Books are a beautiful thing, and if you're like me, then you are always looking for more. I've read a lot of good books in my fourteen short years, and have therefore compiled a short list of books that I would recommend for juvenile to young adult readers.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians This series by Rick Riordan is what originally got me interested in the world of Greek Mythology. It follows the story of Percy Jackson, the half god-half human son of the Greek god Poseidon, and his quests to save the world from the evil titan lord, Kronos. Told in a humorous first-person point of view, the series is very entertaining and educational. I would also recommend The Heroes of Olympus and The Kane Chronicles, two more works by Mr. Riordan.
The Underland Chronicles Before Suzanne Collins was made famous by her Hunger Games Trilogy, she published a series of five books about Gregor, an eleven-year-old boy from New York with an unusual destiny. Gregor's adventures start when he falls through a grate and finds himself in the Underland, a strange place miles beneath New York City, populated by everything from pale-skinned humans to giant rats. Upon discovering that he is the subject of several age-old prophecies, Gregor is caught in the strange politics of the Underland. The Underland Chronicles is tear-inducing, smile-causing, and immensely enjoyable, and I would recommend it for all ages.
Black Ships Before Troy This novel by Rosemary Sutcliff tells the story of the Iliad in words more understandable for a young audience. Starting from the origins of the Trojan War, the story explores the war from both the Greeks' and the Trojans' points of view. While brilliantly written, Black Ships Before Troy can be gory at parts, so I would therefore advise it not be read by younger readers.
The Candymakers One of the author's I admire the most is Wendy Mass, and this stand-alone novel is a good example of the reason why. The Candymakers follows the story of four children with very different stories after they are accepted into the annual candy-making competition. The children struggle to understand each other, while competing to make the greatest candy of all time, one that will blow the judges away at the competition. I would also recommend Ms. Mass's other works, among which are Every Soul a Star and A Mango-Shaped Space.
The Odyssey In a list of recommended books, how can I not include Homer's timeless masterpiece? This is the work that inspired my own Calypso, and tells the original tale of Odysseus's ten year journey home from the Trojan War. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey are classic works that anyone should read, though due to the density of the text and the, at times, somewhat adult themes, I would not recommend this for younger readers. For those who are interested in the story but are maybe not quite at the reading level required for this read, I'd recommend Gareth Hind's The Odyssey, a depiction of the epic in the form of a graphic novel.
The Earthsea Cycle This series by Ursula K. Le Guin, is, while not overly well-known, a classic fantasy novel. Winner of multiple awards, from the National Book Award to the Newbury Medal, this story of a mage and his journeys is a must-read. Beginning with A Wizard of Earthsea and ending with The Other Wind, the series is masterfully written with a great message: embrace your darkness.
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit J.R.R Tolkien's works have long been considered as classics in literature. Taking place in the magical world of Middle Earth, both books are filled with adventure, magic, battles, dragons and elves, and follow the journeys of two different questing groups, as well as that of the One Ring. While I enjoyed this book immensely, it is very long-winded with complex writing, so I would suggest it for an audience of 11 and older.