Top Must-Read Books For Teens This Christmas

Top Must Read Teen Books

The blogosphere is awash with Christmas gift ideas and as a family of prolific readers we are always on the look out for a good book.  I have picked my daughter’s brains to put together a few recommendations (in no particular order) for the tween or young teenage book lover in your house, each with a personal comment from my daughter.

  • Bitter Sixteen : Stefan Mohamed

A story about a sixteen year old boy Stanly Bird from Wales whose best friend is a talking beagle named Daryl.  On his sixteenth birthday, Stanly gains superhero powers of flight and telekinesis and after a series of extraordinary events decides to move to London, only to experience events even more traumatic and terrifying than those he left behind in Wales.  “The perfect combination of funny and supernatural elements with just the right amount of weird horror to keep you on your toes.  A real page turner.” 

  • Burn After Writing : Rhiannon Shove

An interactive book that invites the teen reader to face life’s big questions “Who are you now? How did you get here? Where are you going?” and to record them as a personal journal.  Divided into three sections The Past, The Present and The Future, the author encourages her readers to have fun with it as there are no right answers and then once they are finished to burn after writing.  “A book for people who like to think and ask questions of themselves and the world they live in.  I loved exploring myself through this book.  It is full of interesting activities and I want to keep it as a reminder of myself as I am now and refer back to it later in life.”

  • FanGirl : RainbowPowell

Cath and her sister Wren had always bonded over their love and obsession with Simon Snow, but this all changes when they go to university.  An aspiring writer, with a social anxiety disorder, Cath is abandoned by her sister in favour of a high octane social life and left to her own devices.  The book charts Cath’s struggle to branch out alone, a romantic dalliance, a clash with her fiction-writing professor, the betrayal of her writing partner, the psychological break down of her father and her determination to publish her own fan fiction Carry On, Simon.  “Writing is a passion of mine and I loved this story of Cath’s pursuit of her dream against all the odds.  A really uplifting novel.”

  • Goodbye Stranger : Rebecca Stead

Three friends Bridge, Emily and Tabitha are best friends with just the one rule – no fighting, but seventh grade forces physical and emotional changes upon their friendship group via a series of new experiences.  “Secondary school is a game changer for many friendships.  This is a sensitive portrayal of growing up and raises a number of important questions about staying true to yourself.”

  • Life In A Fishbowl : Len Vlahos

The world of fifteen year old Jackie Stone is turned upside down when she discovers her father Jared has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. Jared does not tell his family immediately and decides to auction off what remains of his life on eBay in an attempt to raise money and ease the financial burden of his loss upon his family.  Although the ad is removed, it is not before the highest bidder a reality TV producer, has arranged with Jared to film their lives 24/7.  In a quest to regain her family’s privacy and dignity Jackie sets out to end the show.  “Humorous but sad.  A modern day tragicomedy reflecting on unpopularity, family life, reality television and the entertainment industry as a whole.” 

  • Me Earl & The Dying Girl : Jesse Andrews

High schooler Greg and his one friend Earl spend all their time making films.  One day he is told by his mother to make friends with Rachel, a childhood friend diagnosed with Leukaemia. Andrews is a comic genius and manages to turn a commonly depressing subject matter into a hilarious story filled with teenage awkwardness, love and friendship at its centre.  “A bizarrely laugh out loud book which makes you have faith in the real power and value of teenage friendship.”

  • Say Her Name : James Dawson

A Halloween dare at boarding school between Roberta “Bobbie” Rowe, her best friend Naya and local boy Caine to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary by chanting her name five times in front of a candle-lit mirror at midnight, has unforeseen circumstances.  The words “five days” left on her bathroom mirror the next day start a sequence of events for Bobbie and her friends and a race against time before Bloody Mary comes for them.  “A chilling but witty horror story born out of a seemingly innocent teenage scenario.”

  • The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time : Mark Haddon

The tale of a boy detective with autism, this book turned popular West End play, needs little introduction.  15 year old Christopher Boone lives in Swindon with his dad and his pet rat and has never been further than the end of the road until the murder of his neighbour’s dog turns him into a detective.  Christopher knows a lot about maths but very little about interacting with people.  His world is logical and he turns to his favourite character Sherlock Holmes for inspiration to track down the dog’s killer, which simultaneously brings him face to face with the breakdown of his parent’s marriage. The book is funny and sad in equal measure and gives the reader an insight into the clinical world of an emotionally dissociated mind.  “I knew very little about autism before reading this and found the book both enlightening and incredibly moving.  The play is also definitely worth seeing!”  







  1. Lynne
    April 18, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    My tween daughter LOVES to read. She enjoys a good thriller, the darker the storyline and the more twisted it gets the better in her opinion! An author that she particularly likes, who I was surprised by, is Agatha Christie. I would never have thought of suggesting Poirot or Miss Marple to an 11 year old but my daughter thoroughly enjoys a good murder mystery. #tweenteensbeyond

  2. December 5, 2017 / 7:17 am

    This is so helpful!! Teen girl has begun reading so much more just lately which I really want to encourage as a total bookworm myself but she’s into very different genres to me so this os just what I needed #tweensteensbeyond
    daydreams of a mum recently posted…How my words ended up a real actual book!!My Profile

    • Jo
      December 5, 2017 / 3:50 pm

      Oh great Kelly. My daughter predominantly enjoys the horror, supernatural and mystery books but her repertoire is actually quite extensive – she dreams of having a weekend job in Waterstones and writing the little cards they put on the books telling you what they are about! Sweet really.

    • Jo
      December 4, 2017 / 12:46 pm

      I would be interested to hear if she enjoys any of them. Thanks for hosting Mac.

    • Jo
      December 4, 2017 / 12:46 pm

      Thanks Suzanne. Great of you to take the time to read and share.

  3. December 2, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    Great list Jo! I struggle so much to get my teens to read. Finally my 19 year old likes to read for pleasure but the younger two refuse point blank. I love young adult fiction and have had a go at writing some myself. Two books that I think are amazing are: The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan which is written in poem format and every word counts! Also, Wounder by R J Palacio which is perhaps for younger kids but many teens have loved it. I believe it has now been made into a film xx #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      December 4, 2017 / 12:45 pm

      It is great to have other recommendations for books, thanks Sharon. I haven’t heard of them so will definitely check them out. I despair at my eldest not enjoying fiction and just put it down to being a boy thing. Surprised to hear your girls don’t enjoy it much. They are bucking the trend.

  4. Spectrum Mum
    December 1, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Great tips for my niece and nephew. Thank you for sharing ? #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      December 1, 2017 / 3:10 pm

      Great. Good luck.

  5. November 30, 2017 / 8:11 pm

    We have a couple of teenagers on our list so this saves me a job! Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub
    MMT recently posted…#CoolMumClub Linky Week 85My Profile

    • Jo
      December 1, 2017 / 3:08 pm

      Fabulous. You are very welcome. Thanks for hosting.

  6. November 30, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    Burn after Writing sounds like a great book for my teenager! I am going to write that one down. I think he would really enjoy writing in that one. I also like the first one for him too. I’m going to write those two down and try to get them for him for Christmas:) Thanks for sharing this at #TweensTeensBeyond
    Michelle recently posted…My First Born Has Reached the Big 16!My Profile

    • Jo
      December 1, 2017 / 3:07 pm

      The Burn After Writing is really good and seems to have caught a few people’s attention. Glad to be of help.

  7. Midlife Dramas in Pyjamas
    November 30, 2017 / 10:40 am

    I’m in awe that you have teenagers that will read! Our eldest thinks books by Jeremy Clarkson count as reading…I disagree lol! They read their phone screens constantly, does that count? Errr…NO! Sad times… #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 1:02 pm

      Oh don’t be too in awe! I have a teenage daughter that can’t stop reading but a son that will only read what he has to which is currently an Economics textbook!

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 10:13 am

      Thanks Karen for stopping by again.

  8. November 30, 2017 / 1:24 am

    I like the idea of that second book. Our teen is facing some tough choices in the upcoming months and has been surprisingly mature about them so far, but anything that encourages further introspection would be encouraged. #teenstweensbeyond
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…Happening For A ReasonMy Profile

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 9:38 am

      It is one of those books Jeremy that easily divides opinion, but personally like you I think a bit of quiet introspection is harmless. Would be interested to hear your feedback if she does read it. Good luck.

  9. November 29, 2017 / 12:31 am

    Good list – particularly Curious Incident, as it’s a book that will appeal to a wide range of ages. In her teens, I introduced my daughter to the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella which she loved as much as I do. For older boys, I’d recommend checking out Chris Priestley’s YA books, Superpowerless and Anything That Isn’t This. #tweensteensbeyond
    Mary Mayfield recently posted…Christmas at Hardwick HallMy Profile

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 9:35 am

      Sophie Kinsella is a fantastic author and I think she has read some of her books. Thanks for your recommendations Mary, it is always good to have others input.

  10. Oldhouseintheshires
    November 28, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    Great list!
    I would add ‘fault in our stars’
    ‘Boy In the striped pyjamas.

    Oldhouseintheshires recently posted…Why your teen needs time out more than ever.My Profile

    • Oldhouseintheshires
      November 29, 2017 / 9:08 am

      Sorry jo! That’s quite a rude reply from me! I was sneakily trying to comment in between parents evenings (my sons, not my class!) and I hit send before I had properly finished! My husband was giving me the evil eye whilst the Head was giving a very boring (I mean necessary) speech about A Level choices!
      Anyway, this guide is great with a few books I don’t know so I’m going to go off and look these up.
      Thanks for the great review!
      Sophie x
      Oldhouseintheshires recently posted…Why your teen needs time out more than ever.My Profile

      • Jo
        November 30, 2017 / 9:37 am

        Sophie, absolutely no worries and no offence taken. I know all too well what a distracted mind and an over eager finger can do! Liked the suggestions. They are ones that she has read and loved and it is great to get ideas from everyone. Hope the A’level choice talk delivered some gems in the end.

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 9:34 am

      Oh yes they are two of her favourites too. Well said.

  11. November 28, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    Ooo, I will save this post for a few years when my soon to be 11-year-old is older. She’s my reader in the family. My 14yo son only reads the text in his video games. 🙂

    Katy recently posted…Funny Gifts To Give This Holiday SeasonMy Profile

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 9:34 am

      Ha ha Katy my son is the same. Unless it is a text book he has to read for his studies, he never picks up a book. He does scour the newspapers but fiction is just not his thing. Each to their own.

  12. November 28, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    I would have no idea what books to buy from my teen unless I asked her, I can hardly remember what I read at her age and there are so many new ones since then. Thanks for the helpful list! #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 9:33 am

      Sometimes I strike gold with my choices for her and other times I fall short, but then again I am the same with the books I buy myself. I have a shelf of books that just didn’t rock my boat so I stopped half way and can’t bring myself to throw them out. Glad you found some inspiration here.

    • Jo
      November 30, 2017 / 9:31 am

      Glad you found some useful ideas Karen. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge
%d bloggers like this: