Captivating Novels for Young Adults


Young adults can often gain introspection into their own lives through rich works of fiction.  Books read at this critical stage of development often create lasting impressions and inspire.  The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is often considered the quintessential coming-of-age story. Today there are number of modern novels offering huge appeal to teens with themes such as family, rebellion, love, heartbreak, adventure, and dystopian societies.

The following are some of the highest rated young adult novels on Amazon, as there’s nothing better to recommend a novel to young adults than reviews by peers. While some of these novels include controversial topics or language, these books have none-the-less made a strong impression on and connection with many teens. All book synopses are from

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green: “At 16, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a three-year stage IV–cancer survivor, is clinically depressed. To help her deal with this, her doctor sends her to a weekly support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor, and the two fall in love.”

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak: “Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich during World War II, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids.”

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Paperback by Stephen Chbosky: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends . . . of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.”

Divergent by Veronica Roth: “In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue. On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both.”

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell :  “The title characters are both 16-year-old misfits in their working-class Omaha neighborhood who fall in love. Park is half-Korean in a mostly-white part of town, and is into alternative music and comic books, unlike his brother and dad who are into sports. Eleanor is big (she thinks of herself as fat) and awkward and poor, the oldest of five kids with a painfully difficult home life, and defiantly flaunts her crazy red hair and weird clothes.”

Thirteen Reasons Why  by Jay Asher: “Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life.”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: “As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man’s unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs–alive and well–despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago.”

For more information on encouraging reading in teens,  contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit


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