When I was a child I devoured books. I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five books and Malory Towers, but I read pretty much everything I could get my hands on. By my mid-teens I was mostly reading adult fiction, but thanks to the BBC Big Read in 2003, I ended up reading a lot of books for younger minds in my late teens and early-twenties. And I think I probably got more out of them coming to them later than I would've done a few years earlier.
Here are a few of the books I came to late which I would recommend for readers of any age:
- Holes by Louis Sachar. I read this when I was suffering from a horrendous cold that stopped me sleeping. Instead of sleep, I lay in bed all night and read this cover-to-cover. I can't remember doing this with any other book. A story of a boy who gets sent to a detention camp where the punishment is to dig a hole of an exact size every single day, it's brilliantly engaging.
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I've always enjoyed the romance of books set in "simpler times". I adored Anne of Green Gables as a child! This is a charming and witty book set in the 1930s and was a joyful read.
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I'm not the only one here, I know. This book took the world by storm a few years ago and, although nominally Young Adult, has probably been read by as many Old Adults as Young by now, and deservedly so. It's warm and tragic and heart-breaking without being miserable or saccharine. It deserves every accolade it has received.
- His Dark Materials (trilogy). I did try to read this in my early teens and didn't get on with it. Then I tried again later, and loved every sentence. Lively and gripping, but also chilling and moving. Perhaps the perfect Young Adult books?