The best cult novels for teenagers to pass around their friends

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, apart from having once been a teenager myself, I’ve also raised four teenagers and I know what they like to read, and in return, they’ve all helped me write my own books. I have a pretty eclectic attitude to stories as you can probably tell from the below list. I don't expect anyone to share my opinions, but I'd never introduce a reader to anything that’s just written to make money. 

I wrote...

Primrose Hill

By Helen Falconer,

Book cover of Primrose Hill

What is my book about?

When Danny decides to murder his drug dealer stepfather, in order to save his mother from a violent death, best friend Si is confronted with an impossible moral choice. When fifteen-year-old Eleanor enters the picture, she pushes Si towards murder. Inside info: The first chapter of this book is a true story, the rest is how I think it might have panned out.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Catcher in the Rye

Helen Falconer Why did I love this book?

When my oldest son was fifteen he stopped reading, because he couldn’t find anything suitable for his age group. I gave him Catcher in the Rye, about a dissaffected American teenage boy heading for a nervous breakdown, and he loved it. But then I couldn’t find anything else, so I ended up writing my book for him, based on a story he told me about someone at his school. After it was published, my son’s friends used to pass one battered copy around between them! (I’d rather they’d bought one each, but oh well…)

By J.D. Salinger,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Catcher in the Rye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After leaving prep school Holden Caulfield spends three days on his own in New York City.

Book cover of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Helen Falconer Why did I love this book?

This book was given to me by my youngest son, as the greatest Zombie book ever written, much better and different from the film. I’m now writing a zombie book myself and enjoying it enormously! I would never have thought there was so much mileage in such slow-moving creatures, ha ha, but they really are quite fascinating. The copy of World War Z is now in our bathroom bookcase (where all the best books are) and is in bits from being read so many times.

By Max Brooks,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked World War Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.

Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight against the horde, World War Z brings the finest traditions of journalism to bear on what is…

Book cover of Rogue Male

Helen Falconer Why did I love this book?

This was my father’s favourite book, and the teenage me agreed. It’s the greatest prolonged chase story ever written. An English tourist takes a pot shot at Hitler and is hunted all the way to the West Country in England, where he digs himself into the bank of an unused country lane, cornered like a fox. I lived in Devon at the time, and knew those huge high banks along the sides of ancient tree-covered lanes, and I and the village kids built ourselves exactly the same sort of hideaway, dug into a bank in the woods and invisible from above.

By Geoffrey Household,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rogue Male as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE classic thriller of the 20th century - 'Simply the best escape and pursuit story yet written' [THE TIMES] - with an introduction by Robert Macfarlane

An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last moment and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but, for once, they bungle the job and he escapes.

But England provides no safety from his pursuers - and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter…

Book cover of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Helen Falconer Why did I love this book?

Starting from an early fascination with graveyards, where I would (and do still) like to sit and chat to the dead, making good friends with some of them, I’ve always been drawn to themes about death. And this book is a really dark, peculiar prequel to Peter Pan where an infant Peter ends up as the unofficial gravedigger for dead babies. It’s also a very beautiful book, but defintely not suitable for young children!

By James Matthew Barrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Trajectory presents classics of world literature with 21st century features! Our original-text editions include the following visual enhancements to foster a deeper understanding of the work: Word Clouds at the start of each chapter highlight important words. Word, sentence, paragraph counts, and reading time help readers and teachers determine chapter complexity. Co-occurrence graphs depict character-to-character interactions as well character to place interactions

Book cover of The Body’s Rapture

Helen Falconer Why did I love this book?

This is the weirdest book I ever read, I came across it when I was fifteen and I’ve never been quite able to get it out of my head, particularly the third section. I don't know if this is a recommendation or not, to be honest, but I'd like the opinion of fellow readers, if there are any out there. I’m guessing it might be a bit too obscure for most. But if anyone else reads it, let me know.

By Jules Romains,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Body’s Rapture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leather Binding on Spine and Corners with Golden Leaf Printing on round Spine (extra customization on request like complete leather, Golden Screen printing in Front, Color Leather, Colored book etc.) Reprinted in 2019 with the help of original edition published long back [1922]. This book is printed in black & white, sewing binding for longer life, Printed on high quality Paper, re-sized as per Current standards, professionally processed without changing its contents. As these are old books, we processed each page manually and make them readable but in some cases some pages which are blur or missing or black spots.…

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Book cover of This Animal Body

Meredith Walters

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Neuroscience PhD student Frankie Conner has finally gotten her life together—she’s determined to discover the cause of her depression and find a cure for herself and everyone like her. But the first day of her program, she meets a group of talking animals who have an urgent message they refuse to share. And while the animals may not have Frankie’s exalted human brain, they know things she doesn’t, like what happened before she was adopted.

To prove she’s sane, Frankie investigates her forgotten past and conducts clandestine experiments. But just when she uncovers the truth, she has to make an impossible choice: betray the animals she’s fallen in love with—or give up her last chance at success and everything she thought she knew.

By Meredith Walters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Animal Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Frankie Conner, first-year graduate student at UC Berkeley, is finally getting her life together. After multiple failures and several false starts, she's found her calling: become a neuroscientist, discover the cause of her depression and anxiety, and hopefully find a cure for herself and everyone like her.

But her first day of the program, Frankie meets a mysterious group of talking animals who claim to have an urgent message for her. The problem is, they're not willing to share it. Not yet. Not until she's ready.

While Frankie's new friends may not have her highly evolved, state-of-the-art, exalted human brain,…

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