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Beth’s Top Ten Books for Young Adults


Hey everyone, my name is Beth, and I work here at the Library. I’ve crafted a pretty darn-good list for you to devour! These are the top ten books that I’d recommend to any person between the ages of 12-18. Some of these titles contain mystery and suspense, others are filled to the brim with non-stop action, and there might be a fantasy book or two in there as well! I love each of these books for their own personal charm and for their ability to have a lasting impact on my memory – which is an impressive feat. I guarantee that you will find at least one book on this list that makes you laugh or touches you on a personal level due to the wide variety of genres that I have included. Enjoy! To keep you in suspense, the best book is at the bottom of the list!

Book cover of The Help 10. The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
The Help is important for everybody to read now more than ever. This story is set in 1960s Mississippi where upper-class white families have African-American maids that are essentially part of their families, but are treated only with superficial respect. We follow Skeeter, a young white woman who has just graduated from college, trying to put her new skills to the test and become a writer. She herself has grown up in a family that employs African-American women, and when Constantine, the maid she grew up with, is suddenly no longer working for her family, she discovers how truly different the race divide is, and she isn’t going to stop until she can fix that with her writing.
Book cover of The Host 9. The Host
by Stephanie Meyer
This book is for those who enjoy romantic fiction novels, specifically about relationships with extraterrestrial beings. In this post-apocalyptic tale, Earth gets invaded by a parasitic alien species. We follow the story of one being known as Wanderer who has the issue of having to share its new human body with its stubborn human counterpart, Melanie, who refuses to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer starts running into issues with assimilation when Melanie’s memories of her brother and boyfriend start to fuse with her own, and Wanderer no longer knows who she wants to be – or who she wants to be with.
Book cover of The Book Thief 8. The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
If you enjoy reading historical fiction, this book should be at the top of your list. This is the story of Liesel, a teen in Germany during World War II, who is sent to live with foster parents who object to the Nazi regime. After a few months, her new parents take their rebellion to another level by harboring a Jewish man, Max, that Liesel becomes close friends with. As the audience, we get to enjoy Liesel’s love of reading – a habit that she supports by stealing books frowned upon by the Nazi party – and also her experiences of sharing these books with Max.
Book cover of My Sister’s Keeper 7. My Sister’s Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
I loved reading this book because of how close to home this type of plot hits in today’s society. Thirteen-year-old Anna has always known that her parents created her for the purpose of being an organ donor in the battle against her sister’s leukemia. After going through many procedures, Anna refuses to further cooperate and sues her parents to claim back freedom of her own body. This is a book that will make you question your ethics and force you to choose a side – does Anna deserve medical emancipation as a teenager or is she simply “acting out”?
Book cover of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? 6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling, an actress that you’ve probably witnessed in action or have at least heard of, has written a collection of highly relatable memoirs that you should definitely read. All Mindy has ever wanted is to fit in and to make others laugh – probably similar to many other people’s ambitions. I loved reading this book more than any other autobiography due to her oversharing of the hilarity that ensues in her daily life. If you’ve ever wanted to get a great insight of somebody trying their best to make it in L.A. (or sometimes, just in life), I promise that this will be the book filled with the most laughs.
Book cover of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
by J.K. Rowling
If I need to explain the plot of the Harry Potter series to you, then we have some work to do. This story follows Harry Potter, a wizard who meets his match in evil Voldemort, who naturally thinks he’s better than the common “muggle.” Harry realizes on his eleventh birthday that he is a wizard – a really famous wizard – and that it is his destiny to stop Voldemort from trying to take over the world. If you’re familiar with this series, then you’ll know that I picked the Prisoner of Azkaban (book three of seven) for my list because it proves to be a great mystery and suspenseful read with some great plot twists – do yourself a favor and read this as soon as possible.
Book cover of Fangirl 4. Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell
Speaking of Harry Potter, this book is about college freshman Cath who lives to write fanfiction about a boy’s journey through his magical education. Cath has a difficult time fitting into college life, while her twin sister, Wren, is living up their new adventure. This story is for anybody who’s ever had a hard time adjusting to a new situation (so, everybody?), but is also a book geek, prefers being just a little anti-social, and also likes taking the occasional step out of their comfort zone. College, friends, and boys – what else could you ask for?
Book cover of Ender’s Game 3. Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game is the perfect book for sci-fi lovers. This takes place in the future where humanity is consistently on alert for impending assaults from alien attackers known as the “buggers.” The main character, Ender, is chosen for military training from a young age to prepare against future attacks, and the real treat is getting to see his progress as a leader. There is tons of action to keep you on the edge of your seat, drama from his jealous classmates, and the increasing threat that he won’t finish his training before it’s too late.
Book cover of The Perks of Being a Wallflower 2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
This is a read that a person of any age can enjoy. If you love reading honest, first-person coming-of-age books, you won’t be able to put Charlie’s story down. As the audience, you’re able to read the high-school freshman’s letters to his unnamed friend detailing his entire rollercoaster of a year. Be prepared for shocking revelations, PG13 themes, and addictive, yet unconventional ways of thinking.
Book cover of Ready Player One 1. Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One is my favorite standalone book for too many reasons to count. If you like the idea of a futuristic 1980’s pop culture-based virtual scavenger hunt, this book will keep you hooked. This story follows Wade Watts in a near future that has everybody escaping the declining real-world into the virtual utopia of OASIS. When the creator of OASIS dies, he unveils an impossible-seeming scavenger hunt with the reward being the fortune he amassed from his creation. This story takes you through Wade’s journey of trying to solve these riddles in a race for both his well-being and, ultimately, his life.