Teenagers have a wide array of books to choose from. The kind of book that converts a particular teenager into a reader is a very special one. It will engage them quickly, it will speak to them about their own life, it will say things that the reader has already thought and puzzled over.
It will be a voice in their ear and it will transport them to another world for a few hours. And it will be a different book for every reader. As a former high school English teacher myself, here are some books that I personally think have those potential reader-making qualities:
1. Candy by Kevin Brooks - A story about Joe and a girl called Candy. Joe develops strong feelings for Candy and decides he has to rescue her from the dangerous life she leads.
2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - Fabulous story of teenagers in a small American town. It is written from the viewpoint of the boys on the wrong side of the tracks. The author was seventeen when she wrote it.
3. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmidt – Joseph is a troubled teen. He’s been in prison and has a daughter and he’s angry. His foster brother Jack decides to look after him but things don’t always go as planned. A slight but powerful story of love and loss.
4. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier – An adult book but I would have eaten this up as a teen. Philip, a young nobleman, tells the story of his uncle’s marriage to a younger woman. When his uncle dies mysteriously Philip blames the woman. She comes to live at his estate and in spite of himself he falls for her. Did she kill his uncle or not?
5. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – a book about two misfits living in a small town in the USA. It’s an unlikely but gripping love story.
|Anne Cassidy is the Carnegie shortlisted author of over 40 books for teenagers.
Her latest novel No Shame is published by Hot Key Books.