The Top 7 Holiday Reads For Teens
They’ve lived through The Hunger Games, and read Twilight to death. So what’s next on the list for teens hungry for a bit of escapist fiction after their end-of-year exams? Here are 7 of the best page-turners – one for (almost) every week of the summer holidays…
Teenage zombies in a world gone mad is perhaps the best way to sum up the Ashes trilogy. The first book starts with a bang – the end of the world. An electromagnetic pulse wipes out most of the population and turns the majority of teenagers in to flesh-eaters. The few survivors have to fight for food and shelter in a wasted, wintery landscape. It’s a gruesome read, with plenty of knife-edge moments and plot twists to keep you reading at speed.
“This is an emotional and gripping book, which shows how often crises can bring the best out of people. It’s a thriller, yet it’s also a love story, with a good balance of action and romance” – Skye Longworth, aged 15
OK, this one sounds really depressing. It’s about a group of teenage cancer survivors and sufferers, how they cope with their mortality, and how their families and friends in-between deal with the fallout. But don’t be put off by the premise. It’s got plenty of lump-in-your-throat moments, true, and there’s a real tearjerker at its core. But it’s also a sweet love story, with witty narration. And once it’s got a hold of you, it’s really hard to let it go.
It’s 1939 in Nazi Germany and – with bombs and death all around her – orphan Liesel is trying to live as much like a 9-year-old as possible. What sets her apart, though, is that she likes to steal books, and her foster family is harbouring a refugee. The Book Thief is an exquisitely written book that’s poetic in style. Unusually, too, it’s narrated by death, an omnipresent character that guides us through the lives and deaths of people in Liesel’s world – her new papa, a boy called Rudi, and the Jew in the basement.
The first in a trilogy, this book tells of a dystopian society that’s defined by 5 ‘factions’ based on human virtues. People here must pick a side and play by the rules of candor (the honest), abnegation (the selfless), dauntless (the brave), amity (the peaceful), or erudite (the intelligent) for the rest of their lives. However, Tris Prior realises she straddles more than one camp. She’s divergent, and she’s not alone. What follows is an unravelling of everything she’s ever held dear as she fights to stay alive in a spiralling war. It’s fast, it’s exciting, and it’s got an unflinching heroine at its heart.
As fresh and as believable today as it was when it was written 70-odd years ago, this book is about love, heartbreak, and growing up in the English countryside in the 1930s. We’re introduced to the eccentric Mortmains through the eyes of 17-year-old Cassandra. She’s a charismatic narrator, funny and honest, as she records the comings and goings of her family in her personal journal. They live hand-to-mouth in a crumbling English castle until 2 Americans arrive to claim their inheritance and change their lives forever.
“I like it because it’s set in an intriguing time period and the author presents interesting descriptions of each character” – Amy Jorgensen, aged 15
You’ll be in it for the long-haul when you enter this world of warlocks, werewolves, and vampires. There are 6 books in the series, each as gripping as the next as they chart 15-year-old Clary Fray’s involvement in an invisible war between ancient demonic forces and secretive Shadowhunters – warriors put on earth to rid it of evil. It’s a roller-coaster of a ride, with one unexpected crisis hot on the heels of another. Sure to keep older teens hooked.
Shy teenager Charlie describes his first year at high school in America through a series of letters to an anonymous stranger. He’s befriended by 2 seniors and gets sucked in to their party ways – drinking, smoking, rock music, and drugs. Along the way, he gets his first kiss, starts a relationship, and sees a psychiatrist. It’s a familiar set-up – teenagers finding out who they are and where they belong. But the book’s authenticity is bound to strike a chord.
“This book is relatable and likeable. It’s funny and moving, with an unexpected ending” – Poppy Somogyi, aged 15