Best Books of 2016: Top 6 for Teens

These young adult novels will get teens reading and thinking long after “lights out”.  They are all flashlight worthy, weekend reads that will make even the most reluctant readers eager to turn the page.  So gather those gift cards and stock up for the wintery weekends to come!

A group of teenage refugees meet as they are fleeing Prussia during the winter of 1945, As the Nazi Reich is crumbling, Stalin and the Soviets are quickly approaching.  This desperate and unlikely team lie their way on to a refugee ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff.  Heartbreaking tragedy strikes as Sepetys tells the story of the greatest maritime disaster in history. Written in alternating points of view, this suspenseful and inspiring story absolutely should not be missed.  SSPP students loved her first historical fiction novel Between Shades of Gray; Sepetys’ second ya novel is equally compelling.

Dubbed a “top speed page turner”, this incredibly intriguing and suspenseful novel centers around five kids who were kidnapped as children and return home seven years later with no memory of their time away.  The story is told in alternating points of view, and each point of view has a distinct narrative style.  The reader must hunt for clues to the mysterious loss of memory and question which narrators can be trusted.  Full of twists, this is a book for anyone who loves a smart mystery.2.

Code of Honor is most accurately described as a novel with a “ripped from the headlines theme, a fast-paced plot, a diverse protagonist and a focus on loyalty and honor” that can be read in one sitting.  Kamran is living the good life in Pheonix—a homecoming king and star football player on his way to West Point.  but things soon change for Kamran when his older brother is suspected of being a terrorist.  His country and his classmates and even his close friends turn on him as he fights to defend his brother and protect his family.  Lots of action will keep teen readers—and adults—turning the pages of this thought-provoking, relevant novel.

Another thoroughly engrossing mystery that explores memory.  The main character wakes up in the hospital after being seriously injured in a car accident.  She has no memory of the past six weeks, including a recent vacation to Italy.  Questions about events on her trip to Italy and the cause of the accident haunt the character and interest the police.  The mystery unfolds through news stories, blog posts, interviews and social media posts.  This book is simply too good to put down.

This intriguing novel will keep kids thinking long after the last page.  Faith is determined to solve the mystery of her father’s murder.  As she hunts for clues, Faith stumbles upon a magical tree.  The tree only bears fruit when Faith whispers a lie to it. The mystical fruit reveals secrets and dangerous truths.  This is a beautifully written and imaginative novel to consume late into the night.

This British novel tells the story of a teenage girl named Audrey, who suffers from anxiety and depression.  While the premise seems heavy, the book is actually quite funny thanks to Audrey’s quirky mom and sarcastic older brother.  Even when Audrey is feeling down, her voice is darkly humorous and engaging.  Readers will root for Audrey as she recovers from a breakdown and plans to start over at a new school.  An entertaining and relevant read for teens.

Perennial Favorites: The Book Thief, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Between Shades of Gray, Fallen Angels, Homeless Bird, Life as We Knew It,

For more book lists for readers of all ages head to The NYT Book Review Notable Books List or NPR’s Guide to 2016’s Great Reads.

COMING SOON:  Best Books of 2016: Top Picks for Kids 10 and Up


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