We previously published a list of books for reluctant readers ages twelve and thirteen, and today we’re bringing you a list of more than seventy novels for reluctant readers ages fourteen and fifteen, which you can find on our website. As children enter their adolescent years, it may become more difficult to entice them away from their electronic devices and into reading good, old-fashioned literature. When I visited a K-12 school library once, I noticed that the shelves were stacked high with picture books and chapter books, but there were just a few teen-oriented titles. When I inquired of the school administration about this, she informed me that as children grew older, their interest in reading waned, and as a result, the school ceased stocking books for them.
That was so heartbreaking that it almost crushed my heart. The number of excellent publications available for teenagers is in the thousands, with storylines that are sure to pique their attention and leave them wanting to read more. To help your reluctant teen reader, I’ve compiled a list of wonderful graphic novels and memoirs, as well as coming-of-age stories and fantasy, dystopian, romance, historical fiction, thrillers, classics, and more.
FICTION FOR RELUCTANT READERS
All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen
Interested in attending Illyria College, which is widely regarded as the premier institution for the most brilliant and promising young scientists in the world, and which was created by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian era, Violet Adams has applied. Ernest, his son, is in charge of the school, and he has remained true to his father’s intention of keeping the small, private college a male-only institution. When Violet’s father decides to leave for America, she seizes the opportunity. She enters by impersonating her twin brother, Ashton, and pretending to be him. Keep the secret of her sex will be difficult, especially given Violet’s friend Jack’s continual habit of pulling practical jokes, and especially when the duke’s teenage ward, Cecily, begins to develop emotions for Violet’s alter identity, “Ashton,” it will be impossible. This isn’t even taking into consideration blackmail, mystery killer robots, the way Violet’s heart beats faster whenever Ernest speaks to her, or a lethal bequest left by Ernest’s father. The reality is that she is not only concerned with keeping her secret until the end of the year, but also with living for that long a period of time.
And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
With a stolen gun, senior Paul Wagoner comes into his high school, threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then commits himself by hanging himself. Emily is transferred to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she meets two eccentric fellow students and the ghost of Emily Dickinson, who lends a helping hand to Emily’s emotional and psychological healing. Emily Beam, on the other hand, is responsible for healing her own broken self, discovering the good hidden behind the evil, hope hidden within sorrow, and springtime hidden beneath the snow.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a supportive best friend, and a crush that is on the edge of becoming something more serious. So when her father unexpectedly sends her off to boarding school in Paris, she isn’t overjoyed – at least, not until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect lad who changes everything. The only issue is that there isn’t enough time. He’s taken, and Anna might be as well, if anything comes of her crush from back home in the States. Will a year of romantic near-misses culminate in the French kiss that Anna has been anticipating?
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle is an enraged adolescent who has a brother who is incarcerated. A self-proclaimed know-it-all, Dante has an odd way of looking at the world around him. When the two meet at the swimming pool, it appears that they have nothing in common with one another. Nevertheless, when the loners begin to spend more time together, they discover that they have formed a remarkable friendship—the type that can alter lives and last a lifetime. As a result of their friendship, Ari and Dante will discover the most fundamental truths about themselves and the kind of people they aspire to be.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone else in the little Southern town of Gatlin, and she is battling to keep her power and a curse that has plagued her family for generations hidden from the rest of the world. Although a secret can remain hidden for a long time even among the overgrown gardens, murky bogs, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, it cannot be kept hidden indefinitely. While waiting for his chance to escape from Gatlin, Ethan Wate is troubled by visions of a beautiful girl he has never met, which he believes to be his sister. Inexplicably drawn to Lena when she moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is determined to discover the link that exists between them and their past. In a village where there are no shocks, one secret has the potential to change everything.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It is the year 1939. Nazi Germany was a fascist regime. The entire country is holding its collective breath. Death has never been busier, and it will continue to be busier in the future. A foster child living outside of Munich, Liesel Meminger scrapes by on a little income by stealing whenever she comes across something she can’t resist: books. She learns to read with the assistance of her accordion-playing foster father, and she shares her stolen books with her neighbors during air raids, as well as with the Jewish guy who has hidden in her basement during the war.
Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Thousands of people, both humans and androids, throng the bustling streets of New Beijing. The populace has been decimated by a horrible epidemic. From space, a ruthless lunar people keep an eye on things, waiting for the right moment to strike. No one realizes that the fate of the planet is in the hands of a young girl… Cinder is a cyborg who happens to be a brilliant mechanic. She is treated as a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, and she is despised by her stepmother, who holds her responsible for her stepsister’s illness. However, as her life gets entwined with the attractive Prince Kai’s, she finds herself thrust into the middle of an interplanetary conflict, as well as the center of a forbidden attraction. Between duty and freedom, devotion and betrayal, she is forced to confront mysteries from her history in order to safeguard the future of her world.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
On October 11th, 1943, the United States entered World War II. A British espionage plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France, killing everyone on board. Its pilot and passenger are closest friends, and they are on the same flight. One of the girls may have a chance of surviving this ordeal. The opposing player has already lost the game before it has even began. When “Verity” is taken into custody by the Gestapo, she believes she has little hope of surviving. As a covert agent who has been captured in enemy territory, she is experiencing the worst nightmare a spy can have. Her Nazi interrogators present her with a straightforward choice: either confess her goal or risk a gruesome execution on the firing squad. Verity reveals her background as she meticulously weaves her confession, including how she met and became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she abandoned Maddie in the destroyed fuselage of the plane in which they were flying. Verity fights for her life on every fresh scrap of paper she comes across, challenging her beliefs about courage, failure, and her desperate desire to make it back home. Will trading her secrets, on the other hand, be enough to keep her safe from the enemy?