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Tales of Teenagers Past


Long ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, when the internet was a rare animal and when telly came on two channels YAPS was a teenager who loved to read.   YAPS has decided to ask other ex-teenagers what they liked to read and why.  Have a look below and see if you agree with their choices or if you, as a non-prehistoric teenager, would like to recommend anything.


It was very hard to choose just a couple of books because just about everything was fantastic. Two favourites were Full Moon by Kenneth Lillington (a fabulous book about ghosts and mediums) and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (a book chock full of magic, adventure and romance).  Copies of both these books are still at home and have been reread so much the covers are falling off.

Ex-teenager 1:

My absolute favourite teen novel – when I was a teenager and now – is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and 3/4.(Sue Townsend)

Extremely funny. It was like reading about a male version of myself! Now I can see there’s so much more going on in the novel including a damning critique of modern parenting! Yes, I am now old and boring!

Ex-teenager 2:

I can’t really remember what I read as a teenager – did they have YA books back in the day! I do remember reading the whole Flambards series (K.M.Peyton), all about the horses and the big house – she was a spirited heroine think that was the part I enjoyed most.

Apart from that I just wanted to read the adult stuff…..though I do remember reading The Endless Steppe (Esther Hautzig) about life in Russia and the open plains….enjoyed that.

Ex-teenager 3:

Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton.

I loved this book in school. In English class we read out our classic modern literature out loud but because I hated ‘The Great Gatsby’ so much!! I used to sneek this into English Class and read it instead. The thoughts of being chased by dinosaurs through the woods and buildings had me on edge for every page that I read. Still got an honour in English!!!  Super Cool stuff

The Magician, Raymond E Feist

Michael Crichton got me interested in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels.  So I picked up ‘The Magician’. What a stonking good read, really likeable and enjoyable characters. The writer brought you along on a rollercoaster of events and keeps you on tenderhooks, the characters and story line expand into a dozen further books which get better and better.  Epic Material, should be made into a movie.

Ex-teenager 4:

My favourite book was Fifteen by Beverly Cleary. It’s all about a teenage girl’s first love. I was an incurable romantic then, subsequent years have caused me to become far more cynical!

Ex-teenager 5:

My favourite book I read as a teenager is still me favourite book of all time far! Its Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  I think at age 13 I was caught up in the whole romance of it all, the drama, the intensity and the darkness. I have read it a few times since and its still a great read. In fact I think I will read it again.

The only downside is that it ruined me for life….I’m still waiting for Mr.Rochester!

Ex-teenager 6:

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Sue Townsend), Jackie Annual ,”My Guy ” annual, any Mills and Boons I could get my hands on and my favourite of all time was The Exorcist (William Peter Blatty).

Ex-teenager 7:

The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall – set during World War Two about a group of children fighting the Germans all on their own, it’s a book full of hope, despair and adventure!

Ex-teenager 8:

I didn’t read the usual and it is a million years ago, no teen fiction in those days. I would have to say George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier and Robert Tressell’s The ragged trousered philanthropists both on the same subject of working class poverty and class divisions in the early 20th century.  Both books are very powerful, Tressell’s is written as fiction and based on his life experiences as a painter and decorator while Orwell’s book describes the real life conditions of the working class in the industrial towns and cities of the north of England in the depressed 1930’s.

They certainly coloured my political beliefs and have some resonance in our country’s current depression.

Ex-teenager 9:

Charlie’s Story by Maeve Friel. It’s probably geared towards the younger end of the young adult scale but it’s well worth a read. I loved it because it’s fast-paced and enjoyable but quite dark in parts. It also deals with bullying in a very realistic, accessible way. Regardless of whether you’re a bully, victim of bullying or just looking for something different to read, which I was, it’s a great book. And, more importantly, it’s written by an Irish author 🙂

Ex-teenager 10:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy for me. I remember the books belonged to my brother and I picked one up one day and started absentmindedly to read it. This then turned into a mammoth journey for me through Middle Earth. I can remember feeling sad a little lost when my journey ended three books later.

Ex-teenager 11:

I really loved The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier best. The book is about power and weakness and manipulation. It is set in an all boy Catholic school in New England. A group of boys ‘The Vigils’ run the school intimidating pupils and weaker teachers through elaborate pranks but the tyrannical Brother Leon yields power over the leaders of the group. The story focuses on Jerry Renault a student who refuses to take part in the annual fund raiser, selling boxes of chocolates. Although I can’t remember the whole story, I do remember how it draws you in completely. It was funny, sad and shocking. There is no happy ending which was a great change and very refreshing at the time. Remember, it was the 80’s so there wasn’t as much choice as now! But I’d say it still stands up today. I am the cheese by Cormier was also brilliant. I loved S.E. Hinton, Paul Zindel and of course the very informative Judy Blume.

Ex-teenager 12:

I regret to say that due to my age, when I was in my teens there was not a specific set of works geared at teenagers. The normal practice then was to move on to adult books. I remember treasuring and using a book on the seashore which my father had bought me. Authors I read included Agatha Christie, John Creasey, Ngaio Marsh, Zane Grey, etc. Specific titles which I remember enjoying at different stages during my teens were Cider with Rosie (Laurie Lee); Shane (Jack Schaefer), The Dog Crusoe (R. M. Ballantyne) and The Worm Forgives the Plough (John Stewart Collis). I also remember reading the Réics Carló books by Cathal Ó Sandair which were in Irish!

Ex-teenager 13:

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Fever Pitch is the diary of an Arsenal fan. The author has allowed his entire life to be taken over by his love of football and especially for Arsenal. He never misses a game and will put Arsenal before everything else in his life: college, work, family, you name it.  He is aware of how crazy this is and he hates himself for being so obsessed. He can’t give up smoking because watching Arsenal streeses him out so much. Fever Pitch was made into a film with Colin Firth, but the book is much better.


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