15 Best Books for Young Adults and Tweens

books for kids, best books, best books for teens, summer reading, book recommendations for teens

These books are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

Finding good young adult books is a challenge–but getting the right book can encourage young readers and make for great reading escapes. Here at Radical Parenting we want to review some of the best books for young adults and tween readers. We try to pick the best three in each category.

Why is it so important for young adults to read?

We love encouraging young adult readers and tween readers because we think books are the way to teach kids life lessons and provide a safe brain stimulating activity. Here are some other reasons to get the tween in your life a life-changing book:

  1. Tweens Learn Best From Stories: Young adult readers love to learn from characters in their books. Some of the best books out there (including the ones we chose below) have amazing moral lessons, life lessons and characters young adult readers can look up to. As tweens read they are able to put themselves in the shoes of the character and decide how they would make decisions. This is a great mental lesson.
  2. A Safe Activity for Young Adults: As long as the book is appropriate, I can’t quite think of a safer activity for young adults other than reading. During summer breaks or weekends, there is nothing better than helping a tween dive into a great book.
  3. Awesome Books Inspire Awesome Thinking: Books encourage imagination and brain stimulation far more than movies or Facebook. When a tween or young adult picks up a good book their creative juices flow and their imagination is active.

Top Books for Young Adult ReadersBest Books For Young Adults and Tweens

We always choose the best three books in a category and then have our favorites in each category, teen pick and runner ups below. Be sure to leave your favorites in the comments or if you have reviews on our best books for teens.

1. Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

This is a wonderful book series for tweens and young adults. It is full of adventure and magic and works for both boy tweens and girl tweens as summer or fun reading. This book is great for young adults because it is the story of dragons and will entice lots of imagination and adventure.

2. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

This is a lovely and inspiring story for your young adult reader. Debbie is the main character of the story who takes readers along with her on her journey. This is for ages 10 and up and has won a Newbery award as well as the hearts of may tween readers.

3. Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer 

Hope Was Here is a story of a young girl in a small town. The touching tale will bring out the sappy in any reader. Another Newbery Honor book, tweens will feel inspired and take home lessons from Joan Bauer’s story of a young girl from Wisconsin.

Fiction Books for Young Adult ReadersBest Fiction Books for Young Adults and Tweens

If your tween is looking for an escape, these best fiction books are the way to go. The stories are fun and relatable and your young adult reader will love them.

1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Of course, we had to list Harry Potter as one of the best series of all time. Be careful, your tween reader will get totally hooked to these books and you might not be able to pry them out of their hands! These are also great books to listen to on tape with tweens or kids in the car on road trips and vacations.

2.  The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson

This is a funny book of stories about misfits and all of their adventures. If you have a reader with a short attention span or a spunky attitude then this book by Barbara Robinson is for your young adult reader!

3. The Last Book In The Universe by Rodman Philbrick

This interesting book is set in the future and helps to get tween and young adult readers thinking about some bigger questions. What could happen in the future? How do we view reading? How do we value books? Great for both male and female readers The Last Book in the Universe is a great summer read.

Best Non-Fiction Self-Help Books for Young Adults and Tweens

Some tweens are looking for inspiration from their books. These non-fiction picks or self-help books for tweens can teach and inspire.

Non-Fiction Books for Tweens1. Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen, Irene Dunlap

The Chicken Soup series are classics that will always resonate with readers–no matter what age. What I love about the Chicken Soup series is it uses real stories to inspire and teach lessons to kids and tweens.

2. Young Revolutionaries Who Rock by Dallas Jessup

This is a great “How-To Guide for Saving the World One Revolution at a Time” and sets out to inspire and motivate young tweens. Dallas Jessup is calling for youth activism and lays out grand plans in her fun book.

3. Questions Young People Ask, Answers That Work, Volumes 1&2 by Dr Andrea Frayser

This book provides honest workable answers to questions that kids and parents often wrestle with like: Why Don’t I Like Myself? How Do I Know if It’s Real Love? What If My Parents Are Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol? How Can I Protect Myself at School? Can I Be Happy In A Single Parent Family? and More. This is a great how to book that parents and tweens can read together.

Runner-Ups: Best Books for Young Adults and Tweens

1.Be Confident in Who You Are by Annie Fox

Sometimes worrying about what other people think can hold you back from enjoying life and from making choices that reflect who you really are. This book can help you dial down your Opinion-ator and trust yourself more. Fox is a seasoned expert in everything teen, tween and kid and her books and stories really reach young readers.

2. Conversations with Teen Entrepreneurs: Success Secrets of the Younger Generation by Ben Cathers

If you have a young reader with an entrepreneurial spirit than give them some older teens and mentors to look up to! This book helps inspire and give tweens and young adults an accurate view into starting entrepreneurial endeavors.

3. The Ultimate Girls’ Guide to Understanding and Caring for Your Body by Isabel and Emily Lluch

The book covers all the topics preteen and teen girls are wondering about but might not know who to talk to, or might not be comfortable asking an adult about, including hygiene, beauty, healthy eating, periods, bras, acne, social situations, and more. The best part: the book’s authors, Isabel and Emily Lluch, are sisters who are 13 and 16, so they know all about the changes and questions girls have during puberty. The girls give advice on these important topics, along with the advice from a panel of 6 experts in the medical and beauty industries.

Teen Pick: Best Book for Tweens and Young Adults

Here is one of our teen interns remembering which book was their favorite when they were a tween.

Holes by Louis Sachar

“I loved this book because not only was the story great, but it was thrilling and funny at the same time. Every tween has to read this book!” –Maggie, 15

Have you seen our other top picks? 

What are your favorite books for young adults and summer reading lists for tweens? Be sure to let us know!



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