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Star Books

At LoveReading we read a LOT of books. Here you can find a selection of our favourites, the ones that really stand out from the crowd. If you are only going to buy a few books this year, pick from this list as they are all stars! Each year the books featured here will become our Best Books of the Year.

North Child

Edith Pattou’s epic story is partly inspired by the old Norwegian fairy tale ‘East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon’, though readers will also recognise elements of the more familiar ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Though the story is told from the different perspectives of its main characters, at its heart ...

The Somerset Tsunami

Emma Carroll brings her own Somerset countryside vividly to life in this enthralling tale and you can even detect the West Country tones of her spirited young heroine, Fortune Spicer, as you read. Fair Maidens Lane, where she lives, is a successful hamlet running well, despite an absence of men. But as the story opens a matriarch is arrested. An ...

Zippel The Little Keyhole Ghost

Paul’s life changes in totally unexpected ways when he discovers a little ghost living in the keyhole of his front door. The two quickly become friends and no wonder, Zippel the ghost is irresistible – funny, mischievous and thoroughly well-meaning, if totally baffled by modern life (he’s particularly fascinated by the flush on the toilet). Together ...

Chessboxer

New Yorker Leah is a tenacious, snarky queen of quips. She’s also an exceptional chess player but decides to give up the game after losing a match that, had she won, would have seen her move up the rankings to grandmaster status. Feeling the pressure of her mom and coach, feeling that she’s let down her ...

Guardians of Magic

A new book by Chris Riddell is something to celebrate, especially one that gives his unique imagination free rein, as this does.  There’s all sorts of trouble in the Kingdom of Thrynne: in the town of Troutwine, King Rat and his followers use threats of violence to extort money from its citizens; in the city of Nightingale, ...

Bearmouth

Told in narrator Newt’s distinctive phonetic English, this dark debut dazzles with originality and delivers a potent case for combatting inequality. Bearmouth is home to a grim mining business, where men and children labour under inhumane conditions to make their Master wealthy. They work under the earth, under the omniscient Mayker who - so workers are told - &...

Hey Sherlock!

This is the third in Simon Mason’s award-winning Garvie Smith crime series and you won’t find a better, more entertaining or more stylishly written whodunnit. His hero Garvie Smith is very smart – indeed, he’s a virtual maths genius – but very lazy, whether it comes to housework, schoolwork or his new job as ...

A House Without Walls

Award winning Elizabeth Laird brilliantly brings to life thirteen year old Safiya’s new world as a refugee after her family flee from their comfortable home in Damascus because of the war in Syria. Safiya, her brother and father arrive in Jordan with nothing and must turn to relatives for help. Safiya has to adjust to living in a ...

The Lost Tide Warriors

A fabulous new adventure for Fionn Boyle, the new Storm Keeper of the windswept and magical island of Arranmore. Fionn has only recently inherited his role and title from his grandfather. He knows his powers are still only fledgling and certainly not strong enough to resist the powerful magic of Morrigan the terrible sorceress who longs to take control. When ...

The Curse of the School Rabbit

Best-selling author and illustrator Judith Kerr tells a wonderfully warm and funny story about the very many things that go wrong when Tommy’s little sister Angie brings home the school rabbit. Snowflake is the star attraction in Angie’s class: he is at the centre of every subject in the curriculum and Angie adores him. But Tommy ...

Swarm of Bees

This witty, hugely entertaining and stylishly illustrated picture book offers an explanation of anger that is absolutely spot on. ‘Swarm of bees!’ cries the narrator, ‘You are so angry! What will you do?’ And the bees are angry, because a boy has hit their hive with a tomato. They swirl from page to page, a furious ...

Clem and Crab

There’s a classic painterly feel to this picture book but its message is very contemporary. Clem loves exploring along the seashore and collecting treasures in her bucket. These include shells and pebbles and pieces of glass, as well as brightly coloured plastic lids, bottles and netting. She befriends a little crab, caught up in a bit of netting ...

My Cousin Is a Time Traveller

David Solomons is utterly brilliant, and My Cousin is a Time Traveller is a work of comedy genius. It’s full of pitch-perfect observational humour, with a plot that magnifies real fears (machines taking over the world) to ridiculous and hilarious levels (led by toasters and a washer-dryer*); and it packs more and better superhero in-jokes into one chapter ...

Check Mates

What a luminously life-enhancing read this is. The story of ADHD afflicted underdog Felix, who “can’t concentrate or keep still”. His East German Granddad now (embarrassingly) drives the pink car that used to belong to his deceased Grandma, whose death has hit them all hard. Felix and Granddad’s grief is laid bare with heart-wrenching ...

Call It What You Want

Rob and Maegan both have a whole lot on their plates. Rob’s rich dad attempted suicide after he was caught embezzling their community and he’s now severely disabled, unable to speak or do anything for himself. Until eight months ago, “Everyone wanted to be me,” but now Rob’s an outcast, tainted by ...

Rumblestar

As proved in her hugely popular Dreamsnatcher series, Abi Elphinstone understands exactly what young readers want in the way of magical adventure and Rumblestar, the first instalment of a new series, should make them very happy indeed. The new Unmapped Chronicles start with a ‘what if’ - specifically what if our climate was actually created magically in another ...

Paper Planes

This beautifully observed story will resonate with children and adults alike and will repay reading over and over. Mia and Ben are best friends – the joy of their relationship perfectly depicted in Richard Jones’s illustrations which are full of the details of children’s lives but with a richness of colour and texture and composition that ...

I am a Tiger

A deliciously playful fantasy tells how an audacious and ebullient mouse identifies himself as being something very much more than he is. Especially he dreams of being a tiger! But can he convince anyone else? Sadly for mouse, his lack of stripes, size and GRRR! make it pretty clear that he is certainly not a tiger. And, when a real ...

It's Your World Now!

This bright, busy book – the text delivered via an irresistible bouncy rhyme – presents children with lots to look at, and lots to think about too. The story is told by a parent, who excitedly details all the world has to offer, and all the potential for children to find happiness and fulfilment as they grow up. There are ...

Pay Attention, Carter Jones

Like all classics of American middle grade fiction - as this may well be esteemed in future - this is radiant with humour, heart and a whole lot of indelibly authentic child-centred observations and emotions. With his dad away on army service, and faced with being plunged into the jungle of middle school, Carter already has plenty on his ...

The Gifted, the Talented and Me

“I am normal. I like being normal”. Such is the mantra of fifteen-year-old Sam. But when he’s uprooted from his Stevenage comp and thrust into the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented being normal just doesn’t cut it. Simple as. No ifs or buts. To fit in at this “poncey arty ...

The Umbrella Mouse

Bombs, ruthless enemies, a channel crossing in the dark, minefields – young Pip has to negotiate all these dangers in the course of this exciting, beautifully written wartime adventure story. It would be challenge enough for anyone, but Pip is a mouse, newly orphaned and homeless too. Fortunately, though she’s small, she’s very, very brave and ...

Toffee

Another insightful and compassionate free verse novel from the queen of this increasingly admired form, this time exploring the transformative relationship between an abused runaway teenager and an elderly lady with dementia. Allison has grown up “stepping on eggshells” to circumvent her father’s violence. While she often wonders whether his behaviour was “all my fault&...

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet

Young readers will have great fun on planet Omar! Our hero's tales of everyday life with his family and at school will keep everyone amused.  Omar is worried because the family have just moved house - will he make friends at school? He does of course, but Daniel the school bully seems to have it in for him. A ...

Alex Rider: Secret Weapon

Blimey, but can Anthony Horowitz pack huge amounts of tension, excitement and humour into his short stories! He shows off a breath-taking ability to conjure adventure out of the most unlikely beginnings, and in his hands even a trip to the dentist turns into a full-on, peril-laden caper. There’s everything in this collection that makes the Alex Rider ...

Wilderness - Jungle, Rain Forest, Tundra, Taiga, Savanna, and Desert

Take an inspiring journey into sixteen very special and important landscapes each of which is brought to life in glorious large-scale illustrations. These set the scene for amazing dramas of nature that are taking place within them. From tropical rainforest to scorching deserts, these protected environments are home to rare and beautiful animals and plants which are shown here in ...

Opposite of Always

Reader, prepare for your heart to quicken, pound and swell with love, for this is a truly intoxicating tale of friendship, romance, seizing special moments and being willing to do anything – anything – for the people you love. Jack King - one of the most authentic and charming characters to have stepped off a YA page - and his ...

Pog

Exciting, touching and with a real sense of magic, Pog is exactly the kind of story readers love. David and Penny move into a new home in an ancient forest after their mother’s death.  Unbeknownst to them, the grief they are feeling makes them prey to dark forces from a different world and they are in real ...

The Astro Naughty Naughty Baddies

The Naughty Naughty Baddies are deliciously, outrageously, phenomenally BAD and their antics in this new adventure will thrill young readers.  Their attention is caught by a competition poster: prove that alien life exists and receive a toy-tastic reward from the president.  Who could resist? Baddie Four comes up with a fiendishly naughty and brilliantly bonkers plan and – ...

Proud

Compiled by YA author and broadcaster Juno Dawson, this inspiring anthology of illustrated short stories by LGBTQ+ writers shines a light on a kaleidoscopic array of experiences through an equally kaleidoscopic breadth of genres, themes and styles.  From Chinese lesbian fairytale The Phoenix’s Fault by Cynthia So, to Simon James Green’s hilarious, heart-warming Penguins (who ...

Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee

Smart, soulful, authentic and original, there’s no doubt that Zentner is an outstanding YA writer. His debut novel was a southern gothic gem, his second an incisive account of grief and guilt, while this is a contemporary coming-of-age classic, replete with a heartrending road trip, feverish romance and LOLs aplenty. About to graduate from high school, best friends ...

The Boy Who Flew

Fleur Hitchcock’s exciting other-world thriller oozes atmosphere.  Athan Wilde lives with his mother and sisters, the youngest of whom is unable to walk. The family are poor and his job working for inventor Mr Chen is important, though his mother is suspicious of Mr Chen especially when one of his experiments backfires accidentally destroying her hen house. ...

The Bolds Go Wild

They may be a family of hyenas, but if we were all like the Bolds the world would be a much better place. In case you don’t know, the Bolds live disguised as humans in Teddington. Their two children attend the local primary, and both parents work: Mr Bold writes cracker jokes, Mrs Bold designs extravagant hats. In ...

Circle

The main protagonist of this smart picture book may be a circle, and the co-stars a triangle and a square, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a multi-faceted story. Triangle and Square are playing hide and seek with Circle. They’re allowed to go anywhere except behind the waterfall, because it’s really dark ...

On the Come Up

Under-your-skin powerful novel about a talented young black woman who refuses to be silenced. Bri is a smart hip-hop writer from rough, tough Garden Heights, the same housing project that provided the setting for Thomas’s remarkable debut, The Hate U Give. Her underground rap legend dad was murdered twelve years ago, leading to her (now clean) mom seeking ...

A Pinch of Magic

This is a delightful, newly-minted fairy tale (three sisters, a quest, a witch, a moral) and thoroughly satisfying. The Widdershins sisters – Fliss, Betty and Charlie – live with their granny on the island of Crowstone, a miserable, end of the line kind of place, all damp, and marsh and mist. It’s not somwehere you’d want ...

The Train to Impossible Places

It’s not every day that a magical train drives through your hallway but that’s what happens to Suzy at the opening of this terrific adventure story. She discovers it’s the Impossible Postal Express, responsible for making deliveries throughout the Union of Impossible Places. Being something of a scientist, and deeply inquisitive, Suzy can’...

Lark

Cleverly set within a gripping adventure, Lark is a deeply touching story of the special bond between brothers. Older brother Nicky narrates the story of the day he and his younger brother Kenny set out on a simple day out on the moors. Proposed by their father as a way of filling time while they wait nervously for their mum ...

The Gruffalo 20th Anniversary Edition

“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.” So begins the story of how a clever little mouse outwits his big scary enemy. The tasty little mouse needs to make his way through the deep dark woods. How will he do it? By inventing the ...

The Skylarks' War

Award winning Hilary McKay tells a captivating and deeply moving story of three young people growing up in the years before and during World War One. How their lives were totally changed by the War, how what really happened to the soldiers could never be talked about and how a girl like Clarry suddenly had opportunities because of the war ...

The Silk Roads A New History of the World - Illustrated Edition

Adapted for a younger readership from the author’s celebrated adult book of the same name, this illustrated history of the Silk Roads, bound in a majestic gold and blue package, is the perfect present for fledging historians. The book’s journey leads armchair adventurers along thrilling, far-reaching roads, taking in the history of ancient Persia, Constantinople, Rome, ...

The Antlered Ship

Rich in an atmospheric seascape and with a quest at its heart,  The Antlered Ship is an engaging and adventurous story that will encourage all children to keep on asking questions about the world they live in.  When the beautiful ship with the huge antlers on its prow comes into port Marco the Fox  is busy contemplating ...

Tales from the Inner City

In this mind-blowingly beautiful book comprising twenty-five tales, visionary artist and writer Shaun Tan turns his attention to the relationship between humans and animals in varied urban contexts. A rhino on a motorway. An owl at the side of a hospital patient. An eagle spied at multiple international airports. Giant snails declared “indecent” by the public. Dreamlike, mysterious ...

The Clockwork Crow

Beautifully written in prose that sparkles like the snow that provides its backdrop, this fantasy novel is practically perfect in every way. Young orphan Seren (it’s Welsh for star) is travelling alone through a winter’s night to her godfather and his family. They live in a big house in the heart of Wales and though she&...

Timmy Failure: It's the End When I Say It's the End

The Timmy Failure books are works of absolute comic genius and Stephan Pastis succeeds with each new story in making the adventures of Timmy and his sidekick Total the polar bear funnier, even more satisfying, and still more poignant; never more so than this the last in the series. Timmy has decided to retire from detective work but has a ...

The Giant Jumperee

Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury bring the very best of their award-winning The Gruffalo and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt respectively to this glorious new picture book which will remind readers of both. When Rabbit hears a loud voice coming from right inside his burrow he is terrified. What terrible kind of creature could the Giant Jumperee ...

A Dangerous Game

A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8  Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman tells a gripping adventure story of a school trip that goes horribly wrong. Sam longs to go on the school trip to the Highlands but he is sure his parents will say no as he has a long ...

Oscar and the CATastrophe

August 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2018 |  Oscar the talking dog is back for a wittily entertaining third adventure with his friend and owner Sam. Oscar’s problem is the very big white cat who suddenly arrives to live next door; Oscar hates all cats but he hates Carmen especially because ...

The Hate U Give

Stunning, vital wake-up call of a novel about racism, social inequality and not giving up told through the eyes of an incredible, unforgettable sixteen-year-old. Starr straddles two very different worlds. She has one foot in Garden Heights, a rough neighbourhood ruled by gangs, guns and dealers, and the other in an exclusive school with an overwhelmingly wealthy white student population. ...

Moonrise

A book to break your heart, quicken your blood and stir your soul by one of the most outstandingly distinctive writers to have emerged in a long, long time.   New Yorker Joe Moon was only seven when he took the call in which his big brother Ed told him he'd been arrested because “they think I done ...

The Boy At the Back of the Class

The arrival of a new boy in class sparks a funny, moving and quietly powerful story for young readers. Our narrator – we only discover her name in the last chapter – is immediately intrigued by her new classmate, who doesn’t speak, or smile, and disappears at break times. She’s determined to become his friend and ...

My Arch-Enemy Is a Brain In a Jar

David Solomons is a simply brilliant writer for children and his My Brother is a Super-Hero series is consistently funny, entertaining and true. Indeed, the further-fetched the stories get, the more rooted they are in real life. As fans know, Luke was cruelly robbed of the super-powers that should have been his when Zorbon the Decider bestowed them on ...

Julian Is a Mermaid

Already shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Julian is a Mermaid is an outstanding picture book, surely destined to become a classic. Julian is out with Nana when he notices three women dressed as mermaids. In his heart of hearts – we see it described over three fabulous wordless spreads – Julian knows he is a mermaid too and while ...

Rose Rivers

May 2018 MEGA Book of the Month | In a nutshell: new and old friends united in classic Jacqueline Wilson story   Jacqueline Wilson’s historical novels tell vivid, enthralling stories about young girls in testing situations, and Rose Rivers is classic Wilson. Rose is the daughter of a wealthy family – her father is a respected artist, though their ...

Square

May 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2018 Square builds a beautiful sculpture from the blocks in his secret cave. Square’s friend Circle thinks it is perfect and Square tries to make something perfect for Circle too. But making something perfect is hard. What will Circle think of it? In this simplest of ...

A Skinful of Shadows

Award-winning Frances Hardinge’s latest novel bubbles over with brilliant ideas in a fast-paced and thought-provoking adventure encompassing families, a very special kind of haunting, spying and the English Civil War. Twelve year Makepeace has grown up practising how to defend herself against spirits who go in search of another living being to inhabit when they are released from ...

The Grotlyn

A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2018    Award-winning Benji Davies has created a delightful night-time classic starring his light-fingered creation, the Grotlyn. When Ruby goes to bed the night after she has heard the scary rhyme about a Grotlyn slipping through the house unseen she hears some spooky night noises. Could it be a Grotlyn and ...

Mary's Monster

Shot through with passion, tension and tragedy, this stunningly illustrated biographical verse novel explores Mary Shelley’s extraordinary life, from her birth to pioneering mother of modern feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft, to her writing of Frankenstein and beyond. It’s the story of the original female teen rebel, of an exceptional young woman who forged her own path and ...

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