Top 10 Best Books for Teenagers

From adrenaline-pumping adventures to poignant, coming-of-age stories, books for teens can be inspiring, exciting and moving. Whether you're looking to escape into another fantastical world, or seeking a touching tale about the challenges of growing up, this list has it all.

Action & Adventure

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

This world-famous trilogy follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen and her heart-pounding 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 once 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.

Lorien Legacies

Pittacus Lore

This thrilling series features 15-year-old John Smith, an unusual teenager who is constantly on the move, and will be hunted down if he idles too long. However, when he ends up in Paradise, Ohio, he decides it is finally time to settle down and make friends. But before long, his secret is revealed: that he was once one of nine. Three have perished - and John is next.

Fantasy & Sci-Fi

His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman

Featuring three books - Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass - this thrilling fantasy trilogy follows Lyra and her "daemon", the animal embodiment of her inner self. Travel with Lyra to amazing fantastical settings, through snowy hills, to an otherworldly city, and even to the Land of the Dead, on all sorts of daring and dangerous quests.

The Young Elites

Marie Lu

This series follows Adelina Amouteru, survivor of a terrible illness which has left her with strange markings but even stranger abilities. She becomes one of the "Young Elites", a group with powerful and mysterious gifts. They are being hunted down by the bloodthirsty Inquisition Axis, but Enzo Valenciano of the Dagger Society is determined to find them first. When he discovers Adelina, he is astounded by her special abilities - and her increasingly powerful dark side.

Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes

This sci-fi classic is an exciting and thought-provoking read. It stars 32-year-old Charlie Gordon, a man with an IQ of just 68. He decides to take part in a controversial intelligence-enhancing experiment, and his IQ reaches 185. Unfortunately, as his intelligence and comprehension improve, his relationships begin to crumble in turn. But how will he cope when he discovers the flaw in the experiment: that, in time, he will regress back to his former self?

Love, Loss and Growing Up

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

Full of moving observations about life, death, love and illness, this book follows Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two young cancer sufferers who meet at a cancer support group. The two develop a friendship that - 'slowly, and then all at once' - becomes love, peaking with a wonderful trip to Amsterdam together. Both heart-breaking and humorous, this beautiful tale will make you laugh, cry, reflect and ruminate.

Noughts and Crosses

Malorie Blackman

The first book in a moving and powerful trilogy, Noughts and Crosses subverts social history to compelling effect. Callum is white, and a lowly Nought; Sephy is black, a privileged Cross and the daughter of an influential politician. As they grow up together, their friendship blossoms into something more, but can their love endure hardship, heartbreak, loss and division? This story is filled with unpredictable twists and turns, and is riddled with gripping subplots.

Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell

This poignant tale follows lonely teenager Eleanor, a girl with mad red hair and a hectic home life, who one day meets the cool, enigmatic Park. It's not long before the pair fall in love and develop a deep bond through heaps of mix tapes and late-night conversations. But soon, they come to realise they have 'nothing and everything' to lose. Moving, shocking and funny, this quirky true story movingly conveys what it's like to fall in love for the first time.


The Catcher in the Rye

J. D. Salinger

The cynical young protagonist of this literary classic, Holden Caulfield, is driven by ambiguous angst and general unhappiness, and ends up in a succession of distressing encounters with a prostitute, her pimp, an ex-girlfriend and a former teacher. This shocking and stirring story is recommended for readers aged 14+.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

This influential and exciting story is set in the American Deep South, and is told from the perspective of six-year-old Scout. Her father, lawyer Atticus Finch, is determined to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Animosity and prejudice against Scout's family inevitably result, and Scout comes to truly comprehend the magnitude of the injustice in the world. Powerful and inspiring, this classic is a must-read for teens aged 14+.

  • AAMLD 13 years +
    13 years +
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    A classic sci-fi novel that still resonates today, Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon follows the life of floor sweeper Charlie Gordon as an experiment turns him into a genius...

    With an IQ of 68, Charlie used to be the butt of everyone's jokes but an experiment improves his life immeasurably. When Algernon - the mouse the experiment was tested on before him - dies, Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary...

    Thought-provoking and sure to appeal to today's young adult audience, this is a book fully deserving of its status.
  • The Hunger Games Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9781407130361 - Suzanne Collins
    GAME 12 years +
    12 years +
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    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.
  • ACYRC 11 years +
    11 years +
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    A modern masterpiece from Philip Pullman, this slipcased collection includes all three books in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

    A bestseller all around the world that tackled a number of important and controversial issues, it also won many awards and has had a remarkable influence on literature since.
  • FUL2 13 years +
    13 years +
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    John Green, the author of Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, is one of the most popular voices in contemporary young adult fiction and The Fault in Our Stars became an instant classic.

    You will probably have been in tears watching the big-screen adaptation that starred Shailene Woodley and Ansel Engort as the devoted teenage lovers Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters and the book is just as heart-wrenching and poignant, but keeps a fine line in self-depreciating humour - especially from the wise-beyond-her-years Hazel.

    After meeting at a cancer support group, the cynical sufferer Hazel unexpectedly finds herself falling for the charms of Augustus and the novel follows the two as their relationship develops - taking in a romantic trip to Amsterdam in the process.

    Full of wit, sensitivity and observations about life and illness, this profound book will make readers of any age (especially teens) laugh and cry in equal measure.
  • RYE2 13 years +
    13 years +
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    The Catcher in the Rye has an enduring attraction that puts it at the top of a must-read list for young adults. The cynical observations of J. D. Salinger's central character, Holden Caulfield, condemn the phony posturing and hypocrisy of those around him.

    Holden is driven by vague, unspecified angst and unhappiness and manages to get caught up in a series of uncomfortable encounters with a prostitute, her pimp, an old girlfriend and a former teacher.

    The Catcher in the Rye is as thought-provoking and compulsive as the conflicts of its central character. Recommended for readers 14+.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
  • NUX2 12 years +
    12 years +
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    Malorie Blackman's bestselling dystopian novel Noughts & Crosses launches a superb young adult fiction trilogy.

    Callum, a lowly Nought, and Sephy, a Cross and the daughter of a powerful politician, are childhood friends who eventually fall in love. Increasing animosity between the two families leads Callum and Sephy to see each other in secret. But for how long? Written alternately in the voices of Sephy and Callum, this is a powerful and perfectly paced novel with a provocative plot line to keep readers on tenterhooks.

    Suitable for those aged 12 and over, Noughts and Crosses was chosen as a World Book Night book in 2013.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
  • AFZOX 13 years +
    13 years +
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    A funny coming-of-age novel for teenagers from Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park is the story of two misfits falling in love and growing up in 1980s America.

    The new girl in town, Eleanor has never felt more alone - with her mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out any more if she tried... When she sits next to the quiet and cool Park, the duo get to know each other and it's not long before sparks are flying as they fall in love.

    Through a mountain of mix tapes and late-night conversations, their relationship develops and they come to realise they have both nothing and everything to lose! A sad, shocking, funny and true novel about what it's like to fall in love for the first time, the book is set over the course of one school year in 1986.

    Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist with the added touch of John Hughes' The Breakfast Club-esque nostalgia, this is a young adult novel with themes that will ring true for any of its target audience - and those who are older!
  • KMK2 14 years +
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    Harper Lee's acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird won a Pulitzer Prize after its publication in 1960 and is hugely influential in its exposure of racial prejudice.

    Set in the American Deep South, the story is seen through the eyes of six-year-old Scout, whose lawyer father Atticus Finch defends a young black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

    As Scout's family deals with the hostility and prejudice as a result of the case, there's a dawning realisation for Scout of all the inequality and injustice in her world.

    Powerful and moving, this 'Great American Novel' is a must-have addition to every reader's bookshelf and with the publication of follow-up Go Set a Watchman already one of the biggest sellers of the year, now is the perfect time to rediscover the hugely important book.
  • Pittacus Lore Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9780718185251 - Pittacus Lore
    PLOR 11 years +
    11 years +
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    Featuring the first three books in the bestselling Lorien Legacies series, this collection is a must for young adult readers who have a thirst for action-packed sci-fi stories.

    John Smith is not your average teenager. He moves from small town to small town, unable to change his identity. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is - and if he stops moving, he will be hunted down... Winding up in the appropriately named Paradise, Ohio, he decides it's the right time to settle down and make friends. But it's not long before his secret is revealed - he was once one of nine. Three have been killed - and John's Number Four.

    The Power of Six and The Rise of Nine continue this captivating and mysterious series as the next few in line decide to fight back...
  • Marie Lu's The Young Elites Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9780141376318 - Marie Lu
    MLYE 13 years +
    13 years +
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    A fantasy series that will transport you back to the 14th century, Marie Lu's The Young Elites series is packed with action and will appeal to fans of Harry Potter, X-Men, The Mortal Instruments and Game of Thrones.

    You're introduced to Adelina Amouteru, a survivor of the blood fever - a deadly illness that swept through the nation a decade ago. While many perished, those children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina's black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale and she now has a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto (an abomination ruining their family's name and standing in the way of their fortune).

    However, some of the fever's survivors are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts. Although their identities remain secret, they're known as the Young Elites. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society, a group who seek out Young Elites before the Inquisition Axis - led by Teren Santor, who believes the Young Elites will destroy the nation - can. When Enzo finds Adelina, he's amazed by her powers... soon, the lives of these three are intertwined in ways none of them would have expected. What does remain clear is Adelina has special abilities, but also a darkness inside her that could become all too powerful...