While there is plenty of required reading in school, summer is often the best time for teens to read for pleasure. Encourage your child to take advantage of the time off from school by checking out a few – or all! – of these novels. A mix of classics and modern hits, load up their e-reader or tablet with these can’t-miss titles.
- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Set in a near future, Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel about the world of Gilead and handmaid Offred is more relevant than ever. While the book has some adult content that leaves it better suited to older or mature readers, this powerful novel can help start conversation about politics, gender equality, discrimination, and more. Even the ending of the novel is relevant, leading to discussion on the reliability of sources and whether we should believe everything we read or hear.
- The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield is literature’s original bad boy; his increasing disillusionment with the world and the “phonies” in it still resonates today. This novel strongly resonates with most teens, as the characters struggle to adjust to the uncharted territory between childhood and adulthood. Recommended for teens 13+.
- The Lord of the Flies – William Golding
The Lord of the Flies explores the dark sides of human psychology as a group of school boys are stranded on an uninhabited island. At the boys attempt – and disastrously fail – to develop their own society, readers are left wondering whether their actions are the result of their circumstances or are simply human nature.
- Stephen ChobskyThe Perks of Being A Wallflower
This coming-of-age novel focuses on Charlie, a teenage boy struggling to find his place in the tumultuous world of high school. Often compared as similar to The Catcher In The Rye, Wallflower is recommended for teens 16+ due to references to abuse, sex, and drugs.
- John GreenLooking For Alaska
Protagonist Miles uproots his uneventful life to attend a boarding school in Alabama. Here he meets a colorful cast of characters including his best friend Chip and the enigmatic Alaska. Poignantly written with surprising insight, this novel is recommended for teens 14+. John Green fans will also enjoy his other novels, including The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines.
- It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – Ned Vizini
Craig Gilner is an ambitious and driven student at Manhattan’s elite Executive Pre-Professional High School. Instead of standing out, however, he finds himself a suddenly-average student in a group of brilliant classmates. Struggling with depression and anxiety, Craig checks himself into a psychiatric hospital. This novel can help foster discussions about the pressures facing high school students as well as mental health issues. Recommended for teens 14+.