Looking for new teen books? It’s always hard searching for the next good book. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite teen books over the past few years. Okay, maybe a few of these won’t be considered the world’s finest literature in some circles (if you’re into that sort of thing) but I promise they are one heck of a good time! Here they are, in no particular order:
No surprise here. For those of you living under a rock, THE HUNGER GAMES introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where the government, working in a city called the Capitol, holds power and forces one boy and one girl to battle for their lives on television. The book has it all: drama, action, love triangle. It even has a strong message of anti-war/pro flower children. I applaud Ms. Collins for her effort here to say something, anything, substantive about society and not just focus on dreamy Gale and Peeta. This is still one of my favorite fun Young Adult reads.
I really wanted to hate this series. Fallen angel bad boy? Been there. Done that. Except I have to admit I got hooked on Patch. The series is about high school sophomore Nora Grey, a dedicated student who lives with her widowed mother in a country farmhouse. She falls for Patch, her new biology partner, who also happens to be a fallen angel who wants to become human. So life-changing book, it’s not, but it’s a darn entertaining read that keeps you gushing over Patch and constantly wondering will they finally get together or won’t they.
Vamps, angels, zombies, werewolves are so 2010. This year, dragons were hot hot hot (literally, they breathe fire). Firelight is about Jacinda, a rare draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. Jacinda is forced to leave the drake world and her mate-to-be Cassian and join the human world where she falls for Will, a boy whose family hunts draki. So the love triangle thing isn’t original, but this series really keeps you guessing and rooting for both. Ms. Jordan better be careful to pick her favorite or she’s going to have a bunch of disappointed readers after book 3 no matter which way she goes.
One word—Erlking. The series follows 16-year-old Dana, tired of coping with her alcoholic single mother, who runs away to find her father in Avalon, a world situated between London and the faerie world. The books are jam packed with bad boy fae galore but the one who takes the cake, the baddest of all the baddies is the Erlking. I’d recommend reading the series just for him alone. Yeah, I’m a sucker for a good fae story, but this book also deals with the pretty serious issue of alcoholism. Good for Ms. Black for addressing this in a way that reaches young readers but doesn’t preach to them.
I’m not sure what’s so enticing about immersing yourself in the most depressing dystopian world you can imagine but darn if I couldn’t put this book down. It follows sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior who lives in a world where society is divided into five factions — Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). At the age of sixteen, teens must choose the faction to whom they will devote their lives. On her day to choose, Beatrice rejects her family’s group, and chooses another faction only to go through a beating and fall for her off-limits instructor. The book is rife with meaning and forces the tough questions about the values society puts on selflessness, honesty, bravery, peace, and intelligence and the power in making your own path in life. Oh yeah, and the action and love scenes rock.
Yeah, I said it. I love TWILIGHT and I’m not ashamed. Hate all you want, Ms. Meyer will be laughing all the way to the bank, LOL. In the final book in the TWILIGHT series, Bella Swan (normal girl) has made her decision to join the dark but seductive world of vampire immortals (so not normal), mostly to join her studly vampire boyfriend Edward. She leaves behind her best friend Jacob (hot werewolf if you’re into that sort of thing) and somehow gets tangled up in an epic battle with the vampires to end all vampires. Say what you will about her writing, Ms. Meyer sure can tell a story. Her books gave a jump kick to the entire paranormal/urban fantasy genre and for that alone she gets a nod on our fun Young Adult reads list.
No. 4 – A tie between OBSIDIAN (LUX series) (paranormal romance) and HALF BLOOD (COVENANT series) (urban fantasy) both by Jennifer Armentrout
When I stumbled upon the website twochickonbooks, which hosts “battles” between favorite book characters, I was shocked to see a character named “Alex” giving “Rose” (see number one below) a run for her money. Intrigued, I bought the book “Half Blood.” Now I know why. Half Blood tells the story of Alex, a half-breed mix of hematoi (descents of Gods) and mortal who is in the process of being trained to hunt and kill daimons (the bad guys). Rule number one is that halfbreeds aren’t allowed to date pure hematoi—which means Alex’s crush on trainer and total badass Aiden, is off limits. So of course, she falls in love with him. We loved this book so much that we ran to get our hands on anything Armentrout and wound up reading Obsidian the next day. Obsidian is the first book in the Lux series about strong-willed Kat who moves to West Virginia her senior year after the death of her father. Enter bad boy next door. Except this time there’s a twist. He’s an alien. If Ms. Armentrout loses any points for her similarity to Vampire Academy for Covenant (though I personally don’t think she does because the mythology is completely different) she makes it up in spades by writing a YA that actually makes aliens sexy. The books also have the undercurrent message of the need to embrace equality even for those that are different. In all fairness, each of these books should be listed separately on this list (yes, they’re that good) but I wanted to spread the love between authors so I lumped them together.
Ms. Perkins is my new feel-good contemporary young adult writer and this book really does the trick. Our heroine, Anna, is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Sadly, she gets shipped off to boarding school in Paris. There she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a great accent), and irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken. No real substance here in this fluffy read (sorry Ms. Perkins) but for its purpose, it entertains wonderfully. Not to mention, Ms. Perkins manages to make a real, human boy (gasp) smokin’ hot, which is not easy any more now that we’ve been spoiled by the other nonhuman variety.
No. 2 ON JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta (contemporary)
Beautiful plotline. Stunning prose. And even more surprising, it is NOT part of a trilogy and it doesn’t have a love triangle or supernatural love interest. Award-winning story about seventeen year-old Taylor Markham, the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, who has to win a territory battle against love interest Jonah Griggs while simultaneously putting together the pieces of her past and her mother’s abandonment. We could not stop thinking about this book long after we were done reading it. Just get it. Power through the first few confusing chapters and the payoff will be well worth it. Trust me.
No. 1 LAST SACRIFICE (The VAMPIRE ACADEMY series) by Richelle Mead (urban fantasy)
I’m a sucker for forbidden love and a girl who kicks butt, which is why this book (and series) landed on the fun Young Adult reads list. Introducing Rose Hathaway, a seventeen-year-old Dhampir girl (code for vampire/human hybrid super action hero), who is training to be a bodyguard for her Moroi (code for vampire) best friend, Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir. In the process of learning how to defeat Strigoi (code for the evil undead vampires) in St. Vladimir’s Academy, Rose finds herself caught in a forbidden romance with her instructor, Dimitri Belikov (code for ridiculously hot guy). You can’t help but fall in love with Dimitri. Try. I dare you. There’s also a message hidden here as well. Be true to yourself and stay strong, no matter what the odds are. I dig it Ms. Mead. Nicely done.
So . . . what did I miss? Comment below and let me know your favorite teen books!