Great Reads for Tweens

In my experience, one of the most difficult age groups to find books for is 11 to 14 years old. For young teens and pre-teens, also known “tweens,” finding books can be tricky. As kids start to outgrow much of the independent reader section of the bookstore, heading to the Young Adult section might seem like a great choice. Unfortunately, some teen fiction often deals with very dark subject matter and is better suited to high school-aged teens.

So what’s the solution?

Great Reads for Tweens

I’ve compiled a list of great books that readers aged 11-14 will love, featuring challenging, thought-provoking children’s fiction and age-appropriate teen fiction. Check them out!


When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry


Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Contemporary Coming-of-Age

Sisterhood_Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares


Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli


Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm


Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Outsiders

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain


The Hobbit

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Treasure Island

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Want to see more lists like this one? If you have a topic you’d like to see, leave me a comment!


  1. Great list! Some of my favorite books from that age are on here! It is indeed a tricky age to find books for, especially since bookstores don’t always show the best judgment of what belongs in what section (plus my bookstore scrapped it’s YA section all together and now has children’s or teen paranormal romance).

  2. Wow this is great I’m eleven so this is perfect

  3. I love this list! And the fact that you mix classics from my generation with newer books. Will give it to my Tween!!! And will tweet, pin, and Sulia.

  4. Some of these are Classics! Thanks for the list. I have bookmarked these for future reads!

  5. Wonderful list Katie. I have been meaning to read Rebecca Stead for too long now. I must rectify that. Thanks for hosting on the kid lit blog hop.

  6. Great list, Katie. Thank you. Exactly the age range I am looking for. You even have a few new ones for us to check out. Thanks. I am visiting through Kid Lit Blog Hop.
    ~Cool Mom for
    Stanley & Katrina

  7. A very useful list. My blog is dedicated to this very subject – what to read with bright 9-14 year olds. Stopping by on the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  8. Jemima Pett says:

    Thanks for the list, Katie. I find it difficult to know whether I’m getting the ‘right’ level for this group and this is a great resource. I’ve recently reread and reviewed Treasure Island and will do The Hobbit soon, and I’ll add some of the others to my to-read list. (another Kid Lit Blog Hopper)

    Jemima at Jemima’s blog

    • Thanks for your comment, Jemima. This is definitely the trickiest age group in my opinion, and I’m glad to see that people are finding my list useful! 🙂

  9. Emily's Mom says:

    I’m late in chiming in here but I, too, am dismayed at the paranormal love/romance section for tweens/teens in the big box bookstores!! Thank you for this list – with Easter right around the corner, I may just have a bit of (s)hopping to do through the bookstore!

  10. This is a great list! It’s true that a lot of YA literature is dark these days. I guess that’s what sells. Sigh.

    • Thanks, Heidi! 🙂
      I’ve read some incredibly moving young adult literature with darker themes, but so much of the genre is written for 15+. The YA section is a dicey place for middle schoolers.

  11. great post-will definately pin it for future reference and gift giving ideas. I have just started reading the Travelling resturant and so far it looks like another good option

  12. This is a great list. Thanks for posting it.

  13. I thank God I found this! Now my kiddos have some reading of age appropriate material! It was nice seeing books I recognized 😉 Keep up the good work!

  14. Pingback: Ultimate List of Book Lists - Rachel K Tutoring Blog

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