Authors' Best Teen Books of 2016

Published on: 06 December 2016 Author: Robbie Hunt

2016 has been a bumper year for Teen/YA literature, but which ones thrilled the nation? Some of our favourite authors tell you their choices.

Let us know what your best books of 2016 have been on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Emily Rowland's classics illustration

Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of The Astounding Broccoli Boy and Sputnik's Guide to Life On Earth

Frank Cottrell-Boyce recommends The Call

The Call by Peadar O'Guilin

The Call is dark and brutal, everything that I'm not looking for in fiction. But its power is undeniable. It channels Irish mythology into modern teenage life with an energy that recalls Alan Garner.

David Almond, author of Skellig and Clay

David Almond recommends Crongton Knights

Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle

My book of the year is Alex Wheatle's Crongton Knights, winner of The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. This beautifully-written tale of a quest through the streets of South London is tough, tender, and humane.

SF Said, author of Varjak Paw and Phoenix

SF Said recommends Maresi

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

I loved being a judge for The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and I urge everyone to read all the wonderful books on the longlist! But my favourite book this year wasn't eligible, because it's a translation: Maresi, by Maria Turtschaninoff, translated by Annie Prime - a spell-binding feminist fantasy that feels very timely and yet utterly timeless.

Alex Wheatle, author of Liccle Bit and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winning Crongton Knights

Alex Wheatle recommends Orangeboy

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence

My favourite book of the year would have to be Patrice Lawrence's Orangeboy - pacey, rat-a-tat dialogue, great characters and captures the stresses of contemporary living for teenagers. A hell of a read.

Juno Dawson, author of All Of The Above and This Book Is Gay

Juno Dawson recommends The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

There has been some wonderful YA from Ireland this year with The Call by Peadar O Guilin and Nothing Tastes As Good by Claire Hennessey among my favourites. Although it was released last year, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge was not only wonderful but proved you don't need to be off the telly to sell books. Imagination and verve are all that should matter and The Lie Tree has both in abundance.

Tanya Landman, author of Carnegie winning Buffalo Soldier

Tanya Landman recommends The Smell of Other People's Houses

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This book totally transported me, both geographically and emotionally. I loved the powerfully tender human stories set in the vast, bleak, beautiful landscape. A beautifully written book with immense heart.

Philip Ardagh, former BookTrust Writer in Residence and author of the Eddie Dickens series

Philip Ardagh recommends MAX

MAX by Sarah Cohen-Scali

2016 has been a really good year for children's books, so choosing a favorite is like asking me which of my twins I prefer. (Simon, if you were wondering.) I've settled for the unsettling MAX by Sarah Cohen-Scali. Though written in German a few years back, this was published in an English translation by Walker Books this year. It is a first person narrative by Max - a product of the Nazi eugenics programme in the Second World War - first as a fetus, then a baby, then as a boy. It's a gripping, moving and highly original perspective on such a disturbing time in our history.

Bali Rai, former BookTrust Writer in Residence and author of (Un)arranged Marriage and Web of Darkness

Bali Rai recommends The Trap

The Trap by Alan Gibbons

My book of the year is Alan Gibbons' latest novel, The Trap; it's more teen/YA than children's, but it's great. The Trap is a timely and much-needed exploration of extremism, Islamophobia and the lives of ordinary British people touched by those issues. It's a thrilling read and a true page turner, but full of heart and hope too. Sometimes books should tackle the biggest challenges we face, and The Trap does just that. It's a cracking story.

Sita Brahmachari, former BookTrust Writer in Residence and author of Red Leaves and Artichoke Hearts

Sita Brahmachari recommends The Pomegranate Tree

The Pomegranate Tree by Vanessa Altin

This story about a young Syrian Refugee is brave and powerful. Altin tells the story of a brutal war and its impact on children. She paints with truth and love and plants delicate seeds of hope and light in the reader.

Catherine Johnson, author of Sawbones

Catherine Johnson recommends Orangeboy

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence

My book of the year has to be Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence. Shortlisted for the Costa Prize, this is a real wow of a YA novel set in a real and recognisable modern London with a hero who totally and utterly engages. I loved it. The writing shines.

Julia Green, author of The Wilderness War

Sweet Pizza

Sweet Pizza by G.R Gemin

I love the warmth in the storytelling, the lovely clear prose, and the funny, original mix of food, opera and family history. At its heart is Joe, his Italian-Welsh family and their cafe, in a multi-cultural community in Wales. Giancarlo Gemin's novel celebrates friendship, family and bringing people together. An important and pertinent story for our troubled times.

Taran Matharu, author of The Summoner Series

Taran Matharu recommends Gilded Cage

Gilded Cage by Vic James

My book of the year is YA book Gilded Cage by Vic James, which has just been published on 1 December, 2016. Devious and deliciously dark with lashings of magic, mystery and mayhem, this juggernaut of a book will keep you hanging on by your fingernails until the very last page. 

Sign up for our newsletter

Stay up to date with BookTrust by signing up to one of our newsletters and receiving great articles, competitions and updates straight to your inbox.

Join us