by Renee Holden, Head Editor, INALJ Nebraska
You Don’t Have to be a Teen to Enjoy a Teen Book
As an adult librarian, I am often tasked with finding awesome teen books for adults who don’t want the world to know that they are reading teen books. I will often get adults at the reference desk who whisper…”So I loved the Hunger Games…I know it’s a teen book, but can you give me recommendations on more teen books. I love teen books better than adult books. What’s wrong with me?” I try to reassure the patrons that there is nothing wrong with adults reading teen books. I let them know that if they have found something that they love to read, then why not read it. So, I have compiled a list for all of the adults out there who love teen books just like me.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
• This is a wonderful love story between two teenage cancer patients, one of whom is an amputee. The story is predictably tragic and you will end up devouring this tearjerker like candy.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
• This is a coming of age story about 15-year-old Charlie. The only friend he ever had killed himself, forcing him to face high school alone. But when seniors Patrick and his stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings, his eyes are opened up to a whole new world and lifestyle. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love, until a repressed secret from his past threatens to destroy his newfound happiness.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
• This book takes the most universal of all insecurities and transforms it into the basis for a chilling vision of the future. The story revolves around a decision to deprive the world of individuality. Society transforms all 16-year-olds into brainwashed, ultra-beautiful “pretties” who live out their youth in hedonistic bliss. But when best friends Tally and Shay buck the system and run away rather than undergo the surgery, societal upheaval ensues.
Feed by M.T. Anderson
• Dystopian books are all the rage right now and the book Feed might be the darkest of all. The government has been almost entirely replaced by corporations, the environment has been almost completely devastated, and human communication take place almost solely via “feed,” a sort of in-brain social medium that allows text messages and ads to get beamed straight into our thoughts. Against this backdrop, teenagers Titus and Violet fall in love. Predictably, it doesn’t end well. This book is a sharp cautionary tale of what the future might hold.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
• This is the story of two misfits and one extraordinary love. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds who are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
• Another huge dystopian hit in teen fiction, this story centers around future America where the government has classified love as a disease. All citizens, once they turn 18, receive a government operation to cure the unwanted emotion. Lena looks forward to her operation and a safe, predictable and happy life – until, just a few months before birthday, she meets the mysterious Alex and falls in love.