The perfect way for you to discover new authors for your children!
September 2018 Book of the Month | From the creator of the mega-selling Cherub series comes the author’s first foray into standalone fiction, a killer-concept, Vegas-set page-turner in which a virus threatens to wipe out humanity. Fourteen-year-old Brit boy Harry is a something of a fish out of water in his Vegas high school. His photojournalist mum died when he was seven, and she’s given him “an urge to follow her path”, which is why Harry grasps his first big opportunity when there’s an explosion at his school and he riskily films the aftermath. As his footage goes viral and starts earning him big bucks, thirteen-year-old Charlie is in the frame for the attack. Described as “low-rent trailer trash” by Harry’s friend, she’s a science geek with a rough home life and a history of making explosives. Harry sees her as a “beautiful freak”, though, and over the course of the next eight years their lives crisscross at a pivotal point in human history. With gene-editing tech developing at a rapid pace, everyone wants in on procedures that can enhance their body and brain. But, with the terrorist-created Killer T virus spreading like wildfire, and a crazily huge ransom demanded for the release of a cure, society is sinking into a hot mess of modified monsters, death and violence, with Charlie and Harry trying to hang on to doing the right thing. Charlie and Harry are the kind of fully-formed characters whose stories you’re desperate to follow. They’re complicated, authentically flawed, and the sparky tension between them is tinglingly tangible. This is truly gripping tale, big in scope, big in action and big in emotional impact.
***Limited Foiled Collector's Edition of The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. In a dark vision of the near future, The Hunger Games is set in the ruins of a place once known as North America. The cruel Capitol keeps order in its twelve outlying districts by forcing them each to send one boy and girl to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a terrifying reality TV show broadcasting a live fight to the death. Without really meaning to, 16 year old Katniss becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever. ***Are you the Ultimate fan of The Hunger Games? Take this a quiz & find out! The first book in the ground-breaking Hunger Games trilogy. The Hunger Games Catching Fire Mockingjay Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "I don't usually go for blockbuster dystopian stories - but this trilogy is imaginatively conceived and well written and a genuine page-turner. Sixteen year old Katniss takes part in a terrifying annual televised game where teenagers fight for their lives. In our current climate of reality television shows like The X-Factor and I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Here, this starts to ring horribly true. It's often disturbing, but it certainly will hold the attention of even the most reluctant reader. It's about to be a much-hyped film, so should attract even more attention."
In a nutshell: rags to riches ghostly mystery story Roald Dahl would surely approve of this exciting story, which rivals Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the importance it places on delicious sweets! Archie is astonished to learn that he’s heir to Archibald McBudge of Honeystone Hall, owner of McBudge’s Fudge and Confectionary Company. Archie loves the hall, which seems to be home to all sorts of strange creatures, and he loves the fudge factory too. There’s just one problem: no-one knows the secret ingredient that makes McBudge Fudge so delicious, and without it the factory will close. Can Archie solve the clues left by his uncle, and can he avoid his revolting relatives the Puddingham-Pyes too? With nods to Harry Potter too, it’s a tasty mix of fantasy, adventure, comedy and detection which will definitely have readers coming back for more. ~ Andrea Reece
Jokes flow thick and fast from this most original and inventive Viking adventure, which launched the career of a Viking with a difference. Hiccup Horrendous Haddock grew up at a time of dragons but he was not always a hero. He had to learn to fight them. To do so he had to pass the Dragon Initiation Programme, an awesome schedule run by Gobber the Belch, idiot in charge of initiation on the Isle of Berk. Hiccup was by no means a natural high achiever when it came to dragon training but after many hilarious mishaps, he soon got the hang of it and was on the way to becoming a Hero.
Everyone loves a wedding, right? Especially when you’re Charlie and your beloved big sister is about to get hitched with all your siblings reunited for the big occasion. Focusing on this event is Charlie’s only source of stability right now, what with her parents selling the family home, her Mom’s long-running family-inspired comic strip ending after 25 years, and her having to make huge decisions about her future. It’s the end of an era every which way you look at it, so this weekend “had to be perfect. I would make sure of it,’ Charlie resolves. But, with so much outside her control, Charlie’s dream of a perfect wedding weekend is threatened by a succession of obstacles, errors and unexpected encounters, including an intense reunion with her long-time crush (cue a whole lot of complicated cuteness and deep and meaningful realisations). Alongside the humour, the daunting giddiness of being of the verge of everything changing is brilliantly evoked. Charlie has pushed aside making college decisions for months and instead been utterly preoccupied with the wedding. The million-dollar question is, as her best friend posits, “What happens when this weekend is over?” It’s by no means easy, but since she’s a thoughtful, resourceful young woman, “the one who came to help, who tried to make things work”, the one her siblings called when “they were in trouble”, Charlie realises that while the tides of change are strong, she’s strong enough to ride them out. She and her family will always be there for one another, and you never know what wonders await further out at sea. I adored the author’s The Unexpected Everything and this confirms her status as a mighty fine creator of exuberantly entertaining coming-of-age dramas with authentic emotional depth.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & July 2013 Book of the Month A sun drenched and poignant new story from the best-selling US novelist captures one long, last, high school summer vacation for Emaline in her small home town by the sea. Everything is planned for; Emaline will be doing her job, hanging out with friends and, above all, spending time with her boyfriend Luke before they move onto college. But all plans change when Theo, a young student working on a film about a reclusive local artist, arrives. Suddenly Emaline has a lot of choices to make and she has to decide what and who really matter to her. A touching story about growing up and knowing when old loyalties matter most. ~ Julia Eccleshare A Piece of Passion by Gemma Green, Marketing Mangager, Penguin Children's Fiction. So why read Sarah’s books over any others in this genre? Easy. She gets it – the characters, settings and plots all feel completely real and a part of your life. The protagonist becomes your best friend, her hopes, dreams and loves become yours – and finishing a Sarah Dessen book leaves you feeling a bit bereft, like the best summer holiday coming to an end. Sarah’s got a huge legion of loyal fans and followers, and it’s easy to see why. As we say here at Penguin, read her once and fall in love. It’s true – try The Moon and More and see what we mean!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2018 Award-winning Benji Davies has created a delightful night-time classic starring his light-fingered creation, the Grotlyn. When Ruby goes to bed the night after she has heard the scary rhyme about a Grotlyn slipping through the house unseen she hears some spooky night noises. Could it be a Grotlyn and what would it be doing? Bravely, Ruby decides to find out and, in doing so, she allays her fears and discovers something joyfully adventurous. Beautiful illustrations by the creator of The Storm Whale bring the story to life. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for April 2018 The Grotlyn by Benji Davies The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Adam Stower Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley The Wardrobe Monster by Bryony Thomson The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2017 Inspired by the birth of his son, award-winning Oliver Jeffers has created a deeply touching introduction to the world as a physical space and also as a place that needs to be treated with great care and respect. Subtitled ‘Notes for Living on Planet Earth’ Jeffers uses richly coloured double page spreads and only a few words of commentary to describe the obvious features of land, sea, night and day but also how time can move both slow and fast and should never be wasted! The perfect gift for all parents to share with their new babies – and each other. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for November 2017 Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross Montgomery Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers Katinka's Tail by Judith Kerr Lucky Button by Michael Morpurgo Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht The Stone Bird by Jenny McCartney The Lion and the Unicorn and Other Hairy Tales by Jane Ray The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold
Baby Frank, immediately distinctive in a stripy black and white Babygro, wants a pet. In fact he really, really wants a pet. But his parents won’t allow it, pets are too expensive to keep they say. It leaves Frank with just one option and he becomes a bank robber! Soon he has all the pets he ever wanted, from a meerkat to a rhino, and his parents finally notice. Children will love Frank’s logic and naughtiness and it’s hard to say which illustrations are more fun: the bank heists or the hidden menagerie. Jim Whalley narrates it all in suitably deadpan rhyme while Steve Collins’s witty, expressive illustrations will delight young and old. Great fun!
Sixty-six boys, two footballs, two sets of shirts, one madman and a whistle – that’s the basis of the Malt Shovel Rovers. They’re a football team put together to try their luck in the Coronation football competition. A wonderful story about friendship, growing up – and football.
In a nutshell: can one boy and four iguanas save the world? You betcha There might be a lot of superhero books around at the moment, but Iguana Boy proves that there’s plenty of wear yet in the genre’s cape, and a real twang to its underpants elastic! Dylan has given up on developing a superpower – particularly annoying as both brother and sister have one – when suddenly he discovers he can talk to his pet iguana, Paul, and indeed to all iguanas. It might not be the most obvious superpower, but when the Platypus Kid launches a bid for world domination, Iguana Boy is there to take her on. Dylan and his band of iguana sidekicks make great central characters and the story is told in a fun mix of text and tongue-in-cheek comic strip. Daft, original, funny and full of surprises, Iguana Boy is a real treat. Shelve next to My Brother is a Superhero, Hamish and the Worldstoppers and Kid Normal. ~ Andrea Reece
Children’s Book of the Year, The British Book Industry Awards 2016 - Overall winner of Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016 - Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2016. July 2015 Debut of the Month Oh the anguish! Luke is a comic-reading super-hero expert, but he’s gone for a wee at the crucial moment when an alien arrives in his tree-house and it’s his never-read-a-comic-in-his-life brother Zach who gets superpowers and instructions to save the universe – life couldn’t get any unfairer. But even super-heroes need back up, and when Zach is kidnapped, it falls to Luke to save his brother and the world. This is an excellent adventure story with real heart, that’s also properly funny, with humour that comes from the characters as well as the situation. A sequel is promised and can’t come soon enough. ~ Andrea Reece Kirsty Stansfield, Fiction Editor at Nosy Crow says says: "The idea behind this book is genius. It’s funny and clever, and the way Luke steps up to help his older brother despite the MASSIVE UNFAIRNESS of it all is a joy to read. My Brother is a Superhero is a great book destined for greatness.”
A story about identity, courage and searching for the truth of who you are. This book made me cry, it made me feel, it made me think and it made me want to read on. Emma Young brings us a whole new take on the issue of identity and body image. The idea of waking up with a completely different body was incredibly thought provoking, from looking at a different face in the mirror to discovering new freckles, the shape of your knuckles and the fall of your hair. After years of being trapped in a body slowly dying of a nerve disease, Rosa is offered an experimental brain transplant and given the chance to live. Yet as she struggles to come to terms with her new body she begins to question who she is and if she even deserves this healthy, able body when the girl who it belonged to is dead. She is told very little about her donor Sylvia, yet she knows she was young, pretty and a girl who seemingly had everything to live for and yet whose body has given her, Rosa, the chance to live. Soon Rosa becomes obsessed with finding out more about Sylvia and who she was. As Rosa embarks on a journey to discover who Sylvia was, can she find a way to rediscover and accept herself? ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here. Perfect for fans of Extraordinary Means, Faceless and The Art of Being Normal.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2016. Winner of the Older Fiction category of The Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016. This is a sensitive, often funny and thoroughly engaging story of teenagers coming to terms with who they are. It’s easy to think in these liberal times that anything goes, but teens will be quick to point out that growing up is as difficult as it’s ever been. It’s particularly hard for David, one of the two central characters in this assured debut. David has known since the age of eight that he wants to be a girl. Teased as a freak at school, he feels he can’t even tell his family. New boy Leo seems to have problems too and when the two become friends they discover they have more in common than they ever thought. This ultra-readable, highly entertaining story could also provide readers with some much needed reassurance that normal is as normal does. ~ Andrea Reece
Surely one for fans of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, this smart coming-of-age story reels with romance, life lessons and big questions about finding your way. Seventeen-year-olds Reagan and Dee are “friends for infinity”, but they’re also opposites: “In a fairytale, she’d play the good fairy. I’d be the evil witch’s screwup step cousin”, Reagan remarks with characteristic wryness. While Reagan has a history of bad girl behaviour (underage drinking, court appearances and picking bad boys), Dee is a country music superstar who “acts either thirty years old, like a composed professional” or, when she’s with Reagan, “like a twelve year old”. But this summer Reagan plans to get her life back on track as she joins Dee’s first major headline tour. With both girls trying to get over broken relationships, this summer road-trip is a fresh start for them both, but their plans are immediately tainted when a magazine runs a salacious story about Dee. Enter Matt Finch, Dee’s wholesome label-mate. He’s invited to join her tour as a ploy to shift press attention from the alleged “scandal” to speculation that there might be something between him and Dee. The truth is, it’s Reagan who falls for Matt, with his understated handsomeness and a straight-talking vibe she totally relates to. As their romance ignites with electrifying passion, there’s a rocky road ahead for all three as further salacious allegations are made and various mounting pressures threaten friendships and burgeoning romance. The music tour set-up makes this an entertaining escapist page-turner, with the relatable real-life conundrums and dramas providing thought-provoking profundity – the essential ingredients of a rollicking summer read.
April 2015 Book of the Month A rollercoaster story that will pick all readers up and sweep them along in a story that is romantic, tragic, funny and profound. Twins Noah and Jude live their lives in the shadow of each other. They are very different and yet the details of their lives are so very close. But then suddenly they are not close at all. Noah and Jude are swept apart by love and by a tragedy that changes both of them. Jandy Nelson captures the confusion of adolescence, the power of love and the force of art in a refreshingly original and exciting way. A message from the author... Dear Reader, I’m so excited for you to meet twins Noah and Jude. Noah is this flood in a paper cup. He has a mad desire to draw, to kiss the boy next door, to peel the blue off the sky, to be the blue in the sky. And Jude. She used to surf and cliff-dive and do the talking forboth twins, but something’s happened, and now she’s gone quiet and is living with ghosts and following her grandmother’s “bible" of superstitions. These twins became so real to me that one time while in the middle of writing the novel, I went to an art exhibit and my first thought was, “It’s such a shame Noah and Jude couldn’t come with me today.” This is a story about love, crazy complicated love of all kinds: between guys and girls, guys and guys, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, artists and their art, the living and the dead, but mostly it’s about the fierce, roller-coaster love between the twins themselves. Writing Noah and Jude’s story took three and a half years. It was the most exciting, exuberant and challenging creative experience of my life. These characters shook the ground beneath my feet. There’s a moment in the novel when Jude’s watching her stone-carving mentor Guillermo sculpt and she wonders if he’smaking the sculpture or if the sculpture is making him. That’s what writing this novel felt like. I so hope you enjoy! Jandy
In a nutshell: very funny cartoony alien invasion story The imminent destruction of Earth is the subject of Tom McLaughlin’s typically hilarious new book, though he manages to slip in a few comments on our world and those who run it too. Freddy just wants to watch the wrestling, not start a space war! How could he know his DIY satellite dish would transmit signals to aliens from the Planet Twang and encourage them to start an invasion? Freddy and his friend Sal manage to get hold of Nasa and the White House and before long the world’s leaders have assembled in Freddy’s living room, much to his mum’s annoyance – she has to tell them off more than once. Despite his threats, alien Alan is a lot less terrifying than first thought, but it’s funny too how an invading force makes everyone suddenly get along; after all, ‘Nobody’s perfect’, says Freddy, ‘We’re all just human.’ Clever, ingenious and irresistible fun! ~ Andrea Reece
Here are three more very funny stories of primary school life perfectly pitched for young readers. Wigglesbottom Primary year twos find excitement in all sorts of things – things that adults wouldn’t regard as out of the ordinary at all. When a dog appears in the playground, they decide it has superpowers and are soon finding all sorts of proof; there’s definitely something wrong with the school mashed potatoes though, they’re right about that. As for Susie Keys’s special egg and spoon race egg, keeping a distance is probably wise … Pamela Butchart catches all the joy and possibilities open in a young child’s imagination and her readers will completely understand her characters. Short chapters, lively illustrations and lots of humour make them even more irresistible reading. ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “These stories are a hoot from start to finish, and Becka Moor’s illustrations bring out the brilliance brilliantly. A joy for anyone who’s ever sat on an itchy story-time carpet. And who hasn’t?”
The brilliant, irresistible and gorgeously romantic new novel from Jenny McLachlan, the breakout star of young, laugh-out-loud teen fiction. Annie is a teenager. She’s feisty, passionate about life and her independence, doesn’t want to depend on anyone oh and she has cerebral palsy. For the first time ever she is stepping out in life on her own terms as she begins college. No mum, no learning support assistant – just Annie. And that’s exactly how she likes it. So it’s a slight inconvenience when she meets Fab, a young polish student who she sits next to in class. Fab is different. He is full of zest for life, good natured, kind, a little unusual, and has taken an instant shine to Annie. Of course they don’t hit it off straight away due to a misunderstanding but he has a certain charm that she soon finds hard to resist and I must admit to thinking how everyone could do with a Fab in their life. Truly, Wildly, Deeply is a Wuthering Heights fuelled love story that will sweep you away. Warm, strong, likeable characters and a girl who has battled prejudice and for the right be seen for the girl she is rather than her disability. Fab was wonderful; a lovely, unique teenager who is drawn to Annie and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the both of them and following their journey as they slowly discovered that life is a whole lot brighter with each other. A story about love, friendship and that there is more to a person that what you see on the outside and also, just as importantly, that you can be part of something special without losing your identity. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here. Perfect for fans of Louise Rennison and Holly Smale.
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2014 - Winner of the Waterstone's Children's Prize 2014 Fiction for teens category - Winner of the 2013 Lovereading4Kids Reader's Favourite Book and a Book of the Year 2013. There’s laughter and tears in this hilarious roller-coaster story of teen life in the starry world of modelling. Self-avowed geek Harriet tells her own story of friendship, family and the extraordinary world of fashion. Harriet’s cleverness is not necessarily a great help as she tries to find her way through the teen confusions as a geeky outsider but, in the end, after some unexpected moments on the cat walk, all ends well! Elizabeth Clifford, Commissioning Editor of Geek Girl - on why she chose to publish the book......In February this year, I first read the immortal line: ‘My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek…’ and I knew I’d found something really special. Funny, fresh and utterly genuine – Holly Smale’s debut, Geek Girl, captures the very essence of being an awkward teenage girl as self-confessed geek, Harriet, accidentally gets model scouted and stumbles her way from school bus to catwalk. A layered and engaging read with real heart, Geek Girl is much more than a teen fashion story; it explores deeper emotional themes of best friends, romance, bullying and betrayals, and wittily turns transformation myths on their head – all with a smile. Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 11-14 age category - Shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 - March 2013 Debut of the Month ....................................................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Geek Girl a small number of Lovereading4kids members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'I recommend this book to teenagers everywhere, it is a timeless classic that will be remembered forever, Read it!.'.... Scroll down to read more reviews...
Brimming with coming-of-age dilemmas, romance and tonnes of transformative on-the-road experiences, this is an ideal summer read for fans of friendship-driven contemporary YA. Introverted history fanatic Abby has had it with feeling abandoned, what with Mom having left the family home and best friend Riya leaving their Californian hometown for Berlin. Moreover, she and Riya parted on bad terms and life hasn’t been the same since. But now, thanks to Riya’s grandmother, they have an opportunity to fix their fractured friendship during a two-week trip around Europe. Being chaperoned by Riya’s cousin is initially annoying, but he and Abby find themselves bonding while things run less smoothly for her and Riya. Matters come to a head in Edinburgh when Riya’s secret is revealed, and the eruptions they experience in Iceland aren’t only of a volcanic nature… “Funny how life has a few of those visible moments, where you can actually see someone turn a corner,” Abby observes, which captures the heart of this novel. Growing up can suck - people evolve, they move, they move on, but that doesn’t mean a friendship has to end, and it doesn’t mean you’re left behind.
In a Nutshell: The buzz of conventions, fangirling and falling in love | Fabulous feel-good feast following the rollercoaster ride of running conventions, and finding love when you least expect it. Lexi Angelo is High Priestess of the Order of the Clipboard. That is to say, on top of her college studies, she works for her dad’s event business and knows all there is to know about running conventions, which is why she ejects an irritating unaccounted-for person from the Green Room of one of her events. Unfortunately for Lexi, this seemingly smug individual turns out to be Hayden Swift, the nineteen-year-old author of a novel she utterly adores. How can the creator of a fictional world she loves so much be this infuriating in real life?! But, ever the professional, Lexi supports the nervous author through his first event. After a succession of somewhat awkward liaisons, they become close, but will her insecurity about being “just the girl with the clipboard” put paid to their relationship? Alongside the romance and entertaining insights into the craziness, camaraderie and competiveness of convention life, seeing Lexi come to terms with her dad’s remarriage, and learning to value who she is, provide some truly moving moments. Aficionados of the UKYA world will love the cameo appearances of contemporary authors, and Lexi’s best friend, wonderful wig-wearing cosplay queen Sam, is exactly the kind of person you want on your side. Highly recommended for fans of Rainbow Rowell. ~ Joanne Owen
In a Nutshell: Summer of romance, revelations, friendship and feuds Stars collide and sparks fly in this electrifying story of a wildly unforgettable summer. Thought-provoking, funny and flooded with energy, this is contemporary YA at it’s finest. After discovering an unpleasant revelation about her dad, astronomy buff Zorie agrees to go on a glamping trip organised by a drifting friend. The trip goes hideously wrong when the group is expelled from the fancy site and wind up setting up camp out in the bear-ridden wilderness. Matters further disintegrate when Zorie and Lennon, her former best friend and sometime boyfriend, are left alone in the wilds with no transport, and a whole lot of frazzled history between them. Add to this a family feud, unvoiced anger and raging hormones, and the stage is set for an explosive story that’s played-out against a majestic wilderness backdrop. There’s something majestic about Lennon too - his thoughtfulness, his respect for the wild, his respect for Zorie, who also had me hooked from the off. She’s genuine, witty, knows who she is and deals with life’s challenges with strength and maturity. Both she and Lennon kick off clichés and well-worn tropes at every turn, and I relished every moment of their story. ~ Joanne Owen
Zoella Book Club title Summer 16 An utterly captivating love story about opening your heart by major US bestselling author, Rainbow Rowell, whose debut novel in the UK, Eleanor & Park was a huge hit and her ever-growing legion of fans here in the UK will love this latest tale of fan fiction, family and first love. Identical twin girls Cath and Wren have always been close but now as they head to university the outgoing one of the two, Wren, wants to branch out on her own and not forever be considered one half of a pair. Perhaps this is Cath's chance to step out from behind her sister and out of her comfort zone. Sounds easy but in practice when it comes to love, things rarely run smooth. Read a Q&A with Rainbow Rowell on Fangirl. Here's a taster first: You don't usually base characters on real people - does that include yourself? Do you see yourself in one of the characters? There's a lot of me in Cath.......we both crave collaboration.... Read more here
In a Nutshell: Magic | Murder | Mystical plague | This satisfying sequel to Spellslinger sizzles with sorcery, secrets and a slathering of swindle and comes highly-recommended for fans of funny fantasy. Though darker than its predecessor, this is still driven by cinematic scope, and by Kellen’s quirks and self-depreciating tone. “I made a terrible outlaw. I couldn’t hunt worth a damn, got lost just about everywhere I went, and it seemed like every person I met found some perfectly sensible reason to try to rob me or kill me.’ Kellen has made the (perhaps not unexpected) discovery that he’s a hopeless fugitive - this is classic crisis of confidence stuff. He’s an on-the-run outlaw, with allies who aren’t exactly delivering on the helping-him-through front. The plot twists and thickens when a mysterious blindfolded girl embroils him in a web of murder and magic, not to mention the ‘shadowblack’ plague. What a whirlwind of Wild West-ism and witty wonder this is. ~ Joanne Owen
A chilling, plucky yet playful novel for older children, and adults. Tiffany Aching’s magic has woken an evil being who has a intense loathing for all things witch. The Cunning Man is something that Tiffany has to face on her own, yet she needs help, thank goodness for The Wee Free Men and Granny Weatherwax. Please do note that while Tiffany started in The Wee Free Men as a young girl, she is now very nearly 16, and this, her fourth novel, has a deeper, darker mood that I feel is more suitable for teenagers. No matter how many times I read Terry Pratchett’s novels, his words affect me deeply, one moment sadness overwhelms, while in the next a well needed roar of laughter overtakes me while blowing a raspberry. I simply adore I Shall Wear Midnight, it touches every mood, shakes thoughts and tickles feelings, The Tiffany Aching novels are for me, a most definite must read. ~ Liz Robinson The Tiffany Aching Discworld books are in order: The Wee Free Men A Hat Full of Sky Wintersmith I Shall Wear Midnight The Shepherd’s Crown
In a Nutshell: Falling in love, taking a stand, and standing tall Exploring an unforgettable relationship between two young women and obstructive social inequalities, this is a thoroughly thought-provoking, engaging read. I was mightily impressed by the author’s debut Countless, and this confirms her prowess at covering big social and emotional themes with heartfelt depth. Joni’s family is struggling to make ends meet. With her mum working all hours and her dad incapacitated by a bad back, she brings in extra cash with a weekend job at the local library. It’s at the library that Joni meets Annabel, daughter of a big shot businessman and benefactor. Joni has good reason to dislike posh Annabel, but her first reaction soon shifts to overwhelming attraction, a feeling that turns out to be mutual. The scenes in which Joni and Annabel visit each other’s homes are incredibly affecting, with the passion of their first intimate encounters and increasing closeness contrasted with the class chasm that separates them. Their life chances are as different as their life styles. While Annabel has a huge house and an actual lake, Joni’s family is on the brink of being evicted as a result of a corporate buy-out of their estate. As is clear from Annabel’s situation, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does keep a roof over your head, and so with time running out Joni steps up her involvement in her brother’s campaign to save their estate. Throughout Joni’s spirit and sense of hope are inspirational. Despite the unfairness she and her family must fight in order to survive, she holds onto to the belief that “things can change, if you keep trying”. Highly recommended for readers who like their YA to mix real-life issues with romance, and I loved the twist that makes the political all too personal. ~ Joanne Owen
In a nutshell: unmissable, the teenage trials and tribulations of a middle child | In Mia Campbell-Richardson, Lisa Williamson has created one of the stroppiest, most self-absorbed heroines ever to grace the pages of a novel. The middle of three daughters, Mia has convinced herself that she is unloved and overlooked by her parents in favour of her awe-inspiringly successful sisters. Indeed, when Grace, Cambridge-bound big sister returns home from her gap year pregnant – to the shock of all – Mia responds by laughing; it’s hardly surprising the atmosphere at home is tense. No matter how badly she behaves however, readers will remain on Mia’s side, such is the skill and sensitivity of Williamson’s portrait of a girl who for all her outward confidence is as nervous and insecure on the inside as the rest of us. As the story unfolds Mia has to acknowledge her anxieties, and that helps her renew relationships with her family. Sharply observed, painfully honest in its depictions of young teens, this is another impressive novel from one of the most exciting young authors around. Recommended for readers who enjoy the trials and tribulations of Mia are Trouble by Non Pratt and The Baby by Lisa Drakeford. ~ Andrea Reece A message from the author, Lisa Williamson: “I like writing about people who are different from me and Mia most definitely fits the bill. She's everything I wasn't as a teenager – loud, confident, brash and daring. I'd have probably been terrified of her, at the same time as secretly wanting to be in her squad. I think that's perhaps why I wanted to get inside her head so much. I wanted to break down the mystique of the coolest girl in the year and actually get to know the person behind the big hair and fiery attitude. As I kind of suspected, there was a lot more than meets the eye. ‘All About Mia’ is a story about sisters, discovering and accepting your strengths and weaknesses and learning to forgive the people you love. It's chaotic and funny and moody and unexpected – just like its heroine – and I can't wait for you to enter Mia's world. I've absolutely loved getting to know Mia, the good, the bad and everything between. As I prepare to unleash her on the world, I really hope you do too!”
May 2018 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Intense exposé of extreme misogyny and male privilege An unflinching novel about brutally toxic masculinity, male collusion and how justice systems and society at large are still appallingly rigged against women. Life is tough for Ellie and her dad in their decrepit ghost town. Ellie’s mom ran out on them when she was still a baby, she’s cripplingly lonely and her dad never fulfilled his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Convinced – and told by her peers - that she’s ugly, Ellie’s dream is “to be pretty. That’s part of what makes a girl,” she remarks. “Girls who are pretty are likeable. Pretty is power.” So when privileged Caleb tells her she’s pretty, she craves him, even though she also “hated how he made me feel uncomfortable”. His attention legitimises and comforts her, even when he dumps her, even when he’s humiliates her. And then it’s too late. He and his family are monstrous, and Ellie can’t escape. The brotherhood of abuse portrayed here will sicken and shock, while your heart will ache for Ellie, for her dad, and for the love and friendships she deserved to enjoy. Relentlessly raw and unusually framed, this is perhaps best recommended for fans of crime fiction with conscience. Bold in its bleakness, this steers well clear of any kind of happy-ever-after Hollywood ending. In real life baddies don’t always get what they had coming. In real life not everyone has a best friend to turn to. On a positive note, this might just enrage to the point of inspiring readers to take a stand on issues of systemic misogyny, and it makes a strong case for the need to take time to truly get to know people, to find friends you can open up to. ~ Joanne Owen
Winner of The Bookseller Young Adult Book Prize 2015 - Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 In a dystopian future women are created to 'perfection' for the pleasure of men for beauty in this world is the first duty of every girl. Drawing parallels with a sort of Mean Girls of the future where beauty is the top of the class system, this sometimes harrowing tale is also completely gripping and it's frightening to see quite how horrible girls can be to each other when beauty is the most important accolade to hold. In an interview Louise gave to the Guardian children’s books site about feminism and Only Ever Yours, she said: “I wrote it because I felt tired. I wrote it because I felt intrinsically ashamed of the parts of myself that made me female. I wrote it because I felt a bit broken. I wrote it because I wanted to start a conversation about how we see and treat women.” According to Charlotte Eyre, children’s editor of the Bookseller: “The book is a fierce, timely feminist tale that should be read by everyone, not just young adults, and it was the favourite of both our teen and industry judges.” Erin Minogue, the teen judge on the panel said: “Only Ever Yours is not only a fast-paced and terrifying story but also a beautifully written and important book that everyone needs to read, regardless of age or gender.”
If They Like...They'll Love
It's great when our children find an author or genre they love reading - but what to do when they've exhausted the series? In this category we will carefully match a selection of books or authors every month - not by a computer as they are on other online bookshops but in the traditional way by human hand and thought!
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