The Best Books For Teens

Over 1.6K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Books For Teens
Voting 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!

Ranked by
  • The Harry Potter Series
    654 votes
    • First Published: 1997-06-26
    • Subjects: Wizards, Education, Adventure, Friendship, Schools
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy
    • Original Language: English Language
    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 heritage as he makes close friends and a few enemies in his first year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With the help of his friends, Harry faces an attempted comeback by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents, but failed to kill Harry when he was just a year old. The book, which was Rowling's debut novel, was published on 26 June 1997 by Bloomsbury in London. In 1998, Scholastic Corporation published an edition for the United States market under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The novel won most of the British book awards that were judged by children, and other awards in the US. The book reached the top of the New York Times list of best-selling fiction in August 1999, and stayed near the top of that list for much of 1999 and 2000. It has been translated into several other languages and has been made into a feature-length film of the same name.
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy
    537 votes
    • First Published: 2008-09-14
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Alternate history, Young adult literature, Adventure fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
    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 nation of Panem in North America. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games is an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death. The book received mostly positive feedback from major reviewers and authors. It was praised for its storyline and character development, though some reviewers have noted similarities between Collins' book and Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. In writing The Hunger Games, Collins drew upon Greek mythology, Roman gladiatorial games, and contemporary reality television for thematic content. The novel won many awards, including the California Young Reader Medal, and was named one of Publishers Weekly '​s "Best Books of the Year" in 2008.
  • The Lightning Thief
    400 votes
    • First Published: 2005-06-28
    • Subjects: Classics, Adventure, Friendship
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Young adult literature, Fantasy
    • Original Language: English Language
    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 novel in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, which charts the adventures of modern-day twelve-year-old Percy Jackson as he discovers he is a demigod, the son of Sally Jackson and the Greek god Poseidon. Percy and his friends Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood go on a quest to prevent a war between the gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. The Lightning Thief was sold at auction to Miramax Books and published in June, 2005. The book has sold over 1.2 million copies in the subsequent four years, appearing on The New York Times children's Best Seller list and being listed as one of the Young Adult Library Services Association's Best Books for Young Adults, among other awards. It was adapted into a film named Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief which was released in the United States on February 12, 2010. The sequel to this novel is The Sea of Monsters.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
    424 votes
    • First Published: 1960-07-11
    • Subjects: Monarch, Literary, Literature, Classics, Drama
    • Genres (Book): Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
    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 characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel's impact by writing, "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism." As a Southern Gothic novel and a Bildungsroman, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South.
  • The Outsiders
    S. E. Hinton
    298 votes
    • Subjects: Literature, Young adult, Adolescence, Classics, Family
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Young adult literature
    • Original Language: English Language
    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 junior in high school. Hinton was 18 when the book was published. The book follows two rival groups, the Greasers and the Socs, who are divided by their socioeconomic status. The story in the book takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1965, but this is never stated in the book. A film adaptation was produced in 1983, and a little-known short-lived television series appeared in 1990, picking up where the movie left off.
  • The Diary of a Young Girl
    337 votes
    • First Published: 1947
    • Subjects: Netherlands in World War II, Otto Frank, World War II, Hannah Pik-Goslar, Sol Kimel
    • Genres (Book): Children's literature, Biography, Autobiography, High fantasy
    • Original Language: Dutch Language
    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 Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, who gave it to Anne's father, Otto Frank, the family's only known survivor. The diary has since been published in more than 60 different languages. First published under the title Het Achterhuis. Dagboekbrieven 14 Juni 1942 – 1 Augustus 1944 by Contact Publishing in Amsterdam in 1947, the diary received widespread critical and popular attention on the appearance of its English language translation Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Doubleday & Company and Valentine Mitchell in 1952. Its popularity inspired the 1955 play The Diary of Anne Frank by the screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, which they adapted for the screen for the 1959 movie version. The book is included in several lists of the top books of the 20th century.