While adolescence can come with a range of new hobbies, to read remains a steady favourite activity for teens, regardless of age. It’s relaxing, especially in times of exams or other stresses – who doesn’t love getting lost in a story? We’ve compiled a list of must-read books your teen should read before they turn 18.
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
Harry Potter lives with his not-so-nice aunt Petunia, uncle Dursley and cousin Dudley in a cupboard under the staircase. One fateful day, letters start dropping on the doormat, all addressed to Harry with a stamp from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This marks the start of an incredible adventure as he learns the truth about who he is; a wizard!
Come on. It’s a classic! If your child hasn’t yet read the Harry Potter series, it’s an absolute must – especially if they’re a fan of the movies. Most people find that the books offer a lot more depth into this magical universe. Buy it here.
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a dystopian future, society is divided into five factions – Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Erudite. Each year, all sixteen-year-olds must select a faction to devote the rest of their lives to. The story follows Beatrice Prior, a girl who upon taking the faction test discovers a deadly secret about herself that sets her apart from everyone else. Alongside choosing who she can trust, finding her place in the world and falling in love, a growing conflict threatens to unravel their society. Buy it here.
3. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A plane crashes on an uninhabited island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, they celebrate because they can do anything they want. They attempt to create their own society on the island, but fail in the face of terror, sin and evil. As the order collapses, a strange howling can be heard in the night, and a terror begins to reign. Buy it here.
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the very roots of human behaviour. Compassionate, dramatic and deeply moving, this read is renowned for its warmth and humour despite dealing with serious issues. Buy it here.
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Set in a dark vision of the near future after a terrible war where society has been split into twelve districts. Each year, every district randomly selects one boy and one girl to fight in The Hunger Games, where there is only one rule; kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister is chosen, she bravely steps forward and volunteers to take her place in the games – marking the beginning of a journey filled with fear, love and government corruption. Buy it here.
6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
It’s a Thursday morning like any other for Arthur Dent, until his house gets demolished – shortly followed afterwards by the Earth to make space for a hyperspace bypass. His best friend has just announced that he’s an alien, and they are now flying through space with nothing but their towels and a book inscribed with the words “DON’T PANIC”. Buy it here.
7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A classic coming-of-age story taking a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Charlie has just entered his first year of high school when the story begins. He is quiet and withdrawn, yet also observant and thoughtful, writing the entire book as letters to an anonymous ‘friend’. Buy it here.
8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Cristopher is 15 and lives with his father. He has autism and loves maths, science and Sherlock Holmes. When he discovers a dead dog on his neighbour’s lawn, he decides to solve the mystery of how it happened himself. The more he unearths, the deeper the mystery gets and the more he learns about his world and his family. Buy it here.
9. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles Halter’s life is nothing ordinary, until he starts at Culver Creek Boarding School and meets the gorgeous, clever and funny Alaska Young. She pulls him into her world and steals his heart, but when tragedy strikes, Miles is faced with death and discovers what it means to love unconditionally. Buy it here.
10. 1984 by George Orwell
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in a dystopian setting where everything is monitored. His every move is observed by the Thought Police, who are responsible for detecting dissent against the Party and its leader and eliminating it. When he meets Julia and falls in love, the pair are arrested and sent to the sinister Room 101 for re-education, and their bond is tested to its limits. Buy it here.