YA Book Club: Inspiration on what to read next from top teen authors

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Looking for inspiration on what to read next? We’ve got a brilliant list of books to share with you, recommended by some of your favourite authors.
Plus, check out our podcast where YouTuber Grace Victory asks the big book questions to up-and-coming authors

Frances Hardinge
Author of A Skinful of Shadows, Cuckoo Song and The Lie Tree

Frances’ selection: Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls follows three fallible yet formidable teenage girls caught up in the fight for women’s votes. We’re shown the intricacies of this turbulent period in a vivid, hard-hitting, funny and emotionally compelling way. It feels like we’re living it, rather than just learning about it.

Penny Joelson
Author of Girl in the Window and I Have No Secrets
Penny’s selection: My recommendation is The Treatment, the YA debut by C.L. Taylor, an author who has written a number of excellent adult thrillers. In this pacey, gripping read, Drew must save her brother from the residential reform academy where ‘The Treatment’ is said to sort out troublesome teenagers. It kept me on the edge of my seat.

Muhammad Khan
Author of I Am Thunder

Muhammad’s selection: Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi – It’s amazing! It combines African mythology with the Black Lives Matter movement, and is perfect for fans of Black Panther and His Dark Materials – you should definitely read it!

Alwyn Hamilton
Author of the Rebel of the Sands trilogy
Alwyn’s selection:
The Winners Curse
by Marie Rutkoski –
I started this at 9pm on a work night, thinking I’ll read a couple of chapters to lull myself to sleep. Next thing I know, it’s 4am and I had rotated 180 degrees in my bed, I had thrashed myself around in the bed and I was finishing it. I’m saying out loud “Kestrel no!” I was so distressed, so emotionally invested in this. […] I was obsessed with this book for the next year until the sequel was published because I made the terrible mistake of reading it when it had just come out. But now the full trilogy is out so you can suffer like me, but for a much shorter amount of time because you’ll probably want to read them all back to back.

Laura Dockrill
Author of Angry Cookie and Big Bones 

Laura’s selection: Laura recommends The Island at The End of Everything, written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, as a special poetic book that is bold and sophisticated and delicate at the same timeIt’s a perfect young adult read. 


Taran Matharu
Author of The Summoner Series

Taran’s selection: Ready Player One combines 80’s nostalgia and the love of gaming, all wrapped up in an immersive and compelling story that kept me up reading into the early hours. The audiobook also happens to be my favourite of all time, with a tour de force voice performance by Will Wheaton of Star Trek and Big Bang Theory fame.

The novel tells the story of a futuristic dystopia where an economic crisis has led to most of the population retreating into The Oasis, an all-encompassing virtual reality game that has become the world’s chief pastime and economic resource. When the founder of The Oasis dies, he leaves his fortune to whoever can solve a series of clues based on his passion for popular culture from the 1980s. Soon every player in the world becomes obsessed with finding the mysterious “egg” hidden within the game.

After several years, teenager Wade Watts deciphers the first clue and becomes the favourite to win – but is soon forced to go on the run as nefarious corporations close in on him, eager to take the prize for themselves. In a race against time, Wade and his friends must complete the quest before their pursuers catch up to them.

Nikesh Shukla
Author of The Good Immigrant and Run, Riot

Nikesh’s selection: Irfan Master’s Out Of Heart is a beautiful, heartwrenching tale of family and what we do for love, and what the cost of our choices is. It follows Adam and his relationship with William who has been gifted Adam’s father’s heart in a transplant, and what the novel tells us, about family, friendship, love, hope and adversity is that we can and will face these things together, and come what may, we’ll be together. And in this bleak world, knowing you’re not alone is more than enough.

Sally Nicholls
Author of Things A Bright Girl Can Do and An Island of Our Own

Sally’s selection: Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty – This is about 20 years old, but it feels quite modern. It’s about a young teenage couple where the girl gets pregnant. Half of it is told from the boy’s point of view and half of it is told from the girl’s point of view. It’s sort of about the next 9 months […] and it’s about the decisions they make […] It’s a really respectful look at teenage romance. It’s by somebody who recognises that teenagers can think about this stuff seriously and make sensible decisions and make stupid decisions as well.

Susin Nielsen
Author of No Fixed Address and We Are All Made of Molecules

Susin’s selection: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a fantastic novel, both funny and heartbreaking. It opened my eyes to a life experience unlike my own and gave me a new level of understanding and compassion, all while being a rip-roaring good read, a real page-turner. Alexie’s voice is powerful and unique.

Alexandra Sheppard
Author of OH MY GODS

Alexandra’s selection: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon, is a story of love, fate and the universe wrapped in a tender romantic package. Both warmly funny and heart-wrenching, Yoon’s relatable characters will reel you in from the first page. I promise you won’t want to let go. 

Laura Bates
Author of The Burning

Laura’s selection: Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber
My recommendation is Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber. At first glance, this is a story about friendship and romance, about living with grief and learning how to trust who you really are. But what I loved about it was the way it explored the murkier grey areas of teenage lives: the times when you love your family but you can’t talk to them, the moments when you need your friends but you push them away, and particularly those experiences where you know deep down that something’s wrong but you don’t know how to trust yourself enough to do something about it. This book takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, but you might just come away with new ideas about following your dreams, standing up for yourself and trusting your own heart, not anybody else’s.

Patrice Lawrence
Author of Orangeboy

Patrice’s selection: You Against Me by Jenny Downham
A book that had a big impact on Patrice growing up: Jenny Downham’s You Against Me which has a contemporary love story at its heart. Rich girl Ellie and poor boy Mikey meet and start to fall for each other. When Mikey’s traumatised sister accuses Ellie’s older brother of sexual assault at a party, the two families’ futures become entangled. A beautiful novel about class, consent and two young people who should never have fallen in love.

Jason Gurley
Author of Awake in the World

Jason’s selection:  Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Saenz

I discovered Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by chance one day, browsing the shelves of my local bookstore, Powell’s. I was in the Pearl Room, looking for a particular book about pencils (I have a pencil fixation, I confess), and there, on the wrong shelf in the wrong room at the exact right moment, I found Benjamin Saenz’s novel, and I picked it up. I picked it up because the title is so long that it shouldn’t work, because the cover art is gorgeous, but I picked it up mostly because it was there and it asked me to. Sometimes a book finds you. I was delighted to find a magnificent novel between its covers, a beautiful story about two Mexican-American boys learning how to be friends, how to survive, how to be. It is a passionate, moving, often hilarious book, and more than that, a necessary one. Everyone should read this novel, preferably right now, this very second. 

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