Top Ten Teen Books That Adults Should Read

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Harry Potter caused much debate by being published in versions for children and adults. Teen fiction frequently does everything the best literary fiction does, and more. Bookbag presents its favourite books for teens that adults should read, in no particular order. Why not tell us about your favourites? On the flip-side of the coin, teens will love our Top Ten Adult Books That Teens Should Read.

Apples by Richard Milward


Milward, barely out of his teens himself, lends a voice of authenticity to this look at Britain's urban youth with its binge-drinking, drug taking and seemingly ubiquitous teen pregnancy. It's vivid, anarchic and truthful, and it will have parents hurtling for the censor button. There's a level of structural hubris going on, but the willingness to engage and the kindly eye make you forgive it the occasional street-lamp-as-narrator blip. Full review...

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo


The story of two brothers during the First World War, Private Peaceful is probably for the older primary school child or the young teenager. It is emotionally challenging, but it would suit any young reader interested in history from a human perspective. Despite the uncomfortable truths contained within, there is something about Morpurgo that neither patronises nor shields. It deserves every accolade. Full review...

The Fire-Eaters by David Almond


All David Almond's novels are wonderful, but The Fire-Eaters is Bookbag's favourite. A challenging book, it is probably best approached by only the most mature of pre-teens, but after that, it's for everyone, adult and young adult alike. It's simply beautiful. Full review...

Set in Stone by Linda Newbery


A fine Gothic novel, full of menace and mystery. It's set around the turn of the century, but the overall feel is of wild, Bronte-esque high romanticism. Recommended for all sophisticated young readers. Full review...

What I Was by Meg Rosoff


Intense, dramatic and romantic, this pared-down novel is part picaresque, part rite of passage and part magic realism. It's challenging, affecting and haunting. Highly recommended. Full review...

Henry Tumour by Anthony McGowan


Stylish, funny, and wonderfully observed, Henry Tumour tackles some very big ideas in a speechlessly cool way. It's also heart-stoppingly romantic at times. Highly recommended. Full review...

Exposure by Mal Peet


More wonderful stuff from Mal Peet in a genre-defying novel of great thematic depth and complexity. Hung around an updating of Othello, it talks about football, homelessness, politics and celebrity culture, and it grabs you from beginning to end. Full review...

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness


A compelling, original and pacy future dystopian book with great originality and a dollop of wonderfully observed humour. Bookbag doesn't approve of the cliffhanger ending, which is the only thing keeping it from a five star rating. Full review...

Sara's Face by Melvin Burgess


Told in a true-crime, reportage style, this is a chilling and satirical look on our obsessions with fame, image, and plastic surgery. Burgess takes the usual risks - gotta love this guy - and whether or not you'll enjoy it boils down to whether or not you appreciate the "written down" style. Bookbag loved it. Full review...

The Inferior by Peadar ó Guilín


Compelling, disturbing and utterly addictive, this is a very strong debut novel. Lots of complex ideas, but they never get in the way of the plot. Perhaps a few pages too long, but other than that, this one's a triumph. Full review...

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