See book recommendations from our Thousand Oaks Teen Advisory League. All books available from the Thousand Oaks Library Overdrive eBooks.
by Nic Stone
Recommended For: High schoolers. Anyone who wants to read about social injustice from a teenager's point of view would like this book. I recommend this book because it helped me to emphasize with Justyce's situation. It brings out what people need to hear. It helps readers to understand how bad discrimination can affect a person mentally and physically.
Description: Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.
by S.E. Hinton
Recommended For: Middle school and up. I think teenagers would understand this book the most. I recommend this book because it shows both sides of social classes. Both the Socs and the Greasers have struggles but can understand each other if they just talk instead of fighting. I think this book may be enjoyed because it shows that even in the midst of trouble there's hope. Realistic Fiction.
Description: The struggle of three brothers to stay together after their parent's death and their quest for identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society.
by Soman Chainani
Recommended For: Middle school and up. Fantasy book lovers and Harry Potter fans would enjoy this the most. I recommend this book because of the great plot twists that shape this story. It takes you into a whole world full of Evers and Nevers and trouble awaiting. Agatha and Sophie's friendship keeps you attached to the characters and waiting to see what will happen next in The Tales Of Agatha And Sophie. Will Sophie choose a prince or her best friend? Action Fantasy Humor Romance.
Description: Best friends Sophie (princess wannabe) and Agatha (witchy loner) are headed (via kidnapping) to the School for Good and Evil, but their assumed destinies are reversed.
by Michelle Obama
Recommended For: Ages14 and up. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 14, as it deals a lot with politics which can be a dull subject for anyone younger. I would also recommend this to anyone even remotely interested in the back workings of our executive system or the Obama family (which is a very popular topic in today's political climate). I really enjoyed this book because I was just beginning to be more invested with racism and politics in America when I began reading it (a result of the upcoming election and BLM). However, it wasn't all about these heavy topics - it was the story of Michelle Obama and how she rose to the top throughout her crazy life. It has romance and adventure and aspects of life that everyone can relate to. I never thought I would feel so connected to the former first lady, and it empowered me, letting me see my own potential. I would especially recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about why today's political/social climate is the way that it is. However, despite all this, I would still recommend Becoming as something to read for enjoyment. After all, it is just the story of her life, and I sometimes need to remind myself that she's not a character in a story.
Description: An intimate and uplifting memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.
by R.J. Palacio
Recommended For: I recommend this book for anyone. Elementary and middle schoolers may enjoy this book the most. I recommend this book because it shows how a person's appearance doesn't matter as much as their personality and actions. It addresses bullying and kindness in a different way. I think it's worth reading because you can see how Augie feels in his perspective and relate with him a little.
Description: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
by Melissa Albert
Recommended For: Grades 7th+ fantasy and (dark) fairy tale lovers as well as people who enjoy adventure type books. The main character has so much life in her and the book has an excellent plot twist. The whole world Melissa Albert creates seems very vivid yet also quite spooky! Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Action.
Description: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get.
by Ray Bradbury
Recommended For: High school students and adults. I recommend this novel because it portrays a society that bans its citizens from reading books and lets modern technology take over instead. It shows how books contain knowledge that leaders/rulers in the novel won't allow because of the power it can give the citizens. It helps the reader to appreciate reading and how it benefits our freedoms and power as individuals. It explains to the reader how books are the key to knowledge in our society. It can change a person's perspective on reading books as opposed to watching educational content.
Description: In a future totalitarian state where books are banned and destroyed by the government, Guy Montag, a fireman in charge of burning books, meets a revolutionary schoolteacher who dares to read and a girl who tells him of a past when people did not live in fear.
by Sara Shepard
Recommended For: 8th graders or older. For 8th graders or older because it is dynamic and has a dramatic mystery plot-line. It is very dynamic and is full of plot twists. It also describes, in detail, the different perspectives and lives of the main characters which was really interesting as all the characters have different problems and though-processes. The mystery plot-line was also extremely captivating as there were so many possible suspects and it plays a big role in the book and affects most of the scenes and characters. Mystery/Crime/Romance.
Description: Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker are all driven to be perfect--no matter the cost. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they discover that they all hate the same person: handsome womanizer Nolan Hotchkiss, who's done things to hurt each of them. They come up with the perfect plan to murder Nolan--jokingly, of course. They'd never actually go through with it. But when Nolan turns up dead in the exact way they'd discussed, the girls suddenly become prime suspects in his murder. Only, they didn't do it. So who did? Unless they find the real killer, and soon, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.
by Lois Lowry
Recommended For: Middle school and older. They may connect with Jonas' emotions. The Giver tries to teach Jonas that this society is missing the parts that make us human. I think this book is an eye opener to the things we take for granted like our own human rights and what makes each of us unique from others. I think it's worth reading at least once.
Description: Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community. The Giver alone holds the memories of true pain and pleasure. Now it's time for Jonas to discover the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Recommended For: Ages 13 to 18. People who enjoy reading historical novels but do not want to start a huge book will love The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby captures the fun of the 20s, as people achieve the American Dream, while revealing the hollowness of their lives. The love story of the main character isn't a normal romance; rather, he remains stuck in the past. The novel shows us a self-made man who is destroyed despite having all that money can buy. Almost 100 years after it was published, The Great Gatsby captures those who read it and transports them to Jazz Age New York.
Description: Story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted "gin" was the national drink and sex the national obsession. --From publisher description.
by Chris Colfer
Recommended For: Young adults, but elementary and middle schoolers may enjoy it the most. Fairytale lovers would enjoy it. I recommend this book because it uses fairytale characters and modern day characters put together in a story. Alex and Conner enter the Land of Stories and try to figure out how to get back home. Chris Colfer gives the fairytales more character development and humor for the reader to enjoy. The rich description and dialogue make it seem as if the reader was inside their world, watching it all unfold.
Description: Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Connor leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
by John Green
Recommended For: 9th graders and up. This is for people who like realistic fiction with romance. I recommend this book because of the plot, it follows two teens who face struggles but still have fun. It also effectively follows the idea of the struggles of cancer and how people face it. This book is ideal for those who are interested in reading realistic books that present the idea of overcoming challenges in life as well as romance books.
Description: Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.
by Melissa De La Cruz
Recommended For: High schoolers. Romance & Humor. If you enjoyed "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han then you'll enjoy this book. Recommend 8th grade+ good for readers going into high school or already in high school good for people who like a more culture based romance novel. This was a book about sorting through your emotions all while finding love in unexpected places. I found the main character was well fleshed out and all of the characters seemed 3-dimensional. I also really enjoyed it's unique formatting
Description: Shipped off to a private school in San Francisco, where her traditional South Korean parents can set her up with a future husband to ensure her success, young photographer Ji-Su evaluates her dreams and the attentions of two very different boys. 75,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.
by Stephen Chbosky
Recommended For: Elementary and middle schoolers. Anyone who enjoys fantasy and escapes from reality. This portrays how two kids can create their own world using their imagination. Jess and Leslie make their own kingdom called Terabithia in the woods as an escape from school life. It shows how friendship and using your imagination can change people's lives.
Description: The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm.
by Jill Lepore
Recommended For: I recommend this book for people interested in history and politics. It is an overview of all of American politics and helps to set the stage for the circumstances of today. I really thought it was relevant reading material for today's society. Politics wasn't always like this and it is useful to understand how it reached this place. It is formatted differently than some history books and is interesting to read.
Description: The award-winning author of The Secret History of Wonder Woman chronicles the origins and rise of today's divided America while investigating whether the nation has delivered on its promises of political equality, natural rights and the sovereignty of the people.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, Book 1
by Rick Riordan
Recommended For: 5th graders and older. This book would be appreciated by readers who enjoy books that have both realistic and fantasy-based aspects, as it introduces everyday people as well as supernatural beings. This book would also be enjoyed be readers who not only enjoy action and plot-twists but also those who like to read series of books that allow them to follow the characters through their different journeys, as this book is the first of a series with several connected books. There are several plot-twists, cliffhangers and dynamic characters which helps keep the readers captivated and unfolds the mysteries and dangers of the book in a dramatic way.
Description: Action Adventure/Fantasy. After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea, twelve-year-old Percy is sent to a summer camp for demigods like himself, and joins his new friends on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.
by Stephen Chbosky
Recommended For: I would recommend that college students and high school seniors read this book. At the very least I would recommend this to ages 16 and up due to some explicit language and themes. I found this book was easy to comprehend despite having a lot of deep messages. I feel it may be appreciated for its ups and downs and it is really interesting to follow Charlie's (the main character) as he doesn't truly develop but the people around him do. I feel that this book touches on a lot of real world issues in the psychological category and I feel it is something good to read especially if you tend to be a bit of a wallflower yourself!
Description: Realistic Fiction/Classic. A coming of age novel about Charlie, a freshman in high school who is a wallflower, shy and introspective, and very intelligent. He deals with the usual teen problems, but also with the suicide of his best friend.
by Bryan Stevenson
Recommended For: I recommend this book for teens but really it is for adults as well as teens. It is a very important book to read especially during this time when we are struggling on how to address inequality. Bryan Stevenson's personal report almost pulls back a vail on the justice system for wrongly accused and gives the reader knowledge they would otherwise probably wouldn't have learned about. It is very powerful in how straightforward it is and how the issue of racism in the justice system is confronted head on. It gives the reader a sense of commitment to the cause that they must carry on.
Description: The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.
by Trent Lee Stewart
Recommended For: Middle School and older. Characters are likable and interesting.
Description: After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
by Suzanne Collins
Recommended For: People who like mysteries and adventure. Interesting plot has mystery. Books so much better than movies.
Description: In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss' skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.
by Erin Morgenstern
Recommended For: Older middle or high school. Mysterious. Love story. Magic.
Description: Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.
by Natalie Babbitt
Recommended For: Anyone
Description: The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when they discover that a ten-year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret about a spring whose water prevents one from ever growing any older.
by Miguel de Cervantes
Recommended For: High School or older. People who like history and comedy. Funny and nonsensical.
Description: Brimming with romance and adventure, considered by many to be the greatest work in the Spanish literary canon. Both humane and humorous, the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Together the heroes bumble their way from one bizarre adventure to another.
by John Flanagan
Recommended For: Middle Schoolers, maybe 8th grade and older. People who like action and rangers and fantasy.
Description: When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.
by Lemony Snicket
Recommended For: Teens. A very idiosyncratic mystery book. Strong characters and fun witty plots.
Description: After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune.
by Tahereh Mafi
Recommended For: High Schoolers or older. Anyone looking for a new kind of Love Story. Unique story about struggling after tragedy.
Description: A year after 9/11, Muslim teenager Shirin has completely withdrawn from social life, until she meets Ocean James in her biology class and is tempted to actually let her guard down.
by Louisa May Alcott
Recommended For: Middle School and older. Language can be tricky. Geared towards girls but everyone should read. Relatable coming of age story despite the period difference. Feminist.
Description: Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in nineteenth-century New England.
by Brandon Mull
Recommended For: Everyone, but mainly Middle School. Fantasy.
Description: When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents' estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming.
by James Patterson
Recommended For: Middle or High Schoolers. Great story, good characters and dynamic. Exciting Thriller.
Description: After the mutant Erasers abduct the youngest member of their group, the "birdkids," who are the result of genetic experimentation, take off in pursuit and find themselves struggling to understand their own origins and purpose.
by Jack London
Recommended For: Teens. My favorite book. Classic adventure.
Description: The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack. White Fang is the story of a wolf-dog who is befriended by a kind man who becomes his master.
by Brandon Mull
Recommended For: Middle School and Older
Description: When fifth-graders Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon meet the owner of the new candy store in town and are given a magical candy that endows them with super powers, they find that along with its benefits there are also dangerous consequences.
by Tahereh Mafi
Recommended For: PTeens and Fantasy Genre lovers. It has fairies, powers, romance, plot twists, you can’t guess what will happen next. When you start getting comfy everything changes.
Description: Ostracized or incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a postapocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future.
by Andy Weir
Recommended For: Science Fiction readers who are into space travel and survival McGyver type things. It’s very scientifically accurate. Really clever also.
Description: Mark finds himself stranded on Mars but he isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
by Elizabeth Wein
Recommended For: High School and older.
Description: In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.
by Nicola Yoon
Recommended For: People who like romance and/or if they watched the movie (which was really popular). Mostly for High Schoolers.
Why: It’s realistic, but in an unexpected way. It also consists of plot twists and a lot of different genres.
Description: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I'm allergic to the world. I don't leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black -- black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can't predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It's almost certainly going to be a disaster.
by Marie Lu
Recommended For: Poetry Readers, verse readers, (somewhat) realistic fiction, YA
Why: Beautiful and thought provoking story in verse.
Description: There are three rules in the neighborhood: Don't cry ; Don't snitch; Get revenge. Will takes his dead brother Shawn's gun, and gets in the elevator on the 7th floor. As the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to Shawn gets on. Someone already dead. Dead by teenage gun violence. And each has something to share with Will...
by Maureen Goo
Recommended For: People who like romantic books, but cheesy romantics.
Why: It was a really good appropriate romance book that will warm your heart.
Description: Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad's business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?
by Brigid Kemmerer
Recommended For: For those who like Fairy Tale and Romance.
Why: New & Smart version of Beauty and the Beast
Description: Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, was cursed to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year; he could only be saved if a girl fell for him. But at the end of each autumn he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction... and destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope. Washington, D.C. native Harper Lacy's father is long gone, her mother is dying, and her brother constantly underestimates her because of her cerebral palsy. When she is sucked into Rhen's cursed world, Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. As Rhen regains hope, they learn it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin
by Marie Lu
Recommended For: Middle School and older
Description: In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.
by Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles Series
Recommended For: Action book lovers
Why: It’s an action-packed series with great characters & twists & turns.
Description: As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.
by Stuart Gibbs
Recommended For: Middle schoolers and older.
Why: Fantasy, people with powers, coming of age.
Description: Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA's highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.
by Grace Lin
Recommended For: High Schoolers, people who like unique love stories
Why: Chinese folklore inspired. I read it when I was younger and really enjoyed.
Description: Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.
by Courtney Summers
Recommended For: People looking for thrillers and realistic fiction. High school and older.
Why: Thriller type book. Very insightful and serious.
Description: Sadie's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated Colorado town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. When Mattie is found dead, and the police investigation is botched, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice. She hits the road following a few meager clues. When West McCray, a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America, hears Sadie's story, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late
by Shannon Messenger
Middle school and people who like Avatar the Last Airbender.
Why: Fantasy, people with powers, coming of age.
Description: At age twelve, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always caused her to stand out identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.
by Ellen Raskin
Recommended For: 6th grade and up. People who like puzzles
Why: It’s like a puzzle in a book
Description: The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance.
by Ally Condie
Recommended For: Teens
Why: Science Fiction Young Adult. I thought it was really interesting.
Description: All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, whom to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn't be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky's face show up on her match disk as well?
by Neal Shusterman
Recommended For: Teens & Adults
Why: Thought provoking
Description: In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ('gleaned') by professional reapers ('scythes'). Two teens must compete with each other to become a scythe--a position neither of them wants. The one who becomes a scythe must kill the one who doesn't.
by David Levithan
Recommended For: High Schoolers, people who like unique love stories
Why: Cool love story of someone who switches bodies every day.
Description: Every morning A wakes in a different person's body, in a different person's life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.