5+ Books For Teens Who Are Hesitant to Read

Last edited on December 10, 2021 by Sarah Pereira

As someone who used to be hesitant to read, I know it’s often times hard to find a book that catches your attention. For that reason, I decided to list eight books people for people who aren’t into reading. What makes this list different from other people’s lists, is that it comes from past experience rather than from person with no experience. To further find out my opinions on each of the books below check out my Goodreads.

Throne of Glass

Opinion: This book immediately comes to mind when asked for a book recommendation for teens because the story follows a pretty relatable main character and has a relatively fast past. This story also has seven sequential books that are just as captivating, if not more captivating than this one.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


Opinion: As one of the first YA books I read, this book holds a special place in my heart. At the core of the novel, there is a sisterly bond that despite many attempts, is unbreakable.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. 

Kingdom of the Wicked

Opinion: Suspense. Dark. Intricate. Although, this book falls more on the older spectrum of YA books, it’s just as good. The writing is simple enough to follow and the characters are very likable.

Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

Killing November

Opinion: This book stands out from the rest of the books on the list because its not fantasy. In fact its the complete opposite- a thriller mystery. Regardless, its not gory or graphic. The characters in this book are also pretty racially diverse which is always a plus.

It’s a school completely off the grid, hidden by dense forest and surrounded by traps. There’s no electricity, no internet, and an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. Classes include everything from Knife-Throwing and Poisons to the Art of Deception and Historical Analysis. And all of the students are children of the world’s most elite strategists—training to become assassins, counselors, spies, and master impersonators. Into this world walks November Adley, who quickly discovers that friends are few in a school where personal revelations are discouraged and competition is everything. When another student is murdered, all eyes turn to November, who must figure out exactly how she fits into the school’s bizarre strategy games before she is found guilty of the crime…or becomes the killer’s next victim.

The Inheritance Games

Opinion: After reading this recently I noticed it’s very similar to Killing November so, if you liked that book you’ll like this one and vice versa. Barnes finds a way to add depth and back stories to every character ensuring that readers will get thrills and chills.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Opinion: This Newbery Medal awarded book blends traditional fantasy elements and non-traditional to create a book that ultimately, is perfect for every age. It was surprisingly intricate and complex with its poetic writing, with sprinkled in elements of magical realism and dark themes.

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The Hobbit

Opinion: The Hobbit, often labeled as Tolkien’s best work successfully holds up to its name. It’s a more advanced read then some of the others on the list, but its completely worth it at the end. This book lays the foundation for the fantasy we now know.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.

The Hate U Give

Opinion: Although it was published in 2017, this book still very much applies to today. This book clearly, and accurately portrays the reality of many people without sugarcoating anything.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

About Author

Lover of all things books, cats, and art, Sarah is currently a student in high school. When she is not reading, Sarah is usually writing and can be found in libraries and bookstores. Sarah is always looking for new adventures to write about (her Hogwarts letter didn't come so she's waiting to turn 50 for her adventure to the middle earth).


  • Kisa M
    January 6, 2021 at 7:29 am

    I loved Caraval! The Hobbit is also on my TBR!

    • Sarah Pereira
      January 7, 2021 at 10:04 pm

      The Hobbit is a great book, hope you get to reading it soon and enjoy it!

  • hayley
    September 11, 2021 at 5:06 am

    i love the recommendations but please dont recommend sarah j maas books to teens. the content of those books are quite obviously not suitable

    • Sarah Pereira
      September 11, 2021 at 12:02 pm

      I recommended Throne of Glass for its likable characters and plot. Throne of Glass is a young adult book series (13-18). I was only recommending Throne of Glass, knowing A Court of Thorns and Roses and Crescent City are more explicit. I believe most teenagers would have no problem reading this series. I will say there are trigger warnings. The series does get darker by book five, but if someone’s read the first four and is mature, they’ll be fine. I’d also hope that if someone were to read Throne of Glass, they’d read the synopsis and know what they’re getting into (quite a bit of fighting scenes, death, etc). Language isn’t too bad either, and the romance is not explicit other than in the fifth book. There are struggles with depression in the later books, but John Green books talk a lot more about mental health and are read by young teens.


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