Essentialz was the Tower Hamlets Teen Booklist of this year, chosen by librarians from the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services, Tower Hamlets secondary schools and the Idea Stores. Published as a poster and a booklet for subscribing secondary schools.
Adlington, L. J.
The Diary of Pelly D
Pelly D’s diary tells of a future world where everyone has to be stamped with their genetic inheritance. The once-popular Pelly is now trapped in the lower grouping where she is forced to move home and faces the dangers of forced labour, disappearance or execution.
Hanging on to Max
Sam should be hanging out with his mates but he’s up to his ears in nappies, formula and the challenges of looking after his baby son. He’s fed up of everyone thinking he can’t handle it but can he keep up with demands of home, school, friends and fatherhood?
Wrongboy’s History of Earth: An Inaccurate History of Evolution
A quirky, funny and completely original look at life on Earth and evolution. It deals with subjects as diverse as when mice ruled the world, the age of the newt and the pinnacle of evolution… the elephant. Hilarious if not particularly informative!
Two boys picked for football trials for the inter-cities league come from each side of the Glasgow divide. Will their friendship through football overcome their family backgrounds? There are no easy answers. A perceptive, realistic, compassionate and humorous book about prejudice and preconceptions.
Chicken House, 2005
A very dark, but touchingly innocent love story. Joe meets Candy and becomes embroiled in her world of pimps and heroin addiction while just trying to get to know her and ultimately get her out of the horrible situation she has got herself in.
Kim’s mum runs off to a desert island with a millionaire. She has to change schools and falls in love with her best friend (a girl). The once sensible Kim experiments with drink, drugs and sex with the outrageous Sugar but is more emotionally involved than her fun loving friend which can only lead to problems.
Piccadilly Press, 2004
A 15 year old boy gets stuck in a lift with his pop star idol and has his whole preconceived notions about her (and himself) totally dispelled when he comes to realise that it’s not the pop icon that he is meant to be with after all but maybe his best friend. Well written, funny and insightful.
Lionboy: The Chase
This is a fun, clever, interesting and exciting story – a sequel to “Lionbooy”. Charlie and the lions are still trying to get to Africa but get stuck in Venice where they become part of some strange plot of the Doge..
Dalton, Annie and Maria
Red Fox, 2004
A wonderful story about two 16-year-old girls and their very different relationships with their mothers. Believable characters and subtle interweavings make this a convincing story.
The Rules of Magic
An exciting and creepy story about the battle between good and evil. A teenage boy and girl become caught in a medieval plot by the devil and a search for a book written by angels that might just save the world. If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer you’ll love this!
Egmont Books, 2004
Grampa Dan was always listening to Skarrs’ lyrics about concentration camps but it was only after he dies that Danny discovers that he had himself been a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp. He left a Bible, every page covered with sketches cataloguing his experiences..
A trip to the North teaches Aidan a thing or two about real life – friendships, trust, loyalty and survival. Aidan is shattered to discover that his real father is a gangland drugs dealer recently released from prison and out to regain his scrap of turf whatever it takes.
Ian didn’t understand why he and his father moved around so much until he discovers his father’s secret past – he was once a member of a protestant criminal organisation in Northern Ireland. Many moral questions are posed, as the son has to come to terms with and deal with his father’s past.
Going, K. L.
Fat Kid Rules The World
A bizarre friendship is formed when one skinny punk kid stops another overweight kid from killing himself and gets him to join his band. Hilarious and well-drawn characters.
After a supremely scary opening featuring some terrifying mutated eels and a gruesome death, this story covers James Bond’s early days as a 13-year-old at Eton in the 1930s. Staying with relatives in Scotland he discovers a local Laird is conducting horrific scientific experiments that prove he is very mad indeed and a threat to society who must be defeated.
Petals in the ashes
Love story that gives a detailed account of the spread of the Great Fire of London.
Oxford U.P., 2005
A story set in east London across two generations: Paula and Ness become unlikely friends when Paula becomes sucked into the dangers of the modeling scene; and Lauren, a mixed-race girl is discovered by a modeling agent which changes her life. The two stories are interlinked and the reader gets a fantastic cross-generational picture of a vibrant, arty area of London.
Genetic trackers cannot trace a mysterious shadowy figure seems to be randomly killing inhabitants of Basle. Roberta and her colleagues from the college of sorcery have to find a way to catch the killer before the city is flooded and the power crazy mayor takes over. Exciting, well-imagined and well-written.
I’m Alice, I think
The hilarious diary of Alice and her attempts to survive the embarrassments that are her parents, the small-minded nature of her hometown, and her own struggle to fit in.
The Boy Who Ate Stars
Lucy befriends the autistic boy upstairs and discovers what autism is. She comes to realise that he has immense empathy and understanding of everything around him and she understands that to look through his eyes is a liberating experience.
The Losers’ Club
Excellent story of a group of bullied kids in a Canadian high school who band together to take on the bully at a Christmas house decorating competition. Written in a witty style with sharp observations.
A Coyote’s in the House
The pampered pets long to run in the woods with the homeboys (but can they really give up their fancy food and grooming sessions?) while Antwan the coyote is curious about house living, humans and the attractions of Miss Betty, the snooty poodle. Catnapping, filming and a chase involving gun toting hunters make this a lively, entertaining and witty read.
Love My Enemy
A modern day Romeo and Juliet story set in Belfast. Zee is Protestant, Conor is Catholic which leads to trouble for them both. As Zee and Conor keep up a double life and argue over the need to do so in what is, after all, their own hometown, the jealousies and petty hatreds of those around them come to a head.
Mahal, B K
The Pocket guide to being an Indian girl
BlackAmber Books, 2004
Know how to brown your onions, never, ever go blonde, always expect your mother to think the worst of you and never forget that you are a lesser human being than your brother….. these are some of the rules Susham has discovered for herself growing up in Dudley.
Cam has been kidnapped and manages to escape but this is just the start of his struggle. In his search for home he finds out he is the product of genetic engineering which leads him to question his metaphysical as well as physical place in the world. Good pace and suspense.
Margaret K McElderry Books, 2005
Until Jude is fifteen, life with his drug dealer father consists of squalid apartments, frequent moves, and no forwarding address. Then Jude is a witness when his father is brutally gunned down at their kitchen table, but to save his own life, he mustn’t tell the police what he knows – and so is under suspicion himself. And then another secret is revealed: Jude’s father wasn’t who he said he was…
Web of Lies
Femi’s family is waiting to hear if they are going to be granted asylum in Britain but Femi’s in trouble. He’s joined a gang and is lying to his parents but when the violence starts to spiral out of control he has to start telling the truth even though it may put him and his family in danger.
Napoli, Donna Jo
Daughter of Venice
Thought-provoking story about a girl exploring her place in 16th century Italian society where she has to disguise herself as a boy in an attempt to find out about her beloved Venice.
Liam stays out of the house as much as possible to avoid his aggressive, boozy dad. When Liam’s band performs, a stage light falls on Liam’s head and he finds himself a ghost, having gone back in time to when his parents were teenagers.
Andersen Press, 2004
An incredibly realistic and moving account of how one girl refuses to accept Nazi ideology and has the courage of her own convictions through hiding an escaped Russian prisoner of war. A riveting insight into how the war affected the Sudetenland and its German and Czech population.
Peters, Andrew Fusek
A novel of love, death, loss and heartache told through poems. Life seems to be perfect for Carl, his best friend, Nat and his girlfriend, Kate until a drunk driver smashes into Carl’s car killing Nat. There is a real sense of pain and guilt in Carl and Kate’s trying to come to terms with their loss. This book is beautifully heartbreaking
How I Live Now
Evocative and beautifully written, a tragic love story of two cousins. The girl has eating disorder issues and is sent from US to live with her rural cousins in England with whom she has an unspoken psychic connection: they know what she’s thinking and feeling. The haunting oblique nature of the storytelling stays in your mind for a long time afterwards. Guardian children’s fiction winner 2004
Lee hates school and his dysfunctional home life and doesn’t want to join the gang on his estate. The only place Lee feels he can escape everything is on the roof of his tower block. One day he discovers someone else there invading his sanctuary – someone fascinating, someone Lee can talk to. Suddenly life is full of all kinds of possibilities.
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
In Frip, the children have to rid the goats of the gappers who persistently stick themselves to the goats. Every three hours, day or night, the children must laboriously brush them off, put them into sacks and dump them into the sea. Then one smart gapper gets all the gappers to target one garden rather than dispersing all over the village. Capability soon needs help from her neighbours but are they willing to help now they don’t have a gapper problem themselves?
Skinny B, Skaz and Me
Lee grows up in a tough neighbourhood, his sister has leukemia, his best friend is unreliable and he has gang trouble. Its time for Lee to find some real values and live by them.
The Gospel According to Larry
A solitary, misfit, teenage boy creates a website alter ego who rants and gives sermons on consumerism, celebrity and world debt. He gets a huge cult following but his life falls apart when the world finds out who he really is and try to make him the very thing he’s been arguing against. This is an excellent book!
Vote for Larry
After realising that hardly any 18-24 year olds vote at all Josh/Larry decides to run for president of America. Larry’s Peace Party are about raising awareness of issues and getting people to take back their right to have a say in how their country is run. This is really well written, funny and inspiring. Excellent!
Taylor, G. P.
This is a really exciting book dealing with religion, science and having faith. An evil fallen angel has set a comet on course for London and its up to a young girl, another fallen angel, and a scientist/magician and his guardian angel to try and stop it.
Simon & Schuster, 2004
John and Marisol form a friendship based on their dysfunctional families, mutual love of magazines and dreams of escape. As they become closer John mistakes their friendship for love which leaves them in ruins. An insight into the realisation that love isn’t all hearts and flowers – it’s a lot more complicated than that.
The Boy in the Burning House
A man dies in mysterious circumstances, his son and a female friend try to find the truth – she thinks her step father may be involved. Gripping and entertaining.
This book brings to life the hip-hop scene. Three disaffected boys excluded from school enrol in a music project, which leads to them becoming the next big thing in the music industry. This is just the background and the real story is about the boys growing up, how they relate to each other, their families and girlfriends. Some clever insights into life and who we are and what we believe