Books for Reluctant Readers #1: Teens Who Love All Things Scary
So I know that most people reading this blog probably love reading. But in the very off chance that you don’t or the more likely chance that there’s someone in your life who hates reading, I wanted to share some books that might entice even the most reluctant reader.
I’ve worked with a lot of reluctant readers, and one of the most rewarding things is when you find a book that they love. One thing that I’ve come to understand about reluctant readers is that they think they don’t like reading because of their experiences in school. So obviously, I don’t hand them my favorite classic and tell them to start reading.
I usually start by asking them if there were any books that they liked. Maybe they read Hatchet or The Giver in the 6th grade, and they loved that book. Or maybe they really haven’t found a book they liked since Dr. Seuss. If that’s the case, I rely on their television or movie choices to determine a genre to choose from.
So that’s how I’m going to approach these posts. So if a teen tells me they like scary movies, here are some books I might try…
Asylum by Madeline Roux
“For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.”
The Diviners by Libba Bray
“Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.”
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
“A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.”
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
“The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.”
Did I miss your favorite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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