Today, we’ve compiled a list of 15 best storybooks about brave teenager boys or girls as protagonists. Bravery comes in various forms – it could be external, as in fantasy or internal, as in battling with your own mental health. All of these books celebrate bravery in some form, and make for wonderful, inspiring reads.
15 Best Storybooks About Brave Teenager Boys or Girls:
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone
- Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
- Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
- Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
- Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
- Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza
- Colour Me In by Natasha Diaz
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- The L Shaped Room by Lynne Reid-Banks
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
- Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling
This is the quintessential book about teenage bravery – Harry Potter is almost synonymous to courage. He is sorted into the house Gryffindor, which stands for bravery. However, all characters in the series display extraordinary bravery, especially in the final book, when the stakes are so high. Harry goes as far as trying to sacrifice himself for the greater good. And the act of sacrificing oneself, is the biggest act of bravery.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
This book is written in the form of a diary addressed to Martin Luther King. Justyce McAllister has dealt with quite a lot of rough things in his life – his neighbourhood, bullying, alienation and now an arrest. Looking for answers, he turns to Martin Luther King, and what ensues is a story of impeccable courage in facing life and its circumstances.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
This is the story of 17 year old Aza as she struggles with anxiety and OCD while trying to solve the mystery of a missing millionaire. This is written in John Green’s heartwarming style, and is the story of love, loss and friendship. But, it is also a story of utmost bravery, as Aza grapples with her own mental health. It’s important to understand the bravery it takes to fight your own mind. Moreover, John Green has projected his own mental issues onto this book, hence it’s a work of even greater bravery on the part of the author.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
This fantasy novel deals with Greek mythology – the characters are demigods or sons of Greek gods with mortal women. Our protagonist and the titular character, Percy, is the son of a main God – Poseidon. The books focus on his adventures with his other demigod friends. These adventures are full of activities of bravery and selflessness.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
This is an epistolary novel told through letters that Lauren writes to various fictional characters. It follows her journey of coming to terms with her sister May’s mysterious recent death. The letter writing begins as an assignment for her school, but quickly she discovers it to be an outlet for her emotions and a way to make sense of her thoughts in the letters. This is a beautiful coming-of-age story that deals with friendship, first love and family bonds in a dexterous, subtly wonderful way. It speaks of the tender parts of courage – the courage required in accepting loss and moving forward, especially at a young age.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
This novel follows Jay Reguero, a Filipino American teenager, who wants to play video games and go to university. But his plans go awry when his cousin, Jun is murdered as a part of President Duterte’s raid on drugs. None of his family seems to want to face the reality, and so he himself goes to the Philippines to uncover the truth. But facing the truth, and his involvement in it, will be a task of immense courage and bravery.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
This is the heartwarming story of a 15 year old mathematics prodigy with a behavioural difficulty, who witnesses the death of his neighbour’s dog Wellington, and decides to investigate the murder. In the process, he steps into the outside world, faces challenges like never before and discovers himself. His going out in the world is a step of immense bravery, and one that changes his life forever. This Man Booker winner is a story of young, innocent bravery and self-discovery.
Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza
This is a dystopian novel that tells the story of a young girl and her brother who try to get away from the xenophobic environment and find a safe sanctuary. It follows Vali, an immigrant in a world where all citizens are chipped and tracked. When Vali’s mothers counterfeit chip starts malfunctioning and Deportation forces raid their home, Vali and her brother and forced to flee. This catch-and-run game is a question of survival, and Vali must up her bravery to get through it.
Colour Me In by Natasha Diaz
A poignant story of mental health, this follows nineteen year old Arlo and his struggles with depression. Arlo has had a history of depression, and is beginning to see the signs again. He sees a doctor, but when a trigger brings everything tumbling down, he finds himself running from this mind and flying across the world. He finds himself in Japan, where he meets Mizuki, a traveller and photographer dealing with issues of her own. This is a novel of bravery in the context of mental health – the bravery in keeping yourself sane when your mind seems out of control.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Like Harry Potter, this dystopian society is divided into four factions, and both our protagonists are a part of Dauntless – the faction symbolizing courage. This novel portrays Tris as a fearless woman, and one who is resistant to control. She is definitely a role model for countless girls, who aspire for her courage and ability to stand up for herself and people she loves.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is set in a fantastic world, where one volunteer is selected from every district to compete in the Hunger Games. This is a competition of extreme adventure, where people must stay in the most adverse conditions. Ultimately, everyone but one person dies, and that person becomes the winner. The first book of the trilogy focuses on Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers (even though she is super scared) in place of her sister, and wins. If that doesn’t define bravery and courage, we don’t know what does!
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This historical fiction is a story of immense courage. It follows Verity, a British spy who crashes in Nazi occupied France during the second world war. Captured by the enemy, Verity is given a simple choice – to go to her execution or reveal her secrets. As she crafts her confession, Verity comes to terms with everything that happened. Why she left Maddie in the plane wreck, what she defines courage to be, and whether she can go back home or not – all questions of intense bravery.
The L Shaped Room by Lynne Reid-Banks
This classic takes place in the late 1950s and follows Jane Graham, an unmarried pregnant girl living alone in a decrepit boarding house. This is a story of rejection by society, of loneliness and learning to live alone. All events in this book speak of a silent courage – the courage to make your own choices and bear their consequences.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
This stunning exploration of mental health and the place love has within it is not your everyday YA read. It is deep, moving and earth-shattering. Disguised as a “meet-cute” story of Violet and Theodore, two suicidal strangers, this novel grapples with huge themes such as grief, death and solace. It explores the extreme bravery that it takes to exist in the face of impulses to die.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This novel deals with a form of subtle courage – the courage of recovery from trauma. This is a coming-of-age story of Charlie as he deals with drugs, sex, trauma, first dates and high school friendships. This is a powerful novel with a unique voice – it deals with childhood abuse and healing from it. This courage is a courage that all of us require in our life. It isn’t the fantastical courage required to fight monsters, but the courage required to heal from the past.
Also Read: History of Comic Books