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Good Books for 13 Year Olds (Girls and Boys)

Updated on October 7, 2015

What are the best books for 13 year old girls and boys?

There is a huge range good books for 13 year olds catering for the avid to the reluctant reader. The first half of the article starts off with suggestions of the best books for 13 year old girls and the later half the best books for 13 year old boys. There also ideas of sports books, non fiction books, books that make great gifts, manga and cartoon books and lots more.

When buying books for 13 year olds I would keep an open mind as possible to what they might like. Many years ago as a 13 year old myself I was fairly good at English lessons and teachers encouraged me to read but I wasn't interested in the books they suggested. There were lots of fiction books recommended to me but I would have been much more drawn to factual books (autobiographies and true stories).

Therefore, I have suggested a huge range of books for this age group below. I am now a trained librarian and have worked with teenagers in a library for four years so I know there is a huge variety in tastes. There are some books which are extremely popular with teenagers and other hidden gems. There are books which are aimed at 13 year old girls, others that are more popular with 13 year old boys and some that are good for everybody. This year seems to be a good year for books to made into movies too and I have highlighted the books that you can also watch in 2014. Keep on reading to discover good books for 13 year olds.

Bestselling Books for 13 Year Olds 2014

The books below are selection of some the bestselling books for 13 year olds this year.

Whether you are buying books for an avid reader, a reluctant reader or are looking for ideas for yourself it's always worth checking out the bestselling book lists to see what other teenagers are reading.

Obviously bestselling books change from week to week and this list just gives a few ideas. Check out the New York Bestseller list for children's middle grade and for young adult for more ideas.

The Book Thief
The Book Thief

This has been a bestseller for a few years now.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Book 1)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Book 1)

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive.

If I Stay
If I Stay

Currently on the New York Bestselling Books for teens, it tells the story of seventeen ­year-old Mia.

Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

A movie of the book is currently showing in cinemas too.

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars

If you look at the current bestseller lists for young adults, John Green dominates the list with his latest novel "The Fault in Our Stars" coming out top. It just shows how teenagers have fallen in love with his novels.

This story tells the tale of Hazel who is sixteen, with terminal cancer. She meets Augustus at her kids with cancer support group. In this book Green covers the big topics of life, death and love. It will take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride with laughter and most definitely tears. It's one book you won't be able to put down.

This was released as a movie in June 2014 too.


The Fault in Our Stars Movie Trailer

How To Encourage 13 Year Olds To Read

As a librarian I know the best way to get people to read is to give them books on topics they are passionate about and interested in. Many 13 year old books are expected to read classics and textbooks in order to pass exams which takes all the pleasure and fun out of reading. No wonder so many of us leave school without wanting to read another book.

If you love sport you should read lots of books about sport. If you love music read about music. This is what helps foster a love of reading. Get onto Amazon and start exploring what's available and the reviews.

Remember also that not everybody likes fiction. I love non fiction myself! There are some great non fiction books that 13 year olds will love. From biographies, to historical true stories, to fact books and more - there are lots of non fiction options. Check out some ideas further on in the article.

Top Books Series

There are some excellent authors for this age group who have captured the minds of their audience with not just one great book, but a series of books.

One of these authors is Suzanne Collins with her trilogy "The Hunger Games". The Hunger Games was first published in 2008 and has received many awards and honors including The New York Times "Notable Children's Book of 2008". I don't think a list for 13 year olds would currently be complete without the first book in the trilogy.

Her book has started a new wave of literature for teens with another great series in the same genre called Divergent.

The Giver was the first in a quartet series and was published in 1993. A movie is set to be released of the book in Summer 2014, so it's set to be especially popular this year.

The Hunger Games (Book 1)
The Hunger Games (Book 1)

The novel is also one of the top 5 best selling Kindle books of all time.The Hunger Games is also still one of the bestselling books for 13 year olds in 2013. Since being made into a movie it's popularity has continued to grow.

The USA has collapsed to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year 2 young representatives from each district are picked to take part in the televised Hunger Games. The games are brutal and each competitor has to literally eliminate their rivals.

This books is tense, compelling and dramatic. Highly recommended.


This book has drawn comparisons to The Hunger Games.

It's going to be a popular read in 2014 as it's just been made into a movie and will be great to see after reading a book.

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue-Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is-she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

The Giver
The Giver

The Giver won the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold more than 5.3 million copies. This is going to be another book made into a movie this year set to star Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges.

12 year old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignement a Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community.


Best Books for 13 Year Old Girls

Below are some top books for 13 year old girls. Many of them have romantic or friendship based themes. They have girls as the main characters which 13 year old girls should be able to identify with. My favorites are 13 Reasons Why and Uglies. If you like these suggestions of books you may also want to check out some more great books for girls aged 13 and over.

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why
Thirteen Reasons Why

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.


Books about Friendship and Relationships for 13 Year Old Girls

Many 13 year old girls like to read about friendship, boyfriends and relationships and other issues that affect them.

Sarah Dessen is one great author that covers this genre really well. Her book "Along for the Ride" below made the New Yorks bestseller list. If you like her writing she has written over 10 other books. She isn't featured below but well worth checking out if you like her style of books.

Another great book about friendship perfect for 13 year olds is the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants below.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Book 1)
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Book 1)

They were just a soft, ordinary pair of thrift-shop jeans until the four girls took turns trying them on--four girls, that is, who are close friends, about to be parted for the summer, with very different sizes and builds, not to mention backgrounds and personalities. Yet the pants settle on each girl's hips perfectly, making her look sexy and long-legged and feel confident as a teenager can feel. "These are magical Pants!" they realize, and so they make a pact to share them equally, to mail them back and forth over the summer from wherever they are. Beautiful, distant Lena is going to Greece to be with her grandparents; strong, athletic Bridget is off to soccer camp in Baja, California; hot-tempered Carmen plans to have her divorced father all to herself in South Carolina; and Tibby the rebel will be left at home to slave for minimum wage at Wallman's.


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry has written more than 30 children's books.

Number the Stars won a Newberry medal in 1989.

If you like her books you should also check out The Giver.

Read more about Lois Lowry on Wikepedia.

Number the Stars
Number the Stars

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated". Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.


Best Books for 13 Year Old Boys

I have chosen some science fiction, fantasy and books with boys as the main characters in this list of top books for 13 year old boys. Certainly some girls may like these books too but they cover topics which seem to appeal more to the male reader. If you like the books below and would like more suggestions of books for boys aged 13 and over click here for more ideas.

Aretemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl (new cover)
Artemis Fowl (new cover)

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous.

Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them…but then they stop playing by the rules.


More Top Books for 13 Year Old Boys

The Maze Runner (Book 1)
The Maze Runner (Book 1)

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he remembers is his first name. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade-a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed. And every 30 days a new boy arrives in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising is the message she delivers.

The Maze Runner is being released as a movie in September 2014.


Check out the Maze Runner Trailer

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Seconds before the Earth is demolished for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised Guide. Together they stick out their thumbs to the stars and begin a wild journey through time and space.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)

After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities. He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning. His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There's little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.

The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1)
The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1)

The Ranger's Apprentice is a fantasty book that follows 15 year old Will. Despite being scared of the Rangers in the past (who were widely believed to be practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people) Will is chosen to be a Ranger's Apprentice. He finds out that the Rangers are there to protect the Kingdon and fight battles before they reach the Kingdom. And there is a new large battle brewing....


The Absolutely True Story of a Part time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

This book tells the story of Junior, an aspiring cartoonist who grows up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior was born with water on the brain and this has meant he know has some physical disablilities that have also led to him dealing with some harsh treatment from others on the reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hads, Junior decides to go to an all-white high school in the off-reservation town of Reardan. The book deals with issues such as racism, poverty, and the following of tradition


More Series of Books for 13 Year Olds

A lot of books for this age group come in the form of a series and there have been lots of series highlighted so far in the article. The Hunger Games is one of the most popular series. Others series already mentioned include The Maze Runner series (featured above), Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Giver and the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants.

Series are good for encouraging reluctant readers as if once they have read the first in the series of books they are most likely to want to read the rest.

Check out another idea of a series below.

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Legacies (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files)
I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Legacies (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files)

I am number four is the first in a series of books called the Lorien Legacies.

It was made into a film in 2011 so these books are still very popular.

The Legacies contains three action-packed novellas that give the heart-pounding backstories of some of your favorite Loriens.


Books as Gifts for 13 Year Olds

Perhaps you are looking for ideas of books to give as birthday or Christmas gifts to give as 13 year olds. Think about their interests and this may help. Here are some ideas:

  • Cookbooks - Obviously best for 13 year olds who would like to learn to cook or already love cooking.

  • Books about Sport - If they like to play sport, perhaps a book about the sport they love. Books with statistics, books about famous sportspeople and books to learn about techniques of their sport.

  • Classic books such as To Kill a Mockingbird are good for the serious reader

  • Boxed sets of books that they like.

  • Autobiographies of their favorite celebrity.

  • Factual books - there are lots of great factual books that teens will love. The Guinness Book of Records and Ripleys Believe it or Not are good choices.

    If you're looking for gifts for girls you may also appreciate this article on the best gifts for 13 year old girls which gives suggestion of books and other gift ideas too.

33 Things Every Girl Should Know: Stories, Songs, poems, and Smart Talk by 33 Extraordinary Women
33 Things Every Girl Should Know: Stories, Songs, poems, and Smart Talk by 33 Extraordinary Women

Natalie Merchant. Sigourney Weaver. Tabitha Soren. Wendy Wasserstein. Rebecca Lobo. Lauren Hutton. Anita Roddick. Lynda Barry. These are among the thirty-three extraordinary women who lend their diverse voices to this outstanding collection of stories, songs, poems, comics, and essays


Books to inspire and motivate 13 year olds

Sometimes, it's hard being 13 years olds but there are lots of good books to help deal with the trials and tribulations being 13 brings. Here are some good book choices to inspire, motivate and empathise with 13 year olds.

Please feel free to add any additional books that you think are great for 13 year old girls and boys in the comments section below. Thanks!

Comments on the Best Books for 13 year olds

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    • profile image

      Madelyn 2 years ago

      You absolutely forgot to add Harry Potter and Percy Jackson how dare you!

    • profile image

      Deborah Starling 3 years ago

      There are quite a few books here that I know my son will enjoy a lot. My youngest son was having difficulties adjusting to certain social aspects of his young life. As someone who works full time, we are unable to take care of a pet. I was recommended a book, that I would also like to share with you called “Watson’s Way” by author Joel Lund ( My son and I read this book together every night for a couple weeks and it really changed his outlook. The author uses his family dog to teach life lessons such as how to be a more patient person, and how to better get a long with others. There is something so pure about learning these things from an innocent animal and my son really seemed to enjoy it. There is even a place in the book for kids to write in a journal if they want to! I highly recommend it :)

    • profile image

      t2d2 3 years ago

      I like all of the suggestions that you made. Especially "The Book Thief".

    • JennyRowling profile image

      Jenny Rowling 3 years ago from London, UK

      I thought The Fault in Our Stars was supposed to be a young adult book :D

    • mistyriver profile image

      mistyriver 3 years ago

      This is a great list with a lot of variety! I must confess that I've read many of these myself. I've always been a huge reader and am trying to encourage my daughter to do the same, but it's difficult in the age of technology.

    • williamslaw profile image

      williamslaw 3 years ago

      Great compilation of some good books.

    • profile image

      kimrgns 3 years ago

      nice listing . i'm off to checking out these books :)

    • profile image

      CalobrenaOmai 4 years ago

      Some of the books I can agree with. I was and still am a picky reader. I remember reading Number the Stars either in middle or high school. The House of Dies Drear was an interesting read but it was introduced while I was in elementary. The main books I showed interest in at 13 were books that had mystery, suspense, action and pictures.Some of the Goosebump books made the reading list along with the Amber Brown series, the Bionicle series and some art books. Wired magazine was part of the reading as well and was later joined by some comics and manga series.All-in-all an interesting list for starters.

    • BeauSerendipity1 profile image

      BeauSerendipity1 4 years ago

      I've been reading a good amount of these books this last month. And I'm 21... So i guess they are great for all ages who want an easy read!

    • angela-amor profile image

      angela-amor 4 years ago

      I'm going anontando titles for my 13-year-old niece.Thank you for your lens, is very good.

    • Bluefaerie19 profile image

      Bluefaerie19 4 years ago

      Great list! I have read a lot of these books as an adult and think they are great. I still have a few sitting in my to-be-read pile.

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 4 years ago

      Great lens -- and I like your list. It bings back memories. My 13 year old kids used to like to have me read to them when we were camping and sitting around the campfire. I used to read about encounters with wild animals and stories about people who thrived in the woods. Tom Brown was a favorite author.

    • bornot2b1 profile image

      bornot2b1 5 years ago

      Love your list. My kids read about 1/3 of the books you had there and liked them very much. "Once" by Morris Gleitzman is a good one too (according to my daughter who doesn't like reading too much). I think this author has a few more. "Once" has been chosen as textbook in some high school here in Melbourne for the last few years.

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 5 years ago

      Great list here. Nicely done. I am pinning it too.

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 5 years ago from Canada

      Fantastic list you've got here!

    • Keepingscore profile image

      Keepingscore 5 years ago

      My daughter who is 13 will be interested to see the list of books. Thanks for the lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I enjoyed seeing your list of books for 13 year olds. My grandson will be 13 in October and all the rising 7th graders were given a copy of the book, Bystander, which will be used in the classroom in the fall as part of the anti-bullying program. I created a lens about it once I read it, too.

    • Louise0711 profile image

      Louise0711 5 years ago

      @cameron-perez: Thanks for your suggestion! I'll add it to the list! Sorry you don't like any others. I've tried to add a wide selection to cater for lots of different tastes. Please feel free to put forward any more suggestions and I'll add them too.

    • Louise0711 profile image

      Louise0711 5 years ago

      @urmooooommmmmmmmmm: Thanks for your comments. I'm so glad you did like some suggestions. I love Hunger Games too and as you say 13 is an amazing book! If you like romance Sarah Dessen is good - also suggested - you should try it out! Also, like your suggestion of the Galagher girls - will add it to the list. Obviously, 13 year olds have extremely different tastes, so not every 13 year old is going to like everything suggested. This is why I've give a wide range of suggestions so there should be something to cater for lots of different people. I've worked in a library with lots of teens (from 13 to 16) which is where a lots of the suggestions come from. Happy reading!

    • profile image

      cameron-perez 5 years ago

      Now I like Nancy Drew books, Those are SOOO Extremely good!

    • profile image

      cameron-perez 5 years ago

      None of these look good at ALL! for 13 year olds anyway...

    • profile image

      urmooooommmmmmmmmm 6 years ago

      Um i am a 13 year old girl um.....i hate almost all of these is an amazing book though i think the books in the Hunger games series by Suzanne Collins r soooo amazing i read all of them like 4 times each also the Galagher girl series by Ally Carter um any thing romance <3 i hate freaking twilight though..... um... idk tht is mostly my prefrence but as a 13 year old i would listen to what another 13 year old says and not some ......person.....

    • profile image

      urmooooommmmmmmmmm 6 years ago

      @sheriangell: well when i was 9-10 i liked nancy drew books 11 hmmm 11 i was reading Savvy by ingrid law that is amazing....what else hmmm.....Harry potter, Percy Jackson and the lightning theft anything mystery anything fiction i am not sure they would like romance they would probably enjoy more adventure stuff, sorry i bothered you with this long comment ......:)

    • profile image

      urmooooommmmmmmmmm 6 years ago

      @AllyVuitton: reallly? wowwwwwww um we read the hunger games....

    • profile image

      urmooooommmmmmmmmm 6 years ago

      @writergrey: .......we hate those books @ my school but idk what other random ppl say....

    • knit1tat2 profile image

      knit1tat2 6 years ago

      Some excellent suggestions, thank you!

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 6 years ago

      Nice lens! I see some interesting titles included here, I should check them out! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      happypoo 6 years ago

      @writergrey: The books i like for girls 11-13 are the dork diaries series, the name of this book is secret and that series,molly moon series, 11birthdays, 12 finally, 13gifts, the frong princess series, hunger games series, because of mr. terupt, jeremy fink and the meaning of life, clique series, most of all BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME= Entwined

    • writergrey profile image

      writergrey 6 years ago

      How about some of the classics? Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tale of Two Cities, or The Once and Future King...

    • profile image

      savajames 6 years ago

      OMIGOSH I LUV ALL THESE BOOKS! and the hitchhikers guide to the universe is a girl book too :P

    • profile image

      seosmm 6 years ago

      Good info. Very nice lens!

    • profile image

      StrongMay 6 years ago

      I like this page! And even though The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is under 'books for boys', I liked it a lot (I'm a girl).

    • PocketfulofParis profile image

      PocketfulofParis 6 years ago

      great lense!

    • PocketfulofParis profile image

      PocketfulofParis 6 years ago

      great lense!

    • profile image

      AllyVuitton 7 years ago

      Really good lens. It's surprising, but I know quite a lot of 13 year olds, who treat books as a fashion (no, they're not geeks), and loads more, who enjoy books like To Kill a Mockingbird!

    • profile image

      Kirock 7 years ago

      Hey, i love your lens I have one like it called you should check it out.

    • profile image

      1k1Japanese 7 years ago

      Nice topics! I like this articles, I am looking this type of articles and finally I got this, I want more about this articles. Thanks for this nice articles.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 8 years ago

      Hi -,I have 10 and 11 year old girls. These are some great ideas for books to recommend for them. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi Louise, I like your lens, I have a 12 year old boy who loves to read when he is not playing sports. He has read some of the books you have talked about, but he found several more he is interested in on your list and plans to look for them. Thanks for some fresh ideas!