The school librarian, Mr Jones, has compiled some extensive lists of book recommendations for different year groups to stay home, stay safe, and stay entertained during the Covid-19 crisis. Here are his recommended reads for Year 9.
Peter Brett: Painted Man Series – Totally brilliant tales of a world haunted by demons until a boy finds a way to fight the darkness by covering his body in magical tattoos. Brutal, brilliant and scary fantasy which became a successful series.
Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the end of the Lane – A boy befriends a family of 1000 year old witches if this dreamlike fantasy/horror which features one of the scariest monsters ever. A strange combination of fantasy and horror, it is an adult or a YA novel? It’s very hard to tell….
Lian Hearn: Across the Nightingale Floor Series – Tremendous novel about the search for a boy with special powers, which he uses to good effect after his family have been killed by an evil warlord in a world which mirrors medieval Japan. The first three books are truly stunning.
Sara Holland: Everless Duology – Intriguing tale where time can be bought and sold by transferring life into coins meaning the rich can live for hundreds of years and the poor die increasingly young.
Daniel Keynes: Flowers for Algernon – Charlie has a very low IQ of 68 and enrols in an experiment to increase his intelligence with dramatic and incredibly sad consequences. This is an all-time 1960s classic which may well bring a tear to your eye. I loved it.
Kim Liggett: The Grace Year – Outstanding thriller in which all 16-year-old girls are sent to a remote location to fend for themselves, and which many never return. Why? This was a breakout dystopian hit of 2019 and is already being developed into a film. Also, hugely popular in the school library.
E Lockhart: We Were Liars – Part thriller, part family drama, this novel focusses on a privileged family with complex problems where nothing is quite what it seems. A glorious and brilliant hit with a great twist, which when you get to the end will have you reading the first twenty pages all over again.
Amy Lukavics: Woman in the Walls – Stunningly weird ghost tale surrounding two teenage cousins, odd disappearances and the whispering from within the walls after the death of a parent. Terrific novel from the best YA horror writer in the business, all four of Amy’s novels are highly recommended.
Jennifer Mathieu: Moxie – Girls rebel against sexist attitudes in a small American high school dominated by male sport. I loved this; a teenager starts up an old-fashioned fanzine, inspired by her mother who was a ‘Riot Girl’ in the 1990s.
Yann Martel: Life of Pi – Very accessible Booker Prize winner concerning oceanic, fantasy like, wanderings of a boy stranded at sea on a raft with some animals.
Louise O’Neill: Only Ever Yours – Freida and Isobel attend a school which creates companions for the rich. But what’s the price to be perfect in this dark dystopian thriller where everybody has to be absolutely perfect otherwise the consequences are unimaginable.
Sarah Pinsborough: The Death House – Infected teens are tent to a remote hospital to die. But what is wrong with them? Scary mix of thriller, horror and coming of age novel in a convincing dystopian setting. You might have a tear in your eye by the end.
Rainbow Rowell: Eleanor and Park – Tale of first love set in 1986. Eleanor is 16 and the misfit in her new school until she meets Park and discovers their mutual love of music. Music plays a huge part in this book and you may well find yourselves looking up some of the many bands referenced in the story.
JD Salinger: Catcher in the Rye – Ground-breaking rebellion novel featuring two days in the life of a cynical teenager just expelled from school. An all-time classic and often referenced as the first YA novel.
Markus Zusak: The Book Thief – Death takes an interest in an orphaned girl. This Nazi Germany set novel is seeped deep in humanity and compassion. Amazing and one of my favourite novels of all time. Truly timeless and a wonderful way of taking you way out of yourself.
The Library Firefly page has a massive resource of reading lists, crib sheets from previous book talks and ideas for what to read next. Email Mr Jones if you need any help.