Six of the best to enjoy

Six of the best to enjoy

During a recent presentation to teenage readers in Britain, John Boyne, the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, made a very interesting point about the current state of teenage fiction.

He said he felt that there was very little rubbish getting published for young people today, while there was a lot of poor-quality fiction being offered to adult readers.

Well said, Mr Boyne! The 50 or so books we have looked at on this page during the past year have all had something of quality about them. The six titles below (which weren't easy to pick!) are all outstanding stories.

Perhaps if more adult readers read a few of the Young Post recommendations, they might find themselves getting hooked on young-adult fiction.

Alternative worlds are still my favourite settings in teenage fiction, and talented writer Rachel Hartman makes her world as fresh as if she was the first person to come up with the idea. Seraphina (published by Corgi, ISBN 978-055256001) is a fantasy thriller offering a new take on the relationship between humans and dragons. This confident and exciting novel is as classy a book as any of the award-winning titles in the world of adult fiction.

Bartimaeus, that devious and highly entertaining djinni (a type of genie), made a fourth appearance in Jonathan Stroud's The Ring of Solomon (Corgi, ISBN 978-0552562942). Fans were delighted!

This stand-alone adventure followed the great Bartimaeus Trilogy, which had introduced to readers one of the best fictional characters of recent years. You can't keep a good genie down, as this adventure showed.

Jennifer A. Nielsen's The False Prince (Scholastic Paperbacks, ISBN 978-0545284141) was a clever thriller that kept readers on their toes. The story was full of twists and turns, with Nielsen an expert at building suspense and teasing readers with clever cliffhangers.

Four boys are being coached to step into the shoes of a dead prince. Only one boy will be chosen, and the other three will be abandoned. Exciting stuff!

The combination of mounting danger and edge-of-the seat suspense made Helen Grant's Silent Saturday (The Bodley Head, ISBN 978-037033241) an outstanding read for all thriller lovers - teenage and adult alike.

Grant has featured on these pages before. She is a writer who knows what she is doing when it comes to writing for teenagers, and never disappoints.

Adult readers of historical fiction will know the name of writer Philippa Gregory. Her young-adult novel Changeling (Simon and Schuster, ISBN 978-0857077325) had all the classy contents and style of her work written for older readers.

Gregory's absorbing tale is set in 15th century Italy. It focuses on two teenagers, who find themselves caught up in witchcraft, deception and evil intrigue. Historical novels can be a hard sell to young-adult readers, but there was enough excitement and action in Gregory's plot to keep the most demanding teenage reader entertained.

And now, let's end with a bit of silliness and a good laugh. Neil Gaiman's Fortunately, the Milk (Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1408841761) provided both. Gaiman can be a serious writer, but here he has let his imagination and sense of humour run riot.

Dad goes out to buy a carton of milk and is abducted by aliens, kidnapped by pirates, rescued by a stegosaurus in a hot-air balloon and befriended by a trio of dancing dwarfs. No need to say anything more. You get the idea!

Is there anything better than reading a good book? Well, these six Books of the Year are definitely some of the best we've seen. Happy reading!

John Millen can be contacted on


This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Six of the best to enjoy


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