Year 9 Recommended Reads

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Evie just wants to be ‘normal’. She wants to start her new college, find friends she can trust, go to parties, and have fun. However we meet Evie when she is recovering from a breakdown, and we read about her innermost thoughts and feelings as she tries to cope with her anxiety disorder whilst boys mess with her head and she tries to form her own feminist ideals. But how will she cope with reducing her medication if she can’t even tell her best friends what is happening? This really funny but poignant book is both light and hard-hitting, and is a refreshingly honest portrayal of dealing with mental illness.

Anything That Isn’t This by Chris Priestley

Frank Palp is 17-years-old and is about to finish school.  He should be eagerly anticipating young adulthood and the new adventures that await him.  But he’s not.  Frank lives in an oppressive city under an ever-present but unnamed threat, and he is desperate to escape even though nobody has ever succeeded in getting out.  When he starts working for the Ministry there is a moment when he thinks he may be able to live a happy life of contented drudgery (like everyone else) with the girl he’s fancied for years.  But Frank is different, and he’s not willing to be a silent operative in a cruel regime.  Will his choices have dire consequences for his loved ones?

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

David is an outsider at school with a close pair of friends (who have just become a couple) and a shocking secret – he wants to be a girl.  As David tries to find the courage to tell his parents about this, his life is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of a new boy, Leo, at his school.  Leo has an explosive secret of his own which he keeps very close to his chest.  The boys forge an uneasy friendship and help each other address the greatest challenges in their lives, but will their families ever be the same again?

The Box of Demons by Daniel Whelan

For as long as he can remember Ben has been stuck with this magical box, and the worst bit is he’s also stuck with the three demons that live inside it. He’s the only one who can see them and they make his life miserable – that and having to visit his mum in the local psychiatric hospital. But one night Ben is offered a lifeline by an angel – if Ben helps him they will destroy the box and send the demons back to Hell. However, things turn out to be nowhere near that simple, and Ben is actually being manipulated into ushering in the apocalypse. But who wants to do this, and why?

Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle

Lemar (aka Liccle Bit) just wants to have some decent clothes, to draw instead of going to school and to get a date with Venetia King.  But these simple dreams are a far cry from Lemar’s life at the moment – living with his mum who works three jobs, his sister who has a little baby and his gran who holds them all together.  So when Lemar gets the chance to get a bit of money for doing a favour for Manjaro (South

Crongton’s gang leader and father of Lemar’s nephew) he thinks, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  How about a murder…with a gun…that Lemar may have delivered? 

Riot by Sarah Mussi

It’s 2018 and after years of recession, Britain is facing a population crisis. The Government wants to impose sterilisation on all teenagers who are not in employment or training, and so society goes into meltdown. Tia is at the forefront of the protests against the “Snip Bill”, while Cobain is the leader of a notorious movement of thugs and thieves. Forced to go on the run together, they are desperate to stop the

Government’s plan. Just one problem – the Government Minister responsible for the Snip Bill is Tia’s father…

Wake up and pay attention – this isn’t a story, this is real life.

Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

Sophie and her parents moved from England to Belgium when she was five years old. Now aged fourteen, Sophie has to come to terms with a slow realisation that her life is not what it seems and she has constant questions about her past that her parents avoid at all times. Although she has a great best friend to turn to for help, she can’t get the answers she needs. From the beginning of the book it is clear that Sophie is writing in a code, substituting some words for others, such as pigeons for people and worms for words, the reason for which becomes clear at the very end. This is a beautifully written perceptive story of family secrets, confusion and betrayal, all told through the endearing voice of Sophie.  

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

Three generations of women tell this amazing story of love and sacrifice through the revelation of their own heart-breaking secrets. This is a story of Mary (the estranged Nana with dementia), Caroline (the daughter who is divorced with her own problems) and Katie (the granddaughter, confused about her sexuality).

Their lives are forced back together when Mary’s husband dies and she has nowhere else to go. But why does Caroline seem to hate her so much and why has Mary not been part of Katie and her brother’s lives? It is difficult to describe the stunning style of this book and its complexities, which are beautifully woven amongst twists and turns and unexpected answers.

We are All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilsen

Stewart and Ashley are polar opposites but their lives are about to collide – they’re now reluctant stepsiblings. Geeky, awkward Stewart tries his best to befriend super-cool Queen of Mean Ashley, but she’s having none of it. But when a party gets out of control this unlikely brother-sister combo will find out who their true friends really are, and their relationship will change forever. 

Just how do broken families mend, and in all the drama, will anyone find the cat?