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20 YA Books for Older Teen Reluctant Readers

8 October 2017

From BookRiot:

I love book list requests, and this one is especially good. While we’ve talked about great books for younger reluctant readers, we’ve not done one targeted toward those older teen readers.

. . . .

A reluctant reader, for those unfamiliar with the term, is someone who “doesn’t like to read” or who has a hard time picking up a book and becoming invested in it immediately. Reluctant readers tend to fall into those teenage years, in part because reading isn’t seen as a cool thing to do, and in part because so much of what teens are reading in school simply isn’t speaking to them and thus, they think that there simply aren’t books out there for people like them.

And, as much as this one will hurt for some people to see, I really do believe that there are some people who simply don’t like reading. Reading, while a vital skill for societal functioning, is also a hobby. For some, it’s not a hobby they’re interested in, and try as we might to get a book into their hands, it’s entirely possible that they just aren’t interested.

So we let them do their thing.

Because the true reluctant readers are the ones worth fighting for. They’re the kids you know would love a good story because they love stories in other mediums: movies, video games, television. It’s a matter of the right book not falling into their hands quite yet and showing them the world of stories which do speak to them and engage them fully. It’s also being upfront with them about the fact that being a reader doesn’t mean giving up other things that they find enjoyable; it’s simply adding more options to how they spend their time.

. . . .

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (series)

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

. . . .

Fake ID by Lamar Giles

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…

My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.

I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.

I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye, and skin color.

And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.

But I’m going to.

Link to the rest at BookRiot


4 Comments to “20 YA Books for Older Teen Reluctant Readers”

  1. > It’s a matter of the right book not falling into their hands quite yet

    Mostly, I think it’s a matter of the festering dung foisted off on them in school. They’ve never read anything interesting, only what someone else thought would be good for them.

    Once they escape the horrors of the class reading list and book reports, they never want to touch one of the nasty things again.

  2. The blurb for the Abyss isn’t doing it for me. I think that “thwarted career goal” seems like a small problem compared to “captured by a bloodthirsty pirate.” Especially if the pirate wants to “actualize your career goal” 😉

    The “if she fails” part rings hollow because she supposedly spent her whole life training to do exactly the task she’s always wanted to do. Yes, I know she’s a trainee, but seriously? She’s not a “new bank teller” trainee, she’s like a ballet dancer who’s practiced since she could walk and is now 18. Different caliber. The stakes seem low here.

  3. None of those books would have appealed to 16-18 year old me. They are too close to reality – there’s no escape in them, at least if the blurbs are accurate.

  4. Yeah, wow. Many (but not all) of these books seem to be about delivering an Important Message. How about just spinning an engrossing yarn?

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