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!
- 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,
ring was taken from him, his power waned, and for many
years, he went into hiding. Yet, he has returned and
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- 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
- 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:
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.
- 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.
- 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
Their love will move the coldest heart, but it will end
all too soon. ISBN-13: 978-0380017607.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
the world is a dangerous place for White Fang until he
receives one human's love. Then both the dog and the
change forever. The story is full of
adventure, danger, cruelty, greed, and
compassion. ISBN-13: 9780439236195 and ISBN-13: 978-1453701034.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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:
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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:
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
ISBN-13: 978-0764108198 and ISBN-13: 978-0451510280.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
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:
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.
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.
- 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