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Smart Summer Reads Every Teen Will Love 📚

School’s out and summer is finally here! The sun is shining, and as your family heads to the beach, we’re sharing some of the best reads for young adults, handpicked by Inner Genius Prep. Plus, if you’re looking for a great family read, our recommendations are perfect not only for teenage readers, but enjoyable for parents too.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary: Sixteen-year-old prep-school student Starr Carter is moved to become an activist after she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
Why IGP recommends: New York Timesbest seller for the past 118 weeks, The Hate U Give is the current selection for Santa Monica Reads Citywide Book Club. You can pick up a free copy at Santa Monica Public Library locations while supplies last, and participate in a series of related panels, discussions and screenings June 15th-July 30th. This is a must-read with powerful, topical themes written in a highly compelling voice relatable to every teenager.
Review: “Wrenching, soul stirring, funny, endearing, painful, and frustratingly familiar, this novel offers a powerful look at a few weeks in a fairly typical teen girl’s life — with one horrific exception.” – Terreece Clarke,Common Sense Media


Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

Summary: The best-selling true story of a 17-year-old Honduran boy’s harrowing journey to the United States riding the tops of freight trains. Enrique is searching for his mother, who was forced by extreme poverty to leave her family 11 years before to find work in the United States.
Why IGP recommends: Although Enrique’s Journey was originally published in 2006, its themes are as timely as ever. This heart-wrenching, can’t-put-down true story sheds light on and humanizes the immigration debate, and will give teen readers a new outlook not only on the struggles of young immigrants but also on their own lives and families.
Review: “…it is safe to say that Enrique’s Journey is among the best border books yet written. Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning series in the Los Angeles Times, it is a stirring and troubling book about a magnificent journey undertaken by a lone boy in a terrible, terrible place. It’s not about invading the United States or stealing social services or jobs from American workers.Enrique’s Journey is about love. It’s about family. It’s about home.” – Luis Alberto Urrea,The Washington Post


The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Summary: “Before the beloved movie, there was Goldman’s book-within-a-book recounting the misadventures of a pair of starcrossed lovers, a righteous outlaw, and the scoundrels who get in their way.” –TIME
Why IGP recommends: If you’re looking for some lighter, classic summer fare, look no further. Renowned novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman, who passed away last November, left an enduring legacy. The Princess Bridewas also adapted by Goldman into a film that has become a part of the cultural landscape since its release 32 years ago. The book is as hilarious as the movie, and both make great summer fun.
Review: “Goldman’s wild ride evokes virtually every emotion possible, and the plot moves so quickly in most parts that readers may need to remind themselves to breathe.” – Ellen Dendy, Common Sense Media


Internment by Samira Ahmed

Summary: In a not-too-distant dystopian future, Muslim-American families have been forced into U.S.-based internment camps. Seventeen-year-old Muslim-American Layla Amin rises to head a revolution to fight for the liberation of her family and all her fellow detainees.
Why IGP recommends: Published in March,Internment is the latest book by Samira Ahmed, author of the New York Times best seller Love, Hate & Other Filters. It is an emotional and inspiring read featuring a strong young female protagonist who uses her voice to call for change. A compelling take on the current political zeitgeist.
Review: “This must-read novel poses a powerful question to readers — could American democracy be endangered or possibly even destroyed by a culture of fear, racism, and hate?” – Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media


Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Summary: Turtles All The Way Downentwines a mystery with a story about teenage mental health. Sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes struggles with anxiety and OCD. When a $100,000 reward is offered for finding a fugitive billionaire, Aza and her best friend get to work to solve the mystery.
Why IGP recommends: Fans of John Green’s best-selling novel The Fault in Our Stars will love his latest, which offers a unique and unflinching look at teenage mental health issues. A deeply personal take on battles with mental illness. As Green himself stated, “This is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood, so while the story is fictional, it is also quite personal.”
Review: “Green has proven himself a master manipulator of readers’ feelings, but he is, as ever, benevolent in that role. What readers may shed in tears is repaid in hope, spiritual curiosity, and a deeper connection to the human experience.” – Katrina Hedeen, The Horn Book

Happy Summer Reading! Let us know what you’re reading on social media with #IGPSummerReads.

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