24 September 2013

YA novels for your 13-year-old pianist/singer/ songwriter/equestrian/poet/artist daughter

I love sorting through my collection of YA novels to find the perfect book for an avid teen reader, or a reluctant one! Today's recommendations are for a friend's 13-year-old daughter, who has many interests and talents, but hasn't been captivated by a book in a while. My mission... to find a novel she'll love. Here's the care package I'll be delivering to her house today:

Laini Taylor's LIPS TOUCH, a National Book Award Finalist and all-time favorite of mine. It's magical and mystical and swoony and breath-taking. I recommend this collection of three novellas to EVERYONE. If the reader in question also happens to love to draw, all the better. This book features gorgeous illustrations by Laini's husband, Jim Di Bartolo. 

Hilary T. Smith's WILD AWAKE, about a 17-year-old pianist/ songwriter whose world goes a bit crazy in both frightening and wonderful ways. There's music and mystery and madness and murder! And a boy named Skunk, a.k.a. "Love Bison." It's the kind of book that shakes you up a bit, makes you feel WILD AWAKE. So, I'm thinking it's perfect for a reader who needs a book that will really grab her.

John Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, the story of terminal cancer patient Hazel and her "gorgeous plot twist" Augustus, will break your heart in the best possible way. Everyone I know who has read this book has loved it. Cried their eyes out, sure... but loved it all the same. (It's funny, too. And sweet and romantic.)

Rainbow Rowell's ELEANOR & PARK is a first-love story about... Eleanor and Park! hah. Eleanor: A big, red-headed girl with an abusive, alcoholic stepfather. Park: A half-Korean boy who has always felt like an outsider in their town of Omaha, Nebraska. They meet, they ride the bus, they share music, they hold hands (and we're talking some seriously intense hand-holding here). What I love most about this book is that I didn't recognize the characters from anywhere else. They are NEW and different and special.

How's that?

OH, and I nearly forgot... THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater! It's the story of a horse race... a deadly one, raced on the backs of killer water horses that rise from the sea! It's also about a boy and a girl and regular horse. Not your typical horse story by any means, but certainly a book a horse-loving girl might appreciate. Add it to the list!


  1. This is great! How about a list for the male 13 year old who loves to read ,but is fixated on fantasy and science fiction? Thanks!

  2. Linda... Sounds familiar! ;-) I'll put together a list. I'm thinking of a feature, "What my son's reading now..." He loves sci fi and fantasy but also reads a lot of contemporary YA, and historical. Even novels in verse and non-fiction. He read and loved THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and ELEANOR & PARK, both contemporary...