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6 enthralling books for teen readers

Genre: Drama, Dystopia, Family, Horror, Identity, LGBT, Non-fiction, Politics, War
Age group: 12-14, 15-18

Scottish Book Trust's own Hannah Sycamore has some recommendations that are perfect for curling up with on chilly autumn nights!

These reviews were originally posted in The Scotsman(this will open in a new window) (12 October 2019)

Elizabeth Laird A House Without Walls

A House Without Walls presents a completely different teenage experience, that of refugee Safiya. Safiya’s family are forced to flee Damascus and take refuge with a distant cousin in Jordan. Family tensions soon surface, and they find themselves in a tent with winter fast approaching. Safiya finds herself without a home, without education and completely adrift. This novel perfectly intertwines feminism, the refugee crisis and teenage life. The story ends with both hope and uncertainly for Safiya’s future, and poignantly reflects the harsh reality of so many young women across the world. This is Elizabeth Laird at her best!

Emma Smith-Barton The Million Pieces of Neena Gill

An equally moving YA debut, The Million Pieces of Neena Gill is the heart-wrenching story of a British-Pakistani teen coming to terms with her identity, mental health and relationships. It is a masterful piece of storytelling. Neena’s brother has disappeared, and she struggles to understand and accept the reality of life without him. This novel thoughtfully and sensitively portrays a teenage experience of psychosis, a mental illness rarely written about. The Million Pieces of Neena Gill is a must read.

Dean Atta The Black Flamingo

Fiercely told in narrative verse The Black Flamingo is a deeply moving story of love, self-belief and identity. It is a wonderfully honest and moving read- perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Sarah Crossan. Told through beautifully constructed poetry, this is the coming of age story of Michael, a mixed-race gay teen. Readers will be completely absorbed by Michael’s personal journey, and will laugh, cry and cheer for Michael as he casts aside his old feathers, and flourishes into what he was always meant to be: The Black Flamingo.

Illustratus Ghost

Ghost is a collection of spine-tingling tales from the members of the author, poet and illustrator collective Illustratus. The scene is set with Thomas and Skeeter trekking through a dense and dark marsh to Old Man Blackwood’s cabin, to hear thirteen true ghost stories. But as they get up to leave, Thomas realises they have only heard twelve stories… and in the final thirteenth story the collection comes to a thrilling and unexpected end. This wonderfully chilling collection will completely absorb and terrify any reader. The beautiful illustrations perfectly complement and enhance the ghoulish storytelling. You will be unable to put this collection down.

Malorie Blackman Crossfire

Crossfire, the thrilling next instalment in Blackman's acclaimed Noughts and Crosses series, will have any reader hooked. Years have passed since the love between Sephy (a Cross) and Callum (a Nought) and we meet the next generation: Tobey, Libby, Callie and Troy. Their stories intertwine in a world of forbidden love, politics and racism. This is an incredibly pertinent novel that speaks greatly to our current political climate; exploring how politics can dictate and impact on our daily lives. Troy and Libby are trapped at the mercy of a world they didn’t contribute to and don’t understand, and with the rise of Noughts Forever, it has never been more dangerous to be a Cross…

Rachel McMahon What Kind of Quiz Book are You?

If you have ever enjoyed an online quiz to discover which ice cream sundae, vegetable or Disney character best reflects your personality, then this is the book for you. Rachel is the genius quiz master behind many of BuzzFeed’s most popular quizzes, and has superbly converted online quizzes into an entertaining, enjoyable and joyous quiz book. What Kind of Quiz Book are You? is perfect for evenings when you are off grid, the WiFi is down or you just fancy a good giggle with your family or friends. The conversations this book will generate are just as good, if not better, than the quizzes themselves.