There are only three school days left until our two-week vacation, and as I walk down the middle school hallway, I’m starting to get a few questions about a good book for a trip to the beach or a trip to the couch! These kids are not looking for a book they would read as part of their literature class. They just finished reading WWI novels, and The Diary of Anne Frank will be waiting for them upon their return to school. Understandably, they want a break. I do too. I put a few new books on my Nook that have nothing to do with war and won’t inspire me to think about “discussion questions.”
Here are a few suggestions for them, with one important caveat. These students have already read The Hunger Games trilogy and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Collins’s trilogy and Alexie’s young adult classic are always my first suggestions, but here are ten more.
Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Maze Runner by James Dashner
Schooled by Gordan Korman
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
House of a Samurai by Margie Preus
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
Nation by Terry Pratchett
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should add that this list might look different if I was writing it specifically for a girl – or specifically for a boy. It’s just a fact that some books appeal more to girls than they do to boys – and vice versa. For example, if this list were for a boy, I would have added Monster by Walter Dean Myers. A girl: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli or Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Tonight, though, I set myself the task of creating a list for a reader. Not a boy reader or a girl reader, just a 13-year-old kid!