When looking through the list, don’t be fooled by the AR levels. Some of the novels written at easier reading levels are actually only suitable for more mature students, ones who can understand the complex situations and relationships depicted in them. Therefore, even if you have good reading skills, don’t ignore the novels with low AR levels or you’ll miss out on some extraordinary stories.
Acheson, Alison. Mud Girl. (AR 4.3)
Bedard, Michael. Redwork. (AR 6.4) CLA Young Adult Book winner
Bell, William. Alma. (AR 5.6)
Bell, William, The Blue Helmet.
Bell, William. Just Some Stuff I Wrote. (a collection of short stories: 813 Bel)
Brooks, Martha. Bone Dance. (AR 4.7)
Brooks, Martha. True Confessions of a Heartless Girl. (AR 5.0)
Butcher, Kristin. The Hemingway Tradition. (AR 4.3)
Doyle, Brian. Angel Square. (AR 4.9)
Ellis, Deborah and Eric Walters. Bifocal.
Ellis, Deborah. Lunch with Lenin. (AR 4.8) [813 Ell]
Friesen, Gayle. Men of Stone (AR 4.4) Janey’s Girl (AR 4.0) and others.
Holubitsky, Katherine. Tweaked. (AR 4.9)
Horvath, Polly. The Vacation. (AR 5.6)
Horvath, Polly. The Corps of the Bare-boned Plane. (AR 5.8)
Hughes, Monica. Blaine’s Way.
Juby, Susan. Alice, I Think. (AR 6.3)
Kilbourne, Christina. Dear Jo: the story of losing Leah…
Kropp, Paul. Student Narc. (AR 4.5)
Little, Jean. Willow and Twig. (AR 5.0)
Matas, Carol. The Burning Time (AR 5.1) and others.
Stratton, Allan. Chanda’s Wars. (AR 3.5)
Trembeth, Don. The Tuesday Cafe. (AR 4.7)
Tullson, Diane. Red Sea. (AR 5.1)
Tullson, Diane. Zero.
Walters, Eric. House Party. (AR 3.9)
Walters, Eric. Shattered . (AR 4.4)
Wynne-Jones, Tim. The Maestro. (AR 5.0) Governor General’s award winner
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. (AR 5.5)
Carter, Forrest. The Education of Little Tree. (AR 5.5)
Chandler, Elizabeth. Don’t Tell. (AR 5.0)
Christopher, Lucy. The Killing Woods.
Clements, Andrew. Things Hoped For. (AR 4.7)
Clements, Andrew. Things Not Seen. (AR 4.5)
Cullen, Lynn. I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter. (AR 4.4)
Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy. (AR 6.4) ALA YA Book winner
Cushman, Karen. The Midwife’s Apprentice. (AR 6.0)
Fox, Paula. One-Foxed Cat. (AR 5.4) and The Moonlight Man. (AR 5.1)
Hale, Shannon. Book of a Thousand Days. (AR 5.3)
Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust. (AR 5.3) winner of multiple awards
Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders (AR 4.7) and others.
Holt, Kimberly Willis. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town. (AR 4.5)
Kessler, Cristina. Our Secret, Siri Aang. (AR 6.2)
Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret Life of Bees. (AR 5.7)
Kiely, Brendan. The Gospel of Winter.
Konigsburg, E.L. Silent to the Bone. (AR 5.4) ALA Best Book for YA
Langan, Paul. Blood is Thicker. (AR 4.8)
Langan, Paul. Payback. (AR 4.7)
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. (AR 5.6)
McClintock, Norah. Dooley Takes the Fall.
McCormick, Patricia. Cut. (AR 4.6)
Meyer, Carolyn. Duchessina. (AR 6.6)
Meyer, Carolyn. Marie Dancing. (AR 6.1)
Meyer, Carolyn. Patience, Princess Catherine. (AR 7.3)
Murdock, Catherine. Dairy Queen. (AR 5.3)
Nelson, O.T. The Girl Who Owned a City. (AR 4.7)
Paterson, Katherine. Jacob Have I Loved. (AR 5.7)
Paterson, Katherine. The Same Stuff as Stars. (AR 4.3)
Paulsen, Gary. The Crossing. (AR 5.8) Canyons. (AR 5.5)
Peck, Richard. Are You In the House Alone? (AR 4.9)
Peck, Robert Newton. A Day No Pigs Would Die. (AR 4.4) ALA Best Book for YA
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life As We Knew It. (AR 4.7)
Reiss, Kathryn. Blackthorn Winter. (AR 5.1)
Rylant, Cynthia. Fine, White Dust. (AR 4.2)
Schraff, Anne. Lost and Found. (AR 4.7)
Schraff, Anne. A Matter of Trust. (AR 4.6)
Schraff, Anne. Secrets in the Shadows. (AR 4.7)
Schraff, Anne. Until We Meet Again. (AR 4.8)
Smelcer, John. The Trap. (AR 6.2)
Spinelli, Jerry. Crash. (AR 3.6), Stargirl (AR 4.2) and others.
Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Shabanu. (AR 5.9)
Voigt, Cynthia. Dicey’s Song (AR 5.0) and many others.
Werlin, Nancy. The Rules of Survival. AR (4.3)
Whelan, Gloria. Homeless Bird. (AR 5.3)
Woodson, Jacqueline. Hush. (AR 4.2)
Zindel, Paul. The Pigman (AR 5.5) and others.
Aiken, Joan. several novels, esp. Black Hearts in Battersea. (AR 6.1)
Austen, Jane. Persuasian. (AR 12.0)
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. (AR 12.0)
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. (AR 7.9)
Cassidy, Anne. Looking for JJ. (AR 4.9)
Garfield, Leon. Black Jack (AR 6.5), Smith, and others.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies.
Hoffman, Mary. The Falconer’s Knot. (AR 6.3)
Pratchett, Terry. Only You Can Save the Mankind. (AR 3.9)
Pratchett, Terry. Truckers (AR 4.4), Diggers (AR 4.4) and Wings (AR 4.2).
Rose, Malcolm. Framed! (AR 5.0)
Rosoff, Meg. Shining On. (a collection of short stories: 813 Ros)
Smith, Dodie. I Capture the Castle. (AR 5.9)
Turnbull, Ann. Forged in the Fire. (AR 5.8)
Turnbull, Ann. No Shame, No Fear. (AR 5.1)
Clarke, Judith. One Whole and Perfect Day. (AR 5.4)
Marsdon, John. Winter. (AR 4.8)
Note that some young adult novels are only suitable for more mature readers.
Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue. The Smell of Other People’s Houses. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2016.
Abandonment. Loneliness. Grief. Friendship. The lives of four Alaskan teenagers – Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank – overlap in this coming-of-age novel set in 1970. A strong sense of place and a captivating sense of voice make this an outstanding story for thoughtful readers 13 years old and up. [Alaska; Friendship; Grief; Parent and child]
Rosoff, Meg. What I Was. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2007.
“In 1960s Britain, a young boarding school student breaks rules to maintain a friendship with a reclusive teen who lives in a hut by the sea, and after his friend falls ill, learns a dark secret that changes both of their lives.” – ARBookfinder. Highly recommended for mature introspective readers in grade 8 and up. [Boarding schools; England; Friendship; Historical fiction; Homelessness; Secrets]
Kiely, Brendan. The Gospel of Winter. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014.
Sixteen-year-old Aidan turns to his priest for help when his family falls apart. But after gaining his trust, his priest turns to him for sex. Aidan suffers in silence until something happens that gives him the courage to speak up. A powerful novel for mature readers.[Faith; Friendship; Priests; Secrets; Sexual abuse; Teenagers] Click HERE for more books about abuse.
Especially for Girls: HERE
Especially for Boys: HERE
Your Responses and Reviews!
Gibbons, Alan. Caught in the Crossfire. Orion Children’s Books, 2003.
Set in England, this suspense-filled novel shows what happens when the brother of a member of The Patriotic League starts secretly seeing a British Muslim girl. Fear, prejudice, pride and violence all combine to create a compelling novel for young adults.
The Edge by H.G. Sotzek (Scholastic Canada Ltd, 2004) is the story of Ethan Munroe, a good person. An eleventh grader, he tried drugs once and now seems to be having difficulties taking a stand. Ethan is feeling pressured and does not want to make himself look like a fool in front of some new friends. In the end, he and his friends get busted for drugs. If he only had refused the drugs, he would not be in the position that he is in now. (Megan in grade eight)
Becoming Chloe by Catherine (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006) is a fantastic fiction book about two homeless teenagers with dark and disturbing pasts. Jordy, the main character, faces a dilemma: should he support the troubled and abused Chloe, or should he leave her and continue to suffer on his own? Either way, his life will be a struggle but as the novel continues, Jordy realizes that it is his job to show Chloe that the world really is a very beautiful place. So they leave New York City and take a road trip across the country. And they prove to each other how wonderful their lives really are. This is truly a phenomenal novel which I absolutely recommend! (Anna in grade eight)
Lush by Natasha Friend (Scholastic Inc, 2006) is the story of thirteen-year-old Sam who lives with her alcoholic father who goes out every morning and doesn’t come back until midnight, drunk. Sam desperately wants someone to talk to. Therefore, she randomly chooses a girl at the library and writes anonymous notes to her. Will Sam’s problem be solved? (Megan in grade eight)
I recently read a great book called The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (Vision, 1996). Allie, visiting Noah in his hometown along the the coast of North Carolina, faces a dilemma. Should she admit to herself that she still loves Noah or stay silent and stay with Lon, her fiancé, whom she doesn’t love as much as Noah? Should Noah tell Allie that he never stopped loving her or tell her that she should go along with her wedding plans? There are all sorts of complications. Noah and Allie are both unsure what will happen if they tell each other that they still love one another. In addition, Allie’s fiancé shows up in North Carolina looking for her. At the end, Allie chooses Noah because she truly loves him with all her heart, but when they are in their old age together, she gets Alzheimer’s disease. I can tell you that this novel was one of the most heart-warming and romantic novels I’ve read in a long time. (Chelsea in grade eight)
I recently read a great book called The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Pub., 2009). The main character, Ronnie, lives in New York but visits her dad by the ocean. She faces a dilemma: should she forgive her dad for leaving her mom, her brother and herself or should she spend her summer in misery, refusing to forgive? There are all sorts of complications. She thinks that her dad cheated on her mom. He plays the piano constantly and she hates it because they used to play together until he left. At the end, she forgives him and then discovers he has terminal lung cancer. I can tell you that this novel was one of the most sad novels I’ve read in a long time. (Chelsea in grade eight)
Parent child relationships aren’t always good. In some families children get along great with parents but in other families, not so much. A good relationship with an adult is very important in a child or teenager’s life; it can build a child’s life structure and it gives him or her someone to look up to. But this is not the case with Ronnie Miller in The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (Hachette Book Group, 2009). Ronnie, a teenage rebel from New York, does not have a very strong relationship with either of her parents since her dad moved to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Ronnie deems her dad responsible for leaving his family and blames him for not being there when she needed him while growing up. When Ronnie and her younger brother get sent to spend their summer with their dad, Ronnie can’t even talk to him without an argument coming up. But Ronnie soon changes and starts to notice that her dad cares for and loves her. Ronnie understands that her dad is not the one fully responsible for her parents’ divorce. After going through many trials together, Ronnie and her father’s relationship gets even stronger, but their relationship undergoes the final test when Ronnie finds out her dad has lung cancer and only has six months to live. In the end, Ronnie learns that sacrifices are needed for a relationship to be strong and meaningful. (Luisa in grade eight)
Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos has taught me to look at things from a very different perspective. The novel talks about a teenage girl whose family has come to America from Bangladesh as illegal aliens. They struggle to keep their residency a secret but after 9/11, everybody who is Muslim seems dangerous, like possible terrorists. Nadira, a teenage girl feels, very out of place at school, at home, everywhere she goes. When her Abba – father – gets arrested and detained, everything gets even worse. Nadira and her sister Aisha are told to go home and continue on with their lives, but of course that is not possible. After all the lies and secrets, Nadira finally has the courage to get up and find a way to get her father free and her family back to normal. This is a story of hope, courage and perseverance. (Luisa in gr. 7)
Imagine a world in the future where everything is perfect. There is no disease, no hunger, no ugliness. People have been genetically modified to be physically perfect. Life in this community is controlled by secret scientific research, technological advances and a corrupt supreme leader. But things are starting to go wrong. An entire generation of children is beginning to self-destruct. Hundred of outcast people, those who have not been gene-altered, have gone missing. And for these people living in the slums, life is a matter of daily survival — scavenging for food and running from the enforcers.
This is the world in Gem X by Nicky Singer (Oxford University Press, 2006). The first of two main characters is 16-year-old Maxo Strang, on of the biologically-enhanced humans. He has no worries at all until his perfect body begins to fall apart. His search for help brings him to 15-year-old Gala Lorrell and her family who are lower-class normal humans. Gala is a compassionate daughter trying to take care of her dying mother and a protective sister worrying about her two younger brothers on the streets. Maxo and Galo run into each other and realize that they need each other to survive.
There are a lot of issues in this story: Is it right to clone people? Is it right to use human DNA to make people physically perfect? How much power should a government have? How do we overcome the differences that keep us from understanding each other?
The author made it easy to understand her futuristic world. She renamed things from our time with words that sound more technologic. Parents are GenSire and GenDames. Phones are communicators or ‘cators. Clothese are called ambisuits and are temperature-regulated. People don’t eat food; they eat pills.
I don’t read a lot of science fiction, so this book was was different than the ones I normally read. But I enjoyed it. In fact, I’m going to read another book by this author: The Innocent’s Story. I would recommend this book if you are interested in cloning and DNA stuff and if you enjoy stories where dark secrets and corruption are brought to life and exposed. (Ms. Schmidt)
The character I read about who was helpful was Abi, in Mudgirl by Alison Acheson; she helped her friend clean people’s houses; this was her friend’s job, but Abi was just being helpful and went along to clean, too. (Samyta)
I have read this book called Tell. If you are ever upset or you want to read a book with lots of action, I recommend this book to you. Let me tell you a little. It’s about a boy in his teens whose father died and brother drowned, and now his stepfather has just passed away. So…. if you like reading books that are depressing, you should read this. (Nala in gr. eight)
Nothing But the Truth by Avi (Orchard Books, 1991) is an Newbery Honor Book about a ninth grader who likes to run. But when a failing grade takes him off the track team, he is sure his teacher is to blame. Parents, administrators, lawyers and the media all become involved. But who is telling the truth? And who are the innocent people who are hurt? (Ms. Rosen)