Ready, set, read

By Mir
June 24, 2014

Perhaps my favorite yearly assignment in writing for Alpha Mom is the chance to do a summer reading round-up—nothing makes a bookworm happier than talking books, after all, except maybe talking books that are shaping the next generation of bookworms.

[Aside: I am so glad my kids love to read. I’m also glad they’ve developed such excellent taste in books that I find myself reading their picks more often than not. It’s like having a couple of librarians in-house, albeit somewhat cranky and messy librarians.]

Without further ado, I’m pleased to offer up this year’s summer reading round-up for teens, with thanks to my kids for letting me borrow their books. Also, endless thanks to the Powers That Be that I don’t have to contend with anyone reading Twilight or anything else that would just make me sad.

Come on over and tell us what you and your kids are reading, too. We’re always happy to have more recommendations!


  1. Karen R

    I just found out that my beloved Sally Watson books are back in print (and most are on Kindle, also!), and that she has been writing new ones.

  2. Beth Mitcham

    Why would Twilight make you sad? It’s a fast read but no worse than most books. Definitely not worse than It :-)

    • Mir

      Well, I guess I feel like Twilight isn’t particularly well-written and glorifies female weakness and being attracted to shiny things, whereas It is complex, nuanced, well-written, and presents more balanced protagonists (and strong females). But other than that….

    • Lauren

      I’m very staunchly in favor of “I don’t care what you read, I care THAT you read,” but the Twilight books regularly feature relationship violence in a way that’s passed off as normal and condoned. It’s not something I’d be happy to have a teen daughter or son reading, either.

  3. Mary

    Even though my husband and I are voracious readers, our daughter never seemed to enjoy it. We read books to her every night from the time she was born. We found out, at 17, that she had some difficulty with OCD and other issues (the ones we’ve talked about, Mir) that she had been hiding from us for three years. We found help, but she still didn’t read. Memories of how hard it was came back when she tried. Then came the Twilight series of books. Several of her friends were reading them. She devoured them. Then another trilogy, this time The Hunger Games. After that, there was no stopping her. Now, at 24, she still uses my Amazon account and I get to see the amazing books she chooses to read on her iPad as she commutes from DC to her job in Alexandria. So, even though I agree with Mir to an extent about the Twilight series (which I read when she was reading it), I will forever be thankful to Ms. Meyer for writing them.

  4. Meri

    I’m from a big family and if you set a book down, it was fair game for someone else to read. This is why I still read multiple books at the same time and also why all of my siblings, my dad, and I all like a lot if the same books. It was so weird to go to college and actually have stuff be where I left it.

  5. Aska

    Aw, they deleted my comment there. Sadness.

    Comic books can also be good reading. :/

    • Aska

      Mir resurrected it, because she’s wonderful! :)

      • Mir

        Nah, the spam filter was just being dumb. And I loved your recommendation! :)

  6. Karen

    I love to read too, especially before bed. The true stories of people and their lives are what capture my attention most, and occasionally a good work of fiction. Currently on my nightstand are Still life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Q. and Diane Keatons – Lets Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty. I also love good childrens books and my kids had many. While they loved being read to, they are not particular fans of reading for recreation and as young adults they do very little of it.

    I, too, was a Stephen King fan when I was a teenager and IT was very well written, indeed. Terrifying in a way only Stephen King can inflict. I also read the Twilight series, all four in nine days – seems odd that I would be drawn to a storyline that aims for tweens, teens… but I did find it enjoyable fast reading that takes you to a world you would never know otherwise. Interestingly, I did not perceive the female characters as weak, perhaps the opposite. An awkward girl forges ahead, making decisions against conventional thinking and up against big resistance because she knows in her heart what she wants and what is best for her particular situation. She is triumphant and exactly where she wants to be in the end, despite many setbacks and constant opposition. She proves to herself and those in her life that what she wanted and strived for all along was – all good- in the end. The idea of Vampires and Werewolves and a triangle love story seems really silly and far fetched, but somehow it was a very popular series with adults as well as tween/teens and I believe it has something to do with being able to escape the harsh realities we all deal with in life to a place we can only imagine.

    (You’d think I have some stock in the Twilight phenomenon….LOL).

  7. Jessica

    I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately, headed over to check out your recommendations.

  8. liz

    My son (12) loves the Artemis Fowl series, the Redwall series, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, everything that Rick Riordan has written, and (currently reading) Watership Down.

    Books he’s also loved are: everything by Elizabeth Enright; E.L Konigsburg books; the Harry Potter series; Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (but not the others); Madeleine L’Engle’s books…

  9. Jeanie

    I, too, am an avid reader, but you know what else I love talking about? Dogs. Seriously.

  10. Stacey

    I am just finishing up the Mortal Instruments series. Its YA but a great series and you have the added benefit that all the books have been released so there is no waiting to finish the series. Also try Joe Hill he is the son of Stephen King and his writing is creepy and wonderful!

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