When I was a teenager no one really used the term ‘Young Adult’ and I wasn’t really aware of many cross-over books that could be enjoyed by both adults and teenagers. I am so pleased that this has changed as I love, love, love a good young adult read now I’m in my mid-twenties.
However, when I was in my teenage years books were my lifeline. I was always a massive reader, but I really feel as though books helped me to navigate those tricky high school years. I loved reading books that would provide me with an escape from the drudgery of school, homework and exams, but I also loved reading books that were about self-conscious teenagers like myself who were also having difficulties with spots, boys, braces and friendships.
I felt like a trip down memory lane, so I thought I’d share some of the books that I loved reading when I was in my ‘terrible teen’ years. The only trouble is I now want to re-read them ALL.
Ally’s World by Karen McCombie
I’m starting off with my ultimate favourite. I absolutely DEVOURED these books when I was a teenager. I remember using my voucher from World Book Day to buy book #1 when I was about 11 or 12 and I was hooked. For those of you who haven’t visited Ally’s World, the stories focus on Ally Love and her slightly crazy family. There’s her control-freak sister Linn, her other sister Rowan who loves cooking weird concoctions and her younger animal-obsessed brother, Tor. Ally and her siblings live with their father near Alexandra Palace and the stories follow Ally as she navigates life at high-school whilst dealing with her nutty family and friends.
It’s weird how I remember almost everything about these books and even now looking at the covers gives me a jolt of excitement. They were just brilliant, realistic and blooming funny to boot. I think I also secretly fancied myself as Ally; she reminded me of me in many ways and at the time I had a best friend who looked like Sandy, convincing me even more that I secretly was actually Ally.
Karen McCombie has written many, many other books and series since, but I always recommend Ally’s World for teenagers who are stuck for something to read. I did try reading her second series, Stella Etc but I think I was too firmly planted in Ally’s ‘World’ to get into that. You can still get hold of these books over on Amazon, only with updated covers & I can’t recommend them enough.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
The cover shown on the left is the edition of The Princess Diaries that I owned and my copy is looking extremely tatty now because I read this and read this and read this and read this…Until book #2 came out, anyway.
I was completely in love with Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries. I loved Mia, I loved Fat Louie, I loved Lilly, I loved everything about these books. Again, I probably harbored a secret fantasy that I was Mia and one day I would be revealed as a real life princess…In truth the only thing we have in common is our difficulty to understand Algebra.
Naturally I was ridiculously excited when I found out that Meg Cabot was releasing an 11th book in the series, The Royal Wedding. I for one cannot wait to be re-united with one of my teenage idols, Mia Thermopolis.
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Show me a teenage girl who hasn’t read a book in the Georgia Nicholson series…
The first time I borrowed this book from the library I went to great lengths to ensure my mum didn’t see the title (THONG – GASP!) I guess I must have just put my hand over the ‘thong’ and ‘snogging’ part…
I remember really getting into these in my later teenage years and laughing my socks off. They were brilliant and I instantly became an adoring fan of Georgia. Here was a girl who shared my way of thinking (except for the talking in French part, I never did take French…) I loved reading Georgia’s diaries and her tales of humour, embarrassment and general craziness always appealed to me.
For whatever reason the later books in the series seemed to bypass me. I think I read up to book 7 of 9, so it looks like I have some serious catching up to do…
Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson
I remember being somewhat of a Jacqueline Wilson addict when I was younger. I started off by reading her books aimed at younger readers (I was a big fan of Double Act and Bad Girls, particularly…) then moved on to her teenage books, such as Lola Rose and Love Lessons. However, I think my favourite’s were probably the Girls in Love series. The stories follow three friends, Ellie, Nadine and Magda and they were not only gripping, funny and immensely readable, but they were also hugely realistic. As a thirteen year old it felt as though Jacqueline Wilson had got inside my head and turned some of my inner most thoughts and concerns into a story, which was played out amongst three characters who were great fun to read about. I loved these stories and remember constantly re-reading them during my school years. Jaqueline Wilson is another author that was with me throughout most of my childhood and teenage years and she’ll always, always be one of my favourites.
Junk by Melvin Burgess
After doing some research on this book I now see that it has been renamed ‘Smack’. Regardless as to the title, I’m sure you can get the jist of what this story is about. I happened to be reading this book during silent reading time in English when I was in Year 9 and my teacher commented on what a fantastic read it was. I’d only just started it and hadn’t even really paid all that much attention to what it was about, but once I got into this book it astounded me and it never really let me go. It was utterly shocking, scary and hugely compelling. Junk was one of those books that I have been meaning to re-read ever since, and I think I’m going to go and order myself a copy as soon as I’ve written this post. I read this book 11 years ago and I still think about it today. I think that says everything you need to know…
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
A favourite amongst adults and children alike, I remember reading this in 2004 for a reading group I was involved in at school. It was a million miles away from the types of books I usually read as a fourteen year old (as you can see from above) but it was one of the first books that I remember reading that took me out of my comfort zone. This unusual and quirky story captured my attention from the word go and is one of those novels that I feel completely justifies the hype. It’s completely different from any other book you’ll probably ever read and I love how it appeals to readers of all ages. Definitely one to add to your ‘TBR’ if you haven’t given it a go yet.
So there you have a taster of some of the books that I had my nose buried in throughout high school. I now feel hugely nostalgic and want to go and read them all in the sunshine.
Did you read any of these books when you were a teenager? What were your favourites? ♥