2015 has been a great year for the young adult novel, with books covering a range of hard-hitting topics, from exploring ideas of sexuality and religion to dealing with the repercussions of mental health issues.
There are also exciting reads for fans of fantasy, as well as novels with experimental genre crossover. All of the books on the list, written by experienced novelists and relative newcomers, have been read from cover to cover. So whatever you're into when it comes to teenage literature, we've got you covered.
1. Spotlight on Sunny by Keris Stainton: £6.99, catnippublishing.co.uk
This is a book about discovering who you are. After winning a local film competition Sunny and her best friends are enrolled in a film-making course in London. Touching on family relationships, what it is to grow up as Muslim in Britain and the secrets we keep from friends, this is a warm (sunny) book. Part of the Reel Good Friends series.
2. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson: £10.99, davidficklingbooks.com
David’s parents think he’s gay. But David is a girl trapped in a guy’s body – he’s transgender, and hardly anyone knows. Great dialogue peppers this beautiful heart-warming, and ground-breaking, tale.
3. The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong: £7.99, littlebrown.co.uk
Trapped in a building without windows Riley and Max must trust each other with their deepest secrets if they are to be let out alive, while their captors – three masked men – begin their killing spree. Fresh and honest Kelley Armstrong, author of over twenty-one fantasy novels, touches on issues of mental health with commendable sensitivity.
4. Panther by David Owen: £7.99, littlebrown.co.uk
Tender, yet packing a sucker punch to the gut, Panther is a story about Derrick’s quest to capture the titular panther rumoured to be haunting his south London suburb. Because Derrick believes that if he captures the panther he’ll be able to stop his family from falling apart. A timely book that looks at how mental health can affect the family.
5. The Paradox by Charlie Fletcher: £16.99, littlebrown.co.uk
From HBO scriptwriter Charlie Fletcher this part-Dickens, part-magic tale of Victorian London will be perfect for any teenager who enjoys the likes of Trudi Canavan, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman or Samantha Shannon. The Oversight is a secret society that watches over humanity, protecting it from the supernatural. This one’s part two in the series, so buy both – can The Oversight survive?
6. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Mass: £5.59, bloomsbury.com
Will Calaena be able to defeat the king of Adarlan? The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling high-fantasy series continues Calaena Sardothien’s journey of revenge. Just be aware, some characters have been changed by what they have gone through since the previous outing.
7. One by Sarah Crossan: £7.69, bloomsbury.com
Carnegie shortlisted Sarah Crossan brings us Tippi and Grace who are joined at the hip – literally. Written in free verse this tale charts a beautiful sisterly relationship between conjoined twins as their lives are upheaved as they exit home schooling and return to school. An unlikely pairing of genre and form that works incredibly well.
8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli: £7.99, penguin.co.uk
Sassy gay teenager Simon Spier is at the risk of being outed at school. If he doesn’t play wingman for the class clown everyone will know that he’s gay. And Blue – the boy he’s been emailing – will be outed too. A brilliant book for any LGBTQ teen in search of optimism.
9. Demon Road by Derek Landy: £14.99, harpercollins.co.uk
From the creator of fast-talking Skeleton detective, Skullduggery Pleasant, comes a tale of demonic proportions. Teenager Amber is chased across America by her Hellish parents who really, truly, want to eat her. At 512 pages it still manages to tell a swift, though padded-out, tale.
10. Remix by Non Pratt: £7.99, walker.co.uk
This is a book about what it is to be young and at a music festival with all its insecurities, too. Add ex-boyfriends, alcohol and a bunch of lies waiting to be dredged up and you’ve got a book that will resonate with most teens.
If you're looking for a quick thrill this autumn, The Masked Truth will certainly have you hiding under the covers. But for anyone who's looking for a bit of joy, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli is a great option. For the fantasy-inclined, The Paradox is wonderful to become absorbed by.
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