Looking for a good read for your young teen? Or maybe you’re 13 and looking for books to add to your reading list (we’d love to hear your book recommendations in the comments, too). This list of books for 13-year-old boys and girls offers a great selection in different genres and with male and female protagonists. Enjoy!
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Books for 13 year olds – boys and girls
The books on this list are loosely grouped into genres, we say loosely because most titles would fit into many genres, so we recommend exploring the full list.
These are the most popular titles, all great books for 13 year olds.
Fantasy and fiction books
1. Children of Eden: A Novel by Joey Graceffa. The book is set in the future where the earth is poisoned and dead and the only habitable place is Eden. It is a world where demographic policies are controlled and only the firstborn are allowed to live. Rowan is a second son, so marked for death. She’s in hiding… She can’t go to school or make friends. And she can’t get the eye implants that would mark her as a member of Eden… One night changes everything.
2. Restful Sleep by Cameron Dokey. The king and queen almost gave up hope of having a child, but luck smiled on them and Aurore was born. The whole kingdom celebrates the newcomer, but not everyone is so happy about it… It’s the story of a sleeping beauty, but told in a unique way, in a way you would never have read before.
What all these books have in common is that they take place somewhere in the story, some more real than others, some with a touch of romance…
The boy in the striped pajamas
1. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. The story takes place in 1942, where young Bruno and his family have to move because of his father’s promotion. After the move, Bruno has neither friends nor much to do. He is a naturalist and soon becomes interested in the big long fence that separates him and his family from other strange people. There he meets a friend who lives behind this fence and a great friendship begins with devastating consequences.
Enough time for the battery.
2. Ann Rinaldi’s Time Enough for Drums Mass Market follows Jemina, a 16-year-old girl, in a story set before the American Revolution in 1776.
the coffin cover
3. The Coffin Quilt: The Feud Between the Hatfields and the McCoys by Ann Rinaldi. Two families, the McCoys and the Hatfields have long fought and now they live for revenge (the reason for the hat between the families is the ownership of some pigs). When Rosanna, the eldest McCoy daughter, falls in love with a handsome Johnse Hatfield and elopes with her, it only deepens the hatred between the families. Her older sister Fanny, the story’s protagonist, previously known only for fear and anger towards the Hatfields, becomes the voice of reason as she learns to overcome fear to find her own way out of hate. .
Port of Chicago 50
4. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Riot, and Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin. It was the time of World War II and also the time of prejudice against foreigners and people of color. On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion occurred on the docks, killing more than 300 sailors and injuring many others. Weeks later, the men are refusing to return to work due to unsafe conditions, and once the dust has settled, 50 of them will be charged with mutiny. It’s a well-crafted story about the prejudices Black men and women face, despite many having given their lives in the service of their country.
The boy with two lives
5. Abbas Kazeroonis Boy with Two Lives At the age of 10, an Iranian boy named Abbas came to England after waiting three months in Istanbul for a visa. He was alone and he couldn’t wait for his problems to be far from over. He is sent to a boarding school where he has to adapt to the foreign language and culture. With an abusive guardian, no support and no home, the fighting will not stop. Will he be able to adapt and survive on his own?
Carlos and Emma
6. Charles and Emma: Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman This book follows Darwin’s personal life and how Emma influenced his work. One day he drew a line and wrote down the pros and cons of marriage. He liked the idea of marriage but feared it would discourage him from pioneering. The book also looks at how people with two truly different views, one deeply religious and the other a man of science, can overcome those differences and make things work.
Crime and adventure books for 13 year olds
Something strange is happening and our protagonist has to solve the mysteries or go on adventures. From howling adventures that send shivers down your spine to “everyday” adventures. A fairly popular genre of books for 13 year olds.
Curse of the Sunshine Girl
1. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Volume 1 by Paige McKenzie Sunshine Griffith, 17, has just moved into her new home in Ridgemont from Austin. She and her mother Kate have always been connected and Sunshine has always been loved and carried. But the situation soon becomes scarier than anyone expected. The sun feels the darkness getting darker and some really strange things are happening in the new house… It’s scary…
2. Dodger by Terry Pratchett (you really should read at least one of his books if you like laughing and magic). The story of this book takes place in early Victorian London. A seventeen year old Dodger is a sewer and he’s quite content. On a stormy night, he hears a scream and finds a young woman who has been beaten by thugs. After the rescue, his life is turned upside down when Dodger falls in love with the mysterious woman, motivating him to rise, and he meets many fascinating historical figures along the way.
3. The Life of Pi – Noir & Blanc by Yann Martel. As a teenager, Pi Patel has a passion for animals, just like his father, who works as a zoo keeper. When his family emigrates to North America, they board a Japanese freighter and also bring animals from the zoo with them. As the ship sinks, Pi suddenly finds himself in a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
the maze runner
4. The Maze Runner (Book 1) by James Dashner. Suddenly, Thomas woke up surrounded by strangers and only remembered his name. By his side were children who only remembered their names. Surrounded by an endless and ever-changing maze, they find themselves in a life-or-death situation like no one has survived before. This book is intense and once you start reading it, you will find it hard to put down.
The dog’s strange incident in the night
5. The Strange Incident With the Dog That Night by Mark Haddon. Christopher John Francis Boone is a special boy. He is very good at math, he knows all the countries in the world and their capitals and much more, but he has no social skills. One day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, was killed and Christopher is now on a mission to solve his mysterious death.
6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. When Taylor Markham was eleven years old, her mother abandoned her. He later went to boarding school and ran away. But she didn’t get very far because they found her. Now Taylor is seventeen years old and lives with Hannah, who took her under her wing. One day, Hannah secretly disappears and it’s up to Taylor to solve the mystery.
Realistic fiction books for 13 year olds.
Interesting life situations, some funny, some tragic.
The sun is also a star.
1. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Natasha is a girl who does not believe in fate or destiny. She is a practical young woman whose parents are being deported to Jamaica. Daniel is a boy on his way to Yale to become a doctor. Natasha soon meets Daniel who, upon meeting her, begins to believe in fate, unlike Natasha. What will become of Natasha’s family and will she get along with Daniel? What will Daniel do? The characters tell their story in alternating chapters that are a joy to read.
1. Speech by Laurie Halse Anderson. Outcast Melinda has no friends because she called the police at a summer end party. He becomes more and more isolated and even stops talking. But there are things that need to be said. There are reasons for the silence that need to be broken.
2. The Romantics by Leah Konen. Gael Brennan looks unhappy. His parents split up and his girlfriend broke up with him. Gael is a romantic soul and longs for love. But things don’t go his way. Love can be a complicated thing.
The first part last
3. The First Last Part by Angela Johnson
An urban teenager named Bobby is now sixteen and has just found out he’s going to be a father. He and his girlfriend Nia are expecting a baby. But both still go to school. Now the social worker wants them to put a baby up for adoption, and Bobby and Nia find themselves in a devastating situation.
Fat Kid rules the world
4. Fat Kid Rule the World by KL Going. At seventeen, Troy weighs 296 pounds. He’s literally one step away from killing himself and killing himself in front of the oncoming train. But Troy’s plans quickly go awry when he meets a guy named Curt who distracts him and saves his life. Now their great friendship has begun and with it a change in Troy’s life.
5. Monsters by Walter Dean Myers. Steve is a 16-year-old boy accused of murder during a Harlem pharmacy robbery. He is now awaiting his trial. Was I just in the wrong place at the wrong time?
More books to add
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