Realistic Fiction for Tweens and Teens

Magic, fairies, sci-fi, and mythology all offer a fun escape, but sometimes the world around us can be as magical and dramatic as the best imagined one. Kids love seeing themselves in relatable characters and familiar settings like school and home. Stories about navigating friendships, family dynamics, and real-life romances all resonate. From funny classroom adventures to challenging down-to-earth dilemmas, the books on our list are sure to grab readers. For more great tween and teen reads, check out 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12 and Best Book Series for Teens.

Fast Pitch Poster Image
BOOK

Fast Pitch

age 8+

Girl seeks championship and the truth in gripping story.

By: Nic Stone (2021)
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The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook Poster Image
BOOK

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook

age 8+

Realistic story of girl coping with sick cat, dad's death.

By: Joanne Rocklin (2012)
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Marcus Makes a Movie Poster Image
BOOK

Marcus Makes a Movie

age 8+

Story of friendship and filmmaking has humor and real depth.

By: Kevin Hart (2021)
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Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey Poster Image
BOOK

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey

age 8+

Endearing illustrated story highlights courage, friendship.

By: Erin Entrada Kelly (2021)
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New Kid, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

New Kid, Book 1

age 8+

Funny, heartfelt middle school tale explores race, class.

By: Jerry Craft (2019)
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Paradise on Fire Poster Image
BOOK

Paradise on Fire

age 8+

Girl heals from trauma, beats fears in triumphant novel.

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Front Desk, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

Front Desk, Book 1

age 9+

Immigrant kid tackles racism, bullying in powerful tale.

By: Kelly Yang (2018)
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Hello, Universe Poster Image
BOOK

Hello, Universe

age 9+

Charming tale of friendship, courage, and self-acceptance.

By: Erin Entrada Kelly (2017)
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Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! Middle School, Book 2 Poster Image
BOOK

Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! Middle School, Book 2

age 9+

Real middle school issues mix with lots of humor.

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Unplugged Poster Image
BOOK

Unplugged

age 9+

Kids shake up tech-free wellness resort in fast-moving romp.

By: Gordon Korman (2021)
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As Brave As You Poster Image
BOOK

As Brave As You

age 10+

Poignant summer adventure brims with family love and hope.

By: Jason Reynolds (2016)
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Counting by 7s Poster Image
BOOK

Counting by 7s

age 10+

Striking tale of quirky girl connecting after parental loss.

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Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero Poster Image
BOOK

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero

age 10+

Boy adjusts to father's death in bittersweet tale.

By: Kelly J. Baptist (2020)
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Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks Poster Image
BOOK

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

age 10+

Moving, interwoven stories of Black middle schoolers.

By: Jason Reynolds (2019)
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Pippa Park Raises Her Game Poster Image
BOOK

Pippa Park Raises Her Game

age 10+

Charming middle-grade novel about friendship and identity.

By: Erin Yun (2020)
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Starfish Poster Image
BOOK

Starfish

age 10+

Moving, witty novel tackles fatphobia, self-advocacy.

By: Lisa Fipps (2021)
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A Pho Love Story Poster Image
BOOK

A Pho Love Story

age 12+

Vietnamese American teens find love in heartwarming romcom.

By: Loan Le (2021)
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Far from the Tree Poster Image
BOOK

Far from the Tree

age 13+

Beautifully written story about finding your family.

By: Robin Benway (2017)
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Piecing Me Together Poster Image
BOOK

Piecing Me Together

age 13+

Powerful, insightful tale of self-awareness, power of art.

By: Renée Watson (2017)
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The Unexpected Everything Poster Image
BOOK

The Unexpected Everything

age 13+

Sweet summer romance explores open and honest relationships.

By: Morgan Matson (2016)
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