Eventually kids move systematically past peek-a-boo, potty humor, knock-knock jokes, wacky poems, and silly puns. Oh, it feels like forever when you’re buying the next book in the Captain Underpants series, but very soon those giggling kids grow into a sense of humor much like that of adults. And that’s when we grown-ups start to get uncomfortable. Because what is most ripe for comedy among teens are things like puberty, kisses, boobs, and even sex. Our adult discomfort makes recommending or buying books for teens a slippery slope. But you’re better than that. Show a sense of humor with these picks.
- Happy Kid! by Gail Gauthier
As Kyle is starting middle school, his mother bribes him to read a book, Happy Kid!, in the hopes that it will improve his attitude and his life. Great one-liners and overall humor.
- Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen
Juli has always loved Bryce, while he just thought she was weird. But now that they’re teenagers, things are changing for both of them. The alternating perspectives of a boy and a girl make this book light and fun.
- Bindi Babes, by Narinder Dhami
Three Indian sisters who live with their father in England have a great life, except for missing their mother. When Auntie comes to live with them, she turns all their plans around with hilarious results.
- King of the Creeps, by Steven Banks
In 1963, Tom decides that to get the girls, he needs to be a folksinger. His musical quest leads to some surprising and comic twists.
- Born Too Short, by Dan Elish
Eighth grader Matt envies his perfect best friend Keith and wishes him ill, with unexpected results. Frank and funny look at male teen angst.
- Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love, by Maryrose Wood
Felicia decides to conduct a study on what makes people fall in love, with a particular focus on her own crush, Matthew. More innocent than the title would suggest, but just as funny.
- Once Upon a Marigold, by Jean Ferris
Chris falls for the lovely Princess Marigold after seeing her through a telescope and corresponding by carrier pigeon. But there is evil afoot in this fairy-tale world. “Part comedy, part love story, part everything but the kitchen sink,” reads the cover.
- Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
The first diary of Georgia, a fourteen-year-old British girl with an insane cat, embarrassing parents, and loads of teen questions. Absolutely hysterical.
- Vampire High, by Douglas Rees
When Cody’s high school choices are Our Lady of Perpetual Homework or Vlad Dracul Magnet School, he goes with Vlad even if it turns out to be populated by vampires.
- Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, by David Lubar
Scott chronicles his freshman year as he writes advice to “Smelly,” his unborn brother including chapters such as “Scott Hudson’s List of Good Things About Getting Beat Up.”
- Girl 15, Charming But Insane, by Sue Limb
First book in a trilogy about Jess, a British budding comedienne with a goddess for a girlfriend, a hot boy for a crush, and a possibly humiliating incident on the horizon.
- The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot
Typical American teen Mia finds out she’s really a princess, with all the trappings that come with it. Much more sophisticated than the movie. Trust me.
- Son of the Mob, by Gordon Korman
The son of a mob boss, Vince wants nothing to do with the family “business.” But things get particularly crazy when he falls for the daughter of an FBI agent. Action, humor, and suspense in one fun book.
- Pagan’s Crusade, by Catherine Jinks
Pagan joins the crusades to escape his criminal past and becomes a squire to a proper Knight. Lots of spoofing and sarcasm and wit (oh, my).
- The Wizard, The Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey, by Lisa Papademetriou
The bookish girl and the popular girl get thrown into the world of a fantasy book. A mix of Ella Enchanted, Mean Girls, and Lord of the Rings, stirred with a big heap of comedy.
- King Dork, by Frank Portman
The story of an outsider, Tom, who thinks of band names (Tennis With Guitars) and albums with his only friend Sam. And just tries to make it through high school alive.
- An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
After high school, a former child prodigy, who has always dated girls named Katherine and waits for his “eureka moment” in life, takes a road trip with a friend. Witty and intelligent.
- I Was a Teenage Popsicle, by Bev Rosenbaum
Floe Ryan was 16 when she was frozen in a cryonics center to stop a fatal illness. Now she’s been thawed and is dealing with her new life ten years later. Comedy and sci fi.
- Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America’s Finest News Source
Review the last century with the funniest news source ever in existence.
- How to Ruin Your Life, by Ben Stein
Important (and humorous) words of wisdom for a teen heading out into the world.
- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction
Review our history and politics through the funniest news team ever in existence.