Best books for teens: The best teen romance, thriller and fantasy novels

When it comes to young adult (YA) books, we are entering a renaissance; Gone are the sappy romances and fantasy books of yesteryear, replaced by hard-hitting, powerful writing and heroes and heroines for the modern age. Plus, the wide range of books for teens is outstanding, with everything from climate manifestos to high school murder mysteries. YA’s boom is so great that it has been named in its own bestseller categories by The New York Times (YA Hardcover and YA Paperback), with many titles being purchased for television or film adaptations.

Our pick of the best books for teens doesn’t have to be limited to a young adult audience, either. Whether you’re looking for some respite from your James Joyce marathon, fancy a juicy read on the beach, or just want to hear the voices of prominent young people like Vanessa Nakate, older adults needn’t get discouraged. Read on for our pick of the most compelling page turners.

How to choose the best books for teens

What kind?

When it comes to books for teens, there are countless genres. YA fiction covers nearly every category under the sun, from thrillers and crime to romance and fantasy. Whether you’re a Warhammer-head, a true crime aficionado, or a Swiftie (read: Taylor Swift fan) with a penchant for romance, there’s going to be something in the world of YA fiction to suit everyone. the world.

Meanwhile, there is a burgeoning collection of non-fiction books aimed at teens, especially those focused on STEM and climate science. We’ve cited Vanessa Nakate’s Climate Manifesto as a book that will appeal to teens and adults, but titles like Hope Jahren’s The story behind: how we got to climate change and where to go from here (Suitable for young adults) Make clear, logical, digestible arguments that will never stop you from picking up a paperback.

How many words?

It depends heavily on the context. If you’re a teenager who loved to read as a kid but had a long break during the social media and streaming boom, sometimes it can be more surmountable to start with a thinner novel (see SE Hinton’s The Outsiders, to 240 pages) before progressing to longer reads. On the other hand, if you’re someone who inhales books, a series might be a good option for you to rip, giving you enough material, all within the same immersive world (the Throne of Glass and Summer series I Turned Pretty are fabulous, depending on your taste).

Any tips for getting back to reading?

If it’s been a while since you’ve read outside the classroom, rekindling your burning love for books can be difficult. In our experience, however, it always comes back. A key factor is the setting: make sure you’re somewhere comfortable, whether that’s on the sofa at home, on a pouf in your local library, or leaning against a tree in your garden or sunny park. Reading in bed is also wonderfully relaxing, but if you do it in the middle of the day, you may fall prematurely…

Relaxing with refreshments is never a bad idea either. Whether it’s a good old cup of tea or a glass of squash, it’s useful to have a drink on hand so you don’t have to disrupt your reading flow when you get into the thick of it. from subject.

It can also be useful to turn off your phone’s notifications. There’s nothing to cut the wind from your (literary) sails like a BeReal alert or an Instagram DM lighting up your screen. You don’t need to go all the way and turn the thing off, but a quick flick of Do Not Disturb or Airplane Mode should be enough, so you can get the most out of the escape truly immersive that reading offers.

Finally, it’s a good idea to keep a journal of the books you read. Not only is it great for a sense of accomplishment, adding up the tomes you’ve picked up over the months, but it’s a great way to keep track of the kinds of books you like, leading you to titles. related to enjoy and similar worlds to explore.

The best books for teens to buy

Best Mystery Muder Book for Teens: One of Us Is Lying, by Karen M. McManus

Price: £4 (Paperback) | Buy now on Amazon

Five students go into custody at Bayview High School, but only four come out alive. So opens Karen M. McManus’ thrilling debut YA novel, One of Us Is Lying. With a cast of characters featuring the geek, the popular, the bad boy, the jock, and the outcast, it’s reminiscent of a Gen Z Breakfast Club – but with added social media and homicide.

If you’re looking for a tale that will grab teenage readers right off the bat with a spooky opening, this will definitely do the trick. A testament to his suspenseful mastery, the book reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list and spent 166 weeks on the list. Adapted for television, the highly anticipated series One of Us Is Lying began airing on Peacock in the fall of 2021.

Key Features – Editor: Penguin; Published: June 1, 2017; Length: 368 pages; Format: Pin; To light up: Y; Audio book : Yes

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Best Fantasy Book for Teenagers: Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas

Price: £6.30 (Paperback) | Buy now on Amazon

Not to be confused with the similar-sounding fantasy epic Game of Thrones, Throne of Glass is a YA fantasy series from writer Sarah J. Maas, which first graced bookstores in 2012. The series, which Set in the fictional kingdom of Adarlan, follows 18-year-old slave assassin Celaena Sardothien as she battles with the other thieves and assassins in the land to become the king’s champion (read: her own personal assassin).

The books have been credited with shaking up the oft-submissive portrayal of female YA characters, with Celaena maintaining an edge for her craft without losing her penchant for the finer things in life (and yes, that includes dresses). In creating her epic, Maas was inspired by a dark reimagining of Disney’s Cinderella, and her stories garnered a huge following online before Bloomsbury eventually bought the novels. Throne of Glass earned its place in the YA canon when its second installment, Crown of Midnight, hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Key Features – Editor: Bloomsbury YA; Published: August 2, 2012; Length: 416 pages; Format: Pin; To light up: Y; Audio book : Yes

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Best Environmental Book for Teenagers: A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis, by Vanessa Nakate

Price: £10 (Kindle) | Buy now on Amazon

Activist Vanessa Nakate will already be well known to many teenagers. The climate activist, now 25, grew up in Kampala, Uganda, and brought global attention to soaring temperatures disproportionately affecting her home country, launching a solidarity strike alongside Greta Thunberg in 2019.

Nakate’s writing is powerful and versatile, managing to weave an intimate narrative of his life growing up with calls to action addressed globally. Having once sat alone at the gates of Uganda’s parliament to protest the government’s inaction on climate change, she stresses the importance of collective action when it comes to bringing about big change.

There was a time when climate activism was seen by some as the preserve of middle-class white Westerners, and Nakate herself was sadly cropped out of a photograph depicting her with four other activists (all white Europeans). in Davos in 2020. But Nakate is blitzing those misconceptions. His powerful voice is a timely testament to the pervasiveness of the climate crisis and the geographic variation in its impact, the need to decolonize the climate movement, and the hope sparked by young people everywhere who are joining the fight.

Key Features – Editor: Seaman’s books; Published: November 2, 2021; Length: 240 pages; Format: Pin; To light up: Y; Audio book : Yes

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The best classic book for teens: The Outsiders, by SE Hinton

Price: £10 (Kindle) | Buy now on Amazon

SE Hinton’s 1967 novel The Outsiders is a teenage classic for many reasons. The author began writing it when she was only 15, on the one hand: a reminder to budding novelists around the world that you’re never too young to start putting your pen to paper. Second, it’s a slim read at just 240 pages, which means it’s a manageable challenge for bookphobes (or those worried about going back to the page after too much time on TikTok). Third, this coming-of-age classic from Oklahoma deals with a whole host of issues that are still relevant to teens today, despite being published over 50 years ago. year.

Narrated by teenage Ponyboy, The Outsiders traces the schism between two rival gangs, dealing with themes such as identity, class, peer pressure and belonging. With a roster of fancifully named characters (including Sodapop, Two-Bit, and Dally) populating rival gangs the Greasers and Socs, this novel is packed with teenage angst, friendship, and love. Think The Catcher in the Rye, but more salt of the earth – and way more action.

Key Features – Editor: Puffin Classics; Published: March 6, 2003; Length: 240 pages; Format: Pin; To light up: Y; Audio book : Yes

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The Best Teenage Romance Book: The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han

Price: £7 | Buy now on Amazon

When it comes to romance, Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty series ticks all the boxes. Small town, by the sea? Check. Love triangle? Check. Carnival scene? Check. Swimming illegally at midnight? Check. A shy and dedicated student turns into Shakespearean love? Tick, tick, tick.

Protagonist Isabel, or Belly to those who know her, has been spending summers at Cousin’s Beach with her mother’s best friend Susannah and her sons Jeremiah and Conrad for as long as she can remember. But this summer, things are markedly different, as Belly experiences the glimmers of first love — and the trials and tribulations that come with it.

The series is a trilogy, so if you’re someone who tears up the books, there’s enough to sustain you for at least a few days by the pool. The Summer I Turned Pretty was recently adapted for television, starring newcomer Lola Tung as Belly, and a cameo from Rachel Blanchard (Nancy from Peep Show, anyone?) as Susannah. The series debuts on Amazon Prime Video on June 17, 2022.

Key Features – Editor: Penguin; Published: June 3, 2010; Length: 288 pages; Format: Pin; To light up: Y; Audio book : Yes

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Colin L. Johnson