Popular Novels for Teens

How many books have you read so far this summer? If you have sworn off books during the summer break, you might want to reconsider. Not reading means you’d miss out on some really interesting books like these. Read the summaries of these books, chosen from the 2012 Teens’ Top Ten Nominations for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

All Good Children by Catherine Austen

Max, his mother, and sister have discovered that the kids in his sister’s class are acting much more cooperatively than you’d expect. It turns out that the kids have been injected with a government-created vaccine that calms them down, makes them more obedient, and easier to teach. What will Max’s family do?

Ashes by Ilsa Bick

After an electromagnetic pulse eliminates most of the world’s population and turns many of the survivors into zombie-like creatures, Alex, Tom, and Ellie have to find a way to survive in this terrible new world.

Tempest by Julie Cross

Jackson has the ability to travel through time. He goes into the past to prevent the death of his girlfriend and change his future. But he learns that the past isn’t what he remembers and the future is unpredictable. Who can Jackson learn to trust?

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Mclean has moved many times in the past few years, trying to get her life together after her parent’s divorce. In each new setting, she tries to be a different version of herself. But in Lakeview, she has to learn how to be who she really is to find a path to happiness.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel has cancer and has done her best to live with it. But when she meets Augustus Waters, who accompanies another friend to Hazel’s cancer-support group, her outlook changes. Suddenly she’s not so concerned with lessening the impact of her dying and wants to find better ways to live with the time she may have left.

Page by Page by Laura Lee Gulledge

Paige Turner and her family moved from rural Virginia to New York City. In an attempt to adjust to her very different life, Paige relies on her sketchbook to make sense of so many new experiences.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a cyborg living in the future. She lives with her cruel stepmother and two stepsisters in the city of New Beijing. After meeting a prince name Kai, Cinder must find out the truth of her own past. (If this story sounds sort of familiar, it should. It’s a futuristic retelling of the classic children’s tale Cinderella.)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Jacob has always been entertained by his grandfather’s fanciful tales of his life growing up in an orphanage of kids with fantastic abilities. But it was just make-believe, right? Jacob’s life is turned upside down when he discovers that maybe his grandfather’s stories aren’t quite as fictional as he always thought.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In the ruins of a futuristic Chicago, humanity has divided itself into five societies. You must choose your own path to adulthood based on your ability to be selfless, intelligent, honest, peaceful, or brave. But what if you don’t fit one of those molds? Beatrice must choose between her family or an unknown path.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Jill lost her father and her mother wants to adopt  a new baby. Mandy is pregnant and wants to find a family that gives her baby the love and caring she didn’t receive when she was growing up. What happens when these two girls meet and deal with the challenges of changing lives and growing up?

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What Do You Think? These are only some of the newer books out there for Young Adult readers. But look at the themes that are common in many of the selections excerpted here, or review the subjects of others at your local community library. What stands out for you in these stories? Ask your friends to make lists of their own and compare the themes they discovered. Do these stories speak to you? If not, think about what kind of books you might want to read.