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Tween Tuesday: My Favorite Reads from my Tween Years

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens! Join the fun and leave the link to your Tween Tuesday post in the comments.

I was organizing my bookshelves recently and came across some of my favorite books from when I was a tween and thought that would be a fun list to share. So here are my all time favorite books from my tween years (and yes, as a librarian, these are some of my go-to recommendations for tweens!):

-The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi-If you're looking for adventure, read this book! I read this in sixth grade, wrote a letter to the author about how much I loved it (which I still have!), and I even made a version of hardtack to share with my class after we read the book. Yep, I was obsessed with this book-mystery and adventure on the high seas-what's not to love?

-The Nina Tanleven Series (The Ghost in the Third Row, The Ghost Wore Grey, The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed) by Bruce Coville-My fifth grade teacher gifted everyone in our class with a book and I was lucky enough to get a copy of The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed. I loved mysteries and this series did not disappoint. I still remember the details of each mystery-they made that much of an impression on me. Such a great series and I was always so sad there were only three books featuring Nina. I obsessively checked the library shelves for more every time I visited!

-Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman-I loved Catherine! I read and re-read this book. I loved Catherine's adventures, her spunk, and her story always made me laugh. I loved the diary style and there was just the right bit of romance at the end-it's perfect storytelling.

-From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg-I checked out this book on audio (on cassette tape!) in fourth grade and listened to it bit by bit every night before bed. I ended up listening to it so much I had certain parts of the tape memorized. What kid doesn't want to run away to a museum? (But don't even ask me about the terrible made for TV movie that came out when I was a young teen-it was so awful it broke my heart!)

-A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle-I was very much Meg Murry growing up, so I think that's why this book resonated with me so much. Plus, I read it at a time when I was really starting to like science fiction/fantasy and time travel and this book was a perfect fit. (This is another one with terrible made for TV movie. There's a new movie in the works and I hope it's much better.)

-Catwings and Catwings Return by Ursula K. LeGuin-I didn't read animal books as much as others, but there was just something about the Catwings books. The stories are about Cats with wings and there's such a great fantasy tale in this short little books. I remember checking these out every time I went to the library!

-Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan-OK, so this one might have had to do with sharing the same name with the character, but I loved this book. I was obsessed with stories of farm life and prairie life (maybe because I grew up a city girl?) and this book is short and sweet and I wanted to visit Maine because that's where Sarah was from. I also loved the movie and watched it multiple times.

-Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery-Oh, how I wanted to be Anne! I had her temper, I had her imagination, and I wanted so badly to live on Prince Edward Island and escape to Avonlea-and of course if Gilbert was there, even better! I remember the feeling of reading these books and being completely swept away by them-when I stopped reading, I'd have to shake myself out of a reading fog because I had been transported into Anne's world. And of course, I was equally obsessed with the movie which I watched faithfully and was frequently trying to get my little sister to play Anne of Green Gables with me!

What were your favorite reads as a tween?


  1. I also adored Anne as a tween (and still!) -- one of my favorite vacations as a kid was our trip to PEI. Though sadly (fortunately?) I had no opportunity to re-enact the Lily Maid scene. But I must admit I never was quite as enthused about Ingleside or Rainbow Valley. And Rilla never really interested me as a kid, but I love that one as an adult.

    I wish I had known about the BETSY-TACY books (especially the High School ones) as a tween. They get me in a similar way that the Anne books do (though they are slightly more "real" and less lyrical).

    Some of my other favorite tween books were DOGSBODY and WITCH WEEK by Diana Wynne Jones, DRAGONSONG & DRAGONSINGER by Anne McCaffrey, THE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts.

  2. Truly by the time I hit seventh grade it was all about Sweet Valley High. I do remember in sixth grade, though, one of my favorite books was Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth by EL Konisburg. I also love the All of a Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor. I know there were plenty more, however, I know that my seventh and eighth grade years were really occupied with SVH. My Tween Tuesday is here.

  3. Ah. I loved almost all of these as well. I think I would add THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND, ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE and CHARMED LIFE. I must have reread those three books about four times every year from age 10-15. Loved them!!

  4. I loved Anne as a tween, I have forgotten how many times I read it and the series. A definite favorite. Here is my Tween Tuesday post.

  5. I loved both Anne of Green Gables and The Mixed Up Files. I still recommend Mixed Up Files and still get good reactions from kids which just shows how timelessly wonderful it is!

    I liked the Witch of Blackbird Pond. I checked that out endlessly as a tween and teen, lol.

  6. I was also a big fan of 'True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle,' 'Catherine Called Birdy,' and 'Sara, Plain and Tall!' And I was, and continue to be, a HUGE L. M. Montgomery reader! I not only loved the Anne series but also most of her other books, especially a few stand alone novels and the Emily trilogy. One of my travel goals remains to get to PEI. I remembering reading a lot of Nancy Drew before upgrading to Agatha Christie. I also read Tamora Pierce (Song of the Lioness Quartet), Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci Quartet, 'The Witch of Blackbird Pond,' and Ann Rinaldi's historical fiction. Ah, I love tween reading nostalgia! Thanks for such a fun post!

  7. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was also one of my favorites! And Anne, of course. :)

    I was also a big fan of It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville and the Bad News Ballet series by Jahnna Malcolm.

    Here is my Tween Tuesday post.

  8. Great selection! I liked Anne as a tween, but didn't really appreciate the books until I was in college. As a tween I devoured Ann Rinaldi and Lurlene McDaniel books. I loved The Giver and Number The Stars. I loved The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss.

    Here's my Tween Tuesday:
    Tween Tuesday

  9. Hey! I love your blog and so I'm passing an award on to can check it out here at

  10. For my Tween Tuesday, I reviewed Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl at

  11. I am so sorry I forgot to link back to you on my Tween Tuesday today! I fixed it now!

  12. I, too, loved Anne of Green Gables. I also loved Roald Dahl's THE BFG and anything by Lois Lowry. Especially A SUMMER TO DIE. I discovered tear-jerkers in the 5th grade and by middle school, I was all about Lurlene MacDaniel. :)

  13. LOVED The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and Madeleine L'Engle is fabulous as well! :D

  14. Tween? So that would be ... like, four, five years ago, lol. Um. I loved Charlotte Doyle and A Wrinkle In Time. Um again. The two Princess of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine. Howl's Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne Jones, the Circle books by Tamora Pierce. The Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Uglies, Harry Potter.
    -eyes list-
    I'm thinking I should be quiet now.

  15. I devoured Madeleine L'Engle books in middle school. I think I read all of the Murry/Austin/O'Keefe stories and loved how all of her books connect to each other. My best friend and I were also obsessed with Jacob Have I Loved.

  16. I just told my son about the Catwings books after seeing your recommendation here.

    I love your new blog design, btw! It's awesome!

  17. Cute new blog design!!!!

    And in my tween I loved loved loved all the Lois Duncan books! Read and reread them :)

  18. Most of those books you mentioned were my favorite too! There are just too many for me to mention, but a couple more that really stand out for me was the Dragonriders series by Anne McCaffrey- these books are really what triggered my love of fantasy. I read all of them in late elementary/early middle school I think.

    Also all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books- when we lived in Maryland, we took a trip "out west" and went to her house in Mansfield- it was a dream come true for me at the time. (I've lived in MO for over 15 years now and I haven't gotten back..I know, I know...).

    And then there is Sabriel and The Golden Compass- they are what made me want to be a fantasy writer. I could name about a million more books I loved as a tween, but those really have a special place in my heart.

  19. I read =a lot= of the same books....I still have my copy of Ghost Wore Grey at home :) I never got into Anne of Green Gables or Little Women (despite the fact that my mom passed on her cool Madame Alexander Little Women dolls to me) or the classic-y books at that age. I do remember reading a lot of mysteries like the Nancy Drew files and the Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie and some of the teen series like Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High. I really got into fantasy, too, and gobbled up the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce and the L.J. Smith series starting with Heart of Valor. I was super-excited to find out that series has been re-issued! Also really liked the Darkangel series by Meredith Pierce (conviently located next to Tamora Pierce on the shelf) and Piers Anthony's The Incarnations of Immortality and Mode series. I felt like a badass checking out these chunky books from the adult section, even if they were kind of geeky :)


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