Teen and Young Adult Books

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Candyfreak, by Steve Almond
Teen/Young Adult/Adult: ages 13 +

Ever been obsessed with something? Steve Almond is. He is obsessed with candy. So much so that he starts his story–and our journey with him–disclosing that he has eaten at least one piece of candy every day for his entire life.

This book is part travelogue (as Almond visits regional candymakers across the US), part nostalgia (as Almond invites the reader to remember–and grieve for– candy bars that have been discontinued over the years), part humor (this reviewer laughed out loud practically every page) and part an educational overview of the candy bar industry.

Steve Almond is opinionated, hysterical and very informative. Note to all readers: good luck making it through this book without reaching for a candy bar.

Recommended by: Marni Port, Child & Teen Services Manager
“I read this book in two days. I couldn’t stop laughing. And now I want to call my sister and remind her of all the Halloween candy we use to trade as kids. And does anyone out there remember the candy bar Space Sticks? Teens and their parents are sure to enjoy this book!”

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
Young Adult/ Teen: ages 13 +

This story is told from the viewpoint of super intelligent, precocious 9-year-old Oskar, who is a a vegan, plays the tambourine, invents things, and whose father was killed on 9/11. The story begins 2 years after the “worst day” when grieving Oskar knocks over a vase in his father’s closet and finds inside it a key in an envelope. The only thing written on the envelope is “Black.” The key doesn’t fit any lock in his home, so Oskar decides to hunt for the lock that fits this mysterious key by interviewing everyone in New York City with the last name “Black.”

There is a secondary plot of Oskar’s grandparents, who survived the bombing of Dresden and their story is interwoven with Oskar’s search. The story, both charming and heartbreaking, is more than an adventure; it is a truly moving tale of loss, grief, truth and love.

Note: this is one of the first American works of fiction to incorporate the attacks of September 11th, 2001– and uses the tragedy as a vital part of the plot. In addition to text, the novel incorporates photos and drawings.

Recommended by Marni Port, Child & Teen Services Manager
“This novel has received a lot press, both for its use of 9/11 in the plot, as well as the incorporation of photos and drawings into the text. I thought book worth reading for so many reasons beyond these more publicized ones. I found it funny, interesting, weird, adventurous, unbelievable, and heartbreaking. What an amazing journey.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Young Adult/ Teen: ages 13 +

The earth no longer exists, having been destroyed one Thursday to make way for a hyperspace freeway. Arthur Dent, the only earth-man to survive, is whisked away on a flying saucer just before the final explosion.

Join Arthur and his friend Ford Prefect as they travel around the universe causing trouble, getting into trouble, and meeting strange lifeforms. They are aided and abetted in their adventures by the popular book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, which promises to show the space traveler how to see the “…Marvels of the Universe for less than thirty Altairian dollars a day.”

Recommended by: Marni Port, Child & Teen Services Manager
“Quite possibly the funniest science fiction book ever written. And totally addictive; thank goodness this is just the first in a series. After you finish Hitchhikers’, you’ll be rushing out to join Arthur and Ford at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. Oh, and if you saw the movie but haven’t read the book–trust me. The book is WAY better.”

The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson
Teen/Young Adult: ages 13 years old and up
Book 1 of the Maximum Ride series

This adventurous book will surely keep your attention as well as your teens! The first book in a series of four, Maximum Ride (Max) is narrated from the perspective of 14-year-old Max. Max was raised in the confines of a school, but this was no ordinary school. There, scientist performed cruel experiments on Max and her schoolmates. Such experiments gave her wings and superhuman strength.

After being released by a compassionate scientist, Max and her mates live peacefully in the mountains while learning to use their powers. They became a family, taking care of each other while trying to move past their nightmares from “school.”

That is until the youngest “family member’” Angel, gets kidnapped and taken back to the school. Now Max and her crew must go back to the school to save their sister! On their journey they are confronted by evil creatures), a mad scientist, and much more! Beware; your child may not be able to put this book down!

Note: some reviewers feel that the book is violent (physical fighting and gun use is present) and would not be appropriate for your younger child. We recommend you use discretion and read the book first yourself.

Recommended by Teen daughter of staff member.
“Maximum ride is one of my favorite book series because it involves characters that are both interesting and relatable while having a story line that keeps you glued to the book for the entire duration of the story.”

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, by Sue Townsend
Young Adult/Teen: ages 13 +

Set in the 1980’s in Thatcher’s Britain, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is written almost entirely in diary form. Adrian is awkward, clumsy, self centered and convinced of his own intellectual superiority. He has many goals that he utterly fails to achieve. This in no way diminishes his self confidence in his own poetry writing ability, affairs of the heart and many other endeavors.

Told in minute detail, his diary chronicles everything from his parents’ divorce, to his love life, to his literary pursuits, to his acne updates.

Although this is recommended for teens, adult readers (especially those who were kids in the 1980’s) will also enjoy it tremendously.

Recommended by Marni Port, Child & Teen Services Manager
“It is impossible not to crack up reading this book.”

The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt
Young Adult/Teen: ages 13 years old and up

The Wednesday Wars is about a boy named Holling Hoodhood (yes, you read that right) and it takes place in the 1960’s. The book is pretty good about capturing the era–Holling’s sister is experimenting with being a “flower child”, there is mention of the Vietnam War and some of the people Holling knows are directly effected by the war. But the book doesn’t bash you over the head with this history–it’s just a part of the story and makes it more interesting.

Holling is forced to spend Wednesday afternoon alone with his teacher Mrs. Baker. He is positive she hates him and is out to get him. Her plans seem obvious to him–especially when she makes him read Shakespeare during their Wednesday sessions. But he fools her–he actually likes the Shakespeare! Other plot strands are about Holling and the other kids in his class, Holling standing up to a bully (well, kind of), Holling being forced to be a fairy in a local Shakespeare play, Holling’s developing friendship with a classmate–who has a list of 410 ways to get a teacher to hate you- and other struggles facing the seventh grader. Some involve cream puffs. Some involve big rats!

Recommended by Marni Port, Child & Teen Services Manager
Parts of this book are really funny and talk about more serious things in a really natural way without it feeling like a ‘lesson’