The 19 Best Books for Teens of 2021

Titles they will love

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Our Top Picks

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi at Amazon

"An epic phenomenon, the first book in the series is a refreshing spin on the fantasy genre that tackles injustice."

The Story Seeds Podcast at storyseedspodcast.com

"Ideal for readers that need engagement, this innovative activity book features a QR code accompanied by a podcast episode."

The How-To Cookbook for Teens by Julee Morrison at Amazon

"The beginner-friendly book is packed with 100 simple recipes in an easy-to-follow format that use everyday ingredients."

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey at Amazon

"The self-help book provides teens with a useful and realistic roadmap to achieve goals while improving self-esteem."

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas at Amazon

"The highly praised YA novel is an important read, detailing the story of a police shooting through a young girl’s eyes."

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros at Amazon

"A classic for good reason, this coming-of-age story is told in a series of vignettes, so it may be a new format for teen readers."

Mindfulness for Teens in 10 Minutes a Day by Jennie Marie Battistin at Amazon

"Through guided exercises and breathing techniques, this beneficial book teaches mindfulness to kids who may feel overwhelmed."

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus at Amazon

"The thriller details the story of five junior high school students and has minimal bad language while covering important themes."

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka at Amazon

"The graphic novel memoir delves into the author’s childhood as he grappled with a family facing addiction struggles."

How to Be a Person by Catherine Newman at Amazon

"Written by an expert parenting writer and etiquette columnist, the masterful guide features essential life skills for kids."

Whether they are reluctant readers or true bookworms, teen book choices can vary widely from self-help, cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction, or activity books. Fostering a love or even tolerance of reading in your teen can open the door to a world of fictional adventures, helpful life hacks, cool activities, and so much more. Whatever the book, it’s beneficial in so many developmental areas to keep teens reading.

Here are the best books for the teen in your life.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

An epic phenomenon, the first book in this series is a refreshing spin on the fantasy genre. Tackling injustice, discrimination, and a struggle for change, the story is influenced by the author’s West African background. This captivating book racked up accolades and if your teen becomes a fan, book two in the series is also available. 

The Story Seeds Podcast

The Story Seeds Podcast

 Courtesy of Story Seeds

For reluctant readers or those who crave engagement, try this innovative activity book. Created by the makers of the Story Seeds podcast, it’s known for diverse and award-winning children’s authors making stories dreamed up by kids. With the activity book, kids scan a QR code, listen to a podcast episode, and then launch into their very own creative journey with writing tips, STEAM projects, poetry prompts, and much more.

The How-To Cookbook for Teens by Julee Morrison

Cooking is a useful life skill and tons of fun for teens. This beginner-friendly book is packed with 100 simple recipes in an easy-to-follow format that uses everyday, affordable ingredients. Parent reviewers love that this book motivates teens to cook and is well-suited for them to do it all by themselves. Bon appetit! 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

With over 3 million copies sold, this self-help book provides teens with a useful and realistic roadmap to achieve goals and dreams. Made for modern times, it’ll arm teens with the tools to make tough decisions while improving self-esteem, building friendships, and making thoughtful choices. 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This best-selling, award-winning, and highly praised YA novel is an important read. The story of a police shooting told through a young girl’s eyes is a highly relevant, impactful, and fast-moving story. Heartbreakingly topical, this book is suitable for teens as well as their parents. 

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

A classic for good reason, this story is told in a series of smaller more in-depth, and descriptive stories, so it may be a new format for teen readers. The main character, a young Latina girl in Chicago, is coming of age in this 110-page book and, like your own teen, is deciding who and what she will become. Relatable and intriguing, this is a title that your kiddo will want to read more than once.

Mindfulness for Teens in 10 Minutes a Day by Jennie Marie Battistin

Being a teen can be a wild emotional ride fueled by increased hormones. However, with a little practice, teens can change their mindset, improve their relationships with friends and family, and increase their self-esteem with short 10-minute exercises. Through guided exercises, breathing techniques, and practice prompts, this beneficial book can help kids who may feel overwhelmed or those interested in mindfulness.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A juicy, super-readable thriller, this book features five junior high school students who walk into detention and one of them doesn’t make it out alive. With minimal bad language and important themes, this page-turner would be fun for a family or teen group book club. 

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Fans of this author will know him for his Lunch Lady and Jedi Academy books. This graphic novel memoir goes into the author’s childhood as he grappled with a family facing addiction struggles and finding art to help him survive. New and long-time fans of graphic novels will appreciate the depth of this impactful story.

How to Be a Person by Catherine Newman

This masterful guide features essential life skills for kids, authored by an expert parenting writer and etiquette columnist. Sweetly illustrated in a graphic novel form, there are 65 useful skills to learn, ranging from how to make a bed, apologize sincerely, and vacuum a room.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

For fans of The Hunger Games, this prequel will send them right back to the world of tributes and competition. Reviewers praise this strong addition to the trilogy which may just inspire your teen to reread the whole series.

Guinness Book of World Records 2021

A great gift, coffee table book, or just fun to flip through, every year the Guinness Book of World Records tracks all the zany records that are broken each year. With 12 fact-packed chapters, even the surliest teen will find a world record that will amaze them. 

Teen Trailblazers by Jennifer Calvert

Inspire teens with some role models from history. This book features 30 young women, all of who have made great accomplishments to history before their twentieth birthdays. Each woman’s story is accompanied by eye-catching original illustrations. 

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

Perfect for these unprecedented times, this love story is about two teens who fall in love but can’t get within a few feet of each other without risking their lives. Made into a best-selling movie, challenge your teen to read the book and then enjoy a movie night to discuss the story. 

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise by Gene Luen Yang

For fans of the television show, this book picks up where the show left off. Told in graphic novel form, reviewers praise the book as successfully continuing the story and keeping the characters as they are in the show. Beautifully drawn, your teen will be sure to enjoy this book series. 

Go Big: Make Your Shot Count in the Connected World by Cory Cotton

YouTube stars of Dude Perfect have entertained and inspired millions of kids. With this book, they go behind the scenes of their founding story and share five practical principles to inspire teen fans to take their passions, skills, and dreams to the next level. 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

An important read for teens and adults, this story follows a Black teenage boy as he grows up and discovers more about the challenges of being Black in America. Lending itself to lots of discussions, this book is appropriate for a family book club or school reading. 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A classic for good reason, this masterpiece has racked up accolades and should be appreciated by a new generation of readers. The coming-of-age story will still resonate with readers today, inspiring important discussions and deep thoughts. 

The Ultimate College Cookbook by Victoria Granof

Perfect for older teens, this cookbook features 60 recipes, ranging from simple breakfasts, weeknight dinners, and weekend gatherings. Each dish takes into consideration the realities of college living and is developed to be cooked in dorm-friendly appliances like microwaves, toasters, hot plates, and more. 

What to Look for When Buying Books for Teens

Interests

Taking into account the interests of your teen before purchasing a book for them can ensure that they will want to give it a try. Whether they love sci-fi, love stories, or cool and strange facts, their interests will drive their picks when it comes to books.

Age

Just like books for toddlers and younger kids, books for teens typically come with age recommendations. Choose a title that fits your child's age group to avoid any inappropriate themes or language.

Classics vs. Modern

There is something to be said about encouraging your teens to get into the classics. However, if your teen just isn't into Jane Eyre or To Kill a Mockingbird, it may be time to check out the newer titles to find something they may like.


Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 7-year-old son, and 3-year old daughter. While she doesn’t have any teen readers yet, Maya loves reading YA novels and can’t wait for the day when she can have a family book club.

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