Help a 14-year-old girl find some books to love
February 10, 2014 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I am helping out a 14-year-old girl who needs as much experience reading as she can get, and I'm eager for your suggestions. Details inside.

I asked her which books she recently enjoyed, and she listed:

The Catcher in the Rye
Ms. Peregrine's Home for Peculiars
Hate List
Hollow City
Before I Fall

The Catcher in the Rye is encouraging, and I'd like to introduce her to more enduring classics and outstanding literature (is it too early for The Great Gatsby?). However, I primarily want to find well-written books that will engage her. The rest of the titles on the list are YA genre titles that I'm only glancingly familiar with, so it's not entirely clear to me what level she's reading at or how and how much I can push her to really develop a love and an eye for good writing and storytelling. She has a preference for adolescent female protagonists, but I'm open to everything.

I've seen this thread and this thread, which had some great suggestions, but I am hoping that I can get some really on-target suggestions based on the Netflix-style algorithm that you will hopefully apply to the titles I mentioned. I already plan to recommend Sherlock Holmes and Raymond Chandler to her for mysteries, but want to develop a good list that will see her through the year.

Many thanks!
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Education (54 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not that up on current YA, but Madeline L'Engle and Cynthia Voigt should be good authors for her.
posted by Kriesa at 2:14 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just to be clear, there is lots of modern YA that I'd call enduring and outstanding, so don't dismiss the genre outright. It doesn't have to be Fitzgerald to be great literature.

I'd recommend:

The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
posted by mynameisluka at 2:14 PM on February 10, 2014 [8 favorites]

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!
posted by scody at 2:17 PM on February 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell would be my suggestion, too!
posted by Ostara at 2:20 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is a sequel to Miss Peregrin's (which is a delightful book), so she would probably like that.

Seconding The Book Thief.
posted by cooker girl at 2:33 PM on February 10, 2014

How about Diary of Anne Frank? I just pre-read it for my own kid, but she's too young for it still. There are a few versions out there now.

Also, House on Mango Street or other YA books by Sandra Cisneros?

Another mom once gave me sage advice that kids read successfully when they read characters their own age. I've found this to be true for my kids. I read Gatsby really young, but not until I was older did I really get the full force of the book.
posted by mamabear at 2:34 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Special topics in calamity physics

Graphic novels, but Fables (i'm fairly sure there is nothing too adult in Fables)

Hunger Games is surprisingly good.

Neil Gaiman's books. (Probably NOT Sandman. Adult content, graphic violence, etc. but all his book-books probably work.)

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Ronald Dhal does odd quirky stunning odd books like Gaiman

And Agatha Christie!
posted by Jacen at 2:35 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, if you're in the US, please do talk to a librarian! My city library (the main branch) has a dedicated teen space and those librarians have been a godsend for my reluctant teen reader.
posted by cooker girl at 2:35 PM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
posted by Emanuel at 2:37 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you're trying to help her get as much reading experience as possible, then leave aside your prejudices about what makes "encouraging" reading. Your young friend has excellent taste in books; Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City are fantastic, wonderfully written works of literary fiction, and I keep being surprised when people remind me they are YA. Before I Fall is more clearly in the YA genre but is also a wonderfully written novel.

She seems both older and more mature as a reader to me than some of the above suggestions. I am 2nding The Book Thief and suggesting also The Fault in Our Stars.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:41 PM on February 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

Hollow City and Ms. Peregrine are very, very good stories and very well written. Hate List is a very popular book and on par with more traditional Newbery winning/nominated YA novels.

From this list, she seems to be very fond of a slight supernatural vibe. Like it's been mentioned above, don't write off YA titles. It's not all Twilight and silliness, some of the most intellectually and emotionally challenging have been YA titles. Many titles blend an otherworld environment with some form of mystery. Specifically, titles by Robin Wasserman Book of Blood and Shadow or Brenna Yovanoff, The Replacement. In fact, I can't say enough about Yovanoff. Her books are very beautifully written and hit on some very difficult subjects. Paper Valentine is not to be missed.

Similar to the Hate List is The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler. He's the guy who wrote the Lemony Snicket books and in classic Roald Dahl fashion, as he translates to an older audience he gets even more entertaining.

Similar to Ms. Peregrine, you could go with The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace. There's a sequel to Ms. Peregrine coming out soon, but I'm sure she'll find that on her own.

I would suggest Agatha Christie rather than Chandler initially, merely because there's a lot of casual sexism...actually all of the older mysteries are going to have that and it can be off-putting. The Elizabeth Peters mysteries are a good alternative. Amelia Peabody is a great character and the books gave me a love of mysteries and archeaology that still hasn't abated.

If your main focus is to help her develop a love of story and reading, then I wouldn't obsess a great deal about the classics but rather build her vocabulary of good books so that she wants to read those things of her own free will.

And in my opinion, it's always too early for Gatsby, but I'm one of those rare librarians that can't stand Fitzgerald.
posted by teleri025 at 2:45 PM on February 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

The Pigman, by Paul Zindel

If she's open to SF/Fantasy, try Spaceling and Earthchild by Doris Piserchia.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:48 PM on February 10, 2014

I really loved the Harper Hall trilogy by Anne McCaffrey. The first two books have a teenage female protagonist and the third book has a teenage male protagonist because the female (Menolly) grew up. The whole Dragonriders of Pern series is great.

This summer I read Starglass by MeFi's own PhoBWanKenobi and loved it. Again, female protagonist.

I also would recommend Agatha Christie, as mentioned above. I still love The Man in the Brown Suit where a young woman chooses adventure and solving a mystery over getting married out of convenience.
posted by jillithd at 2:52 PM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

If she is asking for mysteries, Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series starting with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is good. Her idea of "good writing" may differ from yours. That's okay.
posted by soelo at 2:54 PM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding "The Fault in Our Stars." Though he writes for the YA set, even as an adult I enjoy John Green's work. TFiOS has a very strong female protagonist, which is one of her preferences that you listed.

Not so sure I'd agree with recommending the Hunger Games series. Sure, it's got a strong female protagonist, but I found (more so in the books than in the movie) that there were more superficial concerns than I'd prefer to see.
posted by tckma at 2:58 PM on February 10, 2014

Also, I just wanted to add that if you want to provide this young women with a variety of literary protagonists, you're going to have to be explicit about that. Caucasian authors and characters, for example, seem disproportionately represented on the YA fiction shelves. If you want strong female characters, POC, and/or anything broader than straight hetero love interests, it's helpful to know that.

And while you're asking for fiction, I'll just point out that I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at 13 or 14 and it exploded my teenaged mind in the best possible way.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:02 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Gayle Forman writes great YA. I just finished Just One Day and it's much deeper and more thought-provoking that the blurb would lead you to believe.
posted by jabes at 3:02 PM on February 10, 2014

I adored the His Dark Materials series at that age. I remember sitting in a hammock and crying as I finished the last book. It's totally engaging but still very thought-provoking. And it has a fantastic female protagonist. She starts out a bit younger, but ages as the series progresses.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:02 PM on February 10, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think that if she likes reading it, it's fine. I wouldn't push the "classics" on anyone. If she's reading at grade level, keep her going. Books with movies attached are also fine, especially if other kids are talking about the films.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:05 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I loved The Enchanted Forest Chronicles when I was in late middle-school/early high school. Elements of fantasy, strong female character, and just very honest and frank, IMHO. It may be a bit juvenile though

She sounds like an advanced reader. I don't think it's too early for Gatsby at all, especially if she likes the Leonardo Dicaprio tie in.

On the adult side - i was a big fan of I Never Promised you a Rose Garden by Hannah Green

On Preview - BIG fan of His Dark Materials. seconding that!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 3:06 PM on February 10, 2014

The Phantom Tollbooth


The Divergent series

The Hunger Games series
posted by bearwife at 3:07 PM on February 10, 2014

Oh, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

You might see how she does with Oliver Twist, too.
posted by bearwife at 3:09 PM on February 10, 2014

She'd probably enjoy The Outsiders. I'd also recommend Like Mandarin and Wanderlove by metafilter's own Kirsten Hubbard. They're wonderful, beautifully written books about navigating modern girlhood.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:17 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

American Gods and Anansi Boys. The Powers trilogy by LeGuin. Jane Eyre. Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming series.
posted by emjaybee at 4:35 PM on February 10, 2014

I've read Miss Peregrine's Home ... although not the sequel, Hollow City. The most similar books I've read that have female protagonists instead are The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and Etiquette and Espionage. You probably can't tell from the descriptions, but they generally feature kids off away from adults and getting smart with each other and/or with the things they encounter in unpredictable fantasy situations. I suspect she'd like Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase too--another fantasy with a female protagonist. In contrast to the other two, there are significant male characters as well as a more structured/systematic fantasy world, but like Miss Peregrine's ... there's a very slight, middle-grade/YA-appropriate aspect of horror to it too.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:52 PM on February 10, 2014

Here are some books that seem like they might be interesting for her:

Code Name Verity (teenage female protagonists, a little slow to start in my opinion but amazing/heartbreaking ending)
Night Circus (beautiful, magical, just lovely)
When She Woke (retelling of The Scarlet Letter set in future)
The Fifth Wave (fun, quick moving dystopian YA but much better than the average)
The Beginning of Everything (YA with good voice)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (YA w/ vampires, but really well done)

I think that you might also find some good suggestions in here:

School Library Journal: Best Adult Books for Teens

The Alex Awards are given by ALA (American Library Association) to books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults
posted by pie_seven at 4:53 PM on February 10, 2014

Girl, by Blake Nelson. Sex, drugs, angst, the 90s. I enjoyed it a lot when I was that age.
posted by Diablevert at 4:57 PM on February 10, 2014

Un Lun Dun, by China Mieville, which subverts the Chosen Child fantasy narrative rather nicely and has a relatable, but heroic, adolescent heroine. If she's read Jane Eyre, try the Flight of Gemma Harding which is an interesting retelling.

If she can handle the themes, Tell the Wolves I'm Home is about two teenage sisters, dealing with their own internal adolescent pressures while their mother is dealing with the death of her brother to AIDS back in the 1980's when AIDS was a Terrible Curse Brought Upon Them That Deserved It. It's beautifully written and really portrays the internal life of a teen compassionately but accurately. It is the best book I read in 2012.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:59 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is perfect - it would fit your requirements nicely - and it has a young female protagonist.

For fun - Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series is a kick and a half and perfect for a good reader her age.

When I was young, I loved to read but I associated classics with what I was forced to read in school. I wanted to read other, more current material, especially about people my own age, when I was reading for pleasure. Years later, when I was pregnant and had to spend a lot of time being still in an attempt to complete the pregnancy, I began to read classics and that's when I appreciated them.

I think the more a person reads the easier it is to read and the easier it is the more the person wants to read - all you have to do is get the ball rolling and it will take off on its own - providing, of course, that there are no learning disabilities to interfere. I knew a teacher years ago who gave her difficult students reading assignments from comic books - the old-fashioned comic books - because it started the reading-for-pleasure process that would pay off so handsomely over the entire lifetime.

Your young reader sounds like she knows what she likes - does she have a library card?
posted by aryma at 5:09 PM on February 10, 2014

I forgot -- LeGuin's The Wizard of Earthsea trilogy, as well as The Once and Future King duology, and Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy.

Oh, to be young and reading these books for the first time . . .
posted by bearwife at 5:15 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Has anyone mentioned Robin McKinley yet? Beauty and The Hero and the Crown were some of my favorites as an adolescent.
posted by celtalitha at 5:25 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I feel like I found Ellen Raskin's "The Westing Game" around that age, and it made me feel older and smarter for having read it.
posted by nevercalm at 5:26 PM on February 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Hate List-- Jennifer Brown wrote this, and she has several more books. Bitter End, Perfect Escape, Thousand Words and the forthcoming Torn Away.

Before I Fall-- Lauren Oliver wrote this, and she has several more books. Delirum, Requiem, Pandemonium and Panic.
posted by headspace at 5:41 PM on February 10, 2014

I would recommend The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon and on the graphic novel front. I'd recommend the Castle Waiting books by Linda Medley
posted by KingEdRa at 6:24 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

You're absolutely right that a) I shouldn't be dismissing YA fiction as such; and b) just pointing her to things she'll like is what makes for a love of reading. Thank you for all of the suggestions- looking forward to others!
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 6:25 PM on February 10, 2014

I recall being way into the works of Zilpha Keatley Snyder after getting my hands on a library copy of The Headless Cupid back in the seventh grade. If she likes Miss Peregrine's, she might enjoy some of those.
posted by salix at 7:08 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Peter Dickinson. I'd start with Eva, and then The Lion Tamer's Daughter. Or maybe vice versa.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:12 PM on February 10, 2014

Wildwood by Colin Meloy is a fantastic book. There are two others in the series but I havn't read them yet.
posted by ruhroh at 7:13 PM on February 10, 2014

I just finished How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. It's a smarter version of Catcher in the Rye with telepathy, a snarky female narrator, and war.
posted by spunweb at 7:33 PM on February 10, 2014

Seconding Eleanor and Park and The Fault in Our Stars, so hard.

I'll throw out Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger. The voice is great, and it will introduce her to the world of zines, which could potentially give her a lot more reading material. (The two main characters in Hard Love meet through zine writing.)
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:00 PM on February 10, 2014

Yes, Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Also, I was wildly in love with the Blossom Culp series by Richard Peck, especially the second one, The Ghost Belonged to Me. I re-bought them and reread them a few years ago and, yep, still awesome. I have no idea what reading level anyone else thinks they are, but I think they're great.

Also, why not Discworld and Hitchhiker's Guide, if there is any possibility that silly humour would appeal?
posted by Because at 9:00 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would like to put in a vote for Sabriel. It's an alternate history/alternate world magic story, but the protagonist is a no-nonsense get stuff done teenage girl. It gave me a lot of inspiration at that age and I still reread it over a decade later.
posted by faethverity at 9:13 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Things which have been mentioned which I endorse: Zilpha Keatley Snyder (esp The Changeling); Le Guin; Peter Dickinson; Castle Waiting; His Dark Materials; the YA "Dragon" trilogy by McCaffrey; Robin McKinley; Cynthia Voigt; Hunger Games. Once upon a time I would have concurred with L'Engle but have gone off her due to homophobia. Some works are still ok.

Some others which I don't think have yet been mentioned:
Joan Aiken, especially the Wolves series, which have a strong female protagonist who is quite bolshie and refreshing.

Pretty much anything by Diana Wynne Jones; nearly all of hers have if not a single female protagonist, joint female/male protags and definitely strong female characters. Some are a bit older, like A Sudden Wild Magic, and Fire and Hemlock will definitely have parts that go over her head but is still amazingly good (I have read it probably 15 times and feel like there are still parts that go over my head). The Time of the Ghost may be a good one to start with.

Harriet the Spy is a classic for a very good reason.

Susan Cooper, especially The Dark Is Rising series (some have more male characters but girls are definitely in there and are strong) and Seaward.

Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. Not just one but several strong female protagonists. A really appealing approach to magic and although she is ultimately optimistic, she doesn't pull any punches either.

Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. They are a little more Hunger Gamesish than the others I've recommended but are pretty good.

John Marsden's Tomorrow, When the War Began series which follows a gang of teens after Australia has been invaded and taken over. The main character, Ellie, is so popular she now has her own spin-off series.

Steve Augarde's The Varioustrilogy. There's something a bit Alan Garnerish about them, but more accessible and more modern at the same time.

I'd better stop there, I've gone on quite a lot!
posted by Athanassiel at 9:20 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am a HS English teacher, and currently I have 70 13-14 year olds in whom I am responsible for instilling a love of reading.

I don't teach the classics exclusively. Honestly, I am moving away from teaching the classics much at all. Good readers will continue to seek out good reading. Many of the novels taught in high school got SO MUCH BETTER when I read them in college. I hated Gatsby until about a year ago, when I finally understood it for the first time (full disclosure, I did teach it last year, and this is the video I used to get kids excited about it. Self YT link). HS English has tried to force kids to read books without also helping them see what is truly magical about many of the classics - they let us try on lives other than our own. That is a pretty amazing feat. So the key really isn't reading the classics - it's finding a way INTO the classics. Good HS English classes do that. But many of the classics are pretty inaccessible on your own. Thankfully, YouTube has stepped in to fill the gaps - there are great videos about lots of the classics, and it can be a great resource for students.

Some of the ones I would have recommended have already been mentioned. But here are the ones I thought of:
Daniel Half Human - a young German boy discovers he is half-Jewish when he tries to join the Hitler Youth in the build-up to WWII
Sold - a young girl is sold into sex slavery in India (this is a beautiful book, but is disturbing)
Life As We Knew It - most of society is destroyed by insane weather and a girl and her family have to figure out how to survive. It's written as journal entries. It's beautiful.
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green's masterpiece. I've never had a student dislike this book. We read it together last year and I had kids actually laughing out loud and crying in the same class period.
Looking for Alaska - another John Green book about going to boarding school and trying to figure out how to live a life where suffering is inevitable.
Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns - both are beautiful, although there is suffering and death in both. But KR is just stunning, and the 9th graders I've taught it to absolutely loved it.
The Book Thief may be a stretch (it is a slow build, and that puts a lot of people off), but it is absolutely incredible.
And Eleanor and Park is beautiful.

Then there are the "commonly taught in HS" books:
To Kill a Mockingbird
Anne Frank
Of Mice and Men
The Chosen
Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Lovely Bones
Curious Incident
Fahrenheit 451
Slaughterhouse 5
House on Mango Street
Man's Search for Meaning
The Things They Carried

Honestly, the best thing you could do is take her to a bookstore and tell her the budget. Then ask her to choose some that look good to her, while you pull some of the ones from the list above (and the other great recommendations in this thread!). After you have your hands full, have her talk through the synopses with you of hers and yours. The whole goal is to choose books she is excited about so that reading is fun, rather than "I read it bc you bought it for me/it was there." Plus, seeing an adult be excited about reading and valuing her enough to take the time to talk about it...that's gold.

Hope that's helpful.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:47 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was a hopeless sap at 14 (it's passed, oh yes it has), and I loved Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. It's not particularly progressive, but it's sweet and engaging, and it goes for integrity rather than romantic fulfillment.
posted by hannala at 12:37 AM on February 11, 2014

I have always been a voracious reader, and even as a bookworm kid many classics really turned me off. I think it's better to let her flex her imagination muscles with trashy fun books than to try too hard with classics. Old fashioned writing styles can be really hard to muddle through for even dedicated readers. I think developing your own eye for a good story and good writing is part of the fun of reading, but that's just me.

Seconding PhoBWankenobi's Starglass-- I really don't like space as a setting and usually avoid sci-fi (I honestly only gave it a shot because she's a MeFite), but it was really engaging and not at all overwhelmed with spacey stuff. And she takes the usual YA trope and gives it a really interesting twist. A+ would read again!

Maggie Stievater's Raven Boys books and The Scorpio Races are really great and her prose is just sparkling. She also has a werewolf series that I haven't read yet, but I know it's popular.

Mentioned above, Lauren Oliver's Delerium series was super fun to read. I also really liked The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and its sequel for the story, but the writing is not really noteworthy. For Darkness Shows the Stars is a YA dystopian reimagining of Persuasion and it's really good, too. All These Things I've Done is YA dystopian about a future US where chocolate is illegal and NYC is all run down, it's the first in a trilogy and the whole trilogy is fun. I really liked Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy, and her writing is solidly above-average, though the series kind of goes off the rails in the third book.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:34 AM on February 11, 2014

Seeing that she likes the Miss Peregrine books immediately brought The Westing Game and His Dark Materials to mind. If she's a big reader, she has probably already read The Hunger Games trilogy - I doubt there are many 14 year old girls who haven't. Some light humorous "classics" written for adults might be good - maybe The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or the Discworld series. Keep it fun and light and don't make her work too hard at it. She's almost certainly being forced to drudge through plenty of dull and heavy reading for school.

Her list includes some teenage angst and drama - and there are some great recommendations for that above, but adult angst and drama are probably not going to appeal to her yet. Think more 'this terrible thing happened to me through no fault of my own' or 'no one understands me' rather than 'flawed individual struggling to find meaning.'

I adored Agatha Christie at her age, and I only discovered Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books recently, but they would be fantastic for a fourteen-year-old mystery lover. Chandler should probably wait until she can put some of the casual sexism and racism into context.

Poetry is another option for exposing her to classic literature. ee Cummings, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde might all appeal to a teenager just digging into poetry. Throw Poe in to the mystery recommendations too.
posted by Dojie at 7:31 AM on February 11, 2014

I'd recommend Michelle Magorian (sp?), a British author I discovered through her amazing book, Goodnight, Mr. Tom. When I was reading her books - in college though they're best for 10-14 year olds I'd say - that was the only one easy to find in the US, but good libraries tended to have some of her other books, which were all excellent. Most are set around WWII.
posted by traveltheworld at 9:01 AM on February 11, 2014

I'm a lifelong reader, and although I'm not working as a librarian, I did go to library school. To this day, I still have some issues with the "classics" because they were forced on me as a teenager by my parents. It almost made me stop reading entirely. I much preferred to read Mary Higgins Clark and Nora Roberts, and actively rebelled against the "classics". (Catcher in the Rye gives me hives to this day.)

Also, YA literature has exploded in the last few years, and is honestly, quite good. Some of it's cheesy and trashy, but some of it is really amazing. You've got some fantastic recommendations here, and I'll add a few more that haven't been mentioned.

Melina Marchetta is a fabulous author, and although I prefer her more contemporary writings, your teen reader might prefer her fantasy trilogy. Finnikin of the Rock is the first book of the series, and it's wonderful.

Holly Black's Coldest Girl in Coldtown is dystopian/supernatural fiction, and it's been getting good feedback from my coworker's resident teen reader daughter. Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver is also popular. There's also Veronica Roth's Divergent and Victoria Schwab's The Archived, both of which might also prove interesting for your reader.
posted by PearlRose at 9:11 AM on February 11, 2014

I really loved The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn as a teenager. It's long, but it uses some interesting devices (like two simultaneous stories on alternate pages told by different characters) and I really identified with the main character.

I also bet she'd like Sarah Rees Brennan. Both the Demon's Lexicon trilogy, and The Lynburn Legacy.
posted by catatethebird at 10:45 AM on February 11, 2014

Terry Pratchett is good for the age group, particularly the Discworld novels and probably particularly the earlier ones. Mort and Equal Rites seem particularly obvious.
posted by howfar at 11:06 AM on February 11, 2014

True Grit by Charles Portis.
posted by Chenko at 11:35 AM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I adored anything by Vonnegut at that age. Cat's Cradle got me hooked.
posted by parakeetdog at 3:00 PM on February 11, 2014

My 5 children and 2 grandkids have LOVED the Artmis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.
posted by quackamoe at 1:12 PM on February 12, 2014

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