KS3 & KS4 Summer Reading

summer reading

If you are struggling for inspiration for a book to read over the summer holidays – look no further.

Below are some good options to choose from with a quick idea of what it is about.  If possible, write a quick review of what you read.  Prizes and achievement points will be awarded to the most informative reviews.

KS4 – Year 9 and 10

One – Sarah Crossman

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love? But what neither Grace nor Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined.

The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge

Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances. As she searches through his belongings for clues, she discovers a strange tree which only bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the bigger the truth that is uncovered. The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder. She begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter…


There will be lies – Nick Lake

When Shelby gets knocked down by a car, it’s not just her leg that’s broken: Shelby’s world is shattered. Her mother turns up to collect her and drives off into the night, like it’s the beginning of a road trip, like two criminals on the run. And somehow, everywhere she looks, there’s a coyote watching her, talking to her, telling her not to believe. Who is Shelby Jane Cooper? If the person who keeps you safe also tells you lies, who can you trust?

The rest of us just live here – Patrick Ness

What if you weren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions…

Lies we tell ourselves – Robin Talley

It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re determined to ignore. Because it’s one thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart.

Fire Colour One – Jenny Valentine

A bold and brilliant novel about love, lies and redemption. Iris’s father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn’t even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world. Everything she thought she knew is up in flames. Now her mother has declared war and means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection. But Ernest has other ideas. There are things he wants Iris to know after he’s gone and the truth has more than one way of coming to light.

1984 – George Orwell

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. . .

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet is young, clever and attractive, but her mother is a nightmare and she and her four sisters are in dire need of financial security and escape in the shape of husbands.  The arrival of nice Mr Bingley and arrogant Mr Darcy in the neighbourhood turns all their lives upside down in this witty drama of friendship, rivalry, enmity and love.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

One of the best-known horror stories ever. Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss scientist, has a great ambition: to create intelligent life. But when his creature first stirs, he realizes he has made a monster. A monster which, abandoned by its maker and shunned by everyone who sees it, dogs Dr Frankenstein with murder and horrors to the very ends of the earth …

The Trial – Kafka

‘Somebody must have laid false information against Josef K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong.’ From this first sentence onwards, Josef K. is on trial for his right to exist in a novel which, more than any other, is infinitely perceptive about the nature of terror. Idris Parry introduces his remarkable translation with an essay in which he points to the autobiographical elements in The Trial, in particular Kafka’s broken engagement to Felice Bauer

KS3 – Years 7 & 8

Half a King-by Joe Abercrombie

From the first page, Yarvi’s story, set in a vividly imagined fantasy world, is gripping, fast-paced and hard to put down. Explores complex questions of morality, loyalty and obligation.

Red Leaves-by Sita Brahmachari

Sita Brahmachari has created a beautiful tale of modern multicultural Britain. Her characters come from diverse backgrounds but are brought together by the common theme – they all feel they have been abandoned by someone they love.

Apple and Rain-by Sarah Crossan

Engrossing and uplifting, challenging and charming, Apple and Rain brings fiction and poetry together in a well-crafted story about growing up and learning to love.

The Great War-by Jim Kay

Each story is inspired by a different object from World War I, from a soldier’s writing case to the nose of a Zeppelin bomb.

The Ghosts of Heaven – Marcus Sedgwick

The spiral has existed as long as time has existed. Follow the ways of infinity to discover its meaning. It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant green dale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world, where a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors they hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny. Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so their journeys begin…

The Apple Tart of Hope-by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Oscar’s apple tarts bring hope to the sad or desperate. He is loved and appreciated for this special gift. Meg is his best friend, but just as their friendship is about to blossom into love she has to go to…

Jasmine Skies-by Sita Brahmachari

Following from Brahmachari’s debut novel, Artichoke Hearts, this a thoughtful, tender and uplifting novel, which continues the story of Mira, now two years older, as she negotiates challenging new experiences, the complexities of family and friendship, and the uncertainty of…

Infinite Sky-by C J Flood

Iris’s mum has gone, leaving her to look after her older brother and dad. When a family of Irish Travellers park up on the farm, the summer becomes even more eventful.

 Why We Took the Car-by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Mike and Tschik take off in a ‘borrowed’ Lada for a summer road trip.

Nobody’s Girl-by Sarra Manning

Bea’s journey through the sundrenched boulevards of Paris will transport teenagers to another world in this astute and imaginative tale about identity and truth.

A Beautiful Lie-by Irfan Master

Set in India during the summer of 1947, A Beautiful Lie follows the tumultuous events of the Partition of India through the eyes of Bilal who is looking after his ill father.

All My Secrets-by Sophie McKenzie

Fast paced and easy to read, this exciting mystery with unexpected plot twists, new friendships and a touch of teenage romance is a great summer teen read.

How I Live Now-by Meg Rosoff

Fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy is sent to England to spend a summer with her unconventional cousins

The Cardturner-by Louis Sachar

Alton has been unwillingly forced by his parents into being his irascible, blind, bridge-mad uncle’s card turner, in the hope that the family will be beneficiaries of the old man’s will.

Five Children on the Western Front – Kate Saunders

An incredible, heart-wrenching sequel to E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It, set on the eve of the First World War. The five children have grown up and war will change their lives for ever. Cyril is off to fight, Anthea is at art college, Robert is a Cambridge scholar and Jane is at high school. The Lamb is the grown up age of 11, and he has a little sister, Edith, in tow. The sand fairy has become a creature of stories… until he suddenly reappears. The siblings are pleased to have something to take their minds off the war, but this time the Psammead is here for a reason, and his magic might have a more serious purpose. Before this last adventure ends, all will be changed and the war’s impact will be felt right at the heart of their family.

Tiger Wars-by Steve Backshall

Saker and Sinter live utterly different lives – until they find themselves unlikely companions on the run. A breathlessly exciting adventure set in India.

Stories of WW1-by Tony Bradman

Poignantly bringing the First World War alive for teenagers, this anthology reminds us that many of those in the trenches were themselves no older.

The Great Ice Cream Heist-by Elen Caldecott

Shy Eva lives a quiet life with her protective Dad – until the noisy McIntyre family move in next door.

Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes-by Lauren Child

Blessed with an extraordinary talent for spotting things which others seldom notice, 13-year-old Ruby lands an undercover job as a code-breaker for secret-spy organisation, Spectrum.

Whale Boy-by Nicola Davies

In this short novel, Nicola Davies paints a rich and vibrant picture of island life, which feels as fresh as the sea air.

101 Poems for Children chosen by Carol Ann Duffy-by Carol Ann Duffy

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has created a spirited, enriching and exquisite anthology of poems for children.

Extra Time-by Morris Gleitzman

Imagine being filmed using your football skills to avoid being trampled by a herd of stampeding cattle. That’s what happens to 14 year old Matt and it changes his life forever.

Wild Boy-by Rob Lloyd-Jones

In 1840s London, Wild Boy leads a miserable life in a travelling freak show. Treated as a monster and excluded from society, he develops an unusual talent for observation.

Boffin Boy Goes to Hollywood-by David Orme

Rick Shaw might seem like an ordinary teenager, but when danger strikes Ricky becomes… Boffin Boy!

Ghost Stadium-by Tom Palmer

Tom Palmer’s Ghost Stadium is a fast-paced and properly spooky ghost story. The book suits reluctant readers and is also dyslexia friendly.

Super Animals-by Anne Rooney

Have you ever wondered how a clever crow can crack a hard nut, or how a wild cat can trap a baby monkey? Super Animals can tell you!

Geek Girl-by Holly Smale

Everyone at school knows Harriet Manners is a geek.

Operation Ouch!-by Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tulleken

Have you ever wondered how long you’ll spend on the toilet in your lifetime, or how many skin cells you shed in one day? Operation Ouch! Your Brilliant Body explains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about your body.

A Boy Called Hope-by Lara Williamson

A Boy Called Hope is a moving story about a boy’s search for his dad. Dan Hope is a funny and likeable boy who tackles the questions he has in his life head on. His determination to find answers is…



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