As I always emphasise on this platform, in whatever articles I wrote, reading always brings something new in terms of knowledge, ideas, thoughts, the art of appreciating art, and much more. For teenagers as well, reading novels can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. Not only does it provide entertainment and escape, but it also nurtures their imagination, expands their vocabulary, and develops critical thinking skills. Novels can transport teenagers to different worlds, introduce them to diverse characters and perspectives, and tackle important themes and issues that resonate with their own lives. If you are also a teen and want to find the best novels to read for teens, I have brought a long list of the 100 best novels any teen would love to read! I have put these novels along with brief descriptions and major highlights from each story:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Though I might not want to begin the list with this prolonged exploration into the deep-rooted problem of the US, racism, let’s face it. If you are one of those serious readers, this novel will be a good beginning for you. However, if you don’t like it, leave it and move ahead. This classic explores themes of racial injustice and moral growth through the eyes of Scout Finch in a small Southern town.
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: A rebellious teenager named Holden Caulfield narrates his experiences with alienation, identity, and growing up in 1950s New York City. Though the novel is too old, it still has the pull to attract readers from various age groups. However, for teenagers, it will be an ideal read.
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling: Debut novel by J.K. Rowling, and also the beginning of the blockbuster franchise in the world of English fiction… eventually mutated into the most-selling novel series. The novel lays the foundation of Harry Potter, the protagonist, as he attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, battles the dark wizard Lord Voldemort, and discovers the power of friendship, love, and bravery.
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: The ideal pick for teens who are loaded with rebellious attitudes and often think to change the world (for the better) – set in a dystopian future, Katniss Everdeen fights for survival in a televised competition that exposes the cruelty of the Capitol and sparks a revolution. A mixture of science fiction and fantasy, Suzanne’s novel is amazingly engrossing.
5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Something for those who love reading romantic novels, The Fault in Our Stars will be an engaging read. Hazel and Gus, two teenagers with cancer, fall in love and embark on a journey of self-discovery, love, and the meaning of life. Many have read it across the world and loved it as well. Now, it’s your turn too!
6. 1984 by George Orwell: This is, perhaps, a novel that never gets old. More and more we start observing things around us, 1984 by George Orwell makes more sense. Set in a totalitarian society, this novel follows Winston Smith’s rebellion against Big Brother and explores themes of government surveillance and the loss of individual freedom.
7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: You must have heard about this novel already, I bet. Perhaps the movie may have come across you as well… Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, will keep readers fresh, energised and engrossed. The story develops wonderfully Elizabeth Bennet navigates love, class, and societal expectations in this timeless tale of romance and social commentary.
8. The Giver by Lois Lowry: The 1993 classic, a wonderful experience for teens who might discover the secrets of the world after reading this novel… In a seemingly utopian society, Jonas discovers the dark secrets that lie beneath the surface and questions the cost of a pain-free existence. Are you ready for the setbacks and discoveries? Read the work now!
9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Set during World War II, Liesel Meminger learns the power of words and storytelling while navigating the horrors of Nazi Germany. It is one of the most striking works of fiction weaved around Nazi Germany. This a recommended work for anyone interested in reading meaningful novels.
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Charlie, an introverted high school freshman, finds solace in a group of friends and documents his experiences through letters, exploring themes of friendship, identity, and mental health. I would recommend this novel to youths and teenagers who are interested in reading about humane experiences and remedies for such problems.
11. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Who does not know about it? A saga that’s always enticing and enchanting to the readers, a story that sees Frodo Baggins embarking on a perilous journey to destroy the One Ring and save Middle-earth from the clutches of Sauron, encountering epic battles and fantastical creatures along the way.
12. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: Follow the adventures of the Pevensie children in the magical land of Narnia, where they encounter talking animals and mythical creatures, and face epic battles between good and evil. It is such a story where there will be all Alices in the wonderland…
13. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton: Ponyboy Curtis, a greaser from the wrong side of town, grapples with social class divisions and gang violence in this coming-of-age story. The novel offers a relatable world of experiences that will keep young readers engaged and excited. Many have liked the novel for years and now it’s your turn to have the same experience.
14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Ever famous as a Jazz Age literary fiction work, Jay Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream is interwoven with themes of wealth, love, and the corruption of the upper class in this wonderful novel The Great Gatsby. It is also deemed a classic and yet has the qualities that will keep young readers attached to the storyline.
15. The Maze Runner by James Dashner: Imagine waking up in a world that is totally unknown to you! New people, new world, new atmosphere, and everything new… would you like to be in such a situation? The same happens when Thomas wakes up in a mysterious maze with no memories, and he must navigate its deadly puzzles while uncovering the truth about his past and a post-apocalyptic world. You will absolutely enjoy going through this work…
16. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: Meg Murry embarks on a cosmic journey to rescue her father from an evil force, exploring themes of love, bravery, and the power of individuality. Planetary journeys, time travel, and many things more… this science fiction novel from the year 1962 is still very popular among young readers.
17. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander: Taran, an Assistant Pig-Keeper, sets off on an epic quest in a world of magic, mythical creatures, and battles between good and evil. This fantasy fiction will offer many moments of epic clashes to keep readers enthralled throughout the length of the book.
18. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Santiago, a young shepherd, seeks his personal legend through a journey that explores the importance of following one’s dreams and listening to one’s heart. The more it is an external fiction, the more (you realise in the course of reading) internally it dives into the depths of the human psyche and aspirations. An evergreen classic of the modern era!
19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: Christopher, a 15-year-old with autism, investigates the death of his neighbour’s dog and discovers surprising truths about his own life. A seemingly straightforward novel with many details that will alter the way you think about life and everything around you. Do read it if you can find a copy of this novel.
20. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: A perfect recipe for the success of any story is pitting two unlikely characters together and letting the dice roll. Two misfit teenagers, Eleanor and Park, form an unlikely bond and navigate the challenges of first love, family dysfunction, and bullying. It takes many serious turns that might engage readers on several occasions.
21. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: Follow Lily Owens’ journey as she escapes her abusive father and finds solace and healing in the company of beekeeping sisters in 1960s South Carolina. A sentimental novel that teenagers will love reading for many years from now.
22. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Junior, a Native American teenager, leaves his reservation to attend an all-white school, facing cultural clashes, poverty, and personal growth. Once again, just like the first one on the list, To Kill a Mockingbird, this one traces the roots of racism and discrimination intertwined with the very American life.
23. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Oscar Wilde’s world is more than just a world for many readers. This novel by him, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is an example of the assertion made above. Dorian Gray’s portrait ages while he remains eternally youthful, exploring themes of vanity, morality, and the consequences of a life of indulgence.
24. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: Four best friends discover a pair of jeans that magically fits each of them and share it throughout a life-changing summer, facing challenges and celebrating their friendship. What else can be a better option for spending time together with friends than reading this novel in the group?
25. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: Bilbo Baggins joins a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim their homeland from the fearsome dragon Smaug, encountering trolls, elves, and riddles along the way. A story that has been made popular on a grand scale by rendering the same into a movie in many instalments, will always surprise and excite the readers.
26. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: What happens when you accidentally find something that’s not only amazing but also life-changing? The same happens in this novel as Mary Lennox discovers a hidden garden and, through its restoration, experiences personal transformation and the power of nature.
27. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Melinda, a high school freshman, struggles with trauma and finds her voice through art, shedding light on the importance of consent and speaking up against abuse. It will be on the list of novels with serious issues and themes about teen life and issues. It can also impart many lessons of importance to readers.
28. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: A story that uncovers many layers… Amir, a young boy from Afghanistan, grapples with guilt and seeks redemption against the backdrop of his country’s turbulent history.
29. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: Welcome to the world of gods, demigods, superhumans and the fun that it has… Follow the story as Percy Jackson, a demigod, embarks on a quest to prevent a war between the Greek gods while discovering his own heroic destiny.
30. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: In a clever and mysterious game set up by a millionaire, 16 heirs must solve puzzles and uncover the truth behind a potential murder. It is a super exciting storyline that offers much more than a mere murder mystery to readers who always want something more from whatever they read.
31. The Color Purple by Alice Walker: Once again, dive deep into the world (rather sordid) of racism, discrimination and oppression with The Colour Purple by Alice Walker. The story follows Celie, an African-American woman, who finds her voice and overcomes abuse, racism, and oppression in the rural American South.
32. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: The novel is set in Depression-era Kentucky, and this historical fiction follows a group of women who deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s travelling library project, challenging societal norms and finding empowerment. It is on the list of serious literary fiction with purpose and realism that readers will like.
33. The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith: Whoa, guys! Ready for some witchcraft and magic? Follow Cassie Blake’s story in the novel as she discovers she’s a witch and becomes entangled in a coven’s supernatural world, navigating love, loyalty, and dark forces. A promising fantasy novel that delivers according to its hype and popularity. Enjoy reading it whenever you like to have some fun with a good book with the power to transport you into a different world altogether.
34. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: The story is dystopian in nature and the novel is indeed enticing. Full of adventure and suspense, the story is set in a dystopian world where all thoughts are audible, Todd Hewitt embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth about his town and himself.
35. Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Auggie, a young boy with facial differences, faces challenges as he attends public school for the first time, teaching empathy, acceptance, and kindness. The novel is rather emotive in terms of narrative and might have many sentimental moments throughout the length of it.
36. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: Does Sylvia Plath need an introduction? I guess not! In this landmark novel in the English language, Esther Greenwood’s descent into mental illness and her struggles with societal expectations provide a poignant exploration of identity and mental health. It is also considered to be an autobiographical novel because many details match the life of Plath herself.
37. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: Twin siblings Noah and Jude navigate love, grief, and artistic expression in this beautifully written coming-of-age story. It has its differences and I am sure you will easily find those as you read the novel.
38. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Starr Carter witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend, igniting a movement and forcing her to confront the complexities of racism, identity, and activism. The details in the novel might seem to reflect the real-life incidents many have witnessed in recent times, especially in the United States.
39. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: Natasha, a practical girl who believes in science, meets Daniel, a dreamer and poet, and they spend a day exploring New York City, challenging fate and falling in love. This youthful love story will keep readers motivated and enchanted till the very end. Teens, you will have a good time reading this book loaded with fanciful imagination and some bitter realities of life.
40. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: Perhaps the most humorous comic romance I have ever read, recommending you The Rosie Project. Do read it if you want to read something light, amusing, and yet interesting and serious enough to keep you glued to the pages, gay and composed. Don Tillman, a socially awkward genetics professor, embarks on “The Wife Project” to find a suitable partner but unexpectedly falls for Rosie, who is everything he didn’t expect.
41. Beloved by Toni Morrison: Slavery and its impact on human beings have been explored in this novel by the award-winning novelist Toni Morrison in vivid colours. Set after the Civil War, this novel tells the story of Sethe, a former slave chased and haunted by the ghost of her infant daughter, exploring the devastating impact of slavery on individuals and communities. If you have read Morrison before, you must understand how important her writings are.
42. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: However you want, you can seldom hide yourself from accepting the fact that the USA is a house divided and it can seldom stand with one aim… Once again, this work, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, explores the racial hatred found in every nook and corner of the powerful country… The unnamed protagonist, an African American, grapples with identity, racial prejudice, and the search for selfhood in a racially divided society.
43. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins: I have picked this 1859 classic novel, especially for those teens who love to explore human psychology… This novel tells the tale of a mysterious woman in white, a mistaken identity, and a web of deception intertwine in this gripping tale of suspense and psychological intrigue. Enjoy the intrigue and find yourself solving some mysteries you may never have expected! All the best!
44. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: How about some game of identity? How about dual personalities? How about an enigma who is unknown to himself? Read this novel that takes you through the dual personalities of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This novella explores the duality of human nature, morality, and the consequences of repressed desires.
45. Divergent by Veronica Roth: Tris Prior, the protagonist, discovers she is Divergent, not fitting into any single faction in a society divided by personality traits, and becomes entangled in a dangerous rebellion. However, this rebellious pursuit is certainly different from all others you may have read in the past. So, grab your coffee and be ready for an explosive reading experience!
46. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Well, do you believe guests from other planets have visited us? This novel will take you to a fancy land with the same belief. Would you welcome a young prince from another planet? The prince embarks on a journey to different planets, learning profound lessons about life, friendship, and love.
47. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale has received much appreciation for its unique story and storytelling as well. Set in a totalitarian society where fertile women are forced to bear children for powerful men, this novel tells the story of the protagonist Offered who fights for her freedom and questions the role of women in society. Want more details? Read this review – The Handmaid’s Tale Book Review (opens in a new tab)
48. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot: Novels about high school students are the most coveted ones by the teens I have come across. So, here you go! Read the story of Mia Thermopolis, a high school student, as she discovers she is the heir to the throne of Genovia, navigating the challenges of royalty, friendships, and self-discovery.
49. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy: Warning! You might become a fan of this fatalist storyteller… so, read the novel at your own risk! The novel follows Michael Henchard, driven by his impulsive actions, as he faces the consequences of his past and grapples with fate, forgiveness, and the possibilities of redemption. A heart-wrenching tale that takes readers through the highs and lows of life.
50. Dracula by Bram Stoker: Classic Dracula… you may have read many novels about vampires and all, this one is the one that gave birth to all these imaginations. Don’t miss a chance to get your hands on the cult one by legendary Bram Stoker. This Gothic novel introduces the iconic vampire Count Dracula and follows the efforts of a group of individuals to stop his reign of terror, delving into themes of desire, fear, and the boundaries of science and superstition.
51. The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld: This one is a very unique take on the future… the novelist has tried to expose our desires to look beautiful. The story unfolds in a future society where everyone undergoes extreme cosmetic surgery at the age of 16, Tally Youngblood questions the meaning of beauty and conformity. A youth’s exploration of meaning in beauty and beauty in meaning will surely amaze you.
52. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: The novel follows an intriguing story. As it opens, Clay Jensen, a character in the novel, listens to a series of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, a classmate who took her own life, unravelling the reasons behind her decision and shedding light on the consequences of bullying. A famous work that has been transformed into a successful TV series.
53. The Future of Us by Jay Asher: Another one by Jay, back to back. Set in the 1990s, this intriguing story follows the lives of Emma Nelson and Josh Templeton as they stumble upon a peculiar glimpse into their future through an unexpected discovery: the Internet. Asher masterfully weaves together themes of destiny, self-discovery, and the impact of technology on our lives, making “The Future of Us” an unforgettable and relevant read.
54. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt: In this novel, Winnie Foster stumbles upon the Tuck family, who have discovered the secret to immortality, leading her to question the meaning of life, love, and mortality. Interesting narrative that gives rise to many questions and tries to find a few answers.
55. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket: Follow the misadventures of the Baudelaire orphans as they encounter eccentric characters, dark conspiracies, and try to uncover the truth behind their parents’ mysterious death. An adventurous tale that will keep readers excited and on the edges of their seats.
56. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a skilled hacker, team up to solve a decades-old disappearance and expose corruption, delving into a dark and gripping mystery. This is for those who are always eager to read something animated, happening and full of unexpected twists. Enjoy!
57. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: Aliens are beings that we all love… to read about, to know more and to imagine. However, can you imagine a world invaded by aliens? Get ready as this novel takes you to a world invaded by aliens, and Cassie Sullivan fights to survive and reunite with her brother, facing trust issues, alien attacks, and a fight for humanity’s survival.
58. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: The protagonist, Clary Fray, discovers she is a Shadowhunter, a half-angelic warrior, and must navigate a hidden world of demons, vampires, and werewolves while uncovering her own heritage. As the promise seems, the novel is an amazing treat for everyone who is interested in reading fantasy fiction.
59. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare: The story is set in Victorian London. The novel follows the plot led by Tessa Gray. The protagonist becomes entangled in a world of Shadowhunters, warlocks, and supernatural creatures, battling dark forces and exploring themes of love, sacrifice, and identity.
60. The Selection by Kiera Cass: In this very unique and thought-provoking tale, America Singer is chosen to compete for the heart of Prince Maxon in a televised competition, challenging societal norms and exploring themes of love, identity, and social class. The story reflects the contemporary aspirations of modern people. Teens, I am sure, will find the story resonating.
61. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: What can an amazing amalgam of science fiction and fairy tales do? In this popular fiction by Marissa, you can see it yourself. In a futuristic world, Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, embarks on a journey to save Earth from an evil queen, intertwining fairy tales and science fiction elements.
62. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater: Welcome to the world of psychics and mindreaders! Blue Sargent, the daughter of a psychic, becomes involved with a group of boys searching for an ancient king, delving into magic, mysteries, and a quest that may cost them everything. Follow them as the characters involve themselves in high stake games of life.
63. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: The 1985 successful work by Orson Scott is a science fiction novel set in a future where Earth is under threat from an alien species known as the Formics or “Buggers.” The story follows a young boy named Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who is chosen to attend Battle School, an elite military training academy in space. The novel has an amazing storyline that will involve readers on various fronts.
64. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner: The first book in “The Mortality Doctrine” series written by Dashner, The Eye of Minds is set in a futuristic world where virtual reality has become the go-to activity of society. A teenager named Michael, also an experienced gamer, takes the central focus in the novel as he has to navigate through the dangers and harsh realities of the virtual realm called the VirtNet. Kaine, a notorious hacker, is the target of Michael and his friends… and Kaine poses a threat to the virtual and real, both worlds.
65. The City of Ember by Jean DuPrau: Imagine living underground after everything is either bombed or destroyed by other means! Set in the underground city of Ember, where people have lived for generations, completely isolated from the outside world, this novel opens a new world to the readers. As Ember’s resources dwindle and the city’s infrastructure begins to crumble, two young protagonists, Lina and Doon, embark on a thrilling quest to uncover the secrets of their dying city and find a way to save its inhabitants.
66. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West: Ever fallen for your best friend? What could you do in such a predicament? What are the things you can possibly do to win the heart of your best friend? The same happens and Abby Turner sets out to complete a list of experiences to broaden her horizons and win the heart of her best friend, Cooper, but she unexpectedly falls for someone else along the way.
67. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith: Looking for some accidental but readable romance? You are lucky today – The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer Smith follows the story after a blackout in New York City as Lucy and Owen find themselves trapped in an elevator and form a connection that evolves into a long-distance relationship as they explore different parts of the world.
68. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: What do you do when you suddenly find your crush back into your life? Read this novel to know what Lola, an aspiring costume designer, does when she finds her comfortable life turned upside down when Cricket Bell, the boy next door and her former crush, reenters her life and stirs up old feelings.
69. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen: What are some wonderful love stories? Annabel Greene, a former popular girl, forms an unlikely friendship with Owen, a music-obsessed outcast, as they learn to communicate, heal, and discover the power of honesty. Such love stories fill one’s heart with questions, answers, thoughts of various kinds and an overall inquisitive approach. At the same time, these stories add value to one’s general thinking as well.
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding: A forever classic for any young reader, this novel tells the story of a group of boys stranded on a deserted island who must confront their inner darkness and grapple with the breakdown of society in this thought-provoking and allegorical tale.
71. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: This novel is a gem for modern readers, believe me! I enjoyed reading this heartwarming tale that follows the lives of the March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—as they navigate the challenges of growing up, love, and sisterhood during the American Civil War. It is prose poetry… almost… singing the episodes of life.
72. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Mark Twain’s nemesis, many may say, this novel brings to the readers the famous tale of Huck Finn. He embarks on a journey down the Mississippi River with the escaped slave Jim, exploring themes of freedom, racism, and the search for moral truth. There is an adventure in the novel. However, it is as much an internal adventure as an external one.
73. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson: Another one by Stevenson… the novel is set in the oceans as a journey begins… a thrilling pirate adventure loaded with mutiny, experiences of horror and the notorious Long John Silver. Oh, already know this tale? Good if you don’t! You just found a treasure to ride! All the best!
74. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: Well, if you have reached so far, you must be a curious reader. And therefore, I offer you one of the most popular classics in the English language – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte! Follow the journey of the independent and resilient Jane Eyre as she faces obstacles, falls in love with the brooding Mr Rochester, and confronts the secrets of Thornfield Hall. You will fall in love with the language, once again… enjoy the beauty that Charlotte created with her pen (and words).
75. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Why did I forget Charles Dickens for so long? Seldom in my life, I will make a list of books and might miss Dickens on that! Join the journey of Pip, a young orphan, as he navigates the harsh social hierarchy of Victorian England, discovers unexpected wealth, and encounters memorable characters, including the eccentric Miss Havisham and the enigmatic Magwitch.
76. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: The author, in this novel, invites you to enter a futuristic society where humans are genetically engineered and conditioned for conformity, challenging notions of individuality, freedom, and the price of utopia. You may also relate the novel’s story to present notions of psy-ops that people generally discuss as conspiracy theories. However, when you read the novel carefully, you can certainly relate to many things in it.
77. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky: Once again, if you have come this far reading a list of books that might read, you are certainly the ideal reader for books that test your patience and challenge you. Why cannot a teenager read classic novels? He or She (or one of the thousands) must read classics to understand human nature in its nuance. This one, by celebrated Russian novelist Dostoevsky, will help you navigate the carefully crafted lanes of human nature… as you enter the tormented mind of Raskolnikov, a struggling student who commits a heinous crime, as he grapples with guilt, morality, and the pursuit of redemption.
78. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Do you know someone by the name Frankenstein? If you know, you must have seen some monstrous horror movie already. Now is the time to venture into the realm of science fiction as Victor Frankenstein creates a monstrous being, leading to a chilling exploration of the consequences of playing God and the nature of humanity. Do read this masterpiece by Mary Shelley, the famous novelist and also the wife of poet P B Shelley.
79. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: Let’s take you back to the days when everything was not accessible and running a household wasn’t this easy (and messy at the same time). Follow the Joad family as they endure the hardships of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, capturing the resilience of the human spirit and shedding light on social inequality and injustice.
80. The Bachelor of Arts by R K Narayan: Okay, this novel might not be recommended to teens by many. However, I will go a few steps ahead and suggest you read this wonderful novel by R K Narayan, one of the most popular Indian authors of all time. This novel takes readers into the world of middle-class families and their woes and pleasures. Chandran wants to marry a girl but their horoscopes don’t match. However, is this the final setback? Or life has more in store for the hero of this tale? You will certainly like this tale of simple people all around.
81. Azadi by Chaman Nahal: If you come from India, you must have heard the tales of the horror that the partition of the country brought to her citizens. Chaman Nahal, a respected but forgotten Indian novelist records many tales of the same in this amazing novel Azadi. It becomes more authentic because his family had to move from the newly created Pakistan to India…
82. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: Magical realism is the technique that adds much more to the narrative which otherwise might be dried and detached. This one gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the magical realism of the Buendía family, spanning multiple generations, as they experience love, war, and the cyclical nature of life in the fictional town of Macondo.
83. Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat: It is a coming-of-age novel that takes readers on a humorous and insightful journey through the lives of three friends—Ryan, Alok, and Hari—as they navigate the pressures and challenges of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). The novel raises many important questions about the Indian education system and the psychology of students, parents and teachers – chasing grades, marks and excellent academic records rather than chasing what actually matters (the author thinks).
84. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri: Jhumpa Lahiri is a well-known, award-winning, and linguistically rich novelist known for her works like The Namesake and the present one – The Lowland. This poignant novel traces the lives of two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, against the backdrop of political turmoil in West Bengal. It examines themes of sacrifice, loyalty, and the profound impact of choices made across generations. Teens might perplex themselves by the motifs of the author. However, sans the antics, the novel offers a good story.
85. The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh: The novel unfolds steadily through the eyes of the unnamed narrator, as it explores the interconnectedness of personal and political histories spanning India, Bangladesh, and England. It delves into themes of memory, identity, and the lasting impact of historical events.
86. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy: If you are a fan of crime thrillers on the screen, you must have heard about Jack Ryan. Now it’s time to read about him, doing his job! In this techno-thriller, CIA analyst Jack Ryan finds himself entangled in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse when a Soviet submarine captain defects to the United States with a revolutionary new submarine. The famous Jack Ryan must race against time to prevent a nuclear catastrophe, showcasing his intellect and strategic prowess.
87. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth: Add some spice to your reading list… follow the story of a renowned assassin, known only as the Jackal, as he is hired to kill French President Charles de Gaulle. This gripping novel follows the meticulous planning and cat-and-mouse pursuit between the Jackal and the authorities, as the fate of a nation hangs in the balance.
88. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie: If you are a fan of Rushdie already, it must be on your list of books already read. However, if you are new to reading novels, it will certainly offer you many moments of writing brilliance. This renowned novel follows the life of Saleem Sinai, who is born at the exact moment of India’s independence. It weaves together magical realism and political history to explore the complexities of identity, nationhood, and the legacy of colonialism.
89. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift: Ah! Don’t tell me you don’t know about Gulliver already! In this famous novel, the novelist lampoons human conditions – internal ones. Join Lemuel Gulliver on his fantastical journeys to various imaginary lands, satirizing society, politics, and human nature along the way.
90. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: Did the title not entice you? I bet it did! The novel tells you about Hadley, the protagonist, as she misses her flight to her father’s wedding. However, fate has something else in store for her. When she meets Oliver, a charming British boy, at the airport, they embark on a whirlwind romance during a serendipitous day in London.
In the end, I will just make a count of the things that reading novels can bring to teenagers. Here are those:
1. Rich Vocabulary: Who doesn’t know? The more you read, the more you learn new words. Reading novels exposes teenagers to a wide range of words and phrases, helping them expand their vocabulary and improve their language skills.
2. Critical Thinking: It is true that many novels often present complex plots, diverse characters, and thought-provoking themes. By reading and analysing these stories, teenagers may certainly develop critical thinking skills and learn to interpret and evaluate different perspectives.
3. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: Novels also provide insights into the lives and experiences of others, allowing teenagers to empathise with characters and gain a better understanding of different emotions and human experiences.
4. Personal Growth and Power of Self-Reflection: Many novels explore coming-of-age themes, identity formation, and personal growth. By reading about characters who face challenges and navigate their own journeys, teenagers can reflect on their own lives and gain insights into their own identities and aspirations.
5. Cultural Understanding: In the novels by renowned authors, teenagers can travel to different worlds. Different time periods, cultures, and social issues present in the theme of such novels help readers understand the same in a lighter way. A novel may be a better option, if by an author you can trust not to askew things in a biased way, than a book of history any day!
All the best guys! It was a mammoth attempt to collect these novels and pick the best 90 novels for teens! I hope you like the list and also read a few novels to understand what kind of fiction you like to read. Help me write better by putting something in the comments section. Enjoy! Happy Reading!