A young teen, standing at the bottom of a stairwell, with a book open/

What should my child read in 2024?

This is a common question. The reason you might be asking is because:

  • Your child hates reading
  • Your child reads the same thing over and over and over again
  • Your child wants to read, but is struggling to know what to read
  • As a parent, carer or guardian, you’re not sure what to recommend

So, to help you navigate the plethora of young fiction novels out there, we have put together a comprehensive reading list that is sure to inspire your teen!

Here is our list of recommended reading this summer for 2024 sorted by age:

11-12 year olds

1. Adventure: “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster

    • Plot Overview: Milo, a bored and disinterested boy, receives a magical tollbooth that transports him to the Kingdom of Wisdom. There, he embarks on a fantastical journey filled with puns, wordplay, and memorable characters like the Whether Man and the Humbug.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “The Phantom Tollbooth” for its imaginative storytelling and clever wordplay, which not only entertain but also encourage readers to think creatively and appreciate the power of language.
    • Iconic Quote: “So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”

2. Graphic Novel: “Zita the Spacegirl” by Ben Hatke

    • Plot Overview: After discovering a strange device in a crater, Zita is thrust into an intergalactic adventure to rescue her friend Joseph from a mysterious world. Along the way, she encounters strange creatures, makes unlikely allies, and discovers her own courage.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “Zita the Spacegirl” for its vibrant artwork and empowering protagonist, which inspire readers to embrace bravery and compassion in the face of adversity.
    • Iconic Quote: “I’ve never been in trouble I couldn’t get myself out of.”

3. Sci-Fi: “Space Case” by Stuart Gibbs

    • Plot Overview: When a murder occurs on Moon Base Alpha, 12-year-old Dashiell Gibson finds himself embroiled in a mystery that threatens the safety of everyone on the moon. As Dash investigates, he uncovers dark secrets and learns that the truth can be more dangerous than he imagined.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “Space Case” for its intriguing premise and page-turning suspense, which keep readers on the edge of their seats while also sparking their curiosity about space exploration.
    • Iconic Quote: “My name is Dash Gibson, and I didn’t murder anyone.”

4. Romance: “Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo

    • Plot Overview: After a near-fatal encounter with a vacuum cleaner, Flora rescues a squirrel named Ulysses, who gains superpowers and a newfound appreciation for life. Together, they embark on a series of misadventures that bring joy and wonder to those around them.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “Flora & Ulysses” for its heartwarming story and quirky characters, which celebrate the power of friendship and the magic of everyday miracles.
    • Iconic Quote: “Life, as we all know, is fraught with danger.”

5. Comedy: “The 13-Story Treehouse” by Andy Griffiths

    • Plot Overview: Join Andy and Terry in their wacky treehouse, equipped with a bowling alley, a tank full of man-eating sharks, and a marshmallow machine. As they attempt to meet their publisher’s deadline, they encounter a series of outrageous adventures and hilarious mishaps.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “The 13-Story Treehouse” for its laugh-out-loud humor and imaginative storytelling, which appeal to readers’ sense of whimsy and adventure.
    • Iconic Quote: “Who wouldn’t want a treehouse?”

6. Mystery: “The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street” by Lindsay Currie

    • Plot Overview: After moving into a new house, Tessa Woodward begins experiencing strange occurrences, including ghostly apparitions and unexplained phenomena. With the help of her friends, she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind the peculiar incident on Shady Street.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street” for its spooky atmosphere and engaging plot, which keep readers guessing until the very end while also exploring themes of friendship and courage.
    • Iconic Quote: “Fear can’t hurt us unless we let it.”

12-13 year olds

  1. Adventure: “The Explorer” by Katherine Rundell

    • Plot Overview: After their plane crashes in the Amazon rainforest, four children must rely on each other and their survival skills to navigate the jungle and find their way home. Along the way, they encounter exotic wildlife, face formidable challenges, and discover the true meaning of friendship and courage.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “The Explorer” for its vivid descriptions and themes of resilience, which not only immerse readers in the beauty and danger of the rainforest but also inspire them to overcome obstacles with determination and teamwork.

2. Graphic Novel: “Ghosts” by Raina Telgemeier

    • Plot Overview: Set in a coastal town, “Ghosts” follows sisters Catrina and Maya as they move to a new home and encounter ghosts during the Day of the Dead celebrations. As Catrina grapples with her sister’s illness and their family’s fears, she learns about the power of tradition, the importance of family, and the beauty of life and death.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “Ghosts” for its beautiful artwork and touching story, which sensitively explores themes of illness, loss, and cultural heritage while also celebrating the bonds of sisterhood and the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos.

3. Sci-Fi: “The Girl Who Could Fly” by Victoria Forester

    • Plot Overview: In a world where normalcy is prized above all else, Piper McCloud discovers she has the extraordinary ability to fly. As Piper navigates the challenges of her newfound fame and attends a secret school for children with extraordinary abilities, she learns about friendship, identity, and the true meaning of freedom.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “The Girl Who Could Fly” for its imaginative premise and themes of identity and acceptance, which resonate with readers as they follow Piper’s journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

4. Romance: “The Sun Is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon

    • Plot Overview: Natasha, a pragmatic girl who believes in science and facts, and Daniel, a dreamer and poet, meet by chance on the bustling streets of New York City. As they spend a whirlwind day together, they challenge each other’s beliefs, confront their fears, and fall in love against the backdrop of a city teeming with possibility.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “The Sun Is Also a Star” for its poignant exploration of love, fate, and the interconnectedness of human lives, which invites readers to contemplate the role of destiny in shaping their own journeys.

5. Comedy: “My Life as a Gamer” by Janet Tashjian

    • Plot Overview: Derek Fallon, an avid gamer and aspiring cartoonist, navigates the ups and downs of middle school while chronicling his experiences in a journal. As Derek faces challenges like bullies, school projects, and family dynamics, he learns about resilience, friendship, and the importance of staying true to oneself.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “My Life as a Gamer” for its relatable protagonist and humorous anecdotes, which capture the humor and angst of adolescence while also celebrating the joys of gaming and creativity.

6. Mystery: “The Wig in the Window” by Kristen Kittscher

    • Plot Overview: Sophie Young and Grace Yang, two middle school sleuths with a knack for espionage, stumble upon a mystery involving their eccentric neighbor and a suspicious wig shop. As they investigate, they uncover a web of secrets, lies, and betrayal that threatens to unravel their friendship and their town.
    • Why Recommend: We recommend “The Wig in the Window” for its clever plot twists and dynamic characters, which keep readers guessing until the very end while also exploring themes of friendship, trust, and the complexities of growing up.