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The New York Public Library Unveiled 125 Books They Love for Teens

The New York Public Library Unveiled 125 Books They Love for Teens

Teens can filter by their favorite genre or a mood they're in to find the perfect book to get them reading again.

In honor of the Library's 125th anniversary, the New York Public Library unveiled its portal called "125 Books We Love for Teens," a list of young adult books that expert librarians believe will inspire young readers to turn pages. The full list—released for back to school season— is available online, and features a wide range of genres including graphic novels, drama, manga, fantasy, and more. This list is the latest installment in a series of book recommendation lists released in 2020 celebrating the Library’s 125th anniversary.

On the page for teens, you'll find books designed just for NYC teens about all kinds of things, including Black history and feminism. If your teen isn't sure where to start, she can use this page to find a book that fits her mood. For example:

When I want a book that will pack an emotional punch

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Piddy Sanchez upsets a school bully without realizing it, and soon all of her other problems start to seem small in comparison.

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Gabi writes about dealing with the challenges in her life, including her drug-addicted father and her mother’s expectations that she should be a “good girl.”

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

This graphic novel weaves together multiple storylines involving fantasy, reality, fables, history, and racial stereotypes.

When I want to take a trip down memory lane

Forever… by Judy Blume

Katherine and Michael love each other. But Katherine will learn that losing your virginity doesn’t guarantee love, and being in love now isn’t the same as being in love forever.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A group of boys survive a plane crash on an island. No adult supervision sounds wonderful at first, but it means that the boys will be in charge of making their own rules.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

Louise grows up in her twin sister’s shadow, never getting the same amount of love or attention. She dreams about a future that will take her away from her family and the island she calls home. 

When I’m feeling depressed, and could really use a pick-me-up:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This hilarious science-fiction story is about a great many things, including hitchhiking, towels, bad Vogon poetry, Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, and the number 42.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple and Rishi both come from traditional Indian families, but they have very different ideas about arranged marriages. Could their story end happily ever after?

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

As Lord Ballister Blackheart’s new sidekick, Nimona gets to have some destructive fun.  But she also wants to change what people think about heroes and villains.

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

Eric is a former figure skater. He bakes amazing pies. He’s a vlogger. And he’s gay. How much will his life change when he joins the Samwell University hockey team?

If he'd rather filter by genre, he can do that on this page. Here's a preview:

Dystopian Books for Teens

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

In the walled enclave where the remnants of humanity shelter from the Titans, giant creatures who have taken over the rest of the world, Eren and Mikasa join the fight.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners, Guy Montag, suddenly realizes their merit.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memories—a position shared by only one other in his community—and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Here's the full list of Dystopian Books for Teens.


Love Stories for Teens

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Liza begins to doubt her feelings for Annie after someone finds out about their relationship, then realizes, after starting college, that her denial of love for Annie was a mistake.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more.

RELATED: 25 LGBTQ+ Books for Kids, Tweens, and Teens

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

After meeting at their private school in New York, Jeremiah, who is black and whose parents are separated, and Ellie, who is white and whose mother has twice abandoned her, fall in love and struggle to cope with people's reactions.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Having never developed romantic feelings before her junior year in high school, Persian American Leila forges deeper bonds with supportive classmates after confiding in them her newfound attachment to a sophisticated girl.

Here's the full list of Love Stories for Teens.

Science Fiction Books for Teens

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In a future where corrupt rulers maintain control through a televised survival competition that pits young people against each other in a fight to the death, Katniss Everdeen's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games.

Happy More Than Not by Adam Silvera

After enduring his father's suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, 16, is already considering the Leteo Institute's memory-alteration procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi 

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

Here's the full list Science Fiction Books for Teens.

You can also filter by biography and memoir, fiction, fantasies, graphic novel, historical fiction, horror, modern classics, nonfiction, and poetry. The Library also released its 125 Books we Love for Adults on Valentine's Day and 125 Kids Books We Love on May 22.

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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes is a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. She's written hundreds of articles to help New York parents make better decisions for their families. When she's not writing, you can find her eating pasta, playing guitar, or watching reality TV. See More

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