Ask a Bookseller: What books can I give a teenage reluctant reader?

This week one of our children’s specialists, Holly Harper, recommends page-turners that teens will love.


Ask-the-Bookseller


‘My teenager loves video games but has stopped reading. Which authors will get them interested in books again?’

Books have a lot to compete with but all the things your teenager loves about video games - action, horror, end-of-the-world drama - can be found in this selection:

dead The Dead by Charlie Higson (also see The Fear)

Who isn’t secretly counting down until the zombie apocalypse? Until the actual event takes place, Charlie Higson’s excellent end-of-the world saga will hit the spot nicely, set in a world where everyone over the age of fourteen has contracted the sudden urge to kill.

What makes Higson’s books stand out from the rest of the zombie pack are his characters – a huge, revolving cast means you never know who’s safe and who isn’t.


skuldug The Skulduggery Pleasant Series by Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant is like the older, cooler sibling of Harry Potter, and any readers who haven’t been able to find something to hit the spot since the boy wizard’s adventures would do well to pick up these books.

This series follows Valkyrie Cain and her partner Skulduggery Pleasant the Skeleton Detective as they fight their way through the undead, vampires, assassins and magical enemies in order to save the world. No other series mixes action, horror and humour so well. The seventh book, Kingdom of the Wicked, has just been published.


brotherband The Brotherband Series by John Flanagan

This is kind of like Skyrim: the book. And if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, your kids will.

This is a new series from the phenomenally successful John Flanagan, author of Ranger’s Apprentice. It’s set in the same world as his other books, but this time follows the Viking-like Skandians as they train to become part of an elite warrior brotherband.

Two books are currently available with the third coming out in November.


arrival The Phoenix Files Series by Chris Morphew

When Luke is made to move to Phoenix, a town in the middle of nowhere, he thinks the worst part is the lack of phone or internet connection. Turns out the worst part is the corporation that owns the town wants to destroy the rest of the world, and only Luke and his friends know about it.

A high-action mystery that will keep you guessing, from one of the authors of the Zac Power series.


fury The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

If you’ve got a reader who loves action/horror, but they’ve exhausted their current supply, get them this. A small group of kids discover that the rest of the world has turned against them and wants them dead. Forced to hide in an abandoned theme park, things seem pretty bad… then the group starts to develop terrifying new powers.

The Fury is the first in a brand new series and is sure to go on to become one of the big names in the genre.


hollyharperpictureHolly Harper is a children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton where she organises the kids and Young Adult enews'. She also writes books for younger readers under the name H.J. Harper. Find out more about her Star League and Bureau of Mysteries series here.