Books to Motivate Your Adolescent to Read | 123Read&Write


Time and time again, I’m often asked for book recommendations for teenagers who are reluctant to pick up a book and read for pleasure. This page is simply a list of books I’ve read and enjoyed, whether by buying them for my own children, or picking them up by chance. Remember that all tastes in literature vary, but it only takes one book to create a reader for life. Maybe that book is listed below! Happy reading.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

August Pullman, also known as Auggie Pullman, is a 10-year-old boy living in Manhattan. He has been homeschooled by his mother due to a rare medical facial deformity, which he refers to as "mandibulofacial dysostosis", more commonly known as Treacher Collins syndrome. His parents decide to enroll him in a private school called Beecher Prep for the start of middle school in the fall.

Auggie visits the school with his parents to take a tour where he meets Mr. Tushman, the school director, and three students named Jack Will, Julian Albans, and Charlotte Cody. He soon becomes friends with Jack as well as a girl named Summer Dawson, who sits next to him at the lunch table when no one else would. Once October rolls around, Auggie's homeroom hosts a Halloween party where he comes to school dressed in a "Bleeding Scream" costume. Auggie says he likes Halloween because "then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks." But once he walks into the classroom, unrecognizable by his peers, he overhears Jack saying that he would "kill himself" if he looked like Auggie. It is at this point in the novel where he pretends to be sick and wants to quit school but his sister Via convinces him not to. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


Witness by Karen Jesse

Witness is a verse novel of historical fiction written by Karen Hesse in 2001, concentrating on racism in a rural Vermont town in 1924. Voices include those of Leanora Sutter, a 12-year-old African American girl; Esther Hirsh, a 6-year-old girl from New York; Sara Chickering, a quiet spinster farmer; Iris Weaver, a young restaurant owner, bootlegger and illegal booze runner; Reynard Alexander, the town newspaper editor; Merlin van Tornhout, an arrogant town 18-year-old; Johnny Reeves, the town preacher; and Percelle Johnson, town constable, age 66, Viola Pettibone, a store owner, along with her husband, Harver Pettibone —among several others, some of whom removed to join the newly arrived Ku Klux Klan including: Johnny Reeves, Merlin Van Tornhout and shopkeeper Harvey Pettibone. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)



Witch and Wizard #1 by James Patterson

Two siblings named Whit and Wisty are being accused of being a witch and a wizard. The two kids are shocked and appalled when Byron Swain, a horribly stuck up kid from their school, appears and conducts their arrest. They protest against these claims, but to no profit. During the arrest, their parents are permitted to give Whit and Wisty one item each. They are given a seemingly worthless book and a drum stick respectively before being led away. A mysterious figure known as The One Who Is The One shows up and it is revealed that he somehow knows their parents and he is the leader of the new political party, called the New Order. The pair are then taken to a prison which appears to be occupied solely by children, and are interrogated by Byron. They are then put on trial by the One who Judges and are sentenced to execution, to be carried out when they turn eighteen. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)



Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls is a young adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. It follows the story of Lia, an eighteen-year-old girl dealing with anorexia nervosa. The novel opens with the news that Lia's best friend of 10 years, Cassie, who was bulimic, has died, and the night she died, she tried to call Lia 33 times. The novel follows the course of Lia's struggles with anorexia, her difficult relationships with her parents and stepmother, and her search to learn about Cassie's fate. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)



The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

Holling Hoodhood is a seventh grader in 1967. In his school, the student body is largely divided between Catholics and Jews, and every Wednesday both groups go to their separate churches for religious classes. Holling, a Presbyterian, is forced to remain at class with his teacher, Mrs. Baker.

Initially, Holling is convinced that Mrs. Baker resents him for this. This suspicion is compounded when she begins having him read Shakespeare. As he begins to enjoy the plays, though, he also begins to understand Mrs. Baker—whose husband, he learns, is stationed in Vietnam.

The story's main focus is Holling's struggle to get out from his overbearing father's shadow. Mr. Hoodhood is a cutthroat architect who is determined that Holling take over the business when he retires. Holling ultimately finds an ally in his older sister, Heather, and eventually comes to understand that Mrs. Baker is also trying to help him learn to be a man. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


Wait Till’ Helen Comes by Mary Downing

The book begins with a stepfamily moving into a new house located in the country. The house was originally a church, so it still has a graveyard located out back. The previous owners converted it into a house. The stepfamily has been having problems. Heather's father, Dave, married Molly and Michael's mother, Jean. Heather hates her stepfamily and causes problems, hoping it will cause Dave and Jean to divorce. Moving into their new home only makes their problems worse as the adjoining graveyard is haunted by a lonely ghost named Helen Harper. Helen and Heather are the same age, seven years old. Both of them were involved in fires. Both of them lost immediate family members to those fires. Helen quickly realizes Heather is just as lonely and miserable as she. She tells Heather that she, Helen, is the only one who will ever love and accept her, no matter what Heather does. As sign of friendship, the ghost gives Heather the locket Helen wore while she was alive. Molly is the only person to discover Heather's new friend. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


Trash by Andy Mulligan

Within the poorest sections of a third world country lay mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city. One peculiar day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong. (Text summary courtesy of Amazon)


Trapped by Michael Northrop

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. Unfortunately, for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive. Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, and drastic decisions must be made. (Text summary courtesy of Amazon)


Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Paul Fisher sees the world from behind glasses so thick he looks like a bug-eyed alien. But he’s not so blind that he can’t see there are some very unusual things about his family’s new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Where else does a sinkhole swallow the local school, fire burn underground for years, and lightning strike at the same time every day?

The chaos is compounded by constant harassment from his football–star brother, and adjusting to life in Tangerine isn’t easy for Paul—until he joins the soccer team at his middle school. With the help of his new teammates, Paul begins to discover what lies beneath the surface of his strange new hometown. And he also gains the courage to face up to some secrets his family has been keeping from him for far too long. In Tangerine, it seems, anything is possible. (Text summary courtesy of Amazon)


Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood by Jeffrey Marx

The bestselling inspirational book in which the author reunites with a childhood football hero, now a minister and coach, and witnesses a revelatory demonstration of the true meaning of manhood.

Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL football star and volunteer coach for the Gilman high school football team, teaches his players the keys to successful defense: penetrate, pursue, punish, love. Love? A former captain of the Baltimore Colts and now an ordained minister, Ehrmann is serious about the game of football but even more serious about the purpose of life. Season of Life is his inspirational story as told by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jeffrey Marx, who was a ballboy for the Colts when he first met Ehrmann. (Text summary courtesy of Amazon)


The Maze Runner by James Dashner

A teenage boy wakes up in an elevator with no memory of his past, later remembering his name is Thomas (in the book, he recalls his name while on the elevator). When the elevator doors open, he is pulled into a glade by a bunch of teenage boys who also have no memories besides what they should be called.

Thomas gradually discovers that the Glade is run by two boys, Alby and Newt, who maintain order by enforcing strict rules. Outside the Glade is the Maze, a labyrinth of high walls covered in ivy that houses strange, lethal creatures known as Grievers. The boys are trying to stay alive as well as "solving" the Maze by running through it as fast as they can while tracking movements of the walls and trying to find an exit. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

As the second story in The Maze Runner series, by James Dashner, the story begins in the middle of the night when Thomas wakes up and cannot go back to sleep. He calls Teresa's name telepathically to get her attention. He wakes up to see everyone panicking about Cranks, people infected with the Flare, outside their door. Thomas and the rest of the Gladers go to investigate, and find that the room in which they'd eaten pizza with their rescuers is locked. They ram the door down and turn on the lights to find the bodies of their rescuers hanging from the ceiling. They enter Teresa's room, which is empty except for a boy named Aris Jones, who's from Group B. He can also talk telepathically and had a telepathy partner named Rachel, who was killed just like Gally had killed Chuck in the first book. Outside of the room is a plaque that says "Teresa Agnes. Group A, Subject A1. The Betrayer." An alarm, similar to the one on the Glade, goes off and the room door locks until the alarm stops. Remember . . . WICKED is good! (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


The Death Cure by James Dasher

As the third installment in The Maze Runner series, by James Dashner, Thomas is held in solitary confinement, but is eventually released by Assistant Director Janson who tells the Gladers and Group B that there is a cure for the Flare (a deadly disease). Many of those present were immune to the flare while some, including Newt, were not, and escaping would serve no purpose, for people in the outside world despise the Immunes. The Gladers are offered the chance to restore their memories and remove the controllers in their heads. Without the devices, Thomas, Teresa, and Aris will no longer be able to communicate telepathically. Most accept the procedure; Thomas, Minho, and Newt, are later forced into the process, because Janson feels that they will be no help to finding the cure if they don't get their memories back. All three of them escape with the help of Brenda and Jorge, are revealed to be working for WICKED, and were sent to the Scorch as an assignment. Thomas feels betrayed, but Brenda convinces him that she had no choice and that most of her behavior was not a deception. Soon afterward, the Gladers discover that everyone who had undergone the restoration procedure had abandoned them, and Newt begins to succumb to the Flare, suffering sharp mood swings. Newt gives Thomas a note and tells him to open it 'when the time is right’. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


The Kill Order by James Dasher

Technically, the fourth book in The Maze Runner series, by James Dashner, this story is set thirteen years before the events of The Maze Runner, the novel chronologically begins in New York City when the world is hit by solar flares. Mark and Trina form an alliance with Alec, Lana and others who rescue them from a group of street urchins. The group flees to the Lincoln building to avoid an impending tsunami, and most manage to survive although some of their group are lost along the way. They camp out in the building for weeks until a yacht arrives and the ship's crew takes them hostage and kills one of them. Alec manages to take out their captors and they take the yacht as their own. Then they pilot the boat to the Appalachian Beaches. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


As a Southern Gothic novel, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. The book is widely taught in schools in the United States with lessons that emphasize tolerance and decry prejudice. Despite its themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has been subject to campaigns for removal from public classrooms, often challenged for its use of racial epithets. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings

Red Kayak is written from the point of view of a thirteen-year-old boy named Brady Parks. Brady is the son of a Chesapeake Bay waterman. He loved the Corsica river where he and his family fish for crabs. A new family, the DiAngelos moves in next door to Brady’s family. They are one of the more well off families that recently moved into the neighborhood. One day, Brady and his friends see the red kayak owned by the DiAngelos heading into the river. Brady is uneasy because he felt that it could be dangerous to be out on the river during that time because of the tides and the wind. Brady implores his friends to join him in yelling out a warning but his friends ignore him. Later that day, Brady is asked to join a search and rescue mission to find Mrs. DiAngelo and her three-year-old son Ben. Relying on his dog’s instincts, Brady finally finds Ben. He desperately tries to revive him by giving him CPR and when he rows him ashore he is relieved to hear the paramedic say that he detected a pulse. For a while Brady enjoys his role as a hero but is soon overcome with sadness and guilt when he learns that Ben is dead. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)


Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

Dungy's memoir, Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life, was released on July 10, 2007 and reached No. 1 on the hardcover nonfiction section of the New York Times Best Seller list on August 5, 2007‪[48] and again on September 9, 2007.Tyndale House Publishers said it was the first NFL-related book ever ranked No. 1. When asked why he wrote Quiet Strength, Dungy said,

"It's not something I ever really thought of doing. I've had several people ask me about it for a number of years. Several people asked about it after winning (the Super Bowl). I was hoping, really, not to do it... I think it becomes kind of what happens. You win a Super Bowl, you have a big achievement, and you write a book. And I didn't want to be one of those guys, but a lot of people thought that it was the right time -- and it did turn out to be that. I think people were looking for something positive to read, and we had a lot of negative in the sports world. I think it just came out at the right time. Maybe the Lord's timing was good."

Dungy said he’d actually gotten "more satisfaction" from the success of Quiet Strength than the Super Bowl win. That’s because, he said, "I’ve gotten so many calls and letters from people saying they really got something out of it, something that helped them.”‪ On January 10, 2008, Quiet Strength reached 1,000,000 copies in print.Quiet Strength was on the New York Times Best Seller List for 32 weeks, including 27 in the top 10 for hardcover nonfiction. (Text summary courtesy of Wikipedia)