With all the gizmos and gadgets available these days it can seem like a bit of a battle to even get our teens to open a book, let alone enjoy one.
It’s true, encouraging your teen to read can seem like a mammoth task, however, this list of best books for teens, which features both modern must haves and classic reads, is sure to peak your teen’s interest and spark a love of literature.
That was until we discovered the trick was cleverly placing gripping reads around the place for them to pick up. It might not be the easiest task to get them to start but, trust us, once they get into a good book there’ll be no stopping them. In fact, you might even regret buying them a stack of books once you’ve called them for the 100th time for dinner!
We’ve rounded up all the best books for teens aged roughly between 12-16, but this obviously depends on how advanced your child is. There are dark tales for the mystery mad and sweet stories for the more sensitive types – so no matter what you’re looking for you’re sure to find it here.
Classics include To Kill A Mockingbird and Little Women with other newer ones thrown in too (because, you know, we’re down with the kids) like the thriller Snakehead and novel Slam.
Now, this might not go down well as a suggestion to make in front of friends, but we actually love a little Sunday book session with our teens. There’s no need for anyone else to know you still do story time but reading to each other is such a lovely moment to bond and we guarantee they secretly love it too.
And you never know, you might even end up celebrating just how wonderful books are together on World Book Day this year! If you’d more details on it then click right here to find out everything from how you can get your hands on tokens for discounted books to what day it’s actually on.
So, have a scroll through our suggestions to get inspiration for what books to buy and have fun picking and choosing your next purchase together with your teen.
His Dark Materials
The Author: Philip Pullman
What’s it about? The books are set across three worlds and follow two children, Lyra and Will, on a great adventure on which they meet armoured bears, witches and cliff ghasts.
Why will teens love it? This series is definitely designed for older teens as they deal with some quite adult themes, but younger children could read them without understanding everything fully and still really enjoy them.
The Authors: Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden
What’s it about? This guidebook mixes fun ways of learning history with important life skills for a teenager – including skimming stones, the rules to cricket, coin tricks and juggling.
Why will teens love it? A great book for teens who aren’t a fan of fiction. The Dangerous Book for Boys will have them hooked.
The Author: Anthony Horowitz
What’s it about? Alex is a secret agent working in the Australian outback on a mission that will test all his skills of bravery and cunning to the max.
Why will teens love it? A great thriller novel and one that will keep them on their toes throughout.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
The Author: Sue Townsend
What’s it about? Adrian Mole is 13 3/4 and documents every thought that goes through his teenage brain in his diary.
Why will teens love it? This is a really funny book which teenagers will be able to really relate to.
The Author: Kevin Brooks
What’s it about? Martyn Pig lives with his unreliable alcoholic father, until one day an argument goes too far and Martyn does something he doesn’t mean.
Why will teens love it? A good read with a twist at the end that will keep them turning the pages.
Are you there God? It’s me Margaret
The Author: Judy Blume
What’s it about? Margaret has lots of things she wants to talk about which are far too embarrassing to ask her parents… so instead she asks God.
Why will teens love it? They’ll relate to Margaret and it’s a nice way of giving teen girls especially an insight into how someone else their age might be feeling to make them feel more secure.
The Author: Nick Hornby
What’s it about? Sam is 16 and has little to think about in life (apart from skateboarding) until he meets Alicia and is suddenly facing fatherhood.
Why will teens love it? This book’s definitely one to put them off teenage sex but is perhaps not suitable for younger teens!
The Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
What’s it about? A true classic about the adventures of a Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in his magical world of elves, dwarves and wizards.
Why will teens love it? It’s quite a lengthy book, so one for keen readers, but if they’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, they’ll love this.
The Author: Louis Sachar
What’s it about? Wrongly accused of a crime, Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake and is made to dig holes in the sand every day – but has his master got another motive for all the digging?
Why will teens love it? The secret will have the reader asking questions and they won’t want to put it down.
The Gormenghast Trilogy
The Author: Mervyn Peake
What’s it about? The stories follow Titus, heir to the 77th Earl of Groan, and his adventures in the old and eerie castle of Gormenghast.
Why will teens love it? Another trilogy of books which are perfect for teens with a large imagination.
The Author: Christopher Paolini
What’s it about? With the discovery of a special stone in the woods, Eragon thinks his luck is in – little does he know the stone will bring a dragon hatchling who will take him on adventures and dangerous journeys across the land.
Why will teens love it? If your child is into fantasy novels like Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings then they’ll love the magic that’s written in the pages of this book – complete with all sorts of creatures.
The Author: Joss Stirling
What’s it about? After moving to an American high school, Sky Bright catches a glimpse of bad boy Zed and can’t seem to get him off her brain, but is he controlling her thoughts?
Why will teens love it? They’ll be able to relate to Sky’s inner thoughts being such a believable and likeable main character.
The Author: Louise Rennison
What’s it about? Boys, gossiping and lots of drama courtesy of Tallulah at Dother Hall, the performing arts college which isn’t quite the A-List place she hoped for.
Why will teens love it? Definitely one for girly girls.
The Secret Garden
The Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
What’s it about? When Mary’s parents died she is sent to Misselthwaite Manor, where she discovers the secret garden.
Why will teens love it? A timeless classic that boys and girls will both love. Mary’s friendships grow in a lovely way throughout the chapters.
The Author: Louisa May Alcott
What’s it about? The story follows the lives and loves of four sisters which ultimately has a tragic end.
Why will teens love it? Again, it’s a classic and a must-have for any book shelf.
Eight Pieces of Silva
The Author: Patrice Lawrence
What’s it about? Teenager Becks is looking for her elder stepsister, Silva, who has gone missing while their step-parents are away on honeymoon. Venturing into the forbidden territory of her sister’s bedroom, it is here she finds the first of eight clues that will help her discover her sister’s secret life.
Why will teens love it? Enough twists and turns to keep any teen engaged, but with important messages too – it’s another win for this exciting author.
The Author: CJ Daugherty
What’s it about? When the daughter of the female Prime Minister is grounded after being photographed drunk outside a nightclub, she is told she must stay at Number 10 Downing Street. It’s there she overhears a plot to murder her mother. Cue secret tunnels leading from Number 10 to the Houses of Parliament, a quest to be heard and a little romance along the way in this gripping thriller from a teen’s perspective.
Why will teens love it? Known for her ability to weave a mystery, Daugherty’s latest book is no exception.
The Other Side Of Truth
The Author: Beverley Naidoo
What’s it about? 12-year-old Sade and her brother Femi who flee to Britain from Nigeria after their mother is killed. Their father, a political journalist, criticises the military rulers in Nigeria and he doesn’t want them to be the next target. Left to fend for themselves in England, they’re not even sure whether their father is alive or dead.
Why will teens love it? As well as learning about the need for justice and freedom, and what it means to be a refugee, this is a story of survival and characters teens will be rooting for. A powerful story beautifully told.
One Of Us Is Next
The Author: Karen M. McManus
What’s it about? It’s the much-anticipated follow-up to McManus’s One Of Us Is Lying and it doesn’t disappoint. It may be a year since school life took a sinister turn at Bayview High, but it seems nothing has settled for its residents. When a game of Truth or Dare strikes up, events take a dark turn, and they need to find out just who is behind the game before it’s too late
Why will teens love it? Shocking and perfectly-plotted – this is sure to get teens reading into the night.
The Hate You Give
The Author: Angie Thomas
What’s it about? Made into a successful film, this powerful book inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement was a runaway hit. When 16-year-old Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Kahlil, by a police officer, she finds herself in a dangerous position. What she says about the killing could have terrible consequences for her community.
Why will teens love it? Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018, this is an insightful exploration of race and inequality – and of growing up.
Noughts & Crosses
The Author: Malorie Blackman
What’s it about? The white Noughts are second-class citizens, while the black Crosses are seen as the superior race. When 15-year-old Callum, a Nought, falls in love with his best friend Sephy, who is a Cross, it leads them both into terrible danger. Can their romance survive in this gripping and penetrating take on the shocking consequences of bigotry and hatred?
Why will teens love it? The first of Malorie Blackman’s groundbreaking novels in her Noughts & Crosses sequence introduces us to a dystopian world where racial prejudice is turned on its head.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
The Author: Holly Jackson
What’s it about? This compelling murder mystery features 17-year-old Pippa Fitz-Amobi, who chooses a local murder case as the subject of her final project. But when Pip starts to uncover secrets, it becomes clear that someone in town will go to any lengths to keep them hidden.
Why will teens love it? Tackling hard-hitting subjects such as racial injustice, drugs and consent, Holly Jackson has kept this thrilling page-turner age-appropriate.
The Author: Stephanie Meyer
What’s it about? Published in 2005, this mega-selling vampire romance had teenagers clamouring for more. Translated into 37 languages and made into a blockbusting movie, the novel introduces us to 17-year-old Bella Swan, who falls for Edward Cullen, a 108-year-old vampire (thankfully frozen in the body of a teenager). But when it looks like Edward’s secret might come out, no-one is safe – especially Bella, the person he loves.
Why will teens love it? The astounding success of Twilight spurred Stephenie Meyer to write three follow-up books in the saga, so there’s lots more drama for teens to get their teeth into.
The Author: Louis Sachar
What’s it about? 14-year-old Stanley Yelnats is one unlucky kid. Wrongly accused of stealing a pair of athletic shoes, Stanley gets sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention centre in the middle of the desert in Texas. There, each inmate is made to dig a hole every day, which, they are told, is a character-building exercise. But what is the real reason behind the hole-digging?
Why will teens love it? Witty, touching and, at times, hilarious, Holes was made into a movie in 2003.