Books To Keep Your Teens Entertained

With a little helping hand from recent TV and film adaptations including Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, books written with teenagers in mind, Young Adult (YA) Fiction as it’s often termed, has kept its crown as one of the most popular literary genres of the decade.

Famed for creating cult classics, love them or hate them books written for teenagers certainly have pulling power – who can forget the vampire romances that burst onto the scene in the early 2000’s under the influence of the Twilight novels.

The genre might be precursed by the word young,  but ever since Bloomsbury issued adult covers for the Harry Potter books to ensure they could be read on the commute, the lines between children’s, YA and adult books have blurred. Such has been the popularity of these books amongst readers of all ages that many bookshops have taken to doubling up; stocking many YA books in both the children’s and adults sections to meet demand.

Although ever popular with adults, YA fiction aimed at teens is still a genre in its own right. Teenagers need to see their experiences and a reflection of themselves and their feelings in novels. It helps them to make sense of the world around them, to process information, to learn empathy, to grow their vocabulary and to shut down from technology – even just for a short while. In the time of pandemic that we’re living through young people need that escape more than ever.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite YA books that you can get your hands on today to keep your teens entertained over this long stay indoors.

Should your teens be reluctant readers we’ve thought of you in our choices too, and we would thoroughly recommend trying audiobooks, they’re perfect to listen to around the house, on the robot assistant in their bedroom and eventually once life gets back to normal on the walk to and from school.

So from mysterious thrillers to cultural statements and the creative world of dystopian futures, we’ve found engaging stories to share with you.

Killer T

by Robert Muchamore

From the author of the Cherub series, Killer T is a fast paced dystopian epic. Harry and Charlie are teenagers who meet at a time when gene-editing technology is starting to explode. Now, with a lab in the garage, anyone can beat cancer, enhance their brain to pass exams, or tweak a few genes for a permanent tan and perfect beach body.

But in the wrong hands gene-editing is the most deadly weapon in history…

Spanning ten years and asking profound questions Killer T is a tale of human resilience. Terrifying, romantic, huge in scope and a story for our times.

Read it if: You’re a fan of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Maze Runner series’.

One Of Us Is Lying

by Karen M. McManus

For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, One Of Us Is Lying is the perfect high school thriller. Five students go into detention, but only four leave alive.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online.

Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Read it if: You’re a fan of crime fiction and mystery books.

Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up The Wall And What To Do About It

by Dean Burnett

Let’s be honest, spending all this time together at home can be hard. Has something recently gone wrong with your parents? Do you find yourself stressed out and arguing about the most ridiculous thing? Why are your parents: obsessed with tidiness, not letting you get enough sleep and not understanding anything that’s important to you?

There are hundreds of books for them about how to deal with you but this is the first book for YOU helping you to know how to deal with your parents and to understand just what on earth is going on. By understanding the science behind where they’re coming from, you’ll know exactly how to troubleshoot conflict when it occurs (and even fix it before it does).

Imagine what you’d be capable of if you weren’t wasting all that time and energy arguing about tidying your room.

Read it if: being cooped up is causing you stress at home and you want to help improve the situation. Remember, they’re not aliens, just parents.

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful, gripping and piercingly relevant YA novel about inequality, police violence, 21st century prejudice and one girl’s struggle for justice.

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer.

Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

This isn’t an “easy” read – it’s tough and, at some points, gut-wrenchingly sad, however, it manages to find hope and laughter in the very worst places and it most definitely worth reading.

Read it if: You’re ready for a powerful and important exploration on how prejudice and racism look today, not only in the media and authorities but in families and friendships too.

Five Feet Apart

by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Two teens fall in love with just one minor complication-they can’t get within a few feet of each other without risking their lives.

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control-even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardise the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Read it if: You’re a fan of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars.


by Patrice Lawrence

Is sticking to the right path always easy, let alone possible? This book explores the ‘backed into a corner’ moral choices of a young Black British teenager who always swore to stick to the right path.

Sixteen-year-old Marlon has promised his widowed mum that he’ll be good, and nothing like his gang-leader brother Andre. It’s easy when your life consists of keeping yourself to yourself, listening to your dead dad’s Earth, Wind and Fire albums and watching sci-fi. Everything changes when a date ends in tragedy and Mr Orange enters his life.

Marlon becomes a hunted man and he has no idea why. They’re after the mysterious Mr Orange, and they’re going to use Marlon to get to him, whatever it takes. With his dad dead and his brother helpless, Marlon has little choice but to enter Andre’s old world of guns, knives and drug runs in order to uncover the truth.

Can he become the person he never wanted to be, to protect everyone he loves?  It’s time to fight to be the last man standing.

Read it if: Suitable for slightly older readers, this is a contemporary urban thriller with a powerful family drama at its heart.

The Way Of The Warrior (Young Samurai Book 1)

by Chris Bradford

It’s always good when you find a book series that gets you hooked – you know exactly what your next read will be. If you’re a fan of fast paced books, with a huge dose of action and haven’t yet found the fantastic Young Samurai Series, you must have been hiding under a rock.

August 1611. Jack Fletcher is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan – his beloved father and the boat crew lie slaughtered by ninja pirates.

As the lone survivor Jack is rescued by the legendary sword master Masamoto Takeshi, Jack’s only hope is to become a samurai warrior. And so his training begins.

But life at the samurai school is a constant fight for survival, he looks different, he stands out and he’s British. Even with his friend Akiko by his side, Jack is singled out by bullies and treated as an outcast.

With courage in his heart and his sword held high, can Jack prove himself and face his deadliest rival yet?

Read it if: You’re a fan of the Alex Rider or Young Bond series’ and you love an action filled book.

13 Minutes

by Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough is an author who writes for both adults and young people, demonstrating just how interchangeable the genres can be.

If you enjoyed her best-selling adult thriller Behind Her Eyes, you should certainly make sure that 13 Minutes is in your to-be-read pile.

This is a gripping mystery that centres around the possible attempted murder of popular schoolgirl Natasha, found in a frozen river one icy morning. She was dead for 13 minutes, and now she wants to know why.

The book perfectly captures the impossible to navigate status-obsessed world of secondary school, and throws in more than a few killer twists along the way. It’s utterly unputdownable.

Read it if: You’re a thriller/mystery addict – and if you ever struggled to fit in at school

Gone – (The Gone Series Book 1)

by Michael Grant

Michael Grant is the evil genius of Young Adult Fiction who counts Stephen King amongst his fans. King called the Gone series ‘A driving, torrential narrative’. It is certainly dystopian fiction at its best.

In the blink of an eye all the adults disappear in a small town in southern California and no one knows why. Cut off from the outside world, those that are left are trapped, and there’s no help on the way.

Sam Temple and his friends must do all they can to survive. Chaos rules the streets. Gangs begin to form. Sides are chosen – strong or weak. Cruel or humane. And then there are those who begin to develop powers . . .

Read it if: You’re a fan of  The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner.