The Teen genre seems to just keep growing in popularity, not just for teens, but as more and more adults find themselves reading books directed at a younger age group as well. It’s hard not to get pulled into the simplicity of the writing, the sense of adventure and the characters that are becoming more complex and intriguing. Here are some books from the Teen genre that have caught my eye and have made it onto my To-Read list (in no particular order). Enjoy!
The Chaos Walking Series: The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008), The Ask and the Answer (2009), and Monsters of Men (2010) by Patrick Ness
The Chaos Walking series has been on my literature radar for some time now, mostly because a fellow Chapters employee insisted that The Knife of Never Letting Go is by far her favorite Young Adult novel. The series follows two main characters, Todd and Viola, as they struggle in a dystopia world that is gradually erupting into civil war. At first glance it seems like a typical world-has-ended series, which is quite common for Teen books nowadays, but there are a few reasons that this series has grabbed my attention and held it, the primary one being that in the novels every living creature can hear, see or sense each other’s thoughts. It’s an element that is unique and I believe would make for a really interesting concept. Secondly, some might argue that Ness began his series before the hook of the post-apocalyptic theme had really sunk into teen literature and that his series is distinctive for that. Thirdly, the fact that his books have collectively won almost every single children’s fictional literature award in the United Kingdom speaks for itself; this must be an awesome series. It’s also mainly told from a boy’s viewpoint, which makes it a good find for young boys and teenagers when most of the more recent Teen books have females as the lead. Hopefully you’ll see reviews for these three books on the blog in the near future!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green *
In all honesty, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is not a book I would have expected to find its way onto my To-Read list. When I first read the synopsis it had a little too much teenage romance in it, but I came to realize it went beyond that. Green tells the tale of Hazel, a young woman who is fighting cancer and Augustus, a basketball player who has recently found himself expelled from his favored sport due to a limb amputation. The possible dynamics of the relationship that follows is what spurned my interest in The Fault in Our Stars, along with the fact that a close friend of mine swears that it’s a great read and a story of many facets. I’ll report back whenever I find the time to read it!
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater *
One of my favorite Teen reads in the last few years was Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races so when The Raven Boys was published in 2012 it went onto my wish list. Reviews have raved about its combination of the supernatural and suspense, with a healthy dose of romance. Blue Sargent has spent her life keeping her distance from the boys at Aglionby Academy, also known as the Raven Boys, due to a prophecy that has haunted her for her entire life. With a twist that brings in some old school Welsh mythology, along with the fact that it is rumored that book will now be the first in a four-book series, it’s piqued my interest and I’m hoping to have a read of it soon.
UPDATE: I’ve now read and reviewed The Raven Boys, so click the book’s cover image above to check it out!
Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Desire, debauchery, oblivion; three words that are guaranteed to grab my attention. Some might argue that such subjects are beyond the boundaries of the Teen genre, but how far Griffen takes these themes is yet to be seen. The overall scenery is not all that unique, that of a world that has been decimated with the depleted human race struggling to survive. However, where those intriguing three words come in is how some people are choosing to survive. Araby Worth belong to a group who spends their time dressed to the nines and enjoying what is left of the finer things in life to whittle away the time and to help them cope with the devastation around them. No doubt these things become superficial at some point when she finds something more meaningful to live for. I really hope it’s as good as it looks!
UPDATE: I’ve now read and reviewed Masque of the Red Death, so click the book’s cover image above to check it out!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor **
I’ll admit it, I’m a cover browser. I cannot count the amount of times I walked by this book while at work and always made a mental note to stop and have a read of the back. What I found there seemed to be a great mixture of mystery and fantasy. Karou, the main character, is a talented artist who has always seemed a bit odd, as though she has glimpses into a world that does not belong to everyone else. The truth of that will shock her. It seems to take place in a modern setting and while it seems to draw on some religious elements, it reminded me slightly of City of Bones, minus the odd sibling relationship that turned that series sour for me. The second book Days of Blood and Starlight was published in 2012 so when I do get to this one, I can always enjoy the one-two punch if it’s worth it.
UPDATE: I’ve now read and reviewed Daughter of Smoke and Boke, so click the book’s cover image above to check it out!
I always try to support Canadian authors and if my suspicion of that being the CN Tower on the cover is correct, it gains even more props from me for taking place in the city I currently live in. Plus, the story seems pretty intriguing as well. When the world above ground is full of experiments and danger, people have fled from the sunlight and retreated underground to live their lives in the dark. Everything changes when the dark suddenly becomes just as perilous as well. Edged with some fantasy, the story of Matthew and Ariel is hopefully as magical as some of the reviews I have read imply. I hope to attend a presentation in the next month where Leah Bobet will be speaking, and as a result this novel has moved higher on my list so look for a review soon!
The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne
I love history, and Teen novels that are based in history get me every time. Some of my all time favorites include The Book Thief and Verity, and I’ve been told The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas can hold its weight easily against those two historic gems. The story follows two boys who form an unlikely friendship, despite their lives being as different as they possibly could be. World War II and the tragic events that took place due to it are always touching subjects, but are ones that I feel need to be recognized and told. This book has long been an Indigo Recommends (a state of recognition in our major bookstore chain as a book of worth) and those who I have discussed it with have been adamant that is a book that must be read, both by teens and adults alike. With my birthday less than 20 days away, here’s to hoping this one gets wrapped.
UPDATE: I’ve now read and reviewed The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, so click the book’s cover image above to check it out!
Starters by Lissa Price
Speaking of cover art, how could this cover not snare your attention?! And the premise behind it is pretty darn fascinating as well. In the future Callie finds herself without any family to support herself and her younger brother, but she finds a seedy way to make a profitable living for them; renting her body out to senior citizens so they can enjoy a sense of youth once more. But the results of this agreement will change Callie’s life, seemingly for the better until things begin to take turns that she may not be able to control. This is one of those rare Teen books that addresses the fear of aging and the loss of youth, and the fact that it has a touch of body-snatching to it guarantees that it will find its way into my book pile soon.
UPDATE: I’ve now read and reviewed Starters, so click the book’s cover image above to check it out!
The Death Cure (#3 of the Maze Runner series) by James Dashner
The third and final book of the Maze Runner series has been out for some time, but I’ve been enjoying and appreciating the prior novels Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials as I work my way towards The Death Cure. The story begins with Thomas who awakens with no memory of who he is or how he got into the dark elevator that brings him into a large maze where the walls shift every night. There he finds an unwelcoming group of boys who he must find his place amongst. Their world, which had always been consistent, is suddenly turned upside down when one day the elevator delivers a girl into their midst. The story of Thomas and the boys from the maze continues in The Scorch Trials as they find themselves outside of the maze, but slowly realizing that the force that initially put them there is still controlling their journey when they are forced into an unforgiving desert. The books are relatively short and the writing simple, but the twists and turns will keep you hooked. Also, have a look for The Kill Order, a prequel to the series which has also received great reviews!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs **
Recognized as one of the best Young Adult books of 2012, Riggs novel tells the story of Jacob who finds himself an orphan after a horrible accident and as a result, travels to an orphanage on a remote island. As he wanders this forgotten place he learns that the children who lived there before him were special in many ways, some of which may have edged on dangerous. The story itself contains numerous opportunities for thrills, but what really grabbed my attention was the fact that the book contains aged photographs to accompany and improve the story. Peculiar little children have always been a stable of horror films, so it will be interesting how Riggs works them into a novel for this age group.
UPDATE: I’ve now read and reviewed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, so click the book’s cover image above to check it out!
The Diviners by Libba Bray *
The Diviners has been called a thrilling murder mystery for teens that contains elements of folklore and the unknown. Evie, who has spent her life in a small, quiet town, suddenly finds herself living in the hustle and bustle of New York City with her Uncle who is the Curator at a museum that displays items of the Occult and folklore. It may seem a strange profession, but Evie is thrilled to be living in New York and is willing to endure whatever strange family members she has to, to stay. That is until a string of murders start to take place and Evie finds herself at the very center of their investigation. The unknown has always made a great story for me and I’ve been assured by many people that this is well worth the read.
* 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults (Young Adult Library Services Association)
** 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults (Young Adult Library Services Association)