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A list of good books for Teens and Adults

Updated on December 25, 2013

In no order whatsoever, here is a list of amazing books that will captivate your imagination!

American Gods by Neil Gaiman- This book is probably more for mature teens and adults, but it will take you on a ride you will never forget. American Gods has a crazy, intricate plot that's not afraid to deliver the unexpected and follows Shadow, a man released from prison after his wife is killed in a car crash. Shadow meets Wednesday, a mysterious man who is actually a forgotten god. The book explores America's obsession with our new "gods" of money, power, and greed and what happens to the hundreds if not thousands of forgotten gods and goddesses with genuine characters that will transport you to another world. It is a story you will not want to miss!

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller- This novel is a classic, and follows a man named Yossarian fighting in World War II who is too smart to die, but not smart enough to escape the war. And though it handles serious topics, this masterpiece is one of the funniest I have ever read. It is filled with paradoxes...hence catch-22, and an array of characters such as the Chaplain and the crafty Milo. It is a great read for any audience!

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (and the rest of the series)- This book is more of a teen read, but I'm sure many adults would love it too. The Hunger Games is a gripping story set in the not-to-distant future. In it, the United States is gone, destroyed by war, famine, and fire, and instead, it is replaced by Panem, consisting of a capital and 12 districts, and where citizens are punished if they don't conform. Every year 2 young representatives are forced to fight in the hunger games to the death, having to survive the environment plus their competitors, while citizens are forced to watch. This book will have you dying for more, and lucky for you, there is a whole series.

Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson- Again, these books are more for kids and teens but even the most reluctant readers will devour these books. Told through the voice of Max, the hilarious leader of 6 human-avian fugitives, these books take you on adventures you don't want to miss. Max and her flock were the creations of experimenting scientists and are 98% human, 2% bird and as a result, they can fly with their large, angel-like wings.

Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne- Told from the simplistic voice of an 9 year old boy, Bruno; this gripping story is a tearful one for any age. After Bruno's father is promoted to Commandant, Bruno and his family move to the concentration camp, Auschwitz, where he notices "farmers" in "pajamas" on the other side of the fence. He is told these are not people at all, but Jews. This story is one of my favorites and highlights Hitler's cruelty from the innocent viewpoint of a young boy.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens- This is a classic that everyone, regardless of age should read. It will transport you to another time period where orphans are put to work and pick pockets and robbers roam London. The story follows young Oliver Twist as he escapes from where he is forced to work to London where he immediately falls in with thieves. His innocence, however, eventually uncovers his heritage and saves him from a life of thievery.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling- Who can forget Harry Potter? These books have captivated audiences, young and old, ever since they first hit bookshelves. They tell the story of Harry Potter, the boy who lived, and his magical time at Hogwarts, a school for young wizards and witches. Through these books, Harry grows from a young boy to a man while fighting Voldemort or he who shall not be named. If you haven't read these books, you are missing out on some of the greatest stories of our generation.

Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown- In these thrillers, Robert Langdon, a famed Harvard symbologist, will captivate your attention until the end! In Angels and Demons, a physicist is murdered and branded on his chest, is the symbol of the Illuminati, a legendary secret society that Langdon is shocked to discover is still alive...and has hidden dangerous explosive antimatter within the walls of Vatican City. In the Da Vinci Code, Langdon takes us on a trail to find the holy grail, in the midst of secret religious societies and ancient cover-ups. Never of these books are ones to miss!

God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir by John Bul Dau- This is by far, one of my favorite books of all time and probably the most powerful. John Bul Dau tells his story as a Lost Boy of Sudan and the terrifying struggles and overwhelming obstacles he faced and overcame as a teen after driven from his home and family by the civil war in Sudan. He spent years in refugee camps, one by one being driven out, until he finally came to America. "This is a memoir of terror, triumph, and humor."

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah- This book is best for older teens and adults. This book is another powerful, true story of a young man's hardships and journey to safety and freedom. Ishmael Beah was like any other 12 year old boy growing up in Sierra Leona, memorizing Shakespeare and in love with dance and hip hop music, but when the rebel forces attacked his village, he and his friends were sent running for their lives across Africa. And when he finally finds a village where food is plentiful and there is protection, he is forced to fight. Brutal war and necessity quickly transforms an innocent, trembling boy into a killer. This is a story of a young boy, forced into war and fighting, and his slow recovery from the unforgettable terrors of war. It is an amazing book, filled with the horrors of warfare, the youth it transforms, and most of all the strength to overcome these terrors and forge a new life.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer- This book will have you hooked from page one. It is a chilling, heartfelt account of the deadly Mt. Everest expeditions of 1996 by Jon Krakauer, a survivor of the ill-fated climb. Krakauer weaves a beautiful story with an easily readable prose. Through Krakauer's emotions, thoughts, experiences, and opinions, you understand why anyone would want to climb a mountain such as Everest and, it is like you are there on the mountain with him, braving the icy wind, the lack of oxygen, the pain, and that never-ending yearning to reach the summit. This is not only a story of tragedy, but one of sacrifice and heroism.

What is your favorite genre for reading?

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    • Kalmiya profile image

      Kalmiya 4 years ago from North America

      Thanks for your list of good books for younger readers! I love the Young/New Adult category, like Hunger Games, and have started some hub reviews for new publications. I think this will become a huge-selling category.

    • HLKeeley profile image

      HL Keeley 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      There are books on here that I have read, but most I have heard of but never been convinced to read. This list is great! THUMBS UP and shared!

    • amithak50 profile image

      amithak50 5 years ago from India

      I think everybody should read these books as it is highly recommended

    • Matt Edmondson profile image

      Matt Edmondson 6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      Angels and Demons was a good book but my favorite Dan Brown book has always been Digital Fortress. I never understood why they book has always been sounder the radar.

    • MichelleA2011 profile image

      Michelle 6 years ago from Connecticut

      These are some great picks! I myself have read and loved The Hunger Games series (and my students cannot get enough of them!), the Maximum Ride series. I also loved Dan Brown's books, you should check out Digital Fortress and Deception Point by him as well if you haven't already.

    • profile image

      Coolteen (nearly) 6 years ago

      How conspiracy 365

      It's about this boy on the run. He has to survive 365 days well uncovering the mystery of the ormonds that his dad failed to and died at the mystery. Well his sister ( gabby) is in a coma she is kidnapped. On new years eve cal's and rafe's bout crashes/ sinks. When it does that rafe swims to shore and left Cal on his own with 2 sharks. This book has a twist at the end of the book that leaves you hanging so you can get the next book.

      12 books 12 months. Don't blink don't forget to breath. Author is Gabrielle Lord.

    • Sara555 profile image

      Sara555 7 years ago

      Thanks for the comments!

    • G L Strout profile image

      G L Strout 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      You have listed some of my very favorite book here. Wonderful reading list, thanks.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Terrific recommendations, not only for teens. I recently gave a neighbor of mine "Into Thin Air". Great books are some of my best friends.