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Your Teen Will Thank You for This Fantastic Summer Reading List

Summer is finally here! And with it—fingers crossed—three months of blissful leisure reading for off-duty students. With so many fun books for teens and tweens out there, how can they possibly choose? We asked some tweens and teens for summer reading recommendations. Their answers include the usual suspects as well as some fun surprises. If your kids are still looking for a perfect summer read, maybe leave this list (oh so casually) open for them to see.

HARD TO PUT DOWN:

Books that make you lose track of time and catapult you into the story.

American Gods

By Neil Gaiman

Ages 15+

An inspired combination of mythology, adventure, and illusion, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey across an America that is at once eerily familiar and utterly alien.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062472106

Nothing to See Here

By Kevin Wilson

Ages 13+

When Lillian becomes a nanny for her friend’s stepkids, she discovers the job comes with an undisclosed secret: the twins burst into flames when they’re agitated. Life is about to become very interesting… and maybe a bit dangerous, too.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062913494

The Hawthorne Legacy

By Jennifer Lynn

Ages 12+

Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the The Inheritance Games. With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, family intrigue, swoon worthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy thrills.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316105187

Young, Rich & Black

By Nia Forrester

Ages 15+

When Chris “Deuce” Scaife, Jr. and campus revolutionary Zora Diallo have an unexpected and powerful encounter just before winter break, no one is more surprised than they are.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9798645930813

REAL LIFE:

Whether it’s in Nazi Germany or the Navajo nations, these are engaging books about true experiences that illustrate a variety of life perspectives across time and space.

Flowers in the Gutter

By K. R. Gaddy

Ages 12+

The true story of the Edelweiss Pirates, working-class teenagers who fought the Nazis by whatever means they could.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593156117
Laughing at My Nightmare

By Shane Burcaw

Ages 14+

With acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. He talks about everyday issues relatable to teens and offers an eye-opening perspective on what it’s like to have a life-threatening disease.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250080103

The Long Walk: The Forced Navajo Exile

By Jennifer Denetdale

Ages 14+

In 1863, the Dine (Navajo) faced transformations to their way of life when Americans were determined to subjugate them, then displace them from their homeland and move them to a reservation.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780791093443

GUILTY PLEASURE:

Secrets abound in these novels. Just when you think you know it all—plot twist!

Ace of Spades

By Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ages 14+

When anonymous text messages expose their secrets to the school, two prep school seniors must work together to figure out who is targeting them and why, before things turn deadly.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250800817

Counting Down with You

By Tashkent Bhuiyan

Ages 13+

Karina, a Bangladeshi American academic superstar, and Ace, a rich white bad boy, engage in a fake relationship that turns out to be very real in this opposites-attract rom-com.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335209979

Girl from the Sea

By Molly Knox Ostertag

Ages 11+

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a lot of secrets. She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives so she can hide. When a mysterious Keltie saves her from drowning, her secrets only multiply.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781338540574

ESCAPE:

Summer is for going places. These talking animals, aliens, and superhero-teens will take you far away from home.

Animal Farm

By George Orwell

Ages 12+

Orwell’s timeless and chilling novella is about a group of barnyard animals that rebel against their farmer because they want to create a utopian society where all the animals are free, equal, and happy. It’s a devastating satire of idealism brought down by power and corruption.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780451526342

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

By Ransom Riggs

Ages 14+

When his grandfather dies, Jake goes to a strange home for children searching for clues to his grandfather’s past. An unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781594746031

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal

By Saladin Ahmed and Minkyu Jung

Ages 13+

Kamala Khan is back, with a new writer and illustrator, fighting to save her Jersey City hometown from aliens. Also check out the first Ms. Marvel reboot series by G. Willow Wilson.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780785190219

The Ones We’re Meant to Find

By Joan He

Ages 14+

In a future world ravaged by climate change, separated sisters Cee and Kasey will do anything to get back to each other. Sisterly love is leveraged against the greater good in this gripping and eerily plausible sci-fi thriller.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250258564

ALL THE FEELS:

The teens in these vacation reads tug on your emotions and hold your attention.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

By Malinda Lo

Ages 14+

As Lily, a Chinese American teen living in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s, starts to think more seriously about her professional future, and a friendship with white classmate Kathleen grows into romance.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780525555278

The Fault in Our Stars

By John Green

Ages 14+

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780142424179

The Moon and More

By Sarah Dessen

Ages 12+

During her last summer before college, Emaline meets Theo while working for her family’s rental business. As their relationship develops, Emaline questions her own goals, values, and choices in this classic Dessen romance.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780142425817

The Summer I Turned Pretty

By Jenny Han

Ages 12+

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good and everything magical happens between June and August. That is, until one summer when everything wonderful also turns out to be terrible. And the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781416968290

Salaam, with Love

By Sara Sharaf Beg

Ages 12+

This heartfelt and humorous YA contemporary follows Dua, who spends the month of Ramadan making unexpected discoveries about family, faith, and first love.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593482629

INSPIRING:

Girls and canines in heroic situations; because anyone can be an agent of change.

Dogs of War

By Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox

Ages 11+

This graphic novel contains stories of three canine military heroes of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War, inspired by historic battles and real military practice.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780545128889

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

By Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Ages 14+

Moon, a Mexican American photographer, has always played second fiddle to her social media influencer twin. Accompanying her sibling on a cross-country trip results in a journey of self-discovery.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781534448667

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

Ages 10+

In 1939 Nazi Germany, Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich. On her necessary and meager stealing trips, she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780375842207

REALLY COOL:

Flip the switch on your reading with these innovative fresh takes on storytelling.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

By Sherman Alexie

Ages 14+

Sherman Alexie’s darkly humorous story collection weaves memory, fantasy, and stark reality to powerfully evoke life on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780802121998

The Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

By Octavia Butler, Damian Duffy, and John Jennings

Ages 13+

In this graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, the country is marred by environmental and economic crises that lead to social chaos. Lauren Olamina lives in a gated community and is protected from danger by its walls. What begins as a fight for survival in a night of fire and death eventually leads to much more.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781419754050

Kamyra Harding

Kamyra Harding is a reading addict and mistake maker. She uses humor and belly button gazing to share her insight into marriage, children and trying hard to get it all right. You can find her on social media as the Try Hard Mommy

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