• Olivia Halsall

Educhaos 3: The Ultimate Summer Reading List For 16 Year Old Girlies

In this OLEA Educhaos article, I am going to share with you my ultimate summer reading list (in no particular order) for 16-year-old girlies. From poetry to the pancreas, each of these books imparts what I would consider to be invaluable life skills, insight and positive vibes for teenage girls.

I personally found the transition from GCSE to A Levels a challenge (socially) as the protective shield that was my tartan school uniform was taken away and there were suddenly males in my class. (That sentence alone merits an entire OLEA Educhaos in its own right.) In hindsight, between my GCSE and A Levels transition, I might have benefited from the knowledge shared in some of these books.

The Devil in the Flesh, Raymond Radiguet

Best Reading Spot: Bus or train journeys.

Pages: 140 (!) and very, very short chapters.

This is a (very) short novel about a 15-year-old boy who has an affair with a married woman four years older than him. Set in France during the Great War, the novel is said to be semi-autobiographical. The raunchy man in question is Raymond Radiguet, who died aged 20. At the time of publication, the novel caused an incredible uproar in France due to its naughty content. Highly recommended for a quick, provocative read.

She Must Be Mad, Charly Cox

Best Reading Spot: In bed before going to sleep.

Pages: 146 (poetry and short essays)

Dubbed “social media’s answer to Carol Ann Duffy”, this coming of age poetry collection destigmatises mental health, explores love and relationships in the modern era, and explicates the intensity of being a teenager in the 21st century. The great thing about poetry collections in particular is that sometimes you can read a single poem and feel as if you’ve read 100 pages of a novel. Using your new-found superior poetry analysis techniques from (i)GCSE, you could even scribble through the book illustrating and making notes as you go.

The Female Brain, Louann Brizedine

Best Reading Spot: Sofa with a cup of tea.

Pages: 239 (nicely shortened chapters)

Brizedine takes the reader through the development of a woman’s brain covering puberty, motherhood, the menopause as well as the nuance in what goes on for women in love, trust and sex. I found this book incredibly accessible; you won’t need a background in science to understand the case studies, research and biological functioning etc., as Brizedine’s voice is humorous, empathetic and informative in one wholesome bubble. Once finished, it’s worth delving into various criticisms of the book too.

Grit, Angela Duckworth

Best Reading Spot: Sofa (have highlighters to hand)

Pages: 352 (not as long as it seems!)

Grit is one of the best books I have ever read, and Duckworth’s research on Grit has largely influenced my research into AQ (one of the OLEA’s Foundational Pillars). So, what’s the secret to success? According to Duckworth’s insight from teachers working in some of the toughest schools in America, National Spelling Bee finalists and cadets at West Point, it is a combination of passion and perseverance. Sure, natural talent can give you a head start, but it’s not even half the job. A great read to motivate you before A Levels start - with some tangible tips on how to become more gritty.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Best Reading Spot: Another sofa book.

Pages: 368

This is such a guilty pleasure of mine. Pride and Prejudice came out in 1813 and is a classic romance set at the turn of a 19th century, rural England. Anonymously published by Jane Austen, the story centres on the confusing relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Bridget Jones eat your heart out). The dynamic between the sisters is as entertaining as Little Women, and the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, is high-spirited and intelligent. A nice, summer read to dip your mind into the waters of romantic literature.

Becoming, Michelle Obama

Best Reading Spot: Bus (let everyone see)!

Pages: 421 (lovely pictures though)

A truly inspirational tale of the first African American to serve as the First Lady of the United States of America. Becoming was so beautifully written, it was easy to see how Obama’s grace, intelligence and passion had rightfully seen her climb to such heights in both her personal and professional life; “with unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms.” For girlies of colour and/or ethnic minorities in particular, I’d put this to the top of your summer reading list!

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