Young Adult The Best Books for Teens  

Stan Holton
12.9k votes 1k voters 16.9k views 92 items

List Rules Books whose themes and reading level are great for teens between the ages of 13-18

The best books for teens include some of the greatest novels ever written, along with several contemporary books that are extremely popular. Any list on the best books for teenagers should include timeless classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye. Just becuase high school students may be assigned these works in English class doesn't mean the books will be boring! These incredible works of literature hold safe spots in the literary canon because they have struck a nerve with generations of teen readers. Once a teenager falls in love with books, luckily, he will find there are many, many others to read. Be sure to vote for the teen books you like the most, vote down any that you didn't like -- and please, add any that might be missing.

In recent years, young adult author John Green has become incredibly popular, largely with the success of his YA novel The Fault in Our Stars. Green has written several other notable books for teens, so he's on this list quite a bit. Other top choices include Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy of books, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. and certainly J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. All of these writers are no doubt among the best young adult authors ever.

Some books listed here for teens might also appeal to preteens and adults. The genre is becoming so popular, it's possible to select a YA book that almost everyone will enjoy. Many of the books listed here have gone on to become major motion pictures. You can check out this list of the best film adaptations of young adult novels to see if your favorite made the cut.

Finding the right book for teens depends, in part, on that teenager's specific reading and maturity level. Some books contain material that might be a little dicey for a 13-year-old, but would be perfectly fine for a 16-year-old. This list includes books for all teenagers, ages 13 to 18. Don't forget to vote and remember: You can also re-rank this list in any order you want!

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list ordered by
446 113
Harry Potter and the Philosoph... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Books for Teens
J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series and J. K. Rowling's debut novel. The plot follows Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical ...more
368 123
The Hunger Games is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is a 2008 science fiction novel by the American writer Suzanne Collins. It is written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic ...more
319 101
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and ...more
300 108
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Books for Teens
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed ...more
262 90
The Chronicles of Narnia is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Books for Teens
243 85
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the ...more
230 79
The Giver is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Lois Lowry
The Giver is a 1993 American social science fiction children's novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a society which is at first presented as a utopian society but then has the reader question ...more
242 88
The Lightning Thief is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Rick Riordan
The Lightning Thief is a 2005 fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek mythology, the first young adult novel written by Rick Riordan, known for his Percy Jackson novel series. It is the first ...more
278 112
The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Books for Teens
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for ...more
215 77
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is a novel by Australian author Markus Zusak. First published in 2005, the book has won numerous awards and was listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 230 weeks.
210 75
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Books for Teens
S. E. Hinton
The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in 1967 by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing the novel, but did most of the work when she was 16 and a ...more
237 103
The Fault in Our Stars is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Books for Teens
John Green
The Fault in Our Stars is the sixth novel by author John Green, published in January 2012. The story is narrated by a sixteen-year-old cancer patient named Hazel Grace Lancaster, who is forced ...more
195 79
The Perks of Being a Wallflowe... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age epistolary novel by American writer Stephen Chbosky which was first published on February 1, 1999 by Pocket Books. Its narrator is an ...more
222 102
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Books for Teens
J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage ...more
157 62
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Books for Teens
William Goldman
The Princess Bride is a 1973 fantasy romance novel written by William Goldman. The book combines elements of comedy, adventure, fantasy, romantic love, romance, and fairy tale. It is presented ...more
203 95
Divergent is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Veronica Roth
Divergent is the debut novel of American novelist Veronica Roth, published by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2011. The novel is the first of the Divergent trilogy, a series of young-adult ...more
154 72
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and ...more
157 75
The Maze Runner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Books for Teens
James Dashner
The Maze Runner is the first book in a young-adult post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction trilogy of the same name by James Dashner. The novel was published on October 6, 2009, by Delacorte ...more
154 73
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Books for Teens
William Golding
Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with ...more
133 60
Miss Peregrine's Home for Pecu... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the debut novel by American author Ransom Riggs. The book tells the tale of a boy who, following a horrific family tragedy, follows clues that take ...more
129 65
A Wrinkle in Time is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1962. The story revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone ...more
133 70
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the ...more
130 74
City of Bones is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Cassandra Clare
City of Bones is the first urban fantasy book in the New York Times bestselling The Mortal Instruments series set in modern New York City written by Cassandra Clare. The novel has been released ...more
103 52
Flowers for Algernon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Books for Teens
Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes. The short story, written in 1958 and first published in the April 1959 issue of The Magazine ...more
123 70
Looking for Alaska is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Books for Teens
John Green
Looking for Alaska is John Green's first young adult novel, published in March 2005 by Dutton Juvenile. It won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association. During the ...more