The most recommended books for teens

Who picked these books? Meet our 2,015 experts.

2,015 authors created a book list with books for teens, and here are their favorite books.

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Book cover of Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

Heather DiAngelis Author Of Speech and Debacles

From Heather's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Animal rescuer Endo sufferer Audiobook fanatic

Heather's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Heather's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Heather DiAngelis Why did Heather love this book?

Fake dating story? Check. Queer characters? Check. A fragile web of lies? Another check! In Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating, Hani and Ishu do not like each other.

They might be the only Bengali girls in their predominantly white Irish school, but that doesn't mean they're anything alike. If pretending to date someone will get you ahead in life, though, sometimes you do what you have to do. And if that turns into real feelings, well...that's a problem for another day.

I was totally smitten by this story. It's cute, well-written, and heartwarming, and it's sure to add a little bounce to your step after you turn the final page.

By Adiba Jaigirdar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE YA BOOK PRIZE 2022! Hani and Ishu couldn't be less alike - and they definitely don't like each other. But when fates collide and they pretend to date each other, things start to get messy... A heart-warming queer YA love story for fans of Becky Albertalli.

Everyone likes Hani Khan - she's easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they don't believe her, claiming she can't be bi if she's only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she's in a relationship... with…


Book cover of The New Girl

Heather DiAngelis Author Of Speech and Debacles

From Heather's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Animal rescuer Endo sufferer Audiobook fanatic

Heather's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Heather's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Heather DiAngelis Why did Heather love this book?

Rich boarding school meets murder mystery in Jesse Q. Sutanto’s The New Girl—except main character Lia Setiawan is anything but wealthy, and we already know she’s the killer.

It was an accident, but that doesn’t stop her from worrying about going to prison for her teacher’s murder as the detectives circle the drain. I laughed out loud so many times while I flew through this book, the question of whether she’d get caught ripping me to shreds in anticipation.

There are no spoilers here, but I’ll tell you it’s worth the wild ride.

By Jesse Q. Sutanto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Girl 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?

Lia Setiawan has never really fit in. And when she wins a full ride to the prestigious Draycott Academy on a track scholarship, she's determined to make it work even though she's never felt more out of place.
But on her first day there she witnesses a girl being forcefully carried away by campus security. Her new schoolmates and teachers seem unphased, but it leaves her unsure of what she's gotten herself into.
And as she uncovers the secrets of Draycott, complete with a corrupt teacher, a golden boy who isn't what he seems, and a blackmailer determined to get…


Book cover of When My Name Was Keoko

Margriet Ruurs Author Of Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey

From my list on childrens books that everyone should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been devouring books for most of my life. When I was young, I read Pippi Longstocking. I wanted to be just like her – strong, free, and independent. Through books I learned about other people in other countries, times, and circumstances. I have been writing books for a long time (I wrote 40) and work in (international schools) with teachers and students on their writing. From specific stories, readers learn universal wisdom. Many books written for children should be everybody-books! Books, more than any other medium, can help you to ‘walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins'. The books I picked to share with you all do this.

Margriet's book list on childrens books that everyone should read

Margriet Ruurs Why did Margriet love this book?

I grew up in Europe and have heard and read much about World War II in Europe. But I did not realize how similar this was to life in (South) Korea under Japanese occupation. This book was an eye-opener for me, told in two voices – Keoko and her brother who are both given Japanese names and can no longer speak their own language. A gripping novel that makes a good read, even for adults.

By Linda Sue Park,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When My Name Was Keoko 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?

Sun-hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, live in Korea with their parents. Because Korea is under Japanese occupation, the children study Japanese and speak it at school. Their own language, their flag, the folktales Uncle tells them—even their names—are all part of the Korean culture that is now forbidden. When World War II comes to Korea, Sun-hee is surprised that the Japanese expect their Korean subjects to fight on their side. But the greatest shock of all comes when Tae-yul enlists in the Japanese army in an attempt to protect Uncle, who is suspected of aiding the Korean resistance. Sun-hee…


A School for Unusual Girls

By Kathleen Baldwin,

Book cover of A School for Unusual Girls

Kathleen Baldwin Author Of Sanctuary for Seers: A Stranje House Novel

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Loves God Mother to Many Wilderness Adventurer History Enthusiast

Kathleen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A spy school for girls amidst Jane Austen’s high society.

Daughters of the Beau Monde who don’t fit London society’s strict mold are banished to Stranje House, where the headmistress trains these unusually gifted girls to enter the dangerous world of spies in the Napoleonic wars. #1 NYT bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this exciting historical series "completely original and totally engrossing."

A School for Unusual Girls

By Kathleen Baldwin,

What is this book about?

A School for Unusual Girls is the first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin. #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure "completely original and totally engrossing."

It's 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England's dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society's constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young…


Book cover of The Invisible Man

Robin Friedman Author Of Nothing

From my list on classics that expose the cruelty of society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am one of those people who always feels sorry for the monster at the end of the movie. I am always more disturbed by the avenging townspeople’s bloodlust than the monster’s destructiveness. At a deeper level, for me these horror stories actually depict compassion, acceptance, and the hysteria whipped up by self-righteous mobs. They are books with very dark themes, and they generally do not have happy endings, but rather than being depressing, I find them instructive, even enriching, and certainly valuable. More than anything, they show me – in bloody detail  the terrifying limits of conformity.

Robin's book list on classics that expose the cruelty of society

Robin Friedman Why did Robin love this book?

Similar in vein, a more opaque story than Frankenstein, and with a more indeterminate morality surrounding the main character, who is, after all, a crackpot murderer, but eliciting perhaps the same complex reactions toward him and the other characters at the book’s tragic ending. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Invisible Man 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?

H. G. Wells was one of the founders of science fiction and his novels have remained extremely popular since they were first released.


Book cover of What Lives in the Woods

Natalie Rompella Author Of Malik's Number Thoughts: A Story about OCD

From Natalie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Nature enthusiast Insect lover PIckleballer Creative Dog (and kid) mom

Natalie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Natalie's 12, and 14-year-old's favorite books.

Natalie Rompella Why did Natalie love this book?

I discovered Lindsay’s book on Twitter. I grew up enjoying scary books, so when I saw her covers, I knew I wanted to interview her about her new one that wasn’t yet out. In the meantime, I read What Lies in the Woods.

This book is for middle graders, but even I felt it was scary! It read like a movie.

By Lindsay Currie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Lives in the Woods 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?

For fans of Small Spaces and the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine comes a chilling ghost story about a girl living in the decrepit and creepy mansion, who discovers something in the woods is after her.

All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to sleep in, attend a mystery writing workshop, and spend time with her best friend. But when Ginny's father―a respected restoration expert in Chicago―surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren't staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they're staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded…


Book cover of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Joe Meno Author Of Book of Extraordinary Tragedies

From my list on complicated families.

Why am I passionate about this?

For my Book of Extraordinary Tragedies, I drew heavily upon my own life as a former musician who now lives with hearing loss, and how that loss informs my relationships with my family. The book is set on the south side of Chicago in the neighborhood where I grew up and where I continue to return to to visit family and it’s that part of the city that’s almost never documented in fiction or film that drew my attention. I wanted to write a novel that felt like a musical composition, detailing the contradictions of a family struggling against the past and present.

Joe's book list on complicated families

Joe Meno Why did Joe love this book?

This award-winning novel follows Oscar, a young Dominican-American man from New Jersey struggling with his present as a self-confessed “ghetto-nerd” and the legacy of his family’s past. The book is a dazzling example of how complicated our relationship to our family can be. I read and reread passages trying to decode Diaz’s choice in language and how he created such a compelling cast of characters. Told in vary perspectives and points of view and leaping gloriously back and forth in time, the book brazenly displays how the past is never truly past when it comes to matters of family.

By Junot Diaz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 NOVEL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A ghetto nerd living with his Dominican family in New Jersey, Oscar's sweet but disastrously overweight. He dreams of becoming the next J. R. R. Tolkien and he keeps falling hopelessly in love. With dazzling energy and insight Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous lives of Oscar; his runaway sister Lola; their beautiful mother Belicia; and in the family's uproarious journey from the Dominican Republic to the US and back.

'The Best Novel of the 21st Century to Date' - BBC Culture.


Book cover of This Rebel Heart

Lyn Miller-Lachmann Author Of Torch

From my list on for tweens and teens on Russian/Soviet aggression.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of multiple middle grade and YA historical novels, including Torch, which won the 2023 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature. Torch takes place in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and it is especially timely in the face of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Bear (a popular symbol of the Russian Empire) has mauled many of its neighbors in the past century, not only Czechoslovakia and Ukraine but also the Baltic countries that, like Ukraine, were incorporated into the Soviet Union and the other Eastern European countries that were part of the Soviet bloc until the fall of Communism in 1989. 

Lyn's book list on for tweens and teens on Russian/Soviet aggression

Lyn Miller-Lachmann Why did Lyn love this book?

For those who like their history infused with magic, this historical fantasy set in Hungary in 1956 introduces Jewish folklore and history along with the lives of Hungarians fighting for their freedom.

Csilla and her aunt have tickets out of the country, but news about her parents—executed by the previous Soviet-backed regime—along with the student uprising and two beautiful and mysterious strangers compel her to stay despite the specter of a bloody Soviet invasion.

By Katherine Locke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Rebel Heart 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?

A tumultuous tale of the student-led 1956 Hungarian revolution—and an all too timely look at the impact of Communism and the USSR in Eastern Europe—set in a fabulist, colorless post-WWII Budapest from Sydney Taylor Honor winner Katherine Locke.

“A haunting, beautiful read that centers queer Jewish characters.” —BuzzFeed

In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most--safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things…


Book cover of What to Say Next

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?

What kept me glued to this story was the touching portrayal of David. He’s on the autism spectrum. How people view him versus how he views the world captured my heart.

What To Say Next is told from dual perspectives. The other main character Kit is just as interesting even though, stereotypically, she’d be considered your average, popular, high school student. Buxbaum removes this stereotypical surface and reveals a strong, engaging character with a goal.

The characters pulled me into this story. Their genuineness is written with such honesty that you root for them in every good and bad moment, adoring even their less desirable personality traits because that’s what makes them relatable. 

By Julie Buxbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What to Say Next 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?

"What to Say Next reminds readers that hope can be found in unexpected places." –Bustle

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. Nicola Yoon, the bestselling author of Everything, Everything, calls it "charming, funny, and deeply affecting."
  
Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m…


Book cover of Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day

María José Fitzgerald Author Of Turtles of the Midnight Moon

From my list on animal and nature-loving-empaths who are curious.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up near the outskirts of a lush Honduran cloud forest, I remember searching for magic in the woods, a fairy behind the waterfall, and an emerald quetzal bird in the canopy. I have always been a lover of nature, ecology, and wildlife, and I appreciate how each of these five books speaks to the passion that I have for ecology in a unique way. From fantastical rabbits to hidden systems we all rely on, to turtles and whales and the entire animal kingdom, these books will resonate with those of us who believe that we each have a place in our interconnected planet.

Maria's book list on animal and nature-loving-empaths who are curious

María José Fitzgerald Why did Maria love this book?

In Dan Nott’s eye-opening and masterfully drawn nonfiction book, we get a glimpse into the intricacies of how the systems we use (and take for granted) every day actually work!

I love this book because my kids can pick it up from our coffee table, read a few pages, and unlock a mystery. I also appreciate how Dan’s explanations included the social and ecological impacts and implications of these systems. This book is for anyone who has ever been curious about our world and the fascinating things humans have built. 

By Dan Nott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hidden Systems 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?

We use water, electricity, and the internet every day--but how do they actually work? And what’s the plan to keep them running for years to come? This nonfiction science graphic novel takes readers on a journey from how the most essential systems were developed to how they are implemented in our world today and how they will be used in the future.

What was the first message sent over the internet? How much water does a single person use every day? How was the electric light invented?

For every utility we use each day, there’s a hidden history--a story of…


Book cover of Riding Chance

Troon Harrison Author Of Cold Freedom

From my list on brave kids and horses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was four years old when I was given a pony. The freedom of roaming the countryside with her was amazing, and I was hooked! All horse breeds have supported humans; their strength and speed have enabled farming, war, travel, and settlement. Horses feature in the art, religion, and sports of diverse cultures. My Historical Horse series contains three books—each one is a completely different story about a specific breed of horse, and a fictional girl who loved it and depended on it, even to stay alive. Writing the books was like time-traveling with horses!

Troon's book list on brave kids and horses

Troon Harrison Why did Troon love this book?

What about inner city kids, can they enjoy a special bond with a horse? In Philadelphia, a very special, real stable offers disadvantaged kids the chance to hang with horses. This book is the fictional story of one such kid. Troy loses his way in the tough streets after his mom dies. When he is forced to work at the stables, he has the opportunity to save himself, through the fast and skillful sport of polo. I like that urban horses rock too! 

By Christine Kendall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Riding Chance 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?

A powerful novel about an urban kid's redemption through the grit and power of polo. This is a story of family, brotherhood, and a hero's journey amid city streets and an uncertain future.

Troy is a kid with a passion. And dreams. And wanting to do the right thing. But after taking a wrong turn, he's forced to endure something that's worse than any juvenile detention he can imagine-he's "sentenced" to the local city stables where he's made to take care of horses. The greatest punishment has been trying to make sense of things since his mom died but, through…