All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Other Young Adult Fiction

Not all teens are interested in boy wizards, vampires, rich-girl cliques, or an angst overload. Some are just looking for a good stories about young adults they can relate to.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

For Ages: 12-14

Arguably Mark Twain's most famous novel — indeed, one of the greatest works of American literature — The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn brings together two people from the lower rungs of society, an ill-educated boy escaping an abusive father and a kind, strong man escaping slavery, and puts them on a raft going down the Mississippi River. The raft gives us the quintessential image of Huck Finn, but in fact much of the novel takes place on land, where the protagonists repeatedly find themselves having to escape from one bind or another.


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If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

For Ages: 12-14

Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; but in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…


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Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

For Ages: 12-14

In the suburbs of Chicago, two teens named Will Grayson — one gay, one straight—have lived their lives completely unaware of the other's existence. But that changes one fateful night when their worlds collide. Their lives begin to intertwine and each Will Grayson begins to question who he really is. Their discoveries take them in unexpected directions, building towards romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of an oh-so-fabulous high school musical.


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Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

For Ages: 14-16

Ever since she called 911 from a teen party, Melinda has quieted her voice, literally and figuratively. She only finds it when its needed to prevent a reoccurrence of the same horror. This stunning look at sexual assault and peer pressure is presented in a highly readable form.


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Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green

For Ages: 12-14

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows.


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Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green

For Ages: 14-16

Everybody has a talent. Miles Halter's is knowing the last words of a lot of different people — people like the author Rabelais, whose enigmatic last words "I go to seek a Great Perhaps" inspire the sixteen-year-old to leave his family home in Florida and enroll in Culver Creek, a co-ed boarding school in Alabama.


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Sold

Sold by Patricia McCormick

For Ages: 14-16

Thirteen-year old Lakshmi thinks she is leaving her poor rural family to go to the city to become a maid. Little does she know her family has sold her into prostitution, and the price for her freedom may be too high.


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City of the Beasts

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende

For Ages: 9-12

In the midst of his mother's struggle with cancer, fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime. Accompanying his fearless grandmother, a magazine reporter for International Geographic, Alexander sets off on an expedition to the remote world of the Amazon.


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After

After by Francine Prose

For Ages: 12-14

The shootings at Pleasant Valley were 50 miles away, but at Central High a grief and crisis counselor is hired, security is increased, and privileges are being taken away. It's for the protection of the students, yet 15-year-old Tom Bishop learns that things are far more sinister than they seem...students and teachers begin disappearing.


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Bloomability

Bloomability by Sharon Creech

For Ages: 9-12

Thirteen-year-old Dinnie, is uprooted from her parents' nomadic lifestyle to spend a year with her aunt and uncle in Switzerland. Dinnie arrives homesick, scared, and stubbornly refusing to enjoy herself. However, over the course of the year, Dinnie not only becomes comfortable in her new surroundings, but also sees the appeal of a new experiences.


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Now You See Her

Now You See Her by Jacquelyn Mitchard

For Ages: 12-14

From community theater, dinner theater, and commercials to auditions around the country and finally a place at a prestigious boarding school for the arts, Hope Shays makes sure nothing gets between her and the spotlight. Hope knows she's good. She's so convinced she's good that she stages her own kidnapping — she'll fool everybody and end up famous beyond her mother's wildest dreams.


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Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

For Ages: 9-12

Coraline's parents are too busy to play with her. She's on her own, and when she goes exploring in her new apartment she unlocks a door that leads to a different world. At first it looks familiar, even intriguing, but Coraline quickly learns that evil lurks there. Soon, Coraline is caught in a life or death challenge — to save herself, her family, and three lost children.


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Love, Stargirl

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

For Ages: 12-14

Stargirl Caraway explores her new neighborhood with an eye for the unusual. She notices the agoraphobic neighbor, the seemingly homeless young boy, and others who do not fit in easily. Stargirl, never one with an inclination to conform, empathizes with the outcasts, making many of them her new friends.


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Stargirl

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

For Ages: 12-14

One glance and students know that the new girl at Mica High School is not your ordinary student. Stargirl Caraway is a free spirit. She has a pet rat named Cinnamon, plays the ukulele in the cafeteria, and refuses to wear the requisite jeans and t-shirts. Leo Borlock is both fascinated and horrified by Stargirl's disdain for fitting in. As he falls in love with her, he still longs for her to be more "normal."


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The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School

The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School by Candace Fleming

For Ages: 9-12

No one wants to teach these fourth graders until the amazing Mr. Jupiter comes along. He undertakes the task with humor, and along the way the fourth graders learn many lessons, including "He laughs best who laughs last;" "Be careful what you wish for—it might come true;" and "Slow and steady wins the race."


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Godless

Godless by Pete Hautman

For Ages: 12-14

After a simple gag, Jason Bock finds himself the head of a new religious sect. Soon, Jason realizes that the "religion" he created has taken on a life-altering momentum of its own — one that he, perhaps, cannot control.


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Uglies

Uglies, Pretties, Specials by Scott Westerfeld

For Ages: 12-14

Living in a future where sixteen-year-olds are surgically transformed from "uglies" to "pretties," Tally Youngblood struggles with a choice: to become beautiful and content forever, or to leave the world she knows and keep her own face.


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Dark Dude

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos

For Ages: 12-14

In Wisconsin, Rico could blend in. His light hair and lighter skin wouldn't make him the "dark dude" or the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. The Midwest is the land of milk and honey, but for Rico Fuentes, it's really a last resort. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. Except he can never have an ordinary white kid's life, because there are some things that can't be left behind, that can't be cut loose or forgotten.


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Kira-Kira

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

For Ages: 12-14

Katie Takeshima is about to enter kindergarten in the 1950s, when her parents close their Oriental foods grocery store in Iowa and move to Georgia to work in a chicken hatchery. When tragedy strikes her family, Katie finds a way to show her parents that there is always hope and something glittering — kira-kira — in their future.


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Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

For Ages: 14-16

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends.


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