Looking for Alaska by John Green
Teens who can appreciate when the teen characters aren't written to speak in non-stop slang will enjoy John Green's novel about seeking adventure and the realities that come with the journey. Also, the story takes place in a boarding school that doesn't seem to unlike your everyday public school. Which I imagine a lot of boarding schools are like...they can't all possibly be Hogwarts.
The Earth, My Butt and other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
This book isn't good in a guilty pleasure-chick-lit sort of way in the vein of Gossip Girl (as the title may lead you to believe). This book is actually a really well written good book that delves into the serious issues of body image and sexual abuse. The narrative voice is also witty and endearing.
This is How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
I think the theme of war is particularly pertinent to the current state of things. But what makes it relatable is that the ramifications of war are being witnessed first hand by the teen protagonist. Headlines about war somewhere else aren't as tangible as reading about someone your age that sees soldiers shoot a man in front of them.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I am not a big fan of science fiction but I am a fan of America's Next Top Model and seeing people made over in general. In this novel, the first in a series, the reader is presented with a future where everyone is decidedly ugly until their 15th birthday when through surgical means they become pretty. The results may not be all they appear to be. This title will appeal to science fiction fans and those curios to see where the most extreme of make-overs can lead. (Pretties is the sequal to Uglies)
Freaks and Geeks
Yes, I'm starting the list with a show that isn't on the air anymore because the teen shows that are currently being aired don't need to be listed as you guys are all well aware of them (except for maybe one-the next show on the list). This show was cancelled as many quality shows are. Fun fact: Family Guy was cancelled and only brought back on after dvd sales were so huge! Anyway, Freaks and Geeks-as some of my friends have said-is painfully accurate in its portrayal of high school life. The show takes place in the 80's but isn't a charicature of the decade with people walking around with big Flock of Seagulls hair or wearing Wham t-shirts (Google those references teens!). The characters are normally dressed and just trying to survive. Check out a pre-Superbad Seth Rogen as one of the main characters...he dates a hermaphrodite (maybe don't Google that and ask a parent instead).
Degrassi: The Next Generation
This Canadian show currently airs in the United States on The N cable network. As the tagline for the show says It goes there. But not in a manner that will leave you groaning over how that would never happen in real life. The show goes there because it is unafraid to depict the real experiences had by teens and the situations they sometimes face. A big plus, the cast includes diverse actors that are actually the age they play.