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In a Nutshell: Dead gripping • Dead funny • Deadpan urban fantasy Full of fantastical thrills, supernatural spills and wail-out-loud wit, this sublimely plotted sequel to “Thirteen Days of Midnight” is a riotously riveting read. There was a time when Luke Manchett was Mr Popular, but all that changed when he inherited a bunch of ghosts from his necromancer dad. After doing a deal with the Devil to banish the ghosts, he’s now doing his best to get on with his life. But, as Luke knows only too well, “life doesn’t give you a friendly warning when everything changes. There’s no five-minute call before the ice breaks under your feet”, which is what happens when Ash, a glamorous Californian with a shock of white hair, rocks up at his school. Ash’s presence has an immediate and profound impact on Luke, and it’s not long before he discovers that she’s the daughter of his dead dad’s greatest enemy. It’s his dad’s fault that Ash’s twin sister is on a life support machine and has to be sustained by Ash’s life force. That’s what turned her hair white and dulled her blue eyes to grey. And now Ash needs Luke and his Book of Eight to save her sister, and herself… Luke’s wry, dry narrative voice is an absolute joy - for example, on the subject of striking a deal with the actual Devil he deadpans, “I think it's fair to say that was one of the more eventful nights of my life” - and this is a spine-tinglingly refreshing take on paranormal-themed YA, with more unexpected twists than the rivers of the Ancient Greek Underworld. ~ Joanne Owen
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 7+ There’s more than one ghost in Michelle Magorian’s genuinely creepy new short novel. Hannah, her mum and dad and little brother are on holiday and she’s sure there’s a sinister presence in their little holiday flat. But her mum and dad are distracted, ever since Mum lost the baby they’ve been snapping at each other, and they won’t believe her. It’s only when they do that Hannah can escape the ghost and find a way to acknowledge the loss of the baby too. Magorian explores family relationships with typical sensitivity and insight and there’s lots to think about in this spare, economically written novel, as well as moments to send shivers down the spine. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
May 2016 Debut of the Month Max Helsing is seriously cool – a dab hand with a yo-yo, with a great line in banter, and he rides a Chopper. Oh yes, and he’s descended from Professor Van Helsing, of Dracula fame, and fights vampires when he’s not at school. Max is a trainee monster hunter and he needs all that cool and all his wits to stay alive until the end of the book because on his 13th birthday he suddenly becomes the target for all manner of aggressive supernatural creatures. As you’d expect this is full of thrilling action sequences but Max is a proper character, a decent young man at that, and his sardonic commentary on the gruesome goings on keep the balance between frightening and funny. Monstrous fun! Max Helsing and the Thirteenth Curse will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson’s adventures. 13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt is another smart, sophisticated horror story. ~ Andrea Reece
This second instalment in a tantalisingly terrifying sequence of books based on a YouTube sensation is every bit as chilling as it’s predecessor, and also digs deeper into Sunshine’s emotional make-up and Luiseach lineage. Sunshine initially tries to suppress the overwhelming powers that accompany being one of the last of the Luiseach, supernatural entities tasked with helping spirits move to the next world. When this proves impossible, she agrees to train with her Luiseach mentor, hoping this will enable her to control her powers. But the training turns out to be an even more alarming trial than her test, with yet more at stake. Told in Sunshine’s unmistakably witty voice, this shudder-inducing paranormal page-turner is also great on emotional conflict and romance. Oh, and the jaw-dropping cliffhanger will leave fans desperate for the next book… ~ Joanne Owen
In 1836, Harriet's papa, a ship's office on HMS Beagle, returns from a long journey at sea. On his arrival home, Harriet and her friend Lily become involved in a dangerous secret, with tragic consequences. Almost 180 years later, Flora's best friend Archie experiences a ghostly encounter at her dad's reclamation and salvage yard. The haunting takes two friends on a detective adventure with an unexpected and supernatural difference. Flora and Archie, Harriet and Lily's lives are soon entwined in a way that they could never have imagined possible.
They're baa-ack! Make way for the bestselling children's series of all time! With a fresh new look, GOOSEBUMPS is set to scare a whole new generation of kids. So reader beware--you're in for a scare! Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he found. The photos keep turning out ...different. When Greg takes a picture of his father's brand-new car, it's wrecked in the photo. And then his dad crashes the car. It's like the camera can tell the future - or worse. Maybe it makes the future...
This is a gripping supernatural thriller and one of those rare books that makes the reader want to put life on hold for as long as it takes to finish it. The writing is breathtakingly good and whilst tackling some serious issues it also delivers a storyline that is superb. Meet Solomon, a boy who is bullied who finds solace in the local graveyard, but when an evil spirit threatens a young girl he must confront his demons in order to try and save her.
Highly visual, filled with slapstick humour and with a cast of monstrous but endearing characters, the Stitch Head stories are always great fun. Stitch Head works hard to keep Professor Erasmus and Castle Grotteskew safe – even though his master has practically forgotten he exists – but he’s no match for adventurer Dotty Dauntless who barrels in determined to leave with a monster (to win a bet with the boys at the Venture Club …). Life at the castle is about to change for ever, but in a way that brings surprising good news for little Stitch Head. Stitch Head is quiet, well-meaning, long-suffering and generally put upon in fact. You can’t help but love him and readers will be cheering for him at the end! ~ Andrea Reece
Some curses grow stronger with time... People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch's history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house's dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember. Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one spirit is more vengeful than ever..
Following the shocking final events of A New Darkness, fans of the Spook’s series will be desperate to find out what happens next. The opening chapter is riveting as Tom Ward, slaughtered at the end of the previous book, is dragged from his grave by the dark mage Lukrasta. He’s been resurrected to fight the terrible forces of the Kobalos army, threatening to destroy the whole human race. Delaney is an expert at keeping tension high as Tom and his friends – particularly new apprentice Jenny – face grotesque monsters, but skilful too at depicting relationships. The action leads to another devastating climax, and there’s more heartbreak instore for Tom. Unbeatable stuff for readers who like to be terrified! There’s more gripping ghost-hunting action in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood and Co. series, and lots of opportunities for monster combat in Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson’s seminal Fighting Fantasy series. ~ Andrea Reece
Danny Weston writes decidedly creepy thrillers, and this will certainly send shivers down the spine. The eponymous Mr Sparks is an ancient wooden ventriloquist’s dummy, who claims to be a real boy. He can certainly think and speak for himself, and his character is so cruel and ruthless that to some he seems to be an incarnation of the Devil himself. When twelve-year-old Owen finds himself in the position of puppet master he has no choice but to do what Mr Sparks tells him – but just maybe Owen’s honesty and compassion will keep him safe. Set just after the end of the First World War, this is a very chilling and effective supernatural adventure. ~ Andrea Reece
October 2015 Book of the Month In an isolated boarding school, a group of girls settle in for the holidays. Everyone else has gone home and there are rivalries and animosity between them – this definitely isn’t going to be a happy Christmas. But no-one knows just how bad things will get! As snow falls, cutting them off, stories of the monstrous beast that stalks the hills become terrifyingly plausible: something is out there, something murderous! It’s a classic set up and C.J. Skuse squeezes every thrill and heart-stopping moment out of it, adding a breezy, sardonic humour just right for teen readers. Grisly, nail-biting fun! ~ Andrea Reece
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