Best Tween Books of 2016 (So Far)
Best Tween Books of 2016

Intro

These books were chosen as the best tween books of 2016 using a combination of New York Times Best Seller lists, critical reviews (such as those in the American Library Association's Booklist magazine), Amazon and Goodreads ratings and reviews, and librarian and educator recommendations.

There are many more amazing teen books set to be published in 2016, so this list will continue to grow.  

If you have favorite tween books from 2016, please let us know in the comments!

 

 Seeing stars?  Professional book reviewers only award a star to exceptional books.  More than one star means experts from multiple organizations felt the book was outstanding. 

Some Kind of Courage Book Cover
Some Kind of Courage
by Dan Gemeinhart
Audience: Tweens
Published: January 26, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he's ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he's lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her.

Joseph can...READ MORE

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook Book Cover
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
by Leslie Connor
Audience: Tweens
Published: March 1, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews

From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.

Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his...READ MORE

Hour of the Bees Book Cover
Hour of the Bees
by Lindsay Eagar
Audience: Tweens
Published: March 8, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Publisher's Weekly Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

What does it mean to be fully alive? Magic blends with reality in a stunning coming-of-age novel about a girl, a grandfather, wanderlust, and reclaiming your roots.

Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .

While her friends are spending their summers having pool...READ MORE

Where You'll Find Me Book Cover
Where You'll Find Me
by Natasha Friend
Audience: Tweens
Published: March 8, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal

"Natasha Friend, I loved your book. I was hooked from the first page." ―Judy Blume

The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself...
DUMPED by her best friend Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade "hanging out with different people." 
DESERTED by her mom, who's...READ MORE

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle Book Cover
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle
by Janet Fox
Audience: Tweens
Published: March 15, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

“Keep calm and carry on.”  

That’s what Katherine Bateson’s father told her, and that’s what she’s trying to do:  when her father goes off to the war, when her mother sends Kat and her brother and sister away from London to escape the incessant bombing, even when the children arrive...READ MORE

Free Verse Book Cover
Free Verse
by Sarah Dooley
Audience: Tweens
Published: March 15, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly

A moving, bittersweet tale reminiscent of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons set in a West Virginia coal-mining town

When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left, and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker....READ MORE

Summerlost Book Cover
Summerlost
by Ally Condie
Audience: Tweens
Published: March 29, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

A tender and compelling contemporary novel for young readers about facing grief and finding friendship, from the international bestselling author of the Matched series

It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family...READ MORE

Booked
by Kwame Alexander
Audience: Tweens
Published: April 5, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book

Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/
can’t nobody cop you…
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER,  soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as...READ MORE

Counting Thyme Book Cover
Counting Thyme
by Melanie Conklin
Audience: Grades 4 to 6,
Audience: Tweens
Published: April 12, 2016

Newbery-winning Rules meets Counting by 7s in this affecting story of a girl’s devotion to her brother and what it means to be home

When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens...READ MORE

My Seventh Grade Life in Tights Book Cover
My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights
by Brooks Benjamin
Audience: Tweens
Published: April 12, 2016

Football hero. Ninja freestyler. It's seventh grade. Anything is possible.

All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says...READ MORE

OCDaniel Book Cover
OCDaniel
by Wesley King
Audience: Tweens
Published: April 12, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist

From the author of Incredible Space Raiders from Space! comes a brand-new coming-of-age story about a boy whose life revolves around hiding his obsessive compulsive disorder—until he gets a mysterious note that changes everything.

Daniel is the back-up punter for the Erie Hills Elephants. Which really means he’s the water boy....READ MORE

Wolf Hollow Book Cover
Wolf Hollow
by Lauren Wolk
Audience: Tweens
Published: May 3, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Horn Book

“The honesty of Wolf Hollow will just about shred your heart, but Annabelle’s courage and compassion will restore it to you, fuller than before. This book matters.” —Sara Pennypacker, New York Times bestselling author of Pax



Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a...READ MORE

As Brave As You Book Cover
As Brave As You
by Jason Reynolds
Audience: Tweens
Published: May 3, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageHorn Book

When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Johnson Steptoe Award.



Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are...READ MORE

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel Book Cover
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel
by Firoozeh Dumas
Audience: Grades 4 to 6,
Audience: Tweens
Published: May 3, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in...READ MORE

Lily and Dunkin Book Cover
Lily and Dunkin
by Donna Gephart
Audience: Tweens
Published: May 3, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist

"Gephart has written a story that will speak not just to one specific community, but to humanity as a whole."--VOYA

For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7's, award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with...READ MORE

The Trials of Apollo Book 1 The Hidden Oracle Book Cover
The Trials of Apollo, Book 1: The Hidden Oracle
by Rick Riordan
Audience: Tweens
Published: May 3, 2016

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in...READ MORE

When Friendship Followed Me Home Book Cover
When Friendship Followed Me Home
by Paul Griffin
Audience: Tweens
Published: June 7, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly

A boy’s chance encounter with a scruffy dog leads to an unforgettable friendship in this deeply moving story about life, loss, and the meaning of family
 
Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave...READ MORE

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly Book Cover
The Misadventures of Max Crumbly 1: Locker Hero
by Rachel Renée Russell
Audience: Tweens
Published: June 7, 2016

A brand-new series from #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries author Rachel Renee Russell! Introducing Max Crumbly!

Max Crumbly is about to face the scariest place he’s ever been: South Ridge Middle School.

There’s a lot that’s great about his new school, but there’s also one big problem—Doug, the school bully...READ MORE

Sticks & Stones Book Cover
Sticks & Stones
by Abby Cooper
Audience: Tweens
Published: July 12, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews  

Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just "cute" and "adorable," but as she's gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like "loser" and "pathetic" appear, and those words bubble up...READ MORE

The Girl Who Drank the Moon Book Cover
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Audience: Tweens
Published: August 9, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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...READ MORE

Ghost Book Cover
Ghost
by Jason Reynolds
Audience: Tweens
Published: August 30, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds...READ MORE

Furthermore Book Cover
Furthermore
by Tahereh Mafi
Audience: Tweens
Published: August 30, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly

The bestselling author of the Shatter Me series takes readers beyond the limits of their imagination in this captivating new middle grade adventure where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places. 
 
There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who...READ MORE

Mighty Jack Book Cover
Mighty Jack
by Ben Hatke
Audience: Tweens
Published: September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because...READ MORE

Mark of the Plague Book Cover
Mark of the Plague (Blackthorn Key Book 2)
by Kevin Sands
Audience: Grades 4 to 6,
Audience: Tweens
Published: September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image School Library Journal

Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious...READ MORE

Snow White Book Cover
Snow White: A Graphic Novel
by Matt Phelan
Audience: Tweens
Published: September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly  

Award-winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan delivers a darkly stylized noir Snow White set against the backdrop of Depression-era Manhattan.

The scene: New York City. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar...READ MORE

Ghosts Book Cover
Ghosts
by Raina Telgemeier
Audience: Grades 4 to 6,
Audience: Tweens
Published: September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Kirkus

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea....READ MORE

The Creeping Shadow Book Cover
The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. Book Four)
by Jonathan Stroud
Audience: Tweens
Published: September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist

After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes,...READ MORE

The Inquisitor's Tale Book Cover
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz
illustrated by Hatem Aly
Audience: Tweens
Published: September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Horn Bok  

An exciting and hilarious new medieval adventure about history, religion . . . and farting dragons, from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm.

 

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of...READ MORE

The Secret Keepers Book Cover
The Secret Keepers
by Trenton Lee Stewart
illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Audience: Tweens
Published: September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Publishers Weekly

A heart-pounding mystery adventure laced with magic and humor by the author of the New York Times bestselling series, The Mysterious Benedict Society

 

A magical watch

A string of secrets

A race against time

 

When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and...READ MORE

Impyrium Book Cover
Impyrium
by Henry H. Neff
Audience: Tweens
Published: October 4, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Publishers Weekly

"A rare jewel. A new classic in the fantasy genre." — Eoin Colfer, author of the bestselling Artemis Fowl series

"A magnificent, rich, exhilarating book. I say this with all honesty: I haven't read about a world so deep, so purely magical, so well-developed, since Harry Potter." — James Dashner,...READ MORE

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Hammer of Thor Book Cover
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2 The Hammer of Thor
by Rick Riordan
Audience: Tweens
Published: October 4, 2016

Thor's hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon--the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn't just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will...READ MORE

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Double Down
Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11)
by Jeff Kinney
Audience: Tweens
Published: November 1, 2016

The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. His mom thinks video games are turning his brain to mush, so she wants her son to put down the controller and explore his “creative side.”
 
As if that’s not scary enough, Halloween’s just around the corner and the...READ MORE

Comments

Hi Mother of 3! Trials of Apollo sounds awfully good. :) Maybe you guys will get a chance to check it out this summer!

Thanks for staying on top of the best new releases and sharing them with our readers at the #LMMLinkup.

Hi Leslie! Aww, thank you. I have a lot of fun doing this.

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Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of three -- a teen daughter, a preschool-aged son, and a newborn boy.  We love to play outdoors... and read.  :)

This site is all about discovering great books to share with kids and teens. ...Read more

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