Top 10 Best Books for 12-year-olds

Featuring poignant tales, adrenaline-pumping adventures and fascinating fact-filled compendiums, kids will love the books featured in this list of the top 10 best books for 12-year-olds.

1. Hunger Games Collection - 3 books

Suzanne Collins

This world-famous trilogy follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen and her adrenaline-pumping adventures. The post-apocalyptic nation of Panem consists of twelve 'districts' - most of them horribly oppressed and gloomy places. But Katniss has the chance to change everything when she ends up participating in the brutal 'Hunger Games', a televised fight to the death between a group of teenagers. Be taken in by the intense action and gritty atmosphere of this epic series.

2. Wonder

R. J. Palacio

At the heart of this funny and poignant book is 10-year-old August, a boy who was born with a severe facial disfigurement. He is about to start middle school after being home-schooled for years by his mother - but, inevitably, this will be a tough challenge. August must deal with malicious bullies and childish cruelty, but will show a courageous attitude and a wonderful humour that will inspire those around him.

3. The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, this captivating story follows Liesel, an avid young booklover and determined book thief at a time when thousands of books were being destroyed. When Liesel has to help hide a Jewish boy in the basement, the power of words and books to enrich the soul is explored by both youngsters as they try to evade danger and even death. This spellbinding yet shocking story is a must for any young booklover.

4. Paper Towns

John Green

Quentin is honoured when Margo Roth Speigelman - whose adventures have become the stuff of legend at their school - summons him to join her on an all-night road trip. He's always had a crush on her and can't help but follow as she embarks on a mission to get revenge. But then, she disappears. Now, Quentin must uncover her whereabouts through a series of clues - which have all been left just for him... This heart-pounding adventure is sure to enthral kids.

5. What's Happening to Me? (Boys/Girls)

Alex Frith/Susan Meredith

With separate titles for boys and girls, these insightful books tell children approaching puberty all about the physiological and emotional changes they can expect in an engaging, reassuring manner. Fun and witty illustrations make them funny and accessible guides to the changes every child will face as they grow up.

6. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank & Otto Frank

Discover the heart-breaking story of Anne Frank, a 13-year-old girl who spent two long years in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Anne writes candidly about her experiences with honesty, humour and enthusiasm - but this is ultimately a harrowing read that ends abruptly when she and her family are discovered by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp. Children will be absorbed by this gripping true story.

7. A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness

This award-winning novel features an ancient monster, made up of leaves and branches, who visits 13-year-old Conor O'Malley each night at 12.07am. The monster offers to tell Conor three stories - if Conor will tell his own story afterwards. We learn that Conor's mother has cancer, Conor is bullied at school, and that he has strained relationships with his father and grandmother, but the monster has come to heal him. Friendship, love and overcoming loss are central to this poignant tale.

8. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4

Sue Townsend

This fantastically funny fictional diary stars Adrian Mole, a spotty teenager who faces a host of typical teenage troubles. Featuring embarrassing parents, unrequited love, bullies and bad poetry, this modern classic will enchant children approaching their teenage years.

9. Bullies, Cyberbullies and Frenemies

Michelle Elliott

This heartening self-help book will benefit any child struggling with bullying or anyone who simply wants to know more about it. It answers many compelling questions, such as: Can you do anything to stop being bullied? How can you learn to make friends and respect yourself? This essential guide is hugely encouraging and informative for any child, and will help them develop their self-esteem and overcome bullies of all kinds.

10. 100 People Who Made History


Discover the people who shaped the world as we know it today in this brilliant bumper book. Uncover the lives of inventors, explorers, politicians, sports stars, entertainers and more, from Marco Polo to Marie Curie. This book features incredible individuals from all over the world and is bursting with amazing graphics and fascinating facts.

  • WPL 9 years +
    9 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £7.99
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    What's Happening to Me? (Girls) is an easy-to-understand guide to the physical changes and emotional upheavals that occur as girls reach puberty.

    With witty and attractive illustrations, this book is suitable for readers aged 8 and over. It helps demystify the key questions surrounding puberty and gives reassurance and practical advice on how children can cope with the changes.
  • ADMZI 7 years +
    7 years +
    • £10.39
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    Meet the people who helped shape the world we know today. "100 People Who Made History" is no ordinary history book. Inventors and explorers rub shoulders with political leaders, sports stars, and entertainers. From Marco Polo to Marie Curie via Pele, this top 100 comes from all over the world, taking in all types of people. Packed with engaging graphics and plenty of unusual facts, each profile describes the major influences and tells true stories about the movers and shakers from our history. You can take a seat and meet the people that have changed our world and discover how they did it.
  • The Hunger Games Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9781407130361 - Suzanne Collins
    GAME 12 years +
    12 years +
    • £5.99
    • RRP £23.97
    • Save £17.98Save 73.9999999999999982946974341757595539093017578125%
    • Just £2.00 per book
    Suzanne Collins' bestselling YA book series, The Hunger Games trilogy, transports readers to a dystopian future run by the evil President Snow, where children are forced to take part in a deadly game to win favour for themselves and their village.

    When Katniss Everdeen becomes a contestant, she is convinced she won't return, but as she enters the life-or-death world of the televised game, she finds she's stronger than she thought... Will the odds be ever in her favour? She'll need the help of fellow contestant Peeta Mellark, previous winner Haymitch Abernathy and other rebels to help overthrow the sinister government.

    Totally unputdownable, the Hunger Games books - The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay - are a must for any bookshelf and they will surely generate discussion around the world we live in today. The Hollywood films - starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Woody Harrelson - have gained the trilogy a legion of dedicated fans and now is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the life-or-death adventures found in The Hunger Games books.
  • 6DYG 11 years +
    11 years +
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    Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is a haunting book that will stay with the reader for ever. Thirteen-year-old Anne spent two years in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Her diary combines honesty and humour with typical teenage enthusiasm, but ultimately it's a harrowing and poignant read as it ends abruptly when she and her family are discovered by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp. Suitable for readers from 11+.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
  • MZK2 11 years +
    11 years +
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    Now a major motion picture starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, The Book Thief is a moving and breathtaking novel that young readers and adults will both be sure to devour.

    Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, the country holds its breath, waiting on the brink of war. Young Liesel's life is changed forever as she stands by her brother's grave and picks up The Gravedigger's Handbook from the snow, committing her first act of book thievery and changing her life forever... So follows her love affair with books in an increasingly dangerous time. When her foster family hide a Jewish boy in their basement her world is both opened up and shut down, but the power of words and the ability for books to feed the soul is explored and enjoyed by both youngsters.

    Superbly crafted and incredibly moving, children aged 11+ simply must read this award-winning tale which has proved to be one of the most enduring and respected of recent times.
  • RJP2
    RJ Palacio
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    A poignant book that made all of us laugh and cry in equal measure, R.J. Palacio's Wonder is told using different voices but at its centre is the honest and courageous character of 10-year-old August, a boy who was born with a severe facial disfigurement.

    August is about to start middle school after being home-schooled by his mum for years. The challenge is a tough one for someone like August and he has to tackle bullies and childish cruelty in his journey. But August's resilience, humour and bravery really shine through, making this an uplifting novel that will linger in the reader's thoughts for a long time to come.
  • PTX2 13 years +
    13 years +
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    In Paper Towns, Margo Roth Spiegelman's adventures have become the stuff of legend at her high school - and Quentin is delighted when she summons him to join her on an all-night road trip. He's always had a crush on her and can't help but follow as she vows to seek revenge.

    But then Margo disappears. She hasn't been seen for over a week when Quentin realises there are clues to her whereabouts, and they've all been left just for him... As he finds himself absorbed deeper into the mystery, Quentin has no choice but to take another road trip across America as he starts to evaluate just who and what it is he is looking for.

    A coming-of-age story mixed with a captivating mystery, this is another startling young adult read from Queen of Teen 2014 nominee John Green, the bestselling author of The Fault In Our Stars and Looking for Alaska.
  • MCX2 11 years +
    11 years +
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    The winner of both the Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012, Chaos Walking author Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about the difficult subject of terminal illness and coming to terms with loss.

    Based on an idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, this is an unforgettable read. 'The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do...' is how the book begins, but it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. This monster is something different - something ancient and something wild.

    Now an acclaimed film starring Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson, A Monster Calls is a heartbreakingly beautiful read.
  • AQBTN 11 years +
    11 years +
    • £5.99
    Are there practical things you can do to stop being bullied - at home, at school and online? What are frenemies and how can you deal with them? How can you learn to make friends and respect yourself? If you're a bully, how can you change your behaviour? This essential guide will tell you what bullying is, where it happens and what you can do about it. There are tips on how to assert yourself and develop your self-esteem.
  • DAM2 11 years +
    11 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
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    For a pimples-and-all look at teenage life, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 has it covered. Spots, embarrassing parents, unrequited love, bullies and bad poetry feature in abundance in Sue Townsend's modern classic.

    Loveable outsider Adrian Mole's pseudo-intellectual observations on all aspects of teenage life will have young adult readers in stitches, but there are some thoughtful and sensitive observations that will strike a chord, too.

    A simply fantastic and very funny book from the much-missed Sue Townsend that introduced one of the most-loved characters of recent times.