This list has caused me quite a lot of anguish. Not because I couldn’t decide, but because so many of the books I’ve been reading lately have actually been American. So this list goes back to include some of my favourites from my teenage years (just after the dinosaurs as far as my kids are concerned), as well as some of the books which have more recently hit the shops.
The Crysalids, John Wyndham
My all-time favourite – a dystopian horror well before dystopia had a name. I defy you to read this and not spend the next few night straining to hear someone else thinking.
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
Brilliantly imagined worlds, with such vivid descriptions that I knew exactly what each would look like, and so, so sad in places too.
When I was a teenager I used to check this out of the school library regularly. Handsome stable boys, country manor houses and a rich, dysfunctional guardian – what’s not to love?
Harry Potter, JK Rowling
I read the first two of these out loud to my son, as he wasn’t up to the level of reading needed at the time, and that got me hooked. As a family we’ve loved these books, and ended up buying multiple copies of The Deathly Hallows as no-one wanted to wait to read it. Magnificent plotting.
When I was Joe, Keren David
This was one of the first YA books I read after I realised that my books were going to be categorised as YA too. Sometimes tough to read, I never knew where the cunning plot twists were going to go next. I’m really looking forward to the third book.
Torn, Cat Clarke
I loved Cat’s first book, Entangled, but this one is even better. Who can’t relate to being sneered at by the Queen of Mean at school? I loved how the plot unfurled, and winced in horror repeatedly.
Watership Down, Richard Adams
My copy of this is so battered I had to buy a new one for my kids. A book which can be enjoyed on many levels, and the end of which can still make me cry.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
A classic, and one which I appreciated more each time I read another Sci Fi tome. I really, really want a Babelfish of my own.
A fabulously creepy gothic thriller, told from a teenager’s point of view and with a strange but compelling use of language. Possibly not quite YA, but well worth reading.
Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman
A truly powerful, gripping book, and another one which made me cry. This is the level of story telling I aspire to reach when I write, and I have a long, long way to go!