Top Ten Books for Teens 2015

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Choosing our top ten books for teens is always difficult and 2015 was no exception. We think there's something here for everyone and they're in alphabetical order by author:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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Arnold Spirit, or Junior as he is known on the Spokane Indian Reservation where he lives, is about to face the biggest challenge of his life, fourteen years that have already seen their fair share of challenges. He knows the decision to go to the rich all-white school, in the nearby town of Reardan, is a necessary one. It means travelling twenty-two miles every day to a town where he's going to be even more of a target, even more out of place, than he already is on the rez. It means risking the wrath of the other Indians, who will see him as a traitor, a turncoat. And worst of all, it means losing his best friend and partner in crime, Rowdy. However, it is the only way he can possibly break through the vicious cycle of impoverishment, depression and rampant alcoholism that has taken over the lives of so many of the inhabitants of the reservation, and it is a path that he must walk for the sake of not just his future, but that of his tribe. Full review...

One by Sarah Crossan

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It's always been Tippi-and-Grace. Never Tippi and Grace. These twins can't be separated - and we don't mean just socially or emotionally; we mean physically, too. Because Tippi and Grace are conjoined twins. They have two heads, two hearts, two sets of lungs, two pairs of arms. But at the waist, they come together. Life hasn't been easy - their father has lost his job as a college professor and so their mother works ridiculously long hours at the bank to keep up the health insurance payments. Medical bills are crippling and money is tight, so tight that the twins are going to have stop being homeschooled and enroll in a "normal" school for the first time. Full review...

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

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Three women. Three sets of secrets about to be laid bare.

Katie lives with her learning-disable brother Chris and her rather controlling mother. They've recently moved to her mother's childhood town after Katie's father got a girlfriend and a new baby. Katie, a hardworking and dutiful girl, is halfway through her AS levels when everything - and I mean everything - goes wrong. First up, Katie kisses her best friend Esme. Esme rejects her and, worse still, tells all the mean girls at school what happened. They miss no opportunity to mock and name call. And then a phone call one night brings Mary into their lives... Full review...

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

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Fans of Frances Hardinge will be familiar with the eerie, unreal atmosphere of her books. Mysteries lurk in the shadows, perplexing and sometimes menacing her characters, and the strange and the banal jostle each other for space on the page. A world both familiar and outlandish is offered to us, where once again a fallible but endearing heroine battles forces which threaten to overwhelm her at every turn. Full review...

Silver Skin by Joan Lennon

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Rab lives in the distant future, in a world where space is at a premium due to population pressures and in which status is expressed by how much room you have to live in. People's lives are guided and supported by their Coms, AIs which teach, medicate, navigate and all sorts else besides. When Rab's mother buys him a silver skin - time travel technology - Rab is overjoyed. The fieldwork he'll be able to do with it will allow him to produce work that will set him up for life. He decides to investigate the 19th century discovery of the Neolithic village of Skara Brae - because his tower block of the future is built on that very site. Full review...

Liquidator by Andy Mulligan

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Ladies and gentlemen, please turn off your phones and suspend your disbelief on this hook by the door as you enter the crazy, exciting and thoroughly silly world of the fantabulous Andy Mulligan. You will encounter ruthless villains, non-stop danger, at least one near-death experience and a rather jolly lorry driver. Where does all this happen, you ask? In the mountain-top fastness of some evil spy? In the secret laboratory of a crazed wizard? Nope – somewhere way, way more dangerous. Work experience. Full review...

Railhead by Philip Reeve

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In the distant future, mankind has travelled into space, not by spaceship, but by train. This is the world of the Grand Network, with nearly a thousand K-gates (like Stargates but for trains) spanning the galaxy, linking hundreds of rich and varied worlds. The Network is watched over by vast digital creatures known as The Guardians, who are slightly apathetic computer deities. The story follows Zen Starling, a boy on the bottom rungs of society as he steals his way through life to support his mentally unstable mother and tough, hard-working sister. But soon, he becomes embroiled with a shady man called Raven, who has a mysterious and slightly sinister plan for the network… Full review...

Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine

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Iris has never known her father. He didn't want her, her mother has always said. He threw them out years ago. But now she's about to meet him again. Her father is rich, you see, and dying, and Iris's mother and stepfather have worn out their welcome in LA. So they're running away from debts and towards a rich, terminally ill old man, ripe for exploitation. There's also the small matter of some of Iris's own bad behaviour. But the less said about that, the better. Full review...

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

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The essential role of aviators in the success or failure of modern war is a given, and fiction is full of the derring-do and dog-fight exploits of moustachioed heroes waving their trade-mark silk scarves as they land their frail and battered craft at a friendly airstrip. But what if the enemy planes outnumber those of your country by hundreds, if not thousands, and you, the pilot, are barely out of your childhood? Full review...

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

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Fourteen-year-old David has always known that he is a transgender girl. (Note: As David uses male pronouns in his internal dialogue I have continued to do so in my review.) However David has chosen a new girl's name and collects feminine clothes to express that inner self. This is a secret kept from everyone except his best friends Essie and Felix. When Leo Denton, who also has a secret, moves to David's school Eden Park from the rougher Cloverdale, the worlds of the two collide. Full review...

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