The brilliant teenage reading group at Whitton Library has been running for over a year and oh my gosh we’ve read and done so much. From WWII fighter pilots to spell-casting wizards, serious emotional traumas (these are teen books, after all!) to life or death reality TV shows, we’ve covered the lot. Some titles we’ve covered and covered again, several times over (hello Hunger Games, I’m looking at you), until I feel like I’m part of the story. Though as even PE was too much of a struggle for me at school, I’m not sure I could cope with a terrifying Hunger Games-style fight to the death. Phew. Best to be thankful for what you’ve got, I say.

The places we’ve visited and the characters we’ve met along the way, wow, I couldn’t have imagined such things when we first decided to start the group. To quote the blond haired fellow in Blade Runner (I know, much too old for our current teen members), I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. I guess that’s what our teen reading group, and great literature in general, is for though, to take us beyond our everyday lives and expose us to new experiences, people and places. It broadens our horizons, entertains us and makes us better people. Thanks, books, you’re the best!

Last week I asked some of our young members what they liked best about reading and they answered overwhelmingly that they read because it provides an escape to another world, away from everyday life, through different experiences and points of view. And where better to do that than your local library? A calm, quiet place to just sit and be yourself, as one of our satisfied members said recently. Go libraries!

We do all sorts of activities during the course of our reading group sessions. We discuss our favourite books (obviously), create short stories and illustrations, take part in brain-tingling competitions and generally have a good time. We’ve read some graphic novels and manga titles too. And did I mention the biscuits? We’ve eaten a lot of biscuits over the past year, though we haven’t always been able to agree on which ones we like best.

Popular Teenage Book
The fault in our stars by John Green

I wanted to know if there was a single book that the group had enjoyed most over the course of the year (I’m brave like that), but there were just too many from which to choose. The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments series both featured highly, as did anything written by David Levithan or John Green, particularly The Fault in Our Stars. Wonder by R.J. Palacio was super popular too. I think that for the entire time the group has been running, though, there has always been at least one person reading Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, which is just incredible. So maybe that’s our favourite book and such a sad one too. We’re a brave lot in Whitton.

The group meets one Wednesday evening a month, 5.45 to 6.45pm, and is open to anyone between the ages of 11 – 15. So if you know of anybody who might be interested, then point them in the direction of Whitton Library. Check our website for the date of the next meeting, or you can always contact Whitton Library itself on 020 8734 3343.

I’m looking forward to the next one already!

Teenage reading list
Cover Story 2015-2016

Oh, and If you’re searching for something new to read, take a look at our Cover Story booklist for some of the best teen reads at your library.

[ Colm O’Reilly, Librarian ]