Reading Essentials: A 14-year-old’s lists for all age groups!

Our reporter sends us the following and also expressed helplessness due to the inflexibility of the young raccoon when it came to the rules! Arya held her ground and didn’t let any word/recommendation to be altered. Yay!

Over to our reporter: 

When my 14.5 year old, Arya, sat down to make another list of books for the Reading Essentials, she quickly pulled out books that she loved, intending to choose a final list from among these, but realized that she was loathe to let go of a single book. So she decided to make a list in three categories – what they are can be read here. In her own words. I haven’t changed a single word, except for adding on the author names.

Young Adult list

The Book Thief- (Markus Zusak)

The best book on the face of the planet. 

Last Chance Angel– (Alex Gutteridge)

Made me cry. Very few books have been able to do that.

The Giver Quartet– (Lois Lowry)

No description. Just read it.

Briar Rose– (Jane Yolen)

No, not the Disney version. The Holocaust version. This book takes the story of Sleeping Beauty, and turns it on its head, by blending it with the Holocaust.

Lost Christmas– (David Logan)

Everyone has lost something. (reference!) You are losing so much if you don’t read this one.

Looking-Glass Girl– (Cathy Cassidy)

What an interpretation of Alice in Wonderland!

A Pocket Full of Rye– (Agatha Christie)

My favourite Christie book until now. You’ll never guess the murderer, be warned! You have no chance against this genius of a writer!

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair– (Laura Amy Schlitz)

This was so well written that I broke a school rule to get more reading time, and I’m usually a bit of a goody-two-shoes.

The Red Necklace– (Sally Gardner)

Deadly. Beautiful. Must read if you like historic fiction. Pssssst…There’s a sequel called

The Silver Blade.

Right Ho, Jeeves– (PG Wodehouse)

Hilarious. This was my first Wodehouse book, and is a great book to start you reading this author.

Middle Grade list 

Because of Mr. Terupt (and series) – (Rob Buyea)

I loved these, and there was a point when I needed a bit of optimism and strength to do something I was a bit scared to do, and I got it by rereading the first book of this series.

The One and Only Ivan– (Katherine Applegate)

This book is like nothing else I’ve ever read. It was so simple, but so beautiful. Read it. Read it, really.

The Sleeping Army– (Francesca Simon)

I know this book inside out because I’ve read it some four times. It’s fascinating how mythology can be twisted well.

Wonder– (RJ Palacio)

This book is really heart-warming, and should be read by everyone.

Coraline– (Neil Gaiman)

This book is creepy, without turning into horror. It has suspense, mystery, humour, and has a great plot line.

The League of Princes series– (Christopher Healy)

This series is about what happened to characters of fairy tales after the fairy tales. An innovative idea, and brilliantly executed.

Anne of Green Gables– (LM Montgomery)

One beautiful classic. Anne’s behaviour and thinking are so hilarious sometimes!

A Little Princess– (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

Another great classic. No, it’s not about a real princess. Read it. You’ll find out why they call such books classics.

The Mozart Question– (Michael Morpurgo)

Another gem of a book. I’m an avid reader of all things related to the Holocaust, but I’ve never read anything else that talks about the unnoticed musicians of the concentration camps.

Hitler’s Daughter– (Jackie French)

This book is an innovative idea, because as far as historians know, Hitler got married only minutes before he committed suicide, and never had children. I loved this one.

Tuck Everlasting– (Natalie Babbitt)

An everlasting book, which the people of the future will name as a classic.

The Deadly Royal Recipe– (Ranjit Lal)

This book is wacky, and should be read by everybody before they grow up.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit– (Judith Kerr)

This book is written from a very innocent point of view, and shows a child’s perspective on the Holocaust. Yes, yes, I know, I’m kind of obsessed, but that time period have produced such breath-taking literature. Another book about the Holocaust from an innocent child’s perspective, is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (John Boyne), though this one is not for middle grade. It is for Young Adults. Don’t worry, this is the last Holocaust book I’ll mention. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit introduced me to the topic, and is beautifully written.

The Secret of Platform 13– (Eva Ibbotson)

This book is quirky and laugh-out-loud funny, as are all books by this author.

The Girl Who Could Fly– (Victoria Forrester)

I took this book on a one-week school trip on the sixth grade, and was my best friend at the time. I identified with the characters, and loved and hated all of them as if they were real. For about a year and a half after I read this, it was my favourite book.

Rump– (Liesl Shurtliff)

This is a spin on the story of Rumpelstiltskin, from the point of view of the villain himself. Such books are just not enough in number, and authors need to twist fairy tales more often. I just love it when they do…

The Mysterious Benedict Society series– (Trenton Lee Stewart)

I could identify with all the characters of these books, and loved the gripping way in which they are written. A must-read if you liked George’s Secret Key to the Universe.

No Talking– (Andrew Clements)

I loved this book the most out of all the books I have read by this author. It’s a bizarre idea, and makes for one very interesting school story.

One Dog and His Boy– (Eva Ibbotson)

A must for all animal lovers!

The Shakespeare Stealer– (Gary Blackwood)

This book gave me a look into the Globe Theatre in Shakespeare’s time, and England in general during that period. It is not a boring book, which I am mentioning because some people shrinks from anything that has anything to do with Shakespeare. His plays aren’t boring either, if you take the time to read them. There are 2 sequels – Shakespeare’s Scribe, and Shakespeare’s Spy, that I’d recommend, too.


I can’t categorise these. Read them at any and every stage of your life.

Harry Potter series– (JK Rowling)

The only super famous bestsellers that I really and truly love. No Percy Jackson for me, thanks! Though I enjoyed them, too, they are not as good. I cannot go back to them as I can to the Harry Potter books.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass– (Lewis Carroll)

I completely disagree with people who say that these are children’s books. I feel bad for them, because they are missing out on so much. Little children only understand the story, and that’s not the whole package. The books have so much humour, poetry and satire which is for older readers (yes, you too, adults), and should be regularly reread by everybody. I especially love the edition illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, which is the one I have at home.

Winnie the Pooh– (AA Milne)

Again, not just a children’s book. No don’t be shocked. Disney has turned it into something for toddlers. But it’s not. Really. Give it a try. Read the book.

Off By Heart– (compiled and edited by Daisy Goodwin)

A collection of poems that are all superbly superb. Poetry isn’t only for “those uncool and unfortunate people who take literature classes” (ahem, like me), but for everybody. It’s candy, not a rotten vegetable.

Murderous Maths series– (Kjartan Poskitt)

Maths may be your pet hate, but this series will not send you to sleep, will not force you to write exams, and will not confuse you. More likely, it will have you rolling on the floor with laughter while you discover the beauty of mathematics the great.

Calvin and Hobbes– (Bill Waterson)

I can’t get over how adorable little Calvin is, though he would probably send Hobbes to murder me if he saw that!

We are not even going to attempt a thank you! This is priceless and will help so many readers out there. Each book mentioned here is a gem. 

3 thoughts on “Reading Essentials: A 14-year-old’s lists for all age groups!

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