The Best Books for Teens . . . And All of Us!

I love NPR (National Public Radio). It's how I get 90% of my news. NPR is also known for its well developed lists. Today they came out with NPR's Top 100 Books for Teens, and, boy, did they get it right!

Although there is the requisite Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight series, most of this list's books are strongly character-driven. Number 14 on the list is my recently mentioned Anne of Green Gables--a strong female character that every girl should know. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, ranked #25, develves into the thought process of an autistic teenager. If I Stay, #75, focuses on a girl who has awoken from a coma and, with no memory of her past, must reconstruct her life. Many of the plot-driven books are exciting action stories that I have loved: The Giver (#12), The House of the Scorpion (#93), To Kill a Mockingbird (#3).

Every genre is covered. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series and Paolini's Inheritance series showcase fantasy literature. But science fiction fantasy, realistic fiction, and even historical fiction are well represented, as well.

My favorite thing about this list is that it is not just this year's favorites. Some of the foundational works that have motivated teens for decades are listed. A Separate Peace, The Outsiders, Go Ask Alice, and, on every junior higher's required reading list, Call of the Wild are listed alongside the newest teen literature.

As I read through the list and saw many books I have read, I was excited to see many books that are on my to-read list. It's nice to know I have some good reads to look forward to! With five titles listed in the top 100, John Green is certainly the teen author to watch!

The best thing about this list is that it proves that teen literature is not just for teens! Some of the best books of all time and some of the best of current literature is in the teen market. Don't let a "teen" label keep you from the great characters and stories in literature!

Mike ButlerComment