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Teen Book Suggestions   Tags: teens, young adult  

Need help finding great books for teens? Don't know what to read next? Look here for help!
Last Updated: Nov 22, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Looking for great teen books?  You've come to the right place.  This guide will point you to some great selections!

Use the tabs at the top to navigate the guide and discover new, exciting stories.

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Still can't find what you're looking for?  Try YOUR NEXT GOOD READ.  Tell us a little bit about what you like (and don't like) to read. We'll send you some suggestions you might enjoy.  Click on the link below.

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YA BOOK CLUB:  Join us on Monday, Nov. 16 at 6pm at Pasadena Central Library for a discussion of:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

"Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction--if they don't kill each other first"-- Provided by publisher.

Check out the book at our library: Six of Crows

Last month's YA Book Club book was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.  Check out the book trailer: 





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The Impossible Knife of Memory - Laurie Halse Anderson
Call Number: YA FIC Anderson, L
After coming home from the war, Hayley's father is constantly haunted by the memories and the visions of the war that ravaged his mind, body, and soul. What appears to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Hayley's father isn't coping well where he can no longer hold down a job and self-medicates with drugs and alcohol. Hayley, who is seventeen years old, wakes up every day fearing what lies behind her father's bedroom door. For Hayley, normalcy can only make things worse for her father so the idea of friends and a boyfriend are not possible so that is why she sleeps through class, refuses to do her homework, and barely socializes with until she met Finn. Finn wants Hayley to write an article for the school newspaper because he knows how smart and eloquent she is and, despite Hayley's bad attitude, she really is a bright young girl who could go places if she applied herself. After making a pretty sweet deal with Finn, Hayley ends up writing that article, which was not only fun but gave her an escape from all of the worrying and stress. Moreover, the more time that she spends with Finn, the more her feelings grown for him. Hayley wants nothing more than to be happy and for her father to be healthy, but will his pain overcome his will to fight? More importantly, will Hayley be able to keep it together or will she fade away just like her father?

“Laurie Halse Anderson has written yet another riveting story about an issue that society has yet to really understand. Unfortunately, unless you live with someone with PTSD, insight to this disease is very limited and Halse Anderson provides readers with a fairly accurate portrayal. Although most people are aware how devastating PTSD can be for person who has it, we tend to forget the people that have to help and live with their loved ones illness. Despite all of the stress and the heartache that she must endure, Hayley is given a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a normal teenager and that opportunity is named Finn. When Hayley finally opens to up Finn, and vice versa, these two teens find the common ground they have been longing for. I can't tell you how many times my heart broke for Hayley and her father because no one should have to suffer from the horrible disease because it destroys everything in its path. The Impossible Knife of Memory is an incredibly compelling read and very difficult to put down.”

--Recommended by Deb Takahashi, Librarian, Santa Catalina Branch & Linda Vista Branch Library

*Review cross-posted from Deb's blog:

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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart
Sophomore Frankie starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, but when he refuses to talk about the all-male secret society that he and his friends belong to, Frankie infiltrates the society in order to enliven their mediocre pranks.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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I Hunt Killers - Barry Lyga
Call Number: YA FIC Lyga, B
Known as the son of the most notorious serial killer, Billy Dent, Jazz has been trying to live a normal life for the past four years--he even has a girlfriend and a best friend. However, when the body of a dead woman shows up Lobos Nod, Jazz can't help but investigate the crime scene because who would know crime scenes more than him? The thing about Jazz is that he didn't learn about his father's crimes from a report...his father actually brought him to the murders and forced him to watch.When Jazz approaches G. William (the officer who captured his father and has tried to help Jazz live a normal life) about the victim, he is instantly told to mind his own business because not every dead body conveys a serial killer is on the loose. However, this body isn't just another dead body; the victim was found naked and missing three fingers where the killer "accidentally" drops the middle finger for police to find. There's something not right about the whole thing so Jazz and his best friend, Howie, break into the morgue to look over the corpse and Jazz' theory is starting to make sense when he noticed the bruising on her knuckles and the lack of it on her back. Despite being careful, Jazz and Howie are caught while "investigating" Jane Doe and the killer continues his rampage and, unfortunately, his pattern is awful familiar, which Jazz starts to believe that his father has returned. The only problem with this theory is that Billy Dent is locked away in solitary confinement so this must be copycat killer and, with copycat killers, they are bound to make a mistakes.

"I can't imagine what it's like being Jazz because he is constantly haunted by his father's words, actions, and advice. Jazz really didn't have a chance at a normal life because of his father so I have to hand it to him for being so well adjusted. Than again, according to Jazz, serial killers can blend in perfectly with society, but what sets him apart from people like his father is his empathy. He stood up to Howie's bullies and made a friend for life and he genuinely loves his girlfriend despite the fact her father hates him. Serial killers, from what we learn, are narcissists and utterly selfish so Jazz doesn't "fit the profile" yet he is still paranoid that it's not real or genuine. What's troubling Jazz is that he has no faith in who he is because he feels responsible for Billy's victims. No matter what Connie, Howie, or G. William say, nothing will ever be good enough until he brings this copycat down. The question is: how much is Jazz willing to risk to prove he isn't a serial killer. This novel packs quite a punch and I can't wait for the sequel!"

--Recommended by Deb Takahashi, Librarian, Santa Catalina Branch & Linda Vista Branch Library

*Review cross-posted from Deb's blog:

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I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson
Call Number: YA FIC NELSON,J
A story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal told from different points in time, and in separate voices, by artists Jude and her twin brother Noah.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson
In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell
Call Number: YA FIC ROWELL,R
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. YALSA Teens Top Ten

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
Call Number: YA FIC ROWELL, R
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan ... But for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author's family, includes a historical note.

"Read. This. Book. You will be glad you did."--Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Unwind - Neal Shusterman
In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs--and, perhaps, save their own lives.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Bruiser - Neal Shusterman
"Told in four alternating perspectives, sixteen-year-old twins Tennyson and Bronte befriend the school outcast, Brewster, who has an abusive uncle, a needy younger brother, and a wonderful yet perilous secret: he's able to absorb the aches and pains from the people he cares about. Perfect for a book discussion."-- Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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This Is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E. Smith
Call Number: YA FIC SMITH,J
Perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet online when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two 17-year-olds strike up an e-mail relationship from opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names. When the relationship goes from online to in-person, they find out whether their relationship can be the real thing.

"Really sweet love story that will keep you turning pages to see if it works out!" --AnnMarie Hurtado, Youth Librarian, Central Library

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
Call Number: YA FIC TAYLOR,L
Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters--the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.

"Tragedy, love, and war... for all readers of fantasy.
...There are so many layers of emotion and cruelty and hope and beauty that I am left quite speechless." --Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Noggin - John Corey Whaley
Call Number: YA FIC WHALEY, J
Some people believe in the concept of reincarnation, or rebirth, but for Travis Coates he was literally brought back to life with the help of a scientific procedure that's still in its infancy. Prior to his procedure, Travis was diagnosed with Lukemia and, despite chemotheraphy, Travis' body was losing the battle against the cancer. When it seemed that all was lost, Dr. Saranson, from the Saranson CEnter of Life Preservation, approached Travis with an unusual proposition that could help him overcome his illness and live a long and healthy life. However, there was one small catch: his head would be removed from his ailing body and then cryogenically frozen for an unspecified amount of time. Although this was Travis' only option to live the life he wanted, he and his parents made the decision to go through with this procedure. Granted, Travis had come to terms with his death, he didn't expect to wake up five short years later with a brand new body and instant fame. What was supposed to be the happiest time of his life, Travis learned that he is the second successful body transplant and must face a whirlwind of praise and condemnation. Furthermore, Travis had to face the stark reality that, during his cryogenic slumber, everyone he loves has moved on with their lives, leaving him in same exact place he left five years ago: repeating tenth grade and no one to share it with. Granted, Travis has found a new friend in Hatton finally re-connected with his best friend, Kyle, he learns that his girlfriend, Cate, has not only moved on with her life, but is engaged to another man. Instead of letting her go, Travis embarks on a journey to not only get his life back, but also get the girl he loves back. The only problem with this scenario: what if he fails and refuses to let go? Readers will laugh and cry as the read about a second chance at life that isn't exactly the second chance we all want.

--Recommended by Deb Takahashi, Librarian, Santa Catalina & Linda Vista Branch Library

*Review cross-posted from Deb's blog:

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The Rules of Survival - Nancy Werlin
Call Number: YA FIC Werlin, N
In a letter to his youngest sister, Emmy, Matt recounts the horror that was their childhood. Nikki, their mother, was a walking time bomb; some days she could be kind and thoughtful, but, on the bad days, she was a nightmare. Matt, now fourteen years old, is starting to realize that living with their mother is no longer an option. Matt and Callie (his other sister) spend most of their nights waiting for Nikki to turn their home into a war zone. Although hope is a stranger to these frightened children, they meet Murdoch who could be the one to tame their mother and protect them. The only problem with this situation is that Nikki is utterly unpredictable and that leaves Matt with no other choice but to contact his father. Referred to as the "nurse man," Matt and Callie's father was driven away by Nikki and the only link they have with their father is the monthly child support check. However, their father also sends in support for Emmy,who is not his biological child, so that must mean he really cares about them. Just when things couldn't get any worse, Nikki makes up an awful accusation about Murdoch that forces Matt to devise a plan to get away from their mother, which will bring three strangers together to fight for the safety of these three desperate children.

"Honestly, it was really, really hard for me to not throw the book across the room because Nikki has no business raising children when she, herself, is an overgrown spoiled brat. However, her children are the exact opposite of her, which gives readers hope that they will find a way out of their situation because they know the power of love and devotion. The adults in this books, aside from Murdoch, are just as clueless as the kids, but their saving grace was Murdoch who took a giant risk to help these kids. By enlisting the help of Matt's father, and Aunt Bobbie, these timid adults finally build the courage they need to save Matt, Callie, and Emmy. Although the ending is bittersweet, readers will learn that hope is always there even in the most dire of circumstances."

--Recommended by Deb Takahashi, Librarian, Santa Catalina Branch & Linda Vista Branch Library

*Review cross-posted from Deb's blog:

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Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo
Call Number: YA SF BARDUGO,L
Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Legend - Marie Lu
Call Number: YA SF LU,M
In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-old Day--a famous criminal, and prodigy June--the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Finnikin of the Rock - Melina Marchetta
Now on the cusp of manhood, Finnikin, who was a child when the royal family of Lumatere was brutally murdered and replaced by an imposter, reluctantly joins forces with an enigmatic young novice and fellow-exile, who claims that her dark dreams will lead them to a surviving royal child and a way to regain the throne of Lumatere.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund
Elliot North fights to save her family's land and her own heart in this post-apocalyptic reimaging of Jane Austen's PERSUASION.

--Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library

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Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan
Call Number: YA SF RYAN
Part of the first generation to be conceived in deep space, fifteen-year-old Waverly is expected to marry young and have children to populate a new planet, but a violent betrayal by the dogmatic leader of their sister ship forces Waverly to fight for her life and the lives of the other girls, all while navigating the desires and hidden motives of their captors.

"Told in alternating points of view between Waverly and her boyfriend Kieran, who has to assume responsibility of their ship when their parents are killed, this story is full of action and suspense. You never know who to trust... It has a great villain too. You won't be able to put this down! Be sure to check out the sequel, "Spark." This series will be a popular phenomenon--would make an awesome movie, like Hunger Games and Twilight." --AnnMarie Hurtado, Youth Librarian, Central Library

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An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir
Call Number: YA SF TAHIR,S
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire's impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They've seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia's brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire's greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school's finest soldier -- and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he's being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined -- and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. --Recommended by Jane Gov, YA Librarian, Central Library


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