Inside: 21 adventure books for teens and fantasy adventure books that will foster creativity and intelligence in teenagers and young adults. 

There are innumerable benefits that come from reading. Encouraging children to develop consistent reading habits is a wonderful way to ensure that they are exercising their brains, gaining knowledge, and learning to understand things from various perspectives.

While students are often required to read assigned books and papers, it’s important that they get into the habit of taking the initiative to read on their own, outside of their academic works.

For teens who aren’t incredibly keen on reading independently, it helps to provide them with books that are engaging and exciting, like adventure books for teens.

There are a wealth of great adventure books for young adults, including fantasy adventure books and novels based on true historical events that are packed with excitement, bravery, and heroism.

Adventure books for teens

Where to Get Adventure Books for Teens

While it’s important to encourage your teenagers to read, buying lots of books can get pricey. Luckily, in today’s world, there are numerous platforms that make finding and buying books very easy. Of course, you can order any of the following books online for a fairly low price, especially if you choose to purchase a used book.

For busy teenagers, it can be hard to find the time to sit down and read, so it has become increasingly popular to make use of audiobooks. A monthly subscription to Audible costs around $15 per month, which comes with access to one audiobook per month. Audible also offers a large catalog of completely free audiobooks with your subscription. Another cost-effective option is to see if your local library makes use of apps like Libby or Overdrive for Kindle. These platforms are 100% free, and they offer numerous ebooks and audiobooks.

Finally, for teens who are avid readers or who struggle finding books that they like, the app Goodreads is incredibly resourceful. Users can set reading goals for themselves, track reading progress, catalog the books they’ve read, and explore book reviews to find their next read. This is a great way to encourage reading and to help branch out into other book genres.

Nonfiction Adventure Books for Young Adults

Adventure can be found everywhere, and it is a large part of the world in which we live and the stories which we tell. Nonfiction tends to get a bad reputation for teens, as it’s often categorized as jargon-filled, dull content. This isn’t always true, though.

Nonfiction books like the ones on our list tell the real stories of some of the most heroic individuals in history who have lived through times that are nearly unfathomable to the modern reader.

These stories are fiercely entertaining and gripping, and help teenagers put themselves in the shoes of people who lived through things like the Holocaust, slavery, tragedy, and much more.

Best books for adventurous teens

  1. Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board Since its publication in 2004, famous surfer Bethany Hamilton’s story has been a favorite for teenagers and adults alike. The pulse-throbbing tale of Ms. Hamilton’s shark attack and subsequent recovery is one infused with important themes of perseverance, hope, and community support. 
  2. 47 Days: The True Story of Two Teen Boys Defying Hitler’s Reich An excerpt from a biographical novel that recounts first-hand experiences in Germany during World War II, this novel by Annette Oppenlander tells the true story of two young boys’ courageous, tumultuous journey as members of Hitler’s reich, and their brave pursuit to defy their society’s cruel values. A particularly good adventure book for teenage boys, this novel includes important lessons in bravery, friendship, and standing up for what is right.
  3. The Distance Between Us: A Memoir Author Reyna Grande recounts her despairing childhood in poverty and her real-life struggles with immigration and identity. This memoir tells of Grande’s family’s desperate search for a better life in America, their perilous journey, and the innumerable challenges they faced. When adolescents read this tale, they will gain perspective on the upbringing of youths who are so much like them, but have faced challenges that they may have never even considered. 
  4. Into the Abyss: An Extraordinary True Story This nonfiction piece by Carol Shaben recounts the tragic event of a night in October of 1984, wherein a plane carrying nine passengers crashed into a forest in Alberta, Canada, leaving only four survivors. Their subsequent journey to safety is both chilling and inspiring.

Teenage Fantasy Adventure Books

For young adults, fantasy is a hugely popular genre. When it comes to teenage fantasy adventure books, the list of worthwhile novels goes on and on. We have narrowed down our list to a diverse array of some of the most talked-about fantasy novels, all of which incorporate complex themes and messages, enhancing the reader’s sense of creativity, curiosity, and overall intelligence, all while they enjoy a genuinely enticing story. Win-win!

Teen fantasy adventure books

  1. Harry Potter The pinnacle of timeless fantasy, the Harry Potter series is one that boasts a massive following of devoted fans. If you’ve got a teen who has never read a fantasy novel, the Harry Potter series is a fantastic place to start. With seven books in the series, they’ll be able to crush their reading goals in no time. 
  2. Divergent This four-book series of science-fiction dystopia written by Veronica Roth garnered so much praise that it earned a film adaptation. The books follow the gripping, high-stakes tale of a supernatural adolescent who, in order to survive, is taken on a dangerous journey. As the protagonist is a sixteen-year-old girl, there are strong themes of feminism throughout.
  3. The Maze Runner Another dystopian trilogy that earned a multi-movie film adaptation, The Maze Runner is packed with adventure. Great adventure books for teenage boys, these novels move quickly through a mystifying plot that involves wit, heroism, and bravery.
  4. The Alchemist One of the world’s favorite tales, Paulo Coehlo’s fable is one of those books that everyone should read once in their life. The short novel takes readers on a long journey wherein the protagonist searches for treasure, meeting various people along the way, and learning more and more about himself and humanity as he goes. The message of this enchanting tale is one of intuition, trust, and devotion.
  5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy There is no adventure quite like the one of the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Lovers of fantasy will devour these books and their screenplays as they follow three innocent, unassuming hobbits through a life-changing, life-threatening journey in a selfless and courageous fight against evil.
  6. The Gilded Ones This is a fantasy novel with important themes for coming-of-age adolescents. With strong notions of feminism also comes a fantastical world packed with extraordinary adventure. Author Sierra Leonean addresses issues of racism, misogyny, abuse, and xenophobia.
  7. Rule of Wolves  Ranked amongst the top young adult fantasy books of 2021, this sequel to the equally as popular King of Scars puts readers in an elaborate magical world that they won’t really want to leave.
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia  With an intricate and vivid imaginary world, epic battle scenes, and themes of right versus wrong, this eight-book series has been popular since the late 1990s. Teenagers will be enthralled with the fantastical world of Narnia, and the lengthy series will keep them reading.
  9. The Hunger Games This series has earned widespread renown for its complexity and its high-stakes plot that makes readers hungry to finish reading. With political issues, romance, and tons of fast-paced adventure, this is one of the best adventure books for teens.
  10. The Cruel Prince The first novel in the Folk of the Air series, this is one of the most frequently read fantasy young adult novels. It’s stuffed with romance, forbidden love, sacrifice, and so much more. 
  11. Circe Lovers of Greek mythology will be enthralled with this reimagined tale of Circe’s life. Even those who have no background in Greek mythology will fall in love with this mystical world, its complex characters, and Circe’s struggle to fit in with the rest of her world.
  12. The Road This renowned novel by Cormac McCarthy is bleak and harrowing, but there are important lessons in perseverance, sacrifice, and love that leave readers feeling emotional. It tells of the long, nearly directionless journey of a father and son through a barren, apocalyptic world.

Historical Fiction Adventure Books for Teenagers

Not quite fantasy while not quite factual nonfiction, historical fiction is widely popular as a genre due to the way its stories meld reality with a bit of fantastical imagination. These novels are based on true events, which appeals to our desire for reading relatable stories, but their incorporation of unreality appeals to a reader’s need for escapism. With these adventure books for young adults comes historical lessons and lessons in creativity.

Historical fiction books for teens

  1. The Book Thief This is one of the bestselling young adult novels in the world, having been published in 2007. It tells the story of an orphaned girl growing up in Hitler’s Germany, and her attempts to bring lightness into a dark place.
  2. Copper Sun The Copper Sun tells the searing tale of a teenage girl’s sudden upheaval as she is stolen and sold into slavery. Teens will gather an incredibly valuable, if heartbreaking, perspective from a harrowing time in America.
  3. Fever 1793 With more relevance to today’s world than ever before, this novel tells a fictional tale based during the 1793 yellow fever epidemic. Today’s teens will be able to see how an epidemic ravaged entire towns and quickly changed lives, similarly to today’s COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Prisoner B-3087 A fictional tale based on a true story that provides a valuable point of view for modern readers. The story is set in 1930s Poland, wherein a young Jewish boy navigates the impossibly difficult and scary life within concentration camps.
  5. Code Talker A unique perspective set in World War II, this adventurous and suspenseful plot follows the lesser-known Navajo code talkers who were crucial to the triumph of Americans in the war.

More Ideas Teenagers Will Love

Reading goes hand in hand with writing, as both exercise the brain in a way that no other activity can. Share the following ideas with adolescents to help them find the fun and enjoyment in reading and writing.

  • 37 Cool Blog Ideas for Teens Starting a blog is a wonderful way for one to express oneself, and to foster creativity. These blog ideas will provide tons of inspiration and valuable information for your aspiring blogger.
  • 43 Fascinating Journal Prompts for Teens Journaling is one of the most beneficial practices for anyone, and especially for teenagers who are going through constant changes and are dealing with a lot on their plates. These journal prompts are a great way to kickstart the practice.
  • 57 Creative Business Ideas for Teens It’s never too early to start thinking about a professional path. Getting kids into an entrepreneurial mindset early on is a wonderful way to ensure their sense of responsibility, discipline and success!