44 Books for Tweens and Young Teens

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Over 44 books for tweens and young teens! Get everything from classic fiction to dystopian science fiction. Find books for animal lovers and adventure lovers.

Tween and teen reading

While there is no way I could ever possibly cover every great book option out there for tweens and young teens, this list is a valiant effort.

I have included classic fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and just basic fiction. There are stories of adventure and stories of friendship.

I have included basic age range for each book as well as any content in the book you will want to be aware of.

Books make great gifts and I always include a book or a series for any gift-giving occasion.

Let’s get to my favorite books for tweens and older teens.

Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Reader Age: 11 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This might be Brayden’s favorite book series ever. He first read it when he was in third grade, but is still loving it as a teenager.

There is war fighting in these books, but no language or inappropriate material.

A cool thing about this series is that it was written by a teenager. I think that is a neat thing for kids to know; even if they don’t want to write themselves, it shows them they can do anything they decide to do.

This series is a fantasy series and it reminds me of a Star Wars and Lord of the Rings type of story mash up. There is a fair amount of description in the text.

Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans

Reader Age: 12 and older
Genre: Science Fiction

This is another one of Brayden’s favorites, and Kaitlyn and McKenna both enjoy it, also.

Michael is a teenager with special powers. The book has no language and no inappropriate material.

Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Adventure

Alex is a teen spy working with MI6. This is a fun series full of adventure. It has no language or inappropriate material.

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

Reader Age: 11 and older
Genre: Adventure

The protagonist in this book is an orphan who becomes an apprentice. He works to keep the kingdom safe. This book has no language or inappropriate material.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This is clearly a little on the young side to be officially a “teen” book, but as an adult who has read this series will tell you, it is still fun and interesting for all ages. It is definitel perfect for your tween. There is no inappropriate material or language in these books. The main reason I am including them in the list is because the next series is the sequel to this one. So read Fablehaven before Dragonwatch.

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fantasy

Dragonwatch is a sequel to Fablehaven. It is about dragons. It is a fun series your kids will enjoy. There is no language or inappropriate material

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fantasy

The protagonist in this series discovers he is very creative, which is not a favored trait where he lives. In fact, people like him are sent to their deaths. This book has no language or inappropriate material.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Reader Age: 8 and older for the first book…12 and older by the final book
Genre: Fantasy

I feel like this is a book that needs no introduction. This is a great series beloved by people of all ages. Your child can feasibly start the series around kindergarten or first grade, but you do not have to let a child that young plow through the books.

I had all of my kids take a break after the third or fourth book. The fourth book starts to have some mild language and some mild crushes. But beyond that it gets more emotionally intense and sad. The fifth book is better for ages 10 and up, so it is okay to have a little break if your child starts young.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Reader Age: 12 and older
Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian

First, if your child is sensitive, it is okay to have your child be 13 or 14 before reading this for the first time (or older!). It can be intense and the situation the characters of this series is in is scary to say the least.

This is one of Kaitlyn’s favorite series. For me, this is more of a 13 or older series. This series does not have language, but it does have violence and some kissing. Once you get to the third book in this series, you find out former Hunger Games contestants have been sold as sex slaves.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Reader Age: 13 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This book has a lot of description. It isn’t like Harry Potter where it moves quickly. It is more similar to a Lord of the Rings type of book where things are described in a lot of detail.

Keepers of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This is an absolute favorite among tweens and young teens. A great thing about this book series is the protagonist is a strong female. This book has magic (but they don’t call it magic). Every chapter and every book ends with a cliffhanger. Books are still being released in this series. This series has no language or inappropriate material.

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This book is about Greek mythology. It is really funny while still having suspense. There is talk of the affairs of the Greek Gods. It has no language.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Reader Age: 13 and older
Genre: Fantasy Dystopian

This has some minor language and kissing. This is very dramatic and will definitely appeal more to girls than boys in most cases.

Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale

Reader Age: 13 and older
Genre: Fantasy

The protagonist in this story can speak to animals. It has a princess who is betrayed.

Many people like the first book in this series and not the rest. There are some sexual references in later books.

Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fantasy

In this series, they fall into a storybook. It is entertaining and good for people who like fairy tales. It has some words like “crap” and “butt.” It also has some kissing.

Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This series is still being written. This is a fun series starring dragons and is super popular among tweens and young teens. The first twelve are completely benign. The 13th book has some same-gender attraction between dragons. There is no language.

Maze Runner by James Dashner

Reader Age: 13 and older
Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian

This series tends to appeal more to boys than to girls. This is an intriguing dystopian series with teens as the main characters. This really is as violent, if not more violent, than The Hunger Games and no less disturbing. It has some language and some kissing in the series.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Reader Age: 11 and older
Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian

This is one of the best series out there, especially the first book in this series. While it is rated for 11 and older, I would actually say it is better for 13 or older. I don’t feel like the younger children would understand it as well.

There is no language in the books, but there are some references to starting to have feelings for the opposite sex and there are people whose job is to birth children.

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Historical Fiction

This is an absolute favorite of my girls’. It is based during World War II with the protagonist a girl who finds courage during the war. The mother of the protagonist physically abuses her children some. There is a sequel, which is also fabulous, titled The War I Finally Won. This has some British profanity in it.

Words on Fire by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Historical Fiction

This is a favorite of McKenna’s. This is a story set in Lithuania in the late 1800s when Russia invaded and tried to wipe the Lithuanian culture. The main character’s parents are taken away from her and imprisoned for being book smugglers. She followed in their footsteps to preserve her language. There is no language but there is violence.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Reader Age: 12 and older
Genre: Historical Fiction

This is another World War II book. This one addresses concentration camp life. It is not a super happy ending. There is no language or inappropriate material.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Historical Fiction

This is set in World War II in Denmark and follows a Jewish girl as she tries to escape the invading Germans. There is no language or inappropriate material.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Reader Age: 13 and older
Genre: Science Fiction

This book is about a civilization that trains child geniuses to be soldiers. Ender is taken to training for the military. There is some language in this book. There is a series with this book, but honestly the first book stands alone quite well. I haven’t read past the first book since it was very satisfying alone.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fiction

This Newbery Medal winner focuses on friendship between tweens. There is some death in the story as well as some language.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Reader Age: 11 and older
Genre: Adventure

The main character in this book is a 13 year old boy whose parents are divorced. This follows the story of him surviving a plane crash and surviving the wilderness. Brayden and Kaitlyn both really enjoyed this book. There is no language or inappropriate material in this book

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighhead George

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Adventure

This is the story o fa boy who runs away from his New York City home to live in the wilderness. This book also has sequels. There is no language or inappropriate material in this book.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Adventure

This is a Newbery Medal winner and is often hailed as one of the best books for children ever written. It is a story of survival with no language or inappropriate material. There are sad things in this book. so if your child is sensitive, wait until he or she is older to read it.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Classic Fiction

This is another book that should need no introduction. This book follows four sisters growing up during the Civil War. It has no language or inappropriate material. It could be difficult for younger readers since it was written in the 1800s. It might be a good read aloud the first time your child reads it. There are sequels to this book!

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Classic Fiction

This coming of age story is another classic. Anne is an 11 year old orphan who gets adopted. It takes place in Canada. Anne is stubborn but means well. The story is heart-warming and humorous. Since this is a classic written in the early 1900s, younger readers might struggle with the language. There is no language. There is flirting.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Classic Fiction

This book was one of my very favorites growing up. It was written in the early 1900s and takes place in the Yorkshire Moors, so this is another one that younger readers might not understand well. These make great read-alouds. This book has reference to people from India that is racist. This is a story of growth, healing, and forgiveness.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This is a fantasy series full of adventure and action. There is some language.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

This is a really good feel-good book that leaves you feeling like the world is awesome and you want to be a better person. There are no curse words but there is some hate speech. There is some kissing. There is also a sequel to this book Auggie & Me.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Katie DiCamillo

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Fiction

This is a heart-warming story animal loves will love. It is a story about friendship. This story has no language, inappropriate material, or even semblance of violence.

Holes by Louis Sachar

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Adventure

This is a really fun story about honor and having good character even when life treats you unfairly. There is no language or inappropriate behavior.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Fantasy

I first had this book read to me when I was in fifth grade. This was written in 1932, so it is another book that young readers will do well to have read to them before reading it. This is one of those books with a lot of description in it. Tolkien is one of my very favorite authors. There is some very mild language in this book.

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

Reader Age: 8 and older
Genre: Fiction

Kaitlyn has always loved books, so the Black Stallion Series has been well-loved by her. Horse lovers will enjoy this series.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fiction

This is another favorite horse book for Kaitlyn. It is written from the point of view of the horse. There is no language or inappropriate material.

Phantom Stallion by Terri Farley

Reader Age: 9 and older
Genre: Fiction

This is a lesser known horse series, but it was Kaitlyn’s favorite of all of them. These are great for horse-lovers.

Warriors by Erin Hunter

Reader Age: 8 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This book series stars cats and has been a favorite for McKenna and Brinley. This series basically never ends…so it is a good one to get into if you need your kids occupied for a while.

Pegasus by Kate O’Hearn

Reader Age: 8 and older
Genre: Fantasy

This is a favorite series of McKenna’s. This a Greek Mythology series that stars Pegasus and a girl named Emily.

Survivors by Erin Hunter

Reader Age: 8 and older
Genre: Fantasy

Another book series for the animal lovers in your house! This one follows dogs. There is no language or inappropriate material in this book.

Bravelands by Erin Hunter

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Fantasy

At this point, I should point out that Erin Hunter is actually a pen name for a group of authors who work together to write series. This series can be difficult for sensitive readers since it discusses killing and eating prey.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle

Reader Age: 10 and older
Genre: Science Fiction

This book can be a bit confusing for younger readers. It is a great story about accepting others, being there for each other, and believing in others (and yourself). Children who love science will love this book. It might be a good read aloud your child’s first time through if your child is a younger reader.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Reader Age: 13 and older
Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian

This is definitely a mature teen or even wait for older teen for this book. Readers who liked Hunger Games will like this series. Honestly the third book ends in a very frustrating way for me (and many others) and it is one of those books that I have re-written the ending in my head. But the first two are masterful. There is some heavy kissing in the book though no sex. The protagonist’s boyfriend takes his shirt off while they kiss.

Conclusion

I know books are like dear friends, so if I have left off a favorite of your’s or your child’s, I am sorry! There are over 44 books here, but there are so many great ones out there!

I would love to hear a book you love that I have left off so I can update the list to be more complete. Check out my other book lists below for more ideas.

Related Posts

Books tweens and teens will love

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