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There are a lot of lists out there that recommend books to teenagers, but FLAVORWIRE, a "community of writers, editors, developers, designers, and sales and marketing creatives who share a passion for culture", has put together a unique, thoughtful, and sometimes unexpected list of 50 Books Every Modern Teenager Should Read that challenges it's readers to read up (and down), to discover truths of the world and growing up. The following are just a few, so please, following the link to the original page to see all 50 of their reccommended books:
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
"It’s true: some of the essays in this classic collection will be a little out of date for the modern teenager, who might not have much connection to the cultural moments and places she undresses so elegantly. But essays like “On Keeping a Notebook” and “On Self-Respect”? Those never go out of style."
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
"This book, about two girls who become pariahs after a nasty bout of poisoning, is perfect for any and all weird outsiders, which all teenagers essentially consider themselves to be. Also, the voice is really to die for, no matter who you are."
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
"This book (and the series it kicks off) sort of straddles the line between YA and children’s lit — but honestly, that matters not at all. These books are luminous, and not only are they fantastic adventures (chosen one, magical implements, talking bears, witches), they ask enormous questions about soul, self, God and our place in the universe. So, yeah."
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
"One of the most important (and pleasurable) things to read about as a teenager is the complexity and specificity of friendship. You and your friends aren’t like anyone else? Great, you shouldn’t have to be. Enid and Rebecca are strange, interesting girls, not always feminine, and their friendship is a bittersweet lesson in how some things might go sometimes."
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
"An exceptional dissection of racial conflict in America that pushes the borders of form. Essential reading for just about everyone trying to live in the world today."
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
"A very important book for any girl who goes her own way and/or identifies strongly with Tavi Gevinson."
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
"Not only a terrifyingly good story, but a terrifying vision of the future that I, for one, would really like our young people to work towards preventing. But first they need to glimpse through the curtain."
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
"Mitchell’s semi-autobiographical novel follows a year in the life of a 13-year-old boy with a stutter in a town in the English countryside. I shouldn’t have to explain that it is a rather pivotal year for him. This book continually draws comparisons to The Catcher in the Rye, except that this is a world that will be rather more familiar (and pleasurable) to young readers of today."
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
"I have this problem where I put this book on every list I write (and thus really do not feel that I have to explain the plot to you). I put this book on every list I write because I read it when I was a teenager and it so totally blew my mind that I became someone who was obsessed with books and Latin and knitting little intense friendships. Which to my mind has served me pretty well. And so."
Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton
"Kate Beaton is God. And also the comics/history equivalent to watching The Daily Show for the news. Which we all know the kids love to do."
Among Others by Jo Walton
"Any teenager who loves sci-fi will be tickled by Walton’s protagonist Mori, who spends half her time talking about books — and then she joins a book club. But the story is also excellent: fleeing her mother and the havoc she’s already wreaked on Mori’s life (including a major limp), the teenager runs to her estranged father, who takes her in but sends her to boarding school in magic-dry England. And oh, right, the magic. Lots of books have magic in them, but I’ve never encountered one that is so much about magic in all its forms, from the magic of favorite objects and the countryside to the magic of actual fairies."
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
"There aren’t that many novels with trans teenagers as protagonists, but there should be, especially at this moment in our cultural history, where everything is coming into the light. This debut, written by a trans woman, might just open some minds. (Honestly, though, while teenagers in 2016 should definitely be reading this book, there are a lot of older people who might need to read it — and books like it — even more.)"
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
"This incredible novel by one of our most important contemporary writers tells the story of a 13-year-old boy’s coming of age after his mother is the victim of a horrifically violent crime whose perpetrator, because he was a white man on a reservation, cannot be prosecuted. Powerful, electric prose — her best novel yet."
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
"A gentle, lovely book about two 15-year-old boys struggling with everything that matters: their cultural identities, their families, their transition into manhood, and their growing love for one another. This one will linger."
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"Obviously. This is one of the best dissections of modern feminism and the way the lack of equality hurts both girls and boys across the world. But honestly, what I love so much about this talk/essay/book is how joyful it ultimately is, how full of hope for our world. (Also not to be missed by teenagers or other human people: all of Adichie’s fantastic novels)"
We love getting Advanced Reader Copies from publishers, who doesn't, but we especially love getting interactive ARCs. Here's just a few examples of books with awesome ARCs!
Pax by Sara Pennypacker (Middlegrade)
The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (Young Adult)
Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica (Adult)
There has been a surge in Young Adult espionage books lately, and we like it. Is it because "kids" are easily looked past? Who knows. The Franklin Park Library teen blog put together a list of some of their favorite Teen Spy novels, here's a few of them:
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
"It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School. Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education."
Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer
"Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average. But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head … but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal."
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein
"I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do. That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine - and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again. He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France - an Allied Invasion of Two."
Sekret by Lindsay Smith
"Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive. Russia’s powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn’t the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon. Yulia is a survivor. She won’t be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won’t let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won’t become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia."
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
"The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, they host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The prize? An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball in Tokyo. Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele's twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move.
But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and stay true to her mission?"
To see more, follow the link to the original blog post on The Square!
At our last NYMBC event, MatchBook, we asked one of our regulars to review one of her favorite books! Have a look at all the amazing things she has to say: