Choosing Fiction for Teenagers and Young Adults
Time to read 3 min
Time to read 3 min
Following our recent blog of Top Reading Picks for the Summer, I’ve been asked about some recommendations for some teen and young adult fiction to freshen up the classroom-taught titles. I always recommend extensive reading for EFL students as well as students in mainstream education, as it is a great way of extending their vocabulary, and fiction is a great place to start.
A couple of years ago, I put together a list for English language and literature teachers I was working with in Luxembourg, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to update that list. The original list was not intended to be exhaustive (nor is the current list) but in putting it together I cast my net fairly wide. The resulting titles were based on:
Interviews with a local bookseller responsible for the Young Adult and children’s books section.
A number of personal recommendations from teachers in the UK and overseas.
Recommendations from students.
One or two personal favourites.
I have divided the titles into categories, so it is easier for you to find the kind of thing you are looking for. It’s a pretty eclectic mix, so hopefully, you will be able to find something suitable for your students. If you have any recommendations of your own, it would be great if you could share them in the comments section below. The recent releases are based on the promotional lists from UK bookshops and publishers, cross-referenced against blogs and book reviews. As they are very recent publications, I can’t guarantee that they are all great reads – but should be worth checking out. The recommended authors section is very much a personal choice, informed by conversations with parents and teachers, and comprises a small list of authors who, aside from being great writers, seem to deal with interesting and important issues.
Of course, the best people to ask are the students themselves and, if you are choosing a book to study together as a class, it’s important to consult them. This doesn’t necessarily involve giving them free rein, but you could offer them a few different options. I hope this list will be a good starting point. Remember, always read the book first yourself to make sure it is appropriate for the class – and so you are aware of any potential content or themes that could have personal resonance for certain students. This will enable you to plan how you want to deal with any contentious or potentially upsetting issues.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Gone by Michael Grant
Harry Potter by J K Rowling
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K Le Guin
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz
CHERUB by Robert Muchamore
Hive by Mark Walden
Maximum Ride by James Patterson
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
Young Samurai by Chris Bradford
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Outsiders by S.E Hilton
The Owl Service by Alan Garner
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Lord of the Flies by Wiliam Golding
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
Afterlove by Tanya Byrne
Chameleon by Sarah Holding
Felix Ever After by Cacen Callender
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Forever Ends on Friday by Justin A. Reynolds
Hide and Secrets by Sophie McKenzie
Loveless by Alice Oseman
The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery
Trouble by Non Pratt
When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle
When the World Was Ours by Liz Kessler
I hope you enjoy exploring some of these books and authors with your students as much as I enjoyed putting them together.