105 Ways to Give a Book

LOL @ Your Library: Booklist

I don’t know what I was thinking. The theme of this year’s Teen Read Week is LOL @ Your Library, and I have the perfect list. The books have been in my sidebar for-evah, but I did a list with annotations for The Edge of the Forest. Since it applies perfectly to the week, and since I’m on a roll of reposting my Edge articles here at MotherReader, here it is.

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.

Age 13
  • 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.

Age 14
  • 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.

Age 15
  • 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.

Age 16
  • 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.

Age 17
  • 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.

Age 18
Ages are approximate, based mostly on the age and grades of the characters in the books. The books listed for 17 and up have content — sex, drugs, alcohol — that make those books more appropriate for older readers. But of course, use your judgment.


Vivian Mahoney said...

I've got some reading to do. Thanks for this list.

Anonymous said...

I still hate this year's theme (as, by the way do both of my teens - M came home ranting about how stupid the school was to choose it, because kids don't use LOL much - they use hahahaha, so M didn't know what it meant). But I really like your list of suggested books.

Brooke said...

I'm always happy to see someone recommending Jon Stewart's "America." I still pull my copy out every now and then when I need some cheering up.

Speaking of which, the "funny book" that got me through high school was Shel Silverstiens "ABZ Book." Never heard of it? It predates Silverstien's writing for kids -- it's a wicked, irreverent parody of alphabet books that most teenagers I know simply adore.

Erin said...

Thanks so much for the recommendations. I just read Pagan's Crusade and LOVED IT.

Jennie said...

Love your list. I knew any girl who loved Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About would be good. You should also check out e by Matt Beaumont. And Colbert's new one, I am America! (And so can you!) is very funny as well. Have you ever read any Christopher Moore?

Ms. Yingling said...

Great list. There have been a lot more funny books for boys lately. Two that have been really popular at my school are Bradley's 24 Girls in 7 days and all of Gordon Korman's humor books.

MotherReader said...

Glad you guys enjoyed the list and recommendations - and I'm glad to have additional suggestions. I tried to balance the list with boy and girl books, and different "types" of funny books, so sometimes that means picking one book over another.