Teen Read Week: 6 Great Crossover Titles for Teens and Adults


Girl Reading
Photo courtesy Enokson on Flickr under CC License.

This week, October 12-18, is Teen Read Week, a national literacy initiative sponsored by the American Library Association to encourage young adults to read and use the library. To support this initiative, we’ve compiled a list of some books published originally for adults, but with great crossover potential for teens as well.  These titles will appeal to both teens and adults, which can make for great conversations about books and reading.


Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

It’s 1987 and 14-year-old June is devastated when her uncle Finn dies. Shy at school and feeling increasingly distant from her older sister, Finn was the only person who really understood her and June feels lost without him. Her sister is jealous of her grief and her mother won’t talk about Finn so when a stranger at Finn’s funeral seeks June out to talk about Finn, she is open to taking a chance and getting to know him. As her friendship with Toby grows, she realizes that she is not the only person mourning Finn and that there is much more to her uncle’s life than she knew. If she can open her heart and her mind, Toby may just be able to help her heal from her loss and open herself to the world.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Wade Watts spends most of his time trying to escape his grim surroundings through the world of the OASIS, a virtual reality where most of humanity now experience their lives online rather than dealing with the harsh realities of life in 2044. Like many people who live primarily in the OASIS, Wade is also obsessed with finding and solving the puzzles that the creator of the OASIS left inside the world that will lead whoever solves them first to a huge reward. However, when Wade actually does stumble upon the first of the creator’s puzzles he becomes involved in a deadly race to the finish line not only through the OASIS, but which may also lead him to face the world of reality.

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

Mike hasn’t spoken a word in ten years, since he was 8-years-old, when something horrible happened and he went to live with his uncle. This silence hasn’t stopped him from developing a dangerous talent for getting into locked spaces however. Picking locks, cracking safes, Mike can do it all, but this gift makes him very desirable to certain kinds of people and he soon finds himself separated from the only person he has ever loved and in way over his head. As Mike struggles to find a way out of a life he never wanted, he also struggles to confront what happened to him ten years ago and communicate with the only person that matters to him.

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Sylvie Mason is used to her parents getting calls late at night. Since their occupation is helping to lay haunted spirits to rest, their hours aren’t regular, but something is different about this call. It takes her and her parents out to an abandoned church where Sylvie waits patiently in the car until she hears gunshots in the church. Nearly a year later Sylvie is living with her older sister and still struggling to come to terms with what happened to her parents. As she investigates the events of that night and if her sister was somehow involved, she encounters deeply buried secrets about the history of her family.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is many things; an opinionated partner to her husband, a brilliant and reclusive architect to design aficionados, an unusual and unlikable woman to the mothers of Seattle, and a best friend to her daughter Bee. Shortly after Bee aces her reports card and claims her prize of a trip to Antarctica, Bernadette Fox also becomes a missing person and her 15-year-old daughter is determined to find her. Bee tirelessly compiles emails, letters, and official documents to figure out what could have happened to her agoraphobic mother, whose life has been increasingly handled by a personal assistant in India as she removes herself from the world. This search takes her through her mother’s past and deep into her present, uncovering just how much Bee never knew about her mom’s life.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

When the recession hits Clay Jannon is laid off from his job as a San Francisco web designer and finds himself working the night shift in an odd bookstore. He is especially puzzled by the fact that he notices that most of the customers never seem to buy anything, instead borrowing large obscure volumes on a standing arrangement with Mr. Penumbra. Curious at this behavior and now convinced that the bookstore is a front for some other business, Clay develops a program to analyze the patterns of customer behavior, roping some of his tech friends into his project. When they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra however, they discover that the truth of the bookstore is stranger than they ever could have imagined.