Print page

Best Books: 12-14

The Kite Rider

In 2015, we put together a list of the 100 best books for children from the last 100 years.

The books below are the ones suitable for 12-14 year olds.

Interested in seeing all 100 books across the different age groups?

See our best books for other age groups

  • How I Live Now

    Meg Rosoff
    Penguin

    Fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy is sent to England to spend a summer with her unconventional cousins

  • Looking for JJ

    Anne Cassidy
    Scholastic

    When a 10-year-old girl kills her best friend, she is convicted of manslaughter and locked away. Seven years later she is released on licence with a new identity.

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

    Mark Haddon
    Red Fox

    This funny, touching and compelling novel was the winner of the inaugural Booktrust Teenage Prize

  • I Capture the Castle

    Dodie Smith
    Penguin

    17-year-old Cassandra lives an eccentric existence with her bohemian family in a crumbling castle in the English countryside, in this delightful classic coming-of-age story.

  • Mortal Engines

    Philip Reeve
    Scholastic

    London is on the move again: the traction city trawls the world on wheels, capturing and eating smaller towns.

  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

    John Boyne
    Random House

    Bruno is exploring his new home at 'Out-With' when he meets Shmuel, who lives on the other side of a fence which surrounds a large camp in the grounds.

  • Northern Lights

    Philip Pullman
    Scholastic

    This extraordinary fantasy is the first book in Philip Pullman's multi-award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy

  • Coram Boy

    Jamila Gavin
    Egmont

    Coram Boy is the story of Toby, saved from an African ship as a child, and Aaron, the illegitimate son of the heir to a great estate.

  • Noughts and Crosses

    Malorie Blackman
    Random House

    Callum is a Nought but his best friend Sephy is a Cross - the daughter of one of the most influential politicians in the country.

  • The Knife of Never Letting Go

    Patrick Ness
    Walker Books

    The first in a series, this enthralling sci-fi/fantasy novel grips readers throughout, presenting them with tough questions about identity, ethics and the nature of truth.

  • The Graveyard Book

    Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell
    Bloomsbury

    After his family are killed, Bod is brought up in a graveyard by ghosts.

  • The Hunger Games

    Suzanne Colins
    Scholastic

    Welcome to Panem: its Capitol repressively rules twelve satellite Districts, enslaving the populations as workers and controlling them through hunger.

  • Revolver

    Marcus Sedgwick
    Orion Children's Books

    'They say dead men tell no tales, but they're wrong. Even the dead tell stories.'

  • Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

    Louise Rennison
    HarperCollins

    Welcome to the world of Georgia Nicolson - an angst-ridden teenage girl who keeps a diary to record the rollercoaster of emotions and experiences she faces every day

  • The Kite Rider

    Geraldine McCaughrean
    Oxford University Press

    Haoyou feels powerless when the man responsible for his father's death demands to marry his mother. Determined to support her himself, the young boy joins a travelling circus.

  • Stormbreaker

    Anthony Horowitz
    Walker Books

    Fourteen-year-old Alex Rider finds his life turned upside down on discovering that his late uncle wasn't a mild-mannered banker, but instead a field agent for MI6.

  • Junk

    Melvin Burgess
    Andersen Press

    Tar loves Gemma, but Gemma doesn't want to be tied down to anyone or anything. Gemma wants to fly - but she can't fly forever...

  • Life: An Exploded Diagram

    Mal Peet
    Walker Books Ltd

    In this intelligent young adult novel, Clem's coming-of-age story of first love and burgeoning sexuality is woven around a tense account of the mounting Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Maggot Moon

    Sally Gardner
    Hot Key Books

    Combining conspiracy theory and dystopia, this hugely original novel is set in an alternate 1950s in which Britain is dominated by the ruthlessly oppressive forces of The Motherland.

  • The Fellowship of The Ring

    JRR Tolkein
    HarperCollins

    The first part of J R R Tolkien's epic masterpiece The Lord of the Rings, this is the story of young hobbit Frodo Baggins, who finds himself faced with an immense and terrible duty.

  • The Owl Service

    Alan Garner
    HarperCollins Children's Books

    When Alison finds a curious dinner service in the attic, the discovery sets off a strange chain of events that look set to effect everyone's lives.

  • Watership Down

    Richard Adams
    Penguin

    Young rabbit Fiver is convinced that a great evil is about to befall the warren where he lives - but no one will listen to him.

  • Forever

    Judy Blume
    Macmillan Children's Books

    Seventeen-year-old Katherine meets Michael at a party. The two of them like each other immediately, and soon fall in love - but are they ready to take their relationship to the next level?

  • The Ruby in the Smoke

    Philip Pullman
    Scholastic

    Determined to discover the truth about her father's tragic death, Sally Lockhart is plunged into a dangerous and terrifying adventure that takes her to the dark heart of Victorian London.