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May 2019 YA Debut of the Month | This lithe and lucidly lyrical debut is a delectable treat for fans of inventive, trope-busting fantasy. Seventeen-year-old Lena is a cryptling, a person “marked out by their various deformities”. In Lena’s case, this is a dark birthmark on her face. She lives in Duke’s Forest, a magic-loathing, sealed-off city situated beneath a deadly storm cloud. And now Lena’s on the run. Accused of being a mage, she’s been sentenced to death and is desperate to flee Duke’s Forest. Meanwhile, on the other side of the barrier Constance wants to get back inside the city she fled before her own magical powers were discovered. The two women meet when Lena manages to escape, and their alternating narratives make for an un-put-down-able reading experience as it emerges that the storm cloud is actually a spell, and that they alone possess the power to quell it. Immersive world building, intriguing characters, unexpected twists – this is a smart and atmospheric debut from an author to watch, and comes recommended for fans of Sarah J Maas and Melinda Salisbury.
The first in an epic trilogy, Shadow and Bone follows Alina, as she attempts to discover who she really is and what her powers are, in the hope of rescuing Ravka from the flesh-eating monsters tearing her country apart. Irresistible. Epic. This is glorious sweeping fantasy.
November 2018 Book of the Month | Fizzing with style, energy and charm here’s a new adventure for little witches Tiga and Fluffanora and it proves to be their most testing yet! Idabelle Bat has invited them to join The Points, here super-cool and exclusive gang – but why? The one thing they know about Idabelle is that she is NOT to be trusted … As ever the story zips along as though on fairy wings, sprinkled with fashion and fun, and these gorgeous little books are hard to beat for style and substance. Readers who like Tiga and Fluffanora will also enjoy the Amelia Fang stories by illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, and Sibeal Pounder’s Bad Mermaids series.
This authentic YA page-turner about making sense of the whirlwind that is growing-up fizzes with heart, humanity and honest true-to-life experiences.For the past few years Vetty, her dad and little sister Ariel have been living with her aunt, trying to get themselves back on track after the death of her mum. Now they’re moving home to Camden, Vetty is hopeful that “soon I’ll be back to me”, not least because she’ll be reunited with best-friend-since-childhood Pez. But on her return, things are agonizingly strained between them. “It’s like we’ve skipped from kids to something else but it’s not at all clear which steps we’ve missed”. On top of this painful gulf, Vetty is struggling with her sexuality, trying to make sense of the fact that she’s attracted to boys and girls, while Pez is consumed by a struggle of his own that’s effecting all his relationships. Sexuality, love and friendship are explored in all their giddy complexity as Vetty, Pez and their wider circle of friends try to make sense of the world and their place within it. Every bit as life-affirmingly authentic as the author’s debut, No Filter, this comes thoroughly recommended for fans of Holly Bourne, Sara Barnard and Non Pratt.
August 2015 Book of the Month Evie is starting sixth form college and like any normal young person wants to fit in and make friends, and she’d like a boyfriend too. It’s challenging for Evie though because she’s also coping with anxiety disorder, something she’s determined to keep secret from even her closest new friends, Amber and Lottie. Teenage girls, as anyone who lives with or indeed is one will know, are some of the funniest and brightest people around and this is a wonderfully vivid story of female friendship in all its glory. The descriptions of Evie’s condition leave the reader in no doubt as to the depth of her suffering, but this is a positive, often very funny, and life-affirming read. ~ Andrea Reece
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | A fun way of looking at prejudice that quickly makes it clear that even if someone is different to you the two of you can still be friends. Here, the Reds, who are round and eat red apples, are happy to be red. And the Yellows, who are square and eat bananas, love being yellow. How can the two groups ever get to like each other? And then there are the Blues who wear blue bow ties and are shaped like triangles and love being blue. They are different again and no one likes them at all. The arguments between the groups get sillier and sillier as they squabble over everything and make a lot of daft rules. Will they ever get to like one another? Then A Different comes along. Where will he fit in? Suddenly difference seems fine and what colour you are doesn’t seem to matter so much. Lots to think about as the expressive colour block characters work out how to live together.
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | 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.
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. | 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.
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?”
This companion to Beautiful Broken Things is a vital, powerful portrayal of the complexities of mental health, friendship and love. Now a legal adult, Suzanne, the self-declared “queen of fresh starts”, leaves her foster parents, acutely aware that “this time, I’m on my own”. She’s moving back to Brighton, the only place she’s ever felt a sense of belonging. “I’m overdue some goodness”, Suzanne muses as she moves into a basic bedsit, with Auntie Sarah and dear friends Rosie and Caddy on hand to help her settle in. But Rosie and Caddy soon head off to their respective universities, leaving Suzanne feeling abandoned. Lonely and struggling to make ends meet on the wages from her café job, she forms a friendship with her 79 year-old neighbour, a storyline that swells with raw, life-affirming beauty. Alongside this, painful mental health setbacks are triggered, and further rollercoaster rides come courtesy of a confusing, overwhelming romance with musician Matt. Honest, authentic, moving and entertaining, this all-consuming story is sensitive and wise on the complexities of growing up, and offers a guiding hand to young adults facing mental health struggles.
In a Nutshell: Race against time unites two brave, beautiful hearts How far will a person dare to go? What does it take to face the hardest truths? This gripping, heartfelt novel explores emotional depths and oh-so many vital themes with a dazzling lightness of touch that gets to the beating heart of the characters’ journeys. It has all the feels, as they say, and then some. Kam Malik was set for a bright future until an accident left him with severe neurological disabilities. Claire goes to Kam’s school, but it’s not until she starts volunteering at his clinic that she gets to know him and, later, his brother, Sef. Sef is on a mission to raise the £60k needed to keep Kam in the specialist clinic, which is where tech-and-media-savvy Claire comes in. She has the idea of starting a YouTube campaign in which they adopt superhero personas (‘Truth Girl’ and ‘Dare Boy’), and invite subscribers to donate cash to watch their Truth or Dare? challenges. It’s an ace idea but, while they pick up fans, they’re not generating nearly enough cash, so they ramp-up their online dares, while their offline relationship develops into something very real, and very special. But higher-stakes dares bring higher risks, with repercussions that threaten to tear them apart. It takes a special kind of writer to tackle as many big emotions and themes as this (love, trust, guilt, bravery, friendship, sexual assault, trolling, and prejudices around disability, race and sexual orientation) without ever slipping into Issues Book Mode. The writing brims and bristles with authenticity, the dual narrative is cleverly executed, and this is YA at its smartest. A true tonic for the heart and soul. ~ Joanne Owen
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
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | 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!”
This high-octane, high-stakes London-set thriller is a fast-paced read with contemporary resonance about kids who get caught up in gang culture as a result of being forgotten by government and overlooked by adults. Orphan Ollie’s life is turned upside-down when his guardian is captured and attacked in front of him and he discovers The Haven, a secret subterranean organisation of kids and teenagers who look after and educate each other with no adult intervention. “We’ve come to realise that grown-ups don’t always have kids’ interests at heart,” explains one of The Haven’s leaders. This stimulating set-up is propelled by a gripping race against time to find a missing kid, the murderous menace of a woman bent on destroying the city, and the threat that The Haven itself might be dying as a result of diminishing incomers and depleting donations from former members. The compellingly thought-provoking concept is deftly delivered through accessibly snappy writing and, as such, I’d recommend it to reluctant readers and those with shorter attention spans as well as devoted fans of teen thrillers, providing as it does an instant hit of action, intrigue and narrative energy. What’s more, this is the first in a series, and readers will no doubt be left eagerly awaiting the second instalment.
A fabulous story that crackles with suspense and daring and shows that a bit of cheek will take you a very long way. Alex Rider is fourteen when his whole world is turned upside down. Already an orphan, his guardian is killed in suspicious circumstances and Alex is finds himself forcibly recruited into the MI6 to train as a super spy. He performs deeds of unimaginable daring, faces terrible danger – and lives to tell the tale. A great, pacy read. Some of our readers, new to the Alex Rider series, put themselves forward to read and review all ten titles. Check out their reviews below and if you click on the link 'Read full review' you will be able to view the reviews for all 10 titles.
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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