Top Ten Love Stories For Teenagers

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They say the first love is the sweetest - and certainly, we all remember our first loves. But they also say that course of true love never runs smooth - and this selection looks at first love in all its guises, in all sorts of situations. They cover apartheid, sexual ambiguity, mortality and abuse. They take place all over the world, and the styles are just as diverse. There's kitchen sink drama and magic realism. But most of all, there's first love. Enjoy! Why not tell us about your favourites?


Ruby Red by Linzi Glass

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A beautifully written story of young love amidst the turmoil of apartheid South Africa during the 1970s as it led up to the massacres of schoolchildren in Soweto in 1976. Agonising, lyrical and intensely romantic, it blends politics and young love to stunning effect. Don't miss it. Full review...

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

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A mix of teenage life, fantasy and folk tale and absolutely bristling with tension, this is a book that will be read over and over again. Head and shoulders above the competition. Full review...

What I Was by Meg Rosoff

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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...

Lucas by Kevin Brooks

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A stunning book with a realistic setting and a tiny dose of spiritual fantasy, Lucas will stay with you for a long time after you've finished reading. Full review...

Meet Me At The Boathouse by Suzanne Bugler

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Bugler creates a tense, electric atmosphere in this book about obsessive, abusive relationships. It's a subtle examination of the balance of power between lovers and it turns an unforgiving eye on poor parenting. Beautifully done. Full review...

The Dirty South by Alex Wheatle

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Crisp, clean writing with wit and humour tempers this story of the urban black experience in Britain. It's not angry, but it makes some angry points. For teens and adults. Bookbag absolutely loved it. Full review...

The Last Free Cat by Jon Blake

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A very well-written and exceedingly satisfying chase novel set in an authoritarian Britain in the near future. Themes of corporate power, civil liberties, and personal responsibility lie under a tense and action-packed narrative. There's something for everyone here, including a love story. Full review...

Selina Penaluna by Jan Page

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A lyrical book in which an old woman looks back over her wartime childhood and finally makes peace with her past. Beautiful and haunting writing lifts it above much of the competition. Full review...

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

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Poetic, lyrical, heartbreaking, agonising, Before I Die tells the story of the final few weeks in the life of a terminally ill adolescent. It's frank and open, dealing with every possible taboo subject, but it has great beauty and at times touches on profundity. Full review...

Knife by R J Anderson

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A lovely, engaging story about faeries who have lost their magic after severing ties with humans. It's a very traditional story, but it never feels old-fashioned. A refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous urbanised supernatural tale. Full review...

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