It’s the question on thousands of teenage lips, one I tried to bribe my daughter to ask her school librarian — as a test, and also because I was curious.  A good librarian (ie, one who loves and reads books) should be able to answer even a really difficult question like ‘what should I read after Twilight?’ (or Harry Potter).  Because not every kid will go on to read a hundred other books on his or her own volition.

It seems to me, that what’s missing from the Just Read petition (sent to me by ex-children’s laureate Michael Rosen) is the most important bit of getting kids to read — a great librarian.  Someone (unlike most teachers) who has time to read even a fraction of the thousands of books out there, and then match kids up with books they’re likely to enjoy. Does anyone know of a primary school these days with an actual school librarian?  It’s crazy.  And all the money in the world spent on books won’t sort the problem.

I know from personal experience that you can’t just throw books at kids and hope they stick (well, you can with some kids, but we’re not worrying about them).  It requires a serious bit of matchmaking.

In the absence of a great one in your neck of the woods, here are a few of my suggestions.

After Harry Potter, try the Lloyd Alexander Chronicles of Prydain series, Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series, anything by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions, Cosmic, Framed), The Magician’s Elephant by Kate di Camillo, Jenny Valentine’s Finding Violet Park.  Or my favourite, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.  Or Morris Gleitzman’s amazing series, Once, Then and Now.  And please excuse me for not putting in the links — the pictures take long enough and I have a book to write.

After Twilight, try Patrick Ness’ Knife of Never Letting Go (but beg or bribe your child to read past the first chapter, which is unwelcoming); Sally Gardner’s The Red Necklace; Bridget Jones Diary; Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli; The Giver, Lois Lowry; Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins, any of the Paul Faustino books by Mal Peet — Keeper, The Penalty, Exposure….

And of course, more suggestions actively sought.  Especially from any brilliant librarian.


10 thoughts on “What Should We Read After Twilight?

  1. Leonie Flynn 9 years ago

    I’m a librarian in a prep school and when a kid has loved a book and is now stuck for What Next the first thing I try and find out is WHY that particular book was just right. Post Harry Potter is easier than Twilight, as in the wake of HP came a flood of books, both new and reissued, that match reasons why HP was such a success. Twilight though is trickier, unless you go for the obvious slew of teen Gothic horror-light that’s hit the shelves of late. I love some of your suggestions, though what you say about needing a librarian is absolutely spot on – especially as (in my experience) most teachers don’t read much of anything, let alone kids/teen books… Only someone prepared to not only read books but also to listen to the would-be reader in order to help them through the maze of books that are available is going to help. Not even booksellers (unless in an independent) can be relied upon. Additions to your list? How about Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover, Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, Robin McKinley’s Beauty, Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush and Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop.

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Didn’t, in fact! And my experience with teachers matches yours exactly — not that I blame them, they’re swamped with homework and classwork and evaluations…last thing most of them want to do is go home and read teen books. And there are SO MANY books to read. I’m not sure I approve of sending the Twilight lovers into more gothic horror — I always think something a bit lateral is more interesting. But then, true book lovers tend to be omnivores…!

  2. Leanne 9 years ago

    As a kids specialist in a book store, it’s also my job to tackle the issue of What Next (although I think I’m helping out a slightly different set of kids, those whose parents can afford to regularly buy books). Not only do I ask the kids what they’ve liked in the past, but why. I’ve found it’s often the romance in Twilight that teens (and their mums, secretly) have responded to instead of the supernatural elements. For those readers I recommend things like, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Poison Study by Maria V Snyder, How I Live Now (yes, it’s true!), Hunger Games.
    My all-time favourite post-Harry Potter recommendation is The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, and if they’re HP fans who are now post-high school, I give them The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
    Ps. It horrifies me that there are schools without librarians!

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      Good booksellers are worth their weight in gold. And I totally agree about the romance aspect of Twilight, which is why Bridget Jones worked in my control group, despite it being very different. I think the If I Stay/Before I Die/Ways To Live Forever is a great post-Twilight hook, but it’s one I tend to avoid — my personal dislike of the dead teenager genre. Thanks for that, Leanne.

  3. Jayne 9 years ago

    Hi Meg
    Crikey quite a bribe. As a school librarian I relish such a challenge from students. I have total memory block when put on the spot and usually after a chat about what they have just read say let me have a think and pop back at break/lunch. By then I have explored my shelves and found a small pile of interesting books plus of course the one you found that you had not seen for ages and must revisit (this week Making Lemonade.. what a joy). Isn’t this what makes the job of a school librarian wonderful!

  4. lola may 9 years ago

    i am a 11 year old at secondary school.I ran the mini marathon and then went to parents ,who are both authors ,love reading as do i.i read the twilight series and was stuck for other things but the person at waterstones told me to try meg rosoff and the knife of never letting go.they are really good.i also like the percy jackson and cherub series.

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      I love The Knife of Never Letting Go, too, Lola. Try some of the other suggestions, and look for a book called Matched, coming out in November. I’ve just read it in manuscript and it’s great.

  5. nicola baird 9 years ago

    Meg, thank you so much for these great book suggestions. PTAs and governors of 2ndry schools may not be able to resolve the find-a-librarian conundrum fast, but can at least buy some of these books for the students. I guess then there needs to be a buzz about reading the titles – I’m going to try and think about how to do this at my local school over a cup of coffee now (and to think I normally spend time trying to save the planet!). Thanks again, Nicola (another blogger at) and

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      Ah, the planet vs the librarian conundrum. We’ll work on both….. x

  6. Holly 9 years ago

    I don’t understand why anyone would ask the “what should I read after twilight” question. I admit, I have read the whole series, but I wouldn’t say they were particularly well written. They are typical teenage fiction that is being spewed out with the hope that the thousands of teenage girls out there will go “ooooh” over them and not put them down.

    It might sound unfair, but I honestly think it’s true.

    I agree that every school should have a good librarian. I don’t think I’d have read half as many books over the last 5 years if it wasn’t for the library at my school and the librarian who seems to have an endless list of books that I really must read.

    I understand that a lot of teenage girls want to read books like twilight. Personally, I’m glued to the old kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix. In truth, I’ve been glued to that for about 4 years. Why are teenage girls reading books about girls probably the same age, or a couple of years older than themselves who’s only asset is that they’ve got a devoted boyfriend traipsing after them. Personally, I prefer books with a protagonist I could actually call strong and determined. Sabriel, and many other characters in this trilogy, is everything I want to read about. Teenage girls shouldn’t rely on other people doing things for them. They should rely on themselves and their own strength and determination to succeed.

    I am probably far too opinionated, and will most likely have offended several people with this response, but it is really something I feel very strongly about.

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