'GMA's' Picks for Teen Summer Reading

Ann Pleshette Murphys great picks for summer reading for teenagers and pre-teens.

These days television and the Internet compete with books for kids' attention, but "Good Morning America" parenting contributor Ann Pleshette Murphy has some must-reads that are sure to turn your couch potatoes into bookworms.

These selections are divided into four categories -- supernatural, how-to, growing pains and books+ -- and are perfect for tweens and teens as they enjoy their summer vacations.

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VIDEO: Summer Reading Books for Teens

Growing Pains

Books about the trials and tribulations of growing up are staples of summer literature.

Gone Tomorrow

"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate," by Jacqueline Kelly

Callie lives in rural Texas in 1899 with her six brothers. She's a real rebel, preferring to explore nature with her granddaddy to darning socks.

Gone Tomorrow

"Along for the Ride," by Sarah Dessen

Writing for older girls, Sarah Dessen presents a first-person account of a slightly awkward girl named Auden, who spends her summer before college at a small beach town with her dad and stepmom and their new colicky baby.

Gone Tomorrow

"Surface Tension," by Brent Runyon

In this coming of age story told over four consecutive summers, the narrator, Luke, goes from caring about fishing and skipping stones to checking out the girls in their bikinis to writing pretentious poetry.

"Jack Tumor," by Anthony McGowan

Hector faces an unlikely bully: a talking brain tumor. It's a know-it-all, too, and insists on coaching Hector even as it threatens his life.

"Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me," by Nan Marino

Ten-year-old Tammy is lonely and angry when she begins to bully the new kid Douglas, who just moved into a foster home down the street. She ridicules him for his outlandish lies: His uncle is Neil Armstrong, he's training for the Olympics and others. Slowly readers begin to understand what's behind her harsh attacks.

"Also Known as Harper," by Ann Haywood Leal

Fifth-grader Harper Lee Morgan has a lot of family angst. Her father with his drinking problem has gone, and her mom is late with the rent. Harper wants to enter her poetry in a school contest, but her hopes dim after her mom loses her job and she's forced to stay home with her younger brother.


The supernatural category is a hugely popular subgenre of young adult fiction. Beyond vampires, there are aliens, ghosts and more. If your teens have read all the vampire books, there are lots of other supernatural forces for them to read about.

Gone Tomorrow

"Daniel X: Watch the Skies," by James Patterson

James Patterson has jumped into the young adult arena with a series that includes superpowered alien Daniel X, who battles an array of vile enemies. It's a little like Harry Potter meets X Men.

Gone Tomorrow

"Fragile Eternity," by Melissa Marr

This sequel to Melissa Marr's best-seller,"Wicked Lovely," covers the typical aspects of teen romances: love triangles, longing and lust. The twist in this story: The relationships are between mortals and fairies.

Gone Tomorrow

"Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side," by Beth Fantaskey

The heroine discovers she is the heir to a vampire throne and betrothed to a bloodsucker, who happens to be a pompous, yet drop-dead gorgeous vampire prince.


The how-to genre keeps kids learning in the summer, but these are topics you won't have to force them to study.

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