These are my personal top five favorite books about/for teens, in no particular order.
I love Perks on a deep, emotional level. I read Perks when I get really sad, and nothing else will make me feel better. Charlie is the most likeable and relatable character I have ever known, and that’s how you feel after reading this amazing book, like you know him. Freshman year is tough (especially in the ’90s) and so far I haven’t had as much trouble as Charlie, but this book has helped me through some tough times.
I read this book for the first time in fifth grade, and feel like I may have outgrown it by now. However, I still enjoy the story that everyone (and their grandmothers!) knows by now. I guess I just love the idea of fighting to the death with other teens, which is why I highly recommend Battle Royale, which is just a really violent Japanese Hunger Games with tolerable love stories that actually make sense.
The beautiful watercolor illustrations from Maira Kalman wonderfully accompany Daniel Handler’s (who uses the pen name Lemony Snicket for his children books) writing of this tragic letter from a “different” (some call would call her “arty”) girl to the jock she has broken up with. She delivers this letter with a big box of memorabilia from their relationship (these are this items that Kalman illustrates). A word to the wise: Don’t read this book if you have recently broken up with someone. It will just make you sad.
4. The Giver
You were probably forced to read this at some point in your school career; if you have, go back and re-read it. You probably missed a lot. (If you weren’t forced to read it, you should!) I have read this book several times now and I am always noticing new and interesting things. Lois Lowry created a dystopian community that has always fascinated me.
I’m not a huge fan of John Green; I think his books are a little too similar concerning characters. But TFioS is undeniably the saddest book I have ever read. I really admire any book that can make me cry (I forgot to mention I always cry when you-know-who dies in The Hunger Games). TFioS isn’t even that sad all the time, you spend your time laughing and “aww-ing” along through most of the book. The characters are part of a beautiful story that makes me believe in love. But you are also telling yourself, “One of them is going to die! Or both! I know I’m going to cry!” Let’s just say that the ending left me devastated.
–Loren, 15, Teen Center Adviser