Skip to main content

Teen Board Question - June 2018, Part 2

Teen Board Monthly Question

Teen Board Question - June 2018, Part 2

Summer break is finally here and we’re finalizing our vacation TBRs with all of the beach reads, fantasies and highly buzzworthy titles we've been hearing about for months. We know that many schools assign a summer reading lists for their students, so we decided to ask our Teen Board members which books they would put on assigned reading lists if they were in charge. Read below to learn about the books they think every teen should read this summer.


I always have trouble with required readings, as I love to read in the summer, but once it becomes mandatory I never seem to enjoy it as much. In order to counteract this, I would choose some books that I think are interesting enough to be a fun read while doing any required work. First I’d choose THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY, as it’s a classic, so a good school read, but do engaging and crazy enough to keep you interested. Another I would choose is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, which is another classic, but such a good read that I found myself enjoying it even when I had to do assignments or annotate with it for school. Finally I would choose A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES. It’s a fantasy novel, but so interesting, while including countless literary devices that could be talked about for hours. It’s not a typical summer reading book, but it could be an amazing addition to school assignments. --- Jessica K.

If I could create the perfect summer reading list, it would include:
1. HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE by J.K. Rowling
2. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie
3. GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee
4. 1984 by George Orwell
I think this list includes a balance between classics and more current books. HARRY POTTER is a must-read because it is a part of pop culture. Since TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is usually on summer reading lists, Harper Lee's new book GO SET A WATCHMAN is a good twist. 1994 and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS are classics that all teenagers should read before they go to college. --- Juliette G.

One of the books that would probably make my summer reading list is ALEX, APPROXIMATELY by Jenn Bennett. This quirky teen romance novel was one of my favorites of the genre, and was super cute, engaging, and a perfect summer read. Another book that would make the list is THE RAVEN BOYS. I loved everything about that book and each following book in the series, from the characters to the magic to the history to the forbidden love and dysfunctional friendships. It would make an equally wonderful summer read. The next book on the list would probably be THE DEMON KING. I have such a weakness for well written high fantasy books with irresistible love stories mixed in, and the Seven Realms series is one of my favorites to date. To finish up my list I would probably have to include just about any book Cassandra Clare has written, but it would probably be best to start with CITY OF BONES. I love the world and the characters Clare has created more than words can say, and I will never stop recommending her work. --- Katie T.

1. A historical or historical fiction novel, such as THE HELP, ROCKET GIRL, or THE BOOK THIEF because it is a great way to learn about history.
2. OUTLIERS, by Malcolm Gladwell, because it is useful and thought-provoking.
3. An novel that features an ethical dilemma, such as THE GIVER, UNWIND or DIVERGENT. These books are great because they are great ways to learn to debate and explore current issues in our world.
4. This option should be reserved for any book that the student wants to read...but there is a catch. The student must also write a report on why they chose this book, and what they learned. Muahahaha!!! --- Lauren C.

During the summer, I like to keep my reads diverse and deep. This is because I have a great opportunity to explore while I have the time! Therefore, I would make my summer reading list diverse as well.
1. A strong fantasy book, like RED QUEEN or the SHATTER ME series. I would want some books to take my mind to another place on those long and boring road trips.
2. Some Summer Romance books would be great. I don’t know of any new “summer” romance books, but stories by Nicola Yoon, Sarah Dessen, or ...... would be my choice. 
3. Books that have movies: I think that summer is a great opportunity to read some great books and watch the movies, we have the time! It would be books like HUNGER GAMES or EVERYTHING EVERYTHING(even as retreads they are pretty good ;) ).
4. Re-Reads and Classics are a must. Sometimes it’s good to read your favorite HARRY POTTER book or mystery novel because you can take your time and really enjoy the book. Sometimes I believe that knowing the ending makes reading up to it even more exciting. --- Lillian B.

Five books I would recommend for the summer are THE POPPY WAR by R.F Kuang, A REAPER AT THE GATES by Sabaa Tahir, WAR STORM by Victoria Aveyard, DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland, and WE ARE THE ANTS by Shaun David Hutchinson. I chose these books for varying reasons as they are not all the same genre and some novels are a part of a quartet. A REAPER AT THE GATES and WAR STORM were highly anticipated releases; these series already have people hooked and wanting more. I enjoy YA fantasy adventure novels and highly recommend starting or finishing these series. THE POPPY WAR may be the best novel I have read ever, this book was #1 on my TBR list and it did not disappoint. Harry Potter + Mulan + Avatar and the Last Airbender = THE POPPY WAR. I know, epic. DREAD NATION is also a great choice this summer because of its unique plot line and lovable characters. This novel aptly explores racism, colorism, and sexism in the Civil War era while balancing a storyline centered around a zombie-slaying, black girl. Lastly, WE ARE THE ANTS is completely deep and thought provoking. Summer is the time for self-reflection and we get to witness this from our main character, Henry Denton. --- Melat E.

If I were in charge of a summer reading list, it would have to consist of both classics and contemporaries. Summer is one of my favorite times to sit in the sun and power through some beloved classics. However, reading them exclusively is bound to make me fall into a reading slump. Mixing them with modern contemporaries is the best way to ensure I don't go weeks without reading anything. So, this list consists of classics as well as modern books that touch on subjects that I think should be openly talked about in schools.
1.  AGNES GREY by Anne Brontë - This is a quick and easy to read, completely overlooked classic. It reads as easily as a novel published today despite having been published in 1847. Another plus is that both the book and its author are wonderfully feminist. This is hands down one of my favorite classics of all time and the fact that so many people have never even heard of it (or Anne!) is astonishing to me. At just over 200 pages, AGNES GREY takes only a few hours to read, making it great for one of those sleepless summer nights.
2.  RAMONA BLUE by Julie Murphy - This is a book that focuses heavily on sexuality as well as other subjects like money (or the lack thereof) and race. Despite how heavy those topics can be, this is still a lighthearted book and a quick read, perfect for summer.
3.  OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder - To put it simply, this is a play about life. It's thought-provoking and tragic, but also entirely mundane. It's a great read to just soak in and reflect quietly upon but would also make for an intriguing group discussion. It's very short and won't take more than a couple hours to read. I'm not someone who particularly enjoys reading plays, but this is the exception.
4.  UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES by Louise Gornall - This is a book that deals with mental illness. The representation of it is one of the best I've ever read. I think this is a must-read for people who don't have mental illness as this will give them some insight and understanding, as well as those who do live with mental illness so they can feel less alone. --- Olivia W.

The first book that I would put on this list is A TAXONOMY OF LOVE by Rachael Allen, which features a boy with Tourette's syndrome who is in love with the girl next door. It's a lighthearted summer romance set in the Deep South, but it also deals with important topics like racism, grief, and living with a disability that is a part of you, but does not define you. Another lighthearted read I would include is MY LADY JANE by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows, a hilarious historical retelling with a bit of magic. The narration is always humorous and the interactions between the characters are highly entertaining! The next book I would put on the list isn't a young adult novel, but it's suitable for older teens: SHADOW DIVERS by Robert Kurson, a nonfiction account of deep-wreck divers who find an unidentified WWII submarine off the coast of New Jersey. The book is a fast-paced account of the effort to identify the ship and the perils of deep-sea diving, a book sure to make readers wonder what's under the water on their next beach trip! On a completely different note, I would also include CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi, a thrilling fantasy adventure that should be on everyone's radar. Not only is the worldbuilding excellent, but the characters are complex and the story reads like a movie, while also exploring ideas relevant today, including fear and oppression. It's the perfect long but engaging read to fill all those hours in the car on a road trip. The final book I would include is for those readers not interested in the trend toward lighthearted reads in the summer: SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys, a deeply moving historical fiction novel about the plight of European refugees near the end of WWII. --- Rachel R.

I feel that the perfect summer reading list does not have specific titles to it. I believe that there should just me a certain amount of books that you or your school challenges you to read. It's better this way because you will find yourself reading books you actually enjoy because you do not have to read certain books. It also makes reading during the summer more enjoyable! --- Rebecca D.

Sometimes summer readings can be a hassle.  The days are longer, and the nights are shorter, we teenagers feel infinite, so why not give us a summer reading list to empower us and gets us motivated to have a well spent summer.  Personally, I enjoy more light books in the summer.  Books that leave my heart warm, and make me want to go start a new hobby.
1. TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han: There is no better way to start off this particular summer, than with Lara Jean’s quirky family.  To all those Netflix junkies, keep an eye our for this book’s film adaptation to be released in mid August.  Nothing beats Han’s diverse contemporary…except maybe Lara Jean’s baking.  After reading this series I found myself at the baking aisle until I remember that I literally can’t even boil water much less bake macaroons from scratch.  Not only will Lara Jean’s story make you grin from happiness and want to grad your sister in a giant hug, but you will leave it wanting to try something new, which is just a way to start off the summer: exploring new hobbies.
2. LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins: Reading the first book is like year four of high school math, recommended but not required.  Personally, I enjoyed LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR more than I enjoyed ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.  I am drawn to unique main characters, and I completely fell in love with Lola.  Her style descriptions were probably my favorite parts of the book.  Her small town adventures made me realize that I don’t need to be spending money to have fun, and sometimes I don’t even need big company to go on my own adventures.
3. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon: Take it from a DREAMER, when I say that I wish there was more attention to books like this. Not only do I feel represented as someone who spent the majority of her life as “undocumented,” but it completely captured some of the helplessness of my situation that I’ve felt almost all my life. There is no better time than now to widen our perspectives on situations we may not be able to understand.  This stuff is happening, and this book can be the start of someone’s journey to help. --- Sabina Z.

While there are so many books I believe could vitally change someone’s perspective on both life and literature, the primary book that sticks out to me immediately is THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas. Not only is it what I would consider a modern classic, but I also felt first-Hand a perspective shift and new level of empathy that came from reading it. Not only does it deal with relevant topics, but it gives readers the opportunity to see a story from a place that isn’t their own. Secondly, I have recently read THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood, and it was both so haunting and harrowing, I absolutely see how it has quickly become required reading. As Atwood says, it is potentially speculative fiction, and the warning it serves as for the future of women in America (and in general), is one that needs to be understood by everyone. --- Savana W.

The books that are perfect for a summer reading list would be all the contemporaries! Usually over summer I love some light, fluffy reads which I can find through works from Morgan Matson (AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR), Jenn Bennett (ALEX, APPROXIMATELY), Kasie West (LISTEN TO YOUR HEART), Jenny Han (TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE), etc. The author list goes on forever and if there’s even a cool European location or road trip involved, it makes things all the better! --- Taylor F.

I'd love to have VICIOUS by VE Schwab featured on a list. It's a book that will open up people's minds to antiheroes and who is a villain. I'd also suggest BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah. It is an interesting story of upbringing and acceptance. It's a unique perspective on life and also brought to my attention to another person's life. --- Wren L.