Young children are captive audiences when mom and dad read to them, but young adults are another story. Young adults often feel compelled to read when book reports are assigned at school, but the assignment turns pleasurable when the book is one a young adult reader can relate to their own experiences. Parents and teachers are especially pleased when teens gravitate toward reading quality literature.
Toward that end, here are some suggestions from the LA Books Examiner for recommended reading for young adults.
1. No young adult reading list is complete without the classic Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Teens relate to protagonist Holden Caulfield's sense of isolation from his peers and alienation from his family. Holden's insults and wisecracks delight young adult readers who are often pleased to get credit at school for reading this cult classic told from the perspective of a prep school adolescent who distains authority.
2. L.M. Montgomery wrote Anne of Green Gables for teenage girls, but she was surprised when Anne Shirley became a beloved figure across all age groups worldwide. Young redheaded Anne, who was orphaned as a baby and has not been wanted since, is adopted by a brother and sister who own a farm on picturesque Prince Edward Island. The charming story follows Anne through her teenage years and begins again in the next book in the sequel, Anne of Avonlea.
3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is a bestselling and sensitively written novel that is widely reviewed as the story of 15-year old Christopher, a mathematically gifted young man who may have a form of autism called Asperger's Disorder. British novelist and poet Mark Haddon does not describe Christopher as autistic, and states in his blog that the novel is about differences and not labels.
4. Anne Frank (1929-1945) became one of the most commemorated victims of the Holocaust with the publication of her posthumously published diary entitled The Diary of a Young Girl. Teenagers across the world relate to Anne's honest and moving discussion of her years spent in hiding from the Nazis and death at a concentration camp.
5. Homecoming by Newbery Medal award winning author Cynthia Voigt is a contemporary work of fiction and the first book in the highly acclaimed Tillerman series. Homecoming is about four abandoned children whose mother suffers from mental illness. The children travel on their own, mostly on foot, across state lines to their grandmother's home. The children are led by their strong and reliable eldest sister, Dicey, who is just entering her teenage years.
All of the books discussed in this article are available at Los Angeles area Barnes and Noble bookstores and can be ordered through Amazon.com. These books can also be checked out from the Los Angeles Public Library.