No, I am not a teenager. I do not want to go back to those difficult years when my life had limited experience. Even though I’m almost 30, I still read teen novels. I read more of them now then I did when I was an actual teen. The teen section at my bookstore* has the best written adventure and fantasy novels that I’ve read. There are some I won’t touch, mostly the superficial series, like Clique and Gossip Girl (I really don’t care to read about 15 year-olds having sex and doing drugs). If you’re looking for a fun, easy read, whether you’re 15 or 30 or even 45, here is a list of my favorite teen books:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
This is the first book in a trilogy. Thomas wakes up in a metal chamber with no memory except for his name. When the doors finally open, he finds himself in a large clearing with a couple of buildings spread about and a group of boys who’ve built their own society there. They call the clearing the Glade and Thomas comes to learn that it lies in the middle of a maze. Each day, certain boys run out into the maze to find an exit, to no avail. Everyone has to be back to the Glade by sundown or the Grievers, vicious monsters (yes, they were scary, even to me) will kill them. But then things start to change when the first girl is sent to the Glade. Suddenly, it is more important for them to solve the maze than ever before. Will they find their way out? What awaits them outside of the maze? Are their families still alive? Will they ever gain their memories back? This is actually the first book that made me want to call in sick to work, just so I could finish reading it.** It captivated me from beginning to end and when the next book, The Scorch Trials, comes out in October, you can bet that I will be locked up in my room reading it. (Side note: Dashner’s other series The 13th Reality is also a good read.)
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Finn has only known life inside the prison Incarceron, where riots break out daily and red eyes watch every move made. Songs are sung of the legend Sapphique, the only prisoner to escape. Finn dreams of Outside and desperately wants to get there. One day a key comes into his possession – a key that is said to lead to Outside. So Finn, with a couple of companions, starts out on a journey. At the same time on the Outside, young Claudia is looking for an entrance to Incarceron. She figures she must be close because her father is the warden and holds the only key to the prison. Her search is heightened when she is told her arranged marriage will take place sooner than first expected. Through a magical item, Finn and Claudia start communicating. They work together to get Finn out and stop the marriage from happening. This is another book with twists and turns in every chapter. It had my head spinning. The sequel, Sapphique, is due out in the US at the end of the year.
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Despite the long name, this is a quick read. It’s the first book in yet another series about Cammie who attends a very prestigious school…for spies. Cammie is known amongst her spy friends as The Chamaeleon because she’s got a knack for blending in and going unnoticed. But things start changing when a townie notices Cammie while she’s out on a mission. Now she and her super-smart friends use their spy skills to solve the biggest mystery they know: boys. This book, and its sequels, is a fun, fast-paced read. The second book Cross My Heart And Hope To Spy brings another boy Zach, who’s also a spy, into Cammie’s life and many mysteries surround him. The questions raised in the second book about Zach get even more muddled in the third book Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover. I can only hope that some light will be shed when the fourth book Only The Good Spy Young comes out in late June. I should point out that I just love these titles, which is what attracted me to the series in the first place.
Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood
Troubled teen Miranda gets sent to a boarding school on an island. The school is old and creepy and to make matters worse, there is no cell phone signal. The teachers are only known by initials, like Headmistress B, Coach H, and Mrs. W. The first day at the new school, Miranda meets a mysterious guy Heathcliff who calls her Catherine. Miranda’s roommate, Hana, claims to have seen Dracula. Then even weirder things start happening when Miranda finds out a secret about the teachers and how close her world and the literary world are linked. This book, and the other two in the series, actually made me want to start reading classic novels. I’ve never had a book do that before, which I think shows the mark of a good author.
*To be clear, I don’t own the bookstore. It’s a chain bookstore, but I like to claim ownership to the store at which I work.
**No, I did not call in sick. It was really, really tempting, though.