34 Best Books For 13- & 14-Year-Olds In 2024, Teacher-Recommended

The best books for 13- and 14-year-olds should be engaging and make children think. They should encourage children to read to improve their literary proficiency. Children may be inclined to different genres—while some may be more inclined towards fiction, others may prefer autobiographies and non-fiction. Thus, choosing the right books for teens can be challenging. To help you pick the best ones for them, I have consulted Elisabeth Daly, a book blogger and English teacher, and taken her recommendations. She says, “The teenage years are a critical time to engage readers. Inculcating a reading habit in teens can be challenging, but you can indulge them by introducing them to different book genres. This list has a variety of books that continue to engage 13- and 14-year-olds.” Read on to find some parent-recommended books you can consider.

Children may be inclined to different genres—while some may be more inclined towards fiction, others may prefer autobiographies and non-fiction. Thus, choosing a book that suits them is a challenging task. To help you pick the best ones for them, we have compiled some parent-recommended books you can consider. Read on.

In This Article

1. Best Fantasy:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Image: J.k. Rowling

Author: J.K. Rowling

It is quite likely that your teenager is already on board the Hogwarts Express. But if they are not and would love to explore the fantasy world of Harry Potter, then start with where it all started. ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ is the first book in the best-selling series. In this fantasy classic, we meet the young wizard Harry Potter and how he lands at the prestigious wizardry school of Hogwarts. Teenagers will love the elements of imagination and will relate to Harry’s journey of self-discovery.

Item Weight: 8 ounces

2. Best Protagonist:Holes

Holes (Holes Series) Paperback Image: Louis Sachar

Author: Louis Sachar

A young boy named Stanley attends a boys camp organized on an old, dry lake bed. The warden there is a mysterious character. He instructs each boy to dig five feet deep holes every day. But digging is more than a camp activity, and the warden is looking for something. Will Stanley uncover the truth before it’s too late? Your teenager will love reading this mystery.

3. Best Literature:The Giver


Author: Lois Lowry

The Giver is a dystopian novel set in a controlled society where emotions and memories are suppressed for the sake of stability. A young boy named Jonas is chosen to become the Receiver of Memory and is tasked with holding the community’s past. As he receives memories from the Giver, he slowly begins to understand the cost of conformity and the importance of freedom and individuality. The story follows Jonas’ awakening to the true nature of his world and his efforts to bring change as he tries to save someone he loves.

4. Best Fiction:The Martian: Classroom Edition

Author: Andy Weir

This is the classroom-reading appropriate version of the acclaimed novel. The amazing story is about an astronaut named Mark Watney who is stranded on the planet Mars after a mission to the red planet goes wrong. Mark is considered dead by his team members, but the astronaut perseveres and fights against all the odds for survival.

5. Bst Explores:Jasper Jones

Author: Craig Silvey

Jasper Jones is an outcast teenager who arrives at 13-year-old Charlie’s doorstep one night, asking for help. Charlie agrees to help, and the next thing we know is that the duo is on a trail in the jungle. They discover something in the forest that night, which changes their lives. ‘Jasper Jones’ is an excellent coming of age book that will be more appreciated by 14-year-olds.

protip_icon Quick tip
When picking a book for teens, look for options that are entertaining, inspire the reader to accept their individuality, and offer positive views on life.

6. Best Narrative:A Long Walk To Water


Author: Linda Sue Park

Based on a true story, this thought-provoking novel narrates the stories of two children in alternating sections. One story revolves around Nya, a young girl in South Sudan who needs to walk long distances to fetch water for her family’s survival. The other centers on Salva, one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, who flees civil war and travels across dangerous terrain to find his family. Although set decades apart, these two stories speak of the same resilience and courage shown by both and highlight the power of hope amidst adversity.

7. Best Mystical:Eragon

Eragon Image: Christopher Paolini

Author: Christopher Paolini

Eragon is a teenage boy who discovers something that looks like a blue stone in the forest. However, it turns out to be a dragon’s egg, and a dragon hatchling comes out of it one day. The dragon turns out to be a part of a bigger picture. Soon, Eragon’s life is filled with magic, mystery, and fantasy and he is entrusted to finish the dark side using a sword and the dragon.

8. Best Mysterious Book:Coraline

Coraline Image: Neil Gaiman

Author: Neil Gaiman

It is considered to be one of the best fantasy books for adolescents and teens, which displays the author’s literary expertise. This amazing story is about a young girl who moves into a new house with her parents. There are fourteen doors in the house, but the fourteenth one is locked. Coraline unlocks the door to find a house exactly like hers on the other side. There is even a second version of her parents. But there is more than what meets the eye in this mysterious place, and Coraline is determined to find out.

9. Best Heart-Touching Book:Five Feet Apart

Author: Rachael Lippincott

Five Feet Apart tells the love story of Stella and Will, both living with a medical condition that demands they maintain a safe distance from each other to avoid life-threatening cross contamination. As they bond during their hospital stay, their connection deepens. This touching young adult novel explores the challenges of living with a chronic illness from a young age and the profound impact of finding love in unexpected places.

10. Best Twisting Narrative: The Inheritance Games

The Inheritance Games Image: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games is one of the bestsellers, with over 1.5 million copies sold. The protagonist, Avery Grambs, has some plans, such as surviving high school, winning a scholarship, and moving ahead. But, everything changes when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies, leaving her his entire fortune. To receive the fortune, she has to move into the sprawling Hawthorne house occupied by the family that Tobias had dispossessed, who had expected to inherit his wealth. It is the story of Avery, who is stuck in this dangerous world of wealth and tricks she must navigate to survive.

11. Best Entertaining Classic:The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) Image: Rick Riordan

Author: Rick Riordan

It is the fifth book in the best-selling fantasy series. Percy Jackson is the head of a mythical group called the Olympians. The Olympians are amid a battle with the evil group called the Titans. Kronos, the head of the Titans, is all set to invade New York City and Percy Jackson and the Olympians have to save the city from the evil forces.

Item Weight: 9.8 ounces

12. Best Surprising Novel:The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book Image: Neil Gaiman

Author: Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens wanders into a graveyard as a toddler where the spirits develop a liking for him and decide to raise him as one of their own. Nobody grows into a young boy who wants to see the world beyond the graveyard. And when he does, he finds out the bitter truth that there are dangers far greater than spirits lurking in the open world.

13. Best Secretive Novel:We Were Liars

We Were Liars Image: Image: Ellen Raskin

Author: E. Lockhart

The novel is a shocking and interesting tale about the distinguished and respected Sinclair family, who hides their secrets and lies by hiding them behind handsome appearances. This story is set on a private island where the Sinclair family spends the summer. It revolves around a mysterious two years ago when Cadence Sinclair, the narrator, was 15 years old. As the story progresses, Cadence experiences a rollercoaster of hardships, uncovers secrets and lies about her family, and in the end, the shocking truth of the tragedy is revealed.

14. Best Handbook For Life Skills :Life Skills For Teens

Author: Karen Harris

Covering a wide range of life skills, such as proper communication, decision-making, emotional well-being, cooking, and financial literacy, this book equips teens with practical tips for success. Through relatable examples and interactive exercises, Harris addresses the challenges teenagers often encounter. The amazing book is a comprehensive guide for instilling essential life skills and helping your teens navigate an overwhelming yet exciting phase of their lives.

15. Best Family Thriller:The Cousins

Author: Karen M. McManus

The thriller novel unravels a gripping mystery when three estranged cousins – Aubrey, Milly, and Jonah – are invited to their grandmother’s island resort, despite never having met her. Plunged into a web of family secrets and betrayals, they uncover a decades-old scandal that shattered their family’s legacy. As the cousins dig deeper, they unearth shocking revelations that alter their perceptions. If your teens love novels with unexpected plot twists, this could be their next favorite book.

16. Best Dramatic Book:The Downstairs Girl

The Downstairs Girl Image: Ellen Raskin

Author: Stacey Lee

Set in New South, the book is about Jo Kuan, a 17-year-old girl working as a maid for the cruel daughter of one of Atlanta’s wealthiest men during the day and as a pseudonymous author of an advice column in the newspaper at night. When her column gains popularity, she uses her power to write on important societal issues. But, she faces backlash when she challenges the ideas about gender and race using her column, with her opponents trying to uncover the identity of Miss Sweetie. Amidst these challenges, she learns about her past and is forced to decide whether she is ready to unveil her real self or continue to stay in the shadows.

Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.56 x 1.06 x 8.25 inches

17. Best Realistic Fiction:Refugee

Refugee Image: Alan Gratz

Author: Alan Gratz

The story revolves around three children- Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud and their families who aim to flee their violent countries. They are separated by decades and continents but are all on a difficult journey with their families in search of refuge. These characters face the most harrowing dangers during this journey, ranging from almost drowning in the waters to facing betrayals from those whom they trusted. But there is one thing common between them: the hope for a better tomorrow. It is a realistic fiction book that reveals an interesting connection between each character by the end of the novel.

Item Weight: 8.5 ounces

protip_icon Quick fact
Tolkien, the author of “The Hobbit,” started creating the 11 languages, mythology, and middle earth long before he thought of the characters.

18. Best Book On Young Offenders:Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl Image: Eoin Colfer

Author: Eoin Colfer

Artemis is a twelve-year-old millionaire. But the boy is in no way humble and always has some devious ideas on his mind. One day, Artemis discovers a world of fairies and kidnaps one of them. However, these fairies are more powerful than he thinks and also have access to high-tech equipment. The kidnapping marks the beginning of the war between Artemis and the fairy world.

Item Weight: 7.2 ounces

19. Best Adventurous Book:Shadow Jumper


Author: J. M. Forster

Shadow Jumper revolves around Jack, a teenage boy with an allergy to sunshine, a condition that restricts him from venturing outdoors during the day. When his scientist father goes missing, Jack and his new friend Beth embark on a search to find him, as he is the only one who can save Jack from his condition. Follow Jack on his quest to unravel the mysteries of his newfound powers and find his dad in this exciting adventure mystery book.

20. Best For Cognitive Fitness:The Logic Puzzle Book For Teens

Author: Chris King

Chris King’s compilation of puzzles engages young minds with 100 different logic puzzles, riddles, crosswords, anagrams, cryptograms, number-based puzzles, and more. It is an entertaining way to enhance your teen’s cognitive abilities, analytical thinking, and problem solving skills. This complexity level of the puzzles increases as your children make progress, thus keeping them engaged for hours and improving their mental dexterity.

21. Best Resistance Novel:The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give Image: Angie Thomas

Author: Angie Thomas

The main character, Starr Carter, a 16-year-old Black girl, balances her life between her poor neighborhood and the fancy suburban school where she attends. The twist in the novel comes when her childhood friend Khalil is murdered by a white policeman. This thriller novel explores the journey of Starr and how she fights the odds of police brutality, racism, and activism. Khalil’s death becomes national news, and Starr is the only witness to the incident. What Starr does or does not do brings new twists to the story.

22. Best Sea Adventure Tale:Moby Dick

Moby Dick Image: Herman Melville

Author: Herman Melville

Captain Ahab loses a leg in a sea accident caused by a giant white whale. Ahab wants revenge and decides to hunt down the whale. He assembles a crew, instills courage in them, and sets sail to find the elusive whale named Moby Dick. But will Ahab succeed in the mission or will the giant whale get the best of him again? Moby Dick was written more than 150 years ago and makes a thrilling story to read even today.

protip_icon Quick fact
Moby Dick is a great book to help your child understand the consequences of greed, ego, and different perspectives. Beyond adventure and action, it symbolizes morality and man’s place within nature.

Item Weight: 11.9 ounces

23. Best Book On Family Bond:Far From The Tree

Far From The Tree Image: Robin Benway

Author: Robin Benway

It is a contemporary novel that revolves around three teen characters- Grace, Joaquin, and Maya, who discover they are siblings. When Grace, an adopted only child, gets pregnant at the age of 16 years, she puts her baby up for adoption and goes out to find her biological mother. To make things simpler for Grace, her parents reveal they do not know the whereabouts of her birth mother, but they know that she has an older biological half-brother and a younger sister. Grace begins searching for her biological family and finds Maya and Joaquin, who are her siblings. As the siblings start to bond, they must begin searching for their birth mom.

24. Best In Murder Mystery:They All Had A Reason

Author: Michele Leathers

Meet Charlotte, a sixteen-year-old who believes her life would be perfect if not for Bellany Silverfield, a seemingly flawless girl with everything Charlotte desires and lacks. When Bellany is murdered, Charlotte’s life takes a dark turn. Fearing she might be a suspect due to the circulating rumors, Charlotte finds herself questioning her friends’ loyalties, and instead, relies on a new acquaintance. Introduce your teen to this engaging murder mystery where Charlotte navigates loyalty, trust, and deception.

25. Best Suspensing Novel:A Study In Charlotte

A Study In Charlotte Image: Brittany Cavallaro

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

The story is about James Watson, who is always intrigued by Charlotte Holmes because their great-great-great grandfathers make one of the most infamous pairs. Charlotte and James end up studying at the same Connecticut boarding school, where Charlotte clears her intentions that she is not looking for friends. However, as the story progresses, a known student dies under mysterious circumstances. They have no option but to come together as they are being framed for the murder. This enthralling tale will take your child on a ride.

26. Best Survival Story:47 Days

Author: Annette Oppenlander

Set against the backdrop of World War II, this book chronicles the courageous efforts of two young boys, Helmut and Günter, to escape the clutches of Nazi Germany. The young fugitives were on the run for 47 days after they refused to obey Hitler’s last propaganda command–to send all 15- and 16-year-old boys to the front in defense of the fatherland. Their determination to resist oppression and seek freedom even in the face of danger and death makes this a riveting historical fiction book.

27. Best Funny Narrative:I Have A Bad Feeling About This

Author: Jeff Strand

The hilarious young adult novel follows the misadventures of Henry Lambert and his friends on a wilderness survival camp. As they face bizarre situations involving an overeager and brutal camp director to an unexpected debt collector and his goons, their attempts to survive become a comical rollercoaster of mishaps. The witty and sarcastic writing makes for an entertaining read, and your teens can get to experience a series of absurd antics in this unconventional story.

28. Best Horror Thriller:Escape Room


Author: Maren Stoffels

In this young adult thriller, Alissa, Sky, Miles, and Mint are plunged into a chilling game of survival. When they participate in an escape room game, the stakes escalate dangerously as the Game Master refuses to let them out. As the game turns sinister, they must unravel cryptic clues to escape or face dire consequences. This tense horror thriller will keep your 13- or 14-year-old on the edge of their seat as they try to figure out an escape along with the novel’s protagonists.

29. Best Survival Guide :Teen Girl’s Survival Guide

Author: Jenn Higgins

Gift your teen girl this handbook that covers a wide range of relevant teen topics such as body image, self-esteem, mental health, peer pressure, and relationships. The comprehensive guide will help them overcome problems and feel less isolated as they grow older. It offers insights and practical advice to help teenage girls thrive as they navigate the challenges of adolescence.

30. Best Book For Stress-Relief :OMG I’m So Bored !

Author: La Bibli des Ados

Filled with engaging activities such as Sudokus, puzzles, mazes, and even mandalas for some stress-relief coloring, this book offers creative and entertaining ways to combat adolescent boredom. It includes 100 activities to help your child escape the monotony, give their brains a workout, and spark their creativity.

31. Best Crime Fiction:The Girl In The Picture

Author: Alexandra Monir

The teenage murder mystery unfolds at Oyster Bay Prep, where the popular heartthrob Chace Porter ends up mysteriously dead. Nicole is linked to him by a photo found in his belongings, and this sets off a whirlwind of questions, as Chase was dating Nicole’s best friend Lana Rivera. As suspicion intensifies, Nicole becomes the prime murder suspect. The narrative of the book shifts between Nicole and Lana, revealing a complex web of relationships and secrets and making for an engaging read.

32. Best In Sportsman Spirit:The Final Four

Author: Paul Volponi

This book takes you to the exhilarating world of the NCAA March Madness Final Four, where the semifinal between the Michigan Spartans and the Troy Trojans is underway. The exciting tale of sportsmanship follows the individual paths and experiences of four players–Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J–and highlights their journey from being basketball-loving kids to formidable contenders.

33. Best For Career Planning:Career Planning For Teens

Author: Seth Hicks

Career planning can be an overwhelming step for young adults. This resourceful guide offers step-by-step strategies for teens to navigate the path toward a fulfilling career. It helps them explore their interests and strengths, use that knowledge to narrow down career options, and create a structured game plan to achieve their goals. Equip your teens with the tools they need for a successful career with this helpful book.

34. Best For Self-Regulation:The Teens Self-Regulation Workbook

Author: Vivian Foster

Through a series of interactive exercises and techniques, this workbook guides teens in managing their emotions, impulses, and behaviors. It addresses stress, anxiety, and struggles unique to adolescence, offering practical advice to combat these issues. The book also covers topics such as anger management, conflict resolution, and communication and helps children cultivate a sense of control and self-regulation.

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose The Right Books For 13- And 14-Year-Olds?

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a suitable book for a 13- or 14-year-old.

  1. Interests: Select books with themes your child is interested in. If they enjoy history, look for historical fiction or non-fiction books. If they like science, consider choosing science fiction or books about space or how the world works. Also, explore the options popular in teen book clubs to stay abreast of the latest literary trends.
  1. Length:Most 14-year-olds find it challenging to concentrate on a book for too long. Ensure the selected book has an appropriate length to keep your child engaged.
  1. Difficulty: Ensure you pick a challenging book that can intrigue a 14-year-old reader but make sure it is not so difficult that they get frustrated and give up. A suitable book should help enhance their language skills and vocabulary.
  1. Age-appropriateness: While most children in this age group are ready for more complex storylines, it is best to ensure the book is appropriate for their age and avoid anything violent, scary, or mature.
  1. Reviews: Check the reviews left by other parents to determine if a book is suitable for your child.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Wedetso Chirhah, our product writer and reviewer, specializes in writing about books and children’s products. He is an avid reader himself and has a knack for identifying the best books for teens and other age groups. After in-depth examination, he has curated this list of the best books for 13- and 14-year-olds after conducting thorough research and going through various user reviews. He has provided a brief description of each of these books to help you choose the right book based on your child’s preferences.

The Bottom Line

These are just a few of the best books for 13- and 14-year-olds. Starting your teen’s reading journey with some of the best-selling classic fantasy novels, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, can enhance their imagination. On the other hand, books like The Giver reflect on ideas of personal freedom. While The Martian: Classroom Edition is ideal for science fiction enthusiasts, as it blends adventure, humor, and science. If a book is exciting and your child is a bookworm, they will likely finish it in a day or two. So either prepare to buy many books or get your teenager a library membership. Regardless of what you do, ensure that your kids read books instead of using electronic devices.

Infographic: Points To Remember Before Buying Books For 13 And 14-Year-Olds

In addition to educational books, reading fiction, non-fiction, magazines, and other books can provide children with several advantages, primarily less screen time. But there are a few crucial factors to consider when selecting books for 13 and 14-year-olds. So, look at the infographic below for some key points to remember.

Things To Consider Before Buying Books for 13 And 14-Year-Olds (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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