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Recommended Reads Age 12plus

Teenage and Young Adult Recommendations

Stuck for something new to read? Sometimes it is hard to decide what you would like to read next so on this page you'll find some highly recommended reads from other young people.

Library members can request any of the books reviewed from the Library Catalogue 

The following reviews have been written for you by young people who have volunteered with us as part of their Duke of Edinburgh's Award.  Have you read a good book? Then why not write a review for us and it may then feature on this page- email your review to 

“What’s a girl gotta do?” is a book written by Holly Bourne. HBReview Charlotte (Lottie) Thomas the protagonist in the book is an academically gifted 17 year old with a high chance of getting into Cambridge. She is also a massive feminist, which proves to be a problem in her 21st century life. After being catcalled by some rude builders on her way to college one day Lottie decides that in the month before her Cambridge interview she will call out every occurrence of sexism she encounters. Although she tries to keep it funny, Lottie has a tendency to go on angry rants which remind you of the stereotypical image of ‘angry feminist’. Although this isn’t always the best way to get her point across, she justifies it as her right to be angry: “why would you not be angry when you see inequalities which people don’t seem to notice or care about?” I really enjoyed this book and it was my first time reading a Holly Bourne novel. I’d recommend this book to teenagers and especially young girls as it tackles a lot of matters that are relevant to them. The book talks about a lot of issues like sexism, sexual harassment, feminism and what it means to be a feminist. It contains so many true-to-life events and social issues. I found Lottie to be an amazing role model and the book widened my understanding of feminism. I believe now that I am a true feminist and I think this book shows girls or anyone really that they shouldn’t be afraid to speak out or stand up for what they believe in.

"Boys Don't Cry" is a book written by Malorie Blackman. It is about how a young boy tackles with being a teen parent. Dante the protagonist of the novel is waiting for his A-level results but instead ends up with his ex-girlfriend on his doorstep with a baby that she claims is his. Before he knows it Melanie (his ex) has left him with the 11 month old baby girl (Emma) who he's known for only 5 minutes. Dante keeps expecting Melanie to come back like she said she would and he cboyscry an't get a hold of her on his mobile. As Dante begins to lose control of his life he quickly realizes that Melanie isn't coming back and he needs to grow up fast and take responsibility for his actions. Later on in the book we begin to notice that Adam, Dante's younger brother has his own issues to deal with. As they are both trying to deal with their problems their lives somehow collide with brutal consequences. They accept the fact that they have to work together to restore their lives and come to terms with their responsibilities.

I had heard of Malorie Blackman and her books and had known she had was the Children's Laureate in 2013-2015. She is an exceptional author and I would love to read more of her books. I had seen "Boys Don't Cry" before in various libraries but had never picked it up before because I had fallen into the cliché of "judging a book by its cover." I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I enjoyed that it tackled important issues in today's society like teen parenthood, single parenting, racism and homosexuality. The book is gripping from the start and I couldn't put it down. I would recommend the book to teenage boys and girls because I believe they could all relate to certain things in the novel. I'm excited to read more of her books.

The Escape written by Robert Muchamore is the first book in the Henderson's Boys series. The book is set and based in France during World War 2 when Germany was invading. The book follows two groups of people; Rosie and her brother Paul (their dad is featured at the start but dies, leaving them on their own), and British agent Henderson and FrencMuchamore h orphan Marc Kilgour. Marc and Henderson are forced to work together in order to find and locate Rosie and her brother along with some important documents that they have in their possession. Along the way they face some difficulties from the German forces which results in action packed conflict.

The characterization within this book was quite powerful. I felt as though I really knew and understood each character. Most of all though, I enjoyed the relationship between Marc and Henderson as they travel across the country together in order to get to Rosie and Paul.

Overall I would say that my favourite part of the book was the section in which Marc and Henderson infiltrate a German occupied hotel in order to kill one of Henderson's targets. The large quantity of violence, detail and description in the kill was captivating and kept me in the moment, wanting to turn every page. The high speed motorbike chase also kept me captivated. The description and detail within Marc's shooting and Henderson's driving was quite intense and kept me on the verge of my seat wanting more.

"When Mr. Dog Bites," by Brian Conaghan, is a thought-provoking novel which provides an alternative view on Tourette's syndrome and raises awareness of the illness among readers. This is an enjoyable, light-hearted read, although is not very c Mrdog challenging for the reader. The novel is written from the perspective of Dylan Mint, a sufferer of Tourette's, who overhears a conversation between his mother and his doctor and believes that he only has a few months left to live. This novel follows Dylan as he attempts to complete a list of things he wants to do before he dies. Ultimately he has wrongly overheard this information and his illness is not life threatening. Conaghan tackles this serious issue in a humorous fashion and provides a clear insight into the life of a sufferer of Tourette's. Furthermore, Conaghan effectively addresses other social issues such as racism and familial relationships throughout this novel. However, as the novel tackles many key issues and themes not all are fully developed by Conaghan, limiting the reader's connection with the characters and the novel's plot. For example, family relationships are often discussed yet Conaghan only mentions in the closing chapters of the novel that Dylan's mother had been the subject of domestic abuse and his father was in prison, limiting the effectiveness of this novel as it introduces another issue which is not addressed in depth. The storyline is interesting and entertaining, albeit slightly predictable at times, and arrives at an uplifting conclusion providing satisfaction for the reader. Conaghan's engaging style of writing keeps the reader entertained and emotionally involved in the plot. This novel has also been criticised for its use of offensive language making many readers feel uncomfortable. Conversely, it can be argued this furthers the reader's understanding of Tourette's syndrome, as Conaghan successfully underlines the realistic nature of this illness.

Anthony Horowitz's Russian Roulette Russianroulette

Anthony Horowitz is one of my favourite authors, hence the reason that I am familiar with the Alex Rider series of books. The book Russian Roulette offers an interesting view and insight into the life of Yassen Gregorovich, a hired contract killer who has crossed paths with Alex on more than one occasion. Although usually viewed as a 'baddy' in the Alex Rider series, in this spin off novel of Yassen's past he is the protagonist. It shows his progression from a boy to the killer that he is now.

I found the book captivating and interesting. The book kept me second guessing and forced me to  keep turning the pages. The book revealed most of my unanswered questions. It showed how Yassen became the person who he was. The section I found most interesting was the parts when Yassen was being trained by Scorpia because of the fact he had no real identity and was untraceable. He was sent to an island called "Malagosto", in Venice. At this time he was known as Yasha and became a star student. Here is where he learned his trade of killing, practicing martial arts techniques and marksmanship. He was sent on a mission in New York in which he proved unsuccessful; he was then trained by 'John Rider', Alex's now deceased father. This proves as a strong link to Yassen's past and now future. The two formed a bond of partnership and mutual understanding. In fact the most tense seen was when Yassen was in a life and death situation because of a deadly spider on him. Luckily the protagonist was saved by a sniper bullet in which John fired. Later on in the book he discovers that John was really an MI6 agent all along and that the bond they had was fake. This was my favourite part of the book as it shows the reason in which why Yassen shows some leniency towards Alex. I believe that he has a sense of his past with John when he sees Alex and also sees himself within Alex. This has provided me with a greater insight and understanding of the Alex Rider series.

Although the book was quite lengthy and time consuming I would have still preferred if I had learnt a bit more about John Rider and his history. Besides that it was still a good view into Yassen's life. Overall I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book and how it would make me portray the Alex Rider series however after reading it, I would say I now have a clearer understanding. I would strongly suggest that anyone who has previously read the Alex Rider series to read this book as it would give them a greater appreciation of the series. Overall this was a great book and I would give it a 9/10.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern tells us the story of Celestine North and her journey of finding out everything she knew, all the laws she and her society had thought was right would crumble her sense of morals. Celestine has the perfect life including a perfect boyfriend, whose father is the head judge of the Guild, a court that decides if someone is Flawed or not after thorough questioning. Celestine has always been a rule follower and stays away from the “Flawed” just as their government wants. The Flawed don't follow the rules and are never to be helped by citizens. Celestine life turns upside down when she witnesses a Flawed man dying at the front end of the bus, Celestine makes a decision to help him which is seen as a crime because he is flawed. In Celestine’s eyes, this is a moral issue and she simply cannot allow an old man to die because two unflawed people decided to take his seat. The government however sees this as a rebellion. Not wanting to be marked as Flawed, Celestine receives all the help she can get from her boyfriend’s father Judge Crevan who wants her to lie about the situation which would put the flawed man's life in danger but, in the end it’s up to Celestine. Will she hide her true intentions and betray everything she morally believes in or reveal her true intentions and become “Flawed?”

I really enjoyed this book and it's the first one I've read by Cecelia Ahern. It's really gripping from the start, sharp and entertaining. The book's main theme tackles discrimination and I loved following Celestine’s growth from a girl that wouldn't speak her mind being afraid of getting in trouble to a woman who stands up for what is right and what she believes in.

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