Liz, thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of fiction for the under 14s. Young Adult fiction seems to have a momentum all of its own in the book industry right now. So younger children’s fiction isn’t getting the attention it deserves. As a school librarian who works with children aged 3 – 13, I am always interested in finding titles that will appeal to my students. Here are some of my favourite novels for girls under 14.
1) I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Cora Harrison – recommended for readers 10+
This book is a charming historical novel which will appeal to girls who are looking to read an innocent romance. It takes the character of Jenny and explores her friendship with the well-known literary figure Jane Austen. Cora Harrison somehow manages to give this historical book a contemporary feel and yet also charms the reader with her characterisation of Jane Austen. It is a truly adorable ‘Will they, won’t they?’ romance. Beautiful gowns, dazzling balls, witty dialogue and handsome chaps... this book will appeal to girls who love fashion and dancing and Disney endings.
2) The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison – recommended for readers 9+
This story is full of the dark side of magic and those fey creatures who like to meddle in the lives of humans. The heroine is Tanya who is gifted with the second sight. She is sent to stay with her Grandmother for the summer after causing yet more trouble at home. Except that it isn’t Tanya who is causing the trouble, it is the faeries who are meddling in her life. My students had been raving about this book long before I had read it. The dialogue is great, every character an individual and when you add that to the sinister woods, tight plot and genuine character journey you get an absolutely satisfying read. The Thirteen Treasures is a real page-turner.
3) Knife by R J Anderson – recommended for readers 10+
This novel is incredibly well-written. It is fairytale unlike any other. Knife is not your magic wand or sparkly dust fairy. She is a warrior and a rather savage character and determined to protect the faeries’ colony against the mysterious disease that is killing their kind. R J Anderson wonderfully conveys the faery viewpoint and so the reader can see the human world in an entirely new perspective. Girls will love Knife’s rebellious and disobedient nature. But there is also depth in this novel as the author explores the themes of duty, creativity and self-esteem.
4) Ingo by Helen Dunmore – recommended for readers 10+
I absolutely adore this series and so will girls who love holidaying on the English coast and imagining the mysterious Mer who live in the ocean. Sapphire lives in Cornwall. Her life is turned upside down one night when her father takes his boat out on to the sea and never returns. Sapphire can’t move on from the loss of her dad because his body is never discovered. Her mum is starting a new relationship and Sadie finds this difficult to come to terms with. Her solace is the Cornish cove where she and her brother Connor while away the days. But there is a voice calling Sapphire to the sea and she can’t stop listening. Ingo is the perfect summer holiday read. Girls will enjoy the fantastical elements of the story as well as the emotional challenges which Sapphire faces. Oh and let us not forget her adorable dog!
5) Paradise Barn by Victor Watson – recommended for readers 9+
This is a wartime murder mystery which will appeal to both girls and boys. Mysteries are a genre that my students are increasingly keen on and this book was a complete hit with our Year 6 book group. There are two girls in this story – Molly and Abigail. Both have incredibly distinctive and believable voices; they really could have been my students. The story is set in the rural town of Great Deeping; the lives of the girls are shook up by the arrival of an evacuee, Adam. The year is 1940, war is raging and Adam is forced to leave his family and London behind. Together the trio set out to solve the murder of mysterious man who might have been a spy. It is twisting tale, full of clues, red-herrings and is vividly evocative of the historical setting.
Read all of the above?
Other titles that are popular with girls in my library right now are:
Dork Diaries by Renee Russell
Spy Girl by Carol Hedges
Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series by Meg Cabot
Silk Sisters series by Fiona Dunbar
Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John
Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner
Thanks for having me spot by MFB and do share if you have other recommendations for books that will appeal to ‘Under 14’ girls.
Thanks so much for these fantastic reccommendations. My Amazon Wishlist just exploded with a handful more titles. Thank you, Becky, for being an enabler.