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June 2016 Debut of the Month High-octane, high-stakes fantasy quest in which a teenage boy finds himself embroiled a world of warring lands and self-sacrificing teenagers. At first, “gangly” Joe might seem an unlikely hero. The gripping opening scene sees him bullied by a pair of boys who steal his headphones. Then, when he flees to safety, Joe falls and finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings. Disoriented, he meets and helps a girl called Kaia who says she's a Carcassian Runner, in training for something called the Crystal Run. While Joe insists he has no idea as to how he ended up here, Kaia’s people suspect him of being an enemy, or in possession of special powers - what else could explain him having passed through the protective Shield that surrounds their territory? But Kaia senses that Joe isn’t a threat and so reveals that the peaceful, weaponless Carcassia is at war with the Kanabians, and their only means of defence is the Shield. In order to uphold its power, three Runners are chosen to pass through the Shield at the turn of each cycle. Kaia has been chosen, and now Joe is to accompany her, and everyone knows that Runners can’t return… This atmospheric YA debut from a bestselling novelist brims with all the hallmarks of a classic fantasy quest - a vividly evoked world, heart-rending conflict, compelling action - and the friendship that blossoms between Kaia and Joe makes their mission all the more powerful. ~ Joanne Owen
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 - In a Nutshell: danger deceit determination Catherine Fisher’s dystopian vision of a frozen world is beautiful, intriguing and makes for gripping reading. The human survivors of a devastating natural disaster live in isolated and strictly-governed communities. Caz and Will have already defied the odds escaping the ruins of a derelict city to reach the relative safety of a Settlement and Caz has never given up hope that her father too is still alive. With loyal Will at her side she sets off to find him, in defiance of the Settlement’s rulers. When they reach the place he was last seen, the white darkness hides terrifying dangers. End-of-the-world stories don’t come more exciting than this. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Alien Rain is an incredibly gripping adventure thriller that 10+ year olds will devour. Bree, the main protagonist is a teen girl who is hugely brave and yet the insecurities that all teens feel is also at the fore. The story itself is topical in as much as she lives on Mars, yet would love to live back on Earth. When she is chosen unexpectedly for a mission to go back there she is thrilled but, all is not what she expects, for Earth has been lost to ruthlessness and fear, yet it becomes clear that despite her age it is only Bree that just might be able to put things right. But can her bravery outsmart her insecurities when she can trust no one? Fans of Sally Gardner's Maggot Moon will love this debut novel. Piece of Passion from Janet Thomas, editor: 'Alien Rain was a manuscript I couldn’t stop reading the moment I started it. I love the way Ruth mixes action, adventure, fear, ghosts and really difficult personal choices of loyalty and betrayal, in a story that is constantly moving, pulling the ground from under you. Bree is a great heroine, believeable and brave. Without wanting to give too much away, when we learn why she was chosen for the mission, it broke my heart, and all through I was cheering her on. I love how we share Bree’s wonder when she sees a bird, a fossil or the rain. Whether it’s a lethal attack from genetically modified monsters or the first sight of a frog, Ruth’s writing captures you throughout.’
This second novel from the author of Monkey Wars is a thought-provoking thriller with all the adrenalin-boosting action of Alex Rider and high stakes dystopian drama of The Hunger Games. Cillian is a teen prodigy whose world is overturned when he survives a terror attack on a train in which all the other passengers - including his dad - were killed. The question is, why did Cillian survive? Shortly after the attack, the mysterious, invincible Tess tracks him down and together they embark on a dangerous journey that sees them uncover shocking truths about the sinister extremes science is being taken to at the hands of the P8 scientists. The short, sharp, blasts of action and powerful precision storytelling will keep readers turning the pages at breakneck speed, while also stimulating deeper thought about big issues around scientific, social and personal ethics. ~ Joanne Owen
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | April 2016 Book of the Month 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. No-one writes like Frank Cottrell Boyce, and readers who enjoy this will also love his books Cosmic and The Astounding Broccoli Boy. Jamie Thomson’s Dark Lord books are also very funny, and just as good on human nature as is My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons. ~ Andrea Reece
April 2016 Debut of the Month Amidst panic on the streets of Dark Manchester and an atmosphere of political and social unrest, Preston is desperate to find his friend Alice. While searching for her, Preston unearths more than he’d bargained for when he discovers a secret scientific institute with a sinister young offenders prison in its cavernous, steam punk-esque depths. Inside, the kids are fighting and fast becoming feral due to lack of food, and one of them, the daughter of a formerly prominent and now deceased politician, needs serious medical attention. Alongside this mounting urgency, Preston and a well-intentioned warden have a chance to expose this horrific government scheme at the New Conservative party conference that’s taking place in Dark Manchester that night. But time is running out… Set in an entirely imaginable future world, this is a tense and tautly written dystopian sci-fi page-turner. The in-the-moment action feels like watching a thriller through the eyes of the hero, and the theme of young people fighting corrupt politicians is explored with style and poise. ~ Joanne Owen
In a tradition of stories going right back to Beowulf, referenced in the book, this is a tale of stolen treasure, trickery and courage. Aidan is struggling to keep things together at home: his mother has been sectioned and his father seems almost paralysed with despair. It falls to Aidan to deliver the sacks of mail his postman father is hiding in their garden shed. So when thieves steal his bike Aidan has to go after them. It’s here that magic – old magic – intrudes into the contemporary setting. There are no portals suddenly opening, it’s not the sort of magic to bring special powers; hard to define, harder to pin down – ‘a sort of stillness that moved’ says Aidan – human lives are of no consequence to it and if Aidan emerges a hero it’s due to his own strengths. Gripping, compulsive reading, an exceptional book. Authors Sara Crowe (Bone Jack), Rupert Wallis (All Sorts of Possible) and Natasha Carthew (The Light that Gets Lost) all understand old magic and have written similarly powerful and enthralling stories. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | March 2016 Book of the Month Broken Sky is the stunning start to ‘The Broken Trilogy’, an intriguing and wonderful mix of dystopian fantasy linked with disconcerting reflections of history and military, plus it’s full of thrills, suspense, espionage and romance. It is nearly two thousand years after the clock restarted due to a terrible war and each country in the world is represented by pilots at the World for Peace complex. Rather than disagreements escalating to war, single Peacefighter pilots battle it out in the sky in a Peacefight, with the aim to win by shooting down the plane, not the pilot. 18 year old Amity is a Western Seaboard pilot, she is captivating and tenacious, the prologue throws her straight into action. L.A. Weatherly doesn't release all the information you need to know about this world straight away, she lets you piece it together, which brings a greater connection and understanding. I found myself completely immersed in this fascinating and original novel and quite simply didn't want to come up for air, I loved it and can’t wait for the second in the series. Due to the content, I would recommend this to older teens. ~ Liz Robinson
Here’s an really interesting premise: the world has been seeded with spheres - perfectly round gems in a variety of colours. Where they come from no-one is sure, but when paired they bestow different special abilities, from ambidexterity, to increased intelligence. No wonder they are in such demand, particularly the rarer colours which change hands for millions. Sully supports himself and his mother through dealing in spheres and with his new partner the gorgeous if intimidatingly tough Hunter, finds the rarest. The discovery puts not only them, but the entire human race in danger as the provenance of the spheres is finally revealed. Fast-moving, with a cast of interesting teen characters, and that clever idea, this is first-rate sci-fi with a cool heist set-up too. Alien invasion will be big in 2016, readers will enjoy the The 5th Wave too. ~ Andrea Reece
‘Movers’ is a captivating and exciting, action packed dystopian adventure. There really is nothing more fascinating or thrilling than exploring a world, set in the future, just outside of reach, where everything has changed beyond recognition. ‘The Hourly Times’ is the perfect introduction to this story, cleverly placing you in 2077 and explaining the fear held by Nowbies about Movers and Shadows, people who can connect to each other through time. Pat and his younger sister Maggie are Movers, their father has been Shelved for moving his shadow from the future to the present and now Pat and Maggie are in terrible danger. Meaghan McIsaac transports you to the future, she enables you to experience time travel yourself, to see this strange and frightening world, to get to know this family, to care about their fate. Once I started reading, I really didn't want to stop. I adored every second of this breathtaking ride and while desperate to know the ending, didn’t want the last page to come! ‘Movers’ is quite simply fabulous and a must have, must read book. ~ Liz Robinson
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award In a Nutshell: time travel – family – stardust Even physicists struggle to understand quantum theory but Christopher Edge makes a very fine attempt at an explanation, though the most striking thing about his story is actually not the how of quantum physics, but its particular why: Albie - named after Einstein of course – has a very good reason to make like Schrödinger’s cat because in a parallel world the mum he’s just lost to cancer could still be alive. Using his mum’s scientific theories, laptop, Geiger counter and a banana (they’re radioactive), he manages to create a wormhole through the fifth dimension and reach parallel worlds. This provides multiple opportunities for Back-to-the-Future-style comic confusion, though eventually Albie finds the consolation and comfort he needs back where he started. A clever, funny and very touching novel. ~ Andrea ReeceReaders who enjoy this will also like Ross Welford’s Time Travelling with a Hamster, another funny, warm-hearted novel about family and time travel. A message from the Editor: “This is a funny, moving and exciting novel. Like Albie, the reader never knows where they'll end up, what they'll find, or whether they'll ever get back home again…"
A film tie-in version of The 5th Wave, a novel that packs a punch on every page with hope and despair in equal measure alongside life and death. It will leave you gasping for breath and keep you hooked to the end and long after it'll be a book that makes you think. In a sentence it's The Passage meets The Hunger Games and it's now major film by Sony Pictures starring Chloe Grace Moretz (If I Stay). The sequel to The 5th Wave is equally gripping - download an extract of The Infinite Sea here!