What books win reluctant readers over?


Isn’t that the million dollar question? Wouldn’t life be easy if there was a magical list of books that would convert a reluctant reader who sees books as a ball and chain into a keen reader who sees them as a key to a new world? The problem is that we are all different. One reluctant reader’s page of pleasure could be another reluctant reader’s page of poison.  The only solution is to try and get to know your reader and recommend accordingly – hence my previous post Finding the Right Book for a Teen Reader.

That said, there have been books I have recommended that have proved successful time and again and are worth a mention.

Mortal Chaos series by Matt Dickinson – these books are ideal for readers who struggle to read longer books, who lose interest quickly when faced with lengthy chapters or who often claim the book is ‘too slow’. Some of the chapters in these books are only 2 pages long – ideal for distracted and easily disheartened readers. Moreover the books are action packed, fast paced and exciting. They are based on the chaos theory: a small event in one place can have repercussions across the world.

Another author that I like recommending to readers who struggle with longer books is Morris Gleitzman. His Once series is a fascinating look at WW2. These, and his other books, are an excellent blend of being easy to read, relatively short, amusing and thought provoking.

Sally Nicholls – this author writes interesting and unusual books that are easily readable. Story lines can touch on difficult subjects which makes the reader stop and think. I like recommending her to readers who find it difficult to pin point exactly what they like or don’t like reading. A recent, successful recommendation was her latest book, An Island of Our Own.

One concern I often hear is that a reader has become addicted to a series of books and isn’t moving his/her reading on. These days some series can go on beyond the normal trilogy or quartet, with the series running into over ten books. For girls who are entering secondary school and are not keen readers but need to try something different I have recommended Sophie McKenzie . She is a good author to start with and I would also suggest Jenny McLachlan.


For boys there are a number of well known action packed reads – some of which keener readers may have already tackled in the last years of primary school. The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve has proved a popular recommendation (and it’s not just for boys).


One series that has proved successful time and time again without fail is Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. It really is superb and I recommend it repeatedly to all readers – reluctant or otherwise.

Short stories or extracts are excellent ways to attract reluctant readers and there are two books it is worth bearing in mind: Love Hurts (a collection of extracts from books dealing with love) and Let It Snow (three linked stories by three different authors).

This is just a taster of what is available: there are so many excellent YA books out there. One of them could be the book to change a reluctant reader’s attitude – here’s hoping you find that magic book and that it leads on to more reading.

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