Required Reading, Ages 12-15

required reading, ages 12-15

Ahhhh, the YA Transition.  There’s this slightly awkward stage of reading that usually hits people somewhere between 12 and 15.  Where the transition from picture to chapter books can be done quickly, almost like ripping off a band-aid, the transition from YA lit to books written solely for adults happens so much more slowly and painfully.  Not nearly enough is done in schools to help students transition from reading books written primarily for them, to books written for an older demographic.  Why anyone put Romeo and Juliet in my hands and age 14 and asked me to read Act I without any kind of introduction is beyond me.  I had no idea what iambic pentameter was, nor did I know where to find Verona on a map.  I wish I had help making the transition from The Face on the Milk Carton to Lord of the Flies (ugh), but as it were, I was on my own.

A love of reading might not be enough to carry everyone through their middle and high school years.  There’s a lot more studying going on, and a lot of reading because you have to, not reading because you want to.  I owe these books listed everything.  It’s because of them that I’m still reading.  The categories are new this time around, YA Books, and Books.  You know, just regular, grown-up books.

YA Books:

Popular, by Maya Van Wagenen  (source)

Peaches, by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Silent Boy, by Lois Lowry

Day of Tears, by Julius Lester

What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones

Confessions of a Closet Catholic, by Sarah Darer Littman

Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin

I Kill the Mockingbird, by Paul Acampora


Bee Season, by Myla Goldberg (source)

Little Altars Everywhere, by Rebecca Wells

I’m a Stranger Here Myself, by Bill Bryson

The Kite Runner, by Kahled Hosseini

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon

Graphic Novels:

Relish, by Lucy Knisley (source)

2 thoughts on “Required Reading, Ages 12-15

  1. Oh I’m so glad you put Bill Bryson in there. You may remember the plane ride to Alabama, when the people in my row were subtly inching away from me because I COULD NOT stop laughing out loud while reading “A Walk in the Woods.” I would say “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” is his best–I laughed even harder reading that one, especially about the person who gets to the front of the 15-minute Starbucks line and says, “Now let’s see, what do I want? Hmmmmm….” Laughing is good. It is so so good. I’ll have to tackle the others on your list. Will they make me laugh?

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