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Our Favourite books for teens

The Red Necklace

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+

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  • 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 …

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  • The Enemy

    Author: Charlie Higson

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • 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…

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  • Revolver

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • 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.'

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  • Halo

    Author: Zizou Corder

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • 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.

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  • The Graveyard Book

    Author: Neil Gaiman Illustrator: Chris Riddell

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • 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.

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  • Ostrich Boys

    Author: Keith Gray

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • 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.

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  • The Ant Colony

    Author: Jenny Valentine

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • 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…

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  • Apache

    Author: Tanya Landman

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • 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…

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  • The Red Necklace

    Author: Sally Gardner

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • 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…

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  • Creature of the Night

    Author: Kate Thompson

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • 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…

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  • The Penalty

    Author: Mal Peet

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • 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.

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  • Just In Case

    Author: Meg Rosoff

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • 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

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  • Here Lies Arthur

    Author: Philip Reeve

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • 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…

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  • The Medici Seal

    Author: Theresa Breslin

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • 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

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  • Henry Tumour

    Author: Anthony McGowan

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • 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 …

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  • Beast

    Author: Ally Kennen

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • 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-…

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  • The Foreshadowing

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • 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…

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  • A Swift Pure Cry

    Author: Siobhan Dowd

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • A Swift Pure Cry

    Author: Siobhan Dowd

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

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

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  • How I Live Now

    Author: Meg Rosoff

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • 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

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  • Sugar Rush

    Author: Julie Burchill

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • 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…

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  • Century

    Author: Sarah Singleton

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • 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

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  • The Whisper

    Author: Bali Rai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • 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…

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  • Come Clean

    Author: Terri Paddock

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • 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

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  • Looking for JJ

    Author: Anne Cassidy

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • 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…

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  • Rani and Sukh

    Author: Bali Rai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • 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…

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  • Unique

    Author: Alison Allen-Gray

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • 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…

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  • Deep Secret

    Author: Berlie Doherty

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • 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…

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  • Fat Boy Swim

    Author: Catherine Forde

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • 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…

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  • Boy Kills Man

    Author: Matt Whyman

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • 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…

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  • Lucas

    Author: Kevin Brooks

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • Lucas

    Author: Kevin Brooks

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

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

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  • Doing It

    Author: Melvin Burgess

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

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  • Doing It

    Author: Melvin Burgess

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

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

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  • The Dungeon

    Author:

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • The Dungeon

    Author:

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 13+

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

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