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Top 50 Recommended Books for Youths (Teens and Young Adults)

This page is intended to provide you with information about high quality books for teenagers and young adults.  Children who read do better in school, so a child can never have access to too many books.  We agonized over a list of the best 50 books to recommend because there are so many good books to consider and it was very difficult to rank them.  What criteria should be used in the selecting and the ranking?  We highly recommend that you take a look at each book on our list and see if it meets your own criteria before recommending it or buying it.  Better yet, ask either your youth or another youth!


  1. The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954–1955.  This is a trilogy detailing the adventures of Frodo Baggins and his companions in their attempt to destroy the one ring of power.  Unlike The Hobbit, the three books of The Lord of The Rings are not independent of each other.  Frodo has inherited a ring from his uncle (whose story is told in The Hobbit) that has unusual powers.  The wizard Gandalf is the first to suspect that the ring is the one ring of power that was made in secret long ago by the dark lord Sauron to defeat the elvish lords of power and enslave the free peoples of Middle-earth.  Instead, it was Sauron who was defeated, his ring was taken from him, his power waned, and for many years, he went into hiding.  Yet, he has returned and he is searching for his lost ring while he gathers his forces to enslave the world.  It is up to Frodo to find a way to defeat Sauron and destroy his ring.  Other than books like the Bible and the Koran, this novel is the second best selling of all time.  ISBN-13: 9780618640157 and ISBN-13: 978-0261102385.
  2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937.  Bilbo is an upstanding and model hobbit until he meets up with a wizard and a troop of dwarves and goes on an adventure of a lifetime.  He meets creatures both good and evil, discovers and answers many riddles, finds treasures beyond understanding, restores a king to his throne, and becomes the bravest little hobbit of them all.  ISBN-13: 978-0345296047 and ISBN-13: 978-0261103634.
  3. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1884.  The classic tale of a boy who travels down the Mississippi River with the slave of the adoptive widow who is trying to civilize him.  It is a humorous coming of age and adventure story that like all good books is much much more.  This book has numerous publications including ISBN-13: 9780486280615 and ISBN-13: 978-1441413161.
  4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, 1876.  Tom Sawyer is a creative twelve-year-old boy full of mischief.  He likes nothing better than skipping school, messing on the Mississippi river with Huckleberry Finn or wooing the beautiful Becky Thatcher.  This book has numerous publications including ISBN-13: 9780486291567 and ISBN-13: 978-1936041251.
  5. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, 1950.  Two brothers and their two sisters discover a passageway to a magical world where fantastic creatures exist and animals talk.  But this world is enslaved by the spell of an evil witch who realizes that the four human children are a threat to her power.  Can the four children free this newfound world before the witch catches them?  ISBN-13: 978-0060765484 and ISBN-13: 978-0006716877.
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, 1949-1954.  These books continue the story of Narnia, the world introduced in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first book in the set.  ISBN-13: 978-0064409391 and ISBN-13: 978-0020442806.
  7. The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, 1961. Follow the heartwarming adventure of three lost pets (two dogs and one cat) as they attempt make their way home to their  family.  Working together, they stand a chance to succeed.  ISBN-13: 978-0440413240.
  8. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, 1951.  Holden Caulfield is a sixteen year old boy from New York who leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania to go underground in New York City for three days.  Like most adolescents, he is disillusioned and strongly attracted to beauty but suffers from both pain and pleasure.  He keeps most of the pain to himself, but freely gives the pleasure away or shares it.  This is one of the books that is frequently banned from schools because of its language and some believe it will corrupt youth.  ISBN-13: 9780316769488 and ISBN-13: 978-0316769174.
  9. Watership Down by Richard Adams, 1972.  A brave and intelligent rabbit knows when to trust his brother's dreams.  Fearing for the worst, he attempts to save as many of his fellow rabbits as will listen to him.  Yet, in saving them, he now must lead them, find them a new home, and keep them safe.  He fears that he may not be up to such a tricky and difficult adventure, but he must do his best.  ISBN-13: 978-0140306019. 
  10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, 1970.  A seagull decides to do what he wants to do against the will of his family and other gulls and learn how to fly as if it were an art form.  He then seeks out others who want to improve their ability to fly.  ISBN-13: 978-0743278904.
  11. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, 1967.  This is a classic story; a tragedy of teenage gang violence.  The story is told through Ponyboy Curtis who lives in a world where there are two tps of people, greasers and socs.  A soc has money, influence, power, and an attitude that the world belongs to them.  A greaser, lives on the outside, lacks money and influence, and needs to watch his back.  Ponyboy, a kid forced to be tough on the outside, but on the inside, he is a smart, sensitive kid that is just as scared and needy as anyone.  Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always willing to rumble against the socs to help his greasers until his friend kills a soc.  Ponyboy learns that pain feels the same whether you are a soc or a greaser, and that death always brings someone pain.  ISBN-13: 9780142407332 and ISBN-13: 978-0140385724.
  12. The Pearl by John Steinbeck, 1947.  Kino is a poor Mexican pearl-fisher, but he has one treasure, his wife and his young baby.  Then one day, Kino discovers the biggest pearl ever, but instead of bringing joy and wealth, it only brings him and his family great tragedy.  Kino has to decide between evil and possible wealth, or his family and his simple life.  
    ISBN-13: 9780140177374 and ISBN-13: 978-0142000694.
  13. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, 1881.  Tom Canty is a miserable and poor peasant boy, until he switches places with Prince Edward Tudor (heir to the English throne).  Because both boys look alike, each is mistaken for the other.  Tom enters into splendor at the court beyond his imaginings while Edward enters into a cold cruel world where he must struggle to survive.  The story is an enchanting mix of adventure, comedy, and social satire.  Although often considered a child's story, Twain's underlying message truly requires an older audience.  ISBN-13: 9781593082185 and ISBN-13: 978-1580496728.
  14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling, 1997.  This is the first book in the Harry Potter series.  The books are often considered children's books, but except for the first two, the writing takes an awfully dark tone.  Harry Potter is an orphan boy who is treated rather poorly by his aunt and uncle who have been raising him.  His life changes dramatically on his eleventh birthday when he discovers that he has special powers because he is a wizard.  He accepts an invitation to join Hogwarts, a school for wizards, where he meets other children who are also wizards.  At the school, Harry also learns of a defeated enemy, a once powerful and evil wizard who is seeking the Sorcerer's Stone to return to his former glory and seek his revenge on Harry.  ISBN-13: 978-0439682589 and ISBN-13: 9780545162074.
  15. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, 2000.  This is the first book in a series.  Mia Thermopolis is an average American teenager living in New York City until her father returns and informs her that she is now the princess of a European country.  Her life takes a dramatic change and it is not always for the better.  Now she is expected to behave as a princess and her every move may be reported in the news!  The story is silly and fun and will appeal to everyone who just wants to fit in and be rid of all the hassle that life sometimes throws at you.  ISBN-13: 978-0061479939.
  16. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1968.  This is the first book in the Earthsea trilogy (1968-1972).  In a primitive and mythical land, a young orphan is mostly ignored until a few discover that he has great powers that he cannot understand or control.  His life changes as these few vie for his affections, mostly with the hope of some gain from eucating him.  For him, this creates great difficulties as he grows and tries to master his powers.  The pressure, the demands, and especially the temptation that comes with the powers that he does not understand nearly destroy his adolescence.  And to top it all, he is supposed to become the greatest Wizard of Earthsea, but he has no idea how to do so.  ISBN-13: 978-0553383041 and ISBN-13: 9780553262506
  17. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, 1985.  Orson Scott Card artfully uses the day to day experiences of children to address issues on humanity, government, society, and familial love.  Ender is a small and sensitive boy who is thrust into a battle school for gifted children to be trained by the government to defend the Earth from another attack by aliens called the buggers.  At school, Ender is picked on because among other things, he wins all the games designed to train the kids for war.  Ender quickly learns that the other kids are at least as dangerous to him as the buggers.  In order to survive, he must learn how to defend himself under nearly every situation.  It turns out, that this is part of his education, a plan by the government to find and train a genius who can lead humanity against the buggers.  Without knowing it, Ender becomes that leader.  As he leads his classmates in what he believes are training games, he is actually leading the forces of humanity against the buggers.  Ender's Shadow continues the story of Ender's Game.  ISBN-13: 978-0812550702 and ISBN-13: 9780765342294.
  18. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank, 1947.  This is a true diary of a young Jewish girl whose family goes into hiding from the Nazis in World War II.  She details her hopes and fears, and the life she lives while in hiding.  The diary ends when she is taken by the Nazis.  ISBN-13: 978-0582017368.
  19. Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye.  An American teenage girl moves to a new land and discovers it is not the end of her life, but rather the beginning of a discovery of her heritage, her family, and her inner peace and hope despite tragedies she encounters in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict she experiences first-hand.  ISBN-13: 978-0689825231.
  20. Love Story by Erich Segal, 1970.  This is the book that defines our concept of love, giving us many things including the line “Love means you never having to say you're sorry. “ Oliver Barrett IV is a rich jock from a uppity family who wants to go to a Harvard degree and earn a law degree.   Jenny Cavilleri is jovial beauty from a working-class family who is studying music at Radcliffe.   Opposites in politics, religion, and nearly every other way especially social economics, they are immediately attracted to each other, sharing a love that defies everything, especially both their families disdain of their choice of a companion.   Their love will move the coldest heart, but it will end all too soon.   ISBN-13: 978-0380017607.
  21. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 1980.  This is the first book in a series.  When the Earth is demolished by aliens to put in a galactic freeway, one confused human is saved from the destruction and his name is Arthur Dent.  He is saved by his friend Ford Prefect, who it turns out is an alien.  Ford had been on Earth doing research for the book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and had gotten himself stranded on the planet.  He was unaware of the Earth's impending doom until recently but fortunately was an expert in hitchhiking.  Together the two begin a wild and hilarious journey hitchhiking among the stars.  ISBN-13: 978-0345418913.
  22. A Separate Peace by John Knowles, 1959.  This is a classic coming-of-age story involving two boys in an exclusive prep school during WW II.  Sharing a room, Gene and Phineas form a complex friendship that draws out both the best and worst in each boy.  The story explores male adolescence, starting with the boys becoming friends.  Yet, they soon become competitors, their feelings of love become mixed with hate, their competition leads to betrayal and violence until their is an accident.  After their own private war, they come to a separate peace, but the price is high.  ISBN-13: 978-0743253970.
  23. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck, 1937 (expanded 1945).  This book is actually four related stories published together detailing the coming of age of a young boy, Jody Tiflin.  Jody is given a red pony by his father, the ranch owner, and with time and plenty of help, learns to care for and train his pony.  This does not happen easily, because his pony has a mind of its own and is rather hot-tempered.  But Jody's love for his pony and his desire to sit high in the saddle keeps the boy persistent.  The two eventually form a strong bond with each other.  Yet, despite Jody's best efforts, the pony becomes gravely ill, forcing Jody to learn about life and death.  As Jody matures, he also learns of empathy and the ways of man.  ISBN-13: 978-0140187397 and ISBN-13: 9780140177367.
  24. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, 1976.  The story takes place in Mississippi during the Great Depression.  It follows an African-American family and their struggles during the depression and is also a coming of age story for Cassie Logan.  ISBN-13: 978-0140384512.
  25. Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements, 2004.  Bobby Phillips is an average boy who thinks his life is pretty cool until one morning when he wakes up and can't see himself in the mirror.  He has become invisible and it comes with a price, his invisibility is a danger to his family, he cannot go to school, cannot have friends, and cannot have a life.  He is pretty miserable until he meets a blind girl.  The two teen's traits compliment each other and they become best friends.  Can the two solve the puzzle of Bobby's invisibility before his family gets in trouble?  ISBN-13: 9780142400760 and ISBN-13: 978-0142407318.
  26. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot, 1969-1970.  James Herriot takes up his calling and makes veterinary rounds in rural England.  He loves all the animals, both the great and the small!  He will travel to his patients, now matter if it is the coldest of winter, the remotest homestead, an uncooperative owner, or a critically ill animal.  His story is heartwarming, funny, and sometimes sad.  It is always wondrous and full of never-ending challenges, requiring someone with humor, compassion and a great love of animals.  ISBN-13: 9780312330859 and ISBN-13: 978-0312965785.
  27. White Fang by Jack London, 1905.  Although this story was meant to be a companion to The Call of the Wild (also by Jack London), White Fang is much more of an upbeat and heartwarming story that is especially appreciated by animal lovers.  It is the story of a hybrid wild dog/half wolf named White Fang that becomes domesticated by a youth in the Yukon Territory of Canada.  Much of the story is written from the dog's point of view, detailing how White Fang views humans and the word.  Regardless of whether White Fang comes across a predator or a trainer of dog-fights, the world is a dangerous place for White Fang until he receives one human's love.  Then both the dog and the youth's lives change forever.  The story is full of adventure, danger, cruelty, greed, and compassion.  ISBN-13: 9780439236195 and ISBN-13: 978-1453701034.
  28. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960.  In the sleepy Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, a childhood gets irreversibly changed forever.  The story follows three years in the life of Scout Finch,  an 8-year-old girl, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus during a time of crisis for their town.  A young black man is accused of raping a white woman and he is arrested and brought to trial.  This story of the town's crisis, its exploration of race, class, and justice is told through the eyes of the child Scout Finch.  At first, Scout experiences little of these events until her father is called on to defend the accused.  Then both Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding that sometimes is very ugly.  Scout has a painful growing period, but she concludes that most people are essentially kind when you really get to see them.  ISBN-13: 9780446310789 and ISBN-13: 978-0061120084.
  29. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, 1859.  This best selling book of Dickens starts with the memorable line:  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  Other than Books like the Bible and the Koran, this is the best selling novel of all time.  It is a classic story of love, revenge, and resurrection.  The story takes place during the French Revolution, following the life of Charles Darnay.  Charles is a former French aristocrat who gave up everything to move to England.  Upon hearing that a family servant has been imprisoned, Darnay returns to France in the middle of the revolution to help his former servant.  He is imprisoned himself for the crimes of his now dead family.  The effect of Darnay's imprisonment on himself and his wife and young daughter are earth shaking.  This story has had numerous publications including ISBN-13: 978-0743487603 and ISBN-13: 9781593080556.
  30. Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, 8th - early 7th century BC.  This is actually two stories that are bundled together.  The Iliad is a story of love and war, hope and despair, and honor and glory during the Trojan War of ancient Greece.  At the Gates of Troy, Achilles slays Hector to Avenge the death of his friend Patroclus and to free Helen of Troy.  In the Odyssey, Ulysses battles to bring his decimated but victorious troops home from the Trojan War in a twenty year journey.  Ulysses long struggle is because he and his men face the wrath of the god Poseidon at every turn.  Having been away for so long, Ulysses is unprepared for what awaits him once he arrives at home.  ISBN-13: 978-1934451434 and ISBN-13: 9781934451434.  
  31. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, 1321.  The Divine Comedy is a long poem written as a story that is considered by many to be one of the greatest works of both Italian and world literature.  The poem's imaginative vision of life after death is a culmination of the medieval world view as developed in Christian Western Europe.  The book is divided into three parts, the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso (Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven).  The poem describes Dante's fictional travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.  Yet, the travels also represent a medieval Christian belief in a soul's journey towards God.  ISBN-13: 978-1604442076 and ISBN-13: 9780451208637
  32. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, 1605 & 1615.  Don Quixote is a wealthy gentleman who has become obsessed with books of chivalry and believes their every word to be true even when some facts are clearly impossible.  Don Quixote appears to others to have lost his mind due to dedicating all of his time to reading.  Nonetheless, he decides to become a knight and search for adventure.  Fearing he is insane, he is imprisoned.  So, Don Quixote asks his neighbor Sancho Panza to be his squire, promising him the governorship of an island in return.  When Sancho agrees, the two sneak off and begin their famous adventures.  This book has numerous publications and Translations including ISBN-13: 978-0142437230, ISBN-13: 978-0060934347 and ISBN-13: 9780142437230.
  33. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, 2007.  This is the first book in the The Mortal Instruments series.  The series follows the story Clary Fray and her discovery of a world of demons and Shadowhunters that is beyond the comprehension and usually the visibility of mundane humans.  Shadowhunters are special humans who hunt and kill demons.  Shortly after Clary makes this discovery, her mother, Jocelyn, is kidnapped.  Her mother is a special Shadowhunter who is the only person who knows the whereabouts of The Mortal Cup, a powerful magical item that turns mundane humans into Shadowhunters.  Clary must find the cup and keep it safe from those who would eliminate all nonhumans (mostly werewolves and vampires), including some renegade Shadowhunters.  ISBN-13: 978-1416955078.
  34. Twilight by by Stephenie Meyer, 2005 (this is the first book in the twilight series).  This is a love story with bite to it, literally.  The story follows the life of Bella Swan and her boyfriend Edward Cullen.  Bella moves to live with her father in Forks, Washington.  While in her new school, she is drawn to a mysterious and handsome boy named Edward.  Despite both of their efforts, they fall in love.  The trouble is, Bella is human and Edward is a vampire.  Bella's life then takes a thrilling and terrifying turn.  Edward and his family have managed to keep their vampire identity a secret, but now that Bella knows, nobody is safe, especially Bella.  The lovers find themselves in a forbidden love, a love balanced precariously on the point of a knife.  Too much desire by Edward, and his vampire nature comes out putting Bella in danger.  Yet, other vampires are after Bella, so he needs to stay near her to protect the one that he loves.  ISBN-13: 978-0316038379 and ISBN-13: 9780316015844.
  35. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, 2009.  Young teen William survived the draught that ravaged his family farm and poor downtrodden village in southeast Africa.  From his readings, William realized that a windmill could bring his village electricity and freedom from the struggle to survive.  So, he taught himself enough physics and engineering to design a windmill and then began collecting unwanted junk to construct it.  His fellow villagers thought he was mad and derided his efforts, but he persisted alone and unappreciated.  Though everyone was against him, he built his windmill forever changing the life in his village.  ISBN-13: 978-0061730337 and ISBN-13: 978-0061730320.
  36. The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch 2009.  This is heart-wrenching memoir, written from four different points of view, discussing the life of the four Welch siblings after their parents died.  For them, life was a struggle as they come to grips with their tragedy, their coming of age, and in defining their notion of home and family.  ISBN13: 9780307396051 and ISBN13: 9780307396044.
  37. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, 1999.  Speak is a gripping and memorable novel, discussing common problems that teenagers face, such as peer pressure, introvertedness, self-deception, and the fear of speaking out and telling the truth.  Melinda Sordino is a teen victim who is silenced by her trauma and ostracized by her classmates.  Rather than to tell the truth about what happened, she decides to remain silent.  Yet, one day, she faces her attacker and becomes determined to break her silence and fight back.  ISBN-13: 978-0142414736 and ISBN-13: 9780142407325.
  38. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, 1968.  This is the first book of The Dragonriders of Pern Trilogy.  The planet Pern came under attack once every 200 years by a primitive organism known as thread that fell from the sky.  Whatever thread touched, it killed.  To defend themselves, the people of Pern developed the dragons that could destroy thread in the sky before they fell to the land.  Yet, in the last cycle, the threat of thread never occurred.  It has now been 400 years since the last thread fall, and many consider the threat of thread a myth.  The dragon rider F'lar knows that the threat is coming and that Pern is vastly unprepared, but he lacks the power and authority to do anything until he meets Lessa.   Lessa appears to be an unkempt and ragged kitchen servant. Yet F'lar suspects that she can become the next rider of the queen dragon, and if so, that she will have the power and bravery to defend the planet.  ISBN-13: 978-0345484260.
  39. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey, 1978.  This is the third book of The Dragonriders of Pern Trilogy.  Ruth was a white dragon that should have never been.  There had never been a white dragon because the runt hatchlings were not strong enough to break out of their egg.  Jaxom was a young lord who should never have been a dragon rider.  Because of  their responsibilities as rulers and the inherent danger of being a dragon rider,  there had never been a lord of Pern who was a dragon rider and it was against the law.  Yet, young Jaxom's love caused Ruth to be born, and Ruth then imprinted on Jaxom causing him to become an unexpected dragon rider.  Together these two misfits broke all the rules and went on to change the history of Pern.  ISBN-13: 978-0345341679 ISBN-13: 978-0552113137.
  40. That Was Then, This Is Now by S. E. Hinton, 1971.  When Mark's parents died, he was taken in by the family of his best friend, Bryon.  The boys became more than friends, they became practically inseparable brothers, until recently.  Something seems to be coming between them and changing their relationship.  This is something that Bryon does not want, but he can't figure out what is wrong or how to correct it.  Bryon is also growing tired of the street fighting, but Mark seems to thrive on it.  Mark also seems to have a lot of money and Bryon cannot figure out where he is getting it.  Bryon now struggles between deciding to continue protecting his best friend or follow his own beliefs about what is right and wrong.  ISBN-13: 978-0140389661 and ISBN-13: 9780140389661.
  41. The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison, 1961.  In the first book of a series that are hilarious adventures, the Stainless Steel Rat is the biggest and slipperiest criminal of the future.  Unable to stop him, the government decides that it needs him and cons him into working for the Special Corps, the elite law-enforcement and spy agency led by the former greatest crook in the Galaxy.  During several adventures, he believes he has escaped from the Corps and meets Angelina, a criminal like himself and the center of his love.  After joining forces, the two have the adventure of their lives and decide to become members of the Special Corps.  ISBN-13: 978-0441779246 ISBN-13: 978-1857984989.
  42. The Phoenix Legacy trilogy (The Sword of the Lamb, Shadow of the Swan, and House of the Wolf) by M.K. Wren, 1981.  By the time mankind has colonized nearby space, civilization has fallen and risen a couple of times resulting in a romantic and feudalistic society.  Despite the opulence and splendor, the rigidity and the pressures of feudalism are heading civilization towards another crash that few recognize.  Born into a family of power and wealth, two young brothers recognize the danger that their civilization faces and attempt to do something about it.  In a story of love and adventure, they will both be labeled traitors and outcasts by all that they love and the society that they are trying to save.  ISBN-10: 0595143350 ISBN-13: 978-0595143351.
  43. Animal Farm by George Orwell, 1945.  This story is a fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong.  The animals on a large farm are hungry and downtrodden by their drunken human master and his mismanagement the farm.  They revolt, oust their human master, and take over running of the farm.  Awash in the zeal of their accomplishment, the animals all agree to work overtime, boosting the productivity of the farm.  During this brief first season, every belly on the farm is full and they write their Seven Commandments including that all animals are equal; no animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill another animal.  Soon, however, the leaders of the farm, the pigs, abuse their privilege and power and begin editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence, greed, and mismanagement of the farm.  The other animals become as hungry and exhausted as they were in the days when humans ran the farm.
    ISBN-13: 978-0764108198 and ISBN-13: 978-0451510280.

  44. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, 1949.  The novel is a warning about the dangers of totalitarianism. In a fictional future world, the planet is dominated by three warring totalitarian police states. Winston Smith is a minor government beauracrat in one of the states. After coming across some proof of the government's hiding the truth, he secretly rebels against the government to promote truth and decency. He discovers a woman who feels the same as he does and the two fall in love. Yet, the couple's happiness is short-lived as they are soon arrested by the Thought Police. They are imprisoned, tortured, and reeducated to make them submit, break them physically, and to root out their independent thoughts and spiritual dignity. ISBN-13: 978-0452284234 and ISBN-13: 9780812416299.
  45. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, 1962.  One spring, a woman noticed that the birds near her home had stopped singing and their numbers had severely decreased.  She asked the biologist Rachel Carson to investigate the decline.  Rachel did and discovered that insecticides, weed killers, sprays in agriculture, and some other common products were responsible for poisoning the birds.  Only, her findings were much worse, the poisoning was world wide, included humans, and that some of the chemicals were entering the food chain and staying in people and animals for their entire life, building up to dangerous levels.  This book started an ecological awareness and  movement that still exists today.  ISBN-13: 978-0618249060 and ISBN-13: 9780618249060.
  46. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, 1990.  In San Francisco in 1949, four Chinese women got together just to socialize and have fun.   They enjoyed their time so much that they began meeting every year and called it the Joy Luck Club.  Soon, their daughters grew up and started attending the club.  Nearly 40 years later, their daughters continue to meet as the Joy Luck Club.  They and their stories demonstrate the joy that can be found in being both Chinese and American.  ISBN-13: 978-0143038092.
  47. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, 1847.  As an orphan, Jane Eyre lead a difficult and lonely life until she found work at Thornfield Hall as a governess.  She must deal with her cruel guardian, her harsh employer, and a rigid Victorian England social order circumscribing her position in life.  While at Thornfield, she discovers that her employer, Mr. Rochester is a mysterious and aloof man.  She also discovers a strange ghostly woman who is seen only at night.  She and her employer eventually become passionate lovers, and plan to get married.  Yet during her wedding, she discovers that Mr. Rochester is already married to the ghostly woman she has seen.  Through further tragedy, she finally finds love.  Jane Eyre has long been considered a romantic classic that has been especially popular with young adults.  ISBN-13: 9780553211405 and ISBN-13: 978-1936594191.
  48. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925.  The book is a snapshot of the American Jazz Age (1920's) capturing its glory but also all its decadence and excess.  Jay Gatsby is a self-made millionaire with an obsession for money, ambition, and the promise of a happier tomorrow.  He is always searching for a brighter tomorrow and the American Dream.  Yet, his rise to glory and eventual fall is more of a cautionary tale for this dream.  The book is also a love story with Gatsby's passion for Daisy Buchanan.  They first met five years earlier when Daisy was a young beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer.  They fell in love, but Gatsby had to serve overseas.  In his absence, Daisy marries the extremely rich Tom Buchanan, a brutal bully.  After his return, Gatsby devotes himself to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means and the pursuit of Daisy.  After making millions, Gatsby buys a mansion near Daisy's home and throws lavish parties hoping she will attend.  When she eventually shows, events unfold like a Greek tragedy and Gatsby begins to loose it all.  ISBN-13: 9780140771978 and ISBN-13: 978-0743273565.
  49. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1818.  The captain of a ship sailing in the Arctic Circle spots a figure on a sled traveling across the ice.  Taller and stronger than a man, it is Dr. Frankenstein's creature traveling with Dr. Frankenstein himself.  Invited onto the boat, the gravely ill Dr. Frankenstein tells of how he made a man from nonliving matter.  The creature in the book differs from the movie; most notably that the creature of the book wants most of all to find his family and friends and receive their love.  Both Dr. Frankenstein and his creature become haunted by this act of creation, especially after Frankenstein's creature discovers that it is his own revolting face that frightens other people away.
    ISBN-13: 978-1897093511.
  50. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, 2005.  This is the first book in what was a triology.  In the future, there are only two types of people after age 16, pretties and uglies.  When an adolescent turns 16, he or she either conforms to societies wishes and undergoes radical cosmetic surgery turning them into a beautiful pretty, or no surgery is performed and the nonconformists are called uglies.  Tally Youngblood learns that some of what the young have been taught isn't true, that there is a downside to becoming a pretty, that change is a normal part of life, and that the world isn't constructed for your own personal benefit.  ISBN-13: 978-0689865381.

House of Stairs by William Sleator, 1974.

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Note an ISBN number is a number that uniquely identifies a book.  Each book, each republishing and each printing format has a unique ISBN number which is why each book has more than one.  For the youth's books listed here, the ISBN numbers provided are generally to paperback copies of the book.