Thursday, 7 March 2013

Claire McFall's Favourite Teen Titles

To celebrate World Book Day, we've asked Ferryman author, Claire McFall, to give us her top five favourite teen books

 So... my top five favourite books. Wow. This was hard! There are way too many books to choose from. Old favourites, new favourites, I-read-you-a-million-times-and-still-love-you-favourites... but I was only allowed five so - with just a teeny tiny bit of cheating – here are mine:

1. Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman  

I can’t help it, I cry. Every time I read the ending. I’ve actually taught this novel a couple of times with classes because I love it so much, but I discovered it at University. It made me laugh, squirm, bawl... feel. The concept of reversing racial roles is really interesting, and the way that Blackman shows the changing ideas through the generations (especially if you follow it up with the rest of the series, which you should!) is fantastic. But mostly, it’s just a great story. The characters are real people and the twists and turns of the plot mean you will be up at 4am to finish it. But it’ll be worth it. And then there’s Callum. I can’t help it: I love him. Oh poor Callum. I may have to cry again now.

 2. Harry Potter – All of them! JK Rowling


This is cheating because there are seven of them and this is meant to be a top five, but oh well! I’m a little too old to say I grew up with Harry... but then I still don’t think I’m a grown-up, so maybe I did! I’ve read the whole series at least ten times. The world J K Rowling created is so real... I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve day-dreamed my way into it. I would, of course, be a kick-ass auror with awesome skills. Maybe I could get a job at Hogwarts, because, okay, apostrophes and inverted commas may not be quite as important as potions and transfiguration, but witches and wizards need to be able spell in both senses of the word!

3. Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian 

Everyone should read this book. In fact, I think David Cameron should declare it a new law. Not only is it rich with WWII detail, but it just warms your heart. Willie is sent to stay with the terrifying Mister Tom during the war a thin, sickly, abused little boy. Only Mister Tom isn’t scary – he’s the granddad every child ought to have! I first read this book when I was at school, then I studied it at university, and I’ve taught it too. But mostly, I just read it because I love it.

4. Crossing the Line Gillian Philip

This is a brilliant book. I read it with a class a couple of years ago as part of the Royal Mail Book Awards. It was one of those where I read it and thought: Man, I wish I’d written that! The main character, Nick Geddes, just grabbed me from the very first page. He’s a big, brutish thug with an absolute heart of gold. The narrative is really interesting, intertwining the present with the back story so that your understanding unfolds with the action.

5. The Famous Five – Five Go off in a Caravan Enid Blyton 

Okay, so this book totally doesn’t go with the rest of the list, but I don’t care. I LOVED the Famous Five books growing up. And when I was done with them, I read my way through the Secret Seven before going back to the Famous Five. There were corny VHS tapes in my local library too (Julian, Dick and Ann... George and Timmy the do-o-og. We are the famous five...Yup, I still know the tune). This was my favourite of all of them, though. They went in a horse drawn gypsy-style carriage (how cool is that!), on their own with no parents, gallivanting about the countryside rounding up baddies. Can you imagine mums and dads doing that nowadays? Mine certainly wouldn’t have let me! Oh, but I dreamed...

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