Reading Recommendations

Throughout lockdown, we asked youth prize entrants what they’d been reading in this strange period, and we’re sharing the literary suggestions that helped keep them inspired! We’ll be adding to this throughout this year too, so check back soon for more recommendations!

‘At the moment I am reading The London Eye Mystery and I am really liking it.’ Summer Greene, A Junior Entrant, has been reading ‘The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.

 ‘The Lie Tree’ by Frances Hardinge is fantastic. It is a gothic children’s fantasy novel set in the Victorian period. ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai is another one of my favourites. It is an enlightening work of non-fiction.’ Favourites from Junior Entrant Sophie Harrison.

‘I have been reading one of my favourite books again, Little Women [by Louisa May Alcott] -simple escapism, really lovely especially in uncertain times such as these! I’ve also been reading Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy [by Douglas Adams]-two very different books- which is such a funny and clever book.’  Two favourites from Junior Entrant Alena Cartmell. 

‘I have also just completed reading ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood and have found her dystopian novel to be most enthralling. It has kept me occupied for hours as the sense of mystery and tension is cleverly built through the narrative with the forever changing structure from past to present enhancing the intensity.’  Senior Entrant Molly Harmon on Atwood’s most famous novel. 

‘For older audiences, I would recommend the book Vox [by Christina Dalcher]. Its is very empowering for females, promoting equality.’ Entrant Piya Patel recommends Vox. 

‘I have recently finished reading Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s ‘In The First Circle’. It is an extremely powerful novel about political prisoners in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The alternating perspectives give the reader insight into various ideologies and experiences at the time.’ –  Senior Entrant Lauren DeBruin

‘I am currently re-reading Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’, it truly makes you aware of the society around us and the progress we’ve made within the equality between men and women whilst still highlighting how far we have to go! I would truly recommend this amazing novel and Plath’s poetry, ‘The Bell Jar’ is such an interesting read when looking at Plath’s life. I have been possessed by Sylvia Plath.’  Senior Entrant Molly Luck 

‘I’ve recently finished – and would greatly recommend – The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.This is a book for those who want to truly get lost in a story and this is one that you can never quite pin down. The author’s unique style links together multiple perspectives to weave a unique and elaborate world that the characters illustrate through their travels across time and space within it. Not only is the description and prose beautiful, but for those who appreciate decorative books, the hardback cover is stunning.’  Junior Entrant Phoebe Shea

‘I’m currently reading ‘Witness to my Life [The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone De Beauvoir 1926-39] and would highly recommend it!’  Junior Entrant Will Jump.

Other recommendations from youth prize entrants include:

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
Aristotle – Collected Works
Dante – The Divine Comedy
Ralph Ellison – Invisible Man
So this is love by Elizabeth Lim
Speechless by Kate Darbishire
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Animal Farm by George Orwell
My Friend Fear by Meera Lee Patel


Of course, we also recommend reading Orwell,  happily, you can find lots of Orwell to read on our website for free!