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When weird things start happening around him, Darkus Knighty puts his mind to trying to find out why. Since the detective business is in his blood that is not really a surprise but, since his father has been in a coma for four years, he has had to learn all he needs to know on his own. When his father makes a miraculous recovery, he soon realises that Darkus can do with some help. Soon, father and son are trying to work out why a best selling book is creating such a stir and whether the very unusal things that are happpning are linked to the Combination? Darkus’s sharp mind helps unravel the clues in this surprising and entertaining detective novel. ~ Julia Eccleshare For your budding detective there is a fantastic Knightley and Son quest pack which accompanies the book, full of puzzles to solve and codes to crack - you can download it here! And also have a look at the Reading Guide which has some great ideas for discussion points from the book and creative activities - see the tab right.
Josephine Montfort is from one of New York's oldest, most respected, and wealthiest families. Like most well-off girls of the Gilded Age, her future looks set - after a finishing school education, she will be favourably married off to a handsome gentleman, after which she'll want for nothing. But Jo has other dreams and desires that make her long for a very different kind of future. She wants a more meaningful and exciting life: she wants to be an investigative journalist like her heroine Nellie Bly. But when Jo's father is found dead in his study after an alleged accident, her life becomes far more exciting than even Jo would wish. Unable to accept that her father could have been so careless, she begins to investigate his death with the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher. It quickly becomes clear he was murdered, and in their race against time to discover the culprit and his motive, Jo and Eddie find themselves not only battling dark characters on the violent and gritty streets of New York, but also their growing feelings for each other.
For a businessman Jonas B. Ellington is a romantic. That’s why, inspired by tales of the Old West, he comes up with the idea of The Glory, an endurance race for rider and horse that cuts through the heart of the West, from Colarado to Oregon, via Wyoming and Idaho. And he puts up a $250,000 prize too, more than enough to tempt two desperate young people to take part: Will needs money to pay for an operation for his dad; Alex is out to prove herself. Lauren St John’s horse stories are as good as any of the classics by K M Peyton or Patricia Leach and this is a marvellous adventure. Readers will fall in love with the horses, wiry, intelligent Shiraz, part Arab; and Scout, Alex’s horse, a wild palomino. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2015 - September 2015 Book of the Month Buckle up, because you are in for a hell of a ride! Amber’s parents strike readers – and her – as eccentric, but nothing prepares her for the awful truth, revealed on her sixteenth birthday: they are demons, and so is she. Not that that will stop them from killing and eating her. Fleeing her parents, Amber embarks on a road-trip like no other. In the company of inscrutable bodyguard Miles and Glen, a gormless Irish hitchhiker with supernatural issues of his own, she speeds down America’s Dark Highway, careering from one terrifying encounter with something nasty and dead to another, racing to complete a deal with the boss demon to save her life. An exhilarating mix of comedy and thrills, Demon Road had me laughing out loud one minute, jumping out of my seat the next: hard to believe that something this gory should be so much fun! Unmissable! ~ Andrea Reece A message from Derek Landy ‘I was brought up on thrillers. At first, it was the Universal and Hammer movies, played in black and white and glorious technicolour on my TV screen when I was a kid. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The Fly. The Wolfman. Once bitten, I was ravenous – much like the zombies in Dawn of the Dead that I first watched on late night TV. I was ravenous, and so I devoured. Demon Road was born out of this lifelong love and incorporates elements from slasher movies, Stephen King novels, modern urban legends and that classic sub-genre: the killer car.’ Stop press... Derek will be appearing at the Cheltenham Festival on Saturday 3rd October. Click here to find out more. Further information from the Cheltenham Festival.
I wanted to touch the boy who was not to be touched. The Messenger of Fear exists to punish the wicked, to restore balance in a world where evil seems to be everywhere. He offers sinners one terrible choice: play...or pay? If you win the game, you can go free. But if you lose, you must live out your greatest fear. His assistant, Mara is still adjusting to her role. She must face the worst horrors of intolerance, cruelty and injustice: she, as much as any of the people Messenger pursues, is being punished. But Mara has secret feelings for Messenger, and they're threatening to overpower her. As she learns more about his tragic past, she must make her own choice: how far will she go to gain her heart's desire?
None of it would have happened if I hadn't missed a bus… Fifteen-year-old George's life is sent careering down a cataclysmic course when he misses his bus by seconds, notices a fire and selflessly rescues a baby from the flames. Hailed a hero, George is awarded a National Badge of Courage, and a chance to take the Ultimate Bushcraft Gold Star Challenge in the Australian wilds with a select group of fellow teenagers. But a succession of serious accidents soon transforms this once-in-a-lifetime trip into a paranoia-fuelled fight for survival. Or maybe they’re not accidents… With all means of communication sabotaged, and wracked by fear and distrust, the dwindling group venture through unforgiving wilderness territory towards the next base camp. Those who survive deadly spiders and the treacherous ravines and rapids find themselves at a crocodile-infested lake, where things reach a catastrophic climax. Told from multiple perspectives in the form of statements from George and the people who know him, and the first-person accounts of a disturbed perpetrator, this is a tautly plotted, powerfully characterised novel told with the intensity of an action-thriller movie. ~ Joanne Owen
Heather agrees to a group camping holiday with Dougie and his friends because she's desperate to get closer to him. But when the two of them disturb a pagan burial site above the beach, she becomes certain that they have woken a malevolent spirit. Something is alive out there in the pitch-black dark, and it is planning to wreak deadly revenge. One year later Heather knows that she was very lucky to escape Black Cairn Point but she is still waiting for Dougie to wake from his coma. If he doesn't, how will she prove her sanity, and her innocence? A chilling and atmospheric thriller from unflinching and award-winning writer Claire McFall.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 12 - 16 year old category. Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2015 - Joanne Owen's Pick of the Year 2015 Award-winning Nick Lake tells a complex story fusing two strands of narrative into a richly woven single thread. Seventeen-year-old Shelby Cooper has always been very protected by her mother; she guesses it is partly because she is deaf, partly because her dad is dead and partly she had a terrible accident when she was a baby. But when she is knocked over by a car, her life takes a whole new turn. Suddenly she and her Mom are on the run and everything that she has known about her life before is suddenly questioned. What is the truth? And will she ever discover it? As her life unravels, Shelby retreats into a fantasy world of the Dreaming a place infused with old, old Mythology. Part-adventure, part-mystery and part a teenager’s journey of self-discovery, There Will Be Liesis dramatic and unexpected in equal measure. ~ Julia Eccleshare
June 2015 Book of the Month A fascinating book that captures your imagination for its entirety and then releases it to explore new thoughts and feelings, this is a wonderfully clever foray into the difficulties faced by young women on the cusp of adulthood. The story takes place in two time frames in one location, formally called Salem Village now Danvers in Massachusetts. We hear from two inhabitants; Ann in 1706 who makes a confession and Colleen in 2012, in her final year of school and under pressure to perform. The author encourages you to connect the two times, to feel the pain and confusion, to question and evaluate, however there is a twist of mystery in this tale and just as you think you are finding an answer, it swirls off in front of you again. Whilst fiction, Howe explains how her story links to true events in the authors note at the end. This is a fabulous re-imagining of ‘The Crucible’, full of suspense and tension, yet there is a warmth and compassion that makes this a read not to be missed by older teens. ~ Liz Robinson
Shortlisted for the Children's Book Award 2017 - Books for Older Readers | Readers are plunged straight into the action in Ali Sparke’s new thriller: Jack and his parents are on holiday when their car is stolen, with him still on the back seat. The car-jacker turns out to be a kinder, more complex person than expected, while Jack, brought up on a strict regime of study by his over-protective mother, finds life on the run brings him some longed-for freedom. The two form an unusual friendship, that culminates in Jack helping Ross win £5,000 he desperately needs. Jack’s adventures make for compulsively page-turning reading, and no matter how high the action rages, it somehow feels credible. High octane fun! ~ Andrea Reece
Laura Jarratt writes excellent thrillers, wrapping mysteries in the sort of issues and concerns that will be familiar to her teen readers. Hannah’s big sister Jenny left her home and family in the States for a summer job in England. But something terrible happened and Jenny goes missing. Hannah and her dad fly over to help with the search and as the investigation continues she begins to suspect that her sister’s disappearance may have something to do with family secrets. It’s compelling stuff, the tense atmosphere relieved by Hannah’s growing relationship with a young English boy. The conclusion will leave readers gasping! ~ Andrea Reece
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