Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
This classic 1908 children's novel by L.M. Montomgery remains a perennial favorite thanks to its memorable heroine: irrepressible red-headed orphan Anne Shirley. Anne's adventures are full of amusing (and occasionally mildly dangerous) scrapes, but she's quick to learn from her mistakes and usually has only the best of intentions. Although Anne gets her best friend drunk in one episode (it's an honest mistake), there's very little here that's at all iffy for kids -- though younger readers might get a bit bogged down in the many descriptions of Anne's Prince Edward Island, Canada, home. A sad death may hit some kids hard, but the book's messages about the importance of love, friendship, family, and ambition are worth it.

Since publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Numerous sequels were written by Montgomery, and since her death another sequel has been published, as well as an authorized prequel. It is a childhood classic that will last young readers well into adulthood and continue to delight and inspire.
Watership Down
by Richard Adams
Publisher: Penguin
Young rabbit Fiver is convinced that a great evil is about to befall the warren where he lives - but no one will listen to him. At last he manages to persuade his brother Hazel and a few other brave rabbits to leave behind the safety of the warren, before its too late. Chased by former friends, under threat from humans and hunted by dogs and foxes, their journey is a dangerous one - but the rabbits can still dream of a peaceful and safe new life at Watership Down.

In spite of its rabbit characters, there is nothing fluffy or gentle about this gripping tale of perilous adventure which won both the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Carnegie Medal. Beautifully evoking the Berkshire countryside in poetic language, it is an exciting, moving and powerful novel.
Noughts and Crosses
by Malorie Blackman
Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books
In Malorie Blackman's groundbreaking young adult novel, the population is divided into two: the white Noughts are second-class citizens, and the black Crosses are highly-revered and perceived as the superior race. 15-year-old Callum is a Nought, and his best friend, Sephy, as well as being a Cross, is also the daughter of one of the most influential politicians in the country.

The story focuses on their relationship, which is frowned upon by society, and explores the discrimination they encounter at every turn. By reversing traditional racial stereotypes and presenting the White population as the oppressed race, Blackman has cleverly shown racial prejudice from a different perspective.

As well as being a compelling tale of love and friendship, this is an outstanding and thought-provoking exploration of the futility of prejudice. A contemporary classic.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
by John Boyne
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Bruno has a happy life in Berlin, so is shocked when he learns his family are moving to 'Out-With'. One day Bruno is out exploring the bleak surroundings of his new home and befriends a boy of his own age: Shmuel, who lives on the other side of a fence which surrounds a large camp in the grounds.

Shmuel and the other inmates of the camp are all under-nourished and wear a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno is not sure why they are there or why he is forbidden to mix with them but the boys friendship grows.

Their friendship sustains them both but ultimately ends in tragedy when Bruno crawls underneath the fence to help Shmuel search for his missing father. Suitable for readers older than the book's nine-year-old protagonist, the story serves as a compelling and shocking symbol of the futility and horror of the holocaust.
by Melvin Burgess
Publisher: Puffin
Tar loves Gemma, but Gemma doesn't want to be tied down to anyone or anything. Gemma wants to fly - but she can't fly forever...

Melvin Burgess's disturbing story of a group of teenagers on the slippery slope into heroin addiction is a contemporary teen classic. An honest account of the realities of drug use, it presents a plausible and very believable portrayal of addiction. Winner of both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, this uncompromising story is best suited to mature teenage readers.
Looking for JJ
by Anne Cassidy
Publisher: Scholastic
When a 10-year-old girl kills her best friend, she is convicted of manslaughter and locked away. Seven years later she is released on license with a new identity.

In this brave and intelligent novel, Anne Cassidy explores a range of themes, questioning everything from the ethics of tabloid journalism to the outcome of ineffectual parenting. Asking more questions than it answers, this is a brilliant and disturbing piece of writing, that looks beyond the headlines and forces the reader to confront and question some of their own attitudes to contemporary issues.
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Bloomsbury
After his family are killed, Bod is brought up in a graveyard by ghosts – an array of century-spanning characters who care for him, impart wisdom and even teach body-fading skills. But Bod sometimes goes beyond the graveyard into the world of the living – and here his life is under threat from the sinister man Jack, who has pursued him since he was a baby. Bestselling author Neil Gaiman offers up a wonderful story of life, death and coming-of-age in this book, which won the Booktrust Teenage Prize. The fabulously original story is full of humour and surprise and has a brilliantly engaging hero in Bod. Gaiman blends together the poetic, the resonant and the gruesome and Chris Riddell’s illustrations confirm the delicious sense of unsettling people and presences that run throughout.
Maggot Moon
by Sally Gardner
Publisher: Hot Key Books
In an alternate 1950s, Standish Treadwell is growing up in a Britain dominated by the dark, ruthlessly oppressive forces of The Motherland. Life is hard, but Standish struggles onwards - until his best and only friend Hector is taken away from him, and events take a new and more dangerous turn. Gradually, Standish comes to realise that it is down to him and his grandfather, together with a small band of rebels, to make a stand against The Motherland. In a desperate effort to protect the people he loves, Standish sets out on a heroic mission to expose the truth about a planned landing on the moon. Combining conspiracy theory and dystopia, this hugely original novel from Sally Gardner will resonate with readers of all ages. Brilliantly-written and very readable, the story is told in the first person, in the distinctive and unusual voice of Standish, who although he is far from the standard 'hero' archetype, soon proves himself to be loyal, brave and idealistic. A dark and often deeply chilling read, this is also a story full of hope, which speaks compellingly about the value of friendship, trust, courage and freedom. Altogether, Maggot Moon is an unusual, deeply moving and thought-provoking story, which has clear potential to become a modern classic.
The Owl Service
by Alan Garner
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Alison and her family are spending a holiday in Wales, in a bed and breakfast run by Gwyn and his mother. When Alison finds a curious dinner service in the attic, with a strange pattern of floral owls that looks different depending on how it is arranged, the discovery sets off a strange chain of events that look set to effect everyone's lives. Soon, Alison, her step-brother Roger and Gwyn find themselves repeating an ancient Welsh legend associated with the valley where they are staying. As tension begins to rise, can they break the pattern and avoid tragedy? Winner of both the Guardian Children's Book Award and the Carnegie Medal, this extraordinary and powerful story is a modern classic. Blending together mystery, adventure, history and a complex set of human relationships, it will leave young readers eager to read more from master storyteller Alan Garner.
Coram Boy
by Jamila Gavin
Publisher: Egmont
Coram Boy is the story of Toby, saved from an African ship as a child, and Aaron, the illegitimate son of the heir to a great estate. The two boys' lives are linked by the Coram Man, a shady figure who collects abandoned and unwanted children from across the country, supposedly to deliver them to a safe new life at the Coram Hospital in London. In reality, however, the unscrupulous man sells the unfortunate children into slavery, or 'disposes' of them if they are of no use to him. Soon, Toby and Aaron find themselves bound together in an epic journey, fraught with danger and excitement. Rich with historical detail, this enthralling, moving and sometimes deeply distressing read provides an important and thought-provoking insight into 1750s society. Packing a powerful punch, it is a tense tale full of twists and turns, and was a deserving winner of the Whitbread Children's Book Award.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Publisher: Red Fox
Seen through the eyes of Christopher, a mathematical genius and Sherlock Holmes fan, who also has Asperger's syndrome, this bestselling novel opens with the discovery of a murdered dog on the neighbour's lawn. In his search to discover the identity of the killer, Christopher uncovers some disturbing information about his own family, which throws his ordered world into chaos, and he embarks on a journey to London to find the mother he thought was dead. This funny, touching and compelling novel was the winner of the inaugural Booktrust Teenage Prize. A must-read for adults and children alike, it is an adventure story unlike any other.
by Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Walker Books
Fourteen-year-old Alex Rider finds his life turned upside down on discovering that his late uncle wasn't a mild-mannered banker, but instead a field agent for MI6. Soon, Alex himself is dragged into the world of espionage and intrigue. This well-written and action-packed story is the first in the bestselling Alex Rider series about a daring teenage spy. Cleverly plotted and full of excitement, the combination of spy gadgets and undercover escapades will ensure this story is completely irresistible to young fans of action and adventure.
The Kite Rider
by Geraldine McCaughrean
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Haoyou's father is dead - his spirit lives among the clouds above Ancient China. Feeling powerless when the man responsible for his father's death demands to marry his mother, Haoyou determines to follow in his father's footsteps and joins a travelling circus. The Jade Circus offers him the chance to escape his enemies and perform: strapped to a kite, he takes to the skies, and soon amazes audiences across the land - including the infamous Kublai Khan himself. But is the circus master leading him into even greater danger? Set in thirteenth century China, this is an outstanding novel from critically-acclaimed author Geraldine McCaughrean. A fascinating and exciting tale exploring greed, loyalty and friendship, it is a highly original story that will capture readers' imaginations.
The Knife of Never Letting Go
by Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books
Patrick Ness's first book for young adults won the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize. The story begins in a small town where women have been banished and only men remain. Due to a virus, everyone can hear each other’s thoughts, which they call 'Noise'. Todd Hewitt, the last boy in the town, is on the brink of manhood. Forced one day to flee through a nearby swamp, he stumbles upon a patch of silence and – surprisingly – the first girl he has ever seen. Despite their initial mistrust of each other, Todd and Viola team up to evade the men who are chasing him. As they flee he discovers much about himself, his family, about friendship and about prejudice. The first in a series, this enthralling sci-fi/fantasy novel grips readers throughout, presenting them with tough questions about identity, ethics and the nature of truth.
Life: An Exploded Diagram
by Mal Peet
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Clem is a working-class boy who has made it to the local grammar school; his home life in 1960s Norfolk is permeated by his parent's unhappy marriage and the forbidding presence of his curmudgeonly grandmother. When Clem meets the beautiful Frankie, the daughter of a wealthy local landowner, the pair are immediately attracted to each other and embark upon a clandestine relationship. In this intelligent young adult novel, Clem's coming-of-age story of first love and burgeoning sexuality is woven around a tense account of the mounting Cuban Missile Crisis and the looming threat of nuclear war. Soon the two story strands meet in a shocking and unexpected climax. Deftly written and highly original, this engrossing novel from an award-winning author offers a thought-provoking read for teenagers and adults alike.
Northern Lights
by Philip Pullman
Publisher: Scholastic
Lyra and her animal daemon live a carefree life amongst the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. Yet the destiny that awaits her will take her far from her home, to the magical frozen lands of the Arctic, amongst the witch-clans and ice-bears. Here, she will discover the truth about her identity, which will have immeasurable consequences reaching beyond her own world. This extraordinary fantasy is the first book in Philip Pullman's multi-award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy. Exciting, original and enormously powerful it is an incredible feat of imagination, and one of the classics of 20th century children's literature.
The Ruby in the Smoke
by Philip Pullman
Publisher: Scholastic
After the sudden death of her father, Sally Lockhart is forced to go to live in London with an obnoxious cousin. There, she receives an anonymous letter containing a warning so dire that it makes a man die of fear at her feet. Determined to discover the truth about what happened to her father, Sally is soon plunged into a dangerous and terrifying adventure that takes her to the dark heart of Victorian London. Inspired by the tradition of the Victorian melodrama, Philip Pullman's first Sally Lockhart story is a cracking adventure. Cleverly-plotted, bristling with excitement and brilliantly gripping, it also provides an intriguing insight into the injustice and inequality of Victorian society, making it rich and fascinating reading for older children, teenagers and adults.
Witch Child
by Celia Rees
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
This is the gripping tale of Mary, the granddaughter of a witch. After seeing her grandmother burned at the stake, Mary is rescued and sent overseas to America to live amongst a Puritan community. However, with her background and gifts, this is not necessarily the safest place to be. Set in the mid-seventeenth century, this powerful story is utterly engrossing from start to finish. Beautifully-written, with skilfully-drawn characters, it is both a fascinating glimpse into a specific period of history, and an absorbing coming-of-age story.
Mortal Engines
by Philip Reeve
Publisher: Scholastic
London is on the move again: the traction city trawls the world on wheels, capturing and eating smaller towns. But when he is thrown off the city by his childhood hero Valentine, young hero Tom joins forces with the mysterious Hester, and is soon forced to reassess life as he knows it. Set in a captivating futuristic landscape, this hugely imaginative story is a vivid blend of action, romance, mystery, crime and horror. Packed full of colourful characters and locations, it is a whirlwind adventure that challenges both Tom and the reader to rexamine their attitudes and preconceptions.
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
by Louise Rennison
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Welcome to the world of Georgia Nicolson - an angst-ridden teenage girl who keeps a diary to record the rollercoaster of emotions and experiences she faces every day. Parents, boyfriends, bullies and hair-bleaching disasters are all part of Georgia's eventful life, which she relates with tremendous verve, wit and humour. This riotous novel is the first in a series of hilarous Georgia Nicholson stories from bestselling author Louise Rennison, which are beloved by teenage girls across the world.
How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff
Publisher: Penguin
Fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy is sent to England to spend a summer with her unconventional cousins: Isaac, Edmond, Osbert and Piper - plus their two dogs and a goat in a rambling English country house. So far so perfect, but the shadow of war hangs over this idyllic existence, eventually breaking in with great force and throwing everything into chaos. Winner of the 2004 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the 2005 Booktrust Teenage Prize, this is a powerful exploration of the universal themes of love and war.
by Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
'They say dead men tell no tales, but they're wrong. Even the dead tell stories.' When Sig Andersson is held hostage in his family's cabin in the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness - along with his father's frozen corpse – menaced by the terrifying Gunther Wolff ('You don't remember me. I remember you'), he realises his dead father had an untold story that he must piece together. It's a story about gold. And there's a gun pointed at his head. This taught, chilling thriller is relentless.The tension is constantly maintained as past and present narratives collide. A clever and enormously compelling young adult novel from Marcus Sedgwick, Revolver won the Booktrust Teenage Prize.
The Fellowship of The Ring
by J R R Tolkien
Publisher: HarperCollins
The first part of J R R Tolkien's epic masterpiece The Lord of the Rings, this is the story of young hobbit Frodo Baggins, who finds himself faced with an immense and terrible duty. Sauron has gathered to him all the Rings of Power, and intendes to use them to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks is the One Ring - the ring that rules them all, which through a series of coincidences, has fallen into unlikely hands - those of elderly hobbit Bilbo Baggins, of the Shire. When Bilbo entrusts the Ring to the care of the young nephew, Frodo must leave his home and undertake a dangerous journey to the Cracks of Doom to destroy the Ring and prevent Sauron realising his terrible plans. In this story, Frodo joins forces with Gandalf the wizard and a host of other companions - including some of his young hobbit friends - to undertake the first part of the journey towards Mordor. This groundbreaking work of imaginative fiction has been described as both heroic romance and epic fantasy fiction. Set in a richly-detailed fantasy world inspired by myth and legend, Tolkien's spellbinding tale will captivate readers young and old. A true 20th century classic.
Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye. Howl’s Moving Castle is the first in a trilogy of three books which feature these dynamic characters and is an absolute must-read. It also gave rise to a classic Studio Ghibli animated movie.
by Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
The Dog Star, Sirius, is tried for murder by his heavenly peers and found guilty. His sentence: to be reborn on Earth as a dog until such time as he carries out the seemingly impossible mission imposed on him.

In his Earth guise, Sirius, renamed Leo, truly lives a dog's life. Although he is the pet of a girl who loves him, both child and dog are mistreated by the family with whom they live. But the worldly obstacles Leo faces are minor when compared with his chilling encounters with the Dark Powers that are set against him. His quest seems hopeless until at last Sol, Moon, and Earth itself come to his aid. Dogsbody is a tense, exciting, sciencefiction fantasy, a thriller, and a touching dog story all in one.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Reynie Muldoon doesn't think of himself as extraordinary. He thinks of himself as weird and out of place. An orphan, Reynie and his tutor one day spot an advertisement that reads, "ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES?" He is, as it happens, and that means taking a series of tests. Odd tests. Odd, increasingly peculiar tests that go beyond the classroom, or even the realm of the normal. By the end of the puzzles Reynie has passed, as have three other rather remarkable children. Sticky Washington is a bit of a bookworm, but the kind of kid who never forgets a single fact that he reads. Kate Wetherall is an athletic type who carries a handy bucket with her wherever it is that she goes. And Constance Contraire is very small, very rude, and very stubborn. Together, these kids have been recruited by a Mr. Benedict to infiltrate the very prestigious Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and discover what it is that the school's devious head is planning. They know that it's evil and dangerous, but beyond that they are out of information. So it is that our four heroes become spies and set out to save the world using their very individual abilities.