Teen Protagonist

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Recommended by Jennifer Webb @FunkyPedagogy Author: J. D. Salinger Form: Prose Novel Length: 234 pages Brief synopsis: This novel details two days in the life of 16 year old Holden Caulfield. He is expelled from prep school and spends the rest of his time confused and angry with the so called ‘phoniness’ of the adult …

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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Recommended by Jennifer Webb @FunkyPedagogy Author: Kazuo Ishiguro Form: Dystopian Novel Length: 288 pages Brief synopsis: Set in a dystopian society where the state has sanctioned human cloning, this novel centres on a private institution where clones are kept with the intention that they will be harvested for organ donations. This is something which isn’t …

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Rat by Patrice Lawrence

Recommended by Jennifer Webb @FunkyPedagogy Author: Patrice Lawrence Form: Prose Novel Length: 152 pages Brief synopsis: A realistic novel about a teenager living in challenging circumstances – his mother is sent back to prison and he is convinced that his neighbour is responsible. This is one of the OUP Rollercoaster Reads which is written specifically …

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I am the Minotaur by Anthony McGowan

Recommended by Jennifer Webb @FunkyPedagogy Author: Anthony McGowan Form: Prose novel Length: 136 pages Brief synopsis: Realistic story about a teenager living in challenging circumstances and being bullied at school. This is one of the OUP Rollercoaster Reads which are written specifically for teenagers who struggle to read independently – they are accessible but also age …

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The Cats We Meet Along the Way by Nadia Mikail

Recommended by Stephen Dilley @stephenjdilley Author: Nadia Mikail Form: Prose Novel Length: 192 pages Brief synopsis: A “pre-apocalyptic” road-trip novel set in Malaysia: it has been announced that the world is going to end and 17-year-old Aisha is desperate to see her older sister June again, so she, her mother and her boyfriend’s family set off …

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When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Recommended by Stephen Dilley @stephenjdilley Author: Jason Reynolds Form: available as a prose novel AND a graphic novel Length: 272 pages Brief synopsis: A coming-of-age story set in Brooklyn which deals with the everyday of experiences of teenage narrator Ali, his best friends Noodles, and Noodles’ brother Needles who has Tourette’s syndrome. Life gets more complicated when …

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Kemosha of the Caribbean by Alex Wheatle

Recommended by Stephen Dilley @stephenjdilley Author: Alex Wheatle Form: Historical Novel Length: 320 pages Brief synopsis: Kemosha is born into slavery in 17th Century Jamaica but takes the opportunity to escape and learns the art of swordfighting before travelling the high seas on a pirate ship. Age recommendation and challenging content: A fair amount of violence …

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Home by Toni Morrison

Recommended by Robbie Bond @RobbieBondEng Author: Toni Morrison Form: Historical Fiction Novel Length: 146 pages Brief synopsis: Follows the story of Vietnam War Veteran Frank Money who ,whilst in the search of his sister Cee, begins to also look for his own identity and masculinity. Age recommendation and challenging content: Contains offensive language, racism, sexual …

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Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Recommended by John Murphy @johnmurphy7 Author: Frances Hardinge Form: Fantasy Novel Length: 434 pages Brief synopsis: A fantasy, adventure story with elements of magic, mythology and steampunk. The story focuses on Hark, his friendship with Jelt, and the impact the now dead gods had on the world. Age recommendation and challenging content: Suitable for Years 7 …

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A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe

Recommended by Stephen Dilley @stephenjdilley Author: Yaba Badoe Form: Prose Fantasy/Adventure Length: 320 Pages Brief synopsis: A fantasy adventure novel by a Ghanaian-British author about a child who is washed ashore in a sea chest after a ship full of refugees is drowned. She is adopted by a circus troupe of anarchists living ‘off grid’ …

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