Teen Book list 2016

TheList2016banner 40 of the best new books for your collection.

The Teenage Book list is selected annually by librarians from the Schools Library Service and secondary schools, and is a list of recommended fiction to buy for your school library.

The teen list represents a selection of the best new fiction first published in paperback within the last year, and aims to cover as diverse a range of subjects, genres, authors and interests as possible.

Titles from the Teen and Primary lists will be chosen for the Tower Hamlets Book Award short list in July. Remember to let us know if you want to participate in this event!

Posters and bookmarks have been sent to subscribing secondary schools.

Please contact the library for more information on the Teen List or to request additional posters or bookmarks (subscribing schools only).

View the full list
Title Author Synopsis Themes
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda Albertalli, Becky Leaving an email open on a school library computer was probably the worst thing Simon could have done…. It meant the whole school knows about Blue, his email friend and the only person he can have real conversations with.   But who is Blue? Simon doesn’t know for sure, and he really does not want everyone at school to find out before he does. LGBT, bullying
A Song for Ella Grey Almond, David They were just teenagers, enjoying the freedom of camping on the beach in the summer. Ella wasn’t even there when Orpheus arrived and sang for them – but even just hearing him over a phone was enough to change Ella’s life forever. A retelling the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, but set amongst modern day teenagers in Northumberland. Mythology
The Keeper Baldacci, David Vega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but the Quag, a wilderness filled with danger and death. And she believed it – until the night she stumbled across a secret that proved everything she knew to be a lie. Now just one thing stands between Vega Jane and freedom – the Quag. In order to leave Wormwood and discover the truth about her world, Vega and her best friend Delph must find a way to make it across a terrifying land of bloodthirsty creatures and sinister magic. But the Quag is worse than Vega Jane’s darkest imagining. It’s a living, breathing prison designed to keep enemies out and the villagers of Wormwood in. The second book about Vega Jane that began with The Finisher. Fantasy, journeys
Am I Normal Yet? Bourne, Holly Evie just wants to be normal, and not obsess about cleanliness or routines or any of the things that caused her to be diagnosed as OCD. Maybe a new year and a new college where people don’t know her as ‘the girl who went nuts’ is the answer… Mental illness
The Earth is Singing Curtis, Vanessa The Nazis arrive in Riga, Lithuania, in 1941 and Hanna’s family, along with all the other Jews in the town, are rounded up. They don’t care who she is, or what she wants to be when she grows up. All they care about is that she is a Jew. This is Hanna’s testament to what happened. Second World War, The Holocaust
The Crossover Alexander, Kwame “With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . . The court is SIZZLING.   My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. Sport
Game Changer Bowler, Tim No-one really understands Mikey’s terrible, terrible fear of the outdoors, except his little sister Meggie, who he loves more than anyone.   So when she is in danger, can he overcome his fears to protect her? Mental illness, agoraphobia
Lottery Boy Byrne, Michael Finding a lottery ticket and finding out it is worth something should have been the best thing that ever happened to Bully – homeless on the streets of London and struggling to find enough food for himself and his dog, Jack.   But there are plenty of other people around who would want a share if they knew… Homelessness
What Was Never Said Craigie, Emma 15-year-old Zahra has lived in England most of her life, but she is haunted by memories of her early childhood in Somalia: the warm sun, the loud gunfire, and happy days playing with her older sister before “the visitors” came. It is hard for Zahra to make sense of everything that happened, and the terrible events are impossible to talk about. When three familiar women arrive unexpectedly for tea, Zahra is filled with fear and just knows that she and her little sister Samsam have to get away, to escape the same fate as her older sister, Rahma. A moving story that deals with the issue of female genital mutilation for an immigrant Somalian family living in the UK. Female genital mutilation
Apple and Rain Crossan, Sarah When her mother returns after eleven years away chasing her dreams, Apple feels whole again, sure that she’ll have the answers that she craves. But it isn’t a fairy tale reunion she dreamed of, it’s as stormy as the night that she left. Families, identity
Blood and Ink Davies, Steven Set in 2012, militant Islamic group Ansar Dine is preparing to capture Timbuktu. Ali is 16 and a mujahid, a holy warrior, who finds himself scaling the walls of the city. Inside is fifteen year old Kadija, daughter of a guardian of the sacred manuscripts of the ancient city. Ali must declare forbidden everything Kadija holds precious – music, dancing, her books. Kadija refuses to give in, and Ali finds himself drawn to her. Both have conflicting feelings for each other, how will they choose the course to follow? War, terrorism, religion
The Apple Tart of Hope Fitzgerald, Sarah Moore Although there’s been a memorial service and everything, Meg is convinced her best friend Oscar is not dead – only his bike was found in the sea, after all – and with Oscar’s little brother Stevie, she is determined to find out what has happened to him. Friendship
When I Was Me Freeman, Hilary Ella wakes up one morning and find things are not the same – her bed is against the wall, and last night it was in the middle of the room as normal.   Her hair is long, not cut in the trendy bob that she paid a fortune for last week, and her mother has white hair.   Going to college, she finds her friends are no longer her friends and her existence has been erased from the internet. Even worse, years of her history appear to have been rewritten overnight. And yet, nobody else thinks that anything weird has happened. What is going on? Identity, paralell worlds
Soon Gleitzman, Morris Life is hard in the aftermath of the second world war in Poland. Felix and Gabriek have found themselves somewhere safe to stay away from looters and armed ruffians, and last thing they need is a crying abandoned baby that is bound to attract unwanted attention. Second World War
Shine Gourlay, Candy Rosa can’t speak, and the strange island community of Mirasol are afraid of her, so her only communication is via the internet. But who is this Ansel95 who takes such perfect pictures of her island and posts them? Will she ever get to meet him? Prejudice, identity
Wolf by Wolf Graudin, Ryan When Yael was five she was subjected to Nazi experiments that still haunt her. Now seventeen, she has one mission in life – to kill Hitler.   With the Nazis running Europe after winning the war over ten years ago, Germany is a dangerous place for people like Yael… Alternate history
The Last Soldier Gray, Keith Nothing much happens in Joe and Wade’s dusty town in Texas in 1922. There’s not much excitement in Joe and his brother’s lives – just grinding poverty and the occasional run-in with the neighbours. The only highlight is the arrival of the carnival, with its mermaid, wolfman and baby dragon. This year, there’s a new attraction – the Last Soldier of World War One. What message does he have for the boys…? Historical fiction, mystery, America
The Lie Tree Hardinge, Frances Faith has no desire to tread the path that has been prepared for her, but as a mere girl amongst Victorian scientists, she seems to be forever consigned to her mother’s shadow.Following the suspicious death of her father, she discovers his secret – a strange plant that can thrive only in darkness, is destroyed by the light, and which, impossibly, seems to feed only on lies. Somehow this tree is central to her father’s work and the scandal that plagued his last days. Alone in a hostile world, can Faith make use of the lie tree to uncover the truth? Women’s rights, Victorians, magical realism, mysteries
If You Were Me Hepburn, Sam Aliya has fled Afghanistan with her family and are now in a grotty council flat in England and attempting to start a new life. But when Aliya’s older brother is injured and accused of terrorism when a bomb goes off, their situation become dangerous. Dan meets Aliya and her brother Behrouz while helping his father with a plumbing job and is shocked to discover his father may be caught up in a criminal underworld. They must team up to uncover the truth….but can they trust each other? Terrorism, refugees, crime
Jekyll’s Mirror Hussey, William Sam isn’t fitting in particularly well at his new school when he’s invited to take part in ‘Project Hyde’, a new social networking site where users can enjoy total anonymity. It’s exhilarating at first, until Sam notices that the other users are becoming obsessed with the program, and becoming addicted to the cruelty they are inflicting online. Sam watches with a growing sense of horror as his classmates turn into something unrecognisable. Trolling, cyber bullying and horrific violence collide with evil magic.   For the truth behind Project Hyde is this: it doesn’t simply change WHO you are, it changes WHAT you are. Social media, cyber bullying
The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo Johnson, Catherine Out of the blue, an exotic young woman arrives from a foreign land. Fearless and strong, ‘Princess’ Caraboo rises above the suspicions of the wealthy family who take her in.   But who is the real Caraboo? In a world where it seems everyone is playing a role, could she be an ordinary girl with a tragic past? Is she a confidence trickster? Or is she the princess everyone wants her to be? Adoption, mystery, race
There Will Be Lies Lake, Nick When Shelby gets knocked down by a car, it’s not just her leg that’s broken: Shelby’s safe world is shattered. Her over-protective mother turns up to collect her and they drive off into the night – her mother who stays inside because it’s usually too dangerous to go out – her mother who home-schools her, because school is not to be trusted. It’s like the beginning of a road trip, like two criminals on the run, like Thelma and Louise or Bonnie and Clyde. And somehow, everywhere she looks, there’s a coyote watching her, talking to her, telling her not to believe. Who is Shelby Jane Cooper? And if the person who keeps you safe also tells you lies, who can you trust? Identity, psychology, Native Americans
Wild Song Mackay, Janis Niilo is angry – he’s not sure why, but it leads him to so much crime and violence that his parents send him to “wild school” on an island off the coast of Finland. It’s not a prison, so they say, but it sure does feel like that. Angry at first, eventually he comes to enjoy being there and builds a close relationship with his mentor, Hannu, who helps him face his demons and overcome his lifelong fear of water. Finland, environment, relationships
Impossible! Magorian, Michelle It’s 1960 and twelve-year old Josie is in love with the theatre. An East Ender, she has recently won a place at a snobby stage school.   She dreams of being on stage, but is firmly told she has no acting ability. In desperation, Josie cuts off her hair hoping to get a boy’s part. Her wish comes true, but when she lands a role in an American comedy, she also blunders into a kidnap attempt on Larry, a fellow member of the cast. Attempting to foil the criminals’ plan, Josie herself is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity. Humour, 1950s
The Green Bicycle Mansour, Haifaa Al Wadjida lives in Saudi Arabia where it isimproper for girls to ride bicycles. But she is a rebel, and when she sees the bicycle of her dreams, she devises different ways to make money to buy the bike for herself. She has to confront the issues of conforming to the rules of her society and the importance of her family to make her dream come true. Identity, religion, women’s rights
Girl on a Plane Moss, Miriam It is 1970 and after a summer spent with her family, fifteen-year-old Anna is travelling back to her English boarding school alone. But her plane never makes it home. Anna’s flight is hijacked by Palestinian guerrillas who land the plane in the Jordanian desert, switch off the engines and issue their demands. If these are not met within three days, they will blow up the plane, killing all the hostages.   The heat on board becomes unbearable; food and water supplies dwindle. Anna begins to face the possibility she may never see her family again. A story based on real events Terrorism, hijacking, Palestine
I’ll Give You the Sun Nelson, Jandy Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways… LGBT, love, growing up
All the Bright Places Niven, Jennifer Theodore is struggling with undiagnosed bipolar disorder and Violet is devastated by her sister’s death in a car accident. The two meet on the ledge of the school bell tower. Their relationship grows as they help each other cope, but as Violet grows stronger, Theodore becomes more deeply lost in his own struggle. A heart-breaking and beautiful story about teenage love in the face of mental illness. Mental illness, bereavement, suicide]
Only We Know Packham, Simon As a result of her secret past, Lauren and her sister Tilda have to start at a new school. Lauren is determined to reinvent herself and things are going well until she makes friends with Harry, a boy from her previous life. Harry appears not to recognise her, but things start falling apart. Strange messages and packages are left for her, by someone claiming to know her past, but who? Transgender, identity
Thirteen Chairs Shelton, Dave Jack stands in the dark on the landing of the old house, and looks at his feet – He has been here for minutes, his hand on the door handle, debating whether or not to go in. A high-ceilinged room lit only by candles. Thirteen chairs, one empty. Twelve ghostly storytellers, waiting to begin. Come in! Take your place. We have been expecting you. Do you dare to listen to our stories? A superb collection of chilling ghost stories. Ghost stories
Island Singer, Nicky An uninhabited Arctic island with no internet connections is not Cameron’s ideal place for a holiday, especially as his research scientist mother is so annoying and caught up with her work. But an Inuit girl and a large white bear seem to encourage him to change his mind. Innuit beliefs and traditions, environment
Car-jacked Sparkes, Ali Jack Mattingly is a twelve-year-old genius, has an IQ of 170, and is a member of Mensa. But while his parents are arguing at a petrol station, their car is hijacked, with Jack still in the back. This is the beginning of a fast paced adventure as Jack and the car-jacker embark on a life or death mission together. The action is fast and furious all the way while also being funny, clever and entertaining. Adventure, crime
Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up Stevens, Rob Stanley’s real mum has finally sent him a birthday card – after years of ignoring him. He’s desperate to meet her, but what is she going to think when she sees a loser like him. He hits on a great plan – get someone else to go in his place – someone charming and witty and successful! She will be bowled over… or will she? Humour, adoption
The Hollow Boy Stroud, Jonathan As a supernatural outbreak baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests against the psychic agencies throughout London, Lockwood and Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits.   But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood and Co.’s concerns when a living assassin makes an attempt on Fittes’s and Rotwell’s lives. Can the team get past their interpersonal issues to save the day on all fronts? A third delightfully terrifying adventure for Lockwood and Co. Fantasy, adventure
Fire Colour One Valentine, Jenny Iris has never met her father Ernest and now he is nearing the end of his life and wants to see her. She’s not sure about this – after all, who is this stranger with his priceless art collection? Does he think because of this she will come running? Think again! Families, identity
Birdy Vallance, Jess Frances Bird has been a loner for so long that she’s given up on ever finding real friendship. But then she’s asked to show a new girl, Alberta, around school, and she begins to think her luck could finally be changing.   The two girls click immediately, and it’s not long before they are inseparable. Frances could not be happier. But as Frances finds out more about her new best friend – her past, her secrets, and her plans for the future – she starts to examine their friendship more closely. Is it, perhaps, just too good to be true? Friendship, suspense
Liccle Bit Wheatle, Alex Venetia King is the hottest girl at school. Too bad Lemar is the second shortest guy in his year. Everyone calls him Liccle Bit, and his two best friends, McKay and Jonah, never tire of telling him he has no chance with girls. Liccle Bit wishes he could do something – anything! – to make life better.   But now South Crongton’s notorious gang leader has taken an interest in Liccle Bit. Before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself running errands. But when he hears about a killing on the estate, Liccle Bit is forced to question his choices. How can he possibly put things right? Identity, gangs
The Art of Being Normal Williamson, Lisa David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. And then there’s Leo – new in school and who just wants to be invisible.   An unlikely friendship forms. Transgender, identity
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow Woodfine, Katherine With all the magnificent jewellery on display at Sinclair’s department store, what is the special significance of the clockwork sparrow and why was it stolen? Bold heroines Sophie Taylor and Lilian Rose race through Edwardian London to find out. Historical fiction, mystery, detectives
Velocity Wooding, Chris Cassica and Shiara have grown up in an outback settlement far from anywhere. Life is hard where they live, but these two girls have a dream. They want to take on the Widowmaker: an off-road rally through some of the most dangerous places on Earth. It’s their ticket to fame and fortune. But it just might be the death of them… Dystopia

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