Recent Books for Teens

The items on the list below may one day become classics.  However, at this point it is too soon to tell.  If you click on an author's name you will be taken either to the author's official website or to another article about that author.

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Book Reviews by a Teen

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Anthony Horowitz:

   Alex Rider Series - He was told that his Uncle Ian died in a car crash.  However, 14 year old Alex has seen the bullet holes in his Uncle's windshield.  He was not prepared for the news that his Uncle had been a spy for MI6, the British top secret intelligence agency.  Alex is recruited to locate those who killed his Uncle and finish Ian's last mission. - Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Skeleton    Key, Eagle Strike,  Scorpia, Ark Angel, Snakehead, and The Gadgets (Technical Background Data).

Khaled Hosseini:

   Kite Runner - This is a novel about friendship, betrayal, and loyalty.  It has much to teach us about the history and culture of Afghanistan from the last days of the monarchy to the present.  Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man.  Hassan is the son of Amir's father's servant.  They grow up together in Kabul and their lives are forever intertwined. 

   A Thousand Splendid Suns

Bobbie Ann Mason:

   In Country (Historical fiction about the impact of the Vietnam War on a small town in Kentucky)

Mildred D. Taylor: (Writing about Blacks in America during the Depression)

   Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken

Joseph Heller:

   Catch-22 (Historical Fiction set in WWII) - Everytime Yossarian gets close to completing the required number of missions, they raise the requirement.  He wants the doctor to ground him, but that's the catch.

Corrie Ten Boom:

   The Hiding Place (Non-Fiction about the Holocaust)

Elie Wiesel:    

   Night (Non-Fiction about the Holocaust); Dawn; and Day

Markus Zusak:

   The Book Thief (Historical Fiction)

   I Am the Messenger

Philippa Gregory: 

   The Other Boleyn Girl - Mary Boleyn comes to court at the age of fourteen and is noticed by Henry VIII.  She basks in her role as unofficial queen until Henry begins to lose interest in her and turns to her sister, Anne.

Tracy Chevalier:

   Girl With a Pearl Earring - The year is 1664 and 16 year old Griet has been forced by family circumstances to take a job as a maid in the home of the Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer.  Eventually, she poses for one of his most famous paintings.  In this historical fiction, you will learn much about Holland at that time, but also about the way painters made their own colors and how they went about their work.  As Vermeer explains to Griet, clouds are not truly white.  This book will cause you to ponder the story behind each great work of art.

Mitch Albom:

   The Five People You Meet in Heaven; Tuesdays With Morrie; and For One More Day.

J. D. Salinger:

   The Catcher in the Rye

Betty Smith:

   A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Coming of Age Novel)

John Knowles:

   A Separate Peace

John Gunther:

   Death Be Not Proud - This is a memoir about the death of his son from a brain tumor.

Richard Peck:

   Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder - In the first book, a brother and sister spend a summer with their eccentric grandmother and in the second, the girl spends an entire school year with the grandmother.

Amy Tan:

   The Joy Luck Club - This is a wonderful story about Chinese culture as told by 4 Chinese women and their American daughters.  Each woman suffered her own hardship in China and each daughter knows little about her mother's life in China.  As the story opens, Jing-mei's mother has died and her father has asked her to replace her mother as the fourth corner in the Joy Luck Club.  These women have been meeting for years to play mah jong and talk.  Though unrelated, the children have always called the other mothers, "Aunties".

David Pelzer:

   A Child Called "IT" - This is the true story of a boy badly abused by an alcholic mother. Sequels include:  The Lost Boy and A Man Named Dave.

Alice Sebold:

   The Lovely Bones  Summary and Review

Maya Angelou:

   I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Autobiographical; Caution:  Some disturbing scenes

Jay Asher:

   Thirteen Reasons Why  Summary and Review

Ellen Hopkins: 

   Crank and its sequel Glass about a girl addicted to drugs; Burned about a girl who is abused by her father and after being thrown out of school is sent to live with her aunt; and Impulse about teen suicide, drugs, and other issues.  Ellen's books are unusual in that they are written entirely in verse.

Laurie Halse Anderson:

   Prom, Twisted, Speak, Catalyst, and Fever 1793 (The first four are Contemporary and the last is Historical Fiction)

Anonymous:

   Go Ask Alice - A teenager describes her drug use.

Kim Edwards:

   The Memory Keeper's Daughter

S. E. Hinton (a.k.a. Susan Eloise Hinton):

   The Outsiders

   Rumble Fish

   Tex

   That Was Then, This is Now

   Taming the Star Runner

   Some of Tim's Stories

Lois Lowry:

   The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger (Fantasies)

Scott Westerfeld:

   Uglies - Tally is anticipating her 16th birthday when she will undergo an operation to make her unbelievably gorgeous.  Her friend Shay isn't interested in having the operation and takes off.  Tally is then forced to make a choice:  locate Shay and turn her in or remain ugly. 

   Sequels:  Pretties, Specials, and Extras 

Libba Bray:

   A Great and Terrible Beauty - Gemma Doyle grew up in India, but after the death of her mother the 16 year old is sent to Spence Academy in London.  It is the Victorian Age and these young ladies are being trained for their future roles as wives to men they may not want to marry.  As so many have experienced, initially she is an unwelcome outsider.  Eventually, she makes friends with three girls and together they explore Gemma's supernatural powers and a group known as the Order. 

   Sequels:  Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing

Stephenie Meyer:

   Twilight - Bella has moved from sunny Phoenix to Forks, Washington where the sun is rarely seen.  She is intrigued by Edward and his family and eventually discovers their secret.  They are all vampires.  Bella is desperately in love with Edward. 

   Sequels:  New Moon and Eclipse 

Audrey Niffenegger:

   The Time Traveler's Wife (Fantasy)

Alice Hoffman:

   Green Angel (Fantasy)

Lisa McMann:

   Wake - Janie discovered when she was 8 years old that if someone nearby began to dream she was pulled unwillingly into that dream.  She has always hated the falling dreams, and those where someone is naked in public, and the steamy sex dreams, but this latest dream is the worst.  A boy at school is not what he appears to be.

   Fade (The sequel is to be released February 2009 and Gone will be released February 2010.)

Stephen Chbosky:

   The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Carolyn Mackler:

   The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

Sue Monk Kidd:

   The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair

Lauren Myracle:

   TTYL (Talk to Ya Later)  Summary and Review

   ttfn (Ta Ta For Now)  Summary and Review 

   L8r, g8r   Summary and Review

Emily Giffin:

   Something Blue - Darcy Rhone has always believed that the beautiful people are blessed, but then her plain looking friend Rachel White steals her fiance leaving Darcy alone and pregnant.  This is a novel about forgiveness, friendship, love, and the happy-ever-after so many seek. 

   Something Borrowed, Baby Proof, and Love the One You're With

Jodi Picoult:

   My Sister's Keeper - By age 13 Anna had undergone far too many surgeries, transfusions, and injections though she is not ill.  Anna's parents chose to produce a baby they hoped would be a bone marrow match for their daughter Kate who suffered from leukemia.  Now the teenage Anna rebels against the role that has been forced upon her though it could mean the death of her sister. 

   Nineteen Minutes, The Pact, Second Glance, Mercy, The Tenth Circle, Salem Falls, Plain Truth, Harvesting the Heart, Vanishing Acts, and Change of Heart

Nicholas Sparks:

   The Notebook - Thirty one year old, Noah Calhoun is back in coastal North Carolina after WWII and thinking constantly about the girl he lost years ago.  Twenty nine year old Allie Nelson is set to marry a wealthy lawyer, but is haunted by thoughts of the one she loved long ago. 

   Message in a Bottle - Theresa Osborne is divorced and cynical about love and life.  This changes when she finds a bottle on the beach which contains a love letter.  This is a perfect story for those who choose to believe in the miracle of finding that special someone. 

   A Walk to Remember, The Rescue, A Bend in the Road, Nights in Rodanthe, The Guardian, The Wedding, True Believer, A First Sight, Dear John, and The Choice.

Sarah Dessen:

   Lock and Key - Ruby has been living alone in the farmhouse since her mother abandoned her, but when this is discovered she is sent to live with her sister Cora who she has not seen in about 10 years.  Cora's husband Jamie is an extremely successful founder of a popular networking site on the Web.  A nice large house, private school, new clothes, and a promise for the future are quite an adjustment to make.

   Just Listen - Annabel Greene is the youngest of three very different sisters.  She has had a very bad summer and must now return to school.  She has never been so lonely or so sad, yet she must face each day.  As she has her own problems to confront, her entire family is dealing with issues that plague her sister, Whitney.  By circumstance, Annabel and Owen, who life revolves around music, become friends.  It is Owen who will help Annabel to meet certain challenges. 

   The Truth About Forever - Macy's father has recently died and she is feeling guilty.  Her mother isn't coping with his death well at all.  Macy's boyfriend, Jason, represents security, but frankly he is a clueless jerk.  It might have been a very long summer, but then by chance Macy meets an interesting group of people.  I loved everyone in the Wish Catering crew, but most especially Wes.  No matter the difficulties life has thrown each member of Wish they persevere because they must.

   Dreamland - Caitlin is the younger and she feels second-rate sister to Cass who is perfect in every way.  Now Caitlin is 16 and rather than starting at Yale, Cass has run off with a guy.  This year for Caitlin is about school, cheerleading, parties, her boyfriend, and so much much more.  Unfortunately, this novel has an important message every young lady needs to hear.

   Keeping the Moon - Colie and her mother used to be fat.  They moved frequently and were homeless for a time.  Then Colie's mother went on a "let's get healthy" kick and they both lost weight.  Now mom has a good job and they live in a nice house.  Unfortunately, because of a really mean girl at school, Colie has acquired a reputation she did not deserve.  Mom is going to Europe to work for the summer and Colie is going to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt.

   That Summer - Summers hold special memories for many of us:  vacations, beaches, picnics, summer jobs, summer loves, maybe even a wedding or two.  Haven, younger sister to Ashley, is fondly remembering a summer five years ago because in this current summer her world is falling apart.  Her father had an affair, her parents divorced, and now he is getting married to the co-worker with whom he had the affair.  Ashley is also getting married this summer and Haven doesn't understand why Ashley would choose this man.  

   Someone Like You - Halley and Scarlet, both 16 and juniors in high school, have been best friends forever.  Scarlet was always the strong one, but now she needs Halley to be there for her.  As they begin the new school year, Scarlet is pregnant and her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident.  Meanwhile Halley has problems of her own.  Halley and her mother, a psychologist, have gotten along well in the past but that has changed.  Halley's mother used to write books about their relationship, but now they just argue.

   This Lullaby - Remy, Jess, Chloe, and Lissa are friends (sort of) and now it is the summer between high school and college.  This is a time of transition for each of them, but the story concentrates on Remy who because her mother has had a series of husbands and Remy never even met her father, she is very cynical about love.

Ann Brashares:

   The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - A wonderful story about Tibby, Carmen, Lena, and Bridget, four very different friends who are spending their first summer apart from one another.  Each of the girls faces her own crisis and, in the end, they are there for each other.  It's a great story of friendship.

   Sequels:  The Second Summer of the Sisterhood; Girls in Pants:  The Third Summer of the Sisterhood; and Forever in Blue:  The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood.

   The Last Summer (of You & Me)

Meg Cabot:

   All American Girl and Ready or Not

   Teen Idol 

   Nicola and  Viscount; Victoria and the Rogue

   Pants on Fire; Jinx (Witchcraft) 

   Avalon High and Avalon High 2:  Coronation

   1-800-Where R You? Series - When Lightning Strikes, Code Name Cassandra, Safe House, Sanctuary, and Missing You

   Mediator Series (Fantasy) - Shadowland; Ninth Key; Reunion; Darkest Hour; Haunted; and Twilight 

   Princess Series - Princess Diaries; Princess in the Spotlight; Princess in Love; Princess in Waiting; Project Princess; Princess in Pink; Princess in Training; The Princess Present; Party Princess; Sweet Sixteen Princess; Valentine Princess; Princess on the Brink; Princess Mia; Princess Lessons; Perfect Princess; and Holiday Princess

Robin Jones Gunn:

   Christy Miller Series - Summer Promise; A Whisper and a Wish; Yours Forever; Surprise Endings; Island Dreamer; A Heart Full of Hope; True Friends; Starry Night; Seventeen Wishes; A Time to Cherish; Sweet Dreams; and A Promise is Forever.

   Sierra Jensen Series - Only You, Sierra; In Your Dreams;    Don't You Wish; Close Your Eyes; Without a Doubt; With This Ring; Open Your Heart; Time Will Tell; Now Picture This;  Hold on Tight; Closer Than Ever; and Take My Hand.

   Katie Weldon Series - Peculiar Treasures and On a Whim.

Sophie Kinsella (aka Madeleine Wickham):

   Shopaholic Series - The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also titled Confessions of a Shopaholic); Shopaholic Abroad (also titled Shopaholic Takes Manhattan); Shopaholic Ties the Knot; Shopaholic and Sister; and Shopaholic and Baby.

   The Tennis Party; A Desirable Residence; Swimming Pool Sunday; The Gatecrasher; The Wedding Girl; Cocktails for Three; Sleeping Arrangements; Can You Keep a Secret?; The Undomestic Goddess; and Remember Me? 

Cecily von Ziegesar:

   Gossip Girl Series - Gossip Girl; You Know You Love Me;    All I Want Is Everything; Gossip Girl Four; I Like It Like That; You're the One That I Want; Nobody Does It Better;    Nothing Can Keep Us Together; Only In Your Dreams;    Would I Lie To You; Don't Forget About Me; and It Had To Be You.

   It Girl Series - The IT Girl; Notorious; Reckless; The Unforgettable; and The Lucky.

Lisi Harrison  (Caution to parentsThese books are very popular, but the charcacters in these books are not good role models for your children.  These books are not appropriate for younger readers.):

   Clique Series - The Clique  (Summary and Review); Best Friends Forever;   Revenge of the Wannabes; Invasion of the Boy Snatchers;    The Pretty Committee Strikes Back; Dial L for Loser; It's Not Easy Being Mean; Sealed With a Diss; and Bratfest at Tiffany's.

Margaret Atwood:

   The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, The Blind Assassin, and The Penelopiad:  The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus.

 FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN WRITING:

   The Writer's Market (a new edition each year)

   Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

   What If?  by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter

Squidoo Site: Books On Books

Absolute Write: All About Writing

Blog from Miss Snark, the literary agent

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Beware 

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