[Today’s article “Great Summer Reads for Teens” was written by contributor Michelle Habrych.]
Summer is a fabulous time to get lost in a good story. For teenagers, it’s also a time to choose books they may not have time to read during the school year. Here are some recommendations of great sumer reads for teens from my 15-year-old and my 14-year-old daughter, as well as ones I enjoyed.
Great Summer Reads for Teens:
My son immediately mentioned the Fablehaven book series by Brandon Mull. Set in the current day, this series melds fantasy with reality. I read the first five books a few years back and hope to re-read them with my daughter this summer. This series follows a brother and sister into the unseen world of fantastical creatures. Good versus evil and learning to deal with the consequences of your actions are themes of these books. The first series has five books; the first book in a related second series called Fablehaven Adventure was recently released. These books would be most appropriate for ages 12 and up.
Percy Jackson and Harry Potter
Both kids agreed that the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan would make for good summer reading. These stories weave a different kind of fantasy into reality: the title character discovers his mother had a relationship with the Greek god Poseidon, which led to his birth. There is much humor in these stories. If you are studying the ancient civilizations and would like for your teens to have a creative way to learn about mythology, these books are just what you need. I have read all five books in the series, plus the follow-up series The Heroes of Olympus. As the characters in the books mature, so do the themes in the stories, similar to the Harry Potter series. These books would be most appropriate for ages 12 and up.
A few years back, my son read The 39 Clues series, written by various Scholastic Books authors. It is about an orphan brother and sister who, after the death of their grandmother, discover they are part of the world’s biggest family. A huge secret is revealed at the funeral leading the different branches of the family to compete with each other to find all 39 clues. He said this series would be good for ages 12 and up, due to life-threatening circumstances in the books.
Books for Girls
My daughter recommended The Lost Track of Time by Paige Britt, which she read in book club class at our homeschool group this past year, as a unique read for summer. Hold Fast by Blue Balliett is a mystery she read in the class and recommended for ages 13 and up. She said Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel was a thrilling, quick read, and recommends it for ages 12 and up. She has read almost all of the Warriors books, by Erin Hunter. These books are about secret clans of cats living in the wild. The conflicts involve other cats, animals, and even human interaction. It blends magic and fantasy with the real world. She said they’re really fun to read. Also, she said A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin is a touching tale of Squirrel, a dog who is separated from her family and deals with the struggles that ensue.
My daughter loves graphic novels and finding age-appropriate ones has been a challenge. Here are a few that she has discovered and read again and again: Chi’s Sweet Home series by Kanata Konami, Peach Fuzz by Jared Hodges, Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Happy Happy Clover series by Sayuri Tatsuyama, Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, Clamp’s Cardcaptor Sakura series, Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, and Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale. The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi is one she enjoyed, but she said it has some scary parts and would recommend for more mature readers. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier is a book my daughter says would be good for those who are interested in learning more about the Mexican culture and the Day of the Dead.
Classic literature doesn’t have to be just for studying. This year I taught an American Literature class at my co-op for my son’s sophomore year. Some of the more interesting novels, which could be read over the summer just for the pleasure of reading, would include The Adventures of Huck Finn by Mark Twain, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, and The Chosen by Chaim Potok. These would be recommended for ages 14 and older.
More Classic Literature for Teens
Other enjoyable classic literature I would recommend for teens would be Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, as well as the follow-up stories, Little Men and Jo’s Boys. The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder would be enjoyable to read in the summer, though they are typically thought considered for younger students. I believe teenagers would find much to enjoy in these simple, yet magical stories of life on the frontier.
What great summer reads for teens would you recommend?
- Using the Library with Your Homeschooled Teens
- Review: “When Lightning Struck” historical fiction for teens
- MicroBusiness for Teens
- Review: “The Quest for Truth” series
Michelle Habrych reads whenever she has free time and is not often found without a book. Her favorite young adult authors are Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, Frank Beddor, Patricia C. Wrede, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Not all of the material in these books is suitable for all readers. Please use your own discretion.