With South African National Book Week having run from 4-10 September 2017 and with the many Book Festivals that have happened as well, I’ve decided to highlight my top five young junior teenage novels to get pre-teens and teens into the swing of reading.

1.) Rotten School

Following the misadventures of Bernie Bridges and his friends from Rotten School, this junior fiction series is guaranteed to cause uncontrollable laughter and is virtually unputdownable. From ‘Beast’, the icky kid who looks and acts like a savage animal, to Belzer, a mousy little kid whom Bernie bosses around, this series is certain to leave any kid in stitches and excited to read the next book in the series. R.L. Stine, who also wrote the Goosebumps series, is a real master of the trade!

2.) Harmony High
Harmony High is a local series about a group of teenagers who attend a fictional township high school, Harmony High. The series reflects their struggles, triumphs, joys and misadventures as young kids growing up in the townships. This is a very exciting series and a must-read for all South African tweenies and teens! You can read the first one, Broken Promises.

3.) The Harry Potter series
The entire Harry Potter series is a firm favourite amongst readers right across the planet, from book one right down to book seven. What I found surprising was that J.K Rowling had actually written a series of mini books about various aspects of the series. For example, there is a separate book written about all the monsters in Harry Potter called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and even the The Tales of Beedle the Bard, featured in book seven with magical fairy tales, was an actual mini book in the series. This woman is seriously creative!

4.) The Princess Diaries
Meg Cabot has also been a firm favourite of mine in young adult fiction and I actually started my reading journey with her books. Mia Thermopolis, a dorky, uncoordinated, high school kid, finds out from her estranged grandmother that she’s the princess of Genovia and next in line to be queen after she passes. In each book, we see Princess Mia maturing more and more and I, as a dorky, mathematically retarded Taurean, was able to relate to her journey in a very big way. I’d also recommend the Mediator series, Avalon High and Jinxed. Meg Cabot is a literary legend.

5.) Shadow Chasers
Written by Bontle Senne, the Shadow Chasers trilogy combines African folklore with modern day adventure. Having to face an army of shadows in the dream world, a gutsy taxi-driver’s daughter and her friend muster up all their courage and wits in every situation they face. Shadow Chasers is exciting and a ‘must read’ for all those who enjoy quest and adventure stories.

Are you inspired to read or pick up one of these books for your loved ones? What were your favourite novels growing up? Let us know and keep reading!