Rachel Sargeant

Great Teen Reads


Great Teen Reads

I love my job. As a school librarian, I get paid to know about top reads. Here are four Young Adult titles I’ve enjoyed this year.


Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

I loved the quirky characters and their quaintly bizarre way of thinking and speaking. Sophie and her unofficial guardian Charles search Paris for her mother before the wicked authorities can take Sophie away to an orphanage. It seemed like an optimistic version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Most of the action takes place on the rooftops of the city where Sophie is helped by a group of homeless children who live on the roofs. It reminded me of the rooftop scene in Mary Poppins. Sparkling fun.


Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

Deo and Innocent have witnessed unspeakable violence in their village and have to run for their lives. But this is not a swiftly resolved piece of imaginative fiction; this is a story based on real-life experiences. These two boys run and run for months and years. A harrowing but uplifting story of survival and brotherly love. Well written.


Kingdom by Rachel E. Wollaston

Fans of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, The Never-ending Story and Marianne Dreams will love this imaginative fantasy written for modern readers.
Budding writer Pepper takes a job as a children’s nanny at Calthorpe Manor for a year before university. She thinks the gothic house will provide inspiration for her stories, but she gets sucked through a portal into a fantasy world, partly of her own creation.
As Pepper says: “I slept right through the afternoon and the following night. Apparently, crossing worlds really took it out of you.” She’s in for quite a gap year as she battles to save both worlds, not knowing who she can trust.
A great debut for the eighteen-year-old author.


Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

Apple’s mother walked out when Apple was a toddler, leaving her in the care of her grandmother. Eleven years later Apple is overjoyed when her mother returns and takes her to live with her. But it’s not the fairy-tale ending that Apple has dreamed of.
This is a solid domestic drama, aimed at twelves and over, with plenty of character depth. The only slightly irritating thing for me was that this was yet another novel that felt it necessary to quote Emily Dickinson to establish some kind of literary footing for the story. As I’ve seen this device so many times lately, I found the poetry references rather generic.
That aside, I would recommend this novel to teenagers who like an emotional read.

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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