YA books to read during lockdown and to celebrate World Book Day

by Anita Naik

As lockdown rumbles on and schools remain closed, there's never been a better time to celebrate World Book Day (Thursday, March 4th). Of course, it's not easy with devices galore to get Years 7 to 11 to pick up a book. However, when teens read more, it opens them to more complex ideas and more varied literary techniques. Plus, the more they read, the bigger their core of knowledge is useful across all classes and subjects. Here's what to suggest.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

If your teen loved The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas returns to the world of her award-winning book. Set 17 years earlier, this is Maverick Carter's story, father Starr and pillar of the community in the first book. Here he is the son of a drug lord battling pressure to join a gang and the shock of teen parenthood. It's a raw, and complex that

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

In the 1930s, a timely novel To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, and a historical drama of the Great Depression. A lawyer and father of two defends a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through his children's young eyes Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores race and class in the Deep South of the1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy and the stamina of one man's struggle for justice.

Maus by Art Spiegelman

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father's story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through a graphic novel (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice). It is a harrowing story of survival woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his ageing father. It's an amazing retelling of the holocaust and its survivors.

Flowers for Algernon

The classic and beautiful novel about a daring experiment in human intelligence. Charlie Gordon, IQ 68, is a floor sweeper and the gentle butt of everyone's jokes - until an experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns him into a genius. But then Algernon, the mouse whose triumphal experimental transformation preceded his, fades, and Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren't always what she imagined they'd be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Five students go to detention. Only four will leave alive! Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it's no accident. A tightly plotted and brilliantly written novel.

For more on literature, see our posts How to pass English Literature A Level 8 thought-provoking non-fiction reads and How to become a better reader.

Tags: GCSE
Categories: English Literature GCSE