The following book list contains titles to appeal to children and young adults aged 13-14 in Year 9 of secondary school. The books consist of a range of titles to cover all ability ranges including the less able and the more able pupil. This list was last updated on .
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Margaret is convinced she isn’t normal. Her friends are more grown up than her, she’s starting a new school and she’s unsure whether to follow her mother’s or her father’s religion. So she talks to God, with surprising results.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Brian, a streetwise teen who lives in the city, is left stranded in the wilderness after a plane crash – with only a hatchet to survive. Will he make it?
Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci
Victoria, who changes her name to Egg, is a rebel. She shaves her head and colours her eyebrows, avoids people, and has no time at all for boys. But then she meets Max.
The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
A page turning collection of five books will appeal to young adults. Teen Isabella Swan starts at a new school and quickly has to tread a fine line between romance and dangerous vampires.
The Amnesia Clinic by James Scudamore
Anti is best friends with his polar opposite – Fabian. Athletic and popular, Fabian wishes his mother was still alive. The two set off to find a strange clinic in search of Fabian’s mother – a clinic which noone is sure even exists.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
In the future, all society is overseen by the World Controllers. Everything is ordered and efficient. But Bernard has other ideas and wants to do more than ask questions.
Brighton Rock by Graham Green
Pinkie is caught in the middle of a Brighton gang war. Living on the edge, he kills a man, and believes he can carry on as if nothing happened.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
At the end of WW2, Yossarian thinks his life is in danger – not from the enemy, but from his own side. He tries to find any excuse to avoid an increasing number of dangerous missions.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield is a teen who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. He has to grow up quickly in an adult world and work out who he can trust, and who is a ‘phony’.
Philip Larkin – Collected Poems
Probably the most accessible verse collection by a modern poet. More likely than not to hook your teenager on poetry.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
An epic page-turner written in episodes. This is the classic fiction equivalent of a binge box-set – a nineteenth century ‘Breaking Bad’. Fuelled by revenge, Edmund Dantes seeks to get back everything he lost, and stake claim to a lot more.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A classic vampire tale following Dracula’s move from Transylvania to England, pursued by Abraham Van Helsing who is intent on exterminating him. Warning, this book may inspire your teen to wear black and visit Whitby.
Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
Jim’s idyllic life in 1930s Shanghai takes an abrupt and horrying turn with the Japanese invasion during WW2. The prep school choirboy finds himself interred in prisons camps for four years. Gripping, moving and based on the author’s own life.
Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
Noah desperately wants to be like everyone else. But with a mother who works as an unconvincing Beyonce lookalike and a father who isn’t around, Noah is struggling with life. Laugh out loud moments of teenage angst with a twist. An worthwile LGBT literature addition to the school library.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley’s gothic horror about a deranged scientist who wants to imagine his own living creation from dead bodies, still has bite, shock value and complex themes. A good, and well written, counterpoint to the myriad of recent zombie TV shows and computer games.
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The scheming, brutal and dangerous world of Roman nobility is brought to life in this historical thriller. An intense and gripping novel.
The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
Allie Fox is a father who wants to change this world. He is on an unstoppable mission to bring ice and other inventions to the jungle, and his relentless pursuit of his dreams drives his wife and children to despair. After reading this, family holidays will never be the same.
Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson
This book is ideal for adding humour to turgid GCSE Shakespeare exam schemes. It explores the myths, lies and reality of Shakespeare’s plays and brings to life the sixteenth century acting world.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
A classic, and a brilliantly written, fable about an old fisherman, an ambitious boy and an epic battle to catch an enormous fish.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
A horrifying and gripping account of life at a Soviet Gulag – isolated and stark. A tale of mental and physical survival. This would make an interesting choice for detention class reading.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
McMurphy thinks he has escaped prison by being moved to a mental institution. Slowly he realises he is even more confined than before. A startling exploration of sanity and madness; and freedom vs control. Warning, some adult themes.
Paddy Clarke Ha, Ha, Ha by Roddy Doyle
10 year old Paddy Clarke is left to his own devices in an adult world – a world which, despite his best efforts, he finds impossible to understand. Cleverly written from a child’s perspective.
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The story of a butler who tries to devote himself to his profession despite the fact his master is a Nazi sympathiser. Deeply moving, this book explores class, love and longing.
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
The ambitious owner of the Daily Beast thinks he’s spotted the perfect hotshot journalist to cover a juicy African conflict. Things don’t go entirely to plan. Very funny, yet true to life.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
In this classic 1930s story, a black man is charged with raping a white girl and has to fight class, racial hatred and depression-era prejudice – as well as the courtroom. Atticus Finch, a white father, has the task of defending him.
Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig
12 year old Edgar grows wary of a Baron he meets on holiday in this period story from Hapsburg Germany. He begins to think something is amiss, and when he finds out what it is, he takes revenge in a shocking manner. Short, and tense.
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