Buying books for 15 – 18 year olds can be challenging. It is an age when they may not be spending much time reading so finding something that might entice them to read is important. To put this list together I went to our 16 year old and 18 year old and asked them to give me some books they have read this year that they would recommend. As I mentioned in my last post books make a great Christmas gift for kids!
I haven’t read any of these books so I would recommend making sure that you are happy with the content of the book before giving it to your child. Each family can have different views on the themes they are happy for their kids to be reading, so please make sure the book fits with your family.
For each book listed below I have included a description from one of the kids plus a summary from the publisher so you can get a feel for the book. And I am sure other parents would love to see as many books as possible so if you have some books you know are perfect for this age group, please share in the comments section at the end – thank you!
If you are looking for books for younger kids you can check out these lists on the blog:
- Books for 10-12 year olds
- 15 new books for 12-14 year olds
- 10 Books for 12-15 year olds for Christmas
- 10 Books for 9-12 year olds for Christmas
- 8 funny books for girls (6-12) – and yes these of course can be read by boys but these are ones that have been found to resonate really well with girls
- 25 top books for boys (7-12) – as above but in the reverse!
And if you have much preschoolers or under, definitely check out my current Christms book giveaway thanks to the team at Puffin Australia – Massive Puffin Book Christmas Giveaway.
Steelheart: The Reckoners – By Brandon Sanderson – reader view – One day, many people gained superpowers however their powers corrupted them into selfish, tyrannical despots. A group of non-powered humans sets out to kill one of the strongest Epics (the name for super-powered individuals). It is an action packed, page turner.
From the publisher – A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart – the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning – and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
This book does contain adult themes that you may not find appropriate for your teenagers. Please look through the book yourself first.
Everything I Know About Love – By Dolly Alderton – reader view – explores the trials and triumphs of growing older. Alderton’s humorous tone makes it a page-turner but also provides tips on how to navigate friendships, love, and your career as a young adult in a new world of uncertainty.
From the publisher – When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out.
Glittering, with wit and insight, heart and humour, this is a book about the struggles of early adulthood in all its grubby, hopeful uncertainty.
The Seven Ancient Wonders: A Jack West Jr Novel 1 – By Matthew Reilly – reader view – The global superpowers of the world search for an ancient relic to give them power, a coalition of smaller nations send a team of their agents to preserve the status quo and prevent anyone from gaining the power. It has an intriguing cast of characters that you get to learn more about and understand better as the story goes on.
From the publisher – Two thousand years ago, it was hidden within the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Now, in the present day, it must be found again…Captain Jack West Jr – part soldier, part scholar, all hero. The odds are stacked against him and his loyal team: nine brave companions taking on the most powerful countries on earth. From the pyramids of Egypt to the swamps of Sudan, to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the boulevards of Paris: the desperate race begins. The greatest prize of all: the power to end the world or rule it.
When Michael Met Mina – By Randa Abdel-Fattah – reader view – Romance story between a boy who was raised anti-immigration and anti-refugee and an Afghan refugee. The novel examines both sides and allows the story to develop without being overly forceful with its messaging.
From the publisher – A boy. A girl. Two families. One great divide. When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides. Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre. Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values. They want to stop the boats. Mina wants to stop the hate. When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly. A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.
The Song of Achilles – By Madeline Miller – reader view – The Song of Achilles, is an adaptation of Homers Illiad by Madeline Miller. It is set in the Greek heroic age, and is a unique retelling of the demi-god Achilles and the Trojan war. Profoundly moving and heartbreaking, Miller explores ideas of peace and glory, immortal fame, and the human heart.
From the publisher – Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny.
Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Normal People – By Sally Rooney – reader view – The novel follows the complex relationship between two young adults exploring the subtleties of class and the difficulties of family and friends. A thought-provoking novel that shows an insight to the human mind and how individuals try to conform to social norms.
From the publisher – Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins. Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t.
Promise Me Happy – By Robert Newton – reader view – A delinquent leaves juvenile detention to go live with relatives in the country where he meets a girl and learns more about himself and life. The novel is an emotional rollercoaster and it handles serious issues with great care.
From the publisher – A beautifully written contemporary YA with a love story at its heart, by one of Australia’s best-loved authors for young people.
I don’t know if it’s possible for people to change, not really. The way you’re made up, the important stuff, I reckon you’re born with that . . . when it matters, when it really matters, we are who we are.
Nate’s had it tough. An abusive father. His mother dead. He’s done things he regrets.
But he’s never met anyone like Gem. She’s a tiny piece of wonderful and she’ll change everything he knows about himself. Is this the beginning of happiness? Or is there more hardship around the corner?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – By Taylor Jenkins Reid – reader view – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, is a fictional novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, capturing the story of a Hollywood star as she reflects on her perseverance while rising to fame and success, and the secrets she kept along the way. A compelling and insightful read it explores the difficulties of women gaining fame in the 1950s and the sacrifices that are made.
From the publisher – Reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship and a great forbidden love.
Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways
Messenger of Fear – By Michael Grant – reader view – Mara wakes to find she has been apprenticed to an immortal who judges and punishes evildoers of all kinds. This was a stand-out book in my reading this year. It contains horror and has very graphically written scenes so it won’t be for everyone.
From the publisher – A twisted take on the battle of good and evil from Michael Grant, the dark genius of YA Fiction. The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If the wicked go unpunished, he offers them a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear. But why has Mara been chosen to accompany the Messenger and what secrets are lurking in her memories that are just out of reach?
Messenger of Fear is a fantastic allegory of our times in the spirit of The Hunger Games or Divergent. It is about the pain of adolescence, teen suicide, and guilt. It is the kind of gothic horror that could only have come from the pen of Michael Grant: the man who gave us GONE.
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – By Florence Given – reader view – Florence Given’s debut book, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, explores modern day feminism and encourages individuals to challenge outdated narratives about women. An empowering read for young women, Given preaches the importance of self love, and becoming the person you want to be without being held back by the opinions of others.
From the publisher – Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is an accessible leap into feminism, for people at all stages of their journey who are seeking to reshape and transform the way they view themselves. In a world that tells women we’re either not enough or too much, it’s time we stop directing our anger and insecurities onto ourselves, and start fighting back to re-shape the toxic structures of our patriarchal society.
Florence’s book will help you to tackle and challenge the limiting narrative you have been bombarded with your whole life, and determine feminism on your own terms. After all, you are the love of your own life.
What books are your 15 – 18 year olds currently reading?
Some of the links contain affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you, making purchases through them helps support this site. Thank you!