The following book list contains titles to appeal to teenagers and young adults aged 15-16 in Year 11 of secondary school. These suggestions consist of a range of titles to cover all ability ranges including reading options for the less able and the more able. This list was last updated on .
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Teenager Miles’ life is turned on its head when he meets Alaska and her world of risk and demanding friendship.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
When Samuel Westing dies, 16 people are invited to the reading of his will of millions – 16 people no one would ever expect. Has Westing created a game to control from beyond the grave?
The Time Machine by H.G Wells
A timeless classic of science fiction and adventure. A short novel which explores man’s impact on the world and the pointlessness of war.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A highly anticipated and competitive local kite championship attracts Amir and Hassan, who are keen to win. Set in Afghanistan in 1975, this novel hinges on one event afterwards which will change Hassan’s life forever, and one which years later he seeks to put right.
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
A fantasy epic spanning generations of warring families, factions and political intrigue. Plots, escapes and some very nasty character endings made this a bestselling series, and one which has been turned into a highly rated TV franchise.
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes
Stephen moves to live with a family in northern France and soon falls in love. But as tensions rise in the build up to the first world war, so do tensions in his relationship. He escapes to fight for his country, not at all realising what awaits him.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Sal Paradise sets off on an American dream rod trip with Dean Moriarty without either truly knowing what they are looking for. Risk taking, limit pushing and thrill-seeking at every turn, the pair’s story is told in a gripping autobiographical style. The defining novel of the ‘beat generation’.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
A classic tale of intrigue and subterfuge. Aramis, Porthos and Athos; led by the hero D’Artagnan, try to save the queen and the state from the designs of the evil Cardinal Richelieu.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Serial murders in the historical backdrop of a fourteenth-century Franciscan monastery in rural Italy captivate William, who is hired to solve the crimes. A page-turning plot and rich atmospheric description fuel this historical bestseller.
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The book that perhaps coined the term “Kafkaesque”. This unfinished story details the experiences of a man arrested for seemingly no reason and his futile fight against faceless power and bureaucracy.
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes investigates a devious killing in the remote Dartmoor wilderness. A gripping story with many twists and turns.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone is a hugely valuable, and cursed, diamond smuggled out of a war zone. When it vanishes from an English country house all hell breaks loose, and it’s up to Sergeant Cuff to solve the puzzle. A classic detective novel.
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
A science fiction classic. Earth is being watched by an advanced and clever alien race. It’s only a matter of time before they pick a moment to conquer all mankind.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Perhaps Dickens’ greatest novel featuring unforgettable characters as seen through the eyes of the ever suffering David Copperfield.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The original and ultimate castaway shipwreck survival story set on a West Indian tropical island with cannibals.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A classic story of family instability, with well-meaning but unsubtle Mrs Bennett looking to marry off all her daughters.
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
Don Quixote is a Spanish man sent slightly mad in his quest to live the life of a noble knight. Can his more level-headed aide, Sancho Panza, help save him from himself?
Carrie by Stephen King
A must read modern horror genre novel. Teen Carrie starts to exhibit supernatural powers, and she focuses on those bullying her with spectacular and unexpected consequences.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Suffering from terminal cancer, Professor Randy Pausch gave one final lecture. In it, he described, how to dream, how to overcome obstacles and how to live those dreams. “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” is something everyone should read at least once their lifetime.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
A masterful and accessible synthesis of mankind written with zip and flair. Funny and yet thought provoking, Bill Bryson’s book is great for sparking interest in areas such as Physics, History and Geography which school teaching might have dampened.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
A sharp and inspiring book which places human life into a wider context of history, science, philosophy and religion. A literary reality check which is bound to provoke further reading.
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Legendary in the comic book genre, this graphic novel story depicts the Holocaust in a deeply moving, tender and personal way. Ideal for KS3 and GCSE pupils learning about the effects of WW2.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriela Garcia Marquez
A fantasy historical epic spanning seven generations of one family and their lives in rural Columbia.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The descendants of Adam and Eve are recast as the warring Trask and Hamilton families in this tale of rivalry, lust and murder. Brilliantly written.
Farenheight 451 by Ray Bradbury
In a fantasy dystopia where books are forbidden and subject to enforced bureaucratic burning, a small group try to keep knowledge, reading and freedom alive. Shocking and realistic.
Dune by Frank Herbert
A very readable and gripping science fiction trilogy with memorable characters. It’s like Lord of the Rings meets Games of Thrones set on a remote desert planet system.
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Charlie Gorden is a nice bloke with a very low IQ. He’s the target of banter – not all of it at all pleasant – but he doesn’t really notice and gets on with his life. That’s until he volunteers for a radical treatment which causes his intelligence to grow day by day. Soon he sees a very different world.
For more reading suggestions, see our Year 10 suggested reading list.
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