75 Good Books for Teens: An Amazing Guide

Do you need help finding best-fit colleges or writing essays? You can sign up for a free consult here.

Reading good books in the adolescent years is one of the most beneficial hobbies a young person can pick up.

By reading books, teens engage comprehension skills, build a rich vocabulary, learn about the world around them, and realize they are not alone in the challenges they may face.

Below, we’ve gathered the top 75 books for teens. These books entertain, share valuable information, and spark a love for reading that young people can take with them throughout their lives.

1. The Book Thief

What It’s About:

This book, written by Markus Zusak, stars a young girl named Liesel, who is living a challenging life in Germany in the midst of Hitler’s reign and World War II. Her story is told from the unique perspective of Death. Liesel is an orphan after tragically losing her mother and brother and being placed in a new foster home.

Her life takes a turn for the better when her caring foster father, Hans, teaches her to read. Liesel falls in love with reading, and begins stealing books from a variety of places, including a nearby bookstore and Nazi book burn piles. Along the way, she discovers the magnificent power that written words hold.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

The Book Thief is great for teens for two main reasons. First, it tells a history lesson filled with empathy and real-life incidents. Second, it shares the power of books and ignites a love for reading in the minds of young people.

 2. Wonder

What It’s About:

In this book, R.J. Palacio writes of a ten-year-old boy named Auggie who happened to be born with a deformed face. He starts public school in the fifth grade, and he is immediately teased. The book pulls from a variety of perspectives: from Auggie to his sister (who feels like she doesn’t get attention), his friends (who feel pressured to hang out with him), and his true friends who are completely genuine.

The story follows Auggie throughout his entire fifth grade year. The plot thickens when a rumor is spread around school that touching him will spread the plague. Auggie and the people around him face the challenges that this unfortunate event brings about.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

Wonder shows teens that everyone deserves kindness, no matter what their outer appearance may be. It shows that friendship is more than skin-deep. It challenges young people to stand up for others, even when social pressure tells them otherwise.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird

What It’s About:

Harper Lee writes about a young girl named Scout who is grows up in the Southern United States in the 1930’s. Scout, her brother, and their friend Dill, are fascinated by a house down the block in which a man named Boo Radley lives.

While the children play, Scout’s father works as a lawyer who is trying desperately to prove the innocence of a black man wrongly accused of rape. The book continues to follow both storylines, through various challenges, tragedies, and victories.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

To Kill a Mockingbird is a history lesson in and of itself, teaching teens about what the United States was like when Jim Crow was the norm. It also holds strong lessons in standing up for what is right, treating every person as an equal being, and the treasuring our history of the struggle for civil rights.

4. The Giver 

What It’s About:

Written by Louis Lowry, The Giver stars Jonas, a young boy who lives in a future dystopian society. His world has no pain, no suffering, no hunger, and no war. However, along with removing the bad from society, the good had to go as well. His world has no music, no love, and not even any color.

When Jonas turns 12, The Elders give him his job: The Receiver of Memory. This rare and secretive occupation allows him to see a glimpse of the past. Once Jonas experiences true emotion, he knows he must find a way to share it with the world around him.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

The Giver shows the ways in which both good and evil make our world what it is today. It shares the importance of free choice, and it shows teens that the future of society truly is in their hands. The dystopian future setting also embraces critical thinking skills throughout a storyline that draws teens in.

 5. The Fault in Our Stars

What It’s About:

In this newer Young Adult hit, John Green writes a charming story about the young love that sparks between two teens with cancer, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. The two meet at their cancer support group, and they quickly become inseparable.

The book follows the relationship between the teens, and it ends with a twist that no reader could see coming. It captures the raw challenges of childhood cancer, while holding a heartwarming love story along the way.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book is what many teens want to read. When you give a young person a book that piques their interest, it roots a love for reading. The Fault in Our Stars also depicts a healthy relationship, and it promotes supporting others who may be facing large challenges in life.

6. Thirteen Reasons Why

What It’s About:

The Jay Asher book, which has now turned into a Netflix series, comes from the voice of Hannah Baker, a teen girl who ended her own life. Before committing suicide, she recorded thirteen tapes, with the thirteen reasons why she could no longer live her life.

The thirteen tapes are passed onto each of the people who hurt Hannah after her passing. The packages come as a surprise to each young person, and it changes the lives of many along the way.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book captures the challenges that teens face every single day. It shows the impact that their words and actions have on their peers, and it makes them think about the way they treat those around them. It also shows that no matter how challenging their life has become, it is always worth living.

7. Bridge to Terabithia

What It’s About:

Childhood best friends Leslie and Jess create a faraway, imaginary land in the forest near their home. They spend hours in this land each day, seeking out adventure and simply playing together.

The book follows the two friends as they have trouble at school. But they enjoy being themselves when they play together in their faraway land. Later on, a sudden twist of events brings about tragedy and loss.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book embraces childhood, and it encourages teens to do the right thing in a time that may be filled with tests, peer pressure, and planning for the future. It shares the magic of friendship and individuality, while resonating with teens who have experienced loss.

 8. Every Day

What It’s About:

David Levithan writes about a main character called “A,” who wakes up in a different body, and he lives a different life in a different person’s mind, every single day. A faces a variety of challenges throughout the book.

One day, A falls in love with his body’s girlfriend, but remembers the real person who owns the body treats her poorly. He spends time in different bodies trying to reconnect with Rhiannon, and eventually successfully reconnects.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

While A lives through days in different bodies, he experiences real-life issues that many teens face. While providing a view into difficulties that peers may face, the book follows an enticing, yet challenging, love story that draws teens in.

 9. The Glass Castle

What It’s About:

This book is a memoir of the life of the author, Jeanette Walls. She grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family. She struggles through homelessness, a lack of food, having a parent with alcoholism, and an overall dangerous lifestyle.

Throughout the book, Walls looks into how her past challenges shaped her into the person she is today. She notes her strength and shares how she got through the hardest of times.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

The Glass Castle is great for teens because it shows real challenges. It may be a comfort for some teens, who face the same issues, to know that they are not alone. For others, the book is an eye-opening experience that shows what others face on a daily basis. The book also shares the good that can come from a deep level of perseverance.

 10. The Boy in Striped Pajamas

What It’s About:

John Boyne writes about a young boy in Nazi Germany, who happens to be the son of a Nazi Commander. He wanders off and becomes friends with a young Jewish boy, through the fence of a concentration camp.

The two children carry on a friendship, in secret, despite their differences. The free boy later embarks on a journey into the concentration camp, dressed as a Jew, to help his friend with an essential task.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This story is an emotional and heartfelt way to learn about the challenges that Jewish people faced in Nazi Germany. It shows the hatred that is sometimes created through the minds of adults, but it is meaningless through the eyes of a child. It carries on the theme of equality through a storyline that will keep teens on the edge of their seats.

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower 

What It’s About:

In this book, author Stephen Chbosky writes a series of letters through the voice of main character, Charlie. Charlie is a freshman in high school who shares the challenges of his year, and his life overall.

Throughout the book, Charlie makes friends with peers who face many real-life issues, including abortion, abuse, and cheating. He examines his own life to bring about secrets from his past that turned him into the person he was that year.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book is written with an honest tone, and touches on a variety of topics that teens face every day. It’s written from the perspective of someone their own age, which piques their interest and allows them to connect with the challenges the book brings up at the same time.

 12. The Catcher in the Rye

What It’s About:

Author J.D. Salinger writes about Holden, a teen who is in the midst of being expelled from his dormitory school for failing most of his classes. The book goes back in time to the moment the expulsion takes place, and it follows the challenges Holden faces along the way.

The story explores how Holden feels about the situation, it and introduces some of his peers. It follows Holden on a three-day trip to New York, where teen rebellion takes center stage.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

Even though this book was written many decades ago, with some critical thinking skills, teens today can still relate the rebellion Holden walks through. The book shares real-life issues that teens face and provides teens with a variety of situations that they should away from, along with the consequences that come with them, all in a storyline that draws in young minds.

13. Uglies

What It’s About:

In this book, author Scott Westerfeld creates a future dystopian society where the government gives each person plastic surgery when they turn 16, turning them into a “Pretty.” Pretties are overall treated better and live in their own special community.

Tally Youngblood, however, begins to appreciate a society where everyone is unique and beautiful in his or her own way, just as she is about to receive her surgery. She sets off on an adventure to find a secret society in the mountains, filled with people who have never turned “pretty.”

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

Along with catching the interest of teens, this book sets a new standard of “pretty.” It encourages teens to be comfortable in their own skin. It holds onto the theme that every person in unique and beautiful, even if they do not follow society’s standards of beauty.

 14. Because of Winn-Dixie

What It’s About:

Kate Dicammilo writes about Opal, a young girl who moves to a new town with her father when their mother leaves the family behind. It is quite clear that Opal is facing a significant life challenge during the transition. She feels lonely and sad, and she needs some help moving forward.

One day, Opal goes to the local Winn-Dixie market to pick something up for her father and meets a dog. She ends up taking the dog in, and they become the best of friends. The dog brings Opal back to a place of happiness, while helping her make friends in her new town at the same time.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book takes family and social challenges and plays them out in a fun story. It fosters a love of animals as well, which appeals to many teens.

15. Eragon 

What It’s About:

Written by Christopher Paolini, this book follows a teen boy named Eragon who lives a poor life with his distant relatives. He finds a blue stone and takes it home, but it turns out to be a dragon egg.

When the dragon egg hatches, Eragon and the dragon are sent into a fantasy land, filled with a wide variety of mythical creatures. They embark on adventures together, as Eragon learns the trade of becoming a skilled Dragon Rider.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This is the type of story many young readers enjoy. The fantasy, the interesting creatures, and the adventure draw teens in. These pieces together can bring about a love for the written word, which can benefit teens in a wide variety of ways.

16. The Call of the Wild

What It’s About:

In this book by Jack London, a dog named Buck leads a wilderness-themed story filled with action and adventure. The dog is sold to dog sledders in the Gold Rush, and he quickly needs to learn the skills of his ancestors as he pulls humans, sleds, and goods with the rest of the pack.

Throughout the book, Buck shows the loyalty to owners that dogs exhibit, and he even saves the lives of the humans in his care. He leads action-packed adventures and lives life to the fullest in his sled-dog role.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

The action in this book draws teens in. While they are reading, loyalty, determination, and perseverance continue to show throughout each page. The book shows what hard work can do, and it provides a look into the amazing lives that dogs around the world live.

 17. The Secret Garden

What It’s About:

Frances Hodgson Burnett shares a story of a young girl living in India, named Mary Lennox, born to English parents. Her parents are busy and not involved in their child’s life, so Mary is raised by an Indian servant. She is spoiled and rude, and she gets everything she wants.

Early into the book, her parents and her maid die in a massive cholera outbreak. Mary is sent to live with her uncle, who has a yard full of extravagant gardens. The young girl finds comfort in nature, and humbles herself through imaginative, outdoor play for the first time.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book shares a variety of powerful themes, from treating others with respect to the power of nature. It holds imagination and childhood in high regard, and it shares lessons in self-reflection, as well as treating others with kindness.

 18. Go Ask Alice

What It’s About:

This book by Beatrice Sparks is written in the form of a diary of a young girl named Alice in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Alice shares her adolescent struggles, including school and social struggles, high school crushes, and worries about her weight.

Alice begins experimenting with drugs, and soon it becomes a lifestyle. She faces challenges with her family and her own health throughout high school and her early years of college. She receives help on and off, but always struggles with addiction.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

Go Ask Alice shows the real struggles that drugs can bring into the life of a teenager. It shows how even trying substances once can lead to an unfulfilling and dangerous life. It encourages teens to think of different solutions to the challenges they face every day.

Get personalized advice!

We've helped thousands of students choose a career and guided them along it to success. Here is what our clients say about us:

"Transizion guided and advised my daughter through her essays for great schools, including NYU, UC Berkeley, USC, GW, and Northwestern. My daughter was independent throughout the process and really enjoyed all the feedback and guidance they gave her. They were always available to answer all of our questions rapidly. They made my life much easier especially since my daughter was a Canadian student and the whole application to US schools was very foreign to our family. I highly recommend Transizion for their professionalism and work ethics!"

 19. Hatchet

What It’s About:

Gary Paulsen tells this story through Brian, a teen boy who is flying in a helicopter to visit his father for the summer after their parents go through a painful divorce. The helicopter crashes, and Brian is forced to keep himself alive in the great wilderness on his own.

Brian learns how to hunt, eat, make shelter, and simply survive on his own in the wild. He faces many terrifying challenges along the way. Brian is forever changed by the time he spends on his own in the forest, and he becomes a better man because of it.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

The first reason this book is good for teens is because it’s simply what many of them want to read. It’s exciting and packed full of adventure. It also shares many real-life survival strategies, and it provides an example of a young person who successfully grew through the all-too-common challenge of separating parents.

 20. Stargirl

What It’s About:

This book by Jerry Spinelli is told from the perspective of main character Leo, a teenage boy who is interested in the most unusual parts of life. This is first shown through his love of porcupine neck ties.

When Leo returns to school in the fall, a new girl named Stargirl starts in the grade below him. She is always dressed in a fashion that is completely her own, so she stands out to her peers right away. Her kind actions stand out soon after, as well.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book shows teens that being popular is not always the best thing to be. Being kind, however, should be at the top of their list. The book also shares an appreciation for the uniqueness that each of us carries within ourselves.

 21. Number the Stars

What It’s About:

In this book, author Lois Lowry shares the lives of two ten-year-old girls living in Denmark in the midst of World War II. Ellen is Jewish, while AnneMarie is not. When the Nazis begin searching homes for Jews, AnneMarie’s family takes Ellen in and pretends she is their late daughter.

The book follows the two girls and their families along the challenges faced by Jews in Denmark under the reign of Hitler. It tells of great adventure, and it shares the importance of caring for people of all kinds.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book is action-packed and interesting for teens, while it also provides a history lesson on Nazi Germany in a heartfelt way. It shows teens what can happen when discrimination is taken too far, and it holds onto the importance of treating every person as someone who matters. The book shows a great deal of strength in times of suffering as well.

 22. Holes

What It’s About:

In this book, author Louis Sachar shares the story of a boy named Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to a juvenile detention center (for a crime he did not commit) and forced to work digging holes in the desert all day, every day.

Through his work, he discovers a story from many years in the past. He learns about slavery, racism, and civil rights. The story of a black man named Sam, who is charged for kissing a white girl, is told alongside the story of Stanley.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This book provides both an interesting story and a look back at what America was like before the Civil War. It shares values of equality and justice, while keeping teens entertained. It also fostering a love for reading.

 23. The Hobbit

What It’s About:

The Hobbit is staged in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world, and follows the life of Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo sets off on a journey to find treasure that is guarded by the powerful and sinister dragon, Smaug.

Bilbo meets many of Tolkien’s creatures along the way, and he gets himself into adventurous quarrels and quests. He eventually faces Smaug himself.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

The world created by J.R.R. Tolkien is one that is known for creating a love of reading among teens. It draws young readers in, and it shows them the power of an imaginative world drawn out through words.

 24. The Little Prince

What It’s About:

This is a French book, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The unnamed narrator is a pilot in search of adventure and imagination. When his plane crashes, he meets “The Little Prince,” who lives on an asteroid in outer space.

The two share details of their own lives and planets with each other and become friends. Something happens to the Prince, and the narrator spends many years in search of him, hoping he returned to his home Asteroid. Various animals and other creatures enter the story. The animals provide life lessons to both the narrator and the Prince along the way.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

This is a classic book that is simply fascinating. It’s not like anything teens have read before. The unique characters and adventure capture many readers from the first chapter, and it can create the love of reading we so desire our young adults to have.

25. Charlotte’s Web

What It’s About:

This book by E.B. White stars a young girl named Fern. When a group of piglets are born on their farm, Fern begs for the runt of the litter to stay alive. She names the runt Wilber and tends to him as he grows.

Wilber is later sold to a farm that belongs to Fern’s uncle. He is lonely in his new home, but soon develops a friendship with a spider on the barn door named Charlotte. Charlotte is an incredibly bright spider who fights for Wilbur’s life as his date with the butcher approaches.

Why It’s a Good Book for Teens:

Charlotte’s Web teaches teens not to judge someone by their looks, or even by their first impression, for that matter. It shares lessons in compassion, and it shows that each of us, no matter how young or small, is capable of achieving great things.

50 More Good Books for Teens:

Science Fiction:

  1. The Divergent Series
  2. The Hunger Games Series
  3. The 100
  4. The City of Ember
  5. Ender’s Game
  6. A Wrinkle in Time
  7. The Maze Runner Series
  8. The Program
  9. I Am Number Four
  10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
  2. Honor Girl
  3. The Diary of Anne Frank
  4. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
  5. March


  1. The Twilight Series
  2. The Truth About Forever
  3. Just Listen
  4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  5. The Notebook
  6. A Walk to Remember
  7. Paper Towns
  8. An Abundance of Katherines
  9. The Sun Is Also a Star
  10. Five Feet Apart

Historical Fiction: 

  1. The Girl in Blue
  2. The Fifth of March
  3. The Secret of Sarah Revere
  4. Fever 1793
  5. Between Shades of Gray

Action and Adventure:

  1. Maximum Ride Series
  2. Percy Jackson Series
  3. The Harry Potter Series
  4. The Burning Bridge
  5. The Labyrinth
  6. Starsight
  7. Wildcard
  8. The Book of Dust Series
  9. Warcross
  10. The Last Star


  1. The Outliers Series
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  3. Opposite of Always
  4. Confessions of a High School Disaster
  5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 


  1. The Naturals
  2. A Study in Charlotte
  3. Pretty Little Liars
  4. Overturned
  5. One of Us is Lying
  6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children


When a teen finds the right book, reading can become a powerful tool in his or her life. Choose a genre of interest, along with any one of these books to start, and watch the benefits of reading start to pour in.

Learn how we can help you with college and career guidance! Check out our YouTube channel!

Click Here to Schedule a Free Consult!