From adrenaline-pumping adventures to poignant, coming-of-age stories, books for teens can be inspiring, exciting and moving. Whether you're looking to escape into another fantastical world, or seeking a touching tale about the challenges of growing up, this list has it all.
Action & Adventure
This world-famous trilogy follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen and her heart-pounding adventures. The post-apocalyptic nation of Panem consists of twelve districts - most of them horribly oppressed and gloomy places. But Katniss has the chance to change everything once she ends up participating in the brutal "Hunger Games" - a televised fight to the death between a group of teenagers. Be taken in by the intense action and gritty atmosphere of this epic series.
This thrilling series features 15-year-old John Smith, an unusual teenager who is constantly on the move, and will be hunted down if he idles too long. However, when he ends up in Paradise, Ohio, he decides it is finally time to settle down and make friends. But before long, his secret is revealed: that he was once one of nine. Three have perished - and John is next.
Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Featuring three books - Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass - this thrilling fantasy trilogy follows Lyra and her "daemon", the animal embodiment of her inner self. Travel with Lyra to amazing fantastical settings, through snowy hills, to an otherworldly city, and even to the Land of the Dead, on all sorts of daring and dangerous quests.
This series follows Adelina Amouteru, survivor of a terrible illness which has left her with strange markings but even stranger abilities. She becomes one of the "Young Elites", a group with powerful and mysterious gifts. They are being hunted down by the bloodthirsty Inquisition Axis, but Enzo Valenciano of the Dagger Society is determined to find them first. When he discovers Adelina, he is astounded by her special abilities - and her increasingly powerful dark side.
This sci-fi classic is an exciting and thought-provoking read. It stars 32-year-old Charlie Gordon, a man with an IQ of just 68. He decides to take part in a controversial intelligence-enhancing experiment, and his IQ reaches 185. Unfortunately, as his intelligence and comprehension improve, his relationships begin to crumble in turn. But how will he cope when he discovers the flaw in the experiment: that, in time, he will regress back to his former self?
Love, Loss and Growing Up
Full of moving observations about life, death, love and illness, this book follows Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two young cancer sufferers who meet at a cancer support group. The two develop a friendship that - 'slowly, and then all at once' - becomes love, peaking with a wonderful trip to Amsterdam together. Both heart-breaking and humorous, this beautiful tale will make you laugh, cry, reflect and ruminate.
The first book in a moving and powerful trilogy, Noughts and Crosses subverts social history to compelling effect. Callum is white, and a lowly Nought; Sephy is black, a privileged Cross and the daughter of an influential politician. As they grow up together, their friendship blossoms into something more, but can their love endure hardship, heartbreak, loss and division? This story is filled with unpredictable twists and turns, and is riddled with gripping subplots.
This poignant tale follows lonely teenager Eleanor, a girl with mad red hair and a hectic home life, who one day meets the cool, enigmatic Park. It's not long before the pair fall in love and develop a deep bond through heaps of mix tapes and late-night conversations. But soon, they come to realise they have 'nothing and everything' to lose. Moving, shocking and funny, this quirky true story movingly conveys what it's like to fall in love for the first time.
The cynical young protagonist of this literary classic, Holden Caulfield, is driven by ambiguous angst and general unhappiness, and ends up in a succession of distressing encounters with a prostitute, her pimp, an ex-girlfriend and a former teacher. This shocking and stirring story is recommended for readers aged 14+.
This influential and exciting story is set in the American Deep South, and is told from the perspective of six-year-old Scout. Her father, lawyer Atticus Finch, is determined to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Animosity and prejudice against Scout's family inevitably result, and Scout comes to truly comprehend the magnitude of the injustice in the world. Powerful and inspiring, this classic is a must-read for teens aged 14+.