If you want your teen to develop their reading habit, we have compiled a list of the best classic books for teens to help you out. Although classics may seem boring or intimidating, these books are timeless and introduce worlds of adventures and romance your teen will surely enjoy. Your teen will gain a fresh perspective of the world, and these books will also improve their language skills.
Adrienne Chinn, a bestselling Canadian novelist and poet and the reviewer of this article, says, “These classic books have stood the test of time for good reason. They express universal ideas and concerns in carefully plotted stories that never lose their appeal to the generations of teens who have enjoyed them.”
So, browse our list and add some books to your cart to keep your teens entertained and help them learn.
Our Top Picks
15 Best Classic Books For Teens
1. Best Autobiographical: Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl
“Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl” is one of the most moving tales describing the Holocaust. The diary was discovered in the attic where Anne spent the last years of her life. In the journal, Anne gives vivid details of her experiences during World War II. The book reminds us of the horrors of the war and is a testament to the human spirit. It gives a commentary on the frailty of life and human courage. It is the most recommended book for teens. Here’s a video that will help you select the right book for your teenager.
2. Best Coming-Of-Age: Little Women
“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott describes the life of the March family post the American Civil War in the 19th century. The love and compassion that the sisters have for each other is noteworthy. It is believed that the March family is largely based on Alcott’s real-life family.
3. Best Teenage Classic: Pride And Prejudice
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
“Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen’s comedy of manners, is one of the most popular classic novels of all time. It features the civilized repartee between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet. “Pride and Prejudice” is a classic teenage book for teens. This video will help you understand whether this is the right book for your teen.
4. Best Pulitzer Prize Classic: To Kill A Mockingbird
“To Kill A Mockingbird,” a stupendous novel about childhood in the Southern town and the crisis of conscience, became a critical success and a bestseller soon after its publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was also adapted into a film that went on to win several Academy Awards. Dramatic, compassionate and deeply moving, “To Kill A Mockingbird” takes the readers to the roots of human behavior. This is one of the best classic novels for teens. Click on the video to know more about the book.
5. Best Victorian Age Novel: Jane Eyre
“Jane Eyre” is a story about Jane, the titular character, an orphan who is subjected to extreme cruelty at Logwood Charity School. She nonetheless emerges triumphant, unbroken in spirit and with her integrity intact. She later takes up job as a governess, falls in love and marries Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their marriage.
6. Best Dystopian Theme: The Hunger Games
In America, a young girl, Katniss Everdeen, is chosen to leave her impoverished district and travel to the Capitol for a battle in the savage Hunger Games. But for Katniss, winning the Games puts her deeper in danger as she fights against the strict social order of Panem.
7. Best Timeless Classic Novel: The Hobbit
In “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo Baggins is a well-to-do and a respectable hobbit who lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until Gandalf, the wizard, chooses him to take part on an adventure from which he may never return. The book received instant critical acclaim when it was published in 1937. It is now recognized as a timeless classic.
8. Best Alienation Theme Book: The Catcher In The Rye
“The Catcher in the Rye” has been synonymous with cynical adolescence ever since it made its debut in 1951. It narrates the story of the life of a 16-year-old, Holden Caulfield, after he is expelled from school. His observations about what he encounters – from the teachers to the phonies – capture the real essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
9. Best Trilogy And Fantasy Novel: The Lord Of The Rings
The three-volume epic, “Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien, chronicles the War of the Ring, in which Frodo and his friends set out to destroy the evil Ring of Power and restore peace to Middle Earth. The trilogy has established some of the most popular and enduring tropes in fantasy literature.
Price: $ 11.49
10. Best Science-Fiction Novel: The Giver
In “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, Jonas’s world is near perfect. There is no pain, war or fear. Every person is assigned a role. When Jonas turns twelve, he is offered the opportunity to receive special training from The Giver. Only The Giver holds the memories of the real pleasure and pain of life. Now it is the time for Jonas to learn the truth about the society, restore emotions, and bring balance to their world.
11. The Outsiders
S.E. Hilton wrote “The Outsiders” when she was just 16 years old. The book follows the struggles of children caught up in the class struggle. Ponyboy is a greaser and is quite proud of it. He is also willing to rumble against “socs,” (short for social), just for the sake of his fellow greasers. But on a terrible night, Ponyboy’s friend does something attricious, which gets under Ponyboy’s skin.
“Anne Of Green Gables,” a collection of eight novels by L.M. Montgomery, narrates the story of Anne Shirley. Anne is a spunky red-headed orphan who arrives in Prince Edward Island to help an elderly brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, run their farm. When she realizes that the Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead of a girl, she tries to win them over.
13. The Time Machine
“The Time Machine” gives a traveler’s firsthand account of his journey to the year 802,701 A.D. The story launched H.G. Well’s successful career and earned him the tag as the father of science fiction. The book will continue to enthrall bookworms for generations to come.
“Lord Of The Flies” is an enthralling story about a group of small boys marooned on a coral island. It is all fun and games initially, but it later turns into a nightmare of death and panic for the boys. “Lord Of The Flies” is a stimulating piece of literature that gives a brutal portrait of human nature.
“The Princess Bride” is a masterpiece by William Goldman. The tale is about a handsome farm boy, who, aided by a gentle giant and drunken swordsman, rescues Buttercup, a beautiful princess. The book has everything that teenagers like – good and evil men, giants, thrill, love, romance and even miracles.
How To Choose The Right Classic Books And Novels For Teens?
Here are a few things to consider before buying a book or novel for a teen.
- Interest: Consider your teen’s preferences when choosing a suitable novel. Explore different genres, including fiction, fantasy, adventure, and more, to ensure they enjoy reading it.
- Age: Check the synopsis and age recommendation of the book you choose to avoid exposing your teenager to inappropriate content, theme, or story.
- Language: The language and style of writing play an essential role in building your child’s interest in a book. Ensure the book is easy to read and understand for their age but challenging enough to improve their vocabulary and writing skills.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Wedetso Chirhah has a Masters in English Literature and writes extensively on books. He prioritizes readability and quality. An avid reader himself, Wedetso recommends Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” as a must-read for every teen. This bestseller allows young minds to understand and explore human nature in ways they haven’t done before.
The teenage years are the best time to develop the habit of reading, and the best place to start is classics. While classic novels and books might seem intimidating owing to their complex plots and historical context, they can set the base for your teen to pick books regularly in the future. However, it all depends on the book you choose. When opting for a classic book or novel for a teen, consider the themes and genres that interest them, and you can’t be wrong with your selection.
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Adrienne Chinn(BA, MA, Dip KLC Hons)
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