Teens never cease to amaze me with their ingenuity, and recently I’ve enjoyed exploring books about teen entrepreneurs! When I was in high school, I was a hard worker and pretty motivated both at work and in my classes, but I didn’t have the creativity and drive to be an entrepreneur like these savvy protagonists! Read on to discover three great YA books about entrepreneurs — their successes, failures, and how these teens keep going!
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Nishat has just come out to her traditional Bangladeshi parents, and it didn’t exactly go very well. Instead of acknowledging it, they’ve simply ignored her news. So Nishat focuses her attention on doing well in school. This year, her school is offering a competition to the students with the best business model, and Nishat has the perfect idea: a henna business. She’s a talented henna artist who has been creating her own designs for a while, and henna is an integral part of her culture. But when Flávia, a new girl that Nishat finds herself attracted to, also starts a henna business with her mean-girl cousin, the competition becomes heated…and then things get very personal. I loved that this is a romantic book that also doesn’t shy away from issues such as cultural appropriation and family expectations, making it a really compelling read. Adiba is a Book Riot contributor!
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Henri is a first generation Haitian teen living in New York City, and he feels constant pressure — to do well in school, to earn money, and to be as charming and as likable as possible. Part of his grand plan? He walks dogs as a side hustle for an online business for uptown dog walking. But his big secret? He also runs the dog walking company, pocketing profits both ways. It’s a pretty benign hustle, all things considered, and it gets him closer and closer to his goal of attending Columbia…until a classmate named Corrine catches on to his scheme and wants something in return for her silence.
Made in Korea by Sarah Suk
Valerie Kwon and her cousin Charlie run the school’s most successful side business: V&C K-BEAUTY, a business that brings the best of Korean beauty products to their classmates. But their business faces some unexpected competition when Wes Jung transfers to their school. Wes dreams of attending music school, but his parents don’t support this at all. So, he decides to start selling some of the K-pop beauty products his mom gives him to “make friends.” Wes and Valerie face off, trying to ignore the spark between them as they work to be the most successful at their respective businesses.
There are some YA books about entrepreneurs you should add to your shelves, but want more 3 on a YA Theme? We’ve got you covered.