Books for Reluctant Teen Readers

Books for Reluctant Teen Readers

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The key to finding books for reluctant readers is making sure the books have high interest subjects, easy vocabulary, and are less than two hundred pages. The following list contains top picks taken from current and past book lists from the American Library Association's Quick Pick List for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.

01of 10


Getty Images/Zohaib Hussain

Hope and Lizzie are sisters and best friends struggling to take care of one another while their prostitute mother pays them little attention. Life changes dramatically for the sisters when Lizzie sinks into deep depression and attempts to take her life. Hope learns that Lizzie kept a secret journal, a journal her mother doesn't want her to find. The author of Glimpse is Carol Lynch Williams. Recommended for ages 14-18. (Simon and Schuster, 2010. ISBN: 9781416997306)

02of 10

Blank Confession

Detective Rawls is surprised when Shayne Blank comes into his office and confesses to murder. The mysterious teen reveals his story bit by bit through the eyes of two narrators: Detective Rawls and Mikey, a 16-year-old teen who wears suits to school and is a target for bullies. Quick and intense, this 176-page book is a satisfying read for reluctant readers. Pete Hautman is the author of Blank Confession. Recommended for ages 14-18. (Simon and Schuster, 2010. ISBN: 9781416913276)

03of 10

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

After a bomb goes off in her neighborhood, a 17-year-old Israeli girl writes a letter of peace that is tossed into the Gaza Sea. A Palestinian boy discovers it and through a series of e-mails and instant messages the teens exchange feelings that force them to rethink core political beliefs. Full of heartfelt emotion and a detailed history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this book will move readers to a better understanding of young people caught in political conflict. The author of A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is Valerie Zenatti. Recommended for ages 12-18. (Bloomsbury, 2008. ISBN: 9781599902005)

04of 10


Kendra has scars: emotional and physical. Sexually abused at a young age and not able to remember her abuser, Kendra begins to cut herself. The story is told through a series of flashbacks as Kendra talks with her therapist and realizes she may be a victim of a stalker. This is a raw and emotional read that turns into a psychological thriller. Cheryl Rainfield is the author of Scars. Recommended for ages 15-18. (Westside Book, 2010. ISBN: 9781934813324)

05of 10

Some Girls Are

Regina once belonged to the Fearsome Fivesome but is booted out of the group due to a misunderstanding. As an outsider, she begins to see her former friends for who they are: bullies. This is an up-close and personal look at the dynamics of girl groups and friendships in a high school setting. The author of Some Girls Are is Courtney Summers. Recommended for ages 12-14. (Griffin, 2010. ISBN: 9780312573805)

06of 10

Riker's High

For fans of Walter Dean Myers' book Monster, comes another sobering read about a teen dealing with prison life. Martin is arrested for steering- leading an undercover officer to a place in his neighborhood to buy weed. The daily routine of prison life and the emotional and physical scars Martin endures give an honest account of the effect certain choices have on a life. Paul Volponi is the author of Riker's High. Recommended for ages 14-16. (Speak, 2011. ISBN: 9780142417782)

07of 10

Girl Stolen

While waiting in the car for her mother to come back from the pharmacy, 16-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is kidnapped. The blind teen is sitting in the back of her car when it is stolen by the son of a notorious criminal. When the father discovers that Cheyenne is the daughter of a wealthy CEO, he decides to hold her for ransom. Relying on her keen senses and the kindness of Griffin, the criminal's son, Cheyenne plots her escape. The author of Girl Stolen is April Henry. Recommended for ages 12-16. (Henry Holt Books, 2010. ISBN: 9780805090055)

08of 10

The Duff

Bianca is a loyal friend. She is solid, dependable, and according to the cutest boy in school, un-dateable. In fact, he nicknames her The Duff (designated ugly fat friend). Tossing her Cherry Coke into his face, Bianca declares war and thus begins a highly emotional drama where two people discover that both are more than what they seem. Kody Keplinger is the author of The Duff. Recommended for ages 14-18. (Poppy, 2011. ISBN: 9780316084246)

09of 10

One Hundred Young Americans

Award-winning writer and photographer Michael Franzini profiles 100 teens from across America. Each profile explores the unique teenager behind the stereotypes of jock, geek, cheerleader, stoner, and other labels. Rich in color, thought, and appeal, this magnificent portrait book defines what it means to be a young adult. Michael Franzini is the author of g adult. Michael Franzini is the author of One Hundred Young Americans. Recommended for ages 12-18. (Harper Design, 2007. ISBN: 9780061192005)

10of 10

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

In 1994, 11-year-old Chicago gang member, Robert Sandifer, shot and killed a young neighbor girl and was later executed by his own gang members. Based on the true story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer and told through the eyes of a fictional character, this 94-page graphic novel is a disturbing look into gang violence and the society in which it thrives. The author of Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is Greg Neri. Recommended for ages 15-18. (Lee and Low Books, 2010. ISBN: 9781584302674)


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