1. To Kill A Mockingbird
Okay, this is probably going to end up on every single must-read list I ever make. It's the Great American Novel defined. Great characters, incredible setting, everything about this book is just so perfect. I absolutely love it and am not sure I've ever encountered someone who read the book and didn't like it. As much as it is an American novel, I think it would be great no matter what country you're reading from; so many of the themes are universal.
2. The Mockingbirds
Yes, it pays tribute to To Kill A Mockingbird, but it's definitely not the same book. The Mockingbirds brings up the same important themes of right vs. wrong and justice but puts a very modern spin on it. I think the topic of date-rape is a very important one and not just for teenagers. This seems like the ideal book, with its straightforward writing mixed with the very serious subject matter, for high school students to read.
3. The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This is kind of the perfect book to read in that time between childhood and being a grown up... in that it reminds you to never really be a grown-up.
This book, about the possibility that exists in each of us, is one of the best books I've ever read. Without a doubt. It's middle grade so the characters are young, but I think it's a book that would really be great for anyone to read. Especially teenagers as there's just so much adventure and possibility and incredible themes explored. Just writing this is making me want to reread it.
5. The Disreputable HIstory of Frankie Landau-Banks
Such a great book about growing up and being totally awesome. I was going to say it's especially good for girls, but I don't want to make it sound like it's not a great book for guys to read as well. I think the more people read this book, the better. It's great and thoughtful.
My love for this book knows no bounds. I think it's amazing, incredible, beautifully written, and something that pretty much everything should read. And I think teen years in particular are a time of change and maybe you're not so close to the people who were your childhood friends... I think there's a lot of not-often-talked-about emotion that comes with this and the theme of a very specific, hard-to-define love is at the heart of this book. Wonderful.
7. If I Stay
Aside from being beautiful, this is just such an interesting book. It attacks a very difficult and dark situation in a really great way. I just think it should be read. By you and you and you and you.
Strangely I don't want to add any more books to this list. There are so many that I think teens (and everyone) should read, but reading tastes are so subjective and for "required reading" I just don't feel like adding books just because I personally love them. What about you -- do you agree with my list? Disagree? What books did you have to read as a teen?