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Born under a blood moon, twin sister travellers, Kizzy - a brave, voluptuous bear dancer - and Lil - slight in frame and blessed with a beautiful voice – are captured after their camp is ransacked on the eve of their divining, the coming-of-age rite that would have seen them learn their fates. With many kinsfolk slain, the twins are enslaved by Boyar Valcar and set to work in the castle kitchens, where rumours about the notorious Dragon loom large over all the female slaves. Separated when Kizzy is snatched away, Lil escapes to search for her sister with Mira, a fellow slave. As they race against time to save Kizzy, encountering the terrifying strigoi (undead) along the way, powerful desires are awakened, which adds extra conflict as the story winds to its transfixing climax. Driven by the sisters’ passion and revenge, loyalty and love, and powerful on the persecution of travellers, this is a dazzling female-focused reimagining of vampire legends, with the writing infused with a lyrical earthiness throughout.
Christina is sent to stay with her terrifying uncle and her cousins at Flambards, a rambling house in the country where riding and hunting are the most prized activities. Everything about the countryside - and her relatives - is new to Christina but she soon finds she loves riding. And, in different ways, she begins to love her cousins. The first volume in a hugely romantic trilogy.
Soar into space with this glorious love story of alien folk, from the creators of The Gruffalo and Stick Man. The Smeds (who are red) never mix with the Smoos (who are blue). So when a young Smed and Smoo fall in love, their families strongly disapprove. But peace is restored and love conquers all in this happiest of love stories. There's even a gorgeous purple baby to celebrate! With fabulous rhymes and breathtaking illustrations, this book is literally out of this world!
A bittersweet story of friendship and loyalty as two talented teens try to cope with the pressures of fame. It's a beautifully written, thought-provoking tale which deals honestly with the modern pressures of cyberbullying and social networking. What happens if you betray your best friend, on TV in front of millions? The whole world lines up to judge you. When singers Sashaand Rose reach the finals of Killer Act and are told that one of them must go - they make a decision that will change their lives... A Piece of Passion from the Publisher, Barry Cunningham Grrrr … don’t you want to shake some TV talent show judges? But just when you think these competitions are all about wicked manipulation, real-life moments of humility and magic break through. Sophia Bennett’s new novel brilliantly shows both sides of the music game, and the perils of online fame and blame. My own ability to mime to pop songs is apparently not enough to qualify!
Best-selling award-winner Jenny Downham takes readers on a headlong rush into trouble in a teen novel to set readers of all ages thinking. A passionate story about divided loyalties and overwhelming love. Jenny's debut novel Before I Die was the profoundly moving story of the death of a teenager. Told with immense insight and compassion it showed Jenny’s talent for understanding the energetic positivity of teenagers; how, for them, the ‘now’ matters more than the ‘what happens next’. In You Against Me, a thrilling, high stakes novel of love across the barricades, Mikey and Ellie overcome quite different challenges. When Mikey’s sister is raped, Mikey determines to show her he cares by getting even with the boy who did it. When Ellie’s brother is accused of the rape her family falls apart. With their very different worlds collapsing around them, Mikey and Ellie should hate each other; instead they fall in love. Shot through with romance this is a gripping and realistic look at how teenagers deal with big issues and face up to tough consequences when things go wrong. The LoveReading Comment: This is a brave and unflinching novel from the award-winning and bestselling author of Before I Die. It’s a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all, it’s a book about love.
The school play has long been known as the best place for romance…Emily’s ambition is to star in the school play and to fall in love so everything should be going fine. However, Emily’s outburst against the choice of Wuthering Heights as the play puts everything in jeopardy and the new boy doesn’t come up to standard either. .. A romp of a novel with school, drama and badly behaved teens all featuring strongly.
Powerfully thought-provoking alternate-history thriller in which an unforgettable heroine seeks revenge on Hitler. It’s 1956, more than ten years since the Nazis won the war, and 17 year-old Yael belongs to a resistance movement. After enduring scientific experimentation as a child in Auschwitz, she possesses the power to change her appearance at will, along with tattoos of wolves on her arm, and a single-minded determination to kill Hitler. To this end, Yael must embark on a road-trip like no other; she must win a motorbike race that sees her traverse the world. Alternating between Yael’s epic journey as a young woman and events from her childhood, this is an extravaganza of a story, a multi-layered tapestry of alternate-history, dystopian thriller and heroine-driven quest. Like Yael, the writing is fearless, smart and energetic, and readers will be left desperate for the sequel. ~ Joanne Owen
In a Nutshell: Extreme sacrifice | Epic apex Fans left desperate for more by Firewalker’s finale will be more than satisfied with this final feverish instalment of the Worldwalker trilogy in which heroine Lily is tested to the most intense extremes yet. Which is exactly what you’d expect of the conclusion to an adrenaline fuelled series but - rest assured - the action unfolds in ways you won’t expect. Lily may have survived fighting the Hive, but many among her “small band of braves” did not. She lost the battle, many lost their lives, and now she and those who remain must find a fresh way to defeat the Woven. Driven by high-octane action and the concepts of alternate worlds and alternate selves, this trilogy offers an exciting alternative to fans of the fantastical. The smooth entwining of magic, myth, science and sass is refreshingly ambitious and executed with flair. Buckle up for the wildest Worldwalker ride yet! ~ Joanne Owen
January 2017 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Losing your way | Running for your life | Finding your feet | 12+ A beautifully bittersweet debut in which a teenage girl discovers a latent talent that shines light on the darkest of times. Fifteen-year-old Wing Jones lives with her mom, her big brother Marcus (a high school sports hero), and her brilliantly portrayed, bickering grandmothers, Chinese LaoLao and Ghanaian Granny Dee. “I can’t blend in but I don't stand out” is how Wing sums up her place in the world, and her insecurities are cruelly exacerbated by the racist prejudice of peers who mock her appearance and mixed race heritage. The family are doing their best to get on with their lives (Wing lost her cop father in a shooting) when a second tragedy strikes. But, in the midst of this agony (“I didn’t know it was possible for a heart to break in so many ways”), Wing is struck by an overwhelming urge to run and discovers that she’s an incredibly talented athlete. It turns out that nurturing this gift - and not blending in - might just be the very thing that gets her family back on track. Set in the run-up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, this is an expansive, heartfelt tale of loss, first love and self-discovery, and readers will truly root for Wing. Highly recommended for fans of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell. ~ Joanne Owen
May 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: A heart-warming story about first loves, friendship and the power of kindness What’s important in life? Money, success, popularity are all words that float to the top of the list yet friendship, empathy, kindness and love are possibly where happiness really resides. This warm, heart lifting novel from Jennifer E. Smith encourages us to question what is really important in life. Alice buys best friend Teddy a lottery ticket for his birthday as a joke. She doesn’t believe in luck and the last thing she expects is for Teddy to win and win big. Suddenly the comfortable life she has come to know is thrown in to disarray and things begin to change and the Teddy she thought she knew so well and who she’s secretly been in love with for years, begins to change. As she sees his popularity rise along with his bank balance and their hopes and dreams change, she begins to feel that she is losing him. But soon Teddy discovers that using his new found wealth committing random acts of kindness is the way forward and Alice joins him on helping to change the lives of random strangers. This thoughtful, inspiring story follows them on their adventure as they grow, sometimes together and sometimes apart, but both discovering a little more about each other and themselves along the way. For me Alice and Teddy’s story highlights the changes we can all make within our own world and the knock on effect that can have. It’s a wonderful message about love, hope and friendship, and ultimately about acceptance; acceptance that we can’t always control what happens in our lives but that our own actions have the power to change, maybe not the whole world, but certainly the world for at least one person through the kindness we can share. And that is a wonderful power to have indeed. ~ Shelley Fallows
Welcome to Stardust Stables - the stunt horseriding school where only daredevil riders need apply!Alisa struggles to deal with her co-rider Sophie, who seems hell-bent on ruining everything for her. This is the second in the series which has already taken 9-12 year olds in the US by storm. To view the first title in the series, A Star is Born, click here.
Interest Age Teen, Reading Age 8+. A strong and dramatic story which tells how a young girl is kept living on an island and completely removed from the world by her father until her eyes are opened by the arrival of a strange young man. Anna has always though that Max, her father’s assistant, had her best interests at heart. He seems more fun that the other servants in the house. In fact, she’s beginning to think about him romantically…But then a young man is mysteriously washed ashore. Who is he? And how will he change Anna’s life. An atmospheric historical romance for teens, from a gifted and acclaimed author. Beautifully packaged with a foiled jacket. Particularly suitable for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic teens.
June 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: rollicking, thought-provoking dystopian adventure | As the TV series of The Handmaid’s Tale sets everyone thinking, publication of Who Runs the World? seems very timely. It imagines a very different dystopian future to Attwood’s, one in which women are in charge. A generation after a deadly virus wiped out all the men, lead character River has grown up in an all-female world, looked after by a community of ‘mummas’ and ‘granmummas’. The general peace and harmony of their lives is shockingly disturbed when River finds a teenage boy, sick but alive. The book examines not just our attitudes to gender but poses wider questions about politics, power and the way we operate as a society. Bergin keeps the tension high throughout, the action unfolding at almost breathless speed, but still manages to intersperse humour and moments of tenderness. Read it and think! ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | May 2016 Book of the Month This electrifyingly smart story of a teen girl's struggle with a tormenting voice in her head is a masterwork of contemporary YA. There's a murderer on the loose in Cassie's New Jersey hometown, the so-called Houdini Killer, which sets her quick-to-anger dad even more on edge than usual. A former Navy SEAL with untreated posttraumatic stress syndrome, he now runs the family restaurant, a site of distressing memories for them both. After finding a foot in a sneaker on the beach - one of the Houdini Killer’s victims - Cassie hears a voice telling her that she's disgusting, and it won’t let up. Convinced she's “forever doomed like Cassandra of myth - the girl who leaves a trail of violence in her wake”, the bullying voice makes Cassie promise to obey it. And she does, with near-fatal consequences, when, for example she injects herself with her Epi-Pen, which results in her being hospitalised. In the clinic she meets the irrepressible Paris. A bipolar survivor of abuse, Paris comes to play a huge part in Cassie’s life, as does one of the boys staying in her dad’s apartment for the summer. The only time the voice is really silenced is when Cassie is with him, but the voice has other plans for their burgeoning relationship. Taking the form of the “most screwed-up love letter ever” written from Cassie to the boy she falls for, this gripping, multilayered novel is an insightful exploration of grief, broken families, mental illness and the lies we tell others - and ourselves - out of fear. It’s also about losing yourself, and coming to find your true voice. Lake has a huge talent for tackling classic YA themes, but always forges his own path, cutting through clichés, stripping back the superficial, to reach the heart of his brilliantly complex characters, all delivered through spectacularly plotted storylines. ~ Joanne Owen
17-year-old Jonah Daniels lives in Verona Cove, California and, like his Sicilian dad, has a real talent for cooking. But, six months ago, Jonah lost his dad and he’s now shouldering responsibility for his large family. Life is looking pretty bleak until the infectiously vivacious Vivi bursts into their lives like the first sunshine after winter. In Jonah's words, Vivi “looks like lemon meringue pie tastes. Sunny, tangy, sweet”, while she’s intensely attracted to Jonah and “feels love at first sight for an entire family.” Undulating like the waves of the Pacific, Vivi’s vitality uplifts the Daniels’ household, thus going some way to quench her own need to be needed. For Vivi, kissing Jonah is “a warm feeling that rushes through my whole body and soothes my busy brain”. But Vivi’s “busy brain” isn’t really soothed and, when her impulsiveness cascades into uncontrollable recklessness, Jonah realises that he’s not the only one who needs help. Poignant and profound, Vivi and Jonah’s story will linger long after the novel’s moving conclusion. While they both have a way to go, seedlings of hope have been planted in both their beautiful, big hearts. This is a truly remarkable novel about trying to navigate one’s way through the murky waters of grief and mental illness, and the dizzying wonder of falling madly in love. ~ Joanne Owen