11 Best Good Books For 13 Year Olds Update 05/2022

At 13 years old, young people don’t want their parents to choose their books for them very often. A few of these books for 13-year-olds might be a good idea if your child isn’t reading as much. But be careful, though! Don’t talk about the books so your kids don’t think their parents are making them read. But what books should you look for when you’re on a secret mission to find them? As I said in my reading list for 8th grade, it’s a very hard time. Those who are 13 years old aren’t interested in books that are about 11 year olds, but they might not be ready to read the more serious and mature books on the YA shelves.

This book list for 13-year-olds has a lot of different types of books: fantasy, realism, historical fiction, and more. I’ve also tried to include books with a wide range of characters. I’m working on a nonfiction list for teens, so stay tuned! You can give your teen this list and send them to the library. If you need to make more subtle suggestions, leave these different books around as I suggested above! If you click on the book cover or title, you will be taken to an affiliate link.

Happy reading, everyone!

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani.

I could not stop reading this book! Nisha and her twin brother are half-Muslim, half-Hindu siblings who live with their father in India just before the country split up into two separate states. This is what happens when they learn that their town is going to become part of new Pakistan. Nisha, her brother and her Hindu father and grandmother have to make the harrowing and dangerous journey to the Indian border. In each chapter, Nisha writes a note in her diary as she moves away from her comfortable life and struggles with her own questions about who she is. Definitely worth it!

Slider by Pete Hautman.

The plan David came up with after he accidentally charged his mom’s credit card $2000 is to win a pizza-eating contest and get the money back by eating the most pizza. David has to figure out where he stands when his two best friends start dating. He has to prep his stomach for the contest and take care of his brother, Mal, at the same time. This book has a lot of laughs, but it also has a lot of important things to say. Many 13-year-olds will be able to relate to David’s problems with his friends and family.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.

I haven’t read this book since I was a teenager. My son brought it home for school and read it about 10 or 12 times. A friend of mine said that her 13-year-old son thought it was his favorite book. Ponyboy lives with and relies on his two brothers, Sodapop and Darry, in a world that is divided by social class. They help him out a lot. When Ponyboy is beaten up by the “Socs,” or upper-class kids, things get even worse.

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin.

I loved this book, which is written and illustrated at the same time. I found it very interesting. In the land of the goblins, a scholar named Werfel is going to treat Spurge very well because he wants to be a good friend. What Brangwain Spurge doesn’t know is that he is being used by the spymaster from Elfland, who wants to kill the goblin leader. In letters to the king, the spymaster tells the king about his plans. Spurge and Werfel have to work together to stay alive as things happen. Readers must think about the themes of political ideology, misunderstanding, government propaganda, and blind allegiance. It’s not all bad, though. Slapstick comedy and weird humor are also high on the list.

The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim.

If you want to read this book, you should be at least 12 years old. A lot of people fall in love with the main character when they listen to the audiobook. The publisher says it’s good for ages 8 and up, but after I listened to it, I think it’s better for ages 10 and up. Even though the main character is 12, the book is good for ages 12-14. During the Middle Ages, Li Jing has a hard time living. Her poor family sells her to a family who wants to marry her to their young son. She goes to live with her new in-laws, who are cruel and treat her like a slave. When she doesn’t do what they want, they sell her to a house for courtesans. She escapes and goes on a journey to find a safe place to live. Li Jing is a fiercely strong girl character who grows more confident and takes charge of her own life.

Refugee by Alan Gratz.

One of the best books I’ve ever read tells three stories. Joachim is a Jewish refugee from the Nazis. Isabel and her family are trying to flee Cuba in 1994, and Mahmoud and his family are fleeing war-torn Syria in 2015. It draws connections between all three journeys, with an ending that brings them all together in a way that makes sense to everyone. A 13-year-old should read this book now, because it’s a good one.

Mayday by Karen Harrington

Great for 13-year-olds. Plane crash: Wayne and his mother are on their way home from Arlington National Cemetery when the plane goes down and they die. Wayne gets hurt and can’t speak for a long time. Both people make it out of the fire. During that time, his grandfather, who was a drill sergeant, moves in with them. Wayne’s world is turned upside down right away. His girlfriend only stays with him out of pity, his grandfather is sick but won’t talk about it, and he’s looking for the American flag that was on his uncle’s coffin that was lost when the plane crashed. But Wayne meets a new friend who helps him through it all, and he comes to see his own father as a less-than-ideal person.

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson.

This is a room at school where six different kids can talk about the problems they are having. What they have to deal with is as different as their backgrounds. Middle schoolers need and want to talk about things like being incarcerated or being racial profiled or being deported, to name a few. When you read Woodson’s prose, you will fall in love with all of the teenagers as they tell their stories.

Train I Ride by Paul Mosier.

This isn’t a very long book, but it talks about a subject that’s hard for kids to talk about. He is on a train from California to Chicago, and he is 13 years old. She is going to live with an old uncle she has never met because her grandmother recently died. Several years ago, Rydr lost her mother to drug abuse. Rydr is being watched by Dorothy, an Amtrak escort, on the train. During the train ride, Rydr’s assertiveness helps her make important and life-saving friendships with people who will help her out. This is a good book to give to your teenager, even though the subject of the book is difficult. It’s also a good book for someone who doesn’t want to read a lot of text.

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

Another book I couldn’t stop reading. Max is a 13-year-old American boy who lives in Brussels with his family for a year. It makes Max angry that he has to go back to school and learn French. As they are crossing the water to get to Greece, 14-year-old Ahmed and his father are separated. It turns out that he is able to get to Belgium and hide out in Max’s basement. The two become friends when Max finds Ahmed. They plan to help Ahmed get back into the world. It’s a good book about friendship, family, and taking charge of your own life at the right time.

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen.

Until the death of his grandmother, which leaves Felix Knutsson with a single mother who can no longer keep things together, Felix and his mother live in their van. People like Felix, who is bi-racial, because he has a good memory for facts. He makes it on to a popular quiz show. In the end, Felix and his mother get the help they need from friends and a refugee couple who understand what they’ve been through. Felix’s narration, despite the book’s themes of poverty, mental illness, and parental inadequacy, is actually very funny. This was a fun book to read, even though it was sad.

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