Your tween has flown through Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and now she needs something new to devour. Enter these ten incredible books that will inspire, entertain and probably make her cry a little. (But of course, share the love: These books are awesome for any gender.)
We Are All Made of Molecules by Susan Nielsen
Stewart, a socially awkward but extremely gifted kid, and Ashley, an extremely popular girl with terrible grades, are forced to move in together when their parents get married. Told from alternating perspectives, this funny and touching story has something for everyone.
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
More novels about science, you say? Dive into this heartrending book about Suzy, who theorizes that her best friend wasn’t killed in a drowning accident but by a rare jellyfish sting. Your tween is guaranteed to be swept up in her search for answers.
Stef Soto, Taco Queenby Jennifer Torres
Estefania “Stef” Soto is embarrassed by Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. But when the business is threatened, Stef steps up to help in surprising (and inspiring) ways. Perfect for your little entrepreneur.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
This fantastical story of witches and magic won the Newbery Medal, so you know it’s good. Your preteen will love the story of Luna, a 13-year-old with extraordinary powers who is guided by a good witch.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Calling all rebels. Stargirl, a magnetic trendsetter, is all anyone at Mica High will talk about when she first moves in—especially Leo. But when they turn on her for being different, Leo convinces her to be “normal,” the thing that could destroy her.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Warning: This book must be read with tissues. This touching Newbery winner is the story of Jess, who becomes fast friends with the new girl, Leslie. Together, they create a fantasy world in the woods—but when a tragedy happens, Jess has to face reality and grapple with his grief.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This monumental classic is likely to be taught in your kid’s school, but it’s worth a read at home first. The adventures of Gem and Scout against the backdrop of their father’s trial still holds up as a touching and politically charged masterpiece.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
If your tween hearts dystopian tales, pass this one her way, stat. When Jonas turns 12, he’s given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory. But when his training begins, he must come to terms with the dark secrets he learns. This one is stirring and unforgettable.
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
When Sal goes on a pilgrimage across the country with her eccentric grandparents to discover her Indian heritage, she entertains them with the story of her neighbor, Phoebe Winterbottom. But as Sal opens up, her own story begins to unfold. (Your kid will probably stay up all night reading this one.)
I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick
This adapted version of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s powerful memoir is an absolute must-read. The endlessly brave Malala relives her experiences living under the regime of the Taliban and being shot on her way home from school. (And while she’s pouring over this edition, pick up the adult best seller for yourself.)