goodtoread.org
http://goodtoread.org/age-range/young-teens-plus/

Books aimed at Young Teens+

Ages 13 and upwards


Across the Barricades

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Kevin McCoy is a Catholic and Sadie a Protestant in divided Belfast.

Needs an understanding of the religious-political situation in Northern Ireland.

Coping with, Growing-Up, Romantic

The Apprentices

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

Each story in the series tells of the life of an apprentice in Victorian London.

Enjoyably Dickensian stories of Victorian London. Some vulgarity, but offset by virtue in general.

Historical, Short

Avenger

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

Elena becomes involved with a hi-tech mastermind nicknamed Dark Star when she asks him for help, and is drawn into his terrorist plot to gain revenge against the world.

Standard military thriller requiring little interference from the reader's intelligence. Amoral treatment of human beings as expendable pawns. Elena & Danny's loyalty to each other. Brief crude language.

Adventure, Boys

Blood Red Snow White

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

Arthur Ransome is a young English journalist based in Russia during the Great War who is used by both sides to carry information and messages to and fro.

Well-crafted semi-biography of Arthur Ransome's life in Russia around the time of the Revolution. Accepted marital infidelity. Some description of the sexual excesses of Rasputin and others. Love for a country not one's own. Courage in crossing war-torn countries in difficult conditions.

Biographical, Historical, Romantic, War

Boy Soldier

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

Danny discovers that his former-SAS grandfather Fergus is back in England, and goes looking for him.

A young man and his girl friend trying to help his wrongly-accused grandfather to clear his name.

Adventure, Boys

The Children of Húrin

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

The family of Húrin falls under the curse of Morgoth and while Turin wanders far and wide, earning a reputation as a fierce fighter, driven by circumstances and his own pride, his sister and mother leave Doriath alone to find him until they encounter the Dragon Glaurung.

A family driven by the curse of an immortal. Passionate loyalty and pride. Unwitting incest between brother and sister. Two suicides in despair.

Adventure, Classic, Fantasy

The Confession of Brother Haluin

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

Brother Haluin of the Shrewsbury Community falls from the Abbey roof and believing himself close to death confesses to the Abbot (with Brother Cadfael in attendance) that he had assisted in the abortion of his illegitimate child before entering the monastery.

Detective, Historical

Coram Boy

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

In 17th-century England care for unwanted (often illegitimate) children is the responsiblity of the Parish which is often underfunded and ill-disposed.

Historical, Thought-provoking

Cuckoo in the Nest

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

16-year-old Ralph Hollis is yearning for a career in the theatre, while his father is furious that he won't find real work.

A young man trying to do what he wants in life without going against his family. The support the family offers even with its spats and storms. The joy and companionship of working in a theatre.

Family, Growing-Up, Romantic, War

The Daughter of Time

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

Grant, a policeman, is confined to a hospital bed with a concussed spine.

Detective, Historical

The "Dragonriders of Pern" series

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care

Set on a future Earth colony, settled by colonists wanting to escape the wars and pollution &c.

SciFi

Dragonsinger

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Menolly is brought by the Masterharper to the Harper Hall on the far side of Pern.

Feminist theme but without a tub-thumping style. Stylistically little more than an extension of [Dragonsong] but fitting in with the others in the series, with which it runs parallel. A nice story essentially about forging friendships.

Coping with, SciFi

Dragonsong

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Three of the books in the Pern series group together as the Harper Hall Trilogy.

Well-evoked loneliness and despair of the sensitive girl musician caught friendless in a place where little music is needed, and certainly none from a girl. The final third of the book is less engaging, although it does show the efforts of the new Harper, Elgion, to widen the outlook of the Sea Holder and his people.

Coping with, Growing-Up, SciFi

The Dungeon

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Alan McLennan is a clan laird, driven by revenge against the man who had his family taken away or killed in front of him.

Tragic story about a man driven to revenge to the exclusion of all else; the kindness of those who look after Peony, even McLennan albeit unwittingly.

Historical

The "Everworld" Series

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

A group of friends, after indulging in some daft sorcery, find themselves trapped between two worlds, switching between them as they wake and sleep.

Fantasy

An Excellent Mystery

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care

With the siege of Winchester and the destruction of its Benedictine monastery, an eldery monk (dying from wounds inflicted on the crusades) together with a young, mute but devoted companion-monk, arrive at Shrewsbury seeking refuge.

Detective, Historical

Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Natalie, at 17, is about to go to college.

Coping with

Fish Feet

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Erik Shaw is a 15-year-old footballer, ballet dancer and keen student.

Solidly-written story of a young man with an unconventional ambition; his mother's and later his father's support; his growing friendship with a ballerina, in spite of her brother's animosity; the girl's father's abuse of his family

Growing-Up

The "Fourth World" Series

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Maggie & Bernard have discovered the Missing Link gene which gives humans the ability to reason and to speak.

Amoral genetic manipulation of human beings and animals within a family community. Origin of intelligent life. Friendship and loyalty in times of social breakdown.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Fr Brown Stories

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

Father Brown is a Catholic priest who uses his intelligence and ingenuity to solve crime in this series of short stories.

Classic, Detective, Short

Gideon the Cutpurse

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Peter & Kate are thrown back to the 18th century and are befriended by Gideon and his new employers, the Byng family.

Two youngsters making friends and mustering resources to return them home. Time travel and paradoxes. Big and small families. Peter's parents' effective separation and reconciliation. Life in the Past and the Present.

Adventure, Family, Friendship, Historical, Time-Travel

The Heretic's Apprentice

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care

When a certain Elave, attendant to Willian of Lythwood (a local merchant and abbey benefactor) arrives with the dead body of his master from foreign travels and requsts its burial within the abbey walls, a visiting prelate, Gerbert, recalls that William had been reproved for heretical ideas.

Detective, Historical

The Hermit of Eyton Forest

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Richard Ludel dies leaving his 10-year-old son, Richard, heir to the estates.

Detective, Historical

Hero on a Bicycle

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Paolo & Constanza's mother Rosemary Crivelli agrees to take in some fugitive Allied servicemen risking reprisals by the local Gestapo.

Wartime bravery from a mother and her teenage children. Chaste romance between an older teenage girl and an Canadian serviceman. Betrayal by a villager followed by reconciliation (personal and sacramental). Positively-presented Catholic piety.

Adventure, Romantic, War

His Dark Materials

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care → Positive

Lyra Belacqua a 12-year-old girl believes herself to be an orphan and is brought up in Jordan College, Oxford, in some recognisable but different England.

Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

The Earth is to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

Humorous, SciFi

The House of Windjammer

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

The Windjammer family business is ruined when their fleet of merchant ships is destroyed, leaving them at the mercy of the bankers and unable to fulfil their obligations to their employees.

Adventure, Historical

I am the King of the Castle

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Warings, which is an isolated & "entirely graceless" country house belonging to a widower, Mr Hooper, provides the main setting for "I'm the King of the Castle".

Classic

Inventing Elliot

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care

13-year-old Elliot Sutton is picked on and bullied at school, so when his family moves to a new house in a different area, he wants to make a fresh start at his new school.

Friendship, School, Thought-provoking

I Was There

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Hans, Heinz and Gunter are three German boys at the time of Hitler's rise to power.

Historical, War

Jake's Tower

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Jake lives with his mother and her violent boyfriend.

Family, Gritty

Jane Eyre

Style: Classic

Attitude: Edifying

Jane Eyre becomes governess to the ward of Mr Rochester, with whom she falls in love.

Classic, Girls, Historical, Romantic

Just Henry

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

Henry, believing himself loyal to his dead father, initially despises certain other people and their ideals, but later learns that his father is less of a hero than he had thought and that the others deserve better from him.

Positive story about post-war attitudes and opportunities. A slightly tolerant attitude towards divorce and illegitimacy. Generosity and cheerfulness in difficult circumstances.

Family, Growing-Up, Moral Issue

The King's Head

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Brother Dominic and his fellow monks are scouring the battlefield looking for survivors to tend to when he comes across a head, detached from its body but still talking.

Lightweight framework of folk stories; mocking or unsure attitude of people of Dark Ages to Christianity

Fantasy, Historical

Look to the Lady

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Val Gyrth, son of a nobleman, is down on his luck when he is rather mysteriously invited to meet Albert Campion, escaping abduction on the way.

Detective, Historical

Meltdown

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

Danny & Fergus, in return for a clean slate, agree to help bring down an impenetrable drugs empire which threatens the very fabric of society.

By-the-book SAS youth thriller with closely-described gruesome action, military jargon, and no real development of the characters. Very fleeting mention of unsavoury topics. Military-style ruthlessness on both sides. An uncomdemned killing by a sympathetic character.

Adventure, Boys

The Missing Link

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Christie follows Danny his strange half-brother and Darling the starling to Dublin early one morning, where they meet Tina, the homeless teenager and Oggy the dog and set off for the north of Scotland where Danny's mother lives with other talking animals.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Monk's Hood

Style: Average

Attitude: Edifying

Gervase Bonel dies of poisoning before an agreement to hand his manor over to Shrewsbury Abbey can be ratified.

Detective, Historical

Mortal Engines

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Apprentice Tom Natsworthy becomes involved with the Anti-Traction League when he tries to save his hero from attack.

Tremendously imaginative; questionable actions of some freedom guerilla fighters

SciFi

Only Human

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Bernard and Colin return from Africa with signs that the legendary Yeti of the Tibetan Himalayas may be the answer to how mankind acquired the Missing Link gene.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Origins

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

The stone which Christie was given by the Yeti is linked to the mysterious creature which takes over the lab at Fourth World; meanwhile in some unspecified place and time, the Dogs and the Cats are in a permanent state of conflict.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Out of the Silent Planet

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

Elwin Ransome, a Cambridge don on a walking holiday, is looking for shelter for the night and chances upon two men, one of whom he knew at school, who drug him and take him with them to Mars in their spaceship.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

A Pack of Lies

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

A series of short stories under the amusing umbrella of a rather mysterious young man who gets a job in an antiques shop and tells each customer a story about the item he's thinking of buying.

Lightweight and amusing series of short stories. One story is about a young Jesuit priest at the time of the Reformation who is sheltered by a lady with whom he falls in love and is forced to marry her to prove his uncelibate state.

Short

Postcards from No Man's Land

Style: Average

Attitude: Objectionable

Jacob Todd has come to Holland to celebrate the Battle of Arnhem where his grandfather fought and died.

Growing-Up, War

Predator's Gold

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

Chased by the Green Storm, a breakaway group from the Anti-Traction League, Tom and Hester with their passenger Pennyroyal are forced to land on Anchorage, currrently travelling across the High Ice towards its origins in the Dead Continent of America.

Adventure, SciFi

Pride and Prejudice

Style: Classic

Attitude: Positive

The five Bennett sisters: Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty and Mary are at or near marrying age; their mother is keen to marry them off and rejoices when Mr Bingley, a personable young man, comes into the neighbourhood with his friend Mr Darcy and seems interested in her eldest daughter.

Classic, Girls, Romantic

The Raven in the Foregate

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Father Adam, easy-going parish priest of the Foregate parish, dies and is replaced by Father Ailnoth, a scholarly and zealous cleric who brings a housekeeper and a young servant, Benet, who is put to work helping Brother Cadfael in the garden.

Detective, Historical

Red Sky in the Morning

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

12-year-old Anna Peacock is determined to look after her baby brother Ben even though he is hydrocephalous.

Loving acceptance of a handicapped child. The stress this places on his familiy. General attitude of respect towards elderly or less capable people (including a harmless kleptomaniac). Anna's efforts to hold things together. Faith seen as meaningful if not entirely understood. Some vulgarity among teenage girls.

Coping with, Family, Growing-Up

Sabriel

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care → Fairly Positive

Sabriel, 18-year-old daughter of the Mage Abhorsen, has to free her father and defeat his enemy before taking on his roles and responsibilities.

Conventional heroic valour and loyalty. Sisterly gentleness of an older girl with younger ones. Brief mention of sexual topics and an overheard sexual encounter. Concepts of necromancy and journeying between Death and Life. Considerable loss of life and gruesome injury in the final battle.

Adventure, Fantasy

The Sanctuary Sparrow

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Liliwin, a wandering minstrel, is thrown out of Daniel Aurifaber's wedding feast after a jug is broken during his juggling act.

Detective, Historical

The Tar Man

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Kate & her father have returned to the 20th Century unwittingly leaving Peter behind in the 18th and bringing instead the criminal Tar Man who uses his new-found abilities as a time-traveller to steal and plunder in this new century.

Slightly less interesting second story. Some nice family touches especially between the adult Peter and his father. Some uncondoned violence from criminal characters. Series starts to become mired in time-travel technobabble.

Adventure, Family, Friendship, Historical, Time-Travel

That Hideous Strength

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

The NICE, a scientific institute, has bought up Bragdon Wood, the land around a small university, and seems to have unlimited powers and support.

Arthurian, Classic, SciFi

Tintin: The Complete Companion

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Journalist Georges Rémi created the character of the young journalist Tintin in 1929 for the children's section of the Belgian Catholic newspaper "Le 20ème Siecle" using the reverse of his initials as a nom de plume.

Accessible but not superficial view of the creation of the Tintin series. Passing references to Hergé's divorce and remarriage. Hergé's attention to detail and eye for authenticity. (2010: Currently out of print).

Documentary

A Town Like Alice

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Jean Paget a young Englishwoman who speaks Malay is caught in Malaysia when the Japanese invade.

Classic, Romantic, War

Tug of War

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The Petersen family, fleeing wartime Latvia with the Jansons, are separated at Gdynia; 14-year-old Hugo is left behind when his glasses smash in the crowded railway station.

Historical, War

Up on Cloud Nine

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

The narrative is led by Ian, a 14-year-old schoolboy, at the hospital bed of his best friend Stolly (Stuart Terence Oliver) who's just recovering from a serious fall, which may or may not have been from an attempt at suicide, which has left him with breaks and bruises and concussed.

Play-like appreciation of the life of an unusual boy; the support and friendship of the main characters and their families. Possible suicide attempt.

Coping with, Friendship, Growing-Up, Humorous

Viaduct Child

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Dushma lives in a society where being registered is everything, she is not registered with the authorities due to a defect during pregnancy and so she is not entitled to do anything.

Coping with, SciFi

Voyage to Venus (Perelandra)

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

Ransome is transported by the power of Malacandra, the oyarsa of Mars, to Venus (Perelandra) where intelligent life is beginning.

Classic, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Wendy

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care

Wendy Darling, an inquisitive but innocent girl, learns more and more about the adult world as her family goes through difficult times.

Coping with, Family, Growing-Up