This is the first in a three part series I feel compelled to make. A friend of mine has some younger siblings who enjoy reading and recently told me some of the books they’re reading and in my opinion the content in those books is not appropriate for their age group. Especially given their parents and my friend are fairly protective and restrictive of what they expose the girls too. So I felt the need to make some reading recommendations for this age group – books that are clean fiction but still have exciting stories. The first post is odviously aimed at females in the age group of 12-16. The second post in this series will be aimed at boys in the same age group. The third and final post in this series will showcase some books that are good transitional books from YA to NA (16+). I’m also going to make a Goodreads Shelf with the books featured in the first two posts – plus more recommendations. You can check that out HERE.
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Comedy, Romance
Synopsis: The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.
Additional: (Letter from the authors provided in the June 2016 OwlCrate box)
Dear Owl Crate Readers
First of all we love owls, and we love crates, particularly when those crates include books.
We’re excited to share My Lady Jane with you. In history Jane Grey was simply awesome. She spoke eight languages, loved books, and spoke her mind in a time when girls were told to be quite. But at age sixteen, she became queen of England for nine days and then was beheaded. That was less awesome.
So we decided to give Jane a better ending. And we added some magic. And some jokes. And an arranged marriage to a boy who keeps turning into a horse. It’s not exactly what you’d find in a history book, but we hope you like our version better.
Love The Lady Janies
Why I Recommend It: From what I remember this novel is a clean-fiction romance. It’s hilarious and was one of my top reads of 2016. I was laughing out loud and I absolutely adored Jane, G and Edward along with their other companions.
by Francesca Zappia
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness
Synopsis: Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.
Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.
But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.
Additional: (Letter from the authors provided in the May 2017 OwlCrate box)
Dear OwlCrate Reader,
Eliza and Her Monsters is a love letter.
I wrote it for everyone who has ever been obsessed with a book, TV show or movie. I wrote it for anyone who has come face-to-face with their inner monsters. And especially I wrote it for an eight-year-old me, who was shy and weird and who loved stories so much she decided to try making one of her own.
If you love stories – and I know you do because you got this wonderful box – Eliza and Her Monsters is for you.
If you live in a world of fanfiction and fanart, Eliza is for you.
If you struggle with your doubts, fears and insecurities, it is for you, and I hope reading it reminds you that for every sea filled with monsters, there is a sky full of stars.
Why I Recommend It: While there are trigger warnings attached to this book for suicide, depression and anxiety it’s a clean fiction and I think it provides a different perception of things that could be beneficial to young minds.
by Jennifer E. Smith
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis: Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.
Why I Recommend It: I can’t say for certain but I beleive this was one of the first romance books I picked up. It’s clean, quick and sweet.
by R.J Larson
Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Christian, Romance, Adventure
Synopsis: Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she’s much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne’s elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite’s prophet, Ela knows she will die young.
Yet she can’t imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite’s voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite’s word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.
Additional: Marketed as “Fantasy meets Old Testament”. My review can be found HERE.
Why I Recommend It: While this is classed as Christian I firmly believe it can pass for a fantasy. It’s clean and the adventure element is awesome and rivals some of my top fantasy reads. If your young reader enjoys high fantasy, they’ll love Prophet.
by A.C Gaughen
Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Synopsis: Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.
The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.
Why I Recommend It: Surprisingly an awful lot of Robin Hood retellings are clean. I think the last book in the trilogy sort of breaches the ‘clean’ aspect and there are violent themes. But I think this is a good book and the first book is by far the best. Scar is a bit more of a violent, damaged character for this list but other than Dauntless this is my favorite Robin Hood retelling.
by Kasie West
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis: Signed, sealed, delivered…
While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!
Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…
Hello Owlcrate readers!
I’m so excited that P.S. I Like You was chosen for this month’s selection. It’s a book about friendship and family and love and letters. Don’t you think there’s something special about handwritten letters? If you don’t know, I hope you do after reading this book!
I remember the first handwritten letter I ever got from a boy. He gave it to me before class and I was terrified. You see, I’d told him a few days earlier that I liked him (beyond brave for my shy self) and he told me he liked someone else. It was heartbreaking. So now he was handing me a letter and walking away? Had he forgotten some other horrible thing he needed to say? In class, I sat right below the teacher’s nose, but there was no way I could wait until break to read the letter. And so I read it. All four beautiful pages. What sixteen year old boy writes a four page love letter? This boy. Who I found out after reading, wanted to be MY boy! And that was the beginning of my very first relationship. It started with a letter.
It’s no wonder I wrote this book, right? Lily’s story is different than mine, but I had some fun inspiration and experience to draw on. Happy reading! And maybe when you’re through, you’ll want to write someone you love a letter, too.
Why I Recommend It: This is a light, fluffy, clean, contemporary romance. I haven’t read her other books but I’m pretty sure most of West’s books are clean and she mostly writes light fluffy contemporaries so I’d suggest checking out her other titles; By Your Side, On The Fence and Lucky In Love.
by Katy Cannon
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis: With a Bake Club recipe at the start of each chapter, this book perfectly captures the current appetite for all things baking! Lottie, our narrator, captures the experience of a young teenage girl navigating the world of school cliques, difficult teachers and new romance, creating a world that young readers are sure to recognize. Since her dad died, life hasn’t been the same for Lottie – it was easier to push her friends away than cope with their awkwardness. But when the school suggest she joins Bake Club to get her back on track, Lottie reluctantly agrees. But Lottie’s uncertainty about Bake Club melts away as she rekindles her love of baking and gets caught up with Mac, the school rebel and another unwilling Bake Club member. Both Lottie and Mac have secrets to keep, and as Bake Club progresses towards an end-of-year competition, the tension rises between the Bake Club members. Can Lottie keep up the facade of her perfect life without the others finding out what’s really going on at home? Can Mac keep his demanding, heavy-handed father off his back – not to mention the school counsellor who’s written him off as a no-hoper? And can their bubbling romance survive the pressure?
Why I Recommend It: I thought this was a really sweet clean YA romance in a high school setting. It also has recipes throughout the novel! It does touch on some mature themes in respect to the home situations of the main characters but it’s done so in a way that it isn’t triggering (from what I remember).
by Ally Carter
Young Adult, Espionage, Mystery, Romance
Synopsis: (Taken from the first book, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You) Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?
Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.
Why I Recommend It: It’s literally a teen espionage series that’s age appropriate. I haven’t really read this series but I have skim read the first two and they are really good.
by Shannon Greenland
Young Adult, Espionage, Romance, Adventure
Synopsis: (Taken from the first book, Model Spy) Teen genius Kelly James is in a lot of hot water. A whiz with computers, she agreed to help her college RA, David, uncover some top-secret information. After all, she doesn’t have many friends and David has always been nice to her. It doesn’t hurt that he’s supercute and irresistible, too. All she has to do is hack into the government’s main computer system.
But a few hours later, her whole life changes. She is caught and taken in for questioning, only this isn’t your run-of-the-mill arrest. Rather than serve a juvenile detention sentence, she accepts the option to change her name and enlist in a secret government spy agency that trains teen agents to go undercover. As if that wasn’t overwhelming enough, she discovers that David works for this agency as well!
And before she even begins to understand what is going on, she’s sent on her first mission as an undercover model. And who better to partner with than David himself!
Why I Recommend It: Again, it’s a teen espionage series but totally different to Gallagher Girls. It’s clean and each book is so vastly different. These books are unfortunately only available in e-format though.
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Disclaimer: These books can be enjoyed by both female and male readers.