Sana’s Back-to-school Reading List

by Sana Hameed, Age 15, United States

Artwork by Lucy Zhang


Sana's Back to School Reading List

As aspiring writers, we should all read regularly to stimulate our creativity and become better writers overall through exposure to different styles, techniques, and vocabulary.

School has started once more, and between summer and autumn, it seems as if reading loses its luster by changing from an activity of pure summer pleasure to a necessity. Usually this process is triggered by an abundance of boring reads, so I compiled a list of my favourite fictional books enjoyable for all ages to escape the monotony of school or work days.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Brandon Mull’s fantasy series Fablehaven involves siblings Seth and Kendra entering a world of mythology and mischief while visiting their grandparents. The plot thickens as romance, adventure, and a dash of pure magic dive into the mix to make a remarkable read. Mull masterfully introduces readers to a mystical world parallel to reality and filled with mythical creatures.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl is a series about the young millionaire prodigy, Artemis Fowl, his bodyguard, and the land of fairies he intentionally provokes in his quest for gold. With clever wordplay, intelligent language, quick-witted retorts from equally witty and humorous characters, elements of mythology, and an intriguing, intricate plot, Eoin Colfer weaves an unforgettable story.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
In the first book of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, ordinary twins Josh and Sophie Newman are swept away by the famous alchemist Nicholas Flamel because he believes they are the twins of prophecy. Throughout the novel, they scour the globe and meet phenomenal characters of legend while trying to guard a very special artifact. Flamel has spent his life protecting The Book of Abraham the Mage, the most powerful book of all time, from the villainous Dr. Dee. Scott’s writing is astounding and keeps readers thoroughly engaged. I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy history entwined with mythology and gasp-worthy plot twists.

Magyk by Angie Sage
Magyk is the first book in the Septimus Heap series, which is based on a young mage who is the seventh son of a seventh son. The boy, Septimus, was stolen at birth from his family. Meanwhile, the Heaps, thinking their infantile son had died during labor, take in a baby girl they find out in the cold and raise her as their own. As the girl Jenna and Septimus grow older they begin to wonder of their true identities. This tale, masterfully told by Angie Sage, revolves around unraveling the past in an entertaining manner. I recommend this book to anyone thoroughly engrossed in the YA fantasy genre that loves to laugh.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
In The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale weaves a tale filled with magic, betrayal, and heartwarming romance. The Books of Bayern are all whimsical, romantic stories including intelligent, creative females with special abilities and their heroic knights, set against the fairytale backdrop of the land of Bayern. In the first book of the series, drama ensues within the castle as the protagonist, a princess by the name of Ani, travels to the foreign land to become the next queen and stumbles upon an adventure. This a must-read for young writers with a love for books about imaginative lands filled with sweet moments and surprises.

Dragonfly by Julia Golding
As one of the youngest princess of her kingdom, serious, disciplined Taoshira is obligated to marry lighthearted, childish Prince Ramil of Gerfal, who she despises on sight. Soon after their first meeting, both the princess and her betrothed become entangled in a sinister plot, which they must work together to solve in order to return to their respective kingdoms. While trying to find the solutions to their problems they find something they never expected to find–love. Golding clearly depicts the distinct differences between the two main characters, Tashi and Ram, and their growth throughout the novel as they come to put aside their cultural and personality differences to accept one another and accomplish their goal.

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
Against a dystopian backdrop, O’Brien introduces readers to the world of midwifery. Gaia, the protagonist, is the scarred daughter of a midwife living on the outskirts of the Enclave, where a wall separates the poor and the privileged. When both her parents are suddenly arrested and taken for trial within the walls, Gaia must give up the life she knows and everything she believes to find out the truth about their arrest. O’Brien shows the world how a below-average girl raised to be a carbon copy of her mother can accomplish extraordinary feats for her family.


Sana Hameed is a 15 year old writer from the United States. She is constantly collecting book recommendations in order to expand her interests and practice her skills.

Sana Hameed

About Sana Hameed

Sana fell in love with writing creative fiction in first grade and has over time developed an interest in other areas such as poetry and nonfiction. She enjoys writing short works competitively to hone her abilities as well as working on her own fantasy novel. In her free time, Sana loves volunteering regularly, doing Tae Kwon Do, and spending time with her friends and family.

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