Kiera Cass’s immensely popular series about an average, lower caste girl of the future competing with a dwindling number of contestants for the hand of the prince concludes with The One. Who will become Maxon’s princess, and eventually his queen? The answer isn’t revealed until the final pages, and naturally, you must wait for the book to get that far. So while you’re waiting for The One, try these other teen titles.
–Matthew, grade 11, Lake City
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
3-Sentence Summary: The sequel to Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion, The Lord of Opium, follows the events after El Patron’s death and presents the new dangers that Matt Alacran faces as the new boss of the land that lays between Aztlan (what was once Mexico) and the United States, the Land of Opium. With new-found power, Matt must decide who he can trust and what he needs to do to make Opium prosper. Oh, and did I mention he’s 14?
Six-Word Review: Young drug lord must run country.
I started to read this book because I was excited that a sequel to the first book had FINALLY come out and i continued to read because I was really wanted to know how this would end.
Rating: I would give this book a 6/10. The book had so much potential to be as great as the first but it was a bit disappointing and for the most part boring, the last 100 pages were not too bad though, which is perhaps worth the read.
If the Main Character were in a high school yearbook, he would be Voted Most Likely To: Inherit a drug empire at the age of 14 and kind of fail at it.
If he were on a deserted island he would most likely not survive because he relies so heavily on others to get the job done.
–Aldo, 17, Teen Center Adviser
Author: Lissa Price
Summary: After extensive biological warfare kills a majority of the population and ravages the land, the two remaining age groups are starters who are youth and enders who are senior citizens. Callie is a starter who is struggling to survive with her younger brother in this dystopian future and decides to go to a company called Prime Destinations who promises to pay her well if she lends her young body to enders via a neurochip in her brain. While it is very risky, Callie is desperate and her doubts are confirmed when she realizes the dark intentions of Prime Destinations, and when her chip glitches and she becomes aware of the drastic measures her ender renter plans to take to stop it.
Six word review: Girl rents her body to elderly.
I started reading because it has a very eye-catching cover and when I read the short summary I liked the idea of a dystopian novel. I kept reading because it was a weird concept to rent your body to another person and it was fun reading Callie party it up when her chip glitches and she gains control of her body in the middle of a rental.
I would give this book 7/10 stars because the premise of the story is good, but Price could have done more with such a provocative topic. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out more so that they were more than just an archetype.
I loved the idea of someone being able to remotely control another person’s body since it’s an interesting idea. I think that would be scary in real life, but for a book it’s a great topic. I hated that the book didn’t explore that idea more because it had the potential to be as good as the Uglies trilogy, but instead it fell a little flat.
If the lead character Callie was in a high school yearbook, he/she would be voted Most Likely To: Survive an Apocalypse.
Anything else we should know? If you like dystopian fiction such as the Uglies Trilogy or Feed then you will really enjoy the book Starters because it has similar elements mixed in with teenage drama. There is also a TV show called Dollhouse that has a similar concept of people renting other people’s bodies, except instead of inhabiting their body, the rented person has a personality uploaded into them.
–Rebecca, 18, Teen Center Adviser
Today, to show how much we love New York City, we’ve got stories from that indomitable city. Some present, some past, and some from a future we hope never arrives! Any way you cut the Big Apple, there’s a slice for everyone!
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin. In a future where chocolate and caffeine are contraband, teenage cellphone use is illegal, and water and paper are carefully rationed, sixteen-year-old Anya Balanchine finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight as heir apparent to an important New York City crime family.
Bunheads by Sophie Flack. Hannah Ward, 19, revels in the competition, intense rehearsals, and dazzling performances that come with being a member of Manhattan Ballet Company’s corps de ballet, but after meeting handsome musician Jacob she begins to realize there could be more to her life.
The Diviners by Libba Bray. Evie O’Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. Marcelo Sandoval, a 17-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. HS student Nick O’Leary, member of a rock band, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes in order to avoid his ex-sweetheart.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, The $20,000 Pyramid, a 12-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.
Do you have a favorite NYC book? Or movie? Tell us about it!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore: In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: In a Brazil of the distant future, June Costa falls in love with Enki, a fellow artist and rebel against the strict limits of the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Três’ matriarchal government, knowing that, like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: After being interrogated by the Department of Homeland Security after a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, Marcus is released into what is now a police state and uses his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.
Orleans by Sherrie L. Smith: Set in a futuristic, hostile Orleans landscape, Fen de la Guerre must deliver her tribe leader’s baby over the Wall into the Outer States before her blood becomes tainted with Delta Fever.
Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon: In the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, Chicago fourteen-year-old Maxie longs to join the Black Panthers, whether or not her brother Raheem, ex-boyfriend Sam, or her friends like it, and is soon caught up in the violence of anti-war and civil rights demonstrations.
Five 4th of Julys by Pat Raccio Hughes: On July 4th, 1777, Jake Mallory and his friends are celebrating their new nation’s independence, but over the next four years Jake finds himself in increasingly adventurous circumstances as he battles British forces, barely survives captivity on a prison ship, and finally returns home, war-torn and weary, but hopeful for America’s future.
Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.
Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems about you, who you are, and who you are becoming. Find the poem you love, the one that makes you angry, the one that makes you laugh, the one that knocks the wind out of you and becomes a part of you. Poetry can be life-altering, gritty and difficult. It can be hilarious or heart-breaking. This is a collection that is dynamic, accessible, challenging, classic, edgy, and ultimately not quite perfect. Just like you.