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A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | Zaynab arrives in Devon from her home in Somaliland after the death of her mother, a passionate activist trying to improve lives in drought-stricken Somaliland. Unhappy, and lonely in her new environment, Zaynab begins her own campaign against the climate crisis drawing on her first-hand view of its devastating effect on her home country. She quickly finds fellow supporters among her classmates, including particularly Lucas who is equally passionate for different reasons. Challenging their school’s prohibition on campaigning is the first big step and taking part in the national protest is the second. In doing both Zaynab shows her peers that children like them need to be heard. And that they can make a difference. But the stakes are high and, when Zaynab uncovers a big company with a sinister and destructive programme, she has to decide just how hard she will fight. Zaynab’s passionate commitment is infectious – readers will be inspired.
April 2021 Book of the Month | This exquisitely creepy YA shocker whirls with gritty horror, witty one-liners, Insta-worthy visual conjurations and the menacing mystery of three bewitching sisters who vanished in childhood. “Dark dangerous things happened around the Hollow sisters. We each had black eyes and hair as white as milk...We didn’t have friends, because we didn’t need them.” So explains the youngest sister, Iris. As children, the three sisters vanished one New Year’s Eve on the strike of midnight and reappeared with their hair and eyes a different colour, tiny baby teeth in place of their adult teeth, and no memory. “In possession of an alchemical self-confidence that belonged to much older humans,” Iris’ older sisters have “set off into the world, both bound for the glamorous, exotic futures they’d always known they were destined for”, leaving her alone in North London with her mother. Sinister bells toll when seventeen-year-old Grey, a supermodel and designer of decadent couture “who looked like sex and smelled like a field of wildflowers”, fails to turn up to middle sister Vivi’s punk gig in Camden, and then there’s the mystery of the man wearing a horned skull. There are books with unexpected twists, then there’s House of Hollow - imagine losing your way in a decaying fairy tale forest, where tangled tree roots trip you up, and you have no idea what terrors skulk within its ever-shifting mists. At times grisly and always eerie, this intoxicating cocktail of contemporary horror and mythic menace is a lushly-written feast.
Trust no witch . . . Iraya Adair has spent her life in a cell. Heir of an overthrown and magically-gifted dynasty, she was exiled from her home on the island nation of Aiyca when she was just a child. But every day brings her closer to freedom - and vengeance. Jazmyne Cariot grew up dressed in gold, with stolen magic at her fingertips. Daughter of the self-crowned doyenne, her existence is a threat to her mother's rule. But unlike her sister, Jazmyne has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother's power. Sworn enemies, the two witches enter a deadly alliance to take down the woman who threatens both their worlds. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain - except the lengths Iraya and Jazmyne will go to win this game. Two witches. One motive. And a very untrustworthy alliance.
Fleur Hitchcock delivers another scorching crime drama in Waiting for Murder. It’s a baking hot summer and Dan is away from the city and his friends, with his mum on her archaeological dig, where they might just have found the bones of King Harold’s wife, Edith the Fair. But it’s Dan’s discovery of much more recent remains that sparks the adventure, uncovering evidence of treachery and murder and starting a new treasure hunt. The story reaches its climax just as the weather finally breaks, and a torrent of water threatens to sweep everything and everyone away. Full of thrills, twists and surprises, this will keep everyone on the edge of their seats.
Gripping from the first moment on, this is a scary, an unputdownable and a brilliantly plotted fantasy. One minute all the adults are there - next they're gone! Only the children remain and they are trapped, cut off from the outside world and, scarily, left to rule themselves. Can they survive? With no guidance, gangs start to form. Danger lurks at every corner and everyone has to make a choice – to be cruel or humane. It’s a chilling prospect and the new world order is scary for all. It's Lord of the Flies for the Heroes generation with just a dash of the X-Men thrown in for good measure.
This is the third in this hi-octane thriller featuring four teenagers, each of whom have different psychic powers, which together can defeat almost anything. The problem is that government agents want them to help to infiltrate the criminal underworld but of course the criminal world also want them to help fulfil their crimes. As with the first two this one is relatively short and a real page-turning read.
The fourth in this hi-octane series featuring four teenagers, each of whom have different psychic powers, who together can defeat almost anything. One of them Dylan has her hands chock full as she tries to discover the truth behind his father's death, the scientist who created the medusa gene that gives these children their powers. It's a roller coaster ride.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | A life-changing opportunity for a teenage pilot brings risk and excruciating choices in this accessible WWII thriller from the author of Firebird and White Eagles. Ingrid was six when the Nazis came to power and, since she has a severe stutter, her mother and father feared a new law ordering the sterilisation of less able children would apply to her. With her parents desperate to prove their daughter has worth, and since she’s a talented glider pilot who dreams of being like her heroine, the intrepid test pilot Hanna Reitsch, Ingrid attends her Cousin Jonni’s flying school. Though she’s confident in the air, Ingrid seems forever doomed to plummet back to earth, not least when she’s castigated for her behaviour in front of a high-ranking regional Nazi leader. “Your daughter is a disgrace to Germany,” he informs her horrified father. Terrified she might be taken to a camp, at seventeen she becomes Cousin Jonni’s junior flying instructor, and her heart soars when none other than Hanna Reitsch enlists her assistance on a propaganda tour. But when Hanna reveals shocking truths about a secret mission, Ingrid is left feeling that “there was an ugly crack in the shiny glass of my new Luftwaffe career” as she faces a seemingly impossible decision. Alongside the gripping action and emotion of Ingrid’s tumultuous journey (readers will be on the edge of their seats as her allegiances are tested to the max), the author provides fascinating insights into life in Germany during the war, and this accessible novella will also prompt discussion around roles women worked in during WWI, and the ethics of patriotism. Find more books with Positive Images of Disability.
A thrilling prequel story to the bestselling, award-winning A Good Girl's Guide to Murder! A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER IS THE WINNER OF THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS' CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 AND WAS SHORTLISTED FOR THE WATERSTONES CHILDREN'S BOOK PRIZE 2020 Pippa Fitz-Amobi is not in the mood for her friend’s murder mystery party. Especially one that involves 1920’s fancy dress and pretending that their town, Little Kilton, is an island called Joy. But when the game begins, Pip finds herself drawn into the make-believe world of intrigue, deception and murder. But as Pip plays detective, teasing out the identity of the killer clue-by-clue, the murder of the fictional Reginald Remy isn’t the only case on her mind … Find out where it all began for Pip in this prequel to the best-selling A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood.
Necropolis is a Young Adult dystopian fiction with a thrilling concept. In a time where society is becoming more restrictive and segregated, Wyn embarks on a perilous quest to prove the gender divide imposed by her society wrong, as she goes undercover in the army. Will the challenges she faces as a recruit on top of her fight to remain undercover derail her ambitions before she’s had time to achieve her goal? With mention of ‘The Breakdown’ and the illusive nature of the Necropolis, you are immediately drawn in to a different world. As I read I was keen to learn more about this world and Wyn’s journey. The plotline progresses quickly and this is a story that you could enjoy easily over a weekend. In a society that is quite this strict about the gender divide, I think that there could have been a bit more tension built as Wyn enquired about joining up, and I found Mrs Clay’s critical outbursts in History and eagerness to help Wyn a little bit overzealous and at odds with my expectations of a restricted society within a dystopian novel. Regardless of this I found the plotline enjoyable and Wyn very endearing. This is an interesting story.
Shortlisted for the Excelsior Award Black 16+ KS5 | One part thriller, one part meditation on a life of violence, Pulp is unlike anything award-winning Brubaker & Phillips have ever done before. This celebration of pulp fiction set in a world on the brink is another must-have hardcover from one of comics' most acclaimed teams.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Published just before Holocaust Memorial Day this book could not be more important or timely. Author Keren David has talked about her own challenges bringing up Jewish children and about Jewishness only being reflected in Holocaust literature. She wanted to write a story in which young Jewish people could see themselves as well as hopefully giving all young people something to think about. She has done a remarkable job with this immensely readable and authentic story. The short, dark and curvy extrovert, Evie, could not be more different from the tall,blonde ,willowy, anxious Lottie. They go to different schools and have very different interests. Their Jewish mother has never discussed their heritage or family history and they follow no religious or cultural customs. But Lottie makes friends with Hannah and not only has her eyes opened to the casual bitchy racism of her classmates but relishes and enjoys the Jewish life Hannah shows her. Of course, the reader is learning alongside Lottie and Hannah is so refreshingly modern, for example challenging gender roles in her faith, that this is a vibrant and positive view of the community. Meanwhile the twin’s mother meets an old friend and her son Noah who have fled racist attacks in Paris. In her new role on radio she decides to announce her Jewish status and denounce racism. The ensuing Twitter storm of abuse and trolling opens Evie’s eyes too, as does Noah’s contacts with young Jews trying to take action to confront racists. Both girls are faced with very real danger and in the aftermath, they attend a talk by Mala Tribich- a very real Holocaust survivor. David very cleverly uses her actual testimony to ensure that readers can distinguish that this is the actual truth and not fictionalised. Mala’s inspiration is just what they need to renew their enthusiasm – for Evie in activism and for Lottie in religion and for their family to finally feel a real part of their heritage and history. While dealing with some intense modern issues, this is a real page- turner populated by some very convincing and engaging young characters that will have absolutely no difficulty in finding enthusiastic readers. Highly recommended.
The girl who... survived The girl who... inspires The girl who... has something to hide People can't bring themselves to say what happened to her. They just describe her as 'the girl who... you know...'. But nobody really knows, no one sees the real Leah. Leah is the perfect survivor. She was seven years old when she saw her mother and sister killed by a troubled gang member. Her case hit the headlines and her bravery made her a national sweetheart: strong, courageous and forgiving. But Leah is hiding a secret about their deaths. And now, ten years later, all she can think of is revenge. When Leah's dad meets a new partner, stepsister Ellie moves in. Sensing Leah isn't quite the sweet girl she pretends to be, Ellie discovers that Leah has a plan, one she has been putting together ever since that fateful day. Now that the killer - and the only one who knows the truth - is being released from prison, time is running out for Ellie to discover how far Leah will go to silence her anger . . .
March 2021 Debut of the Month | Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Fuelled by feminism, this formidable speculative thriller tackles traditional gender roles and the dynamics of power head on. In fact, it flips the status quo on its head to create an absolute page-turner that’s both gripping and inventive, with shades of an alternate The Handmaid’s Tale running through its pounding heart. Jude Grant lives in a post-war matriarchal society in which women hold all the power as a result of men messing-up the world (“Your lot – you men – you destroyed it all”). As a boy, he was born into a life of servitude, raised in the company of Nurse Fathers in the Surrogacy. Now nearing his seventeenth birthday, this is the final year he’s eligible to be presented at the Auction. His final chance to become the Ward of a wealthy Tower-residing woman, and the sense of time running out is potently palpable. In Jude’s world, gender roles are the reverse of those in ours. Here at the Auction, boys must smile nicely for the assembled all-powerful women who will determine their fates. Boys who have never seen a woman unmasked because “men can’t control themselves, we’re told; to look at a woman is to lose our innocence.” In Jude’s world, it’s boys who are subjected to objectification, sexual assault and abuses of power: “A grab here. A grope there. Small belittling moments we’re meant to endure, because it’s girls being girls. Shouldn’t we be grateful? Flattered? And when they don’t even know they did anything wrong, what? We’re meant to apologise?” If Jude’s not selected, he’ll be sent to the mines where most boys don’t survive a year. Waiting anxiously, he worries that he’s too old, too short, too fat. Sound familiar? This is powerful stuff, both in the context of Jude’s experiences, and its resonance with the treatment of girls and women in our world. But in Jude’s case there’s even more at stake, more reason to be picked to be the Chancellor’s Ward, for she killed his best friend Vik, and he’s set on revenge. What an impactful, provocative, pacey feat this is, from the author’s dexterous unveiling of the brutal world Jude and Vik were born into, to her accomplished translation of a powerful high concept into an edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | This pacey page-turner teems with tension, twists and terror from the moment Irish girl Niamh arrives in London for a drama course and finds herself in a storm of vicious attacks on fellow students. Accelerating the fear factor, the victims look like Niamh, and bear marks reminiscent of those made by Spring Heeled Jack, a Victorian folklore figure who was said to slash his victims with metal claws. Amidst this terror, Niamh takes up her placement in a Victorian museum, where she plays the role of a factory owner’s daughter who died a gruesome and untimely death. No wonder, then, that Niamh is glad to befriend Jess, a self-proclaimed “history nerd” who’s thrilled to visit the museum’s parlour that was once used by “the infamous Madame Josephine...Fortune teller, hypnotist, and mistress of the occult.” Then there’s creepy Will who works there, and gorgeous Tommy who sets Niamh’s heart a-pounding. Entertaining and menacing in equal measure, and loaded with cliff-hangers and red herrings, this accomplished debut brings old school Point Horror novels to mind.
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