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Good Teen Novels

‘Flu and pneumonia have kept me off writing for much of the last two months. Reading has been difficult too – nothing much has appealed – but thank goodness for three children’s and teen novels that kept me going.

Passing for White by Tanya Landman
A superb account of the escape of a married couple from slavery in America. Rosa and Benjamin show fortitude, bravery and ingenuity when they travel north with Rosa disguised as a white gentleman. Based on a true story, it is one of a good range of teen novels published by Barrington Stoke for reluctant readers but has wider appeal. It’s a quick read that packs a punch. Written by the author of Buffalo Soldier, reviewed here.

My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray
Fifteen-year-old Lucy has been stuck in the men’s public toilets since she was murdered there six months earlier. No one can see her until Jeremy walks in. Mr Uncool, his one talent is being able to see and talk to Lucy. With his help, Lucy gets out and about for short bursts of time and enjoys meeting other ghosts, including the gorgeous Ryan. But when Jeremy encourages her to find her killer, she has to confront her greatest fear.
I really enjoyed this novel. It’s a fun mix of ghost, romance, comedy and murder mystery with lovely, warm characters. I particularly enjoyed the ghost aspects to the story. A quick, entertaining teen novel for younger teens.

A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan
Don’t let the pretty cover make you think this is a cute little book. This is a part sci-fi, part adventure story that is both exciting and thought-provoking.
From the moment Violet moves to Perfect with her parents, she senses that something is wrong. Her creeping sense of unease and her irrepressible curiosity lead her into danger. This is The Stepford Wives for Year Six with a hint of The Handmaid’s Tale and baddies reminiscent of Lemony Snicket’s Count Olaf. A good read.

I’m fully recovered now and making a ruthless edit to my current writing project, ‘Lost in Freshers’ Week’ and I’m also back up to speed with reading. More reviews of great teen novels and psychological thrillers coming soon.

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. Her latest thriller, The Roommates, is a Closer Magazine "Must Read". Her other titles are The Good Teacher, The Perfect Neighbours and Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty. Rachel won Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been shortlisted in various competitions including the Bristol Short Story Prize. She was born in Lincolnshire and is a graduate of Aberystwyth University. She now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.

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