The Enders author suggests books--old and new--every teen should read.
Step inside my mind to discover the books that moved me and I believe will move you. Some may be familiar, some will be new to you, but all are exceptional examples of the unusual. Science fiction and fantasy, dystopian—there is nothing normal here.
Watchers, Dean Koontz From a master of suspense, this story involves two dogs and genetic manipulation, and that’s all I’ll say about the plot. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, because Koontz is one of the best at that.
The Giver, Lois Lowry I confess the beginning of this classic seemed a bit slow for me. But because it was highly recommended as a classic, I stayed with it and soon became another of its many fans. An early YA dystopian novel, winning the Newbery Award in 1994, it rewards the reader with a pitch-perfect, memorable ending. Read it before the film comes out this summer.
Coraline, Neil Gaiman Any novella that deals with people who aren’t exactly who they appear to be, moving around in different levels of reality, is naturally going to grab me. This delightfully creepy story by a master storyteller transcends all age ranges. It’s one of my favorite books. Consider the audio version read by Gaiman, a mesmerizing narrator.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams If you’ve never read what I and many others consider to be the greatest science fiction comedy, pick it up and find out what all the towel jokes are about. One of a kind, Adams was a writer who sweat over every word of every line and was a huge influence on me.
Inception (shooting script), Christopher Nolan Yes, it’s a film script, but it’s one of my favorites, and it also plays with levels of reality. Enjoy this peek into my favorite writer-director’s process as Nolan shows us dreams in a way we’ve never seen before.
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins Just about everyone has read this one, or at least seen the film, but I couldn’t leave it off my list. Collins’s writing, relentless and never condescending, set the bar high, inspiring us all.
Battle Royale, Koushun Takami Ten years before The Hunger Games, Takami wrote a story that many have noted has strong similarities. I recommend the most recent translation.
Legend, Marie Lu I love Lu’s clean, spare writing style, which is always in support of the story, never drawing attention to itself. In this riveting future Los Angeles with dual points of view, she’s made the guy, not the girl, the more sensitive of the two protagonists.
Troublemakers, Harlan Ellison The outspoken legend, the man with more awards than any other living fantasist, published a book for a teen audience comprising a selection of his short stories. I don’t know anyone who can throw words like daggers that stick in the wall next to your ear the way Ellison can. Start with “Soldier” (Google the title with Terminator), or my favorite, Jeffty Is Five, and prepare to be blown away.