99 Favorite Reads, Picked by Teens

The teens who named their favorite books for this list include athletes, honors students, non-readers, incarcerated girls, a prom queen, loners, computer game players, gay and straight teens, teens from the coasts and in between, teens of many races, artists, and writers.  Their choices made the list (alphabetically) regardless if the books were award-winners, banned, popular, controversial, new, or classic.  The sole criteria: these books are favorites. 1. Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak 2. M.T. Anderson, Feed 3. Anonymous, Go Ask Alice 4. Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, The Future of Us 5. Isaac Asimov, The Foundation 6. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice 7. Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls 8. Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker 9. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 10. Misty Bernall, She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall   11. Meredith Blevins, Hummingbird Wizard 12. Anthony Bourke and John Rendall, A Lion Called Christian 13. Libba Bray, Beauty Queens 14. Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War 15. Cupcake Brown, A Piece of Cake: A Memoir 16. Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code 17. Meg Cabot, Jinx 18. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game 19. Kristin Cashore, Graceling 20. P.C. Cast, Destined (House of Night)    21. Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower 22. Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None 23. Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl 24. Billy Collins, The Trouble with Poetry 25. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games 26. Caroline B. Cooney, The Face on the Milk Carton 27. Chris Crutcher, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes 28. Leah Cypess, Mistwood 29. Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon 30. Lauren DeStefano, Wither   31. M. C. Escher, Icons 32. Nancy Farmer, House of the Scorpion 33. Gayle Forman, If I Stay 34. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch 35. William Golding, Lord of the Flies 36. William Goldman, The Princess Bride 37. Lori Gottlieb, Stick Figure 38. John Green, The Fault in our Stars 39. John Grisham, Bleachers 40. Teri Hall, The Line   41. Frank Herbert, Dune 42. Georgette Heyer, Devil’s Cub 43. Michelle Hodkin, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer 44. Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers 45. Ellen Hopkins, Impulse 46. Emily Horner, A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend 47. Anthony Horowitz, Stormbreaker (Alex Rider) 48. Khaled Hosseini, Kite Runner 49. Jennifer Hubbard, Try Not to Breathe 50. Brian Jacques, Redwall   51. Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason 52. Stephen King, Night Shift 53. Anthony Kiedis and Larry Sloman, Scar Tissue 54. Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild 55. Louis L’Amour, The Daybreakers 56. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time 57. C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe 58. Sarah Darer Littman, Want to Go Private? 59. Lois Lowry, The Giver 60. Gregory Maguire, Wicked    61. Yann Martel, Life of Pi 62. George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones 63. Patricia McCormick, Cut 64. Stephenie Meyer, Twilight 65. Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind 66. B.J. Myrick and Hazel Hart, The Dark Side of the Rainbow 67. Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go 68. Caragh O’Brien, Birthmarked 69. Lauren Oliver, Delirium 70. George Orwell, 1984    71. Christopher Paolini, Eragon 72. Gary Paulsen, Hatchet 73. David Pelzer, A Boy Called It 74. Jodi Picault, My Sister’s Keeper 75. Tamora Pierce, Trickster’s Choice 76. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar 77. Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass 78. Julia Quinn, The Viscount Who Loved Me 79. Ayn Rand, Anthem 80. Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles)    81. Veronica Roth, Divergent 82. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 83. R. A. Salvatore, Homeland (Forgotten Realms) 84. Elizabeth Scott, The Living Dead Girl 85. Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones 86. Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook 87. Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl 88. John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men 89. Tupac Shakur, The Rose that Grew from Concrete 90. Art Spiegelman, Maus   91. Todd Strasser, Give A Boy A Gun 92. Jonathan Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand 93. J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 94. Omar Tyree, Flyy Girl 95. Wendelin Van Draanen, Flipped 96. Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes 97. Elie Wiesel, Night 98. Jacqueline Woodson, Beneath a Meth Moon 99. Markus Zusak, The Book Thief   List compiled by Caragh M. O’Brien, June 18, 2012.  Feel free to distribute.  Comments welcome at

14 Responses to 99 Favorite Reads, Picked by Teens

  • What a pleasure to find so many of my favorites on the list!

  • Congrats Caragh – how about that? ABOVE the likes of George Orwell, Christopher Paolini, J.R.R. Tolkein and Markus Zusak! What a great list. I’m enjoying checking off those I’ve read and those I haven’t.

  • YAY! I agree CONGRATS!! i was excited for you, and happy to see a few of my faveriots on there, and now i have a good list of some new books to start on as well!!

  • Oh wow, awesome! I see so many of the books I want to read! I see a lot of my faves, but surprisingly I see some that I didn’t like and those that my friends didn’t like either. I’m so happy Birthmarked is there, above Harry Potter and Divergent! I’m surprised that The Maze Runner isn’t up there.
    I wonder… do you read Fan Fiction?

  • Mom ~ I thought you’d be pleased! I was interested in the range, too.
    Angus ~ I should have added a disclaimer about the numbering, which is there for convenience rather than ranking. By alphabet, I’ll always come in above Rowling. I hope she doesn’t mind.
    Elizabeth ~ Many are new for me, too! I love getting suggestions from teen readers.
    Elisa ~ I know what you mean. I had some students who were quite vocal about not liking some of these titles, so I know a few are UNfavorites, too, but I didn’t want to bump them. The teens who liked them really liked them. Yes, it’s funny that The Maze Runner wasn’t mentioned. I’ll add it to my spill-over list of extra titles. I haven’t read much fan fiction, but the concept is great.
    All best,

  • this is so cool! only, i was wondering how you collected this information- did you do it on an online survey-type thing, or did you go to a school, or are these just kids you know; how did you collect the data?

  • Tee ~
    It resulted from conversations I’ve been having with my teenage friends, former students, girls I know from where I volunteer as a visiting writer, Skypes with classes and teen book groups, library visits, nieces and nephews, my kids and their friends, and teens who contact me about Birthmarked. I love hearing about what people are reading, and I’m interested in the difference between what I find teens are reading and what people think they’re reading or think they should be reading. What people used to read when they were teens is fascinating, too, though that would be a separate list. I’m certain the list isn’t complete or perfect, but it continues the conversation. Let me know if you’re a teen and you have favorite titles you would add.
    All best,

  • I am, actually. Can I add:
    Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley
    Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier
    The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
    Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel
    that’s just the tip of the iceberg, but those are all great!

  • Tee ~
    An appendix is in order! Look at the range just within your picks! Great additions.
    Thank you!
    All best,

  • I will have to check some of these out! I also love A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle.

  • I just read Ship Breaker! Loved It!! Totally deserved to be on there!! Can’t wait to read its follow up! Also i suggest Eve!! even tho i’m not actually a teen 🙂

  • Almost makes me want to be a senior again just so I could have you do my pics well maybe smdoeay you could do mine for another reason These ROCK!!!

  • I feel awesome- I read 30 of those, plus two are on my shelf, waiting to be read.

  • Checking back in!
    Abbie H ~ L’Engle is great. I heard her speak once.
    Elizabeth ~ I hear good things about Eve, too.
    Lesha ~ Thanks! So many good books are out there. I feel like I’m discovering them all the time.
    Haylie ~ That is so cool! You must read a ton. I hope you can keep up the pace once school resumes. That’s always tricky.
    All best,

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