Katy Birchall selects the best titles for teenagers this Christmas
The last in the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s bestselling fantasy series ‘Discworld’, The Shepherd’s Crown follows one of his most popular characters, Tiffany Aching, as she takes charge of her fellow witches, preparing for an invasion from their great enemy, the elves. Warm, witty and simply wonderful, the final
novel the author penned before his death earlier this year reminds its audience that kindness and hope can be found in the most unexpected places.
Lauren St John has already built up a solid fan base with ‘The One Dollar Horse’ trilogy and her latest stand-alone equestrian thriller will not disappoint loyal followers. Desperate to win and with a lot to lose, both a troublemaker and a star student decide to enter The Glory, a gruelling crosscountry horse race that pushes them to the limits, physically and emotionally. Exciting and heartwarming, this is a real page-turner that will have horsey devotees hooked from the beginning.
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (Scholastic, £5.99 *£5.69)
In a bid to rally fresh interest, Scholastic is releasing new editions of popular classics, giving Jane Austen’s book covers a rather eye-catching makeover for a younger generation. This story of two sisters learning to cope with a change of lifestyle after their father’s death, and the suitors they meet along the way, has captured hearts since it was published in 1811 and will continue to do so for years to come.
Am I Normal Yet? Holly Bourne (Usborne, £7.99 *£7.59)
Those who immerse themselves in the world of teenage fiction will have heard of Holly Bourne—and if you haven’t, then you will. A recent release already shortlisted for several children’s awards, Am I Normal Yet? is the first in the author’s brilliant new series. It brings teenage mental illness to the forefront as a young girl copes with the dramas of new friendships and blossoming romance while suffering from obsessivecompulsive disorder and anxiety.
Perfect for young fans of the science-fiction genre, the long-awaited new novel from Carnegie Medal-winner Philip Reeve is set in a far future civilisation where a hyperspace railway connects different worlds. Enamoured by trains, petty street thief Zen Starling is recruited by a stranger to steal a mysterious object, a task that leads him into great danger and adventure.
In 2009, the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle authorised a series of books based on the life of a teenage Sherlock Holmes, starting with the 14-year-old sleuth investigating two connected deaths in Death Cloud (2010). The latest in Andrew Lane’s popular, fast-paced series has young Sherlock and his brother, Mycroft, investigating the disappearance of their neighbour while coping with the death of their mother and the flight of their father.
Detailing the lives of three generations of women in one family, the third novel from bestselling author Jenny Downham is ambitious and spectacular. A teenager finds herself falling in love with the wrong person; her mother is struggling to hold everything together as a single parent; and her grandmother
suffers from Alzheimer’s, but is determined to recall painful family memories that others want left in the past.
These Shallow Graves, Jennifer Donnelly (Hot Key Books, £14.99 *£13.49)
The Carnegie Medal-winner’s latest novel is set in 1890s New York, where wealthy Josephine Montfort has her heart set on becoming an investigative journalist at her family’s newspaper. When her father is found dead and the incident is proclaimed an accident, Jo’s suspicions grow and her search for the truth leaves her in a vulnerable position. Full of twists and turns, Jennifer Donnelly’s mystery is well-constructed and utterly engaging, proving once again why she leads the charge in young-adult historical fiction.
* Katy Birchall is the author of ‘The It Girl’ teen-comedy series.