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Top Ten books for young adults

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One day to go and still time to get those stocking fillers for tricky teens.  The lovely Ali at indie bookshop Wallingford Books has selected her top ten books for you 12-16 year olds, and here they are in their glossy covered glory…

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (Harper Collins)


A novel look at fairy tale.  Sophie and Agatha are unlikely friends who are taken for the Schools for Good and Evil but don’t end up where they, or others expect. A very funny, magical tale about friendship and being yourself – I embarrassed myself snorting with laughter on the train with this book!


We Were Liars by E Lockhart (Hot Key Books)


Cadence leaves the hospital she has been recovering in to spend the summer on her family’s island off the coast of Maine. But things aren’t right and Cadence cannot remember the circumstances of the accident that put her in the hospital. I read this in a single sitting – a cracking clever mystery.


Wonder by R J Palacio (Corgi Books)


Auggie is different to look at. This is the story of his first days going to middle school, his new friend who realises that Auggie is pretty cool underneath, and his older sister who is forging her own identity at a new school. I loved this book and there is now a bonus chapter from the point of view of Julian, the bully.


The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Chicken House)


Dare I say it, even better than The Hunger Games! Thomas remembers nothing apart from his own name when the lift opens into the Glade and a tribe of boys. They exist there with no idea why or what has happened outside it until a girl arrives with a message. Fantastic heart stopping dystopian fiction.


As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka (Hot Key Books)


Lumikki knows secrets. She lives away from her parents, working hard at school and keeping herself to herself until the day she finds blood smeared money, a lot of money, drying in the school dark room. This is a dark book based on the Snow White legend set in the Finnish underworld of corruption and murder.


 The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt (Pushkin Press)

A more traditional novel in the vein of Tolkien’s middle earth – this book builds and entirely new world perfectly. Tiuri answers a desperate plea for help and finds the fate of the kingdom in the letter he carries to the King across the Great Mountains. Epic.


Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman (Headline)


Munich 1931: Gretchen Muller has accustomed herself to her family’s tragedies and embraced the life her ‘Uncle Dolf’ has set out for her. But as the fortunes of the Nazi party rise so dark secrets are exposed and Gretchen must search for the truth about her father’s death with the Party on her heels.


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Electric Monkey)


One of the best books I have ever read! It tells the story of Maddie and Queenie who become friends as they serve in World War Two until one of them is captured by the Gestapo. It is a story of the friendship, loyalty and bravery of two girls, not yet twenty, in extraordinary circumstances. Every teenage girl should read it.

The Bodyguard Hostage, by Chris Bradford


When children need protecting bodyguards can be too obvious, but Connor Reeves can blend in, go to school with them , would not be suspected because he is a fourteen year old member of an elite bodyguard unit. When he is assigned to protect the President’s wayward daughter things get dangerous, fast.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (Bloomsbury)


Celaena Sardothian is the most dangerous assassin of her time, but one mistake has led her to the salt mines of Endovier and imprisonment. She is offered a choice – stay there and rot or represent the Prince in competition against the best and most dangerous assassins and thieves in the land. Win and her destiny will be revealed…




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