Do you have a teenager that has completely quit reading? Maybe they always struggled or maybe they used to be an avid reader but have lost their love for it. As a former high school English teacher, I have found a few books that successfully renewed the reading spark in my students. I have 5 outstanding books to interest reluctant teen readers.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
Julia is not the perfect Mexican daughter. She desires to go away to college and to move out of the family home after she graduates high school. Many of her decisions, hopes, and dreams go against what her family wants. She isn’t concerned because her sister Olga is the perfect Mexican daughter.
That is until Olga gets hit by a bus on a busy street in Chicago and dies. Now Julia is left as the only target of her mother’s criticism, while the whole family tries to deal with their grief. Soon Julia learns that maybe Olga wasn’t as perfect as she thought.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Written completely in prose, the reader follows Will as he contemplates The Rules. There are three of them: don’t cry, don’t snitch, and if someone you love is killed, kill the person who killed them.
Taking place over the span of sixty seconds, we follow Will as he grabs a gun. He must grapple with the decision of whether or not to kill the man that killed his brother.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr is in a constant state of back and forth. She is part of one life as a student at a fancy suburban prep school and another in the poor neighborhood where she lives. It is all balanced perfectly, until she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
The shooting and death make national news. Quickly the nation is taking sides, some faulting Khalil and some faulting the police officer. Starr is the only one who knows the truth and she is catapulted into the middle of the investigation.
What she decides to share could not only effect the people in her neighborhood, it could threaten her life.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
In 1939 Nazi Germany, Death is very busy.
Meanwhile in Munich, Liesel Meminger is a foster girl biding her time by stealing books to read as the war wages on. Her foster father helps her learn how to read the books and soon she begins sharing them. She shares them with neighbors during bomb raids and with the Jewish man living in her basement.
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Society has been nearly destroyed by Global Warming, but that isn’t Frenchie’s biggest worry. The Indigenous people of North America are being hunted and killed for their bone marrow. Why? It contains the key to the ability to dream, which the rest of the population has lost.
Frenchie and his companions know that staying hidden is essential to their survival. They make their way to the old land in the north. Soon, however, they realize one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.
What books did you love as a teen? Do you have any books that your teen loved that you think I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
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