Staff Picks for Teens


  • Dystopia: An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

    Have you already read all three Hunger Games books and seen all the movies? We've got the cure for your dystopian blues.

  • When feelings of intense fear and distress are overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday things, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18%, have an anxiety disorder.

  • The start of school is right around the corner. Try one of these books to get yourself in the school mood. Set in boarding schools, magical schools, and regular high schools - these stories are guaranteed to make you feel slightly more studious.

  • What is life like for a soldier coming home, after he or she has been exposed to the indescribable horrors of war? And what is it like for the family and friends of the soldier, so happy to have their loved one back, but often sensing the soldier is not exactly as he or she was before leaving? Here are some novels that explore the lasting impact of war and the struggle to "get back to normal."

    Compiled by Emily S.

  • Dragons aren't just fire breathing, treasure hoarding lizards. In these stories they are half human, shape shifters, and comic relief. Try one of these books and discover a new side of a legendary creature.

  • Tales of the fey and re-tellings of classic fairy tales for readers who need a happily ever after or who always wondered what would have happened if Cinderella was a cyborg.

  • Graphic Novels feature some of the best storytelling you'll find anywhere! We bet you can't read just one!

  • Looking for some great books to read this summer? Check out one of these, you won't regret it. Make sure to sign up for the Teen Summer Reading Program while you're at it.

  • Gangsters, kidnappers, and stone-cold killers. We've always been fascinated by crime and those who commit the foul deeds (and those who catch them). These true crime titles explore criminals and cases famous and obscure, and just action-packed enough for teen readers.

  • Books featuring teens who identify as LGBTQIA. These stories present a variety of lives lived in a variety of different ways. Pick one up to experience someone else's struggles or to find comfort in your own.

  • Any time is a great time to read a scary story! Pick up one of these and be prepared to be freaked out.

  • April is National Poetry month. Celebrate by checking out some of these titles with teen appeal - from nature to science fiction, love to death, and free verse to haiku, you're bound to find something to inspire.

    List compiled by Dory L. and Chris H.

  • There are tons of movies that have come out or are coming out based on YA novels. Get a jump on the lines and read the book before you see the movie. It's always better anyway.

  • These recent Young Adult books center on music, from jazz to rock to hip hop and beyond.

  • These books feature many different relationships from the good to the bad. They are realistic portrayals of things that are happening to teens in Bloomington and all over the country. Pick one up to learn, to grow, or to find comfort that you are not alone.

  • People have been scaring themselves silly with creepy stories for a long, long time. Some horror classics simply refuse to die, and are reanimated again and again in modern retellings. As Halloween approaches, check out a new take on an old tale.

    List compiled by Emily S.

  • Want to lose yourself in a romantic story about love between a human and a vampire/werewolf/angel/zombie (seriously, zombie) or are you just looking for a realistic tale of meet cutes and true love? Try one of these with a side of hot chocolate for the perfect romantic night in.

  • Ready, set, go! Start reading the nominees for the Eliot Rosewater Book Award and vote for your favorite. You just might choose the winner!

  • Maybe you'd like to create a sensational graphic novel. Or craft scripts for TV and film. Or write the next "Great American Novel." Or turn your own life story into a riveting memoir. No matter what your preferred format and focus, writing is undoubtedly hard work. Here are some books filled with both expert tips of the trade and fun and thoughtful writing prompts to help jumpstart your writer's mind. Now get writing!

    Compiled by Emily S.

  • The wait between Star Wars movies is just too long for true fanatics! A good read can help you "Force" yourself to hang in there. Enjoy these stories featuring familiar Star Wars characters—and other tales of galaxies far, far away.

  • Need a story that jumps off the page and won't let you go? Try one of these fast paced adventures for a read it in one sitting, stay up all night experience!

  • Are you interested in reading some fiction centered around sports?  The following books all have teenage main characters playing sports and learning about life.

  • From the Young Adult Library Services Association -

    The Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" list, where you, the teen, nominate and choose your favorite books of the previous year! Exciting, right?! You can participate as long as you are between the ages twelve to eighteen. Reading is a great pastime so we'd love it if you participated!

    Voting will be online. The winners will be announced the week following Teen Read Week (October 9-15, 2016). So if you want to participate in this exciting event, get reading!

  • Check out one of these too good to miss titles for readers in 6-8th grade!

  • April is National Poetry Month, so here's a highlight of compulsively readable poetic gems that read like novels. Fan of poetry or not, you'll want to try a novel written in verse—a story of love, friendship, fitting in, or a tough issue, with a long-form poetic structure.

  • Whether your interests are in solving a mystery or getting into the mind of a criminal, these titles have something for you, from missing persons to murder to a touch of the supernatual.

  • Fiction and Non-Fiction titles about teens experiencing homelessness.