Chosen by Year 7 to Year 9 (11-13 year-old) pupils from Ballyclare High School, County Antrim.
Thanks to Elizabeth McConnell, English teacher.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾
Sue Townsend, Penguin, 0 14 101083 5, £7.99 pbk
After reading the first page of Adrian’s diary I knew I would be hooked. Adrian Mole is a 13-year-old just like any other in the UK. He has family, intellectual, school and love problems: basically any problems that can be found in your average teenage boy.
Throughout the book Adrian struggles with all aspects of his life and tries to hold things together when it seems his parents can’t. His elderly companion Bert Baxter keeps Adrian on his toes with their on and off friendship. Yet the two most important factors of the book are the love of his life, Pandora Braithwaite, and his aspiring writing career with the BBC.
Adrian faces the everyday problems of the modern teenager and is a real inspiration. Published in 1982, it is incredible how much this book relates to modern teenagers to this very day. It seems as though Sue Townsend has done an anatomy of a 13-year-old’s brain and kept her results in the form of this book.
Matthew Barr, Year 9
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
Eoin Colfer, Puffin, 0 14 138164 7, £12.99 hbk
Things aren’t looking good for the LEP. Holly Short has been accused of murder. Opal Koboi has got out and a certain Mulch Diggums has escaped. Now Holly needs the help of criminal genius Artemis Fowl, who was mind-wiped not so long ago. In case you’re wondering, Holly Short was a LEPrecon officer about to be promoted, and Artemis Fowl a criminal genius who is not even an adult. Butler is his giant Eurasian bodyguard who scares men and fairies alike, Mulch Diggums is a good friend to Artemis and Holly but also a criminal and Opal Koboi is a genius who is absolutely crazy for revenge when Holly, Artemis, Mulch and Butler foiled the B’wa Kell revolution in The Arctic Incident. As with all Eoin Colfer books, Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception is a great read filled with adventure, discovery and peril.
Jordan Bell, Year 7
Tim Bowler, Oxford, 0 19 275158 1, £4.99 pbk
River Boy is a fantastically intense read, a very gripping novel that at times brought a tear to my eye. The book takes you on an unforgettable journey and you can really feel for the character, 15-year-old Jess. Jess’s grandpa, a stubborn old painter, discharges himself from hospital to go on a family vacation to his birthplace. He hasn’t seen it since he left at 15 and Jess’s parents wonder if he will remember the place. He has a final painting which he must complete while he is away. When Jess sees the painting she is confused; her grandpa has named it ‘River Boy’ which is unusual as he never names his art. For Jess the presence of the missing river boy overwhelms the painting. It comes to life and she can feel him watching her while she swims in the river. When Jess finally comes face-to-face with this mysterious boy, she gets caught up in her own challenge which she must complete before it’s too late…
Vicky Nevin, Year 9
Christopher Paolini, Doubleday, 0 385 60790 3, £14.99 hbk
Eldest is book 2 of a trilogy, and is the most magical book I’ve ever read, apart from its predecessor, Eragon.
It’s a tale of a boy who finds a small blue stone which later hatches into a dragon, which he names Saphira. They have extremely exciting adventures, learning the ways of magic and how to spar like a king. Most of that is taught by a secret civilisation of elves, who are the most powerful spell weavers in the land, apart from the evil ruler, Galbotrox.
If you want a book filled to the brim of adventures, magic, fighting and a fiendishly twisty story, pick Eragon and Eldest and I guarantee that it’ll be hard to resist the lure of these titles. These books will also keep you guessing. You’ll be baffled by some of the questions in them, I sure was! So jump in with me to Mr Paolini’s brilliant imagination.
Ian Buchanan, Year 8