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There comes a point in a kid's life when it's time to move to reading books that offer greater challenges. The books in this 13+ category are exactly...Find out more
A lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London. Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry's mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Driven by visions of Ellis still alive and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry discharges himself from hospital and begins a search for his brother that will lead him deep into the city's Underworld...
May 2019 Book of the Month | I am not who I say I am, and Marla isn't who she thinks she is. I am a girl trying to forget. She is a woman trying to remember. Allison has run away from home and with nowhere to live finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn't empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there - and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee. Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be. But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself - where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?
May 2019 YA Debut of the Month | This lithe and lucidly lyrical debut is a delectable treat for fans of inventive, trope-busting fantasy. Seventeen-year-old Lena is a cryptling, a person “marked out by their various deformities”. In Lena’s case, this is a dark birthmark on her face. She lives in Duke’s Forest, a magic-loathing, sealed-off city situated beneath a deadly storm cloud. And now Lena’s on the run. Accused of being a mage, she’s been sentenced to death and is desperate to flee Duke’s Forest. Meanwhile, on the other side of the barrier Constance wants to get back inside the city she fled before her own magical powers were discovered. The two women meet when Lena manages to escape, and their alternating narratives make for an un-put-down-able reading experience as it emerges that the storm cloud is actually a spell, and that they alone possess the power to quell it. Immersive world building, intriguing characters, unexpected twists – this is a smart and atmospheric debut from an author to watch, and comes recommended for fans of Sarah J Maas and Melinda Salisbury.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 | The Weight of Water is a startlingly original piece of fiction written in verse; most simply a brilliant coming of age story. First love, friendship and quiet courage combine in this spare and beautiful story that will leave you sad, happy and wanting more from this fantastic new voice in children's fiction. It tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants. Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable 12 year old girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails. A truly special and remarkable read that should not be missed and, Bloomsbury the publisher has done a wonderful job on the book itself - the best things come in small packages - and this is abslutely no exception, so buy the physical book and not the ebook.
Winner of the Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Older Readers category - Longlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children's Book prize - Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal | Apple is sure that one day her mother will return. And when that happens she is sure that everything in her life will be good again. But when Mum does return, Apple finds that what you wish for may not always be what you really want. With the arrival of mum, Apple’s life is turned upside down. Home, school and most of all, what she really thinks about all those around her, are all thrown into confusion. Can Apple find happiness in a new way of life? Apple’s poems help her to tell this touching story of an unhappy and complicated family life.
May 2019 Debut of the Month | Reader, prepare for your heart to quicken, pound and swell with love, for this is a truly intoxicating tale of friendship, romance, seizing special moments and being willing to do anything – anything – for the people you love. Jack King - one of the most authentic and charming characters to have stepped off a YA page - and his best-friends-since-childhood Franny and Jillian are on the brink of a new chapter in their lives, picking out colleges, planning their careers, while having fun hanging out. And then Jack meets Kate at a party and falls for her big-time. They’re soul-mates who bond over their love of cereal until, all too soon, Kate dies. But this tragic event turns out to be the beginning of their story, for Kate’s death flips Jack back in time and he meets her again, as if for the first time, with Kate sensing that she knows him from somewhere: “The way you look at me. Like we’ve been doing it our whole lives.” Jack sets about trying to change the course of history, firstly so Kate doesn’t die, and then also to swerve bad stuff away from his friends. But, in classic time travel tradition, this has dangerous effects. Cue Jack wryly referencing Back to the Future and Groundhog Day while up to his neck in serious complications. Take away the pulse-quickening time travel element and you’d still have a novel heated by much heart and humour. With it, this is a firework of urgent, impactful YA fiction, a book that’s ablaze with tough choices and all kinds of love. Throughout there’s a whole lot of heart-melting cuteness - the trio’s friendship, the sweet relationship between Franny and Jillian, Jack’s parents’ perfect marriage. The plot progression and developments revealed through the various play-outs of the past are brain-flippingly smart, with twists wending through to Jack’s desperate need for “one more re-set to undo this tragedy”. Reader, I cried on the bus.
UKLA Shortlist Book Awards - 2019 | Will is only fifteen but he’s experienced more violence and loss than most people might in an entire lifetime. His big brother Shawn was recently shot dead, right in front of him, but as “everybody knows”, “gunshots make everybody/deaf and blind especially/when they make somebody/dead”. While his mom mourns, “sobbing into her palms”, Will knows what he has to do. He must follow the three rules: No crying. No snitching. Revenge. Armed with Shawn’s gun, Will heads down six floors in an elevator on his revenge mission, thinking he knows exactly who he’s going after. When the “spooky ass” elevator stops at each floor and ghosts from the past step into the “vertical coffin”, doubts set in as Will is presented with more facts and finally comes face to face with some big choices (do some rules need to be broken? Does he want out of the cycle?), and more besides. The writing is crisp, clever and dazzlingly compact, with a whole family history and personally-charged societal issues conveyed with powerful precision. The line and page breaks are perfectly constructed, words and phrases frequently have multiple meanings, and Chris Priestley’s raw and resonant illustrations are hauntingly powerful.
May 2018 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | When a billionaire phone-tech entrepreneur challenges the Year Eleven pupils in her former school to switch off their phones for six weeks, Esther is determined to rise to the occasion. With her American-born dad, sister and baby nephew now living in New York, she has her sights firmly fixed on the £1000 prize, which she’d use to visit them, plus she could do with a break from the constant peer pressure to share super model style selfies. But almost immediately, Esther’s FOMO (fear of missing out) “is at emergency levels”, not least because she has no idea what her friends are up to. As a result, she and a few fellow participants set up a support group in her mum’s new cafe, among them River, who gives an impassioned speech about how social media users are “just pawns in the hands of people making money out of us”. Alongside an engaging exploration of the pros and cons of online life, there’s a sensitive sub-plot about the complications of family life, with the downsides of digital media touched-on through that too (her mum’s café is struggling to find customers in the wake of a poor online review), and reference to being aware of “fake news” and inaccurate reporting. Thought-provoking and topical, this pacey read is especially suitable for reluctant and dyslexic teen readers. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
March 2019 Book of the Month | Smart, soulful, authentic and original, there’s no doubt that Zentner is an outstanding YA writer. His debut novel was a southern gothic gem, his second an incisive account of grief and guilt, while this is a contemporary coming-of-age classic, replete with a heartrending road trip, feverish romance and LOLs aplenty. About to graduate from high school, best friends Josie and Delia host a humorous horror movie show on public access TV, with Delia channeling her estranged dad’s love of low-budget fright fests and Josie working towards a career in TV. Experts in the art of witty back-and-forth tennis-rally banter, the girls are super close, but unsettling changes are on the horizon. Delia is desperately torn-up by being abandoned by her dad and, having tracked him down to Florida, has to decide whether she wants to contact him, just when it looks like Josie is about to leave her to take up an internship in another city. While this simmers, and as Delia struggles with being “the mother to my mother”, they’re invited to attend Shivercon. Seeing this gathering of horror moviemakers as the ideal opportunity to meet and enlist the support of an iconic presenter, they embark on a twelve-hour road-trip to Florida with Josie’s new boyfriend Lawson in tow, and Delia now set on seeing her dad. Josie and Lawson’s unexpected romance is as head-over-heels uplifting as Delia’s reunion with her dad is poignant, and there are plenty of entertaining plot twists and moments of everyday magic as this novel wends to a heartfelt conclusion.
Following the four March sisters for a year, and narrated by candid, clumsy Jo, the story begins at a time of great upheaval for the March family. Dad is working away as a humanist minister in war-torn Syria, Mum has recently lost her job as a social worker and, consequently, they’ve had to move house. Sensitive, shy Beth just wants “Daddy to come home”. Fashion mad Meg is frustrated by not being able to buy new clothes, while trying to figure out what to do with her future. Sharp-tongued, artistic Amy constantly bickers with Jo, who’s doggedly determined to become a novelist. Despite their own troubles, the family volunteer at a centre for Middle Eastern refugees on Christmas Day. It’s here Jo meets Lateef, a refugee who’s been adopted by a wealthy lawyer, and she immediately senses that he’s “going to be my best friend in the whole world”. In fact, he becomes close to the entire family as they ride a rollercoaster of worries and coming-of-age revelations alongside a whole lot of love and friendship. Written in a highly accessible style, this affectionate update re-maps the personalities, aspirations and uncertainties of the original March sisters to create a new landscape of their lives, one that’s suffused in the spirit of the original and a contemporary freshness as it explores the timeless themes of sibling strains and solidarity, and feeling a sense of home.
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | This immersive coming-of-age epic is set in the late nineteenth century, when an age-old Filipino culture first encounters the brutal warmongering of white men. Samkad cannot wait to become a man through undergoing the ‘Cut’ rites of passage observed by his Bontok tribe (later ignorantly mispronounced by American occupiers as “Bone Talk”), though he fears losing his best friend Luki as a result, for Luki is a girl and their relationship will be forbidden, even though they share the same ambitions - to become a warrior, to fight the Mangili. Samkad’s absorbing journey to manhood is intensified when a white stranger arrives in his village claiming to be his brother, a stranger who tells tales of a people called Americans. Then, when the Americans arrive, bringing war and destruction to the Bontok’s remote mountains, nothing will be the same again. Not for Samkad, nor for his family and culture. By turns universal and unique, historically enlightening and emotionally powerful, this relatable, resonant coming-of-age adventure boasts an abundance of heart, atmosphere and action.
Following hot on the heels of Resurrection, this eleventh instalment of Skulduggery Pleasant’s incomparable exploits offers everything devoted fans have come to expect - all-out action, astonishing twists, riotously witty repartee – and more, for this latest epic ramps up the stakes on the emotional front. Intrepid, intelligent, endlessly entertaining Valkyrie Cain is no stranger to fighting to keep her friends and family from harm, but this gripping story sees her having to face her biggest battle yet when a cruel killer captures her little sister, Alice. Worse still, she has just twelve hours to track her down. The sense of urgency and anxiety is heart-poundingly evoked, and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering more about Omen.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2011 | Philip Reeve’s epic Mortal Engines series has set the imagination of many a child completely wild since it first began. This is the 6th novel to be set in the awesome world of Mortal Engines and the sequel to Fever Crumb. Every one of his Mortal Engines titles stands out as a truly special read. With Web of Air you will be taken on an emotional journey as well as an enthralling one that’s full of surprises. Above all it will make you think about life as you know it and what could happen to it if it were ruined.
A fabulous new adventure to add to his best-selling Mortal Engines fantasy sequence. Fever Crumb, heroine of previous adventures, comes back to London and finds much has changed. Casting off its old image, London has been rebuilt ready to fight the mammoth-riders who are set to attack. The battle will be bloody; to prevent the worst, Fever Crumb must move quickly on her mission to find an ancient technology hidden in the wastelands of the Scriven mutants.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010 | Reeves' post-apocalyptic world where mobile cities fight for survival has brought many a child into the world of reading for fun. Now Fever Crumb, the stand-alone prequel to the quartet and set many generations before the events of Mortal Engines comes alive for an expectant audience. A dazzling world where a terrifying new enemy is on the attack and buried in London's past is a secret that may save it from destruction. And the key to unlock it is an orphan called Fever Crumb. It's a secret so explosive that you struggle to breathe as you read this utterly compelling adventure thriller.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ | Maggie’s story is charged with emotional energy from the opening lines, when her involving narration reveals a deep, deep bond with her Pa, whom she lost at the tender age of eight. He was a man of few words whose “every last syllable was worth hearing”. “Their souls were cut from the same cloth”, whereas her city-born Ma and her siblings are truly out of place living in the wilderness. Pa’s death leaves Maggie “in a place of bewildering horror”, and the family in a desperate struggle for survival, and so Maggie does what Pa would have done. She takes his gun to hunt for food to keep her family alive. But in place of praising and thanking her super-shot daughter, Maggie’s cold-hearted, convention-heeding Ma sends her to the County Infirmary for displaying “unnatural”, “unladylike” behaviour. While the rest of her childhood is marred by terrible abuse, Pa’s pervasive presence and Maggie’s indomitable inner strength see her stick to her guns, a tenacity that brings unimaginably spectacular change. Propelled by heart-pounding, high-stakes action, this is a richly rewarding, sparky story for young adults with a reading age of 9+.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Compiled by YA author and broadcaster Juno Dawson, this inspiring anthology of illustrated short stories by LGBTQ+ writers shines a light on a kaleidoscopic array of experiences through an equally kaleidoscopic breadth of genres, themes and styles. From Chinese lesbian fairytale The Phoenix’s Fault by Cynthia So, to Simon James Green’s hilarious, heart-warming Penguins (who would’ve thought a pair of penguins could steal a person’s coming out thunder?!), this is a powerfully diverse collection. Alongside more established names, among them authors David Levithan and Jess Vallance, and illustrator David Roberts, special mention must go to the four new voices whose stories grace these pages – be sure to seek out what Karen Lawler, Michael Lee Richardson, Cynthia So and Kay Staples do next. These are stories of struggle and trouble, passion and promise, with much wit, warmth, wisdom and support shared along the way. And so it seems fitting to leave the last loud, proud, celebratory words to Dan from David Levithan’s queer youth choir story: “You hold your ground. You sing out loud and proud in defiance of all the people who want you to be quiet”.
March 2019 Debut of the Month | This compulsive conjuration of decadence, desire, deceit and rebellion is a truly dazzling debut - historical fantasy at its finest. Paris, 1789, and spirited seventeen-year-old Camille has assumed responsibility for her younger sister, Sophie, following the deaths of their parents to smallpox, their struggles exacerbated by a violent, drunken brother who gambles away what little they have. Romantic Sophie dreams of being an aristocrat like their maternal Grandmère (their mother forsook the privileged life when she married their anti-Royalist father) and Camille longs to re-open her beloved dad’s printing press. However, desperation forces her to use the one thing of value she inherited from her mother – magic. While she initially uses her ancestresses’ gifts to transform “bits of metal into coins” so they can survive, it’s not long before she ups the stakes. After deploying a “dark and creeping magic” to transform herself into the beautiful Baroness de la Fontaine, Camille enters the opulent court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette set on “fleecing the nobles for all their worth”. But here she discovers that she’s not the only one with such powers, not everyone is who they seem, and conflicts crackle at every turn. Camille is seduced by her glamorous new life while despising the aristocracy, and then there’s unconventional, warm-hearted aeronaut Lazare, whom she falls for. Underpinned by a spirit of rebellion and radiant with romance, this is an entertaining, intoxicating read.
Illuminating, compassionate and beautifully written, this remarkable fact-based debut tells the story of eleven-year-old Ella, who lives in small town South Carolina with her cousin Henry and orphan Myrna, all three of them cared for by Granny and Poppy while Ella’s jazz singing mama works in Boston. In South Carolina, “bad things can happen to colored folks”, as Myrna describes it, including lynching, and Ella sees Boston as something of a promised land, a place where “coloured folks could go anywhere they wanted”, where “fancy was just life” and people “were sophisticated". When a telegram arrives inviting her to stay with Mama, Ella is over the moon but, while non-segregation is an eye-opening wonder, Boston life isn’t everything she’d hoped for. With Mama either working at a ship-fitters, working singing in a club, or tired from working, she’s lonely, and also unhappy about having to share her Mama with roommate Helen, with whom Mama shares a bed, and she’s also frustrated by her mother’s evasion of questions about her daddy. Throughout, the novel is subtly brilliant at capturing children’s uncomfortable glimpses into unfathomable aspects of adulthood. Then, when Mama gets a singing opportunity, Ella returns to the family who’ve been missing her like mad and the shocking news that her classmate has been arrested for murdering two white girls. This authentically-voiced, unforgettable tale of identity, injustice, friendship and resilience is as harrowing on the horrifying realities of racism and segregation as it is suffused in love and hope, with Ella, Henry and Myrna’s alternating narratives providing powerfully captivating insights into how it might have felt to be a black child growing up in the segregation-era Southern States.
The thrilling conclusion to STATE OF SORROW by best-selling fantasy author Melinda Salisbury. Sorrow Ventaxis has won the election, and in the process lost everything... Governing under the sinister control of Vespus Corrigan, and isolated from her friends, Sorrow must to find a way to free herself from his web and save her people. But Vespus has no plans to let her go, and he isn't the only enemy Sorrow faces as the curse of her name threatens to destroy her and everything she's fought for.
A powerful new Noughts & Crosses story from legendary author Malorie Blackman, written for World Book Day 2019 I've never been shot before. It's dark but I keep seeing white flashes before my eyes like spots of lightning jabbing at me. Am I going into shock? Must be. But I can't pass out, not now. Then I'll be dead for sure. Dan is on the run - hiding from a ruthless gang who want him dead. It's one of those nights. One of those nights where I sit alone and watch the world go by. One of those nights when if my hatred were fuel, I would happily light a match and watch the whole world burn. Eva just wants to be left alone to mourn her daughter. But when a badly wounded Dan crosses her path, she's compelled to help. Both are hiding dark secrets from their past. Both have reasons to fear the other. But they are both connected to each other too, and before the night is over, Eva will be forced to choose: betray Dan, or protect him - whatever the cost.
March 2019 YA Debut of the Month | Written by the founder of Everyday Sexism, and based on real-life experiences, double-standard “slut shaming” and sexual degradation are here exposed with vital urgency, and interwoven with the gripping story of a medieval woman whose abuse at the hands of a misogynistic society has present-day parallels. Fifteen-year-old Anna and her mum have moved hundreds of miles so she can escape the sexist bullying she was subjected to at her last school. But as Anna tries to make a fresh start, her past rears its head and continues to haunt her. While suffering torrents of abuse from her peers, Anna immerses herself in a history project that draws her into the tragic life of Maggie, an unmarried young woman from the 17th century. In juxtaposing Maggie and Anna’s experiences, the author lays bare an unbroken thread of misogyny from the Middle Ages to today’s culture of “revenge porn” and sexual shaming. Centuries on from scold’s bridles and burnings at the stake, women are still blamed and punished for the brutal behaviour of men. But Anna finds strength in her friendships with Alisha, Cat and Robin, and her connection with Maggie makes this a potent page-turner that will speak to a generation. As the author states in her afterword, “You are not alone, you are not to blame, and you deserve to feel better”. Or, in Anna’s words, “We are the granddaughters of the witches you burned. And we’re not putting up with it any more.”
Don't miss this prequel to the multi award-winning SLATED trilogy by Teri Terry, queen of the teen thriller! I'm just one girl. What can I do? Sam's cosy life as daughter of the Deputy Prime Minister is about to end. These are turbulent times. Borders have closed and protests are turning violent. The government blames the country's youth, and is cracking down hard. Mobile phones are blocked, gatherings are banned and dissent is brutally crushed. Sam is torn between family loyalty and doing what is right. When she meets Ava and Lucas her mind is made up. One girl, one choice. She can make a difference: she must. Even if her life - and her heart - are on the line ... A red-hot thriller packed with secrets and revelations that shines a new light on the award-winning SLATED trilogy.
There comes a point in a young life when the time is right to move on from the books and children’s authors they enjoyed as a child to reading books and authors that offer greater challenges as they grow up into adulthood. The books in this 13+ category are exactly that. They bridge that gap to introduce you and your teenager to authors who write for that early teen reader but also adult authors who also write for a teenage / young adult audience.
You could also check out our latest highlights such as the 'prizewinners' section where we can help you to discover authors currently in contention for and/or winners of the most prestigious awards, such as the Teenage Book Prize that we feel your teenagers will love.
And finally, if your teens prefer to choose their own books then our special teen category on our sister site LoveReading called 'new gen' is the perfect place for them to start.
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