In May of 2017, I asked the readers of this site to recommend books for teen and young adult readers. You gave me this list: over 100 titles, nearly all of them with hundreds (some of them thousands) of five star reviews on Amazon. It’s a list that covers so many genres and has the potential to turn so many students into lifelong readers. Thank you so much for your help with this!


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About the Categories

To help you find books more easily, I put them into rough categories based on their subject matter. Some of these categories have pretty broad names, and it’s clear that some categories are entirely missing. For example, I have a category for contemporary Native American books but not for books that represent any other ethnicities (even though lots of other groups are present in many other books). This happened because I built the list based on reader recommendations, not because I was deliberately trying to exclude certain groups. In many cases, I had trouble deciding how to categorize a book: Lots of books cross all kinds of genres. I hope that with future recommendations, we can continue to build and refine the list the list so that the categories are more accurate and the list better represents all cultures.

Mature Content: Proceed with Caution

I have not personally read all of these books, but I know for a fact that some of them contain material that may not be appropriate for younger readers. When compiling the list from the recommendations, I had to remove some titles because they were not labeled on Amazon as “Teen” or “Young Adult” books, and it was difficult to tell from the books’ descriptions whether they might contain mature content, so I figured better safe than sorry.

With that said, not every book here is appropriate for all students. My advice is that before recommending a book to a student, you should read it first (or talk to someone who has), read the reviews on Amazon, and check Common Sense Media to see if they have a review; these will specifically describe any content that may be considered inappropriate for some readers.

Suggestions Welcome

This list is by no means finished; I will continue to add to it over time. If you would like to suggest a title, please send us an email here and we’ll take a look. Please do not submit more than 3 titles at once, and please only recommend books that are either labeled as YA/teen or that you have personally read and can verify that they do not contain mature content. I realize this is a gray area, and lots of YA books contain violence, sex, profanity, drug use, and other material some parents may not want their kids to read, which is why we’re trying to at least stick with books that have been labeled for younger readers.

The List


Relationships, Friendship, Family

An Abundance of Katherines
Counting by 7s
Eleanor & Park
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces
Imani All Mine
Love & Gelato
Saint Anything
Tell Me Three Things
The Brothers Torres
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Sun is Also a Star
The Whole Story of Half a Girl
We All Looked Up
We Are Okay
We Were Liars

Depression, Mental Illness, Addiction, Suicide, Sexual Assault

All the Bright Places
Challenger Deep
Lily and Dunkin
Sorta Like a Rock Star
The Memory of Light
Thirteen Reasons Why

Race/Social Justice

All American Boys
Brown Girl Dreaming
Dreamland Burning
Piecing Me Together
The Hate U Give

Male Lead Characters

100 Sideways Miles
Goodbye Days
House Arrest
Orbiting Jupiter
Spanking Shakespeare
The Crossover
The Serpent King
The Seventh Most Important Thing
The Wednesday Wars
Things Not Seen
Touching Spirit Bear
Where Things Come Back

Settings and Cultures Outside the U.S.

A Long Walk to Water
American Street
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Revolution is Not a Dinner Party
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Every Day
History Is All You Left Me
I’ll Give You the Sun
Ramona Blue
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Symptoms of Being Human
The Great American Whatever
Two Boys Kissing
Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian

Six of Crows
Strange the Dreamer
The Archived
The Maze Runner
The Testing

Historical Fiction

Between Shades of Gray
Copper Sun
Esperanza Rising
Out of Darkness
Salt to the Sea
Soldier Boys
Stella by Starlight
The Book Thief
The Memory of Things
The War that Saved My Life
Wolf Hollow

Contemporary Native American

If I Ever Get Out of Here
The Heart of a Chief

Main Character Overcoming an Illness, Physical Challenge, or Learning Disability

Everything, Everything
Fish in a Tree
Freak the Mighty
Going Bovine
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Out of My Mind
Positive: A Memoir
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Fault in Our Stars

Hard to Pin Down

A Monster Calls
Akata Witch
Bone Gap
Grasshopper Jungle
Hour of the Bees
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The Girl Who Could Fly
The Radius of Us
When You Reach Me
Wolf by Wolf: One Girl’s Mission to Win a Race and Kill Hitler


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Left for Dead: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis


If you would like to see the original Padlet where readers suggested titles, click here.