6 Great Picks for Your Teen Book Club
Fresh off the press! Here are six fantastic YA titles that are sure to get your teens reading and discussing, along with some helpful tips for organizing and running your book club.
1. Damsel by Elana K. ArnoldA dark, twisted, unforgettable fairy tale from National Book Award Finalist Elana K . Arnold This unputdownable YA novel turns the trope of the "damsel in distress" on its head in a very smart way. Teens are hungry to read and talk about feminism, and this book provides a great springboard to facilitate those conversations. Other topics to discuss with your book group include: sexual assault, power dynamics, patriarchy, and gender norms. ⇒DOWNLOAD the complete discussion guide.
2. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh MafiA powerful, heartrending contemporary novel about fear, first love, and the devastating impact of prejudice. This contemporary #ownvoices novel about a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager in a post-9/11 world will open doors for teens to discuss the harmful effects of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry that Muslim teens are forced to endure on a daily basis. Topics to discuss with your book group include: racism, identity, injustice, family, first love ⇒DOWNLOAD the complete discussion guide
3. Pride by Ibi ZoboiPride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic. Teens will love to reimagine Austen's classic set in contemporary Bushwick with a cast of all characters of color. Plus-the romance between Zuri Benitez, an Afro-Latina who’s lived in Bushwick her whole life, and Darius Darcy, a wealthy black teen who’s moving from Manhattan to Bushwick will keep readers turning pages! Themes and topics to discus with your book club include: racism, love, culture, heritage, gentrification ⇒DOWNLOAD the discussion guide
4. What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam SilveraA smart, funny, heartfelt novel about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart. This fresh, clever love story about serendipitous encounters, failed first dates, and second chances is sure to be a favorite among teens. Ben and Arthur are such relatable characters, and teens will be rooting for them from page 1! Themes include ⇒DOWNLOAD the discussion guide
5. The Light Between WorldsWhat happens after you return to the real world after being in a fantastical one like Narnia? Perfect for your YA fantasy lovers, this lyrical novel about two sisters who were swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom, where they lived for years. But ever since they returned to their lives in post-WWII England, they have struggled to adjust. Themes for discussion include: belonging, identity, hope, & choice. ⇒DOWNLOAD the discussion guide
6. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani & Viviana MazzaA poignant novel based on interviews with young women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram that tells the story of one girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria and her harrowing fight for survival. With more than 100 girls still yet to return home and ongoing threats of terrorism both in and outside of Nigeria, this book sheds light on important issues that continue to impact people around the world. ⇒START READING here
Tips for organizing and running your book club
- The fastest way to advertise is through word of mouth. Social media accounts run by the grown-ups are only successful in starting a book group or promoting your event if you have teens sharing your posts. Recruit a few enthusiastic readers who are willing to get things started!
- Give teens options and let them decide. Pull a list of potential books and share information about them with your readers.
- Come prepared with a few good questions, but let them drive the discussion. Begin each meeting by letting the teens introduce themselves and share their thoughts and initial impressions about the book. Let their conversation about the book start organically and use the questions if and when you need them.
- Don’t be afraid of silence. It can be scary to speak up for the first time—especially if you’re new to the group—so don’t feel the need to fill the silence with chatter. The quiet gives them some time to think about how to answer a question you offered or to build up the courage to say something.
- Be ready with information about the next book club selection before they leave!