100 books like Everybody Sees the Ants

By A.S. King,

Here are 100 books that Everybody Sees the Ants fans have personally recommended if you like Everybody Sees the Ants. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Before I Fall

Jodi Perkins Author Of Chasing Echoes

From my list on where time is out to get you.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my fifth year teaching 7th grade, I found myself repeating the same lessons as prior years, participating in the same club events, marching in the same parades, etc. My students would inevitably reach the end of the school year and move on, while I was forever frozen in 7th grade. Herein my fascination with time loops was born. Over a decade later, I’m now happily teaching high school English while moonlighting as a writer of stories featuring temporal anomalies and time travel. I hope to spread my wings into dystopians and fractured fairy tales in the future, but until then…I may or may not have 22 clocks in my house.

Jodi's book list on where time is out to get you

Jodi Perkins Why did Jodi love this book?

Before I Fall is Mean Girls meets Groundhog Day, with the popular and pretty protagonist, Sam, forced to relive February 12th (her beloved “Cupid’s Day”) over and over. In the beginning, I had no love for Sam and was appalled by her and her friend’s nasty behavior, but Sam’s character growth throughout the novel is inspirational. The time-turning in the novel is handled flawlessly with repeated events never growing dull, and each new loop offering another layer to Sam’s redemption. Admittedly the book didn’t end the way I wanted (I’m a fan of fairy tale endings, even if unrealistic), but watching Sam evolve from a shallow mean girl to a beautiful soul was a moving experience and made the book worth the read.

By Lauren Oliver,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Before I Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

A bestselling summer read as heartbreaking as The Lovely Bones and as gripping as Jenny Downham's Before I Die.

**Now a major Netflix movie starring Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley*

'Gossip Girl meets Groundhog Day' Grazia

'Tender, funny and raw' Marie Claire

'A clever, funny, insightful and utterly addictive novel' Daily Mail

'Compelling and poignant, a truly memorable read' Closer

They say 'live every day as if it's your last' - but you never actually think it's going to be. At least I didn't.
The thing is, you don't get to know when it happens. You don't…


Book cover of I'll Give You the Sun

David J. Naiman Author Of The Finest Lies

From my list on sibling rivalry that will inspire you to reconnect.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anyone with siblings knows the deal. Your sibling becomes your first best friend and closest confidant but also your first competitor and fiercest critic. Navigating that relationship as a teen is fraught with peril. If done poorly, it can leave deep scars. If successful, it can teach you the foundations of how to build healthy relationships for the rest of your life. This theme has everything a writer needs to craft an emotional narrative, and these books do it best.

David's book list on sibling rivalry that will inspire you to reconnect

David J. Naiman Why did David love this book?

Teen twins, once close but now estranged, tell their tale in alternating sections. In an intriguing twist, Noah’s account takes place 3 years ago while Jude’s is in the present.

The reader gets bits of the full picture from each sibling until their turbulent narratives coalesce in a way that is both appropriately artistic and moving. Nelson weaves a great plot, but it’s her characters’ depth that makes this book exceptional.

By Jandy Nelson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I'll Give You the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize

Winner of the 2015 Michael L. Printz Award

Winner of a 2015 Stonewall Honor

"This is the big one - the BLAZING story of once inseparable twins whose lives are torn apart by tragedy." Entertainment Weekly

From the critically acclaimed author of The Sky Is Every where, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying - all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver.

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they…


Book cover of Eleanor & Park

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a YA contemporary author that enjoys falling back into the realm of the teenager with all its newness, awkwardness, and angst. I grew up with the Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, the genre that encapsulated and empowered the young adult voice. The coming-of-age story is so important because it molds the future of that character which in turn can mold the reader as well. What happens to a young person in their developing years will set the tone for their entire life. As a writer and a mother, I want to share stories that not only entertain but help young adults navigate difficult situations.

Gabi's book list on books that capture the tender moments while growing up under difficult circumstances

Gabi Justice Why did Gabi love this book?

First off, it’s set in the 80s. This is my generation. No smartphones. No social media. Just pure teenage angst.

Mostly, I love the back-and-forth conversation and inner thoughts of Eleanor and Park. Rowell nails the authenticity of teens. Their strange humor and insecurities. I want to throw my arms around them and shelter them from the cruel bullies haunting them.

Rowell sucks you into their lives, and it feels so real and raw that you remember the wonder and horror of your own teenage years. The dialogue is rich in its realness, and the tender little moments between Eleanor and Park are precious.

By Rainbow Rowell,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Eleanor & Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love, but what it's like to be young and in love with a book' John Green, author of The Fault in our Stars

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to…


Book cover of A Monster Calls

Sarah Allen Author Of The Nightmare House

From my list on where the monsters are more than monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my high school creative writing class, my teacher once said that good writing was a bit like looking at a star. If you look directly at it, it gets a little fuzzy and hard to see. But if you look just off to the side, the star becomes vivid and clear. That, to me, is exactly the power of spooky stories for young readers. We all deal with monsters, to varying degrees, throughout our lives. Even kids. But if we look at it just off to the side, through the angle of a fun, spooky story, those monsters suddenly become much more comprehensible. More faceable. More beatable. 

Sarah's book list on where the monsters are more than monsters

Sarah Allen Why did Sarah love this book?

It’s been said by smarter people than me how writing horror for kids isn’t about scaring them, it’s about showing them how brave they are.

A Monster Calls is the perfect illustration of that. The scariness and the spookiness are a stand-in for the real-life horrors that this kid is facing. Kids deal with a lot, and this book is the perfect example of how to survive when the worst happens.

The artwork too—wow! I wish I could get some of this artwork to hang on my walls. Absolutely gorgeous book.

By Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Monster Calls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The bestselling novel and major film about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking…


Book cover of Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone

Jasmine Warga Author Of The Shape of Thunder

From my list on middle grade with heart and honesty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a middle grade author, and I believe so much in the power of books to help broker conversations between kids and the adults in their lives, especially if those conversations are about things that are often tricky and tough to talk about. I love how middle grade fiction will fearlessly tackle these difficult topics, but does so well with heart and humor. 

Jasmine's book list on middle grade with heart and honesty

Jasmine Warga Why did Jasmine love this book?

This is a beautiful and intense book! Jennifer Chan has disappeared, and our protagonist, Mallory, isn’t sure if she’s responsible for Jennifer’s disappearance…or if the aliens Jennifer is obsessed with are. It has a great high concept hook paired with Tae Keller’s gorgeous writing that incisively looks at bullying and the consequences of our actions. I also love the structure that toggles us between the present and past and builds suspense. 

By Tae Keller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger, Tae Keller offers a gripping and emotional story about a girl who is alienated by her friends . . . for believing in aliens.

Sometimes middle school can make you feel like you're totally alone in the universe...but what if we aren't alone at all?

Thanks to her best friend, Reagan, Mallory Moss knows the rules of middle school. The most important one? You have to fit in to survive. But then Jennifer Chan moves in across the street, and that rule doesn't seem to…


Book cover of Starfish

Jasminne Mendez Author Of Aniana del Mar Jumps In

From my list on girls seeking bodily agency and body confidence.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a person who has lived with chronic illness and disability for over a decade, I've often found it difficult to advocate for myself because I was afraid and because I just didn’t know that I had a right to speak up. Not just in medical settings but also with family and friends. So often, others with “authority” think they know what’s best for us, but in the end, we know our bodies best. I’ve learned to set boundaries, say no, and advocate for myself as a means of survival. These five books are wonderful examples of strong girls and young women using their voices to protect their bodily agency and build their body confidence.

Jasminne's book list on girls seeking bodily agency and body confidence

Jasminne Mendez Why did Jasminne love this book?

Ellie has been bullied about her weight for some time and her mom insists on dragging her to doctors who can help her “manage her weight.”

Ellie wants to stand up to her bullies and her mom but sometimes she just doesn’t know how. While Ellie struggles to find the words she needs to advocate for herself, she finds solace in swimming. Because under water is where she feels the most weightless and free and it’s when she loves herself and her body the most.

With therapy and the help of her new best friend, Ellie shows us how true body confidence and bodily agency can be achieved even when it feels like it’s impossible. 

By Lisa Fipps,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Starfish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she's been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules - like "no making waves," "avoid eating in public," and "don't move so fast that your body jiggles." And she's found her safe space - her swimming pool - where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It's also where she can get away from her pushy…


Book cover of George

Joy Ellison Author Of Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History

From my list on to celebrate transgender pride.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid, I knew that my gender was different. I didn’t feel like a boy or a girl, but I didn’t know the word “nonbinary.” There were no kid’s books about people like me. I grew up with a lot of questions, which drove me to become a doctor of Women’s and Gender Studies and an expert on transgender history. Now I’m passionate about writing the kind of picture books that I needed as a child. If you want the kids in your life to understand transgender identity and feel loved whatever their gender may be, you’ll enjoy the books on my list. 

Joy's book list on to celebrate transgender pride

Joy Ellison Why did Joy love this book?

I love middle-grade novels and George is a classic. It reminds me of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, and I can think of no higher compliment! Alex Gino masterfully captures the perspective of a trans girl and her journey to expressing herself. This book isn’t shy about the difficulties that George faces, but its tone is gentle and hopeful. That’s the balance that I try to strike in my own writing. I can only hope I’m as successful as Gino. You’ll love this book.

By Alex Gino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked George as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The unforgettable debut from Stonewall Award Winner Alex Gino.

George joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

Melissa thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. Melissa really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy.

With the…


Book cover of A First Time for Everything

Jennie Liu Author Of Enly and the Buskin' Blues

From my list on boys for middle graders whose reading is falling off.

Why am I passionate about this?

My boys greedily consumed books until middle school when screens began to pull them away. I still brought home piles of books, especially stories that stirred empathy, hoping they would pick them up (especially during enforced no-screen times). My then-5th grader complained that I brought home too many “sad books about kids having a really hard time,” and that’s when I realized I was choosing titles I liked and wanted them to read. The novels I had written thus far were heavy stories for teens, but after this little episode with my boy, I decided to pay attention to what they really wanted to read. And to write one they might like.  

Jennie's book list on boys for middle graders whose reading is falling off

Jennie Liu Why did Jennie love this book?

If I leave a graphic novel around the house, it will certainly be read.

This one, a memoir about the author’s student trip to Europe in the summer of 7th grade, hits just the right tone for middle schoolers making that break from childhood to teenager. The story takes place in the eighties (and Europe!), and the author has experiences that involve a level of freedom that’s rare for kids these days.

There are also the highs and lows of the first crush, and I love to know that my son has read this, even if he didn’t discuss it with me.

By Dan Santat,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A First Time for Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

At first, he's right. Stuck with the same girls from his middle school who love to make fun of him, Dan doesn't know why his teacher insisted he come on this trip. But as he travels through France, Germany, Switzerland, and England, a series of first experiences begin to change him - first Fanta, first fondue, first time stealing a bike from German punk rockers . . . and first love.

Funny, heartwarming, and poignant, A First Time for Everything is a feel-good coming-of-age memoir based on New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat's awkward school…


Book cover of Sisters

Tara Lynn Masih Author Of How We Disappear: Novella & Stories

From my list on how we disappear.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began compiling stories for my collection, I noted the theme of disappearance throughout. I’m not sure why that’s the case. Perhaps because I’ve dealt with disappearance on a personal level. Perhaps almost all stories deal with the theme. I have also always been fascinated by people who disappear (such as Agatha Christie), especially into the wild. As a former book editor, my reading standards are very high. The books I’ve recommended are superb and still resonate with me years after I’ve read them. I hope you explore this list and that the characters in these unique and well-crafted stories linger on, even after you’ve finished the last page.

Tara's book list on how we disappear

Tara Lynn Masih Why did Tara love this book?

Daisy Johnson is a force of her own. I’ve read all three of her books and was the most taken with her more recent novel, Sisters. This has a moody, gothic feel to it. Very well narrated by one of the two sisters, and is the ultimate story about disappearance, and the traumatic effect it can have on a loved one. Brutal, surreal, and with a setting as real as its characters: a crumbling moldy cottage, near the shore, that lives and breathes with the characters. And includes a twist you won’t see coming.

By Daisy Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The electrifying novel from the Booker shortlisted author of Everything Under.

'A short sharp explosion of a gothic thriller' Observer

Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September.

Desperate for a fresh start, they move across the country to an old family house that has a troubled life of its own. Noises come from behind the walls. Lights flicker of their own accord. Sleep feels impossible, dreams are endless.

In their new, unsettling surroundings, July finds that the fierce bond she's always had with September - forged with a blood promise when they were children - is beginning to…


Book cover of Sugar and Spite

Daka Hermon Author Of Hide and Seeker

From my list on dealing with grief, loss, and fear.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was younger, I never quite felt like I fit in, and I was never good at expressing my feelings or verbally communicating when I was going through difficult moments. Writing was my outlet when I was struggling with painful situations or overwhelming emotions—grief, loss, insecurity, fear. I know how important it is to have strong friendships and safe spaces where you can be your authentic and sometimes messy self. It’s okay to not be okay. In my writing, I hope to express to readers that they are not alone, and can overcome challenging situations.  

Daka's book list on dealing with grief, loss, and fear

Daka Hermon Why did Daka love this book?

Sugar and Spite has magic, strong friendships, and imperfect, yet relatable characters—all the things I enjoy in a novel. Not only did I enjoy learning about the many facets of the Filipino culture; I appreciated the layered messaging. Bullying is a difficult topic to tackle, and this novel addresses it in a way that caused me to think about the challenging people and difficult relationships in my life. This is such a sweet story dealing with issues I know readers can identify with—loss, jealousy, insecurities, and ultimately acceptance.

By Gail D. Villanueva,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sugar and Spite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?

Jolina can't take Claudine's bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she's still in training to use her grandfather's arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion.

And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine's hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn't just stop bullying Jolina -- now she wants to be Jolina's BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks.

But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget…


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