The Best Books for Tweens and Teens

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The Best Books for Tweens and Teens

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Coco Standley, Staff Writer

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What I’m Reading: The Best Books for Tweens and Teens


Hello again! 


     A lot of us look at our bookshelf and say, “Okay. I have either read all of these, or none of these look interesting.” Trust me, it has happened to all of us. It’s a funny thing because we all want to re-read our favorite books, yet, we have to expand our sights on the different types of things we read. Plus, we can’t have duplicates on our 40/40 book list! Personally, I love to read and I’m known for getting lost for days in a book, so I wanted to help everyone get to 40 quicker by giving you some suggestions. 


     I will read everything and anything you put in front of me, it just depends on how I’m feeling on the day. I like fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, mysteries, and even plays and poetry, but that changes on a daily basis so I sat down and gave it some thought. I decided to play “Desert Island” like Jim from The Office and pick my five favorite books.


     What is “Desert Island?” It’s a game where you name five things you’d want to bring with you if you were stranded on a desert island. For example, your five favorite books, movies, or music.


The Best Books for Tweens and Teens by a Tween Who Has Read Them


The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 


“Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.”


     The Outsiders is my favorite book of all time. I hated it when I first read it, but after watching the movie, I decided to give it another shot. When I read it a second time, I loved it. What I love most about this story is that it is a young adult book, yes, but most teen/young adult books are about the popular, pretty cheerleader, and her boyfriend, add a crisis, and BOOM! It’s published. This book, well, gives a new perspective to the non-popular crowd, the people who do not have very much, they aren’t rich, they get picked on by quarterbacks that they refer to as Socs. Welcome to the world of a greaser. Greasers wear leather jackets, look tough, have a heart of gold and tell a great story. Socs are high-brow prepsters, dressed in plaid, they look like they are kind, but they are the opposite. They have a cold heart and only care about themselves. So, here’s a life lesson, right here: Dress like a Soc, but have a heart of a greaser. 


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”


     Sigh. I want to do a paragraph on that quote alone. Maybe one day I will, but until then, I recommend To Kill a Mockingbird for a few reasons. It is written beautifully, and if you read it closely, you’ll learn the true meaning and value of integrity. It’s hard to believe that there are still people out there that feel people should be treated differently because of the color of their skin, but the truth is, very little has changed over the years since this book was first written. That’s the sign of a great book, one that is timeless and stays with you even after the last page. I know this is a book I will pick up again, and probably again after that because each time I notice something new. I also love the character, Scout, because of her personality she’s fun, with a serious side for what’s right. 


Lord of the Flies by William Golding


“Maybe … there is a beast … maybe it’s only us.” 


     It’s easy to be afraid of the unknown. You can be afraid of the world around you, but maybe it’s just our mind playing tricks on us.  Or maybe we’re actually the beast tormenting others. It’s something to think about. How much we really do affect and inspire other people by our choices. 


     We are all afraid of the “real” world, and only some people choose to show it, but little do we know, we ourselves are making somebody else’s life scary. What you give around you get back. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” 


     I’m stuck. I really liked and disliked this book. Lord of the Flies will stay with me for a very long time. Some parts of it were really boring, some were really good, some made me emo, (yes, I cry at movies and books) and some parts I just couldn’t escape. They made me sit there analyzing what happened or became suspenseful where I felt as though I needed to keep reading. Whoever I ask that’s my age, they say they either hate it or they love it. But still, no matter how much I think about it, I cannot decide. 


     If you think about it, this story is showing us that humans can be good people until they become power-hungry. It’s a sad moral, to be honest, but the more I study the characters and compare the books to other situations, real and fake, I’m starting to see common traits. An example where “Lord of the Flies” imitates life, is when the leaders of the Roman Empire, were constantly being overthrown and because of it, the government was never stable. At the beginning of the story, Ralph, one of the main characters, claims himself to be the leader because he craves power, but he doesn’t want it to be obvious so the boys hold a conch shell when it’s their time to talk. Then, there is another character, Piggy, who is a natural-born leader and earns respect from the rest of the boys which does not please Ralph. This causes Ralph to become a power-hungry monster, and do the unthinkable.


Allies by Alan Gratz  


“Friends ask you questions; enemies question you.”


     Wow. This quote changed my outlook on everything. 


     Your real friends like you for who you are, and your fake friends wonder who you are trying to be. This is just proving they were never your friends in the first place. 


     If you are interested in history or WWII, Allied is a really good book for you. Allies is about D-day, or when the Allies invade the beaches of Normandy. Not only this is a wonderful historical fiction novel that teaches you a lot about the invasion, but it also gives you a perspective of the people who fought it. 


     It’s a really good book, for anyone, not just for WWII fans. This book doesn’t have any deep meaning, though. It is a light read that I finished over a weekend and found it very interesting. Overall, it was written very well and it is personally my favorite so far in the historical fiction genre. Also, another good book by Alan Gratz is Refugee. 


Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover


     “I don’t think education is so much about making a living, it’s about making a person.” 


     Growing up is hard enough, but now imagine living with your family of survivalists in rural Idaho during a time when your parents didn’t trust the government, public schools, or even doctors. This is a story about Tara Westover and how she grew up with her brothers at her dad’s junkyard, dreaming of a different life. One where she went to school, and doctors weren’t bad. Without any help, or schooling, Tara taught herself math, and the subjects she needed to pass the entrance exams for college. But not just any college, she graduated with honors from Brigham Young University, received her Master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and was a fellow at Havard University. 


     Tara did not have the easiest life, and there are parts of this book that are disturbing. I personally loved her story, and it did teach themes, such as education, family, love, faith, suffering, and the pursuit of happiness. It shows how even when times are bad, you can still get through them, and nothing is “that bad.”


The Body by Stephen King


     “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, did you?”


     Stephen King is known as one of the greatest authors of all time, but what he is best known for his super scary books like, “It,” and “The Shining,” which I’m not ready to jump into just yet. But I really wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I began this literary adventure with one of his short stories, called, The Body, which was later made into the old movie, Stand By Me. This is the story of four young boys our age who go on a journey when they find out a local boy was killed, but what they don’t know, is exactly how the next 24 hours would strengthen their friendship and change their lives forever. 


     I loved this book, and I loved the movie just as much. This book is not scary whatsoever and very meaningful; however, just like tweens and teens, it’s important to note, the characters do slip and sneak cuss words in here and there to give the story more color. So if that is something your parents are not OK with, you should get their permission before starting any Stephen King books. Otherwise, I have to agree, he very well could be the greatest author of all time.


     As expressed at the start of this post, it’s a struggle to find a new book these days. So bookmark this page for the next time you find yourself on the hunt for something good to read. And if you’ve read any of these, I’d love to know your thoughts. We can start our own book club. 


What are some of your favorite books?