Tween books HELP

I was just looking through my blog stats and I realized that there are three searches that lead to my blog almost everyday:

1. bookavore.  Shocking, que no?

2. book tattoos (or some variation thereof). Also not shocking.

3. tween books OR books for tweens OR is [TITLE] good for tweens OR please god help me I don’t know what book to buy for my 12 year old daughter OR something like that.

People, searches are turning up at my doorstep everyday looking for a good list of books for tweens and I am failing them, dismally.  

So, help me out here.  Leave in comments the best/your favorite books for tweens, and if so, why and which tweens.  For the purposes of this list, tween means 10-13, and any books with “mature content” are excluded because so many parents of tweens are looking for books without it.  If you’re so inclined, please offer a link (remembering, of course, to link indie).



19 comments so far

  1. Ami on

    I know everyone is into his Octavian Nothing series now, but I adore M.T. Anderson’s Feed. It’s a great read, and also totally maudlin in a way I would have loved as a tween.

  2. bookavore on

    I’ll put two responses from Twitter here:

    @KaraLove: John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things. I bought for the cover and was pleasantly surprised with a great read. Good tween title.

    @spartabooks: penderwicks, penderwicks on gardham st, matilda, james and the giant peach,the witches,tale of desperaux,hoot, flush, scat, D’Lacy series, Mike Lupica books, doll people, meanest dolls in the world, runaway dolls,3 cups of tea, holes, Gary Paulsen books, Hugo Cabret, Jerry Spinelli. Just to mention a few.

  3. Paige on

    Anything by E. L. Konigsburg. Some are better for the younger side of tween (like Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth), some better for older (like Silent to the Bone). The best thing about Konigsburg’s books is they’re great for boys as much as girls, and all the characters are very intelligent.

    Also The Egypt Game really can’t be recommended enough.

    This is really tough age to recommend for because it’s really dependent upon the kid, and oftentimes there’s a HUGE difference between 11 and 13, or even between two 13 year olds.

  4. bookavore on

    From Heather Doss, children’s books genius at Bookazine, via @RonRice: “Aurora County All Stars, Elsewhere (Her Fave), Mysterious Bened. Society, Pandora Gets Jealous, Gets Vain, Gets Lazy.”

  5. missyjoon on

    Alex Ryder series (boys LOVE them!), the young James Bond series (Again, boys!), Holes, Flush, Olive’s Ocean, Al Capone does my Shirts . . . Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Percy Jackson Series . . . I can give you more if you need xo

  6. ssavory on

    All things Sharon Creech, Karen Hesse, E L Konigsberg, Michael Buckley’s Gideon series, John Connolly – Book of Lost Things, The Penderwicks & The Penderwicks on Gardham St., all things Swallows and Amazons, Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series, Madeleine L’Engle, John Bellairs, Lois Lowry, especially Gathering Blue, Jerry Spinelli – Maniac McGee is great for boys (and girls!)& Stargirl, Daniel Pinkwater, Susan Patron’s Power of Lucky, Brian Jacques – all things Redwall, Phillip Pullman’s his Dark Materials series for older ‘tweens, C S Lewis, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden and Little Princess, Roald Dahl…I could keep going, and will if you need me to. If you need specific titles for some of the authors I’ve mentioned please just ask!! Hope this helps.

  7. R.J. Anderson on

    FEED is indeed amazing but I would not recommend it for 10-13 year olds whose parents are looking for books without strong language and other “questionable content”. Sorry, Ami! I hope I haven’t given offense.

    THE MAGIC THIEF by Sarah Prineas is an excellent tween fantasy novel, as are LARKLIGHT and STARCROSS by Philip Reeve (which are sort of skewed alternate-history SF). Shannon Hale’s books are also mostly tween-appropriate, and Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles (DEALING WITH DRAGONS and its sequels) are deservedly popular for this age group. Deva Fagan’s forthcoming FORTUNE’S FOLLY is also going to be popular with MG fantasy readers, I suspect.

    On the more “realistic” side, I’ve just posted an interview with Erin Dionne, author of the just-released MODELS DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES (Dial) which is great for tween girls — it’s witty and fun but also has some good thinky stuff. I really enjoyed it.

    Oh! And how could I forget Eva Ibbotson? She’s written some good teen romances but her tween books are terrific — especially JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA and THE DRAGONFLY POOL. Quasi-historical adventure fiction with a slightly fantastic (or should I say eccentric?) feel.

  8. Holly Black on

    I am going to think of a million books once I post, but here are a few I recommend to tweens:

    Megan Whalen Turner’s THE THIEF, etc.
    Franny Billingsley’s THE FOLK KEEPER
    Garth Nix’s SABRIEL, etc.
    Shannon Hale’s THE GOOSE GIRL, etc.
    Elizabeth Marie Pope’s THE PERILOUS GARD

  9. Wendy H. on

    My 11 year old daughter is the authority in my home & store. She loves the “Regarding The..” series by Kate Klise, Blue Balliett’s books, the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, and of course the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan.

    Older things i turned her onto include “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” by Julie Andrews Edwards, “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin, and the afore-mentioned Konigsburg books.

    I’m sure we’ve forgotten key tomes, so I’ll repost if we think of more. Happy hunting. : )

  10. Ruth on

    A few off the top of my head:

    ENOLA HOLMES series by Nancy Springer
    CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson
    THE LAND OF ELYON series by Patrick Carman

    I also heartily agree with ssavory’s suggestion of Sharon Creech. I read WALK TWO MOONS when I was 13, and to this day, it’s still one of my favorite books.

  11. Rachel Wilson on

    I just so happened to save this list of books for tweens from The Goddess of YA Lit on my reader — — think it’s from last year.

  12. Deva Fagan on

    Oh, what a great list everyone has put together already. As someone said, it is a hard age to judge sometimes, but here are some of my favorites from when I was 10-13: Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series, Anne McCaffery’s Harper Hall books, and pretty much anything by Lloyd Alexander or Diana Wynne Jones (especially the Chrestomanci series books). They are all fantasy/sf and I loved them for

    More recent books that might fall into this category that I’ve enjoyed include:
    The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
    Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
    The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
    Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
    Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
    Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

    I would also recommend the Anne books and others by L. M. Montgomery and the Betsy-Tacy books (maybe starting with Heavens to Betsy, where Betsy starts High School) by Maud Hart Lovelace.

    Now I need to go make notes on this great list!

  13. Molly on

    My favorite books for tweens have to be the Hilary McKay series about the casson family. The first one is Saffy’s Angel, followed by Indigo’s Star, Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After, and Forever Rose. All of these except the last are in paperback!

    Also, without a doubt, Frances O’Roark Dowell’s The Kind of Friends We Used to Be (and its prequel, The Secret Language of Girls).

    For boys, Jordan Sonnenblick’s Zen & the Art of Faking It along with Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie are fantastic choices, as is David Lubar’s Hidden Talents.

    I love that the person above me, Ruth, put Fiendish Deeds! I was the publicist for that book! Yay, P.J.!

  14. missy on
  15. Suzanna on

    Such great books mentioned so far, but I would add Carl Hiaasen’s kids’ books: Hoot, Flush, and Scat. They’re hilarious, and written just as well as his adult books.

    Some other ideas:
    Sarah Dessen (great writing and pretty tame subject matter – great for girls who want to feel like they’re reading teen books without all the adult content)
    “The Rock and the River” by Kekla Magoon
    “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

  16. IndieBookGirl on

    A lot of great books are already listed, so I’m going to try and touch on a couple of suggestions that I haven’t seen yet, and I’m sure to think of more after I’ve posted, but oh well. Paying particular attention to tame content that’s still great:

    Lisa Yee has a great trilogy.
    -Millicent Min, Girl Genius
    -Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time
    -So Totally Emily Ebers

    The Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke is fun. And if you haven’t looked at The Seems by John Hulme and Michael Wexler, both books have a great word play. My dad is actually a huge fan of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson, and he never really left his childhood behind.

    Really, any of the recommendations from people who have left comments would work.

  17. Rebecca on

    Thanks to everyone who already responded – I can’t wait to go stock my shelves with some new suggestions. Here are a few I haven’t seen mentioned:

    -Sorcery and Cecelia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (and it’s sequels) by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede
    -Did someone already mention Garth Nix and his Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Across the Wall books?
    -Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M.M. Blume (younger tweens)
    -Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Flipovic (and Diary of Anne Frank, for that matter)
    -Streams to the River, River to the Sea; Thunder Rolling in the Mountains; Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    -Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (older tweens) – and for that matter, Jellicoe Road, too, for older tweens

    Oldies but goodies:
    -Eight Cousins, A Rose in Bloom, & An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
    -Secret Garden/A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    =Girl of the Limberlost, Freckles, Her Father’s Daughter by Gene Stratton-Porter
    =Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster

    I feel like I could do this all day, but I’ll stop there. 🙂

  18. christine on

    frank beddor/arch enemy..Daniel y/watch the skies..beth fantaskey/jessicas guide…

  19. whatakid on

    Here’s a list of books for tween boys from my blog:

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