Great adventure books for teens

Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay

Does your teenager yearn for adventures? Do they love their films and video games chock-full of swashbuckling and quests? Then here are some books guaranteed to entertain.

From an ape getting involved in a murder case to schoolgirl cat burglars and mysteries taking place across the world, there are some brilliant capers out there just waiting to be devoured. 

See our list for 5-8s

See our list for 9-12s

  • The Extinction Trials

    Author: S M Wilson
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 11-14
    Reading age: 10+

    In Storm and Lincoln’s world, there are two continents... And one is inhabited by vicious, predatory dinosaurs. A tense, brutal fantasy adventure: The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park.

  • The Boy Who Hit Play

    Author: Chloe Daykin
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 10-14
    Reading age: 10+

    A funny, life-affirming quest for identity that sees 12-year old Elvis Crampton Lucas and his adoptive dad racing across Norway, pursued by a shadowy villain. Captivating and thought-provoking.

  • Shadow of the Fox

    Author: Julie Kagawa
    Publisher: HQ (imprint of Harper Collins)
    Interest age: 12-16
    Reading age: 11+

    In a land faraway, they tell of a mythical Dragon-god who appears only once every thousand years and can grant any wish. First of a trilogy of absorbing fantasy thrillers that draws inspiration from Japanese culture, myth and folklore. 

  • Skink No Surrender

    Author: Carl Hiaasen
    Publisher: Indigo (Orion Books)
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 8+

    This is a brilliant and utterly gripping adventure, featuring an unusual, endearing and very funny hero in Skink. A tense thriller full of plot twists and laugh out loud humour.

  • Blood Red Road

    Author: Moira Young
    Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books
    Interest age: 13-18
    Reading age: 13+

    A violent, desperate and compelling story about family, love and determination, which enthrals through its bold, powerful language.

  • Daughter of Fire and Ice

    Author: Marie-Louise Jensen
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 9+

    Thora is a healer with second-sight, who avoids an unwelcome marriage to a cruel chieftain when Bjorn, an Irish slave, kills him and they escape to Iceland.

  • The Book of Dust 1: La Belle Sauvage

    Author: Philip Pullman Illustrator: Chris Wormell
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 13-14
    Reading age: 10+

    Malcolm is drawn into a dangerous world of secrets and intrigue – and a mission to protect baby Lyra, whatever the cost. La Belle Sauvage gives readers a not-to-be-missed chance to be back in the world of His Dark Materials: full of peril, magic and thrills. 

  • Across the Universe

    Author: Beth Revis
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 13-15
    Reading age: 12+

    Amy and her family are cryogenically frozen and stored aboard the Godspeed to travel to a new planet - but Amy is wrongly unfrozen 50 years early, forcing her to experience life aboard the ship.

  • A Whisper of Horses

    Author: Zillah Bethell
    Publisher: Piccadilly
    Interest age: 10-13
    Reading age: 10+

    An orphaned girl goes on a dangerous journey to find a place where horses still exist. With the government in pursuit, her escape to Whales is an adventure in recovering a past she's never known.

  • The New Policeman

    Author: Kate Thompson
    Publisher: Random House
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    JJ Byrne’s mum never has enough time and JJ decides to buy some for her birthday. This unusual quest leads him to Tir na n’Og, land of eternal youth, where time stands still.

  • Curse of the Chosen: Volume 1

    Author: Alexis Deacon
    Publisher: Nobrow
    Interest age: 12-18
    Reading age: 10+

    The chief of her tribe is dying, and has no heir. To decide the rulership of her kingdom after her death, she calls fifty warriors to her bedside to send them on a quest: they will be transported to the edges of the kingdom, and have to make it back before dawn.

  • Why We Took the Car

    Author: Wolfgang Herrndorf Translator: Tim Mohr
    Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 9+

    Mike and Tschik take off in a 'borrowed' Lada for a summer road trip.

  • Phoenix

    Author: S F Said Illustrator: Dave McKean
    Publisher: Corgi
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    Lucky is on the run and joins up with a group of aliens - refugees from the ongoing war between aliens and humans - who agree to help Lucky find his father. A thrilling space adventure, full of suspense, action, emotion and more.

  • Troubadour

    Author: Mary Hoffman
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
    Interest age: 11-15
    Reading age: 10+

    Early in the thirteenth century, Elinor's parents attempt to marry her off to an elderly nobleman but she escapes disguised as a boy, with a troupe of travelling entertainers.

  • Northern Lights

    Author: Philip Pullman
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-14
    Reading age: 10+

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

  • Wyrmeweald: Bloodhoney

    Author: Paul Stewart Illustrator: Chris Riddell
    Publisher: Corgi
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    A young man makes his way in a harsh world, where dragons are real and danger is always present. There is love and adventure in the Wyrmeweald, but there is loss and danger too. Can he hold on to the girl he loves, and evade dark magic of his enemies?

  • Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay

    Author: Chris Wooding
    Publisher: Indigo
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 10+

    Darien Frey is the captain of The Ketty Jay - a pirate spaceship whose disparate and dysfunctional crew make a living on the wrong side of the law.

  • Crusade

    Author: Linda Press Wulf
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 12+

    Seeking escape from their lives, two teenagers are drawn to follow a charismatic young man who is leading a Children’s Crusade through France to the Holy Land.

  • Five Hundred Miles

    Author: Kevin Brooks
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke
    Interest age: 13-16
    Reading age: 9+

    In the industrial wastelands of east London, two brothers are delivering forged vehicle documents. As soon as they walk into the pub, Cole knows something is going on. This is a stark, intense, plot-driven, cinematic story of hoping for better.