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Books to Read with Your Teen Daughter

Get on the same page as your teenage daughter by bonding over a good book.

Author Teri Harman has the list of titles to start your own mother-daughter book club.

Sometimes it can feel like teenagers live in a totally different world (we all remember the peril of navigating that strange land of school, friends, acne, clothes and self-discovery — it’s a weird one). One way to bridge the gap between your world and hers is to meet over books.

Reading with a teenage daughter is a great way to find common ground and help her along the way. In an article titled, “10 Tips for Bonding with Your Teenage Daughter,” author Jennifer Metz wrote, “If you and your teen like to read, this is a great way to spend time together. This gives you and your daughter something special from the rest of the family.”

Books are a great vehicle for forming memories and relationships (that’s why book clubs are so popular). Books also help us understand the world around us and ourselves. Reading the same book with your teen and talking about it along the way can be a priceless strategy for staying close, discussing life and keeping communication lines open. Plus it’s a whole lot of fun.


1. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The day Stargirl arrives at Mica High, everyone is enchanted with her uniqueness. From her colorful clothes to her outspoken nature, she is everything they are not. Leo falls instantly in love with her. But when the student body turns on Stargirl, he wonders if he can change her, help her be “normal.”

This powerful celebration of nonconformity is an excellent girl power read and the perfect read to make us all appreciate the uniqueness in ourselves and others.

2. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly

Calpurnia is eleven years old in 1899. The world is facing a new century and she livess with six brothers and an avid love for science at a time when girls don’t pursue such things. This book, a Newberry Medal Honor book, is a fun, humorous, insightful story of growing up, being a girl and following a passion. Calpurnia is spunky, witty and an instantly lovable character. A great mom-daughter read.

3. Pirates! by Celia Rees

What could be more “girl power” than a story of a rich merchant’s daughter and a slave running off to join a band of pirates? Nancy Kingston, orphaned after her father dies, is sent to live on the family plantation in Jamaica. Appalled by how the slaves are treated and her brother’s eagerness to sell her away as a bride to a horrible man, Nancy runs away. Full of adventure, romance and barrier-breaking, this is a completely entertaining read.

Content note: Some violence.


1. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Some tragedies are lost to the silence of history. In this incredible novel, the story of the atrocities committed against the Baltic peoples during World War II is exposed to the world through the eyes of one remarkable girl. Lina is just like all other fifteen-year-olds, until one day her family is ripped from their home, loaded onto a train and taken to the forsaken lands of Siberia where they are forced to dig beets in the cold and cower to the whims of Stalin’s soldiers. But through it all Lina clings to her strength and never loses who she is.

Content note: Some violence and harrowing subject matter.

2. The One and Only Ivan by Catherine Applegate

This is the 2013 Newberry Medal Award winner.

Ivan is a gorilla. His home is a glass cage at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. For 27 years, he’s passed the time watching the faces beyond the glass, the shows on his small TV and engaging in conversation with the old elephant and scrappy dog that share his home. But when Ruby, a new baby elephant arrives, Ivan realizes that their life is not what it should be and commits to saving Ruby anyway he can. A beautiful, expertly written tale of friendship, art and hope. Perfect for animal lovers.

3. Dot to Dot by Kit Bakke

This adorable story of strength and self-discovery is a pure delight to read. Dot – full name Dorothy Mary-Jane – has just witnessed the tragic death of her mother. Her quirky aunt immediately descends and whisks her away to England. While on the unexpected trip, Dot will uncover the special story behind her name and find a way to heal the wound of her mother’s loss. Touching, engaging and a truly wonderful read.


1. Dispirited by Luisa M. Perkins

If you and your daughter love a good ghost story then this is the book to read. Ghosts, an enchanted old house, mystery, sweet romance, adventure – this story has it all. The premise feels unique and fresh and the writing is clean and beautiful. Cathy sees things others don’t including the spirit of a young boy who’s been kept out of his body by the wicked creature now inhabiting Cathy’s step-brother. It’s up to her to use her supernatural abilities to make things right.

Content note: Mention of the bad guy, who inhabits a 17 year old body, doing hard drugs and looking at porn. No descriptive details.

2. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

This book is pure entertainment and a refreshing change from the angst-filled, dark novels that dominate this genre. Evie is a fun-loving, pink-wearing, clothes-shopping teenager, but she is also a hunter of nasty paranormal creatures. Laugh-out-loud funny, with just the right amount of action and romance.

3. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This young adult fantasy is amazing. Based on Russian folklore, it is full of rich emotion, thrilling adventure, romance and beautiful settings. Alina Starkov, raised in an orphanage and then drafted into the army as a lowly solider and map maker, never expected much from life. But one day, while on a dangerous mission in the Fold, her best friend Mal’s life is threatened and she unleashes a hidden power to save them all. Immediately she is swept away by the Darkling to become one of the magical elite known as the Grisha. At first it’s a wonderland of luxury, but soon the darker side of things comes to light.

Content note: One steamy kissing scene.


Teri Harman’s debut novel, Blood Moon, a witch fantasy, now has a gorgeous cover! The book will be released June 22, 2013 and available in hardcover, paperback or e-book format everywhere books are sold.

For a chance to win an advanced copy of the book, visit and add Blood Moon to your TO-READ list and/or become Teri’s FAN. Both will earn you an entry in the giveaway.

For more about Blood Moon visit Teri’s website,

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