Books That Shaped Teenage Me

I’m going to turn twenty at the end of this year, so I thought it’d be cool to recap some of the books I’ve loved the most over my teen years. Many of these have had quite a big impact on me and helped shape a lot to do with who I am now, and how I view the world. Most of these should be found in the YA, teen and tween sections of most good bookstores (Waterstones all the way, y’all).


The Skulduggery Pleasant Series – Derek Landy

Going right back to the start, I first discovered these books aged twelve (twelve counts, right?) and back then, the series was still being released. If you want a bigger rundown of these, I have written about them before – check that post out here! Essentially, they’re funny, lighthearted, magic-filled and badass. Highly recommend for anyone aged 11 up.

The Starcrossed Series – Josephine Angelini

These were great, using a high school setting and intertwining bits of Greek mythology into it. It involves a bit of romance, a lot of danger, and quite a bit of the Fates coming in and messing everything up, until eventually the Gods decide to come down and start an even bigger conflict. Ever since I discovered these, I’ve had such an interest in Hades and the concepts surrounding Zeus and the Underworld.

The Hunger Games Series – Suzanne Collins

Everyone’s got to have heard of these by now, but if you’ve only seen the films then I BEG YOU to read the books. I think these were what kickstarted my interest in the dystopian genre, which was a huge part of my mid-to-late teens, and still feature a lot in my reading interests. In addition, I used this series as part of my research base when I did my Extended Project in sixth form, which led me on to a vast array of other books as well, some of which I will get to shortly!

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The Waterstones in Liverpool One (it’s big)

13 Treasures – Michelle Harrison

I’m pretty sure I found this book when I was thirteen, stumbling across it in the bookshop. It’s been years since I read it, and I know there are follow-ups that I never got around to reading, but I remember loving this book. It’s got fairies in it, mischief, runaways… It was the perfect mixture of rebellion and enchantment.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

I hated Animal Farm, but 1984 has so much to be said about it. It’s fascinating how much of what Orwell was writing about in the ’40s is directly relevant to today, and that’s exactly what I felt as I read it back in 2013 or 2014. It may not be a typically ‘teen’ book, but it definitely resonated with sixteen-year-old me.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Again, not typically a ‘teen’ book, but this was written way back in the early ’30s, and is credited with being the origin of the dystopian genre. I’d never heard of it before, and came across it during my Extended Project, but it’s full of fascinating topics also played on by modern series such as Uglies by Scott Westerfield. The use of recreational drugs, mind-controlling the masses, and creating the illusion of utopia where if you scratch beneath the surface, you find a much more sinister reality.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

I honestly don’t remember exactly when I first read this book, but it was definitely early-to-mid teens. I didn’t really get it at first, perhaps because I was unused to the classic style of writing – but I watched the BBC TV series, then re-read it, and have loved it ever since. It definitely helped expand my reading interests and introduced me to the classics.

To Kill a Mockingbird & Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

Everyone who’s been through school has probably read TKAM, and those who liked it have probably read GSAW. I first read TKAM for my GCSE English, but I did honestly love it. I was studying the Civil Rights movement in America for my history GCSE at the time, and it just resonated with me. It’s a brilliant narrative, and the way Scout just cannot understand people’s racism was exactly me when I was a child. The release of GSAW was just a bonus, and I know it was a bit controversial, but I loved it.

War Horse – Michael Morpurgo

Who couldn’t like this book? It was so moving and so utterly compelling, about such a tragic time in our history. No matter how old you are, this book should be on your ‘read’ pile.


And that’s about all I can think of at the moment! I realise the collection is somewhat eclectic, but I like reading different genres. It keeps life interesting. What were/are your favourite books as a teen?

Katy x

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