After Iris – Natasha Farrant
All of the Above – Juno Dawson
All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
Animal Farm – George Orwell (fable)
Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer (thriller)
Bad Company – Catherine MacPhail
Billy Elliot – Melvin Burgess
Blue Dog – Louis de Bernières
Blow – Judi Lundgren
Boy – Roald Dahl (autobiography)
Branded – Robert Swindells
Burning – Danielle Rollins (prison drama)
Carrie’s War – Nina Bawden
Cell 7 – Kerry Drewery
Crazy Games – Sandra Glover
Daz 4 Zoe – Robert Swindells
Don’t Tell – Sandra Glover
Everything, Everything – Nicole Yoon !
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Fight Back – Brent R. Sherrard
Final Takedown – Brent R. Sherrard
Gone Bad – Lesley Choyce
Goodbye Stranger – Rebecca Stead
Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
Heap House – Edway Carey
Holding up the Universe – Jennifer Niven
Holes – Louis Sachar
House of Spies – Griselda Grifford
How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
iBoy – Kevin Brook !
Journey to the River Sea – Eva Ibbotson
Juggling Lessons – Jan Page
Leaving Home – Jan Michael
Love Hurts – Beverly Scudamore
Martyn Pig – Kevin Brooks
Mary Wolf – Cynthia D. Grant
Mother Tongue – Julie Mayhew
Nyxia – Scott Reintgen
Out of It – Michelle Kadarusman
Picture me Gone – Meg Rosoff
Run Zan Run – Cathy McPhail
Sail to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys
Sara’s Face – Melvin Burgess
Schizo – Kim Firmston
Skellig – David Almond
Slam – Nick Hornby
Sophie Someone – Hayley Long
Split – Lori Weber
Stone Cold – Robert Swindell
Stupid – Kim Firmston
Terror Kid – Benjamin Zephaniah
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie (drama)
The Amateurs – Sara Shepard
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne (drama)
The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon (thriller)
The Dare – John Boyne
The Dogs – Allan Stratton !
The Door that Led to Where – Sally Gardner
The Giver – Lois Lowry (drama)
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (fantasy)
The Outsiders – Susan Eloise Hinton
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend (drama)
The Snakestone – Berlie Doherty
The Trap – John Smelcer
The Wave – Morton Rhue
The White Horse – Cynthia D. Grant
The Yellowcake Conspiracy – Stephen Davies
This is what I did – Ann Dee Ellis
Truckers – Terry Pratchett (fantasy)  
We Collided – Emery Lord
We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead
Word Nerd – Susin Nielsen
If you think these books are too simple, you can read any of the “bovenbouw” titles. This is the list:


! = this year’s official Blackbird (easily found at or bought with your regular school books order);
* = difficult – if you’re good, or in 5A;
# = you can basically read any novel by this author (as long as it’s fiction);
@ = editor’s pick (awesome book!)

11/22/63 – Stephen King (thriller) # @
1984 – George Orwell (drama) @
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (science fiction)
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole (dark humour)
A Fatal Inversion – Barbara Vine (detective)
A Good man in Africa – William Boyd *
A Hologram for the King – Dave Eggers (drama) #
A Kiss Before Dying – Ira Levin (thriller) #
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare (historical) *
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving (drama) # @
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – Christal Sutherland
A Son of the Circus – John Irving (drama) @ #
A Town like Alice – Nevil Shute
About a Boy – Nick Hornby (drama)
Across the Barricades – Joan Lingard
Adventures of Huckleberry Fin – Mark Twain (historic adventure) #
After the First Death – Robert Cormier *
Alice – Christina Henry (fantasy drama)
All My Secrets – Sophie McKenzie
All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
All the Light we cannot See – Anthony Doer *
All these Beautiful Places – Elezabeth Klehfoth *
An Abundance of Katherines – John Green *
And I Darken – Kristen White (historical fiction)
Angels and Demons – Dan Brown (thriller) #
Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake (paranormal thriller)
Assassin, The – Clive Cussler
Atonement – Ian McEwan * #
Before the Fall – Noah Hawley *
Being There – Jerzy Kosinski * #
Beloved – Toni Morrison * #
Billy – Albert French *
Billy Elliot – Melvin Burgess
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks (war) * @
Black Boy – Richard Wright
Blue Monday – Nicci French *
Bombs that Brought us Together – Brian Conaghan
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (science fiction) #
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh !
Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney (drama)
Buddy – Nigel Hinton
Cannery Row – John Steinbeck (drama) *
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (war humour) * #
Catwoman – Sarah J. Maas
Cell 7 – Kerry Drewery
Cinder – Marissa Meyer (dystopian urban fantasy)
City of Bones – Cassandra Clare (paranormal urban fiction)
Concentr8 – William Sutcliffe
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Liani Taylor (fantasy)
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (historical)
Dead Poets Society – N.H. Kleinbaum @
Dear Martin – Nic Stone
Dear Nobody – Berlie Doherty
Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh #
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams (absurd humour) #
Dracula – Bram Stoker (historical)
Dragonriders of Pern (series) – Anne McCaffrey #
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
Dry – Neal & Jarrod Shusterman
Dune – Frank Herbert (science fiction)
Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
Empire of the Sun – J.G. Ballard (war drama) @
Eragon – Christopher Paolini @
Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
Exit West – Mohsin Hamid *
Extraordinary Times – Robyn Schneider
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer (drama)
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (dystopian science fiction) @
Fair Stood the Wind for France – H.E. Bates (war)
Fire Colour One – Jenny Valentine
First Impressions – Charlie Lovett (historic fantasy)
Follow Me – Sarah Shepard
Foundation – Isaac Asimov (science fiction)
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (historical) *
Gangsta Rap – Benjamin Zephaniah
Girl in Translation – Jean Kwok (drama)
Girl Missing – Sophie McKenzie
Girl with the Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevallier
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (apocalyptic humour) # @
Graceling – Kristin Ashore
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens * #
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift (historical fantasy)
Hannibal – Thomas Harris (thriller) #
Heap House – Edward Carey
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad @
Here I am – Jonathan Safran Foer
Holes – Louis Sachar
Hot Mess – Lucy Vine
How to be Good – Nick Hornby (drama)
Hunted – James Patterson
I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison *
It – Stephen King (thriller) @
It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini
Jane Eyre – Charlette Brontë (historical) #
Jekyll and Hyde – R.L. Stevenson (historical)
Lies of Silence – Brian Moore
Life and Loves of a She-Devil – Fay Weldon (drama)
Life of Pi – Yann Martel (fantasy/drama)
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng *
Looking for Alaska – John Green
Lord of the Flies – William Golding (drama)
Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed
Love is Blind – William Boys (drama)
Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
Macbeth – William Shakespeare #
Malarkey – Keith Gray
Mind Games – Kirsten White (science fiction)
Misfit – Charli Howard
Moby Dick – Herman Melville (historical) *
More than we can Tell – Brigid Kemmerer
Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf *
My Name is Leon – Kit de Waal (drama)
Native Song – Richard Wright
Needless Things – Stephen King (thriller) # @
Neuromancer – William Gibson @
Never Go There – Rebecca Tinnelly *
Never Let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro (drama)
No Turning Back – Beverley Naidoo
Northern Lights / The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman (fantasy fiction) #
Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller (drama)
No Virgin – Anne Cassidy
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (drama)
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens (historical) @
On Chesil Beach – Iam McEwan * #
On the Beach – Nevil Shute
On the Come Up – Angie Thomas
One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest – Ken Casey (drama) @
One of Us is Lying – Karen McManus
Only Love can Break your Heart – Katherine Webber
Oryx & Crake – Margaret Atwood *
Otherworld (any part) – Tad Williams (fantasy/science fiction) # @
Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland
Our Man in Havana – Graham Greene #
Outside – Sarah Ann Juckes
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha – Roddy Doyle (drama)
Paper Towns – John Green
Paperweight – Stephen Fry (humour) @
Postcards from No Man’s Land – Aidan Chambers
Pretty Girls – Karen Slaughter (horror thriller) @ #
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (historical) #
Private Berlin – James Patterson (thriller)
Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngoza Adichie *
Red Dragon – Thomas Harris (thriller) @
Refugee Boy – Benjamin Zephaniah
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe (historical)
Romeo & Juliet – William Shakespeare (historical love tragedy) (not allowed in 5A)
Room – Emma Donoghue (thriller)
Roots – Alex Haley (historical drama)
Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys
Secret Smile – Nicci French
Seveneves – Neal Stephenson (end-of-the-world science fiction) @ #
Shame – Anne Cassidy
Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi
Siege – Chris Ryan
Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris (thriller)
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
Sing, Unburied, Sing – Jasmyn Ward *
Skippy Dies – Paul Murray (humour drama)
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut (war drama) *
Small Spaces – Sarah Epstein *
S.T.A.G.S. – M.A. Bennett
Stoner – John Williams *
Strange Meeting – Susan Hill *
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein (science fiction)
Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan (romantic mystery) *
Swing Time – Zadie Smith
Teacher’s Dead – Benjamin Zephaniah
Tess of D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (historical) #
That Eye, the Sky – Tim Winton (drama) *
The Absolutist – John Boyne
The African Queen – C.S. Forester (historical)
The Amateurs – Sara Shepard
The Bell Between Worlds – Ian Johnston
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler (detective)
The Boys from Brazil – Ira Levin (thriller) @
The Call – Peadar ó Guilin (fantasy horror)
The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer (mediaeval frame story) (not allowed in 5A)
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (drama)
The Cement Garden – Ian McEwan (drama)
The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor @
The Children Act – Ian McEwan *
The Children’s Book – A.S. Byatt * #
The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – Stephen Donaldson (fantasy) (any of the two series)
The Cider House Rules – John Irving (drama) # @
The Circle – Dave Eggers (drama)
The Collector – John Fowles *
The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett @ (and you can read any Discworld novel)
The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
The Coral Island – R.M. Ballantyne
The Creeping Man – Arthur Conan Doyle (historical) *
The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (thriller) @
The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham @
The Daydreamer – Ian McEwan #
The Dolls – James Patterson
The End of the World Running Club – Adrian J. Walker *
The Endless Steppe – Esther Hautzig
The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty (horror) #
The Explorer – Katherine Rundell
The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde (humour drama) #
The Fionavar Tapestry – Guy Favriel Kay (Arthur-esque fantasy) (any part)
The Gap of Time – Jeanette Winterson
The Girls – Emma Cline *
The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins (drama) !
The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
The Gospel According to Larry – Janet Tashijan (coming of age political romantic teen novel)
The Graduate – Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck *
The Grass is Singing – Doris Lessing (drama) *
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (historical)
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood * #
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (humour science fiction) # @
The Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving (drama)
The House of Sleep – Jonathan Coe
The Humans – Matt Haig
The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai *
The Innocent – Harlan Coben
The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
The Island – M.A. Bennett
The Kite Runner – Khalid Hosseini (drama)
The Knife od Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
The Lake of Darkness – Ruth Rendell (thriller)
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul – Douglas Adams (humour) * @ #
The Lost World – Arthur Conan Doyle (historical)
The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick (science fiction drama)
The Man Who Wasn’t There – Pat Barker (drama) *
The Man Who Would be King – J.R. Kipling (historical)
The Member of the Wedding – Carson McCullers (drama) *
The Milkman – Anna Burns *
The Mist in the Mirror – Susan Hill (thriller)
The Moon is Down – John Steinbeck
The Most Dangerous Place of Earth – Lyndsey Lee Johnson *
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux @
The Nearest far Away Place – Hayley Long
The Night Manager – John le Carré (spy novel) *
The Notebook – Nicolas Sparks (romantic drama)
The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr
The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
The Pearl – John Steinbeck
The Perks of being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (drama)
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde * #
The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene *
The Red Pony – John Steinbeck
The Red Ribbon – Lucy Adlington (war drama)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid (political drama)
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion !
The Safe House – Nicci French (crime thriller)
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne (historical drama)
The Secret History – Donna Tartt (murder drama) * @
The Sellout – Paul Beatty
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn – Stuart Turton *
The Shining – Stephen King (horror thriller)
The Shipping News – E. Annie Proulx (drama) *
The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer (drama)
The Smell of Other People’s Houses – Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock *
The Snapper – Roddy Doyle
The Stand – Stephen King (apocalyptic thriller) @
The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin (thriller)
The Sun is also a Star – Nicola Yoon
The Talented Mr Ripley – Patricia Highsmith (thriller)
The Tempest – William Shakespeare (historical) *
The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
The Trial – James Patterson
The Turn of the Screw – Henry James *
The Twelfth of July – Joan Lingard
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead *
The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells #
The Wave – Morton Rhue
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers – Brian Conghan
The Whisper Man – Alex North @
The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga *
The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins (historical)
The World According to Garp – John Irving (drama) * # @
The Yellow Bird – Kevin Powers
Their Eyes were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
These Shallow Graves – Jennifer Donnelly
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee *
To Sir with Love – E.R. Braithwaite
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf *
Toby’s Room – Pat Harper *
Turtles all the Way Down – John Green
Two can Keep a Secret – Karen M. McManus
Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
Vernon God Little – D.B.C. Pierre (drama) *
Vinegar Girl – Anne Tyler
Waiting for the Barbarians – J.M. Coetzee (drama) *
Washington Black – Esi Edugyan *
We See Everything – William Sutcliffe
We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
When we Collided – Emery Lord
Whistle in the Dark – Emma Healy *
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – Edward Albee *
Wild Swans – Jung Chang (biographical historical drama) @
Wonder – R.J. Palacio
World War Z – Max Brooks (zombie drama)
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë #
Z for Zachariah – Robert C. O’Brien
Zone One – Colson Whitehead * (zombie thriller)

The following books are explicitly NOT allowed (people always ask):

All Harry Potter books
All Divergent books
All Twilight books
All Maze Runner books
All Lords of the Rings books
All The 100 books
All Gossip Girl books
All Vampire Diaries books
All Game of Thrones books
The Hobbit
Thirteen Reasons Why