Teen Booklist 2022

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 covers a diverse range of subjects, genres, authors and interests.

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 for the 2022 booklists will be being delivered soon to subscribing schools!

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

See the full list of books
Title Author  
Ace of Spades Abike-Iyimide, Faridah Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.

Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

The Dark Lady Akala A pickpocket with an exceptional gift.

A prisoner of extraordinary value

An orphan haunted by dreams of the mysterious Dark Lady

Henry is an orphan, an outsider, a thief. He is also a fifteen-year-old invested with magical powers …

This brilliant, at times brutal, first novel from the amazing imagination that is Akala, will glue you to your seat as you are hurled into a time when London stank and boys like Henry were forced to find their own route through the tangled streets and out the other side.

Fire Keeper’s Daughter Angeline Boulley Eighteen-year-old Daunis’ mixed heritage has always made her feel like an outsider, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to be part of a covert FBI operation into a series of drug-related deaths.

But the deceptions – and deaths – keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. Now Daunis must decide what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Felix Ever After Kacen Callender Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
At night all blood is black David Diop Alfa and Mademba are two of the many Senegalese soldiers fighting in the Great War. Together they climb dutifully out of their trenches to attack France’s German enemies whenever the whistle blows, until Mademba is wounded, and dies in a shell hole with his belly torn open.

Without his more-than-brother, Alfa is alone and lost amidst the savagery of the conflict. He devotes himself to the war, to violence and death, but soon begins to frighten even his own comrades in arms. How far will Alfa go to make amends to his dead friend?

Guard your heart Sue Divin Derry. Summer 2016. Aidan and Iona, now eighteen, were both born on the day of the Northern Ireland peace deal.

Aidan is Catholic, Irish, and Republican. With his ex-political prisoner father gone and his mother dead, Aidan’s hope is pinned on exam results earning him a one-way ticket out of Derry. To anywhere.

Iona, Protestant and British, has a brother and father in the police. She’s got university ambitions, a strong faith and a fervent belief that boys without one track minds are a myth.

At a post-exam party, Aidan wanders alone across the Peace Bridge and becomes the victim of a brutal sectarian attack. Iona witnessed the attack; picked up Aidan’s phone and filmed what happened, and gets in touch with him to return the phone. When the two meet, alone and on neutral territory, the differences between them seem insurmountable.

Home is not a country Safia Elhillo Nima wishes she were someone else. She doesn’t feel understood by her mother, who grew up in a different land. She doesn’t feel accepted in her suburban town; yet somehow, she isn’t different enough to belong elsewhere. Her best friend, Haitham, is the only person with whom she can truly be herself. Until she can’t, and suddenly her only refuge is gone.

As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen–the name her parents meant to give her at birth–Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might be more real than Nima knows. And the life Nima wishes were someone else’s. .

Samira surfs Rukhsanna Guidroz Samira is an eleven-year-old Rohingya refugee living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, who finds strength and sisterhood in a local surf club for girls. Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in her village in Burma, when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. Then there’s the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole. A novel in verse about a young Rohingya girl’s journey from isolation and persecution to sisterhood, and from fear to power.
The Sound of Everything Rebecca Henry Life has taught Kadie to be cynical and not to trust anyone. She thinks she is prepared for everything, but then she meets Lips, also an outsider. However she has secrets of which she must let go, if she is to make a stab at friendship and love.
Everyone dies famous in a small town Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock Come on a journey across the rural American West . . .

Meet the teenagers who live in the small towns across these states, separated by distance, but whose stories are woven together in the most unexpected of ways.

Whether they are brought together by the spread of wildfire, by the priest who’s moved from state to state or by the hunt for a missing child, these incredible tales blaze with secrets, rage and love.

The Outrage William Hussey “You know, when you live in a time of progress, it seems that progress is the only possible way. The idea that everything we’d gained, all of those hard-won rights, could be taken away from us, and that open minds could be closed again? But then the Outrage happened.” Welcome to England, where the Protectorate enforces the Public Good. Here, there are rules for everything – what to eat, what to wear, what to do, what to say, what to read, what to think, who to obey, who to hate, who to love.
When the World was ours Liz Kessler Vienna, 1936.

Elsa, Leo and Max have always been best friends, a special team of three. Then the Nazis come.

As a growing darkness descends around them, Leo and Elsa run for their lives, taking two very different paths across Europe. And Max, once their closest friend, now becomes the enemy as he is drawn into the Hitler Youth. Will the friends ever find their way back to each other? Will they want to?

Rat Patrice Lawrence When his mum is sent back to prison, Al knows exactly who’s to blame. Mr Brayker, who lives downstairs, has been making trouble for Al’s mum ever since they moved in, and Al’s determined to get his revenge. Ignoring advice from his gran and sister, Plum, Al takes things into his own hands with a plan that involves the only two creatures he can rely on: his pet rats, Venom and Vulture. But things don’t turn out exactly as he’d imagined …
Splinters of Sunshine Patrice Lawrence Spey recently received two surprises. The first: his ex-prisoner dad turning up unannounced, and the second: a mysterious package containing torn-up paper flowers.Spey instantly recognises it as a collage he made with his old friend Dee, and decides she must be in danger, but there are no clues to her whereabouts.
The crossing Manjeet Mann Natalie’s world is falling apart. She’s just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger. Swimming is her only refuge. Sammy has fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe. Every step he takes on his journey is a step into an unknown and unwelcoming future. A twist of fate brings them together and gives them both hope. a powerful verse novel about two teenagers from opposite worlds dealing with the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis.
The Supreme Lie Geraldine McCaughrean Fifteen-year-old Gloria is maid to Afalia’s tyrannical Head of State, Madame Suprema. When the country is hit by unprecedented flooding, Madame Suprema runs away, fearing she will be blamed for the crisis. To cover up this cowardly act, Gloria is made to step into Madame Suprema’s shoes and is thrust into a world of corrupt and desperate politicians. As Gloria becomes aware of the forces toying with her every move, she must take decisions that could save, or end, thousands of lives – including her own…

A brilliant and darkly funny commentary on our present times by one of our greatest writers.

I am the minotaur McGowan, Anthony Matthew is 14 and is struggling to fit in – something that’s extra hard when you’re taking care of your mum, being bullied at school, and have earned the nickname Stinky Mog because of your poor personal hygiene. On top of all that, he wants to catch the attention of one of the coolest girls in school, Ari. Ari doesn’t walk: she floats, like mist on the water. And she’s as sporty as she is cool. When Ari’s brand new bike is stolen, Matthew spots his chance to make a good impression by getting it back for her…
Show us who you are Elle McNicoll When Cora’s brother drags her along to his boss’s house, she doesn’t expect to strike up a friendship with Adrien, son of the intimidating CEO of Pomegranate Technologies. As she becomes part of Adrien’s life, she is also drawn into the mysterious projects at Pomegranate.

At first, she’s intrigued by them – Pomegranate is using AI to recreate real people in hologram form. As she digs deeper, however, she uncovers darker secrets…

Cora knows she must unravel their plans, but can she fight to make her voice heard, whilst never losing sight of herself?

The Curious Case of Karl Nova Karl Nova  Karl Nova’s second anthology is a collection of very personal poetry and is based on his own unique story. From the UK to Nigeria, and back again Karl seeks to share his life journey, and explain how it has shaped who he has become today.
All our hidden gifts Caloline O’ Donoghue Maeve Chambers doesn’t have much going for her. Not only does she feel like the sole idiot in a family of geniuses, she managed to drive away her best friend Lily a year ago. But when she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she’s found her gift at last. Things are looking up – until she discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn’t be there.
Heartstopper (book 4) Alice Oseman Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Charlie’s beginning to feel ready to say those three little words: I love you.

Nick’s been feeling the same, but he’s got a lot on his mind – not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder.

As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.

Grow Luke Palmer A white supremacist group and its violent leader targets teenage Josh, who is struggling to cope with his father’s recent death at the hands of terrorists. Will he find the strength to resist, or will his unlikely relationship with Dana give them both the escape that they so badly need? An unflinching and muscular exploration of grief, and what we plant in the spaces that loss leaves inside us.
Black brother, black brother Jewell Parker Rhodes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presensts as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to naviagte the world, all while training for a fencing competition.
Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in a sea of whiteness. Most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbed the “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey. Quiet, obedient.
Hey, Girl! Rachel Rooney A teenage girl travels the path to her future in this powerful coming-of-age collection.

The poems explore the comfort of books, awe at the night sky, playground tricks and friendships, and first love conundrums. There are worries, anxieties and questioning thoughts – but there’s also courage, humour and hope, as one girl strikes out for the future, determined to dance to her own tune, find freedom and be herself.

Barakah Beats Maleeha Siddiqui Twelve-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but now it’s time to go to real school.

Nimra’s nervous, but as long as she has Jenna, her best friend who already goes to the public school, she figures she can take on just about anything.

Unfortunately, middle school is hard and Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder around the other kids.

Desperate to fit in and get back in Jenna’s good graces, Nimra accepts an unlikely invitation to join the school’s popular 8th grade boy band, Barakah Beats. The only problem is, Nimra was taught that music isn’t allowed in Islam, and she knows her parents would be disappointed

Burning sunlight Anthea Simmons Zaynab is from Somaliland, a country that doesn’t exist because of politics and may soon be no more than a desert. Lucas is from rural Devon, which might as well be a world away. When they meet, they discover a common cause: the climate crisis.
Together they overcome their differences to build a Fridays For Future group at their school and fight for their right to protest and make a real impact on the local community. But when Zaynab uncovers a plot which could destroy the environment and people’s lives back home in Somaliland, she will stop at nothing to expose it.
Not My Problem Ciara Smyth When Aideen agrees to help ambitious class swot Maebh Kowalska deal with her crazy workload, she doesn’t expect to end up reluctantly pushing Maebh down the stairs. With this, Aideen becomes the school ‘fixer’: any problem a student has, Aideen will sort it out. But her  own life is a mess – Aideen’s mam is drinking again, her BFF Holly is avoiding her and she is skipping school.
The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne Jonathan England has been radically changed by a series of catastrophes – large cities have disappeared and London has been replaced by a lagoon. The surviving population exists in fortified towns where they cling to traditional ways. Conformity is rigidly enforced and those who fall foul of the rules are persecuted.. Only a few fight back – and two of these outlaws, Scarlett McCain and Albert Browne, display an audacity and talent that makes them legends.
The Summer we turned Green William Sutcliffe It’s the summer holidays, and thirteen-year-old Luke’s life has been turned upside down. First his older sister Rose moved ‘across the road’, where a community of climate rebels is protesting the planned airport expansion. Then his dad followed her.

Dad only went to get Rose back, but now he’s out there building totem poles, wearing sandals and drinking mead (whatever that is) with the best of them.

Can Luke save his family when all they want to do is save the planet?

House of Hollow Krystal Sutherland Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange. Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they’re changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful, and inexplicably dangerous.
cane warriors Alex Wheatle Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky. Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer
Girl (in real life) Tamsin Winter What’s it like to grow up online and have every tantrum, every spot – even your first period – broadcast to hundreds of thousands of followers? Most parents try to limit their kids’ online exposure. But not Eva’s. Her parents run a hugely successful YouTube channel, and Eva is the star of the show. But Eva is getting sick of being made to pose in stupid mum-and-daughter matching outfits for sponsored posts. The freebies aren’t worth the teasing at school. And when an intensely humiliating “period party” post goes viral, Eva is outraged. She’s going to find a way to stop the channel, even if she has to sabotage it herself.
In the wild Light Jeff Zentner Cash’s life in his small Tennessee town is hard. He lost his mom to an opioid addiction and his grandfather’s illness is getting worse. His smart but troubled best friend, Delaney, is his only salvation. But Delaney is meant for greater things, and she finds a way for Cash to leave with her. Will abandoning his old life be the thing that finally breaks Cash, or will it be the making of him?

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