Books. They’re everywhere. You may love them – you may even hate them. If you subscribe to the latter, a very wise author (none other than J. K. Rowling) once said: “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book”.

This list is a mixture of classics, Young Adult (YA) and fantasy to appeal to all of you. Who knows – you may even find the right book here. Let us know if you do.

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I am terribly biased towards this classic 1961 novel. It is my favourite of all time and follows the story of Scout Finch, her bother Jem and father Atticus. Set in the Deep American South in the 1930s, Lee’s criticism of the deeply-rooted racism in American society has been read by over 40 million people. And for a damn good reason. It will change your life. I speak from experience.

2. The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins

When I was around nine, I read this book. When I was eleven, I re-read it. The fantasy novel is set in Victorian England and you are taken on a journey in which all of one town’s secrets are written down in the Black Book of Secrets, stored in one very (very) large room. The mysterious novel is gripping and if you like a bit of fear but something to really think about, then The Black Book of Secrets is for you.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Simply fabulous. Set in 1960s America about the African American Help (house staff) and the incredible ignorance of white people, this novel quickly became a favourite of mine. It is different to To Kill a Mockingbird in the way that you are not profoundly changed at the end, but you are touched just as much by Minny, Abileen and Skeeter. Watch out for the humour as well as the tears: it is a rollercoaster ride… but well worth it.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Of course, if you’ve not read about the adventures of Harry Potter at Hogwarts, you really should. For those who are reading for a fun and magical form of escapism, the first in the book series is for you. All you need is yourself and and open mind – before you know it, you’ll have a few moments of ‘oh my God’ (these usually occur whenever Dumbledore speaks). After all, who doesn’t love an underdog?

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

OK, so… I’m biased again. It’s my second favourite novel – but that’s because it’s great. I recommend reading this when you’re around 16 years old when you’re at the age of self-discovery and looking for who you are. Miss Jane Eyre’s willpower and unwavering confidence in herself is something that I have admired and that I always look to as an example. My motto is ‘What Would Jane Do?’. She’s a heroine all right.

6. Looking for Alaska by John Green

I loved it at first. However, I no longer hold Mr Green’s novels in esteem – they’re all the same. However, so many people have resonated with his novels and you might become one of them. His best novel is this one about a girl who is so lost it’s tragic. You invest emotionally in this novel and it doesn’t end well, but who knows – it might be just your thing.

7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Don’t let exams ruin the Dickens experience! This novel is probably his greatest and I love it a lot. It is warm, upsetting but so very true. A bit of life experience is required before reading, though. Some of the ideas Dickens proposes are also incredibly moving: “That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”