Print page

Our Favourite books for teens

Alex Rider Mission 7: Snakehead

Read our list of outstanding teenage books that either won or were shortlisted for the BookTrust Teenage Prize during it's running from 2003-10.

With fantasy, crime, horror and coming-of-age there is definitely something here for a book loving teen.

  • Out of Shadows

    Author: Jason Wallace

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 12+

    Flip
  • Out of Shadows

    Author: Jason Wallace

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 12+

    Back in the early 1980s, Robert Jacklin doesn't want to move to the newly independent Zimbabwe with his parents, nor does he want …

    ; Flip
  • The Enemy

    Author: Charlie Higson

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

    Flip
  • The Enemy

    Author: Charlie Higson

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

    When the sickness came, the adults became ill. The lucky ones died but many mutated into brainless, deformed monsters with a seemi…

    ; Flip
  • Revolver

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 11+

    Flip
  • Revolver

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 11+

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

    ; Flip
  • Halo

    Author: Zizou Corder

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

    Flip
  • Halo

    Author: Zizou Corder

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

    As an adolescent, Halo is dragged from the love and security of her unconventional upbringing and sold as a slave.

    ; Flip
  • The Graveyard Book

    Author: Neil Gaiman Illustrator: Chris Riddell

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    Flip
  • The Graveyard Book

    Author: Neil Gaiman Illustrator: Chris Riddell

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

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

    ; Flip
  • Ostrich Boys

    Author: Keith Gray

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    Flip
  • Ostrich Boys

    Author: Keith Gray

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    When teenager Ross Fell is killed, his closest friends are horrified by the sham and hypocrisy of his funeral.

    ; Flip
  • The Ant Colony

    Author: Jenny Valentine

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

    Flip
  • The Ant Colony

    Author: Jenny Valentine

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

    Sam and Bo reveal their pasts in alternate chapters, each gradually facing the dysfunctional relationships and traumatic incidents…

    ; Flip
  • Apache

    Author: Tanya Landman

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

    Flip
  • Apache

    Author: Tanya Landman

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

    Siki already has a fierce hatred for the Mexican warriors but when her little brother Tazhi is brutally slain in front of her, she…

    ; Flip
  • The Red Necklace

    Author: Sally Gardner

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

    Flip
  • The Red Necklace

    Author: Sally Gardner

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

    Gardner skilfully sets the scene, in which extra-sensory abilities can be turned to many uses, and where good and evil, identity a…

    ; Flip
  • Creature of the Night

    Author: Kate Thompson

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 9+

    Flip
  • Creature of the Night

    Author: Kate Thompson

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 9+

    A teenage tearaway from tough downtown Dublin is unwillingly relocated into a rural County Clare which still believes in the Littl…

    ; Flip
  • The Penalty

    Author: Mal Peet

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 9+

    Flip
  • The Penalty

    Author: Mal Peet

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 9+

    Paul Faustino is reluctantly drawn into investigating the disappearance of San Juan's teenage football prodigy El Brujito.

    ; Flip
  • Just In Case

    Author: Meg Rosoff

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    Flip
  • Just In Case

    Author: Meg Rosoff

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    This quirky, off-beat novel acutely depicts the feelings of pain and alienation felt by many adolescents

    ; Flip
  • Here Lies Arthur

    Author: Philip Reeve

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 11+

    Flip
  • Here Lies Arthur

    Author: Philip Reeve

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 11+

    The violence is darkly terrifying, the sense of landscape immediate and haunting and Gwyna/Gwyn's shifting gender permits Reeve to…

    ; Flip
  • The Medici Seal

    Author: Theresa Breslin

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

    Flip
  • The Medici Seal

    Author: Theresa Breslin

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

    A carefully reasoned and historically informed novel about growing up and making choices

    ; Flip
  • Henry Tumour

    Author: Anthony McGowan

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 9+

    Flip
  • Henry Tumour

    Author: Anthony McGowan

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 9+

    Henry Tumour is certainly a memorable book: it's funny, shocking, and thought-provoking, too. Just be warned that the language is …

    ; Flip
  • Beast

    Author: Ally Kennen

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

    Flip
  • Beast

    Author: Ally Kennen

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

    Stephen has been keeping a secret of unbearable proportions. He can't confide in his foster family, his social worker or his dead-…

    ; Flip
  • The Foreshadowing

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    Flip
  • The Foreshadowing

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    17-year-old Sasha travels to France as a volunteer nurse in an attempt to rescue her beloved brother Tom from a terrible death. Bu…

    ; Flip
  • A Swift Pure Cry

    Author: Siobhan Dowd

    Interest level: 12-15

    Reading age: 12+

    Flip
  • A Swift Pure Cry

    Author: Siobhan Dowd

    Interest level: 12-15

    Reading age: 12+

    Loosely based on the real life case of the Kerry babies, powerful imagery and lyrical prose is woven throughout this unforgettable…

    ; Flip
  • How I Live Now

    Author: Meg Rosoff

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • How I Live Now

    Author: Meg Rosoff

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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

    ; Flip
  • Sugar Rush

    Author: Julie Burchill

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 11+

    Flip
  • Sugar Rush

    Author: Julie Burchill

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 11+

    Shortlisted for the 2005 Booktrust Teenage Prize, this is a controversial and daring look at the gritty reality of teenage experie…

    ; Flip
  • Century

    Author: Sarah Singleton

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • Century

    Author: Sarah Singleton

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Mercy and her sister Charity have never questioned their daily routine, each day unfolding exactly as the next

    ; Flip
  • The Whisper

    Author: Bali Rai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • The Whisper

    Author: Bali Rai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Credible, hardhitting and couched in the street language for which he is well-known, this will be welcomed by fans of Rai's fictio…

    ; Flip
  • Come Clean

    Author: Terri Paddock

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • Come Clean

    Author: Terri Paddock

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    An unflinching examination of love, loss and sibling intimacy, which is both brutal and compelling

    ; Flip
  • Looking for JJ

    Author: Anne Cassidy

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • Looking for JJ

    Author: Anne Cassidy

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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

    ; Flip
  • Rani and Sukh

    Author: Bali Rai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • Rani and Sukh

    Author: Bali Rai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    A vivid, fast-moving take on the Romeo and Juliet story, exploring the experience of young urban British Asians as they negot…

    ; Flip
  • Unique

    Author: Alison Allen-Gray

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    Flip
  • Unique

    Author: Alison Allen-Gray

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    On the road to self-knowledge, Dominic undergoes various crises of identity, while facing threats from a controlling state and a v…

    ; Flip
  • Deep Secret

    Author: Berlie Doherty

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    Flip
  • Deep Secret

    Author: Berlie Doherty

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    A beautiful, sad and compelling story of an isolated community that must face the relentless advance of progress and a teenager wh…

    ; Flip
  • Fat Boy Swim

    Author: Catherine Forde

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

    Flip
  • Fat Boy Swim

    Author: Catherine Forde

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

    This is a wonderful story, brilliantly told in the Glaswegian dialect, and despite containing distressing accounts of bullying, it…

    ; Flip
  • Boy Kills Man

    Author: Matt Whyman

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 11+

    Flip
  • Boy Kills Man

    Author: Matt Whyman

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 11+

    This tale is by turns both tender and unsentimental, and portrays a violent society that perhaps mirrors the darkest reaches of ou…

    ; Flip
  • Lucas

    Author: Kevin Brooks

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • Lucas

    Author: Kevin Brooks

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

    This beautifully written, unusual novel explores the destructive nature of prejudice and mob violence

    ; Flip
  • Doing It

    Author: Melvin Burgess

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

    Flip
  • Doing It

    Author: Melvin Burgess

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

    A much heralded, compelling sex story for teenage boys from this provocative writer

    ; Flip
  • The Dungeon

    Author:

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

    Flip
  • The Dungeon

    Author:

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

    A compelling read that paints a vivid picture of a very harsh period in history

    ; Flip