Top Ten Teen Books of 2014

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It's been a stunning year for teen books and we struggled to whittle our top ten down to ten! It was a great problem to have though. Apologies to the great books we've had to miss out, but these are our top ten, alphabetically by author

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

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'Maybe we were mad that day. Maybe some of the things that seemed to happen didn't really happen at all. Maybe many of the things that seemed to happen in the days and weeks that followed didn't really happen. Maybe it was all because we were young, and being young is like being mad. Maybe just being human, at any age, is a bit like being mad.'

Claire and her friend Ella Grey are inseparable. Ella is dreamy and strange and Claire thinks she is the most beautiful girl alive. The two are part of arty friendship group who are studying literature and getting ready for university. They wear vintage clothes and drink wine together, dreaming of freedom and future lives full of art and song and creativity. And then, one day, Orpheus appears. His music entrances them all but none more than Ella. And Claire, with a cold lump of dread inside, can see her beloved friend slipping away. Full review...

Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

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Alex As Well opens as its eponymous central character makes a huge decision. Alex has been brought up as a boy. But she feels like a girl. And so she decides to stop taking her medication, get a makeover at a cosmetics store counter, and enrol at a new school. As a girl. And, aside from a few hairy moments - getting changed for PE, working out how to converse as a girl, providing the enrolment officer with a birth certificate - it all works out pretty well. Alex starts to make friends and revels in her new feminine identity. Full review...

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

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Dylan Mint is 16. He thinks about his dad, away on a Special Forces secret mission. He also thinks about football, music, girls, sex - or the lack of it - and all the other things teenage boys think about. So far, so normal. But Dylan also has Tourette's Syndrome and his life is a constant battle to keep it at bay - the ticks, the swearing, the growling and barking of Mr Dog, who always manages to escape when Dylan gets stressed. Full review...

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

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A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special.

This is the blurb on the back jacket of Apple and Rain and it sums up the book just perfectly. Full review...

The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr

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It’s the winter of 1941 and we are in the Ukraine. A fourteen year old girl is hiding in a wood on the vast and bitter-cold steppe. Her name is Katinka, a name from folk song and fairy tale, and she has been befriended by two of the wild Przelowski’s horses. Full review...

Running Girl by Simon Mason

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When Garvie Smith's ex-girlfriend Chloe is murdered, Garvie determines to find out who killed her and why. You can understand this, right? But Inspector Singh doesn't: this is a serious murder enquiry and it's being obstructed by a sixteen-year-old boy who keeps putting himself into harm's way. Garvie's mother doesn't: exams are coming up and while her son has the highest IQ ever recorded by a boy at Marsh Academy, he also has the lowest results. But, even though Inspector Singh threatens charges of obstructing the police and Mrs Smith threatens a move to Barbados, Garvie just can't let it go... Full review...

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

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If anyone ever suggests to you that science and art (or philosophy) don't go together, give them this book! The Ghosts of Heaven presents four fabulous stories from different time frames linked by the natural constant of the spiral. The introduction provides a lyrical explanation of the birth of the universe, the Solar System and us and of the dimensional spiral we call the helix. It also explains that we can read the stories in any of the twenty-four possible orders we please. Full review...

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

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The year is 1959, and a small group of black students are attending Jefferson High, a previously all-white school. Barely anyone is happy that Sarah Dunbar and her friends are going to Jefferson, and the group face a terrifying ordeal as they're surrounded by people who want to see them fail. Chief amongst them is Linda Hairston, daughter of one of the town's most vocal segregationalists. But when Sarah and Linda start working together on a school project, they start to realise they may have more in common than they think - and friendship might not be all they're looking for from each other. Full review...

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

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'Listen. I was alive once and then I wasn't. Simple as that. Now I'm alive again. The in-between part is still a little fuzzy, but I can tell you that, at some point or another, my head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado.'

Erk! That's how Noggin begins and I defy you not to want to read on. Travis Coates was terminally ill. In a last ditch Hail Mary, he consented to cryogenic preservation. And now, he's back, his head grafted onto a donor body. Of all the original volunteers, Travis is one of only two patients successfully brought back to life. It's a cause for celebration, right? Full review...

The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

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It is rare for a book to be so appealing in so many ways. It is usually easy to pick out at least one flaw in a book; a character wasn't believable, the story dragged, the dialogue was slightly awkward, it was on the melodramatic side. Refreshingly and surprisingly, this is a book which is fantastic on seemingly every front. Full review...

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