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The Best Books for Teens

Updated April 27, 2020 14.5k votes 1.3k voters 22.7k views94 items

List RulesBooks 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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  • 1
    The Harry Potter Series
    526
    155

    First Published1997-06-26

    SubjectsWizards, Education, Adventure, Friendship, Schools

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series and J.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 2
    The Hunger Games Trilogy
    426
    145

    First Published2008-09-14

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Alternate history, Young adult literature, Adventure fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hunger Games is a 2008 science fiction novel by the American writer Suzanne Collins. It is... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 3
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    346
    114

    First Published1960-07-11

    SubjectsMonarch, Literary, Literature, Classics, Drama

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 4
    The Lightning Thief
    314
    103

    First Published2005-06-28

    SubjectsClassics, Adventure, Friendship

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Young adult literature, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Lightning Thief is a 2005 fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek mythology, the first... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #92 of 300 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies#4 of 63 The Best Books for Fourth Graders

  • 5
    The Giver
    273
    92

    The Giver

    Lois Lowry

    First Published1993

    SubjectsEthics, Literature, Young adult, Classics, Children's literature

    Genres (Book)Social science, Speculative fiction, Soft science fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Giver is a 1993 American social science fiction children's novel by Lois Lowry. It is set... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 6
    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    327
    123

    First Published1954-07-29

    SubjectsLiterary, Epic film, Literature, Classics, Drama

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Chivalric romance, Fiction, Adventure fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #2 of 1,234 The Best Novels Ever Written#45 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

  • 7
    The Chronicles of Narnia
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  • 8
    The Diary of a Young Girl

    First Published1947

    SubjectsNetherlands in World War II, Otto Frank, World War II, Hannah Pik-Goslar, Sol Kimel

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Biography, Autobiography, High fantasy

    Original LanguageDutch Language

    The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    The Hobbit
    301
    122

    The Hobbit

    J. R. R. Tolkien

    First Published1937-09-21

    SubjectsWizards, Literary, Epic film, Literature, Classics

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction, Epic, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 10
    The Book Thief
    232
    84

    The Book Thief

    Markus Zusak

    First Published2006-03

    SubjectsStorytelling, Death, History, Germany

    Genres (Book)Historical fiction, Fiction, Young adult literature, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language, German Language

    The Book Thief is a novel by Australian author Markus Zusak. First published in 2005, the book... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 11
    The Fault in Our Stars
    262
    113

    First Published2012-01-10

    Genres (Book)Young adult literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Fault in Our Stars is the sixth novel by author John Green, published in January 2012. The... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 12
    The Outsiders
    216
    88

    The Outsiders

    S. E. Hinton

    SubjectsLiterature, Young adult, Adolescence, Classics, Family

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Young adult literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in 1967 by Viking... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 13
    Divergent
    244
    109

    Divergent

    Veronica Roth

    First Published2011-04-25

    Genres (Book)Utopian and dystopian fiction, Dystopia, Young adult literature, Science Fiction

    Divergent is the debut novel of American novelist Veronica Roth, published by HarperCollins... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    First Published1999-02-01

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Epistolary novel, Young adult literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age epistolary novel by American writer Stephen... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #143 of 704 Books That Changed Your Life#16 of 28 The Best Inspirational Books for Young Adults

  • 15
    The Princess Bride
    163
    67

    The Princess Bride

    William Goldman

    First Published1973

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics, Adventure

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Romance

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Princess Bride is a 1973 fantasy romance novel written by William Goldman. The book... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    The Catcher in the Rye
    214
    108

    First Published1951-07-16

    SubjectsPopular literature, Teenage rebellion, Literature, Human sexuality, Psychological identity

    Genres (Book)First-person narrative, Sports, Bildungsroman, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. A controversial novel originally... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #13 of 103 The Best Selling Books of All Time#12 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

  • 17
    The Maze Runner
    190
    91

    The Maze Runner

    James Dashner

    First Published2009-10-06

    Genres (Book)Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Dystopia, Young adult literature, Science Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Maze Runner is the first book in a young-adult post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #19 of 65 The Greatest Dystopian Novels#12 of 41 The Best Young Adult Adventure Books

  • 18
    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Young adult literature

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the debut novel by American author Ransom... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    Fahrenheit 451
    163
    75

    Fahrenheit 451

    Ray Bradbury

    First Published1953

    SubjectsBibliophilia, American science fiction, Literature, Book burning, Classics

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature, Dystopia, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20
    Lord of the Flies
    164
    86

    Lord of the Flies

    William Golding

    First Published1954

    SubjectsMonarch, Ethics, Literature, Young adult, Classics

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Allegory, Fiction, Young adult literature, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 21
    White Eagle: Awakening
    55
    5

    First Published2019

    Subjectsadventure, magic, native americans, family, coming of age

    Genres (Book)adventure, juvenile fiction, young adult, fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish

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  • 22
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

    First Published2006-01-05

    SubjectsMusic, Poland, Friendship

    Genres (Book)Tragicomedy, Children's literature, Fable, Historical novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a 2006 novel by Irish novelist John Boyne. Unlike the months... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #11 of 101 The Best Novels About World War 2#2 of 98 50+ Good Books With Boy in the Title

  • 23
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    First Published1884-12

    SubjectsPopular literature, Education, 19th century, Slavery, Mississippi River

    Genres (Book)Humour, Satire, Children's literature, Fiction, Adventure fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 24
    A Wrinkle in Time
    138
    77

    A Wrinkle in Time

    Madeleine L'Engle

    First Published1962

    SubjectsClassics

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Young adult literature, Science Fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L'Engle, first... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 25
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    First Published1979-10-12

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Comic novel, Comic science fiction, Humour, Science Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button