The most recommended books about a teenage girl

Who picked these books? Meet our 200 experts.

200 authors created a book list connected to teenage girls, and here are their favorite teenage girl books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of teenage girl book?



By Jane Eagland,

Book cover of Wildthorn

Rosie Garland Author Of Vixen

From the list on positive LGBTQ+ characters.

Who am I?

It’s no surprise to hear I’m drawn to stories featuring outsiders, people who don’t / won’t conform and are fed up trying to force themselves into the narrow roles society offers. Folk who slide under the radar, and never make it into history books (which is all of us, right?). This springs from being an outsider myself, the weird kid who didn’t fit. I’ve chosen novels where the LGBTQ+ characters strive and struggle but do not die tragically. Put simply, they are real people, complete with flaws and strengths. These books are your very own Time Machines: wonderful stories to transport you into the past.

Rosie's book list on positive LGBTQ+ characters

Why did Rosie love this book?

Set in 19th century England, this novel is aimed at Young Adult readers and is a reminder that a good read is simply good, whatever age bracket it’s aimed at. It resonated with my own teenage struggles to break free of restrictive expectations – even though mine were trifling compared to what the heroine Louisa has to go through! She resists the restrictions of Victorian society and the limited choices available to women, and is locked up in an asylum. It prompted me to read more about the era and discovered the shocking truth of how this really happened to women who stepped out of line…

By Jane Eagland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove has never enjoyed the life of the pampered, protected life girls of wealth were expected to follow in nineteenth century England. It was too confining. She would have much rather been like her older brother, allowed to play marbles, go to school, become a doctor. But little does she know how far her family would go to kill her dreams and desires. Until one day she finds herself locked away in an insane asylum and everyone--the doctors and nurses--insist on calling her Lucy Childs, not Louisa Cosgrove.
Surely this is a mistake. Surely her family will rescue…

Artie and the Wolf Moon

By Olivia Stephens,

Book cover of Artie and the Wolf Moon

Priya Huq Author Of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab

From the list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller.

Who am I?

Environmental storytelling in comics is something that I’ve always admired and want to be better at. As a cartoonist I’m always thinking of better ways to tell visual stories, because it’s fun.

Priya's book list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller

Why did Priya love this book?

Olivia Stephens is one of the most skilled cartoonists of our generation. I was lucky enough to blurb Artie: Artie and the Wolf Moon, like all of Stephens’ work, is heartbreaking and heart-mending, gorgeously and lovingly rendered with a voice and eye for the gentle and powerful ways characters interact with one another…“ Like the best graphic novels set in the Pacific Northwest, Artie’s story could not be told without dense forests that hold both danger and sanctuary.

By Olivia Stephens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Artie and the Wolf Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A heartfelt, magical family drama you can really sink your teeth into.” ―Nilah Magruder, M.F.K.

After sneaking out against her mother's wishes, Artie Irvin spots a massive wolf―then watches it don a bathrobe and transform into her mom. Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything―including the story of Artie's late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her own wolflike abilities, her mom recruits some old family friends.

Artie thrives in her new community and even develops a crush on her new friend Maya. But as…

Everyday Hero

By Kathleen Cherry,

Book cover of Everyday Hero

Gina McMurchy-Barber Author Of Free as a Bird

From the list on heroes who have a disability.

Who am I?

I grew up in the 60s and 70s, when people were often uncomfortable with anyone who had a disability. My sister had Down syndrome and this drew a lot of negative attention. I struggled with being overprotective of her and often angry at those who treated her differently. When I grew up I became an advocate, not only for my sister, but for others who struggled with being accepted because of physical or developmental disabilities. Early on I worked in a pretty awful institution. What I learned there inspired my novel, Free as a Bird. Like my sister, I moved on to do other things, including archaeology, journalism, and teaching for 27 years.

Gina's book list on heroes who have a disability

Why did Gina love this book?

Thirteen-year-old Alice moves to a new town where no one knows she has Asperger’s syndrome. When she behaves in a way her teachers feel is inappropriate she gets sent to detention. It’s there she meets Megan, a hard-core “bad girl” who becomes the only person to make a meaningful connection with Alice. 

Alice likes rules, Megan likes to break rules. Yet somehow the two girls manage to become good friends. Megan’s home life is bad and she decides to run away. Despite the angst and the inner voice telling her not to, Alice goes with Megan to protect her.

Quote: “Is a hero average in type, appearance, achievement, function, and development?” Alice asks.

This book stands out for me because it shows that we all can “go farther” than any perceived limitation, be it developmental, physical, or emotional. 

By Kathleen Cherry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everyday Hero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alice doesn’t like noise, smells or strangers. She does like rules. Lots of rules.

Nobody at her new school knows she is autistic, and soon Alice finds herself in trouble because the rules here are different. When she meets Megan in detention, she doesn’t know what to make of her. Megan doesn’t smell, she’s not terribly noisy, and she’s not exactly a stranger. But is she a friend? Megan seems fearless to Alice; but also angry or maybe sad. Alice isn’t sure which. When Megan decides to run away, Alice decides that Megan is her friend and that she needs…

Book cover of Turtles All the Way Down

Sandra L. Rostirolla Author Of Making Friends With Monsters

From the list on what life is like living with mental illness.

Who am I?

My father died by suicide when I was thirteen. Because my family never spoke about the issues leading up to and resulting from this devastating event, we suffered a great deal. I have a deep love for books that expose just how dark, and troubled the teen existence can be. Authors who are brave enough to tackle such topics feed my bravery. The more stories we have on the topics of suicide, mental health, and trauma the broader the conversation and the more those who feel as though no one could possibly understand what they are going through feel seen.

Sandra's book list on what life is like living with mental illness

Why did Sandra love this book?

John Green’s description of Aza’s obsessive-compulsive disorder was so vivid, so real, I felt as though I was living Aza’s torment.

Many people might find this type of immersive experience off-putting and think, “Why would I want to feel such an extreme, when all I really want is an escape?”

I love nothing more than a story that takes me deep inside a character, and makes me “feel-the-feels” so to speak.

Plus, John Green’s eloquence with prose and dialog is unmatched. His writing stands in a league of its own.

By John Green,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Turtles All the Way Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The critically acclaimed, instant #1 bestseller by John Green, author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Fault in Our Stars

"A tender story about learning to cope when the world feels out of control." -People

"A sometimes heartbreaking, always illuminating, glimpse into how it feels to live with mental illness." - NPR

John Green, the award-winning, international bestselling author of The Anthropocene Reviewed, returns with a story of shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Aza Holmes never intended to pursue the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there's a…

Assassin of Reality

By Marina Dyachenko, Sergey Dyachenko,

Book cover of Assassin of Reality

Sita Bennett Author Of She Who Rose From Ashes: Legend of the Mystics

From Sita's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Sunrise ocean swimmer Truth and freedom seeker Neuroscience enthusiast Philosopher Chronic illness survivor

Sita's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Sita love this book?

One of my favourite books of all-time, Vita Nostra, is a smartly-crafted work of dark Ukrainian fantasy that explores a young woman's awakening of consciousness through a combination of philosophy, science, and magicwhich is based on language and transcends certain metaphorical language structures. It is absurd and strange, but the story's originality and punchy prose made it profoundly impactful to me.

The sequel is equally mysterious and captivating. While very abstract, I found the unrelatability to the Protagonist’s journey surprisingly relatable. Her sense of distance from society while walking a path that ordinary people rarely follow aligned with elements of my experience walking a path of ‘truth’ and transcending ego-centric existence. Challenging, but the reward is astronomical.

By Marina Dyachenko, Sergey Dyachenko,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Assassin of Reality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The eagerly anticipated sequel to the highly acclaimed Vita Nostra takes readers to the next stage in Sasha Samokhina's journey in a richly imagined world of dark academia in which grammar is magic-and not all magic is good.

In Vita Nostra, Sasha Samokhina, a third-year student at the Institute of Special Technologies, was in the middle of taking the final exam that would transform her into a part of the Great Speech. After defying her teachers' expectations, Sasha emerges from the exam as Password, a unique and powerful part of speech. Accomplished and ready to embrace her new role, she…

Book cover of A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

Douglas Weissman Author Of Life Between Seconds

From Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Passionate weirdo Thrilled storyteller Donut-lover

Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Douglas' 4-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Douglas love this book?

It was a new spin on the Gingerbread Man folktale and one that gave me goosebumps. It has battles, little whisps of magic, and characters I rooted for from start to finish. It made me feel like the characters I write about, the type I want to have a cup of tea with years from now to see where their lives have taken them. 

By T. Kingfisher,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fourteen-year-old Mona isn't like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can't control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt's bakery making gingerbread men dance.

But Mona's life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona's city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of…

The Hummingbird's Daughter

By Luis Alberto Urrea,

Book cover of The Hummingbird's Daughter

Alex Temblador Author Of Half Outlaw

From the list on magical realism that make me feel at home.

Who am I?

Magical realism was created by Latin American writers, and I’m proud to continue the tradition today. I grew up reading magical stories – mostly fantasy – but there was always something missing in those books, that sense of reality that I experienced every day of my life thanks to my Mixed Latinx heritage. When I discovered magical realism, I felt at home. I’ve been studying magical realism since I was 21, so it comes as no surprise that most of the creative writing I do fall into the magical realism genre. I love helping others discover the beauty of magical realism because it is a phenomenal genre that helps readers understand their reality through magic. 

Alex's book list on magical realism that make me feel at home

Why did Alex love this book?

The Hummingbird’s Daughter is the first in a two-part book series about a real-life woman known as Teresita, a curandera (or Mexican folk healer) and revolutionary figure who was born in Mexico and lived in the U.S. for some time. Urrea, a descendant of Teresita, fictionalizes her life in the book. I hope readers fall in love with Teresita’s story and share it with others because she is one of many figures in North American history that we should all know.  

The magical realism in this novel makes an appearance through Teresita’s healing powers as a curandera. I’ve been obsessed with curanderismo, or the folk healing practice of Latin America that combines Indigenous and Catholic beliefs and practices, since I was in college. This is why curanderas make appearances in both my books.

By Luis Alberto Urrea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hummingbird's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The prizewinning writer Luis Alberto Urrea's long-awaited novel is an epic mystical drama of a young woman's sudden sainthood in late 19th-century Mexico.It is 1889, and civil war is brewing in Mexico. A 16-year-old girl, Teresita, illegitimate but beloved daughter of the wealthy and powerful rancher Don Tomas Urrea, wakes from the strangest dream--a dream that she has died. Only it was not a dream. This passionate and rebellious young woman has arisen from death with a power to heal--but it will take all her faith to endure the trials that await her and her family now that she has…

Finding Audrey

By Sophie Kinsella,

Book cover of Finding Audrey

Theresa Julian Author Of Calling Dibs, Jinx, Shotgun and Other Things No One Knows the Rules To: Funny Try-Not-to-Laugh Challenges for the Whole Family!

From the list on that make me LOL.

Who am I?

I love to laugh! Laughter is a universal sort of magic that helps us connect with others, build rapport and trust, reduce stress, and overlook differences. It’s hard to be mad at someone you’re laughing with. How do I know so much about humor? Because I wrote the book on it. Literally. My debut book, The Joke Machine, teaches middle graders how to create a funny line. I wrote it after researching humor for years, analyzing jokes, and trying to figure out why each one made me laugh. I found patterns and my joke-making philosophy was born! Since then, I’ve been reading funny books, writing funny books, and best of all, laughing at funny lines.

Theresa's book list on that make me LOL

Why did Theresa love this book?

“Bittersweet” is the best word I can use to describe Finding Audrey. The story is about a fourteen-year-old girl whose life is disrupted by an anxiety disorder. What I like so much about this book is that it’s not depressing. The story brings to light a serious problem with a lot of levity and charm. I can really empathize with Audrey during her trip back to sanity after being bullied out of school. I laughed a lot, teared up a little, and smiled as Audrey is set on a new path, thanks in part to a pretty sweet romantic connection. The romance was totally unexpected and unfolds very naturally. The author’s light tone on this serious subject reminds me of the sage advice from the wise and wonderful Mary Poppins: a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down. 

By Sophie Kinsella,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller & A ZOELLA Book Club Pick!

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their…

With the Fire on High

By Elizabeth Acevedo,

Book cover of With the Fire on High

Natalie Pompilio Author Of Walking Philadelphia: 30 Walking Tours Exploring Art, Architecture, History, and Little-Known Gems

From the list on fiction set in the City of Brotherly Love.

Who am I?

My usual answer, when someone asks me where I live in Philadelphia, is: “Have you seen the Rocky movies, where he’s running through that open fruit/vegetable market? I’m three blocks from there.” I’ve called Philadelphia home for more than 20 years. I’m clearly a big fan, having now written four books about the city. I include a reference to the city’s most famous fictional character in my children’s alphabet book Philadelphia A to Z. In More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell, I got to tell stories about the country’s largest public art program. In This Used To Be Philadelphia, I told the then and now stories of dozens of city locations.

Natalie's book list on fiction set in the City of Brotherly Love

Why did Natalie love this book?

I didn’t know this book was considered “young adult” until my teenage niece pointed out that she’d been assigned the book in school. Yes, protagonist Emoni is a senior in high school, but she’s an old soul. She has to be, given the challenges she faces as a teen mother and a mixed-race woman. Emoni is strong and inspiring and determined, but her greatest gift is cooking. When Emoni makes a meal, her amazingness gets into the food and brings joy to its eaters. I love magical realism and this reminded me of Like Water for Chocolate, another novel in which she who prepares a meal infuses it with emotion. 

Emoni struggles, but she is surrounded by love and she gives it in return to the grandmother who raised her and the daughter she conceived as a high school freshman. Emoni has dreams of cooking school but she’s also…

By Elizabeth Acevedo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked With the Fire on High as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A delicious, evocative story' THE GUARDIAN

From the author of THE POET X comes a sumptuous prose novel, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas' On the Come Up, Justin Reynolds' Opposite of Always and Nicola Yoon

Ever since she got pregnant, seventeen-year-old Emoni's life has been about making the tough decisions - doing what has to be done for her young daughter and her grandmother. Keeping her head down at school, trying not to get caught up with new boy Malachi. The one place she can let everything go is in the kitchen, where she has magical hands - whipping…

Book cover of Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

Darlene Jones Author Of When the Sun was Mine

From the list on friendship between young people and seniors.

Who am I?

When I was a kid on the farm in Saskatchewan, I had a handful of books to read and re-read and read yet again. No television, no radio—just books. Then we moved to the city and I discovered the bookmobile, but I could only take out three books at a time. Deciding was torture. From bookmobile to library to bookstore to e-reader. Life is good. With all that reading, I knew I had to write a novel. I finally did. One became seven. How on earth did that happen? Re-reding my books I realized that teens play significant roles in all my novels. I’m a retired teacher—go figure!

Darlene's book list on friendship between young people and seniors

Why did Darlene love this book?

I was guilted into buying the book when I went to Glen’s book signing event. He’s a friend. After the reading, I noticed that everyone in attendance had one or more copies of his books along with their credit cards in their hands. I felt obligated to buy a copy. The book sat on my shelf for several weeks until guilt forced me to take it down and read. I finished the book that night, and reread it the next day. I recommend it all the time.  

By Glen Huser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At 15, Tamara has survived the foster care system through brains, will, and attitude. Now close to getting out, she dreams of being a model. First, though, there's high school to get through, along with her teacher's latest community project volunteering at the local seniors home. Tamara doubts she can endure either the residents or the smells. Then she's assigned to Jean Barclay a cranky, wealthy, and extremely frail former schoolteacher. As the two warily size each other up, they realize each is the key to achieving their own very different goals. Miss Barclay wants to attend Wagner's Ring Cycle…


By Pintip Dunn,

Book cover of Malice

Candace Havens Author Of A Case for the Cookie Baker

From the list on thrilling mysteries with strong female leads.

Who am I?

Bestselling author Candace Havens has published more than 25 books. Her novels have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion, Write Touch Reader Awards, and National Reader’s Choice Awards. She is a Barbara Wilson Award winner. She is the author of the biography Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities from George Clooney to Chris Pratt. Candace runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2000 writers and teaches comprehensive writing classes. She does film reviews with Hawkeye in the Morning on 96.3 KSCS, and is a former President of the Television Critics Association.

Candace's book list on thrilling mysteries with strong female leads

Why did Candace love this book?

 Okay, technically, Malice is a futuristic young adult novel, but there's a fantastic mystery here with a strong female protagonist. I did mention these books would be genre-bending. In this one, a young girl knows part of the future--the part where one of her classmates releases a virus that kills two-thirds of the population. Now she's in a race against time to find out who he is before he kills everyone she knows.

By Pintip Dunn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Could you kill an innocent life today to save millions in the future?

Seventeen-year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the shadows of her charismatic twin brother. And she's utterly content to stay there, as not taking risks means that she doesn't get hurt. Until the day a strange voice appears in her mind, demanding that she approach Bandit, the cute Thai boy in her physics class - and kiss him. Never mind that she's never spoken a word to him before.

Compelled by the excruciating pain in her head, Alice reluctantly obeys. But submitting to the voice sets…

I'm Alice, I Think

By Susan Juby,

Book cover of I'm Alice, I Think

Jass Richards Author Of This Will Not Look Good on My Resume

From the list on to make you snort your drink out your nose.

Who am I?

I have a Master’s degree in Philosophy and for a (very) brief time was a stand-up comic (now I'm more of a sprawled-on-the-couch comic). Despite these attributes, I have received four Ontario Arts Council grants.  This Will Not Look Good on My Resume was shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award, and excerpts from my several other books have appeared in The Cynic Online Magazine and 222 More Comedy Monologues, and on Erma Bombeck’s humor website.  

Jass' book list on to make you snort your drink out your nose

Why did Jass love this book?

I found out after I'd read and thoroughly enjoyed this novel that it's classified as YA. Pity. It made this adult laugh and laugh often. Alice is a refreshing change to … normal. Fortunately, there are two more books in the series.

I was so disappointed that the novel did not win the Leacock (technically, the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour). It definitely should have. But then … written by a woman … blah blah when will men get over themselves?)

By Susan Juby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I'm Alice, I Think as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hilarious diary of Alice and her attempts to survive the embarrassments that are her parents, the small-minded nature of her hometown, and her own struggle to fit in. Highly observant, satirical and wise.

Fifteen years old and nursing a "serious case of outcastitis," Alice MacLeod is having a hard time finding anything much to like in small town Smithers, British Columbia. Her mum's a folk-festival hippie chick with a hair-trigger temper, her dad's a mild and reasonable sort of loser who hides out in the basement trying to write soft-core romance novels, and her last school counsellor threw a…


By Tobie Easton,

Book cover of Emerge

Jacqueline E. Smith Author Of Cemetery Tours

From the list on supernatural books to read all year long.

Who am I?

I am an independent author, photographer, wildlife advocate, paranormal enthusiast, and cat mom living in Dallas, Texas. In 2012, I earned my Master's Degree in Art and Performance from the University of Texas at Dallas and have been pursuing my writing career ever since. I published my first book, Cemetery Tours, in 2013 and it will forever be the book that changed my life.

Jacqueline's book list on supernatural books to read all year long

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

This is another book about supernatural beings of the sea, but this time, it’s all about mermaids! Emerge is the first in a young adult trilogy that follows the modern-day descendants of The Little Mermaid. Author Tobie Easton has absolutely mastered the art of world-building and I would absolutely love to see her underwater kingdom brought to life one day. 

By Tobie Easton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she's never lived in the ocean. War has ravaged the seven seas ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality. Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu's seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he's gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there's a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia's entire…

The Book of Essie

By Meghan MacLean Weir,

Book cover of The Book of Essie

Jennifer S. Brown Author Of Modern Girls

From the list on unplanned pregnancy.

Who am I?

Two things are true about me: I’m fascinated by the early twentieth century and I'm a diehard feminist. My grandfather nurtured my love of the 1920s and 1930s by introducing me to Dorothy Parker, John O’Hara, Ella Fitzgerald, and The New Yorker. My mother, a petite woman who can wield a welder like few others, encouraged the development of my feminist sensibilities. These two parts came together when my father offhandedly mentioned that his grandmother had an unplanned pregnancy during the Great Depression. As I researched reproductive issues through the years, my fascination for the topic grew. Each of the books here takes a different view of how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. 

Jennifer's book list on unplanned pregnancy

Why did Jennifer love this book?

I felt an almost voyeuristic pleasure in reading The Book of Essie. Seventeen-year-old Essie Hicks is the daughter of an Evangelical pastor, whose family is the subject of a reality television series, Six for Hicks. Essie, as the youngest, has had her entire life aired for their adoring public. As you can guess, when Essie finds herself pregnant no one is thrilled. Essie’s future is determined by her mother and the TV producers: Essie needs to marry. How Essie takes control of the situation and the secrets that are revealed make for a gripping read.

By Meghan MacLean Weir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Book of Essie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"Both timelessly beautiful and unbelievably timely." —Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant 

Esther Ann Hicks—Essie—is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She's grown up in the spotlight, idolized and despised for her family's fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. So when Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she immediately arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers. Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they…

Book cover of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

F.J. Campbell Author Of The Islanders

From the list on nostalgic fiction set in UK and US boarding schools.

Who am I?

I went to four different boarding schools when I was younger, which at the time didn’t seem weird but it definitely is. I think boarding schools are peculiar places, full of teenagers with raging hormones, secret homesickness, and a certain sort of reckless swagger that is a recipe for all sorts of drama i.e. the perfect setting for a novel. I was on quite hefty scholarships and know how lucky I was to be there, but whether you have or haven’t been to boarding school, there is an endless fascination with them. I had a lot of fun writing The Islanders, wallowing happily in my nostalgia and reminiscing with old friends about what we got up to.

F.J.'s book list on nostalgic fiction set in UK and US boarding schools

Why did F.J. love this book?

Another book about a misfit at a US boarding school. Frankie, our heroine, is sharp, possibly a criminal mastermind, and an ugly duckling turned pretty. At her school–Alabaster Prep–she gets in with a group of older boys and starts to undermine their secret prank society by outdoing them all, with (un)predictably disastrous consequences. This book is so much fun; adults and adolescents alike will love it. 

By E. Lockhart,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hilarious and razor-sharp story of how one girl went from geek to patriarchy-smashing criminal mastermind in two short years, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud.

* National Book Award finalist *
* Printz Honor * 

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:

Debate Club.
Her father's "bunny rabbit."
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks.

No longer the kind…

To Shape a Dragon's Breath

By Moniquill Blackgoose,

Book cover of To Shape a Dragon's Breath: The First Book of Nampeshiweisit

Robyn Ryle Author Of Fair Game

From the list on women who just won’t quit.

Who am I?

Tenacity—that can’t quit, won’t quit attitude—isn’t always seen as a particularly good quality to have for women and girls. As a tenacious woman myself, I know from where I speak. My mother once told me no one would ever marry me because I argued too much (she was wrong). That was part of the inspiration for Amanda in Fair Game—a young woman who just won’t quit, even when she’s not sure exactly what winning looks like. Here are some of my favorite stories about women and girls refusing to give up in the face of challenging circumstances.

Robyn's book list on women who just won’t quit

Why did Robyn love this book?

Who doesn’t love a book with dragons? Bonus—a magic Hogwarts-ish school where you go to learn about how to control your dragon.

The extra twist in To Shape a Dragon’s Breath is that the story is told from the perspective of an indigenous woman, Anequs. People like her aren’t supposed to have dragons, let alone be capable of learning how to manage them. No one at the Anglish dragon school she’s forced to attend believes Anequs can succeed, but Anequs doesn’t care what the Anglish think. 

What I loved about this book was how firmly grounded Anequs is in her family and her people, as well as the confidence that gives her. Anequs never wavers in her belief in herself and the value of indigenous wisdom and culture.

By Moniquill Blackgoose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Shape a Dragon's Breath as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“An early contender for the best fantasy novel of 2023.”—The Washington Post
“A very entertaining and fun read, full of loveable characters and intricate, original worldbuilding.”—NPR

The remote island of Masquapaug has not seen a dragon in many generations—until fifteen-year-old Anequs finds a dragon’s egg and bonds with its hatchling. Her people are delighted, for all remember the tales of the days when dragons lived among them and danced away the storms of autumn, enabling the people to thrive. To them, Anequs is revered as Nampeshiweisit—a person in a unique relationship with a dragon.

Unfortunately for Anequs, the Anglish conquerors…

The Lover

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

Book cover of The Lover

Joanna Briscoe Author Of The Seduction: An Addictive New Story of Desire and Obsession from the Bestselling Author of Sleep with Me

From the list on ill-advised relationships.

Who am I?

I have written seven novels, and each time, I seem drawn to some aspect of illicit or transgressive human behaviour. I find it fascinating to see what goes on beneath the surface – the tiny clues that emerge, the betrayals of others and ourselves. I bought a copy of Lolita from my local bookshop when I was a teenager, and, deeply disturbing though that novel is, I think its themes and prose influenced me, as they have so many authors. In our imperfect lives, there’s also a sense of Schadenfreude to be had as a reader when we read about other people’s terrible mistakes.

Joanna's book list on ill-advised relationships

Why did Joanna love this book?

This classic of illicit passion is so beautifully written, so mesmeric in its poetic prose and recreation of a long-gone world, it blew my mind when I first read it and changed my ideas about the possibilities of writing. The young Duras meets a Chinese man on a ferry crossing the Mekong at the start of this autobiographical novel. Their differences in age, wealth, class, race, and expectations, all play out, and it’s a novel as much about exploitation as sexual desire. It’s multi-layered, experimental, but has a real narrative tug. I love it!

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Lover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sensational international bestseller, and winner of Frances' coveted Prix Goncourt, 'The Lover' is an unforgettable portrayal of the incandescent relationship between two lovers, and of the hate that slowly tears the girl's family apart.

Saigon, 1930s: a poor young French girl meets the elegant son of a wealthy Chinese family. Soon they are lovers, locked into a private world of passion and intensity that defies all the conventions of their society.

A sensational international bestseller, 'The Lover' is disturbing, erotic, masterly and simply unforgettable.


By Peter S. Beagle,

Book cover of Tamsin

Brita Sandstrom Author Of Hollow Chest

From the list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character.

Who am I?

All the best books have a cat sidekick. Over and over, when people talk to me about my book, they pause in the middle of whatever they were about to say and go, “Oh my gosh, Biscuits,” and then launch into a list of things Biscuits the cat does, and how they are similar to things their cats have done, presumably up to and including throwing hands (paws?) with horrifying monsters that want to eat your heart. Biscuits is the latest in a long and proud tradition of literary feline companions, an essential element of many of my favorite and formative texts growing up. 

Brita's book list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character

Why did Brita love this book?

Mr. Cat is a ride-or-die. Mr. Cat walks the line that all cats do in the real world, in that he doesn’t actually have magic powers and he can’t actually talk, he is at the end of the day a little animal that lives in Jenny’s house, but also he would bite a ghost without hesitation. It’s Peter S. Beagle’s complete mastery of voice and tone that enable Jenny and Mr. Cat to walk that line so effortlessly. Because the fantastical is grounded so deeply in the real world, the stakes feel so high that I first read this book in one breathless sitting, afraid to look away. 

By Peter S. Beagle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Arriving in the English countryside to live with her mother and new stepfather, Jenny has no interest in her surroundings until she meets Tamsin. Since her death over 300 years ago, Tamsin has haunted the lonely estate without rest, trapped by a hidden trauma she can't remember, and a powerful evil even the spirits of night cannot name. To help her, Jenny must delve deeper into the dark world than any human has in hundreds of years, and face danger that will change her life forever.

Olivia Twisted

By Vivi Barnes,

Book cover of Olivia Twisted

Katie Ward Author Of The Pretender

From the list on YA inspired by classic fiction.

Who am I?

I have a real love of classic fiction and my first novel The Pretender is a modern-day adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. I discovered this story as a child when a relative gave me a copy to read on the journey home from Scotland. While aspects of the story are frequently copied, the essence of the original novel felt forgotten. It’s such a beautiful story with many of the themes still relevant today that I decided to adapt it so a modern audience could rediscover and fall in love with it all over again. As an author, I draw a lot of inspiration from the classics.

Katie's book list on YA inspired by classic fiction

Why did Katie love this book?

Hands up who wasn’t in a play of Oliver Twist at school! This is such a classic and theatre favourite which I remember starring in twice. But this is a truly modern and interesting reimagining of a Dicken’s masterpiece. Olivia is an orphan, strong and independent but with wounds from her many years within the care system. When her computer skills are noticed she is recruited to Syke’s hacker gang of cyber thieves which masquerades as a home for unwanted children. Each chapter starts with a quote from the original which foreshadows the events to come and provides a nice correlation between this version and the original. I really love how endearing the characters can be despite their flaws. This adds a really nice dimension to the story.

By Vivi Barnes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Olivia Twisted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don't care. At least at this moment, I don't care. Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia's seen a lot in her sixteen years. She's hardened, sure, but mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has…

Border Town

By Shen Congwen, Jeffrey C. Kinkley (translator),

Book cover of Border Town

John Grant Ross Author Of You Don't Know China: Twenty-two Enduring Myths Debunked

From the list on or set in the Hunan province in China.

Who am I?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on or set in the Hunan province in China

Why did John love this book?

This 1934 work tells the moving story of a young country girl called Cuicui and her ferryman grandfather. As the girl comes of age, she catches the eye of two brothers. It’s a simple plot but beautifully told, with sympathetic depictions of the common folk and rich nostalgic evocations of rural life. The “border” in the title refers to the West Hunan setting near the provincial border with Sichuan. The area is also a cultural border between the Han and various minorities. Shen Congwen grew up there and was himself of mixed heritage. Chosen to receive the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature, he died before the announcement, and the prize – following the rule against awarding posthumously – went to another writer. 

By Shen Congwen, Jeffrey C. Kinkley (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1934, "Border Town" tells the story of Cuicui, a young country girl who is coming of age during a time of national turmoil. The granddaughter of a poor ferryman, Cuicui grows up in Chadong, a small town in China's exotic southwestern frontier, where she is sheltered from the warlord fighting that was prevalent in China in the 1920s. Like any teenager, Cuicui dreams of romance and finding true love. She's caught up in the spell of the local custom of nighttime serenades, but she is also haunted by her grandfather's aging and imminent death. Both Cuicui and…