A Quick Guide to Turn Your Teens Into Book Lovers!
Updated: Sep 11
Reading isn’t for everyone. But it can be. I’ve always been a book lover, but my taste and dedication to reading haven’t always been consistent. I’ve read books in the past 4 years that I don’t think I ever would have picked up 15 years ago. Reading is not a one size fits all hobby. Teenagers like different things, and go through fazes that can last anywhere from a month to their entire middle/high school experience.
In the past 20 years, we’ve seen popular Young Adult authors such as John Green and Suzanne Collins have their books adapted into films. These films got a whole generation of young millennials and Gen Z kids into reading, all because they loved the film. While book-to-film adaptations don’t always get a good rep, I’ve found that sometimes, watching the films before reading the books, can give you a much bigger appreciation for the story. We’ve also seen how the birth of Tumblr and fandoms keep these stories alive. So I’m going to give you a list of book-to-film recommendations to introduce your kids into the world of literature!
For the drama queens & hopeless romantics that live by insta quotes
“Maddy is a smart, curious and imaginative 18-year-old who is unable to leave the protection of the hermetically-sealed environment within her house because of an illness. Olly is the boy next door who won't let that stop them from being together. Gazing through windows and talking only through texts, Maddy and Olly form a deep bond that leads them to risk everything to be together, even if it means losing everything.”
“College-bound romantic Daniel Bae and Jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha Kingsley meet -- and fall for each other -- over one magical day amidst the fervor and flurry of New York City. Sparks immediately fly between these two strangers, who might never have met had fate not given them a little push. With just hours left on the clock in what looks to be her last day in the U.S., Natasha is fighting against her family's deportation just as fiercely as she's fighting her growing feelings for Daniel.”
“Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets and falls in love with Gus Waters, a similarly afflicted teen from her cancer support group. Hazel feels that Gus really understands her. They both share the same acerbic wit and a love of books, especially Grace's touchstone, "An Imperial Affliction" by Peter Van Houten. When Gus scores an invitation to meet the reclusive author, he and Hazel embark on the adventure of their brief lives.”
“Sixteen-year-old Rhiannon falls in love with A, a mysterious spirit who inhabits a different body every day. Feeling an unmatched connection, Rhiannon and A try to find each other on a daily basis, always unsure of what or who the next day will bring. Soon, the realities of loving someone who is a different person every 24 hours starts to take its toll, leaving Rhiannon and A to face the hardest decision either has ever had to make.”
“An arrogant and cruel student, prone to humiliating unattractive classmates, is cursed by someone he hurts and physically transformed into everything he despises. The only solution to the curse is to find someone that will love him as he is.”
For the fighters, feminists and “I was born in the wrong generation” outcasts
“In what was once North America, the Capitol of Panem maintains its hold on its 12 districts by forcing them each to select a boy and a girl, called Tributes, to compete in a nationally televised event called the Hunger Games. Every citizen must watch as the youths fight to the death until only one remain. District 12 Tribute Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has little to rely on, other than her hunting skills and sharp instincts, in an arena where she must weigh survival against love.”
“Shy San Francisco teenager Mia Thermopolis is thrown for a loop when, from out of the blue, she learns the astonishing news that she's a real-life princess! As the heir apparent to the crown of the small European principality of Genovia, Mia begins a comical journey toward the throne when her strict and formidable grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi, shows up to give her "princess lessons."”
“Harriet may only be in the sixth grade, but she's already found her calling: to be a spy. In a private journal, she takes everywhere, Harriet records suspicious activity and keeps a running list of observations on virtually everyone she knows. It seems harmless enough until, one day, someone finds the journal and exposes Harriet's critical thoughts about her classmates. Suddenly, even her best friends are against her, and Harriet resolves to take revenge.”
“An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie, an African-American woman living in the South who survives incredible abuse and bigotry. After Celie's abusive father marries her off to the equally debasing "Mister" Albert Johnson, things go from bad to worse, leaving Celie to find companionship anywhere she can. She perseveres, holding on to her dream of one day being reunited with her sister in Africa.”
For the science nerds
“Tris Prior lives in a futuristic world in which society is divided into five factions. As each person enters adulthood, he or she must choose a faction and commit to it for life. Tris chooses Dauntless -- those who pursue bravery above all else. However, her initiation leads to the discovery that she is a Divergent and will never be able to fit into just one faction. Warned that she must conceal her status, Tris uncovers a looming war which threatens everyone she loves.”
“Thomas, a teenager, arrives in a glade at the center of a giant labyrinth. Like the other youths dumped there before him, he has no memory of his previous life. Thomas quickly becomes part of the group and soon after demonstrates a unique perspective that scores him a promotion to Runner status -- those who patrol the always-changing maze to find an escape route. Together with Teresa, the only female, Thomas tries to convince his cohorts that he knows a way out.”
“The book is about Earth, in a postapocalyptic time, being invaded by a parasitic alien race known as "Souls", and follows one Soul's predicament when the consciousness of her human host refuses to give up her body.”
“The human race stands on the brink of extinction as a series of alien attacks decimate the planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis and disease. Separated from her family, Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan will do whatever it takes to reunite with her brother Sam. Fate leads her to form an alliance with Evan Walker, a mysterious young man who may be her last hope. Forced to trust each other, Cassie and Evan fight for survival during the fifth assault from the invaders.”
For the kids who are “Too Cool for School”
“Push is an emotionally powerful, disturbing novel written from the perspective of a young and poor black woman whose life has been defined by sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. Precious Jones lives in Harlem, New York with her mother, who is an overweight shut-in.”
“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.”
“A group of American military schoolboys becomes marooned on a remote island after a plane crash. While initially cooperative, after the discovery of a "beast," the boys split into two warring camps, one headed by the liberal-minded Ralph, the other by the militaristic Jack Their society begins to descend into violence, and boys soon learn there's a thin line between society and savagery.”
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