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From an author acclaimed for her ability to tackle important global issues in the personal context of well realised and nuanced characters, we have a story set after a world-wide antibiotics crisis. Children must be protected until their immune systems have fully developed because a simple infection could kill. All schooling is on-line until the age of 14 and digital technology is central to all aspects of life. This theme is brilliantly worked through and will really resonate with readers who have experienced lockdowns, increased online shopping, online learning and of course not being able to meet their friends. They will understand the nuances of facing live interactions for the first time as these children join their designated boarding schools. How does live socialising work? What are the cues that help you understand behaviour? This would not be an Ele Fountain novel without also a cracking mystery to solve and wider political implications to consider, such as the risks to autonomy created by algorithms and realising just how easy it is to lose a digital identity. We learn that we need to watch very carefully how far big tech and big pharma can control our lives. This is a really rewarding read for children who are old enough to make the connections with the experiences they have lived through and who will be entirely gripped by the dilemmas, both ethical and physical which confront the main characters, as this gripping adventure plays out. Highly recommended
Best friends Connor and Ethan are back with a new case: someone – or something – has taken young Alfie’s adorable must-have new Synthpet, Smurble. Can our junior space detectives track down missing Smurble and keep their demanding new client onside? If they don’t, it’s a one-way trip to the Detention Swamps of Pluto for Connor … Their efforts bring them up against trash piranhas, see them hitch a ride on a Venusian racing newt and help them realise some important things about friendship. It’s another funny, fast-paced adventure in a setting where anything is possible. As far out as the action gets, Dapo Adeola is there to meet it with his fantastically lively black and white illustrations. Great fun!
Meet Luis. He's out, he's proud ... and, although he doesn't know it yet, he's about to travel back in time to save a closeted student called Chaz from a tragic end. All Luis Gonzalez really wants is to go to prom with his boyfriend. But when a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985, he finds himself in high school with his own parents and a whole lot of homophobia. It turns out a Christian school in the 1980s probably isn't the safest place to be a gay kid. Soon, Luis is in over his head trying to untangle the mess he's in, figure how to save Chaz ... and somehow get home to his own time. Get ready for an irresistible YA novel that puts an Own Voices twist on Back to the Future. Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli and Casey McQuiston, this hilarious, intersectional time-slip adventure will make you laugh, cry and think.
The second laugh-out-loud adventure for Leonora Bolt, Secret Inventor. Leonora isn't supposed to be building a submarine in a tree. Or turning the local wildlife luminous. In fact, she is supposed to be keeping her head down and drawing no attention - because Leonora Bolt is an inventor in secret. But she can't stop thinking of the clues she found to her missing parents' location. So, deep in hiding in Snorebury, desperately trying to avoid being discovered by her evil uncle, Leonora is hatching a plan. So what if involves launching a homemade submarine into the middle of the ocean, accompanied only by a couple of friends and an otter with particularly sensitive whiskers? For when disaster strikes, Leonora's wackiest plan might just be her most brilliant yet.
A thrilling, unputdownable adventure, from the highly-acclaimed author of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize-shortlisted Orion Lost and the Blackwell's Children's Book of the Year, Adam-2. The world of Colony is in ruins. No one knows what caused society to begin tearing itself apart - but the secret may lie with Cora, a girl living on the mountainside far away from others. Cora possesses an extraordinary gift: the power to see back in time, from an event back to its causes. Even more incredibly, sometimes she can change events. But the present is looking for Cora, and she is forced on the run - and must decide who she is, what she can do ... and how to fix the future. With incredible twists and turns, and a hugely gripping story, The Consequence Girl is a brilliantly-imagined, ambitious and high-concept adventure from one of the most exciting new voices in children's fantasy and science fiction.
Caught up in an alien war on a distant galaxy, Casey and her team are fighting for their lives - but which side should they be on? The second in an exciting and original debut sci-fi adventure trilogy for the gaming generation. Casey and hundreds of other SkyWakers are now stuck on the planet Hosin, thousands of miles out in space, forced by the Red Eyes to fight the elusive Squids. Casey and her squad, the Ghost Reapers, are determined to rescue the other gamers and return to Earth - but when the strangely compelling Squids enter Casey's mind, begging for help, Casey faces an impossible decision. With the team split in two and Casey's brother on the other side, home seems further away than ever. How can Casey save the planet if she can't keep her friends?
Charlie lives on Vela. She’s been there for two years with her family and three hundred other people, the first humans to make the planet their home. Vela is full of amazing plants and animals and Charlie thinks it’s the most beautiful place in the universe. Her best friend is a robot called Random, rescued from a scrap heap. When the two of them find a cheeky but adorable little creature helping himself to their shimmer-apples, Charlie decides to help find his missing family. She names him Silver and soon finds that keeping him hidden is not easy – he might be small but he’s always hungry and very, very loud! Little Silver is very lovable, especially in Sophy Williams’ illustrations, and the story is perfect for readers looking for a gentle mix of adventure, excitement, friendship and animals. There are more animal-based adventures for Charlie to come and this will be a very popular series.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2022 | Science fiction has long delighted readers with its inventive ideas and incredible technology. Ideas such as time travel, teleporting and the creation of artificial life have always seemed destined to remain a fiction: just something to dream about. Beyond Belief takes a look at how scientists and inventors have been inspired to turn some of these fantasies into reality. They are hard enough to imagine and it is even more remarkable to think that they might one day become part of everyday life.
Greenwich, London, 15th February 1894. Luna thinks that an evening at her aunt's butterfly club sounds deathly boring. But it turns out that the meeting, held in the Butterfly Room at the Greenwich Observatory, is not at all as Luna expects. The Butterfly Club is a society with an unusual secret . . . they use time travel to plunder the future for wonders. Together with her friends, Konstantin and Aidan, and a clockwork cuckoo, Luna boards the Time Train. The gang travel to 1912 and find themselves aboard a great ship travelling from Southampton to New York. They locate a man called Guglielmo Marconi and his new invention: the wireless radio. But as the ship heads into icy waters, they discover its name: The RMS TITANIC Can Luna and the boys save Marconi and his invention from the doomed ship? Can they get the radio back home to the Butterfly Club? And how will their actions change the rest of time?
This is a fantastic adventure that drives you on through the sheer need to know what happens next and how Ami and her friends get out of the escape room – or do they fail? Ami arrives at the Escape Room expecting a game and only once they are locked inside does she realise it’s a great deal more serious and she and her companions are the ones chosen to save the world. As a group of disparate pre-teens, they must learn how to work together quickly so they can solve all the problems they are presented with. There are a series of different games and puzzles to solve – from beating a chess computer to finding a way out of a tomb, until the final showdown in a computer game simulator that seems suddenly to be out in space and the asteroids heading for the ship are real. By using each character’s strengths the games can be resolved but it is not until the final chapter when a surprising reveal (no spoilers here!) shows there may be a way forward to save the world. Written with style and the same brilliant originality shown in all Edge’s books this is an adventure unlike others. Full of peril, gains and losses along the way this is an adventure that will be read and read.
February 2022 Debut of the Month | Inventors don’t come much more inventive than young Leonora Bolt. In her home on remote Crabby Island, shared with her otter Twitchy, eccentric housekeeper Mildred and (occasionally) with her nasty Uncle Lester, Leonora comes up with all sorts of amazing gadgets and most astonishing of all is the Switcheroo, which can make objects swap places, via a nifty bit of quantum computing. Despite her brilliance, Leonora has never yet left the island and Uncle Luther seems determined to keep it that way. When a boy called Jack is washed up though, Leonora has to help and in the process she discovers secrets her uncle was keeping (we knew he was a bad un!). The story is full of fun and surprises, plus a fair bit of tension: will Leonora escape the island and Uncle Luther? Were her parents really lost at sea? Favourite scenes include a ride in a hot air balloon, suspended from a wonderful variety of inflatables, and another in the stinkiest cave in fiction. Lots of fun, this is one to recommend to readers who like their adventures wild, wacky and full of invention(s).
At first glance this looks like a short, light novel but how wrong anyone would be to think that. Translated from the original Welsh, this is a deep thought-provoking novel – filled with actions and philosophical questions that create a lasting impression. Dylan was only 6 when the world as he knew it stopped. The electricity went off, everyone left - and just him and his Mum were left to survive on a remote Welsh mountainside above the village of Nebo - with no services. Now 14, Dylan has learned new survival skills and is as wise as any adult. On a scavenging raid into Nebo, they find a blank notebook with a blue cover and decide to use it to record their thoughts and actions – neither reading the others writings. The two voices in the notebook show the scale, horror, and commitment to survive for each other – and the secrets they both keep. The background to the story is so strange, quite unsettling in places, that the reader is entirely caught up in their day-to-day struggles, their fears, and their triumphs. Set in such a bleak scenario the book could be very dark – but although it does have moments of darkness, the love and sense of hope pervading the story wins out creating an immersive, emotive experience. A difficult read in terms of its subject matter but one that will live with the reader in a very positive way.
Aliens! Spaceships! Poo-scented air fresheners! | From the creator of the zany Iguana Boy series, James Bishop’s Worst Day Ever is a blast of intergalactic adventure, aliens and empathy. Packed with high-stakes hijinks and awesome illustrations by Fay Austin, it’s a fast-paced page-turner with huge appeal for fans of funny fiction that doesn’t let up, with plenty of letting-off type jokes, to boot! “My name is Mylan Bletzleburger and I come from a little yellow and red planet called Empathia”. As the planet’s name suggests, Empathians are “cursed with an overwhelming sense of empathy for others… We have so much empathy for others that we feel exactly what those around us are feeling, from complex emotions to stubbed toes”. Talking of stubbed toes, that’s exactly what’s happened to Chloe when Mylan starts following her, as a result of him travelling the universe in search of people to help. Then, when Mylan makes a mistake, the unlikely pair find themselves having to save planet Earth from being recycled. With countless rib-tickling descriptions (“the Universe stinks... It started off as a light stink, a bit like when you fart in the bath”) and hilarious banter between Mylan and Chloe, Worse Day Ever is sure to transform even the most irritating of days into a far brighter experience.
What an awesome idea from Rick Riordan, creator of Percy Jackson - a wildly inventive, academy-set underwater adventure inspired by Jules Verne's seminal Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Teeming with peril, pacey action, magnificent marine-life, and characters readers will really root for, it’s a rip-roaring, classic-style adventure, with added contemporary flair, funniness and emotional resonance that will hook even the most reluctant of readers. Ana and her older brother Dev are students at Harding-Pencroft Academy, an institution that seeks to create the world’s top marine scientists, navigators, and underwater explorers. Orphaned a few years ago, Ana is about to finish her freshman year with a trial at sea when the trip is derailed by an earthshattering event. Then, as Ana fears for her brother’s life, it emerges that a rival school might have something to do with said shattering event, and so waves of high-stakes danger are unleashed. Brimming with emotional intrigue relating to the siblings’ heritage (they’re descended from none other than Captain Nemo himself), and driven by top-notch dialogue and all-out action scenes, this underwater thriller - the first in a series - is a winner for fans of cinematic adventure stories.
Instant New York Times No.1 Bestseller Science fiction and East Asian myth combine in this dazzling retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history. I have no faith in love. Love cannot save me. I choose vengeance. The boys of Huaxia dream of the celebrity status that comes with piloting Chrysalises - giant transforming robots that battle the aliens beyond the Great Wall. Their female co-pilots are expected to serve as concubines and sacrifice their lives. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, her plan is to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But on miraculously emerging from the cockpit unscathed after her first battle, she is declared an Iron Widow - the most feared pilot of all. Now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she sets her sights on bigger things. The time has come to stop more girls from being sacrificed.
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