Forever Rose
by Hilary McKay

See more like this in the Laugh section

PDF file

To save or print the list, download the PDF


The introduction by Alec Williams provides lots of handy tips on getting everyone reading!


David Almond, Jackdaw Summer

David Almond

Jackdaw SummerSuitable for 13-14+

Liam and Max have played on the wild Northumbrian fells for years but this particular summer, guided by a jackdaw, they stumble across a baby abandoned in an old farm building. It is the summer they leave childhood behind for the baby changes their lives in unimaginable ways. Merging the real and the imaginary, making the ordinary extraordinary, Almond has spun another spellbinding story full of local flavour and universal truths about childhood and savagery, cruelty, goodness and growing up with every word earning its space on the page. Another winner.

Hodder · 9780340881996


Bernard Ashley, Angel Boy

Bernard Ashley

Angel Boy

Bored, Leonard decides to run away for a few hours and takes a trip on the tro-tro bus. Getting off at a former prison for West African slaves he is kidnapped by a shadowy slave gang from the Ghanaian underworld who plan to use his angel face to beg for more money from the tourists on the streets. Ashley excels at tautly-plotted, timely and highly topical thrillers which pack a real emotional punch.

Frances Lincoln · 9781845078096


Malorie Blackman, Double Cross

Malorie Blackman

Double Cross
(Noughts and Crosses)
Suitable for 13-14+ Audio version available

The fourth part in the sequence takes up Callie Rose's story as she fights for the equal and just society she craves following the death of her grandmother. Her boyfriend Tobey is determined to go to university and break free of the increasingly violent gang culture he grew up in. If only society made it that easy for both of them. Can they ever love each other enough to find their way through the obstacles? Immediate, emotional and utterly engrossing, this series just keeps on getting better and better.

Doubleday · 9780552559607


Tim Bowler, Bloodchild

Tim Bowler

BloodchildSuitable for 13-14+

Found lying in an alleyway after an accident, Will survives but is without his memory. Haunted by night visions, approached by hostile strangers and pursued by a small child with a story to share…the new Will senses a secret but struggles to discover the nature of the danger hiding in the town. Merging slowbuilding suspense with hints of the supernatural and a compelling plotline Bowler once more creates a spine-tingling psychological thriller shot through with important messages about fitting in and conforming to your peer group.

OUP · 9780192728715

Kevin Brooks, Black Rabbit Summer

Kevin Brooks

Black Rabbit SummerSuitable for 13-14+ Mature content

Post-GCSEs a group of 5 friends meet up 'for old time's sake'. Theirs is a dark, shadowy, almost claustrophobic world, drink-fuelled and drug-blurred, meaning that no-one quite remembers how one of their group dies and another becomes police suspect number one.
'Issues' crowd in on every page to reflect teenage emotional turmoil, friendships shift and crack apart and the real 'adult' world suddenly looms ever more scary as the tension mounts and the hunt for the killer picks up pace. Brooks is writing at his best here; never passing judgement, allowing his older teenage readers to make up their own minds. Gritty, gripping, cleverly plotted crime.

Puffin · 9780141319117

Melvin Burgess, Sara's Face

Melvin Burgess

Sara's FaceSuitable for 13-14+

Sara Carter is desperate to be famous so when a legendary rock star comes along offering her training and cosmetic surgery it seems as if all her dreams have come true, but it soon becomes apparent that Jonathan's motives are more sinister than Sara could ever have imagined. Edgy, engrossing and guaranteed to make you think again about fame, celebrity and appearance. Another winner from an author not afraid to tell it like it is.

Puffin · 9780141316321


Anne Cassidy, Forget Me Not

Anne Cassidy

Forget Me NotSuitable for 13-14+

A child snatched from her bed in the middle of the night, an unknown abductor, a police investigation and some uncomfortable, long hidden family secrets about another missing toddler years previously form the basis for Cassidy's latest and most topical thriller yet, which hurtles along at an exhilarating pace. Definitely a book to keep you reading into the early hours.

Scholastic · 9780439942904


Ying Chang Compestine, Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Ying Chang Compestine

Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Eight-year-old Ling is a bright sparky character, born to two doctors, who enjoys a happy, privileged life until Comrade Li, Communist party officer, moves into their home. Neighbours disappear, her father is jailed, Ling herself is badly bullied at school for her bourgeois upbringing, food begins to run out and all her books are burned but still Ling refuses to give up hope, sustained by thoughts of her brave father. Readers will be riveted by this honest and insightful child's eye view of the Cultural Revolution in China.

Walker · 9781406315851

Frank Cottrell Boyce, Cosmic

Frank Cottrell Boyce

CosmicSuitable for 11-13s

Ostensibly a very funny story about an 11-year-old boy, Liam, who wins a competition to a top secret theme park and competes for the chance to orbit the moon in a rocket. It's also a wonderfully touching and profound story about lads and their dads, using World of Warcraft gaming levels to get the point across. Sounds surreal, but Boyce excels at quirky, original stories which show life as a child sees it and it really really works here. You simply must read this book for yourself.

Macmillan · 9780330440868

Jacques Couvillon, Chicken Dance

Jacques Couvillon

Chicken DanceSuitable for 11-13s

Winning a chicken-judging contest makes Don become a local celebrity overnight, the first good thing that's ever happened in his life, given that he's ignored at school and neglected at home. It also sets off a chain of events which turn his life upside down and make him question if he's really the person he thought he was at all. Quirky, funny, highly original, this is a wonderful mystery with a shocking twist in the tale.

Bloomsbury · 9780747589303


Berlie Doherty, Abela

Berlie Doherty

AbelaSuitable for 11-13s

Abela is sent to live in England as an illegal immigrant after the death of her mother from HIV/AIDS. Rosa is a young English girl whose parents want to adopt a child. This is the emotional, involving, often eye-opening story of how their two lives collide.

Andersen Press · 9781842707258

Deborah Ellis, The Prison Runner

Deborah Ellis

The Prison Runner

With his parents in prison Diego makes a little bit of money running errands and doing homework for other kids. Desperate to make all their lives better after making a mistake in the prison he decides to go on a mystery mission with his friend, a mission which he is told will make him lots of money very quickly. Instead he finds himself pulled into the cocaine industry, badly bullied by the drugs lords. Diego is a small boy with a big heart which makes his exploitation by the drugs industry all the more poignant. Timely, topical and absolutely engrossing this is a horrific portrait of reality for so many of Bolivia's poor.

OUP · 9780192755483

Keith Gray, Ostrich Boys

Keith Gray

Ostrich BoysSuitable for 13-14+ Mature content

Kenny, Sim and Black set off on an unusual and life-affirming journey from Cleethorpes to Scotland having stolen the urn containing the ashes of the their best friend, Ross, little suspecting how much Ross can still affect all their lives even now he's dead. Gray delves deep inside the minds of his teenage protagonists to create a perfectly-plotted, powerful and poignant story about love, loss, grief and suicide. It is a brave book which will make you laugh and cry.

Definitions · 9780099456575


M G Harris, Invisible City

M G Harris

Invisible City
(The Joshua Files)

When Josh's father goes missing in an air crash in Mexico Josh suspects alien abduction. In fact his dad has been murdered and it's up to Josh to find an ancient prophecy foretelling the end of the world in this dark, scary and very very mysterious adventure packed full of conspiracy and intrigue. Wrapped in the coolest of covers, Josh's cleverly included blog entries pull readers in until they just can't help turning the pages.

Scholastic · 9781407104027


Nick Hornby, Slam

Nick Hornby

SlamSuitable for 13-14+ Mature content

16-year-old Sam's life is looking more hopeful; first serious girlfriend, plans for college and celebrating his freedom from mum's latest 'rubbish boyfriend'. When his girlfriend announces she's expecting his baby, he takes a slam worse than any hard fall he's had while skateboarding. Sam turns to his skater hero Tony Hawk for advice and through their imagined conversations and bizarre glimpses into the future, Sam starts to grow up. Sam is a typical, straight-talking, very funny teenager who you want to see make a go of his life. This being Nick Hornby, there's a clever musical soundtrack playing along in the background, linking the characters and events together, adding another layer to the narrative as Sam starts to shoulder his responsibilities. Riveting stuff that both girls and boys will enjoy.

Penguin · 9780141321400

Simmone Howell, Notes from the Teenage Underground

Simmone Howell

Notes from the Teenage UndergroundSuitable for 13-14+

Edgy and alternative, this is the story of what happened the summer that three friends decided to go 'underground' in an extreme attempt at being different. Their film-making project, while ambitious in its scope turns out to be their undoing in this intelligent and honest look at friendships, family and fitting in.

Bloomsbury · 9780747585121

Damian Kelleher, Life, Interrupted

Damian Kelleher

Life, Interrupted

When 14-year-old Luke's mum is taken ill at the hospital where she works as a nurse he is 'worried stupid', not to mention having to cope with his football mad little brother. But it isn't long before their lives really fall apart in this big-hearted story about facing the worst life can throw at you and surviving. Heartwarming and heartbreaking by turns, this is the kind of story which just won't let you go.

Piccadilly Press · 9781848120037

Tom Kelly, The Thing with Finn

Tom Kelly

The Thing with FinnSuitable for 11-13s

Ten-year-old Danny is continually on the run from the memories haunting him after the death of his identical twin brother. A deeply moving and memorable but never sentimental story about life, love and death.

Macmillan · 9780330444552

Ally Kennen, Berserk

Ally Kennen

BerserkSuitable for 13-14+

When a 15-year-old boy pretends to be his mum and writes to a prisoner on Death Row he unwittingly unleashes a nightmare, for that prisoner is unexpectedly released and attempts to track down Chas' mum. Chilling and thrilling by turns, this is a gripping story which keeps you guessing to the very last page.

Marion Lloyd Books · 9780439943727


Joanna Kenrick, Mindset

Joanna Kenrick

MindsetSuitable for 11-13s Suitable for those with reading difficulties

When the bombs go off they trigger a horrific hate-campaign against Shaleem, the only Muslim in the school, but will his best friend Mark have the courage to stand by him? A brilliant addition to the 'gr8 reads' series for 12-13s, reading age 7, and a timely and topical, racism-fighting story.

Barrington Stoke · 9781842995235

Elizabeth Laird, Lost Riders

Elizabeth Laird

Lost Riders

Sold by his uncle in Pakistan to a stranger bearing promises of a new life, Rashid and Shari are soon separated, given new names and forced into work as camel jockeys in Dubai. Starved, beaten into working until they drop from exhaustion and often injured by blows from the horses' hooves the boys are desperate to find a way home despite Rashid's success on the track. Grounded in harsh, well-researched reality this is a gripping story of child slavery and trafficking, sympathetically told.

Macmillan · 9780330452090


Peter Lancett, Gun Dog

Peter Lancett

Gun Dog
(Cutting Edge)
Suitable for 13-14+ Suitable for those with reading difficulties

Set in a rough, rundown estate where gangs rule and the law lets down law-abiding citizens, Stevie finds his dreams of escape to a new life at university under threat when he agrees to hide a gun for a local ganglord.
Cutting Edge stories are short, gripping, gritty reads tackling tough issues for older teenagers who find reading a chore.

Ransom · 9781841677132

Catherine MacPhail, Under the Skin

Catherine MacPhail

Under the SkinSuitable for 11-13s Suitable for those with reading difficulties

Omar and his family have found a safe place to live at last but it's still not easy. Sam is always pushing him around at school and on his estate. One day it's different though and Omar starts fighting back. With a reading age of 8 this is a thought-provoking and relevant story about tolerance and difference by a first rate thriller writer which packs a huge amount into its 50 pages.

Barrington Stoke · 9781842994535


Harriet McBryde Johnson, Accidents of Nature

Harriet McBryde Johnson

Accidents of NatureSuitable for 13-14+

Although Jean has cerebral palsy she's been brought up to feel the same as everyone else, but a ten day stay at a summer disability camp and the people she meets there make her question her beliefs. Highlighting clearly the changes in attitudes since the 1970s, this is a complex, thought-provoking story which deserves discussion.

Andersen Press · 9781842707418

Patricia McCormick, Sold

Patricia McCormick

SoldSuitable for 13-14+

Lakshimi lives a simple life high on a mountain in Nepal, but is unknowingly sold into prostitution at the age of 13 by her family after a monsoon devastates their crops. Harrowing and unsettling reading which nevertheless highlights the shocking global scandal of sex slavery.

Walker · 9781406313956


Anthony McGowan, The Knife That Killed Me

Anthony McGowan

The Knife That Killed MeSuitable for 13-14+

Paul could be a student at your school, a normal teenager fearing and hating the gangs and the bullies, but nevertheless caught in between, pressured by his peers into message-carrying, rivalries and ultimately knife crime. Tightly-written as a kind of flashback this is as chilling as it is compelling, hard-hitting but intelligent, tragic and, sadly, all too topical.

Definitions · 9781862306066

Sally Nicholls, Ways To Live Forever

Sally Nicholls

Ways To Live Forever

11-year-old Sam has acute leukaemia, but is determined to pack as much as he can into living and find out as much as he can about dying. This is his scrapbook full of Questions Nobody Will Answer, lists of ambitions he wants to fulfill before he dies, the random facts that fill his brain about UFOs and horror films and scientists and snippets showing how his family cope with his dying in their very different ways. Heartwarming rather than heartbreaking, this is an impressive debut novel you won't easily forget.

Marion Lloyd Books · 9781407105154



Tabitha Suzuma, From Where I Stand

Tabitha Suzuma

From Where I StandSuitable for 13-14+

After witnessing his mother's death Raven is taken into foster care. He's badly bullied at school and feels his life and his head are unravelling. Lotte, a classmate bored with her ordinary friends, suggests hunting down his mum's killer and exacting revenge. This sparks a chain of events which have devastating consequences. An immensely moving, impossible to put down psychological thriller about mental health, which really gets inside the characters' heads. Suzuma shows not tells, making you feel what Raven feels but without ever sacrificing the fast pace or powerful plot.

Bodley Head · 9781862302129


Robert Swindells, Knife-Edge

Robert Swindells

Knife-EdgeSuitable for 13-14+ Suitable for those with reading difficulties

Gangs rule Sam's estate, Cecil True's gang in particular. Driven by fear, Sam steals a knife but will even that be enough to protect him? Up-to-the-minute, dramatic and all-too-believable, Swindells gets inside the minds of his characters and creates a snappy, discussion-starting story for struggling readers, reading age 8, interest level 13-16.

Barrington Stoke · 9781842995419

Eleanor Updale, Saved

Eleanor Updale

SavedSuitable for 13-14+ Suitable for those with reading difficulties

Luke and Anna belong to a cult which believes medicine and interfering with nature is evil, but their beliefs are put to the test when Luke is badly injured. Updale packs an amazing amount of emotion and drama into this very short, accessible story for 13-16s, reading age 8.

Barrington Stoke · 9781842995266

Valérie Zenatti, Message in a Bottle

Valerie Zenatti

Message in a BottleSuitable for 13-14+

17-year-old peace campaigner, Tal, sends out a message in a bottle after narrowly escaping a horrifying suicide bomb attack in a café near her home. Her hope is to start a correspondence which will spark some understanding across the divide between Jerusalem, her home town, and Gaza despite the politics and history which separate them. The fascinating emails which fly between the seemingly ill-matched couple make up this startling novel, a novel about the people behind the news headlines, about the need for hope and about changing the world with a single action.

Bloomsbury · 9780747590446

Benjamin Zephaniah, Teacher's Dead

Benjamin Zephaniah

Teacher's DeadSuitable for 13-14+

When a teacher is murdered by two of his students in school, Jackson is determined to find out just what happened and why. Edgy, straight-talking and immediately engaging Zephaniah tackles violence, bullying, family breakdown, the media and the justice system head on, challenging teenagers to think about their own prejudices and attitudes. Big issues, big impact and a brilliant book.

Bloomsbury · 9780747586098

Supported by:

Department for Children, Schools and FamiliesSchool Library AssociationReading for Life

www.everyonesreading.org.uk  |  Copyright © 2021 School Library Association  |  E-Mail support(аt)everyonesreading.org.uk  |  Website by Intexta