15 Best Books for Teens in 2017


Reading is one of the important ways in which children learn about their world. From coloring books to nursery rhyme books to flip charts and interactive reading materials, children learn a lot of things. In fact, one of the most important traits of successful individuals is their love or passion for reading. Teenagers can especially benefit from reading as these can help them prepare for the mature world of adulthood. As such, in our continuing quest to help parents out there rear children who will become responsible members of society, we’re sharing with you the 15 best books for teens in 2016.

15 Best Teen Books

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective TeensSean Covey5
The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide for TeensSean Covey4.9
The Boy in the Striped PajamasJohn Boyne4.8
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Book 1)Ann Brashares4.7
The Way Things Work NowDavid Macaulay4.6
Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to EatMegan, Jill, and Judi Carle4.5

1The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

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Is there anyone on earth who hasn’t read or at least heard of the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? CEOs and managers claim that they owe part of their success to the very useful tips that Sean Covey has imparted in his masterpiece. Now, he’s penned something that will surely help today’s teenagers navigate through the turbulent adolescent period, tackling many of today’s issues with such straightforwardness that even a child could understand and appreciate. While the 7 Habits teen edition closely follows the principles of the adult version, the manner in which it is written is tailor-fit for the modern teen. There are step-by-step instruction on how teenagers can improve their self-esteem and self-image as well as build longer lasting friendships and social relationships. Covey also penned a marvelous piece on how teens can manage peer pressure without necessarily alienating themselves from the social circle. For us parents, we’d appreciate the section on Covey’s book about how teenagers can help establish and build a trusting relationship with their parents, something that many parents and their teens are having issues with. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is one book your teenager will be reading over and over as it is full of many helpful ideas on how teens can become successful in their own right.

What We Like about It – The 7 Habits series has always been regarded as a very influential piece of literature that many of today’s successful people can truly cite one or two passages that have changed their life. The teen edition is thus, an important tool for modern-day adolescents to thrive and be successful.

2The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens by Sean Covey

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The adolescent years is generally regarded as a very turbulent period in anyone’s life. It’s full of challenges that somehow test one’s resolve and commitment. For many teenagers, they can be easily swayed by popular opinion especially those held by their peers. In The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens, Sean Covey teaches today’s teens about how they can face and effectively manage these challenges such as bullying, media bombardment, depression, and addictions. These issues are very prevalent today. Bullying has resulted in an increased incidence of adolescent depression. Severe depression is known to be closely associated with increased risk of suicide. Covey uses real-life stories to drive home the point, enabling adolescents to relate to the moral of the story and how such challenges can be overcome should they be presented with something similar. Of course, the more traditional adolescent issues were also tackled. These included strained parent-teen communication, academic stress, and dating woes. The latter is especially challenging because of the increasing number of female teenagers becoming victims of date rape. The book provides teenagers with the right tools to manage all of these issues in a manner that is fun and entertaining at the same time.

What We Like about It – There’s really no questioning the talent of Sean Covey. More important, there’s no doubt that his works are truly beneficial in shaping the lives of the future movers of society.

3The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

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A story that will surely touch your heart, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is one of the critically acclaimed masterpieces of the Irish writer John Boyne. While some historical experts, especially the survivors of the Holocaust, believed the story to be more of a profanity rather than lies and fairytales. The contention is that one of the story’s main characters, the 9-year old Jewish Shmuel, is purely fictional because anybody who is not deemed fit to work was instantly gassed in the death camps of Auschwitz. Nevertheless, it’s the story of how friendship can be built and nurtured despite differences, although it is clear that a two 9-year olds surely will have no idea of what they are doing on opposite sides of the fence. Obviously, neither knew what is to become of them and what the fence actually meant nor what the striped pajamas entail. For them, it’s more about the friendship and the camaraderie that they have established that matters most. In a society that is built on very superficial relationships, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas should give teenagers a glimpse of what really matters.

What We Like about It – While the book has some detractors, it is nevertheless a very powerful and unsettling story. It’s the kind of friendship that many of us today seek that’s being portrayed in the bestseller.

4The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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In case your teenager hasn’t seen the movie yet, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is an excellent read especially if your teen will be parting real soon from her own circle of friends. Creatively written in a very perceptive, moving, albeit funny way by Ann Brashares, the Traveling Pants is a very vivid and outstanding book that depicts the love and devotion of friends to one another. It starts with a thrift-shop jeans which, to the surprise of the 4 best friends, actually fits them perfectly despite their differing body sizes. This was taken as a sign that the pants is meant to bond them together no matter what, no matter the distance and the circumstance. As such, every summer, the friends meet to renew their ties and further strengthen the bonds of sisterhood. It’s an intricate story of 4 entirely different characters, each with her own strengths and weaknesses and skeletons in the closet. Yet, despite all these different backgrounds, one thing unites them – the pants. Teenagers of today can easily relate to each of these 4 stories and be the springboard for forming their own long lasting friendships.

What We Like about It – It’s a really captivating story that points to the interconnectedness of everything and everyone. What is really amazing about the literature is how strong the bonds of friendship are regardless of circumstances.

5The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay

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While it is true that one can readily obtain information about virtually anything from the internet these days, sometimes you need a good read to really appreciate some of the more pressing concerns that we now face. A follow-up to his The Way Things Work, David Macaulay decided to pen the second installment to capture some of the world’s latest technological innovations that have a tremendous impact in our lives. And since the future of society rests on the shoulders of the youth, it should be a wise decision to give The Way Things Work Now to our teenagers so they’ll be better equipped with the right competencies to use these technologies to further man’s development. Noteworthy is Macaulay’s take on 3D printing or additive manufacturing processes, touchscreen technologies, and satellite internet, as well as many more. Teens will try to understand the relationship between a windmill and a dental drill, between plows and zippers, and between rockets and remote control units, just to name a few. Macaulay explains the scientific bases for these inventions and how such technologies can benefit mankind and their implications to his future.

What We Like about It – It’s a very entertaining read on how the world of machines, science, and technology are driving the world today.

6Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by Megan, Jill, and Judi Carle

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One of the most often criticized trait of teens is their being picky eaters, much like toddlers. They eat only what they want and typically won’t touch some of the things you serve them. This can have a serious consequence in their health especially their nutrition. Written by three sisters who are also in their teenage years, the Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat is a very lighthearted approach to encouraging teens to eat the right way by letting them cook those food items that they really want to eat. The teen-inspired cookbook is filled with many easy-to-follow recipes complete with an introduction to the different terminologies used in the kitchen.

What We Like about It – The fact that the Teens Cook is written by teens for teens, there’s a greater chance that it will be appreciated by adolescents. Hopefully, you can get your teen to start thinking about his or her nutrition as well.

7Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Teenage suicide rates are on the rise. And while, there are a variety of reasons why today’s teenagers take their lives at such an early age, Asher’s book describes only Thirteen Reasons. The literature is about Hannah, who took her life but not without sending a voice recording to one of her classmates, Clay. He is asked to listen to the tape recordings and as the young man is brought across town visiting sites Hannah wanted him to see, he’s become the firsthand witness to his friend’s deep pain. What he discovers in the end changes Clay’s life forever. The story is both moving and eerie, pretty much like the world our teenagers today live in. It talks about how petty actions can be devastating to someone else’s life. Unfortunately, many of today’s teenagers look at these petty actions more as a laughing matter. They don’t think about the possible consequences.  Thirteen Reasons is a stark reminder of what our teens are facing every day.

What We Like about It – It’s a gripping and sad story that reflects some of the more pressing issues that plague teenagers of today.

8Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

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Stargirl is a very emotional tale of the inspiration and thrill of puppy love and the perils of today’s prepubescent popularity. It talks about how one’s nonconformity can have both its positive and negative effects which can ultimately define the person. Jerry Spinelli carefully weaves a rather tense tale of two opposing characters. On one hand is a free-spirited, ego-less, meditative, and altruistic Stargirl. On the other hand is the rest of Mica Area High School which has never seen a true nonconformist before. Readers will be able to relate to Leo Borlock who has to grapple with who Stargirl really is. You’ll be intrigued about how Spinelli will challenge your teenager to think about what it truly means to be living on a very wonderful planet that is made ugly by bigotry.

What We Like about It – A very timely masterpiece. Many of today’s teenagers will most likely be puzzled as well about the character of Stargirl and will hopefully make them reflect on their own true selves.

9Art for Kids: Drawing: The Only Drawing Book You’ll Ever Need to Be the Artist You’ve Always Wanted to Be by Kathryn Temple

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It all begins early in childhood when we were first given our coloring instruments and a piece of paper. We had so much fun drawing. However, through the years, it would seem as if we have not really mastered the art of drawing. Most of us would still draw a very rudimentary image of an object or a person. Don’t let your teenager go through the same path as we did. Give him or her the Art for Kids: Drawing. With this highly illustrated guidebook, your child will be able to learn the basics of drawing including the addition of light effects, the use of perspectives, and how to accurately draw persons, landscapes, animals, and a whole lot more. Who knows your kid might be a great illustration artist someday?

What We Like about It – The Art for Kids: Drawing is a very useful guide to help young adults master the fundamental techniques of drawings. This should make for a very interesting hobby if not as a possible career opportunity.

10Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand

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Inspired by the real-life story of Louis Zamperini, Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive is an endearing story of determination, strength of will to survive, and resilience against negative circumstances. The book tells of a rather unruly boyhood whose adventurism led to the discovery of an Olympic potential before joining the military as an airman in the Second World War. Having been shot down in the Pacific, Zamperini had to endure 47 days drifting in the ocean, constantly thinking of ways on how to survive, only to wash ashore on Marshall Islands which were still occupied by the Japanese at the time. He was eventually captured and taken to a prison in Japan. He later on became an evangelist believing firmly in the power of forgiveness. This is a classic tale of sheer determination. What teenagers will learn is that Zamperini never had a sterling childhood. Yet, this did not prevent him from achieving his dreams of becoming an Olympian. Additionally, to survive 47 days in the South Pacific without food and water is a feat in itself.

What We Like about It – It’s Cast Away-meets-Life of Pi kind of story. The best part is that it’s non-fiction. Teens can very well learn of the courage, fortitude, and cunning that Zamperini had to muster to remain unbroken.

11What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: Revised Edition by Lynda Madaras


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As soon as boys hit the age of 10, they undergo a series of physical changes that signal their entry into adolescent life. From changes in the voice to the appearance of body hair and to the development of sexual or romantic feelings among others, the period of puberty is a stage in our lives that is characterized by growth spurts and a whole lot of bodily changes. Unfortunately, your boy will be too shy to ask you about these bodily changes. As such, they may ask their friends about these concerns or they can obtain the information from the internet. Sadly, not everything in the net not from his friends are entirely accurate. A better solution is to give him the What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys. This revised edition talks about a whole lot of the physiologic processes that occur in the human body as soon as it hits the age of 10.

What We Like about It – The real life stories included in the book makes for an entertaining read. The illustrations are quite detailed, too, allowing for more effective understanding of the different concepts related to the physical changes of puberty.

13The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

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Try combining Lost, The Hunger Games, and Lord of the Flies and you now have The Maze Runner Series. It’s action-writing at its best complete with a wonderful twist to the mysterious survival saga that has clearly created a strong following. It’s a story of 30 adolescent boys who are trapped in the heart of a maze. Unfortunately, no one knows where they are why they are there. To make matters worse, no one has a recollection of their past lives. However, with the arrival of Teresa and Thomas, things start to change. You’ll have to start with The Maze Runner and end it with The Kill Order if you want a story that’s truly breathtaking and action-packed. If your teenager is a fan of sci-fi complete with superb action, the Maze Runner Series is an excellent read.

What We Like about It – The way in which the Maze Runner Series has been written allow for one continuous read without having to worry about repetitions.

14Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

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It would be quite impossible to list our top 15 books for teens without mentioning J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. While everyone has clearly his or her favorite chapter, we’d really recommend the one that started it all: the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s more like teenagers beginning to discover their true identities. What they decide to do with these discoveries will ultimately lead to their destinies. The Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is an apt reading for teens as it talks about an 11-year old boy’s new life discoveries and how these can be used to shape his future.

What We Like about It – With blockbuster movies complementing bestsellers, do we need to say more?

15Boy21: Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults by Matthew Quick

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Known for his talent in bringing to life the rawness of teenage life as well as the bleakness that is a result of being trapped in an utterly wrong environment, Matthew Quick gives us an unusually heartbreaking and really touching story about 2 different teenage boys trapped in two starkly different worlds but are united by one passion: basketball and the jersey number 21. It’s a unique friendship borne out of their passion for the game. One making basketball as an escape and the other making it his only life.

What We Like about It – The story is all about hope and optimism, two things that teenagers of today may have to really learn to develop.

16Because of Mr.Terupt by Rob Buyea 

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For those who would love a feel-good story about fifth graders and their admiration for their teacher, you’d have to read Because of Mr.Terupt. Seven 5th graders. Seven different personalities. Seven different narratives. One unique thing to say about their teacher: he is special. Mr.Terupt is the epitome of many of today’s modern teachers who do all they can to encourage their students to start thinking for themselves and to strive to becoming better people.

What We Like about It – The book teaches readers, particularly teens, about invaluable life lessons especially on the power of forgiveness. Teens are given the opportunity to examine their own flaws and do whatever they can to live in harmony with others, despite differences in personalities and beliefs.

How We Chose the Top Books for Adolescents in Our List

Helping us reduce the selection pool are the numerous reviews that these literature had already obtained since their publication. We believe that people who have already read the book can provide a relatively fair evaluation of the literature’s usefulness. We then evaluated this usefulness and determined whether it is for a developmental benefit of purely for entertainment purposes alone.

Books with developmental benefits were carefully evaluated for the type of benefit it affords adolescents. These benefits must be able to help teenagers improve themselves whether it is in enhancing their appreciation of their selves or in applying what they have read in real life terms. The point is for the reading material to provide some form of developmental benefit to teenagers.

Literature that have been considered best-sellers were also scrutinized to determine why so many people love reading it. This gave us an idea of the themes of these books and how these can help mold a better person in today’s youth.

Why Teenagers Need to Read Relevant Books

Teenagers are at a crossroads in their life. They have just navigated more than a decade of childish behavior and are now looking at several decades of fulfilling adult life. Unfortunately, many of the issues that they need to resolve prior to their entry into adulthood are quite sensitive. In many cases, teens would rather ask their friends than to ask their parents or authority figures. In cases where teens are willing to ask parents, it is the latter who are uncomfortable with answering such questions as teenage sex and pregnancy, contraception, HIV, AIDS, bullying, and addition, as well as many others.

While the answers to these questions can be obtained from the internet, it is possible that the information obtained may not be really that accurate. And if it is not accurate, then misinformation ensues which can result in other problems.

A much better way is to give teenagers highly relevant books that they can use to help them better understand the issues they are faced with. They can be given the time and the privacy they need to read these books and have their questions answered without having to ask other people. For instance, trying to make sense of the different changes that occur in the body during puberty will most certainly require introductory anatomy and physiology. However, if this is too technical for the teenager, then a much lighter version need to be provided.

The Bottom Line

Reading should not only be enjoyable. For teens, it should help prepare them for the life ahead of them. With these 15 best books for teens, you can be sure they’ll have greater chances of becoming more successful in the future.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!


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