List me some YA fic that's not fantasy related, please

I’m not sure when a kid is ready for Thirteen Reasons by Jay Asher. But you can’t get more “real” than a girl leaving a recording, detailing what her friends could’ve done that might have kept her from committing suicide. And it’s very cleverly presented (the girl leaves a Walkman with cassette tapes and a map).

The message is a strong “Care for everyone, not just your own clique”. A powerful message that tweens need.

If she’s into science fiction rather than fantasy, you could try Orbital Resonance by John Barnes.

This also leads into a lot of Barnes’ more adult works, so she has something to build towards.

I’d recommend S.E. Hinton: The Outsiders, That was Then, This is Now, and Tex.
If she likes science fiction, I would suggest reading Andre Norton and Heinlein’s juveniles.
I know you said she doesn’t like fantasy, but I would say she might like Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows or Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.
If you’re thinking of giving The Dubliners, I would recommend these works by Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, and Cannery Row.


For some reason I can’t multi-quote.

Judy Blume has been mentioned as being ‘well regarded.’

If by ‘well regarded’ you mean one of the most challenged and banned authors in the United States, then sure she’s well regarded.

Especially in this age of whiny crybaby PC crowd finding something to get OUTRAGED about in EVERY GODDAMN THING. I mean, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t has the main character becoming a peeping tom with zero negative repercussions. Blubber has FAT SHAMING RIGHT IN THE TITLE!!! for god’s sake, not to mention the teasing/picking on and bullying of said fattie as the main plotline of the book. Deenie has explicit scenes of the main character abusing their body in the most vile way.

But hey, who gives a fuck about my views, right?

I would recommend Matt Christopher’s “Tripod Trilogy,” The White Mountains, The City of Gold And Lead, The Pool of Fire but since the only female character has zero personality and does nothing heroic, todays PC crowd loathes it. But your mileage may be much different!!!:slight_smile:

Someone else mentioned Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, which is…actually a goo…oh wait it has that stereotypical asian character. Oh well, maybe you can cut those parts out of the book. Raskin has another good book The Tattooed Potato And Other Clues about an eccentric painter who moonlights, sort of, as the World’s Greatest Detective.

Let’s see…oh yeah, E. L. Konigsburg’s From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is fabulo…oh wait the main plot point is kids running away from home and WE CAN’T HAVE THAT IN THIS DAY AND AGE, CAN WE!!! And the idea of the kids hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art without getting caught is ludicrous, even back then.

Wait, I’ve got it. George Seldon’s The Cricket in Times Square. It has a rat and a kitteh and duh, a cricket.

The Henry Reed books are from the 60’s but not terribly dated. They have some funny moments and have a boy and girl as the two major characters. Henry Reed Inc., Babysitting Service and Journey are the best ones.

More recent would be the YA fiction from Carl Hiaasen. Hoot is the only one I’ve read but I enjoyed it quite a bit. There are several others such as Squirm, Flush, Scat and Chomp that are probably be worth checking out. (I would give you a word of warning - if you aren’t aware, Hiaasen’s other novels are private eye/thriller novels that are definitely not for kids.)

Books my 15 y.o. daughter and I both read and enjoyed this year-

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Serious subject matter, very compelling. Recently released as movie.

Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. 3rd book of trilogy due out next year.

She’s also very much into John Green’s books and loved the graphic novel Persepolis which was a school assignment.

Yes, Holes.

My Side of the Mountain.

The John Bellairs books are kinda fantasy, and a little horror. But realistic too.

Has she read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli?

Belly Up is good, but I can’t recall the author.

Stuart Gibbs?

Jacob Have I Loved
Where The Lilies Bloom
Homecoming and the rest of the series
Out of the Dust - dust bowl era
the Dear America / My America books - some are historical, some are more modern
I cut my teeth on classic historical fiction, but I still loved the Sweet Valley High series at that age, too.

Some non-fantasy books I enjoyed at that age - The Jungle Books by Kipling, Microbe Hunters, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries, Little Women (and the sequels Little Men and Jo’s Boys), A Child’s History of the World, A Child’s Geography of the World, Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. I enjoyed a lot of “children’s” classics like Heidi, The Secret Garden, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Tales of Robin Hood, various versions of the King Arthur legends, etc.

Edited to add: White Fang and Call of the Wild, as well as Black Beauty.

The Prince and The Art Of War

The View from Saturday, also by Konigsburg, is good, too.

Yes, thanks, and he has some others, too.

Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo

I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone and Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Keuhnert

I’ve read the first (it’s quite good) but not the last two; that author is an acquaintance and I’ve talked to her about the books, and I plan to read them.

I really liked the Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz. The protagonist is Izzy Spellman, the oldest daughter in a family (father, mother, one son, two daughters) of private detectives. They’re pretty dysfunctional in that they don’t know how to talk directly to one another about their problems; they investigate each other. There are mysteries, car chases, break-ins, arrests, all sorts of fun. There are some depictions of drugs and sex (nothing graphic, more like “waking up after a one-night-stand” scenes), but nothing in the fantasy realm.

Merneith: By Olden Times does she mean Medieval or just anytime before the 21st and the late 20th Centuries?
If she’s open to 19th Century literature, then I recommend Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

A book I really enjoyed at that age was Addie Pray by Joe David Brown. The movie Paper Moon was based on it (and the book is likely called that now instead of by its original title). It’s about a con man in the Depression-era south, and his daughter, who narrates. It’s different from the similarly-themed Flim Flam Man in that the victims don’t seem to deserve getting fleeced, but this is the family young Addie has.

Two more about growing up in unconventional families: Five Finger Discount By Helene Stapinski (Girl grows up in Jersey City, where Manhattan is both in plain view and unattainable, and everything she eats, wears, or sits or sleeps on apparently “fell off a truck”) and A Radical Line by Thai Jones (100 years in the life of a family of war resisters, Communists, and Weathermen; the author’s earliest memory is of the FBI breaking down the apartment door and arresting his parents). Both of these are nonfiction.

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Author Laura Nowlin has written two books so far: If He Had Been With Me and This Song Is (Not) For You. I’ve read the first one and enjoyed it (it’s recommended for grades 9 - 12).