Best new books for over-12s
If you're struggling to think of what to buy the grumpy adolescent in your life, one of these great reads for teenagers could be just what you're looking for. From the awe-inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai to the seemingly unstoppable rise of YouTube sensation Zoella, there's something for every taste.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - Leslye Walton
This lyrical tale of love, loss and lust is indeed strange and beautiful. It starts with the birth of Ava Lavender, who is an ordinary girl...but with wings. Not a bird, nor an angel, yet not quite human. Ava goes on a hunt through her past to find out who she is and how she came to be. Beautifully constructed by debut author Leslye Walton, this novel is tinged with magical realism.
The Letter for the King - Tonke Dragt
A treasured children's classic, published in 16 languages and translated into English last year, this spellbinding tale tells of 16-year-old Tiuri risking his life to deliver a secret letter to the King over the Great Mountains. In a medieval time of knights, kingdoms and quests, this fantastical story pits good against evil and champions old-fashioned values, making a gripping read to transport your children to an entirely different world.
The Pointless Book - Alfie Deyes
With more than four million YouTube subscribers, Alfie Deyes is an undisputed vlogging phenomenon. The Pointless Book is accompanied by the free downloadable app, and is the ultimate addition to his YouTube channel, seeing his audience participate in a range of weird and wonderful challenges: bake a cake in a mug, take part in a people-watching challenge and diarise a week of your life. Packed with activities and pranks.
Girl Online - Zoe Suggs (Zoella)
The debut romance novel by award-winning YouTube vlogger Zoe Sugg, also known as Zoella. Under the alias Girl Online, Penny blogs about friendship, boys, school, her wild family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets Noah, a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American...
I am Malala - Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai has become a household name over the last two years. Shot by the Taliban for her work campaigning on girls' education rights in her native Pakistan, Malala's courage, determination and devotion earned her the Nobel Peace Prize this year. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Changed The World, co-written with Patricia McCormick, is the story of a girl with a desire to inspire change and promote equality, peace and tolerance.
The Divergent Trilogy - Veronica Roth
Fans of 2014's box-office smash-hit will love this box-set of the New York Times bestselling Divergent Trilogy - Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant, by American novelist and short-story writer Veronica Roth. The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic city where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. A thrilling series of non-stop suspense that will have teens reading late into the night.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart
After the roaring success of We Were Liars, E Lockhart's next book is out just in time for Christmas here, having already received rave reviews and several awards in the US. In this novel Frankie Laudau Banks struggles takes on the secret all-male society at her priveledged boarding school. This book sets itself apart from other teen love stories by providing an intelligent social commentary on gender perception.
The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager - Andy Cope
This book teaches you how to begin the journey to your ideal life, and work on achieving the very best version of yourself possible. Written by experts in the arts of happiness and positive psychology, it aims to help teenagers find their identity, focus on their goals, lose their bad habits and determine how to make a contribution in life.
The Ghosts of Heaven - Marcus Sedgewick
A cleverly interlinked novel written in four parts that can be read in any order. Moving from prehistoric times to the future, each story deals with survival and discovery and all are linked by the never-ending symbol of the spiral. Recently shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award, The Ghosts of Heaven was described by judges as " startlingly original novel with a strong conceptual link to the motif of a spiral. A hugely ambitious work'.
This Song will Save Your Life - Leila Sales
Leila Sales' third novel is a touching tale about the power of music to bring people together. This Song Will Save Your Life tells the story of Elise Dembowski, a quirky girl whose social life is anything but special at school - until she comes across a secret warehouse party where she can transform into who she's always wanted to be. At the party, Elise can form meaningful friendships, fall in love and discover her real passion in life – DJing.
The Guiness Book of Records - Guiness World Records
A Christmas favourite past and present. As well as all the original records, readers can discover never-before-seen facts like who took the first selfie in space, how fast the world's smartest computer can do sums and even how many people twerking you'd need to beat the current record. Comes with free downloadable app enabling readers to view some of the pics in 3D.
Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Powell
They say no-one ever forgets their first true love, and this forms the basis of Rainbow Rowell's beautiful novel. The story details the pure, fearless and tender romance of new girl in town Eleanor, and achingly cool Park, who fall in love over late-night conversations and a collection of mix tapes. Set over the course of a school year in 1986, it is full of retro pop culture references and thrums with the energy of punk rock.
My True Love Gave To Me - Stephanie Perkins
An anthology of festive stories perfect for teens to read curled up by the fire with a hot chocolate over the Christmas holidays. This beautiful edition features 12 romantic stories by some of the US' most talented young adult authors - Rainbow Rowell (see above), Holly Black, David Levithan, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White, Myra McEntire, Kelly Link, Jenny Han, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, and Gayle Forman.
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- Mumsnetters' teen fiction reviews
- Visit our Children's Bookclub for more great recommendations
Last updated: about 3 years ago