These best books for teens are funny, knowledgeable, and a page-turner. J.D. Salinger is a significant voice in American literature. You will enjoy going on this journey with Holden Caufield, who is the hero-narrator of this book.

Whether dealing with gender identity or mental illness, you will enjoy reading this book and gaining some much-needed perspective.

8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sale
The Hate U Give
  • BALZER BRAY
  • Hardcover Book
  • Thomas, Angie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 02/28/2017 (Publication Date) - Balzer + Bray (Publisher)

This is a must-read for every teen, whether you are in your senior year or not. Young readers will get to have an important perspective on police brutality and racial inequality.

Our 16-year-old character witnesses police offer fatally shoot her best friend, who is unarmed. After this incident, she goes on a journey showing how big the divide is between her poor neighborhood and her suburban prep school.

9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • MTV Books
  • Chbosky, Stephen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 08/14/2012 (Publication Date) - MTV Books (Publisher)

The movie doesn't do justice to the story that Stephen Chbosky tells in this beautiful book. Dive into the world of weirdness, friendships, and heartbreaks. You might be able to relate to some of this high school world.

Join Charlie as he negotiates the world while feeling misunderstood. By the end of your read, you'll have a better idea of how to navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood. Can you relate to Charlie's dilemma of wanting to run away from his life and wanting to live it to the fullest?

Find out in this page-turner.

10. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Sale
Looking for Alaska
  • Great product!
  • Green, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 221 Pages - 12/28/2006 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

Do you feel slightly or a lot restless? This is the book for you. John Green takes us on an adventure in these best teen books that are relatable to any young adult who isn't a nerd but isn't very popular either.

If you lie in this sweet spot, this is the book for you. High school can feel like a never-ending journey, and having someone you can relate to - even if they're fictional- can be a healthy relief. So watch as the protagonist goes out in search of greener pastures.

You might just be inspired to leave your safe and predictable life to do the same.

11. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Eleanor & Park
  • Eleanor & Park
  • Hardcover Book
  • Rainbow Rowell (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 02/26/2013 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

Are you tired of reading about your typical fairy tale lovers who live in their little bubble where nothing else matters? Then, you'll be happy to join Eleanor and Park on their journey of happiness. They know that first love romance rarely works, but they are willing to put in the work for it.

This offbeat romance is set in 1986 and is a true breath of fresh air. The story is captivating and well-written. You get to see how young love can be desperate, overwhelming, and even catastrophic. Join Eleanor and Park as they navigate this amazing school year.

12. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

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The House on Mango Street
  • Great product!
  • Sandra Cisneros (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 110 Pages - 04/03/1991 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

Follow Esperanza Cordero on her journey to figure herself out as she leads her life in Chicago. Although this book is over two decades old, the lessons are still relevant to today's times. Reading this novel will expand your views on the immigrant experience.

These best teen books are acclaimed by critics and highly loved by readers globally. The characters are appealing, and the story gives hope to an antiracist future. You will enjoy reading this book that is taught in inner-city grade schools and universities across the globe.

13. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
  • Blume, Judy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 04/13/2010 (Publication Date) - Delacorte Books for Young Readers...

Judy Blume has written an incredible book that is a must-read for all girls in their teens. This book is about a twelve-year-old girl who talks to God about her need to grow up. Judy is a beautiful writer who has won several awards for her unique talent to give words to the inner turmoil of teens.

If you are in your teens or just about to get into your teens, this is a great asset to have.

14. The To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

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The To All the Boys I've Loved Before Paperback Collection: To All the Boys I've Loved Before; P.S....
  • Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories
  • Han, Jenny (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1072 Pages - 04/24/2018 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers...

If you haven't watched the film adaptation of this book, you're seriously missing out. However, reading the book might be what you need.

She is getting ready to join Lara on this thrilling adventure after all her love letters are sent out to their unintended recipients. You will enjoy reading how Lara navigates this new world as her love life rushes before her. Imagine if all your crushes found out how you felt about them? What would you do?

Please sit back and get some inspiration from our young hero.

15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Sale
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1)
  • Rowling, J. K. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 06/26/2018 (Publication Date) - Arthur A. Levine Books (Publisher)

The adventures of Harry Potter and his Hogwarts friends will never go out of style. These best teen books have been around for decades and continue to fascinate young readers worldwide. Filled with adventures that involve magical powers, the strength of character, bravery, loss, and more, you'll be entertained and taught so much.

J. K. Rowling is a true author who has brought magic into our real-world through her books. Once you get a hold of this first book, you won't want to stop until you're done with the whole series. Watch as Hary Potter moves from leading a miserable life with the Dursleys to becoming the crown prince of the Wizarding world.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Why Should Teens Read Books?

1. Reading Makes Young Readers More Empathetic

The best thing about delving into a new book is that you get to experience life from a very different perspective without actually changing your own life. As you put yourself in the characters' shoes, you're able to see the world through their point of view.

This then makes you more empathetic.

But why do you need to be more empathetic? Empathy is a great social skill that helps you navigate the world better. As a result, you get to better your relationships, make friends easily, and widen your perspective.

2. Reading is Exercise to Your Brain

The same way you do sports or other physical activity to keep your body healthy, you should also read these best teen books to keep your brain healthy.

As a teenager, you're still in the growing stage of your life. Therefore, if you feed your mind with knowledge and adventure from books, you'll notice a significant positive change in the way your brain works.

Even your grades will thank you.

3. Reading Improves Your Sleep

High school can be very stressful, especially in these times where everything in the world is changing. In addition, our eyes are suffering from all the blue light we expose ourselves to from walking around with our gadgets all day.

In addition to reading improving your brain health and increasing you're overall productivity and sleep. You also get to reduce the amount of exposure you get from the screens. Reading right before bed can help you sleep better and help you wake up feeling great.

Conclusion

Which one of these best teen books did you enjoy the most? Let us know how your adventure goes. Remember, reading can help you score better on standardized tests and make you a better human being. 

Janice Warren


Janice is a full-time writer at Infantcore, writing about her experiences as mother of 4.

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