2013 Best Teen Books

Here are my picks for the top books for teens in 2013.  Share yours in the comments!  Scroll down to the end to see my pick for book of the year too.

all the truth thats in me bird king black helicopters

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

A great pick to book talk for teens, the premise of this historical novel should be more than enough to get teens to pick it up.  The writing and the mystery will keep them reading.

The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook by Shaun Tan

This is a book to get in the hands of teens who enjoy art and writing, for it is a look at the unformed and the just formed.  It is a book of pure creativity and the creative process.  Beautiful.  Haunting.  Inspiring.

Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston

Well written and carefully paced, this book is tantalizingly taut and thrilling.  In the end though, it is about a girl caught in a web of lies that she cannot see past.

boxers saints dark triumph

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Highly recommended, this graphic novel duo has a place in every library collection.  Its violence and questions about faith, duty and responsibility make it a good choice for teens and tweens.

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

A killer book, this is a strong sophomore book in a riveting series.  Not for the faint of heart, this book has abuse, murder and true tragedies in its pages.

eleanor and park engines of the broken world fangirl

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Her book is just like first love.  It is stunning, honest and raw.  It is unforgettable.

Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee

A horror book for teens, this is also something much more.  It is a beautifully written apocalypse that is harrowing, striking and powerful.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rowell does it again with this second book for teens.  Her writing voice is uniquely hers, so that her books could only be written by her.

fat angie forgive me leonard peacock freakboy

Fat Angie by E. E. Charlton-Trujillo

Beautifully written, dark and wildly funny, this book will have you crying, raging and cheering.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Harrowing, frightening and astonishingly hopeful, this book is a strong and passionate look at a boy willing to destroy everything, especially himself.

Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

A powerful blazing novel that gives insight into teens struggling with gender variance and also offers a book where those teens can see themselves and a way forward.

Farizan_IfYouCouldBeMine_REV.indd just one day ketchup clouds

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

This book depicts in life in Iran but also offers a diverse look at GLBTQ issues in the Middle East.  With a piercingly strong heroine, it is a powerful pick for public library collections.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

This exceptional teen novel is a whirlwind romantic trip to Europe that will have you wrapped up in its arms much faster than just one day.

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

This is a book that is burning and compelling.  It is a book that is beautifully honest, vibrantly written.  This is Zoe’s heart on a page in all of its wounds and glory.

little fish love in the time of global warming maggot moon

Little Fish by Ramsey Beyer

This is a very strong, dynamic look at the first year of college.  Teens will enjoy looking into their own future plans with a little laughter and lots of optimism.

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

Block has created another amazing read in this book.  Her fans will rejoice at a new book from her, but this is also one that will create new fans.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

This book defies description by genre and really is impossible to summarize well.  Let me just say that it is powerful, brutal and set in bleakness but never far from hope.

midwinterblood more than this openly straight

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

This compelling novel is amazing teen literature.  It has enough depth to be used in a classroom where the symbolism and incredible writing can be celebrated.  It is also a riveting combination of romance and horror that will thrill discriminating teen readers.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Complex, gritty and profoundly beautiful, this book is a wonder of writing.  It is beyond inventive, taking readers to a place they never expected to find.  You are in the hands of a master storyteller here in one of his best books yet.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Beautifully written with wit and style, this book takes a new look at being gay and out.

picture me gone reality boy relish

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

A virtuoso book that is rather quiet, very thoughtful and filled with insights just like Mila herself.

Reality Boy by A. S. King

Gerald is a magnificent character, and the book is compelling and harrowing.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Funny and delicious, this book is sure to whet the appetite for more books by Knisley.  Get it into the hands of teens who enjoyed the books by Telgemeier.

sorrows knot two boys kissing

Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow

Unique and amazing, this book offers a fresh take on horror and an incredible teen heroine who faces death in many ways.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Beautifully written with strong characters and a brilliant concept, this book is breathtaking, just like a great kiss should be.  It is also easily my pick for book of the year.