Teen Read Week is an opportunity to turn those reluctant teen readers into life-long book lovers. It’s important to ensure that students get the right books in their hands, so we’ve rounded up engaging young adult (YA) titles to get teens reading for the fun of it this week.

What Is Teen Read Week?

The Young Adult Library Services Association created Teen Read Week in 1998 to “encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.” Teen Read Week is held every October during the same week as Columbus Day, falling from October 9-15 in 2016. This year’s multilingual “read for the fun of it!” theme encourages educators to highlight the resources available to multilingual teens who speak a language besides English at home.

And, as always, it’s also an opportunity for teens from all backgrounds to become engaged readers by reading books they truly enjoy.

Young Adult (YA) Titles to Get Teens Reading

Get Teens Reading Suggestion: Goodbye StrangerGoodbye Stranger (Grades 5-8, Level Z, Lexile 560)

 This book by Newbery Medal Winner Rebecca Stead is told from multiple perspectives, including a mystery second-person narrator. The novel opens with Bridge, an accident survivor, trying to figure out the reason she is still alive. Then there’s Emily, who has newly developed curves and a “sort-of” boyfriend—who is looking for a particular kind of picture (hint, hint). And there’s Tab, who recently has become a know-it-all activist.

As each character becomes more independent and discovers new interests—and people—outside of their circle, they realize that their “no fighting” rule is impossible, and they see their friendship continually tested.

What makes this a great classroom read is that, as a coming-of-age novel, Stead accurately portrays the raw emotions middle-schoolers often feel as they make the transition from child to adolescent. 


Get Teens Reading Suggestion: Read Between The LinesRead Between the Lines (Grades 9-12, Lexile HL600)

This YA title by Jo Knowles says it all, reminding teens that there’s a fine line between reality and perception, unless you take a deeper look and “read between the lines.” Weaving together various perspectives of teen life in a small town over the course of one day, the book’s format is similar to a collection of short stories.

The reader is introduced to a number of characters, including Nate, the unpopular kid who gets his (middle) finger broken by the school bully, Grace, a cheerleader who is dating the closeted basketball star and Claire, who envisions an entirely different life for herself that doesn’t go according to plan.

This wide cast of characters provides a variety of experiences for students to connect with. Although each perspective might leave readers unfulfilled by the resolution, they can infer how each story ends—and maybe think twice about a raised middle finger.


The Darkest Part Of The Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest (Grades 7-12, Lexile 840)

“Into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.”

With these chilling opening sentences, author Holly Black paints a fantastical world of danger and blood that brilliantly revives vampire lit. For teens who enjoy fantasy that is both enchanting and haunting, this a must-read.



Get Teens Reading Suggestion: Hired Girl


The Hired Girl (Grades 7-12, Level Z, Lexile 810)

Trapped by her circumstances and hoping for a better life, the main character Joan Skraggs pours her thoughts and feelings into her diary as she comes of age as a housekeeper for a well-to-do Jewish family in the summer of 1911. Through 14-year old Joan, author Laura Schlitz explores themes such as faith and acceptance. Teen readers will get a strong sense of empowerment as they read this historical perspective of what it was like to be a woman in the twentieth century.

The diary format allows students to connect with the main character on a personal level, as they find humor in her follies and understanding in her difficulties to rise above.


Get Teens Reading: Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

Drowned City (Grades 7-12, Lexile GN920)

Remember that infamous day on August 29, 2005? In this 2016 Sibert Honor-winning title, Don Brown brilliantly portrays the tragedy of the historical storm known as Hurricane Katrina in graphic novel form.

With almost 2,000 lives lost and some areas under at least twenty feet of water, New Orleans was accurately named the “Drowned City.” In this true account of one of America’s biggest natural disasters, Brown uses beautiful imagery to express the devastating effects of nature, the courage of ordinary people and the heroism of several organizations. As a nonfiction graphic novel, this powerful read is accessible for struggling readers and will appeal to both teens and adults.



Looking for more great titles to get teens reading? We’re celebrating Teen Reads Week by giving away five collections of some of our favorite books for young adults. Enter below for a chance to win!

Teen Reads Giveaway

This contest is closed.  Thank you for your participation and congratulations to the winners!