I’ve been reading books since before I could remember. There are videos of me as a toddler, sitting on the floor with a pile of picture books in my lap, babbling in baby talk that doesn’t make any sense about a story I was making up as I was staring at the images. One of my favorite home videos of all time is one of my first Christmas mornings, when my parents put piles and piles of toys under the tree – and I snubbed every single one of them for the stack of books they bought me, and wouldn’t even consider opening all of the other gifts until I had “read” every single one of them. As I got older, I read voraciously, spending my allowance on books, carrying them everywhere I went, analyzing the written dialogue, and most importantly, learning.
The books I read growing up helped to shape me into the person I am today. Does that sound corny? Sure, I guess, but it’s true. Books are so, so important. I truly believe that reading is one of the most important things ever! So, I fully support this Ask Reddit thread that asked users what books every teen girl should read at least once. There are honestly so many books teen girls should read that it’s hard to get them all on one list. I have a lot of recommendations, but I’ll stick to just one for now: it’s Anthropology Of An American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann, and it’s amazing. It’s a story about a young woman growing up, and how she deals with love, loss, family, and friends. It’s long, but it’s worth the read!
Want some more suggestions for books you have to read, like, now? We’ve got plenty. Here are a few books every girl should read before she turns 18. They’ll change the way you think, they’ll make you feel less alone, and they’re fun. Keep ’em all on your list!
Prep by Curtis SittenfeldUser julywannabe says, "Prep by Curtis Sittenfield." User Octobrew added, "I loved this! I read it in my junior-senior years and it definitely made an impression on me and my attitude towards dating and socializing." I love Prep. It's a really excellent book that feels so relatable. It's about a girl who goes to a snobby prep school for high school, a place she feels she doesn't fit into because she's a scholarship student. The book follows her through her high school years as she tries to find a place for herself and then ends up taking a drastic turn. It explores intense friendships that feel very real, confusing romantic situations, and tough family stuff. I'd recommend it to anyone! Buy this from Amazon
Speak by Laurie Halse AndersonUser fyrephoenix911 says, "Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's also an indie movie, The book was very good. Kids need to read this." Honestly, yes. Speak should be required reading for teenagers - in fact, it was a required reading book for me in high school. It's also something that stuck with me. It's about a girl who is an outcast, and her journey to find herself and escape her inner demons. That's really all I can explain without giving it away, but trust me: it's amazing. Buy this from Amazon
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise RennisonUser UsagiDreams says, "Well, I loved reading Jane Austen as a teen, but I doubt her books would appeal to every teenage girl. I would recommend the Georgia Nicholson Diaries series by the late Louise Rennison. The titles for each book were all different so there were things like 'And that's when it fell off in my hand', 'Knocked out by my nunga-nungas', etc. They're not all that great if you're looking for a 'message', like Orwell or Atwood - but they are enjoyable, which I think is also important when reading. They're great for girls who are 14+." I've never read this series, but most of my friends did and I know tons of people talk about how excellent it is. Sometimes you need fun books that are just enjoyable rather than books that have deep messages! Buy this from Amazon
Native Son by Richard WrightUser scissormytimbers says, "Native Son by Richard Wright. It taught me that if someone says you are a certain thing, you'll start to believe it. I figured it worked the other way around and with low self-esteem and nothing to lose, I started telling people how awesome I am haha. It worked, I started believing it myself. I wish I would have read it earlier in high school. Besides, it's just a really good book." This is a book about growing up black in America, and although it's about a black male accused of murder, it's still incredibly important and relevant for teen girls. Buy this from Amazon
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayUser zmpreva says, "A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Just wonderful amazing book, fantasy but really a tale about girlhood and finding yourself." This is a fantasy tale about a young woman from India sent to boarding school in England. If you're into sci-fi, it's a good series to look into! Buy this from Amazon
This Lullaby by Sarah DessenUser ladypine says, "Sarah Dessen's books." I'm so glad someone brought up Sarah Dessen! She's probably my favorite YA author - I like her books so much that I still read them, even though I'm not technically in that target audience anymore. All of her books are great, but This Lullaby has always been my favorite. It's about a young girl dealing with, you know, teen girl stuff - crushes, friends, family stuff. Sarah's books are super relatable, fun, and will just make you feel good. Buy this from Amazon
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy BlumeUser soundslikemachel says, "Just before I became a teenager, I loved Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I didn't understand half of what she was talking about so that made for some interesting conversations." This is one of those books that is always on lists of books for teen girls to read - and for good reason. It deals with some topics girls are unwilling to discuss with other people, and it does so in a really smart, relatable way. Buy this from Amazon
The Princess Diaries by Meg CabotUser Paigealicec says, "Honestly, The Princess Diaries books (not movies) were very important to me as an adolescent. That's where I learned about feminism and environmentalism for the first time, and found representation for some of my nerdier tendencies. Some of the earlier books are a little problematic reading it as an adult, but were exactly how I saw the world when I was her age. I definitely grew up with Mia." Yes! I loved this book so much when I read it, and it felt so important to me. Obviously the movie is gold too, but the book is just... I don't know, it's just different. Definitely read this, even if you've seen the film a million times. Buy this from Amazon
The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle by AviUser awallpapergirl says, "More of a preteen read, but The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was a game changer for me. I'll state I am not someone who identifies with the feminist moniker, but I love what stories like this do for young girls in the vein of bolstering feminism. It was the first book I read that had a dainty, whiny child realizing her own grit and defining herself as a whole person outside of her gender. It was just scary enough with death and consequence, peppered with classism, racism and sexism and the ending took my preteen heart by surprise in the best way. I felt capable of anything." I've never read this book, but after that review? I'm intrigued. Buy this from Amazon
Before I Fall by Lauren OliverUser a-most-peculiar-girl says, "Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It makes you think about all your daily interactions with people/how you treat those around you and how even the smallest of decisions can change everything." This was recently made into a movie, but even if you've seen it, the book is still worth reading. It's a super important message for anyone growing up to pay attention to. Buy this from Amazon
Jane Eyre by Charlotte BronteUser allmyfriendsaredead_ says, "For the somewhat older teenagers: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It's quite an easy read for a classic and I could really relate to Jane herself. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, but that's mostly because I read it at the right moment. Maybe it's not applicable to the more younger teenagers, since they can't relate to Jane, but I would recommend it for the 16+. I was 22/23 when I read the book, but I am not a native English speaker." Of course, you can't have a book list for girls without including at least one classic. There are a lot to choose from, but Jane Eyre is a consistent favorite. Buy this from Amazon
Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora PierceUser JMBobbie says, "I loved all of the Tamora Pierce books when I was younger! They're fantasy books full of strong female characters going on adventures." Any book with a legitimately strong female character is an important book for a young woman to read. It helps if it's interesting to boot! Buy this from Amazon
The Gift Of Fear by Gavin De BeckerUser CapnRaye says, "While this falls under the question, I think everyone should read this. The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker it's all about safety and how to avoid situations that can be dangerous. What if you are in one already? It goes over getting you out of those things too! I think it's a must read for anyone so we can all stay safe." Although this isn't a story like the other books on this list, it's definitely essential for life in this day and age. Buy this from Amazon
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyUser holyshitnuggets says, "Hm. First thing that came to mind was Perks of Being a Wallflower, which may not be typical. I know the protagonist is male, but I think it touches upon many issues that any teenager can relate to." This is another one of those books on every single "teen girl must-read" list, and it deserves the spot. This book is such a welcome story for anyone who feels distinctly different in life. It's sad, it's important, and it's interesting. Buy this from Amazon
Which one of these books have you read already? What do you think is the best? What other book should be included? Share in the comments.