Good Books to Read for Young Adults

The natives are starting to get restless.  Most students have been out of school for awhile; some for 2 weeks and some for over a month!  They’ve hung out with their friends (at least online), been to the movies (Eclipse, anyone?), and swam in the pool.  But now, they.are.bored!

This is the prime time to introduce them to some fast, exciting reads.  These books will entertain even the most reluctant of readers I guarantee, er, I promise, er I hope…

In alphabetical order, some good books to read for young adults:

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (audio) – Ever wondered what it would be like to train a bunch of penguins in your basement and then take that show on the road?  Mr. Popper gets to do just that.  This audiobook is short and fun, perfect for a quick getaway.

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan – 14 and up – Nick and Alan are like any everyday family: good-looking, quiet, demon killers… Yeah, they never look for it, but trouble, in the form of evil magicians, always looks for them. So, when Mae and Jamie come to them for help, they are on the job.  Of course, fighting off demons for other people force them to uncover their own demons and once the secret’s out, choices must be made. Fast-paced and action-packed with some romance thrown in for good measure.

The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay
– 12 and up – Trevor is in an orphanage where he meets Maggie and Epictetus. They tell him that his “nightmares” of home are actually memories. Contrary to the Guardians lies, there really are places called “home” and there really are people called “parents”. Maggie and Epictetus want to help Trevor get home.The Purloined Boy is a fast-paced, action packed mystery. We travel with Trevor as he tries to find his way “home”. The humor was subtle but effective. Perfect for the beach.

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman – 12 and up – Brent Bishop goes to his first high school party in his new town. He’s already not dressed correctly then the popular kids start making fun of him.   He decides to get drunk and then he goes driving.  He wants things to end.  What ends is Leah’s life.  Now Brent has to make amends by posting whirligigs in the four corners of the states. He starts helping people.  Is he now a hero or a villian?  Follow Brent’s journey as he tries to salvage what’s left of his life.

The Last Battle by CS Lewis (audio) – 12 and up – We meet the last king of Narnia, King Trillion, and his horse, Jules. Rumor has it that not only is Aslan back, but he’s killing off the talking beasts and destroying the living forests. Not only that, but he’s also teamed up with the Kalorman’s, Narnia’s sworn enemies!  Could this be true?  Trillian sets off to find out only to get captured, beaten, and left for dead. This one is action-packed and you won’t want to turn it off.

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
– 12 and up – Jenna wakes up after being in a coma for a year.  She finds out she was in a car accident that has left her with no knowledge of her past.  Her parents encourage her to watch videos from her childhood but she feels that something is missing.  Things don’t add up and where they live now is not where they lived in the videos.  Also, why does her Grandma hate her so much?  This one keeps you guessing and then gives you a surprise at the end.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – 11 and up – Sam Westing gathers all of his relatives together and they find out that one of them is a murderer.  the relatives are all paired up and given clues.  They can win money by figuring out the murderer.  This one will keep you guessing and trying to determine the killer before the relatives solve the mystery!

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – 11 and up – Percy Jackson finds out he’s a half-blood; born from the union of a Greek God and a human.  He now has to attend Camp Halfblood to learn how to use his powers.  Only problem is on the way to camp all of these monsters from Greek mythology try to kill him.  He’s also falsely accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt and has to go to the underworld to retrieve it.  Lots of action and adventure with a healthy dose of Greek mythology.

The Alchemyst by Scott

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott – 11 and up – Sophie and Josh are fifteen year old twins who would love to own a car. They get summer jobs so they can save up their money.  The summer is pretty uneventful until Dr. John Dee comes on the scene.  Suddenly, the twins are thrown into a fight for their lives; the lives that are foretold in the Book of Mages, the lives that will determine the continued existence of humanity.  Michael Scott laces mythology with adventure, fighting, and magic.  This fantasy will have you looking for the sequel as you try to figure out what’s going to happen next.

These books will keep readers engaged and excited and hold off boredom for at least a week.  Offer them to your customers or their parents, whichever group needs them most!

Happy Reading!

Kathy M Burnette
The Brain Lair

7 thoughts on “Good Books to Read for Young Adults”

  1. All good choices. I have to second The Demon’s Lexicon, which has me impatiently awaiting the sequel. That woman is a genius. The Lexicon has a theme similar to Rob Thurman’s Leandros series. Cal and Nick Leandros are one of my guilty pleasures. You know, the sort of book where you’re on book five in the series and can’t put them down, even though you’re pretty sure the writer needs a refresher course on some basics? I am going to watch with interest how they develop similar themes in such different ways. They are both dealing with the odd subject of demons in the family and what it means to be brothers.

    • Caro,
      I just finished The Demon’s Covenant, book 2 and it focused more on what it means to be family. Brennan gave us some more background on Nick and Alan, including how the dad felt about them being “brothers”. The story on Mae was not really that well-developed though. I look forward to reading the last book!

  2. I really enjoyed The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. (It does say 11 and up so I’m UP ok!) – My main gripe with the list is, The Last Battle by CS Lewis. – Why not count ALL of the Chronicles of Narnia as one book.

    After all it would get the kids to read a bit more.

    • Hm,
      I should have put the whole series on! I just re-read or re-listened to the audio using the order the movies are being produced in and had just finished The Last Battle before writing the article.

      I do think this last book was a little more mature than the other books though.

      What do you think?

  3. My whole family loves the Narnia series – my copy of the set from my own childhood is worn, dog-eared, and has pages falling out. But Lewis does such a good job of bringing narratives to life, even for children. With Dawn Treader coming out soon, I want to get my kids through that book before we see the movie. My oldest has already read it, so I’m planning on reading it to my younger children myself.

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