Summer is fast-approaching and that means warm weather, lazier days, and more time for pleasure reading. If you’d like recommendations on the latest in action adventure, dystopian, and coming-of-age novels, then this list is for you! If you are currently trying to convince your young teenager to read more for their benefit, then this list is also for you. Want to know “what should I read next”?
We’ve curated the perfect family-friendly summer reading list to suit you and your teen, broken down by genre.
Add these to your cart on Amazon or sling them in your back at the library. These are the can’t-miss novels to complete your family’s summer reading list.
The Ultimate Family-Friendly Summer Reading List
According to Common Sense Media, one of the nine ways to encourage reading in your kids and teens is to model the behavior. So, what better way to do that than by picking up one of these books this summer? Not only will you be encouraging good habits within your household, but you might even find yourself enjoying the story. It’s a win-win. Here’s how to solve that nagging question “what should I read next”.
Action-Adventure Dystopian Novels
Traditions of Their Fathers by Cory Ellsworth
This novel is perfect for reading as a family. It combines coming-of-age wisdom, friendship, love, danger, and is exciting without being gratuitous.
Check out Traditions of Their Fathers and follow Ben True Sieger as he learns the true history of his family and ends up in real, and thrilling, danger from the corrupt government. You’ll gasp, you’ll smile, and you won’t be able to put it down.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
This story transcends all ages and follows the story of Jonas, who has been chosen as an apprentice to The Giver. Overwhelmed by the task at hand, Jonas struggles to come to terms with what it means to remember, and what it means to leave his old, safe life.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Another classic, this novel follows a six year old boy genius who is training to battle an alien invasion. While it leans more towards science fiction than dystopian, it made the list due to its thrilling action scenes and adventurous nature.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Set in futuristic Chicago, this dystopian novel follows a teenager who has to make a very serious choice: choose the role she wants within the community or stay with her family? It’s riveting and it’s a perfect conversation starter about what it means to defend what you believe in. There is some violence in this, so we recommend it for ages 14 and older.
Family-Friendly Coming of Age Novels
Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt
In this heartwarming story of hope triumphing over pain is told in the form of fictional letters to the country-and-western legend from 11-year-old Tate P. Ellerbee, as part of a school pen pal assignment. Tate is living with her great-aunt in post-World War II Louisiana, and she pours her heart out to Williams over the course of a school year, despite getting nothing more than multiple autographed pictures in return.
Tate is lonely but optimistic, and hope bubbles under the surface of every letter as she dreams of a better life.
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
This wonderful novel tells the story of a middle school girl’s political awakening during her transition from child to teen. Police shootings of black people in the news, a trial, and the Black Lives Matter movement complicate 12-year-old Shayla’s sense of identity as one of the few black kids in her middle school.
Shayla’s evolving understanding of the world puts a strain on her relationship with her multiracial group of friends from elementary school. Shayla learns to be brave in this triumphant coming-of-age story that’s perfect for the current social climate.
Junonia by Kevin Henkes
This is a gentle coming-of-age story deals with the feelings many kids feel as they grow up, things change, adults age, and some families fall apart. It shows that kindness and empathy can go a long ways toward settling those uneasy times.
Unforgettable Fantasy Novels
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
This modern fantasy novel grabs the attention of tweens and adults alike.
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.
Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.
But what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other…
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Maybe your family has watched the Disney animated movie over and over again… but have they read the book?
One starry night, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell lead the three Darling children over the rooftops of London and away to Neverland – the island where lost boys play, mermaids splash and fairies make mischief. But a villainous-looking gang of pirates lurk in the docks, led by the terrifying Captain James Hook. Magic and excitement are in the air, but if Captain Hook has his way, before long, someone will be walking the plank and swimming with the crocodiles…
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This novel has been a fan-favorite for more than 60 years.
Follow four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—as they step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
In this classic novel, Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last. But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
Summer reading doesn’t have to be a bore. Don’t waste anymore time wondering “what should I read next”? Get your whole family involved and explore the books on this list – it’ll certainly be an adventure!
Looking for a new, family-friendly action book series for your teen (or yourself)? Check out The Sieger Chronicles. This latest dystopian saga will have you gripping the edge of your seat at every page-turn. Buy on Amazon today!