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Want to buy a couple of books for DD b'day (turning 16)

(21 Posts)
Acacia123 Thu 09-Aug-18 10:18:36

DD loves to read - she's a mature turning 16 year old, slightly edgy/alternative, vegan, wants to make the world a better place, likes an exciting or inspirational read. I've been trawling through 'recommended' lists online but don't know where to start.....

I bought her several Malorie Blackman last birthday which she loved.

Nothing too fluffy or gushy.

Any suggestions? Doesn't necessarily have to be 'young adult' as she's fairly mature....

Dottierichardson Thu 09-Aug-18 13:11:42

OP you could try these my god-daughter is similar, and a semi-vegan type myself, although not so edgy these days:

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky - sci-fi but not annoying, well written and the underlying ideas about relations between species should appeal.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers - again sci-fi fun and intelligent
We are all completely beside ourselves Karen Joy Fowler - closest I've ever come to reading a novel that reflected ideas about animals and the environment
Persepolis Marianne Satrapi - graphic novel about growing up as a young woman in Iran
Black Wave by Michelle Tea - edgy, alternative cult novel
The Circle by Dave Eggers - great female lead character and interesting take on digital life
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - both great on feminist ideas and life as a woman, written as introductions and very accessible.
Girl in a band by Kim Gordon or Just Kids by Patti Smith - biographies of strong, alternative women in music, edgy but not graphic and good reads.

Dottierichardson Thu 09-Aug-18 13:12:59

OP the Michelle Tea might be too edgy, depends on what you mean by that!

Acacia123 Thu 09-Aug-18 13:59:19

Wow, thanks so much for spending time on that reply. Looks to be some interesting suggestions there....I'll do some research. By edgy I mean dabbled with hair colour and loves her platform doc Martin's...but that's probably just me being square!!

Dontrocktheboat Fri 10-Aug-18 08:24:53

What about something quite classic, if it is for a special birthday. Books I remember reading as a late teenager include:
The Handmaid's tale - Margaret Attwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Sophie's Choice - William Styron
Oranges are not the only fruit - Jeanette Winterson

All of these have themes that I think resonate with that particular time of adolescence. Good luck!

Clawdy Sat 11-Aug-18 17:59:54

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart.
Wonder, by R. Palacio.
We Have Always Lived In The Castle, by Shirley Jackson.
I Capture The Castle, by Dodie Smith.

Sadik Sun 12-Aug-18 20:44:28

My 16 y/o likes the Small Angry Planet books a lot. If she's not read it, I'd also very much recommend The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (about a young black woman caught up in a police shooting)

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Mon 13-Aug-18 04:50:53

Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson might work. Both are wonderful writers. Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is for younger readers, but it is so good, it works for any age. I also loved American Gods. Stephenson writes big, complex sprawling novels which cover a lot ground. A clever 16 year old would probably enjoy grappling with them. Stephenson's Snowcrash has a strong environmental theme.

Also The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente.

If she likes crime novels Laurie King's Sherlock Holmes series are excellent, the young woman protagonist is the girl we all wanted to be.

The Maisie Dodds mystery series (the author escapes me, I'm sorry) featuring a bright young woman making her way in world after WWII are engaging. Also an older series, the Nell Bray mysteries featuring a suffragette - the author is Gillian someone (every time I went to look up an author MN refreshed and I lost my post!)

For the classics - if she's not read it, Charlotte Bronte's Shirley is my favourite of hers, it focuses on social conditions.

Alongside that, Emma Bull's Freedom and Necessity, which is sort of a fantasy novel, but with Engels and the Chartist movement in the foreground.

Patienceisvirtuous Mon 13-Aug-18 05:29:36

Has she read The Twilight Saga books? I read these in my thirties and loved them!

elkiedee Mon 13-Aug-18 05:49:58

The Maisie Dobbs books are by Jacqueline Winspear. The Nell Bray books (much better) are by Gillian Linscott but I think they're not all in print/easily available now.

Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower is a near future dystopian novel featuring a young African-American woman (perhaps about 16/17 in California)

Cat's Eye was my favourite Margaret Atwood when I was young

Maya Angelou's memoirs starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Closer to home geographically but a few older novels -

Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1930s? Edinburgh)

Winifred Holtby, South Riding (1930s, fictionalised East Yorkshire despite the title!)

Jane Gardam, A Long Way from Verona (poss late 30s again, perhaps slightly later than the other two in setting and published in the 1970s I think, growing up in a small town in the north east)

Would also agree on We Have Always Lived in the Castle and perhaps I Capture the Castle (books are not very alike)

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Mon 13-Aug-18 11:24:31

Thanks for that elkiedee - I typed it twice and then gave up checking in favour of not having to rewrite everything. I like the Maisie Dodd's series to the point she finds a love interest who seems such a cipher.

Jane Gardam's Bilgewater is one of my favourite books, so I second A Long Way to Verona.

I think I was around 16 when I read Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth and Testament of Experience. They're autobiography and deeply affecting.

elkiedee Mon 13-Aug-18 16:14:20

Yes to trying Testament of Youth particularly (then Experience and also Friendship if she likes it). Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby met at university and overcame initial dislike to become very close friends until Holtby's death in her 30s.

dw23 Mon 13-Aug-18 17:51:01

Some suggestions mostly based from what I liked at the time (as a huge Malorie Blackman fan);

How I Live Now - Meg Rosof
Abhorsen Trilogy - Garth Nix
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Fire and Hemlock - Dianna Wynne Jones
Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder

Toomuchsplother Mon 13-Aug-18 21:02:49

21 woman of British History - Jenni Murray- Short portraits of important and inspiring women.
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

I know why the caged bird sings - Maya
Angelou

The color purple - Alice Walker

Testament of youth - Vera Britton

Oranges are not the only fruit - Jeannette Winterson

MimsyBorogroves Mon 13-Aug-18 21:14:32

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky. I read it as a student and wished I'd read it as a teenager.

AnaPhase88 Mon 13-Aug-18 21:40:24

To Kill a Mockingbird?
Catch 22
Kes
Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected is awesome. I may go and pick it up tonight
Reading Lolita in Tehran- about an underground book club in Iran set during the Iranian Revolution

Handmaid's Tale is one of my favourite books. I read it at 18 and adore it still.

Musicaldaughter2 Tue 14-Aug-18 09:57:22

I have a similar aged DD with similar interests!! Stuff she has read of late:
Things fall apart and Anthills on the Savannah- Chinua Achebe
Birdsong - Sebastian faulks
She’s also read a lot of Austen etc..... perhaps not what you’re looking for, but she enjoys the satire so maybe you could give it a go?

Ihatexbox Tue 14-Aug-18 10:17:43

Just nabbed my 16yr old DD - she suggested books by Patrick Ness,Sara Barnard,Nicola Yoon and Jennifer Niven.
Like previous posters I would suggest To kill a Mockingbird,The Color Purple and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,read these as a teenager and still love them today - Maya Angelou is a hero in my eyes!

RoryGillmoresEvilTwin Wed 22-Aug-18 18:20:26

I'm 40 and I love the Small Angry Planet books 😂
I second The Handmaids Tale.
Only ever Yours and Asking for it by Louise O'Neil are very poignant.
Also the Wool trilogy is very very good.

RoryGillmoresEvilTwin Wed 22-Aug-18 18:22:19

Just thought of another recommendation! The Oryx and Crake books by Margaret Atwood are fantastic...pretty much anything by M A is worth a look imo 😂

Flippinfab40 Fri 24-Aug-18 16:53:25

I'd recommend More Than This by Patrick Ness and a book called One Of Us Is Lying which DS loved.

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