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10 Necessary Reads for Geek-Proud Teens

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Every nerd worth their salt has a library filled with stories of geeky heroes and heroines. To a true nerd, a well-stocked library is like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, a place of refuge and renewal. Gain strength from the following books—and give it to the teen reader in your life. They’ll thank you for the hours of bookworm joy.

1.An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green

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Colin Singleton is a prodigy with a perennially broken heart. While he can anagram just about any word forty different ways, he’s a dunce when it comes to girls named Katherine. When dumped by his latest love, Katherine XXIX, Colin ditches town with his best friend, hoping to heal his heart by logging major miles on the open road. Along the way, the two friends land in a town named Gutshot, start working for a business that makes tampon strings, and befriend a former girl nerd who has found the secret to popularity—and whose name, fortuitously, is not Katherine.

2.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

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Arnold Spirit is a teenage cartoonist trying to survive life on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Bullied by his peers and jaded by his lack of options, the brilliant Arnold transfers to a better school off the res. But navigating his new surroundings while trying to maintain old loyalties isn’t easy. Arnold’s razor-sharp wit and basketball skills help him cope, but it’s his courage and scrappy strength that keep him afloat. Alexie’s book is a National Book Award winner that has received infinite praise since its 2007 debut. If you haven’t yet read it, put this book at the tippy-top of your reading list.

3.Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

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From the outside, Eleanor and Park are an odd pair.: she’s the redheaded new girl who’s too busy surviving poverty and a horrible home life to even try to fit in. He’s the son of a happy home but, as one of his school’s few biracial teens, a master of staying under the radar. They should have nothing to do with each other, but find unexpected common ground on the school bus. First they share a seat, then a comic book, then cassette tapes of Joy Division and the Smiths. This instant classic is a Romeo and Juliet set in 1980s Omaha.

4.Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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In Ready Player One, life happens inside the gaming platform OASIS, where people work, play, and go to school. Virtual reality is a relief from the real world, which suffers from massive unemployment, environmental damage, and next-level overpopulation issues. And when the billionaire creator of OASIS, James Halliday, kicks the bucket, people become even more obsessed with the virtual world. Before he died, Halliday built a final, wildly immersive game, and the person who finishes it first will inherit his fortune. Wade Watts, avatar name Parzival, may be a nobody, but he’s determined to win. How, you might ask? With his encyclopedic knowledge of 80s trivia, of course!

5.Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson

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Superheroes may save the day, but villains have more fun. Nimona is a crime-loving shapeshifter, a force of chaos. She delights in spreading mischief and mayhem. Her life is missing just one thing: a partner in crime. Enter Lord Ballister Blackheart, a vengeful supervillain. Blackheart and Nimona would be an unbeatable duo, if Nimona could play along. After all, even villains have rules. But aimless destruction, Nimona’s forte, isn’t really a team sport. A graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, Nimona is a comic powerhouse with a bittersweet backstory and stellar artwork. 

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