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Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | With all the invention, originality and insight that is typical of his writing for children, Frank Cottrell Boyce takes the sad story of Laika, the first living creature to orbit Earth, and uses it as inspiration for a story about the importance of home. As ever, it’s both brilliantly funny and extraordinarily moving. Prez is living with a temporary foster family when he opens the door to Sputnik. Prez sees an alien – in a kilt – everyone else sees a dog. Over the course of the summer Prez and Sputnik have some amazing adventures and break a lot of laws, including some of the laws of physics, but in the process they save the world, and reunite Prez with his grandfather. As wild as a cartoon strip, this wonderful story pinpoints all the best things about life on Earth.
In a nutshell: super-readable story | robot rumpus at high school | Uh-oh, things are not running smoothly in the Hayes-Rodriguez household, which is highly unusual, because Mum, a robot scientist, has invented a host of machines to ensure it does. Something has upset the robots, and suddenly it’s chaos. With Mum busy on something else, it’s up to Sammy and his little sister Maddie to work out what’s gone wrong. It’s James Patterson’s mission to get and keep kids turning pages, and he’s a master of the art. Sammy’s wise-cracking narration hooks readers from the first, the action is pretty well non-stop, and the cartoon illustrations come thick and fast too; yet there’s still space for feelings and emotions too. Other authors creating addictive and irresistible page-turners for young readers include Steve Cole, Liz Pichon and Jim Smith. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: giant killer vegetables and a robotic Jabberwocky versus Hilo and his little band | After the cliffhanger ending of The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, readers will be eager for the next book in this cartoon series. Hilo’s arch enemy Razorwark is coming, and he’s opening portals all over earth to allow his advance guard through. Only Hilo, with the help of D.J. and Gina can stop him. In fact there are more recruits to their little band in this new adventure: a magical warrior cat of the mighty Furback clan, called Polly; and – even more surprising – D.J.’s spunky little sister Lisa. Amongst the creatures they have to overcome are the terrifying rapscallions, thoroughly evil, virtually unstoppable vegetation! Clever, funny, action-packed but with moments of real tenderness too, this will expand Hilo’s growing band of fans, and the ending will have them desperate for book 3. For more action-packed, funny space adventures try Steve Cole’s Magic Ink books, and for more brilliant cartoon action in colour there’s Star Cat and Evil Emperor Penguin from the Phoenix Comic Presents series. ~ Andrea Reece
January 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: irresistible adventure story told in words and pictures | Prepare yourselves: children across the country will soon be using a shouted “Aaahh!” as a greeting, followed by hysterical laughter. This is how space boy android Hilo greets his best friend D.J. and the two are quickly set to become the new favourites of children’s fiction. Judd Winick’s fast moving cartoon adventure begins when Hilo falls to earth, dressed only in silver underpants. He’s found by D.J., an ordinary kid in a family of over-achievers, who quickly discovers that there are more creatures coming after Hilo, and they’re not nearly as friendly. D.J.’s old friend Gina, newly returned to their quiet town, joins the gang too and the stage is set for some great battles. While there’s lots of action, there’s also space for humour, friendships and the message that super-heroes take all forms. As Hilo would say, “Outstanding!” For more action-packed, funny space adventures try Steve Cole’s Magic Ink books, and for more brilliant cartoon action in colour there’s Star Cat and Evil Emperor Penguin from the Phoenix Comic Presents series. ~ Andrea Reece
November 2016 Book of the Month In a nutshell: dazzling journeys into other worlds | Philip Reeve continues to turn us all into railheads in his glorious new sci-fi adventure. The follow up to Railhead, this is set in a gleaming future world where trains, great, beautiful sentient machines, travel from one world to the next. It’s a thrilling adventure and political thriller too, with a cast of young exiles, outsiders and rebels – petty thief Zen Starling, his friend the android Nova, ousted empress Threnody and the tough, disillusioned Chandni. Romance is never far away either, not least the romance of travelling on beyond the sunset. Full of scenes and images that bring you up short, and driven by an unstoppable plotline, this is epic, dazzling stuff. You could point readers who enjoy this towards H G Wells or Ray Bradbury. ~ Andrea Reece
Sadly, for all sorts of reasons, many children these days suffer from anxiety. This story of a worried little alien is perfect for them, but has lots for everyone to enjoy too. It’s the alien’s job to shine the stars, something he does so industriously that he doesn’t have time for fun or friends. Then something disastrous happens and the stars go out. Sent to earth for star shine, the little alien is helped by a boy, who helps him solve the problem: the more fun the little alien has, the brighter the stars will shine! Suz Hughes tells the story via suitably bright illustrations, and her little blue alien has lots of character; an appealing picture book about the importance of fun and friendship. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: Time-transcending true love | I was mightily impressed by The Next Together, the first in this epically ambitious sequence of books about a fated couple who are born over and over, and this continuation of their tale takes the stakes to even higher levels. To set the scene for the uninitiated, Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again and, during the course of each of their lives, their paths cross, and they fall in love. While their actions may change the course of history for the better, they’re destined to lose one another, again and again. This sequel picks up sixteen years on from The Next Together, with Clove Sutcliffe seeking to solve the seemingly unfathomable mystery around what happened to her lost relatives. But unravelling the shocking complexities of this buried secret brings unimaginable risks. As with its predecessor, the romance is heart-rending, the plot perfectly-paced and the integration of diverse forms of writing (personal letters, messaging, biographical texts, transcripts of CCTV footage) is done with super smart skill - all of which adds up to an immensely satisfying, immersive reading experience. ~ Joanne Owen
Prize-winning Patrick Ness displays brilliant new skills of sensitivity in this hauntingly touching story of how a boy deals with the looming threat of his mother’s death from cancer. Haunted by a monster in his dreams, denied much information by his family and treated as a weirdo by his class mates and a ‘special case’ by his teachers, Conor struggles to get to grips with the devastating emotions which threaten to overwhelm him. How he finds the courage and strength to face the end when it happens is both utterly shattering and deeply satisfying. Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal Rachel Levy chair of the 2012 CILIP Carnegie judging panel said: "A Monster Calls" is an exquisite piece of writing. It is a beautifully economical, structurally brilliant and lyrically descriptive account of a challenging episode in one child's life." If you’re intrigued by how the book became the film, there is also a gorgeous illustrated hardback of the novel complete with added interviews with author, illustrator, director and cast and photos from the production. Click here to view the A Monster Calls: Special Collector's Edition.
An electrifying Maze Runner prequel, The Fever Code holds all the answers: How did WICKED find the Gladers? Who are Group B? Whose side are Thomas and Teresa really on? Lies will be exposed. Secrets uncovered. Loyalties proven. You'll never see the truth coming ...
Living on the moonWhatever were we thinking? ...It seems so silly now. The lunar colony is slowly winding down, like a small town circumvented by a new super highway. As our hero, the Mooncop, makes his daily rounds, his beat grows ever smaller, the population dwindles. A young girl runs away, a dog breaks off his leash, an automaton wanders off from the Museum of the Moon. Each day that the Mooncop goes to work, life gets a little quieter and a little lonelier.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | August 2016 Book of the Month | Set in a shining future world, where trains rumble not just through towns and countryside but across whole galaxies, Philip Reeve’s new novel drenches its readers with extraordinary scenes, images and ideas. Zen Starling is a petty thief; offered the chance of a brand new life in return for carrying out one small job of course he accepts, and is immediately caught up in a war that could destroy his entire world. Beautifully written, brilliantly inventive, this gripping adventure, a combination of sci-fi utopia, conspiracy thriller and romance, will set hearts racing. Thoughtful readers prepared to take their time will find echoes of many other great works of fiction, all of which add to Railhead’s richness. And who could resist the trains – ‘the old, wise trains of the Network, barracuda-beautiful, dreaming their dreams of speed and distance as they raced from world to world’? It will turn us all into railheads.
The Last Star is the heart-stopping finale to the bestselling 5th Wave series by award-winning author, Rick Yancey. Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner. The 5th WAVE is now a major film by Sony Pictures, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. Wildly entertaining ...I couldn't turn the pages fast enough . (The New York Times). The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They're down here, they're up there, they're nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us. But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves. In these last days, Earth's remaining survivors will need to decide what's more important: saving themselves ...or saving what makes us human. Remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances ...JUST READ IT . (Entertainment Weekly). The next HIT . (Daily Mail). This gut-wrenching sequel to The 5th Wave careens on a violent course of non-stop action. (Publishers Weekly, starred review). CHILLING . (Sun). The pace is RELENTLESS . (Heat). A modern sci-fi masterpiece ...Should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires. (USA Today). ACTION-PACKED . (MTV.com). A twisty survival story that borrows elements from romance, horror and dystopian fiction . (Wall Street Journal). An epic sci-fi adventure about a terrifying alien invasion. You'll read it in one sitting . (Bookseller). Heartfelt, violent, paranoid epic, filled with big heroics and bigger surprises ...a sure thing for reviewers and readers alike. (Booklist (starred review)). A gripping SF trilogy about an Earth decimated by an alien invasion...the question of what it means to be human is at the forefront . (Publishers Weekly). Borrow this one from your teen's nightstand while they're at school. (People Magazine). Winner of the 2014 Red House Children's Book Award. 2014 Children's Choice Book Awards Finalist for Teen Book of the Year. A YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults. A YALSA 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers. A Booklist 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults. A VOYA 2013 Perfect Ten. An Amazon Best Book of the Year. Books in the series: The 5th Wave (Book 1); The Infinite Sea (Book 2); and, The Last Star (Book 3).