Books that won't make you blush

The Bridesmaid by Hailey Abbott
Having vowed as children to never marry after witnessing many disastrous weddings and obnoxious brides in their parents' wedding planning business, fifteen-year-old Abby is dismayed when her older sister Carol suddenly gets engaged and turns into "Bridezilla."
Suggested grades: 6-10

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.
Suggested grades: 6-8

The Anybodies by NE Bode
After learning that she is not the biological daughter of boring Mr. and Mrs. Drudger, Fern embarks on magical adventures with her real father and finally finds "a place that feels like home."
Suggested grades: 5-8

All-American Girl by Meg Cabot
A sophomore girl stops a presidential assassination attempt, is appointed Teen Ambassador to the United Nations, and catches the eye of the very cute First Son.
Suggested grades: 6-10

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Fourteen-year-old Mia, who is trying to lead a normal life as a teenage girl in New York City, is shocked to learn that her father is the Prince of Genovia, a small European principality, and that she is a princess and the heir to the throne.
Suggested grades: 6-10

The Loser's Guide to Life and Love by AE Cannon
Over the summer, Salt Lake City high school student Ed McIff works at a video store, wearing a shirt with the name Sergio on it, and when a beautiful girl comes in one day, he decides to take on a new, more suave identity, resulting in a series of misunderstandings and star-crossed encounters.
Suggested grades: 6-9

Cheating Lessons by Nan Willard Cappo
When her team is announced as finalists in the state Classics Bowl contest, Bernadette suspects that cheating may have been involved.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Diary of a Teenage Girl by Melody Carlson
Sixteen-year-old Caitlin O'Conner keeps a six-month diary in which she records the day-to-day events of her life as well as her struggles to understand herself and God's plan for her future.
Suggested grades: 7-12

Heist Society by Ally Carter
A group of teenagers uses their combined talents to re-steal several priceless paintings and save fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop's father, himself an international art thief, from a vengeful collector.
Suggested grades: 6-12

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
As a sophomore at a secret spy school and the daughter of a former CIA operative, Cammie is sheltered from "normal teenage life" until she meets a local boy while on a class surveillance mission.
Suggested grades: 7-12

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Relates the intertwining fates of former street gang leader Han Alister and headstrong Princess Raisa, as Han takes possession of an amulet that once belonged to an evil wizard and Raisa uncovers a conspiracy in the Grey Wolf Court.
Suggested grades: 7-12

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.
Suggested grades: 6-8

Airman by Eoin Colfer
In the late nineteenth century, when Conor Broekhart discovers a conspiracy to overthrow the king, he is branded a traitor, imprisoned, and forced to mine for diamonds under brutal conditions while he plans a daring escape from Little Saltee prison by way of a flying machine that he must design, build, and, hardest of all, trust to carry him to safety.
Suggested grades: 7-12

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.
Suggested grades: 6-8

Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Brought back from the Mistwood to protect the royal family, a girl who has no memory of being a shape-shifter encounters political and magical intrigue as she struggles with her growing feelings for the prince.
Suggested grades: 7-12

So You Want to Be a Wizard? by Diane Duane
Thirteen-year-old Nita, tormented by a gang of bullies because she won't fight back, finds the help she needs in a library book on wizardry, which guides her into another dimension.
Suggested grades: 6-12

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.
Suggested grades: 4-7

Dark Life by Kat Falls
When fifteen-year-old Ty, who has always lived on the ocean floor, joins Topside girl Gemma in the frontier's underworld to seek and stop outlaws who threaten his home, they learn that the government may pose an even greater threat.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Love Among the Walnuts by Jean Ferris
Born and raised in isolation in a wealthy, eccentric family, Sandy is shocked when he, his parents, and their servants become victims of a vicious plot by his greedy uncles to incapacitate them and take their money.
Suggested grades: 7-12

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
A young man with a mysterious past and a penchant for inventing things leaves the troll who raised him, meets an unhappy princess he has loved from afar, and discovers a plot against her and her father.
Suggested grades: 6-9

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape.
Suggested grades: 7-12

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
When Marjan, a thirteen-year-old crippled girl, joins the Sultan's harem in ancient Persia, she gathers for Shahrazad the stories which will save the queen's life.
Suggested grades: 6-8

How I Survived My Summer Vacation and Lived to Write the Story by Robin Friedman
Determined to write a novel during the summer before he starts high school, thirteen-year-old Jackie struggles with his inability to finish anything and with the advice of others.
Suggested grades: 5-9

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
In the late eighteenth-century, Sido, the twelve-year-old daughter of a self-indulgent marquis, and Yann, a fourteen-year-old Gypsy orphan raised to perform in a magic show, face a common enemy at the start of the French Revolution.
Suggested grades: 8-12

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Buttercup, believing her beloved Westley has been killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck. But she is kidnapped before the wedding, and she and her kidnappers are pursued by a mysterious man in black.
Suggested grades: 6-12

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
On her way to marry a prince she's never met, Princess Anidori is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland.
Suggested grades: 5-9

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.
Suggested grades: 5-8

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.
Suggested grades: 5-9

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter
For generations, four clans of wild cats have shared the forest. When their warrior code is threatened by mysterious deaths, a house cat named Rusty may turn out to be the bravest warrior of all.
Suggested grades: 5-9

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
When seventeen-year-old Ginny receives a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt, she leaves New Jersey to criss-cross Europe on a sort of scavenger hunt that transforms her life.
Suggested grades: 8-11

So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones
Forced to move from Manhattan to an Oklahoma farm when her mother remarries, sixteen-year-old Bella relies on her faith while investigating a deadly, secret organization for the school newspaper, as she slowly realizes how shallow and spoiled she has been.
Suggested grades: 6-9

Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja
Justin spends time with Jinsen, the unusual and artistic new student whom the school bullies torment and call Buddha Boy, and ends up making choices that impact Jinsen, himself, and the entire school.
Suggested grades: 6-10

The Girls by Amy Koss
Each of the girls in a middle-school clique reveals the strong, manipulative hold one of the group exerts on the others, and the hurt and self-doubt that it causes them.
Suggested grades: 5-8

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
A boy grows to manhood while attempting to subdue the evil he unleashed on the world as an apprentice to the Master Wizard.
Suggested grades: 5-12

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.
Suggested grades: 5-12

Dunk by David Lubar
While hoping to work as the clown in an amusement park dunk tank on the New Jersey shore the summer before his junior year in high school, Chad faces his best friend's serious illness, hassles with police, and the girl that got away.
Suggested grades: 7-10

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
While navigating his first year of high school and awaiting the birth of his new baby brother, Scott loses old friends and gains some unlikely new ones as he hones his skills as a writer.
Suggested grades: 7-11

Beauty by Robin McKinley
Kind Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay and through her love releases him from the spell which had turned him from a handsome prince into an ugly beast.
Suggested grades: 6-12

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
Life becomes more interesting for Ananka Fishbein when, at the age of twelve, she discovers an underground room in the park across from her New York City apartment and meets a mysterious girl called Kiki Strike who claims that she, too, wants to explore the subterranean world.
Suggested grades: 5-8

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.
Suggested grades: 5-12

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
When Thomas Peaceful's older brother is forced to join the British Army, Thomas decides to sign up as well, although he is only fourteen years old, to prove himself to his country, his family, his childhood love, Molly, and himself.
Suggested grades: 7-12

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface.
Suggested grades: 6-10

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin
In New York City, three fourteen-year-old best friends who are all daughters of celebrities watch out for each other as they try to strike a balance between ordinary high school events, such as finding a date for the homecoming dance, and family functions like walking the red carpet with their famous parents.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Freak the Mighty by WR Philbrick
At the beginning of eighth grade, learning disabled Max and his new friend Freak, whose birth defect has affected his body but not his brilliant mind, find that when they combine forces they make a powerful team.
Suggested grades: 5-9

All's Fair in Love, War, and High School by Janette Rallison
When head cheerleader Samantha Taylor does poorly on the SAT exam, she determines that her only hope for college admission is to win the election for student body president, but her razor wit and acid tongue make her better suited to dishing out insults than winning votes.
Suggested grades: 9-12

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
Seventeen-year-old Annika tries to cheer up her little brother Jeremy before his surgery to remove a cancerous tumor by bringing home his favorite television actor, Steve Raleigh, the star of "Teen Robin Hood."
Suggested grades: 7-11

A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt
Sixteen-year-old atheist Simone Turner-Bloom's life changes in unexpected ways when her parents convince her to make contact with her biological mother, an agnostic from a Jewish family who is losing her battle with cancer.
Suggested grades: 7-12

After the Dancing Days by Margaret Rostkowski
A forbidden friendship with a badly disfigured soldier in the aftermath of World War I forces thirteen-year-old Annie to redefine the word "hero" and to question conventional ideas of patriotism.
Suggested grades: 6-9

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.
Suggested grades: 5-9

Water Keep by J Scott Savage
Found in the desert as a baby by monks who named him, thirteen-year-old Marcus, who has been confined to a wheelchair ever since he can remember, knows nothing of his background and endures the difficulties of his daily life in various foster homes and schools by dreaming of Farworld, a magical place whose pull seems to be getting increasingly stronger.
Suggested grades: 5-7

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers—and Turner's—want to change into a tourist spot.
Suggested grades: 6-12

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
Suggested grades: 5-8

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Schusterman
A Brooklyn eighth-grader nicknamed Antsy befriends the Schwa, an "invisible-ish" boy who is tired of blending into his surroundings and going unnoticed by nearly everyone.
Suggested grades: 6-10

I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott
As a brunette on the all-blonde cheerleading squad at her new Florida high school, sophomore Annisa Gobrowski tries to fit in with her popular teammates without losing the friendship of Bethany, the only other non-blonde at the school.
Suggested grades: 7-10

Words by Heart by Ouida Sebestyen
A young black girl struggles to fulfill her papa's dream of a better future for their family in the southwestern town where, in 1910, they are the only blacks.
Suggested grades: 7-10

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon
In her first year at a suburban New Jersey high school, Mary Elizabeth Cep, who now calls herself "Lola," sets her sights on the lead in the annual drama production, and finds herself in conflict with the most popular girl in school.
Suggested grades: 6-10

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Although Jeff and Tad, encouraged by a new friend, Lindsey, make a deal to help one another overcome aftereffects of their cancer treatments in preparation for eighth-grade graduation, Jeff still craves advice from his older brother Stephen, who is studying drums in Africa.
Suggested grades: 5-9

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.
Suggested grades: 6-9

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
Suggested grades: 5-9

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale
In Victorian London, after his life is saved by a young physician, a thief utilizes the knowledge he gains in prison and from the scientific lectures he attends as the physician's case study exhibit to create a new, highly successful, double life for himself.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.
Suggested grades: 5-9

Memory Boy by Will Weaver
Sixteen-year-old Miles and his family must flee their Minneapolis home and begin a new life in the wilderness after a chain of cataclysmic volcanic explosions creates dangerous conditions in their city.
Suggested grades: 6-10

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.
Suggested grades: 7-12

Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede
In 1817 in England, two young cousins, Cecilia living in the country and Kate in London, write letters to keep each other informed of their exploits, which take a sinister turn when they find themselves confronted by evil wizards.
Suggested grades: 7-10

Authors That Won’t Make You Blush

  • Avi
  • Joan Bauer
  • Caroline Cooney
  • Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Sarah Dessen
  • Nancy Farmer
  • John Feinstein
  • Cornelia Funke
  • Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Shannon Hale
  • Carl Hiaasen
  • Will Hobbs
  • Polly Horvath
  • Madeline L'Engle
  • Lois Lowry
  • Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Gary Paulsen
  • Roland Smith
  • Jerry Spinelli
  • Janet Tashjian