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Recommended Reads - Young Adult

The Last Zoo by Sam Gayton   The Last Zoo by Sam Gayton
Published by Andersen Press 2019

Pia lives in a zoo in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with her parents (both ghosts), several old and cranky genies, a devil, and two young angels. She spends her days trimming genie-beards, trying to avoid being tricked into selling her soul, and waiting for the angels to make a miracle big enough to save the world.

A fantastic story with the plot immediately sweeping the reader away into a dystopian fantasy world with Pia, a slightly clueless heroine celestial zookeeper. - Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber   Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Published by Walker Books 2017

Wing Jones idolises her big brother Marcus, but he’s everything she isn’t: good-looking, athletic and popular. But when tragedy strikes, calling everything she ever knew into question, Wing comes into her own and discovers strengths and talents she never knew she had.

Wing Jones is a gorgeous debut, a sensitive exploration of family ties, love and identity and what it really means to grow up, with a diverse cast of characters that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. - Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member.

The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin   The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin
Published by Faber & Faber 2018

Twelve years after he was found wrapped in a newspaper as a baby, YouTuber Elvis sets off on a quest with his dad and friend to discover where he comes from. The journey takes on a darker edge when it becomes clear that someone is determined to force them to turn back.

Filled with eccentric characters, this book reminds us to be ourselves no matter what others think and handles the subject of a person finding their birth parents in a caring and sensitive manner. - Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member.

Splash by Charli Howard   Splash by Charli Howard
Published by Nosy Crow 2018

Molly is in her final year of primary school, with secret dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer. Having always lived in the shadow of her manipulative friend, Chloe, Molly finally has the chance to compete in a regional swimming contest and define herself on her own terms. But with the pressure of fitting in, will she give up on her dreams for a shot at popularity?

A classic underdog story, a relatable protagonist, an important message of body positivity, and celebrating who you are. - Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member.

Hope Against Hope by Sheena Wilkinson  

Hope Against Hope by Sheena Wilkinson
Published by Little Island

Sheena Wilkinson’s novels are historical in the main and quite a few are set against a backdrop of the troubles in Northern Ireland. Hope Against Hope is suited to older teenagers aged 14/15 plus. Polly’s brother, an ex-British soldier returns home to Belfast in 1921 suffering from shell shock sustained during the war. Things take a very bad turn between the siblings and Polly is forced to run away to a young women’s refuge called Helen’s Hope. There, she works in a sewing factory with other young women of the same age, both Catholic and Protestant. The political tension in the North of Ireland at the time is mirrored by the tension in the Helen’s Hope refuge. The factory comes under attack and Polly feels she is to blame.

"This is a thought provoking book suited to older teenagers and adults alike." - Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green  

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Published by Penguin, 2017

An impressive follow up to The Fault in Our Stars is hard to imagine but John Green’s latest young adult novel is that and more. Sixteen-year-old Aza and her fearless friend get drawn into the mystery of missing, fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett for a one hundred thousand dollar reward. Together, they journey to solve the mystery and in so doing they must navigate through their personal relationships, issues and mental health.

"Memorable characters in a story of love, friendship and extraordinary teenage struggle all combine in this emotional roller coaster that is also an action packed adventure". - a Clare County Library Staff Member

A Dangerous Crossing by Jane Mitchell  

A Dangerous Crossing by Jane Mitchell
Published by Little Island Books, 2017

Ghalib doesn’t want to leave his home, but when he’s injured by a barrel bomb in his Syrian home town, his family can’t take any more and decide to flee to a better life in Europe. So together they start on a dangerous journey. They experience unimaginable hardship including the miserable life of a refugee camp and a perilous boat journey that we hear all too much about today.

"This is a powerful story based on the distress and difficulties experienced by Syrian refugees in the world today. Based on the experiences of real families, A Dangerous Crossing is endorsed by Amnesty International". - a Clare County Library Staff Member

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence  

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
Published by Hodder, 2016

After Marlon goes on a date with the hottest girl in school his world is turned upside down. The promise he has made to his mother is impossible to keep when he assures her he will never take the wrong path as his brother Andre did.

Marlon has to grow up fast. He is no longer the unnoticeable person he once was. He becomes someone he’s loathe to be, in order to protect everyone he loves.

Orangeboy is the winner of the The YA Book Prize awarded annually to the best young adult book written by an author living in the UK or Ireland. Previous winners of the prize are Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours (2015) and Sarah Crossan's One (2016).

"This is a book that explores the meaning of family, friendship and loyalty with intelligence and sensitivity. It is an urban, coming of age story about family ties, gang culture and the dangers of drugs with a shocking storyline that you won’t forget in a hurry." - a Clare County Library staff member

Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman  

Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman
Published by Doubleday, 2016

Malorie Blackman’s latest novel is sci-fi adventure, murder mystery and a teenage love story all in one. Olivia Sindall (Vee) and her brother Aidan are the only survivors on a starship heading back to Earth. Everyone else including their parents have been killed by an alien virus and the siblings are at risk from the deadly Mazon species whose mission is to wipe out all humans.

Vee is 18 years old. She is the tough, resilient and intelligent skipper of a starship, but she is also human and behaves like every other hormonal teenager. Nathan, one of the Mazon is irresistible to her and she soon finds that everything she believes in and the challenges she faces are compromised by her emotions.

"Drawing on Shakespeare’s Othello for inspiration , Chasing the Stars is a story of love, hate, fear, jealousy and betrayal. This a different departure for Malorie Blackman and the book has got mixed reviews. Lots of action and emotion combined with an exciting climax with the hint of a sequel makes it well worth a read." - a Clare County Library staff member

Plain Jane by Kim Hood  

Plain Jane by Kim Hood
Published by The O’Brien Press in 2016

Ten year old Emma has never been resented by her older sister Jane, aged almost 16. Emma is a talented dancer. She also has cancer. Up to now Jane has been happy to live in her sister’s shadow but with other family pressures of her parents disagreeing and struggling financially, Jane finds herself skipping school and hanging out with a boyfriend she’s not all that interested in. Because no one seems to care where she’s at in life, neither does she. But Jane comes to a realisation that her life is not all that bad, her sister’s health improves and the sisters take up where they left off before Emma got sick.

“A story of sibling rivalry with the added dimension of a possibly life-threatening disease thrown into the mix makes this a compelling read for any teenage girl who feels over shadowed by their sister.

“Themes of sisterhood, cancer and teen mental illness are all realistically explored in this novel that will resonate and be remembered by young adult readers long after they’ve read it.” - a Clare County Library staff member

Still Falling by Sheena Wilkinson  

Still Falling by Sheena Wilkinson
Published by Little Island in 2015

Esther and Luke are teenagers from two very different backgrounds in Northern Ireland. Esther feels unpopular and isolated at school and is questioning the rituals and teaching of her church. When Luke arrives at her school after many years in care, he has a chance to prove himself but has an epileptic fit on his first day. Esther and he are drawn to one another and become inseparable but they both have serious issues to resolve whilst surrounded by pressure on many levels, even from themselves. This is a story about the struggle it can be to love someone who doesn’t love themselves – and why it’s worth it to persevere.

“One of the most moving and thought-provoking books published for teenagers.” - a Clare County Library staff member

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