Books for 13 year olds – a panel of educators from schools around the country asked 13 year olds to name their favourite book, and these are the results. It’s interesting to see the influence of Tikok present in the results of this survey! For more details about how these books were selected, please see our Children’s Favourites article which explains the survey process. This list includes titles by authors including Scott Cawthon, Elley Cooper, Carly Anne West, Andrea Waggener & Kelly Parra; Anne Frank, Colleen Hoover, Juno Dawson, John Boyne, Holly Black, Holly Jackson, Kathleen Glasgow, Leigh Bardugo, Suzanne Collins, Holly Jackson and Adam Silvera.
Books for 13 year olds – favourites chosen by children
(In randomised order)
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
When Mateo and Rufus receive an app notification that they will die that day, they connect, through the ‘Friend’ app’, for a final day adventure. Exploring themes of life, love, and the fleeting nature of existence this novel will challenge teens to think about what it means to be alive. moments. It’s a topical and emotionally charged rollercoaster that will have 13-year-olds hooked until the final page.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
There’s a gripping mystery surrounding Andie Bell’s murder, which up until now was pinned on Sal Singh. But Pippa Fitz-Amobi’s investigation uncovers hidden secrets, and now the case isn’t as cut and dried. Dark secrets are revealed through an engrossing writing style with twisty intertwined plotting, which will appeal to teens who enjoy complex mysteries. A hugely popular book with 13-year-olds in KS3, this one will fly off the library shelves.
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
In a dystopian world where the Capitol forces districts to send children for a televised fight to the death, teenaged Katniss Everdeen volunteers to protect her sister. Blending action, emotion and teen romance, more mature thirteen-year-old readers will be fascinated by the immersive dystopian world, and Katniss’s relatable resilience. It’s a riveting and thought-provoking exploration of survival against the odds.
Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo
Set in the bustling city of Ketterdam. Kaz Brekker, a criminal prodigy, assembles a crew of six outcasts for a perilous heist that could make them unimaginably rich in this fast-paced fantasy novel. With vivid world-building and themes of loyalty, friendship, and redemption, 13-year-olds will be gripped by this epic series that weaves fantasy, crime, and mystery. Fantasy fans will love it.
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Exploring the life of seventeen-year-old Charlie, this novel includes mature themes of self-harm, harassment, and mental illness. While intense and triggering, it will resonate with more mature readers with its raw storyline and relatable characters and situations, while offering hope and positivity to readers facing similar struggles. A good choice for book clubs.
Five Survive by Holly Jackson
This gripping YA thriller follows five characters on a road trip that goes wrong. As the car breaks down and friends realise they are facing an armed sniper, tensions rise and dark secrets emerge. More mature thirteen-year-olds will enjoy the intense and unrelenting plot that features unexpected twists, and changing character dynamics.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Anne, hiding with her family in the “Secret Annexe,” reveals the challenges, fears, and hopes they faced in this poignant diary account of a Jewish girl’s life during the Holocaust. 13-year-old readers will relate to her writing which offers a unique perspective on human resilience and a reminder of the impact of war on innocent lives. Highly recommended for its emotional depth, historical significance and perspective on humanity.
Five Nights at Freddie’s Series by Scott Cawthon
This series of easy-to-read horror stories will immerse 13-year-old readers in the eerie world of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Beginning with “The Silver Eyes,” the story follows Charlie who is haunted by the past, and as the series progresses, it unveils the dark and sinister secrets of animatronics. Weaving horror and mystery this is a compelling read for fans of the video game and readers who want a relentless page-turner.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Perhaps a surprising choice in a survey of 13-year-olds, this contemporary bestseller has crossed over into YA readership, perhaps as a result of social media exposure. In an epic and contemporary story of love, resilience, and choices, readers follow Lily Bloom in her rollercoaster relationship with neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid that’s threatened when a first love reappears. Tackling some sensitive issues, It Ends With Us is a powerful and page-turning story that will captivate readers.
The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black
Jude Duarte, a mortal in the treacherous High Court of Faerie, seeks to find her place in the politics of the fey. But will she be thwarted by Prince Cardan who both fascinates and repels her? With immersive world-building, political intrigue, and family dynamics, 13-year-old readers will enjoy the intricate fantasy romance plot and unexpected twists. It’s a series for teens to become hooked on.
These books received a very high number of votes in some schools but did not make the top 10 overall.
This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson
An informative and candid guide to sexuality and growing up LGBT+, this book addresses a wide range of topics from sex and politics to stereotypes and coming out. It’s a valuable resource for teenagers of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Real stories from diverse perspectives are blended with humorous and relatable illustrations. This book will be a popular loan choice in secondary school libraries.
My Brother’s Name Is Jessica by John Boyne
Sam Waver struggles when he finds out his older brother, Jason, identifies as Jessica. Tackling family dynamics and societal prejudices, this story explores themes of acceptance, inclusivity, and embracing identity. With an honest portrayal of the complexities surrounding gender, this is a useful text to start conversations on an often sensitive topic. For thirteen-year-olds, it’s an easier read that tackles hard-hitting issues.
Books for 13 year olds – buy the set or order in bulk
To buy a pack of all or some of the books in this list, or to order class sets of book(s) in this list, please click the button below to order via uk.bookshop.org, an organisation that supports local bookshops.
Books for 13 year olds – buy the set or order in bulk
Click the buttons below to purchase all of the books for 13 year olds list, as well as class sets of any of these books and many more, from Bookshop.org UK. Or buy the titles in this list from Amazon – ideal for gifts or your classroom library.
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