Classics for Young Adult Readers

These oldies but goodies are time-tested & sure to please.

Classics for Young Adult Readers

1984 by Geroge Orwell (1949) A cautionary tale of a man trapped in a political nightmare explores the universal predicament of the individual.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884) Breezy, outrageous, thrilling from first page to last. Huckleberry Finn is the most widely read and universally loved work in American fiction.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (1876) The story of a boy's adventures growing up in a small town on the banks of the Mississippi river over a hundred years ago.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865) A little girl falls down a rabbit hole and discovers a world of nonsensical and amusing characters.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1929) Through the eyes and mind of a German private, the reader shares life on the battlefield during World War I.

Animal Farm: A Fairy Story by Geroge Orwell (1945) A fairy tale about farmer Jone's domesticated animals, who, when they revolt against their cruel master are then taken over by the pigs, and soon find they have succeeded in exchanging one form of tyrrany for another.

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (1872) In 1872 Phileas Fogg wins a bet by traveling around the world in seventy-nine days, twenty-three hours, and fifty-seven minutes.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930) The story revolves around a grim yet darkly humorous pilgrimage, as Addie Bundren's family sets out to fulfill her last wish: to be buried in her native Jefferson, Mississippi.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932) This terrifying vision of a controlled and emotionless future "Utopian" society is truly startling in its prediction of modern scientific and cultural phenomena, including test-tube babies and rampant drug abuse.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1927) Set in Lima, Peru, a rickety bridge causes five people plunge to their deaths. A priest investigates the lives of the victims to understand God's intention and fate.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1880) Driven by intense, uncontrollable emotions of rage and revenge, the four Karamazov brothers all become involved in the brutal murder of their despicable father.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903) This is the story of Buck, a dog abducted from his home and thrust into the merciless world of an Arctic north consumed by a quest for gold.

Candide, or, Optimism by Voltaire (1759) Social satire about a young man who believes, despite much evidence to the contrary, that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds".

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1955) Yossarian, an WWII hero, has people trying to kill him.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951) Holden Caulfield leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (1950-1956) Tells the tales of Narnia, a magical, fantastic place where good and evil battle, children have adventures as kings and queens, and beasts and creatures can talk.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844) Recounts the swashbuckling adventures of a young sailor falsely accused of treason, his long imprisonment, dramatic escape, and carefully wrought revenge.

Daisy Miller by Henry James (1878) An American on holiday with her mother befriends a gentleman and strikes up a relationship with an impoverished Italian bringing to life the themes of innocence versus experience, and the grip of fate.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850) The story of an abandoned waif who discovers life and love in an indifferent world.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886) Henry Jekyll was the kindest, most respected man in England. Why then was the foul, brutal Hyde his sole heir? The answer to this was so shocking it could drive men mad.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) This is the classic, hypnotic story of the undead creatures of the night and the human lives they touch.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952) Two brothers are raised by their stern father to become soldiers. The love of a beautiful girl threatens to drive them apart.

Emma by Jane Austen (1816) Emma’s forays into matchmaking are ill-judged and lead to misunderstanding, distress, and the annoyance of her eligible neighbor, Mr. Knightley.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953) Guy Montag, a fire-fighter and book-burner for the State, discovers that in order to remain human he must preserve the books that attest to his humanity.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (1929) The story of a tragic romance set against the brutality and confusion of World War I.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954) First book in Lord of the Rings trilogy tells of the fateful power of the One ring.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1966) A mentally challenged man receives an operation that turns him into a genius...and introduces him to heartache.

Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1818) A monster assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies develops a mind of his own.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (1971) A fifteen-year-old drug user chronicles her daily struggle to escape the pull of the drug world.

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin (1953) The portrayal of African Americans in Harlem caught up in a dramatic struggle, and of a society confronting inevitable change.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (1931) Depicts life in China at a time before the vast political and social upheavals transformed an essentially agrarian country into a world power.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939) Novel about the plight of American farmers who were forced off their farms by drought and foreclosure during the 1930's.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1861) The orphan, Pip, and the convict, Magwitch, the beautiful Estella, and her guardian, the embittered and vengeful Miss Havisham--all have a part to play in the mystery.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) Bathtub gin, flappers and house parties that last all week enliven Fitzgerald's classic tale of love and the loss of innocence.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726) The voyages of an Englishman carry him to strange places.

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937) Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, is chosen to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (1831) The tale of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and his struggles to save the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmeralda.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950) In this collection, Asimov set out the principles of robot behavior that we know as the Three Laws of Robotics.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (1897) A quiet English country village is disturbed by the arrival of a mysterious stranger who keeps his face hidden and his back to everyone.

Ivanhoe by Walter, Sir Scott (1819) A brave knight returns from the Crusades to claim Princess Rowena as his bride. But he is caught up in the feud between Prince John and his brother, Richard the Lionheart.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847) An orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess and soon finds herself in love with her employer who has a terrible secret.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1906) Describes the conditions of the Chicago stockyards through the eyes of a young immigrant struggling in America.

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886) Tensions run deep in ancient misunderstandings between Whig and Jacobite, Lowland rationalist and romantic Highlander.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868) Tells about the sentimental and humorous adventures of the four March sisters as they grew up in the nineteenth century.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954) A plane wreck deposits a group of boys on an isolated tropical island where they must struggle to survive.

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (1920) Depicts the self-satisfied inhabitants of small-town America, a place which proves to be merely an assemblage of pretty surfaces, strung together and ultimately empty.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862) The story of how the convict Jean-Valjean struggled to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance.

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851) Looking for adventure and a new life, Ishmael, the story's narrator, decides to find work on a whaling boat.

My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918) Nebraska prairie life and the courage of the immigrant pioneers.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937) In depression-era California, two migrant workers dream of better days on a spread of their own until an act of unintentional violence leads to tragic consequences.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952) A triumphant yet tragic story of an old Cuban fisherman and his relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (1838) The adventures of an orphan boy who lives in a nineteenth-century English workhouse until he becomes involved with a gang of thieves.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (1962) An inmate of a mental institution tries to find the freedom and independence denied him in the outside world.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (1967) The struggle of three brothers to stay together after their parent's death and their quest for identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (1910) The story of a half-crazed musician hiding in the labyrinth of the famous Paris Opera House and the beautiful young singer he lures underground.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891) A beautiful young man retains his youthful appearance while a portrait reflects his age and evil soul as he pursues a life of corruption.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813) The witty Elizabeth Bennett is one of five sisters whose family circumstance dictates that they marry well.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895) Henry dreams of glory as a Union Army soldier during the Civil War until he learns that war is not as glorious as he thought.

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (1955) Third volume in the epic saga of Middle-Earth.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719) During an adventurous voyage, an Englishman becomes the sole survivor of a shipwreck and lives for nearly thirty years on a deserted island.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850) Hester Prynne and her lover feel the effects of sin in Puritan New England.

The Sea-Wolf by Jack London (1904) A young art critic is forced to endure the wrath of Wolf Larsen, captain of the sealing schooner which rescues him after a shipwreck.

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (1942) Angie thought high school romances were silly infatuations that come and go. She certainly never thought she would fall in love over one short summer.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (1922) A young man leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh.

Silas Marner by George Eliot (1861) Follow the humble and mysterious figure of the linen weaver Silas Marner, on his journey from solitude and exile to the warmth and joy of family life.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859) After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the aging Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England.

Tales of Mystery and Terror by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1844) Young D'Artagnan initially quarrels with then befriends three musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and joins them in trying to outwit enemies.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1888) A time traveler voyages into the year 802701 to discover that the world is divided into two groups, the Morlocks and the Eloi.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) A story about a lawyer in a small Alabama town whose defense of an African American man arouses the town's prejudice and hostility.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883) The mistress of the inn and her son find a treasure map that leads to a pirate fortune as well as great danger.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943) Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky.

The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954) In the second volume of the trilogy, the fellowship has been forced to split up in order to destroy the ring.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (1897) They came from outer space. With deadly heat-rays and giant fighting machine they want to conquer Earth and keep humans as their slaves.

White Fang by Jack London (1906) In the desolate, frozen wilds of north-west Canada, a wolf-cub soon finds himself the sole survivor of the litter.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847) The story of the stormy relationship between the mysterious Heathcliff, the beautiful and stubborn Cathy, and the people who live at Wuthering Heights.

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)


This list courtesy InfoSoup's Classic Books for Teens.