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Not All Teen Books Are The Same: Sometimes They Are Overlooked

Young woman holding stack of books

There are so many Teen books to choose from, books are sometimes overlooked for various reasons because they are labeled as being the same old teen literature. Teen Angst, Quick, Dystopian, Fantasy series etc…

They sometimes stay on the shelves, just ready to be discovered. Some books that are really good that you may never have heard of are titles that you will make you laugh, cry, become open minded, imagine, learn something new, be empathetic, or just go on a journey to another place and time.

Some titles I recommend that are different than the typical genre are titles that have a lot of flare and touch on so many subjects.

We should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly a True Story, by Josh Sunquist. Twenty-five years old and still single why? Never having had a girlfriend, Josh was actually under his impression that he had been in relationships. Why was [Paralympic ski racer and cancer survivor] Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date since middle school and asked them straight up: what went wrong?

The results of Josh's semi scientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured from a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided 'grand gesture' at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.

Another often overlooked book is The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin.

It’s written like a piece of journalism. After Addison Stone, a talented street artist, mysteriously drowns, her former teacher investigates her death. The book itself is a compilation of the teacher’s findings, relaying what happened to Addison through interviews with Addison’s friends, which are interwoven with pictures of both Addison and her art.

It gives the impression that something bad is going to happen because all of the characters are fictional, it is a rare glimpse into New York art scene, fame and mental illness. This book is just not about what happened to Addison Stone it is also about who Addison Stone really was.

It's not just a Historical Novel , but Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, is about Missouri in 1849 and life on the Oregon Trail. This is Part Adventure, about friendship and overcoming odds and forging friendships in the least expected places. Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician -- not an easy thing if you're a girl, and harder still if you're Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hope of fulfilling her dream and, instead, leaves her fearing for her life.

With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. Life is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the lighthearted crew turns out to be unexpected allies.

Some other titles you may never heard of that are great reads:

Mark Irish

Mark Irish

Mark Irish is the Library’s Teen Librarian. He became a librarian in 2000. His educational background is in the Social Sciences. He loves reading teen and adult literature in which the characters show great resilience. He also enjoys listening to country music. Mark volunteers with JDRF to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes and to mentor teens that are affected by it. He is an avid mountain biker and also enjoys kayaking and the great outdoors. Click here to subscribe to Mark Irish's blog posts!

Julanne Wicks - June 17, 2016

Love the recommends! Finding teen literature I enjoy is always difficult for me, as I tend to be really picky, but a few of your recommends I’ve already heard of and am interested in, so I’ll have to give the whole list a look-through!

Michelle Turner - June 20, 2016

Thanks Mr. Irish The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone and Dangerous Girls is now on my radar. Need to see if any of these books are of interest to Marcel.

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