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Spring Reading 2023: Recommended reads for teens!


Good news – spring break isn’t over yet! And with a week or so left, we’re rounding out our Spring Reading series with some suggested books for secondary students to enjoy.

Our Grade 8-12 recommendations come from L.A. Matheson Secondary teacher-librarian Laura Johnston – here are four books she thinks teens should read, and what they’re all about!

Man Made Monsters by Andrea L. Rogers

This multi-genre novel has a bit of everything and is so, so cool! This book is not just a historical fiction book, not just a fantasy book and not just a horror book, but if you are in the mood for something thrilling and fresh, this is the book for you. Rogers draws on monsters and characters from her ancestors’ traditional Cherokee stories, and classic characters like vampires and werewolves are featured too. Cherokee artist Jeff Edwards has also provided chilling and beautiful illustrations to accompany the text. This book works almost like a puzzle, following one family’s history, present and future across many centuries and through the perspectives of different family members, shedding light on all kinds of horrors: human and fantastical.

Scattered Showers by Rainbow Rowell

This short story collection features many loveable characters that anyone can relate to. Rowell writes about the teenage experience with incredible authenticity and vibrancy. She is a master of dialogue and has a soft spot for nerds of all kinds. While reading Scattered Showers, you will laugh at the characters’ banter and feel for them as they navigate the awkwardness of young love. You will also get acquainted with some new and perhaps familiar characters if you have read some of Rowell’s other work. Perfect for bite-sized spring break reading, these nine short stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and warm your heart!

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese-American by Laura Gao

Gao is a wonderful storyteller. Immigrants and non-immigrants alike can connect with this memoir and the author’s experience of coming to a new country that is far different from what she used to know. I love the way this book flips between past and present, contrasting her childhood in China and her teenage life in Texas. Messy Roots covers growing up and figuring out crushes, discovering a passion for basketball and dealing with parents who may not understand you despite their best efforts. This story is heartfelt, wise and is told beautifully through Gao’s thoughtful words and artwork.

Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World by Frederick Joseph & Porsche Joseph

Better Than We Found It features interviews with several activists, authors and political leaders, with a goal of providing hopefulness and motivation to youth who want to combat the issues that plague our world today. Especially for young people, thinking about the uncertain future of our earth in terms of climate crises, housing crises, rising discrimination and other social issues can be overwhelming. This book is honest, accessible and insightful. Spring is a time of renewal and this book can be a great starting point for getting inspired and involved with a worthy cause or organization!


There are lots of great books to choose for youth readers this spring! See also some primary reads recommended by Senator Reid Elementary teacher-librarian Lesley Johnson and intermediate books suggested by Latimer Road Elementary teacher-librarian Christianne Barnetson.

Thanks for checking out our Spring Reading series!

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