Books for young teens


My daughter is the same age. Right now she is reading through the Sisters Grimm series (there are 9 of those). She is also reading through the Harry Potter series. She reads a lot. I keep trying to get her to start Lord of the Rings, but to no avail thus far. :tired_face:

It’s not the same genre, but she also reads a lot of Ignatius Press’ Vision series of saints books. There are 30 of those. We tend to pick them up whenever we find them cheap on Discover Books. We have probably half of them by now.


Do you believe that reading secular works is sinful, based on the above quote?


I would probably not recommend the Dragonriders series, I remember there being some highly questionable scenes. I do like the rest of your recommendations.

I enjoyed the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C Wrede, they are quick reads, but there no inappropriate scenes.

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, you really could read anything by him. He draws upon the same Welsh mythology as Tolkein. These books are really well done and I can’t wait for my son to get older so I can read them to him.

Jessica Day George has a series of retold fairy tales that are pretty cute.

The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. Set in a fictional ancient Greece they are amazing, shr spends years on a single book, but each book never demands a sequel.

I could probably come up with more if pressed…


I can’t think of anything that I would find questionable in Dragonsong/Dragonsinger/Dragondrums; though I found Dragondrums the most boring of that trilogy and have never read it past the first read. As for the others, I have not read much outside of those three and don’t remember the ones I did read having things that I was concerned with. I’ll have to go back and check the ones I still have and update my previous comment if I find anything. I mainly just remember the parts about the history of the world and high points of the characters moving in the world.

As for books/authors to stay away from. I’d recommend staying away from Cassandra Clare and Sarah J. Maas who seem to be super popular in the Booktube community and get people worked up about the books. A recent book that had a lot of hype in the book review community was The Cruel Prince, I’ve read it and other Holly Black books and I’d also recommend staying away from those. There’s a book I’m currently reading, The Lies of Locke Lamora, that was also hyped in the book reviews that has cursing and quite graphic violence.

I just have a hard time recommending books for certain age groups because I had already read about characters getting handsy and sleeping with other characters by the time I was in fourth grade. So I don’t actually know what counts as “objectionable” other than the very apparent stuff (like what I just mentioned). I just assume parents are willing to talk with their child about stuff to a certain extent, and that the parents are going to look into/read the book before they give it to their child. I’ve got a family friend who won’t let their children deal with anything that has “violence” in it. Including not letting them watch nature documentaries because it has too much violence in them.


I remember there being a lot of discussion of mating rituals of dragons, homosexuality, and some pretty rapey scenes in the Dragonriders books, but I will also admit that it’s been a while.

I also recommend staying away from Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Both write excessively dark stories and Clare especially is not a particularly good writer.

Robin McKinley has two retellings of Beauty and the Beast that I liked. Beauty and Rose Daughter.

Regina Doman has a lovely series of modern retellings of fairy tales, I would recommend them with the exception of Rapunzel Let Down, which while still good does deal with more mature themes.


I’ve read both of those and recommend them as well. The first book I read from Robin McKinley was actually Spindle’s End which is a Sleeping Beauty retelling. That led me to seeking out the two books you mentioned. Granted, if someone is trying to stay away from magic, and Spindle’s End’s is not short on magic due to the fairy tale it’s based on, then I’d stay away.

Some authors I didn’t know to stay away from when I was younger were the authors Mercedes Lackey and Robin Hobb. I didn’t know what homosexuality was as a child, but once I did learn what it was those books definitely had it and more in them. Which is unfortunate because the worlds and actual stories by those authors are quite good, but there’s quite a bit you have to just close your eyes on to get to the good parts.


Check on Goodreads for clean books for young adults or middle grade. You can also search for young adult christian fiction or children’s christian fiction. Goodreads has lots of lists like this.


STORY OF A SOUL by St. Therese. Very holy woman even in her teens


That’s a puritanical and fanatical view of Christianity that I am glad did not do the rounds in my home as a child. It’s joyless


This always baffles me. What’s wrong with reading something in which a character does something “contrary to the faith”? Presumably you’re an adult and can read a fictional story without thinking you should model your own behavior after the characters in a book.


I’m not saying you can’t read something contrary to the faith as an adult. You’re an adult, you’re responsible for what you encounter and how you deal with it. However, as I said later on in the conversation I was reading books with people sleeping with each other outside of marriage by the time I was in fourth grade; not just hinting at it happening either. My parents were the ones who gave me the books. They never asked what was in them and I never knew to tell them that something was wrong. I grew up reading that and a bunch of other things that had stuff that was normalized that the Church teaches against. It took a lot of work later on for me to figure out and accept what the Church was teaching in a lot of stuff because while reading those books and rooting for those characters and everything they wanted to accomplish. I saw nothing wrong with what I was encountering and even went through a time of almost leaving the Church over my perception of them getting in the way of people loving each other no matter who they were, doing “normal dating” and getting close to each other, hurting people because they didn’t believe in God, etc.

There’s a time and a place for reading books with a bunch of different content. I was NOT grounded in my faith and didn’t even have anything except for the bare minimum of things taught to me. I had NO guidance for a lot of things in my life because my parents never talked to me about stuff, so instead I got it from books. This was a thread for recommending books for young teens not for people you are presuming are adults. At 12, which I think was the age of the girl, I wouldn’t be giving her books with stuff unless the parents are also willing to know what she’s going to encounter and talk to her. Even then I’d base it on the maturity of the child. I gave that paragraph because I know how damaging it can be when someone encounters that stuff, thinks that not only is it normal but it’s romantic and loving, and then has a crisis of faith because suddenly things you didn’t know were a problem are a problem.


Eh, when I was 12 every other book was about some child whose parents were divorced or their mom was a single mom and dating men and the kid had to adjust to the parents being apart or not knowing their dad, and then often there’d be some teenage character coming home pregnant and/or on drugs on top of that. The “Teen Problem” novels of the 70s were really something else.

I quickly learned that if the book was likely to be too racy, I’d need to read it at the library to avoid any possibility of my mother happening to pick it up and read it at our home.

Not saying it’s bad to try to police your kid’s reading matter, it shows you care and sends a message that the behavior in the books is wrong. But they’re likely to eventually read things you wouldn’t approve, no matter how hard you try.


My mother used to read them and just find half of them quite funny. One of them had a mum who was a nurse and given she was one she started read it and started laughing at how badly written it was and pointed out the writer should have researched the matter better. I remember the kind of books you mean though, often featuring ‘moody teen’ boy from wrong side of the tracks who is essentially a good kid but is often either a) led astray or b) gets in with the wrong crowd whilst he is trying to provide for a younger sibling or similar plots.

My mum was very much of the view that we were living in quite a rough area and seeing her kid read instead of hanging around doing dodgy things was preferable. My other literary interests such as classic sci-fi and comics are things neither of my parents ever cared much for. They were bemused by them by and large. They were totally outside their frame of reference as both came from small towns in Ireland.


Something like Rumblefish used these kind of edgy points for teenage literature, however whilst it was very well-written it and a couple of other books spawned a load of bad imitations. Some of my favourite books as a teen wouldn’t be so familiar to Americans as they were UK or Irish books. ‘The Dark is Rising’ by Susan Cooper is one of my favourite sequences of books of all time and I re-read one of the books the other day as an adult and noticed how stellar the writing was, especially when you compare it to Rowling and co. There’s an extended discussion about how the virtuous can be as deadly as the wicked when they forget the value of individuals. All done in a very quiet, measured way and delivered by a farmhand who then laughs at himself for been so pretentious and dusts himself off and gets up and starts doing a bit of sheepherding again. The way real myth and folklore used is something Rowling tries to do years later but gets nowhere near to in my opinion. Rosemary Sutcliffe’s historical novels for kids are another favourite.


I was a big magazine person growing up and still am. Any supermarket usually has a nice magazine section for all ages and a variety of interests. I usually went for the history or serial killer magazines, even at like 12-13YO lol. Nothing wrong with reading about what you like and magazines are usually cheap and you can learn a lot of factual knowledge in an entertaining and interesting way. That said you have to keep it appropriate also, no gun magazines or impurity magazines and serial killer ones should be taken from an intellectual point of view, not for something bad. So you have to see how your kids will handle it. There’s also good biblical magazines out there which I read as well, just for one a couple weeks ago.

So if you can’t find any books, get a handful of magazines on different topics, who knows this might broader the horizons for these young teens and they might be exposed to new areas of interest and study :slightly_smiling_face:

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