Teen Booklist 2019

40 of the best new fiction titles for your secondary school Library

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 12 months, 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 will be 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 list of 40 books


Acevedo, Elizabeth

The poet X : a novel

Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets – her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight.


Adlington, L. J.

The red ribbon

14-year-old Ella is a dressmaker, but this is no ordinary sewing workshop and hers are no ordinary clients. Ella has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau-Auschwitz. Every dress she makes could mean the difference between life and death. And this place is all about survival.


Alexander, Kwame


It’s 1988. Charlie Bell is still mourning his father, and struggling to figure out how he feels for his best (girl) friend, CJ. When he gets into trouble one too many times, he’s packed off to stay with his grandparents for the summer. There his cousin Roxie introduces him to a whole new world – basketball – and a legend on the courts is born.


Almond, David

The Colour of the Sun

One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door. The world he enters is very familiar, but as the day passes, it becomes ever more mysterious. A boy has been killed, and Davie thinks he might know who is responsible. The real and the imaginary start to merge, and Davie knows that neither he nor his world will ever be the same again.


Black, Holly

The cruel prince

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal. As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the Fey to ever truly belong.


Blankley, Bridget

The ghosts & Jamal

13-year-old Jamal has spent his life  separated from his family due to the “bad spirits” or rather the epilepsy that plagues him. Waking up in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, he tries to piece together what has happened whilst simultaneously trying to evade capture by the attackers.


Bourne, Holly

How hard can love be?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber is hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.


Burgess, Melvin

The lost witch

Bea has started to hear and see things that no one else can – creatures, voices, visions. Then strangers visit Bea and tell her she is different: she has the rare powers of a witch and they warn her she is being hunted.


Camden, Steven

Everything all at once

Poems about one week in a secondary school -sharing moments that span everything from hoping to make it to the end of the week, facing it, fitting in, finding friends and falling out, to loving lessons, losing it, and worrying, wearing it well and worshipping from afar.


Crossan, Sarah


They think I hurt someone.

But I didn’t. You hear?

Cos people are gonna be telling you

all kinds of lies.

I need you to know the truth


Curham, Siobhan

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

14-year-old Stevie cares for her depressed mum and they are plunged into poverty when disability benefits are cut.  Hafiz, talented footballer and Syrian refugee is far from his family and has his own problems, but together their friendship helps each to follow their dreams.


Dawson, Juno


When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She’s wrong. Because rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility. From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.



Children of Blood and Bone

They killed my mother.

They took our magic.

They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.


Duffy, Malcolm

Me mam, me dad, me

Danny loves his mum, and he thought he loved his stepdad, until he started hitting his mum – that’s when he decided to have him killed – and maybe his Dad, the one he’s never met, will help….


Fountain, Ele

Boy 87

Shif is just an ordinary boy who likes chess, maths and racing his best friend home from school. But one day, soldiers with guns come to his door – and he knows that he is no longer safe. Shif is forced to leave his mother and little sister and embark on a dangerous journey; a journey through imprisonment and escape, new lands and strange voices, and a perilous crossing by land and sea.


Freestone, P. M.

Shadowscent : The darkest bloom

When disaster strikes and the crown prince lies poisoned, long suppressed rivalries threaten to blow the empire apart.  It’s up to a poor village girl with a talent for fragrances and the prince’s loyal bodyguard to find an antidote.


Gourlay, Candy

Bone talk

It’s 1899 in the Philippines where

Samkad and his people live according to ancient traditions, but their lives are turned upside down with the arrival of an American boy, who brings news that an army is preparing to invade….


Gray, Julia

Little liar

Nora is a pathological liar – compulsively reinventing the truth to manipulate people. After she gets a teacher fired, the real trouble starts when she befriends someone even more unpredictable than she is…


Hardinge, Frances

A skinful of shadows

When a creature dies, its spirit can go looking for somewhere to hide. Some people have space inside them, perfect for hiding. Makepeace, a courageous girl with a mysterious past, defends herself nightly from the ghosts which try to possess her. Then a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard for a moment.


House, Rowena

The goose road

France 1916. Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. In a last-ditch attempt to save her farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother’s flock of magnificent Toulouse geese.


Kalhan, Savita

The girl in the broken mirror

Jay and her mother are moving in with distant relatives, and they have strict rules for girls. Jay is expected to have only Indian friends, if she has any at all. But this is only the beginning of a nightmare for Jay. When her life implodes, how can she hide the shame and how will she find a way to keep going?


Khan, Muhammad

Kick the moon

15-year-old Ilyas is under pressure from everyone: GCSE’s are looming, his dad wants him to join the family business and his mates don’t care about any of it. There’s no space in Ilyas’ life to just be a teenager. He finds a kindred spirit in Kelly, who is fed up with being pigeonholed as the good girl. But when Kelly catches the eye of one of the local bad boys, Ilyas is faced with losing the only person who understands him.


Khan, Sabina

The love and lies of Rukhsana Ali

17-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that impossible to do. If she can just hold out another few months, Rukhsana will be out of her family home and away from her parents’ ever-watchful eyes. But when she is caught kissing her girlfriend, her parents take Rukhsana to Bangladesh, where everything she had been planning is out of reach.


Leonardo, Cory

Call me Alastair

Born in the back of a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape, to fly off with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by 12-year-old Fritz and Alastair is adopted by Mrs Albertina Plopky, Alastair’s hopeful vision for the future crash-lands. In between anxiously plucking his feathers, chewing a few books and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way back to Aggie and their flight to freedom.


Lowery, Mark

Charlie and me : 421 miles from home

Thirteen-year-old Martin adores his brother Charlie but he’s not like ordinary kids. He’s one in a million. He was born far too early, and ought to have died. They are now on a very special journey, travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall to see the dolphins. But is that the only reason they are going?


Mayhew, Julie

The Electrical Venus

Life in Grainger’s Side Show that travels around Georgian England is hard – Mim works alongside a learned pig, a parrot that speaks four languages and Alex a one-armed boxer.  But when Dr Fox arrives with his science and his magic, and chooses her to be is his Electrical Venus, giving kisses that give an electric shock, she is catapulted to stardom – but is this really what she wants?


Norriss, Andrew


Floyd is good at tennis, really good.  So good that he might win Wimbledon one day. Then Mike appears on the scene.  Mike is different, so different that it seems only Floyd can see him, and he’s not really sure who’s side Mike is on….


Pan, Emily X. R.

The astonishing colour of after

Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: ‘I want you to remember’. Leigh doesn’t know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.


Pollock, Tom

White rabbit, red wolf

17-year-old Peter Blankman is a maths prodigy. He also suffers from severe panic attacks. Afraid of everything, he finds solace in the orderly and logical world of mathematics and in the love of his family. However, when his mother is found stabbed before an award ceremony and his sister is nowhere to be found, Peter is dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine.


Pullman, Philip

The Book of Dust : La Belle Sauvage

Malcolm Polstead’s Oxford life has been routine, ordinary even. He is happiest playing with his daemon, Asta, in their canoe, La Belle Sauvage. But now as the rain builds, the world around Malcolm and Asta is, it seems, set to become increasingly far from ordinary.Finding himself looking after a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua, Malcolm is forced to undertake the challenge of his life and to make a dangerous journey that will change him and Lyra for ever.


Rai, Bali

Stay a little longer

Aman’s dad is gone, leaving her feeling lost and alone. She struggles to talk about it, but it’s a fact and he isn’t coming back. When Gurnam moves in to her street and saves Aman from some local bullies, he and Aman quickly become friends, perhaps even like family. But Gurnam has his own sadness.


Reynolds, Jason

Long Way Down

Sixty-seven seconds – that’s the time it takes for the elevator to reach the ground floor, and it’s also the time it takes Will to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.


Rhodes, Jewell Parker

Ghost boys

Twelve-year-old Jerome doesn’t get into trouble. He goes to school. He does his homework. He takes care of his little sister. Then Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, watching his family trying to cope with his death, Jerome begins to notice other ghost boys. Each boy has a story and they all have something in common.


Sheppard, Alexandra

Oh my gods

Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic. But for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic. She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London! Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.


Tasane, Steve

Child I

A group of undocumented children with letters for names, are stuck living in a refugee camp, with stories to tell but no papers to prove them. As they try to forge a new family amongst themselves, they also long to keep memories of their old identities alive


Thomas, Angie

On the come up

Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died just before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy.


Thomas, Emily


It’s 1979, and 13-year-old Lydia has no idea how she’ll cope when her dad announces that the family has to sell up and move onto a Thames sailing barge in Essex. With his girlfriend. And her three kids. Between trying to keep her clothes dry in a leaky cabin, disastrous hair-dye attempts, awkward encounters with local boys and coping with her suddenly enormous and troublesome family, Lydia fears she’ll sink rather than swim…


Walton, Leslye J.

The price guide to the occult

When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island over a century ago, her other-worldly skills led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona invoked the privileges of a witch; she cursed them and future generations. But such a spell always comes with a terrible price – eight generations later, Nora Blackburn is finding out just how terrible.


Wein, Elizabeth


Nastia is no traitor. She is a daring pilot, the daughter of revolutionaries, and now, as the Second World War descends on Russia, she must fight to save the glorious Motherland. But all is not as it seems and when the battles begin, secrets are revealed and everything that she once knew is challenged…


Make more noise : new stories by female writers in honour of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

An incredible collection of brand new short stories from ten of the UK’s very best storytellers celebrating inspirational girls and women, published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the UK.




Opening Times

Opening times

Term time Monday – Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Fridays and holidays: 9am to 4:30pm

Christmas holiday

23rd December to 1st January : CLOSED