The pandemic year gave Aarini, my teen, an awesome opportunity to explore many new books – different genres and authors. Being a teen, she prefers reading a certain genre – humour, mystery and adventure essentially. But thankfully, this year, she has been open to reading different authors and experimenting with different kinds of books. One of her current favourite authors is Venita Coelho!
This is a work-in-progress list – both Aarini and I will be adding more mini reviews and new recommendations as and when possible. Most of these books are for 13+. Some are good for tweens as well and we’ll specify the age in that case! I’m posting this on her behalf.
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Adventure On Wheels – Extremely funny and perfect downtime reading for 8-12 year olds who need a break from school work!! Parents will enjoy this book just as much as us!
The Secret Of Fire And Other Folktales – This book of short stories tells you about the legends from when humans were still new to planet earth. The book includes stories about how The Hare returned the Sun back to the Sky from evil spirits, to how humans came to existence, and even the reason why woodpeckers peck! This book is full of surprises and truly fascinating legends, and is a must read for everyone – kids (8+) and adults alike.
Guts by award winning author Raina Telgemeier. No one gets tweens & teens like this author does. I have read almost all of Raina Telgemeier’s books and highly recommend them for they talk about issues tweens face at school or with their friends. The topics are very relatable. And the best part, they’re graphic novels. Guts is a must have as it’s based on the author’s true story and many many tweens/teens experience the same anxieties she did. This book gives one the courage to overcome one’s fears/anxieties. Her books are apt for 8-12 years. Drama can be read by 10/12 years+
An Island Of Our Own – This book is about a girl named Molly, who along with her brothers, Jonathan and Davy go on what seems to be a wild goose chase to find some “treasure” that their estranged aunt left them in her will. From travelling with coupons for free transport, to pet bunny rabbits and even to think-tanks full of geniuses, this book has adventure, a little bit of mystery and to top it all off, it’s very funny! I really enjoyed reading this one and have been looking forward to read similar books by this author or others. Age: 10 years+
The Strange Haunting of Model High School (8-12 years) This book is about an all girls’ school that is haunted by a dead student who died in an incident during a competition at school. It’s not as scary as it sounds – it’s actually a fun read. The story goes through a series of events, a few twists but keeps you hooked till the end.
The Art of Being a Brilliant … Teenager – I got this book recently and couldn’t even wait for it to be fully sanitized to read it! It’s not like your average teen guide/help you with your studies book. There are true stories from people in there that can help you in so many situations or just make you laugh. The language and text in general is crazy relatable and hilarious. The doodles are fun and artistic. There are quotes/funky poems/nonsensical words of advise before every chapter that left me snorting! As a newly turned teen, I found it super enlightening and helpful (also entertaining) but all jokes aside it truly is inspirational and every teen should have it. Since were all cooped up at home, I’m not so sure when I’ll apply the tips in the book, but I’ll be sure to keep them in mind, and you should too. Get the book people!! (age: 12+ years)
Added by Asha: Be YOU-nique: Find Your X-Factor by Andy Cope (same author of The Art of Being a Brilliant … Teenager) is another brilliant must have for every 14/15 years+ teen.
Ikigai For Teens: Finding Your Reason For Being is another highly recommended book for teens.
Boy No. 32 – This book is about the adventures of four orphans, Battees and his friends Noorie, Goongi and Johnny, who were found under the ruble and ruins of their orphanage which was blown up due to a bombing attack. With protective tattoos and eunuch queens, a very scary orphanage “mother”, jumping on trains and a dangerous serial bomber, the only thing keeping the four kids together are their telekinesis abilities. This book has fast paced action and is full of adventure. What I like most about this book is that the four friends helped each other no matter what the situation was and that they never gave up to seek justice. Plus it’s by one of my favourite authors, Venita Coelho. (age: 10 years+)
The Dreamer by the award winning author, Pam Munoz Ryan. Neftali, is an aspiring writer, whose father constantly shoots down the idea of him using his imagination, who also doesn’t let his other son, Rodolfo sing and is never happy with what his daughter Laurita does. This story is about how Neftali over comes his fears, goes on adventures with his family and on his own and explores as well as learns new things with the help of his siblings, step-mother and his Uncle Orlando. (for 9/10years+)
Mañanaland – by award winning author Pam Munoz Ryan this book was featured on The New York Times Best Seller List.
History Mystery Dal Biryani (8-12 years) by Subhadra Sen Gupta. The name says it all, the synopsis is amazing and since we all are foodies at home, my mom wanted us all to read it! I haven’t yet, but will share more after…
The Railway Children (8-12 years) – A classic I’m told – one I will enjoy reading, I’m told. Yet to read it so will share my mini review later on…
The Key Hunters series (6-10 years) – This series has always intrigued me, but somehow I never ended up reading any. I think my mom has finally ordered one from the mega scholastic sale (even though I’ve probably outgrown the series!)
Nadya – (This review is by Asha): It’s one of the best Indian books I have seen on the topic (not that I have read/researched many). A graphic novel that blew away my teen daughter when I got her to go through it. She was kind of speechless. While handing it back to her, she said,
“This is a very powerful book with even more powerful images.”
The publisher recommends for 10 years+ – for children going through a rough patch in life – especially when their parents are getting separated or divorced. Out of the world illustrations bring the book to life. Highly highly recommended as this book helps children understand what parents go through, yet, reassures them the separation is not their fault and that they as children will always be loved by both parents.
It’s a stunning book in every sense. Nadya is about a child whose parents are getting separated and helps her come to terms with the fact that her dad will not be staying with them anymore. Yet, he will be a part of her life, though her mom will be the main caregiver. This book deserves a dedicated review plus a #kbcdiscussion as well. Illustrator-Author Debasmita Dasgupta deserves all the awards in every category for this outstanding book! (featured here in our curated post on BOOKS ON DIVORCE/SEPARATION). Nadya was on the Parag Honor List. It was shortlisted for Comic Con as well as Neev Lit Fest.
Aunt Grizelda’s Treasury of Grim and Girsly Rhymes – This book is full of poems, except the poems, are very dark! They do have a life lesson at the end of most of them by the way. There are poems about a girl with a highly peculiar diet, tiny spiders, ice lakes and human-taking video games. The illustrations are top-notch ( and sometimes slightly disturbing 😉 ). It is truly a horror and entertainment movie rolled into one book. The recommended age for this is 10+ years ONLY for kids who enjoy dark humour and satire.
The Last Thirteen Series – for 10 years+ it’s packed with adventure and mystery.
Non Scholastic Books
Flyway Boy – by Jane De Suza (9-12 years) – It’s an inspiring read for sure. After reading it, the book stayed with me for a long time. This was the first “different genre” book I read in 2020 that made me realise there are so many interesting books out there that one can discover and enjoy!
Jane De Suza’s latest The Midnight Years seems to be an intriguing YA book.
All Of Me – by Venita Coelho for 10+. After reading this book I wanted to read other books by this author! Winner of Neev Book Award 2020.
NIMONA GRAPHIC NOVEL award winning!!! by Noelle Stevenson for 13-17 years. Nimona is a girl who is an impulsive shape-shifter who wants to be evil. The story is fast-paced, full of adventure and being a graphic novel, the illustrations are incredible. For readers who enjoy fantasy.
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