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In a nutshell: coming after you The best horror stories play on our deepest fears, and Alex Scarrow works that brilliantly in this thoroughly unsettling and unputdownable thriller. Leon is smart, and realises early on that something bad is happening: news reports, quickly suppressed, of a virus spreading across the world, are just the start. The virus turns out to be unstoppable, deadly, and – shockingly - to be intelligent. Unease builds as we watch the civilisation we trust collapse in days leaving Leon and a few other survivors isolated and terrified. Skilfully written, this puts the disturbing back into dystopia. Readers will find themselves going from tense to tenser, and will need strong stomachs for some scenes. Recommended for fans of Charlie Higson and Michael Grant. ~ Andrea Reece
Fictional superheroes don’t come much more appealing than Troy, one of a group of teenagers with awesome super powers recruited by secret agency SPEAR to protect society against a gang of ruthless terrorists, and the premise for the Bullet Catcher series will be irresistible to anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a hero, i.e. pretty well all of us. As always in Bradford’s books, the action is fast and furious, with just enough time between the explosions and thrills for a touch of humour or character development. The ending will leave readers on tenterhooks for the next part in the series too. Described by publisher Barrington Stoke as super readable, this definitely meets that description. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
July 2016 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 World War One didn’t just affect those involved in the fighting but those left at home, and subsequent generations too as this novel shows. Charlie joins up, underage, in a rush of excitement and tragically so does his even younger brother. His experience of the trenches and the Battle of the Somme is vividly described, though the facts are well known now this feels a very personal account. Charlie survives, but changed by his experiences. Two images stick in the mind: fruit cakes sent to the soldiers by mothers and wives at home; Charlie years later pacing the streets at night unable to escape the memories of the trenches. Charlie’s great-grandsons have a part to play too, and through them we see how even a century on, the effects of the war are still felt. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Winner of the YA Book Prize 2017 | Winner of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017, Older Fiction category | Shortlisted for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, CrimeFest Gala Awards 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category, 2016 | A young man has an impossible choice to make, in this powerful coming of age urban thriller. The action is uncompromising and powerful, yet punctuated by moments of extraordinary tenderness and it will challenge preconceptions and melt the hardest heart.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | May 2016 Book of the Month This electrifyingly smart story of a teen girl's struggle with a tormenting voice in her head is a masterwork of contemporary YA. There's a murderer on the loose in Cassie's New Jersey hometown, the so-called Houdini Killer, which sets her quick-to-anger dad even more on edge than usual. A former Navy SEAL with untreated posttraumatic stress syndrome, he now runs the family restaurant, a site of distressing memories for them both. After finding a foot in a sneaker on the beach - one of the Houdini Killer’s victims - Cassie hears a voice telling her that she's disgusting, and it won’t let up. Convinced she's “forever doomed like Cassandra of myth - the girl who leaves a trail of violence in her wake”, the bullying voice makes Cassie promise to obey it. And she does, with near-fatal consequences, when, for example she injects herself with her Epi-Pen, which results in her being hospitalised. In the clinic she meets the irrepressible Paris. A bipolar survivor of abuse, Paris comes to play a huge part in Cassie’s life, as does one of the boys staying in her dad’s apartment for the summer. The only time the voice is really silenced is when Cassie is with him, but the voice has other plans for their burgeoning relationship. Taking the form of the “most screwed-up love letter ever” written from Cassie to the boy she falls for, this gripping, multilayered novel is an insightful exploration of grief, broken families, mental illness and the lies we tell others - and ourselves - out of fear. It’s also about losing yourself, and coming to find your true voice. Lake has a huge talent for tackling classic YA themes, but always forges his own path, cutting through clichés, stripping back the superficial, to reach the heart of his brilliantly complex characters, all delivered through spectacularly plotted storylines. ~ Joanne Owen
Powerfully thought-provoking alternate-history thriller in which an unforgettable heroine seeks revenge on Hitler. It’s 1956, more than ten years since the Nazis won the war, and 17 year-old Yael belongs to a resistance movement. After enduring scientific experimentation as a child in Auschwitz, she possesses the power to change her appearance at will, along with tattoos of wolves on her arm, and a single-minded determination to kill Hitler. To this end, Yael must embark on a road-trip like no other; she must win a motorbike race that sees her traverse the world. Alternating between Yael’s epic journey as a young woman and events from her childhood, this is an extravaganza of a story, a multi-layered tapestry of alternate-history, dystopian thriller and heroine-driven quest. Like Yael, the writing is fearless, smart and energetic, and readers will be left desperate for the sequel. ~ Joanne Owen
Gosh, this is a full on adventurous tale about hope and survival! Then there’s the beautiful friendship between a boy and an otter cub which really gives this story heart and soul. Sam tells his own tale, after the small plane he and his dad were in crashes in an Amazonian jungle river, miles from anywhere. The first sentence seizes your attention, and the book doesn't let it go until the last page. D. J. Brazier has created a jungle that bites, it is scary, and powerful and made me wince and cringe as I read. I felt Sam’s fear and loneliness and admired his grit and determination, I also fell in love with a little otter cub! The story just races along, there are brushes with death, but then there are also moments of quiet, where a beautiful sunrise sears the pages. ‘Alone’ makes you think, makes you feel, and is a thoroughly gripping and enjoyable read. ~ Liz Robinson
In three words: surprises psychic thrills Ali Sparkes’s super-readable Shapeshifter series reaches book six, and a thrilling climax. Sparkes assembles all the characters from the series and its spin off Unleashed for this adventure and fans will appreciate just how the characters have developed over the course of the story. Things are looking bleak for Dax, as Fenton Lodge, home to him and the other COLA (Children of Limitless Ability) has been turned into a virtual prison, surrounded with walls and iron fences. Even a shapeshifter as gifted as Dax is unable to escape. Under constant guard, his only hope is his little sister, but it turns out they have more in common than anyone suspected. Fans will hope that this isn’t the end for the characters, and with an author like Ali Sparkes, nothing should be ruled out. ~ Andrea Reece
April 2016 Book of the Month No-one writes teen horror with anything like the wit, gory panache and comic timing of Derek Landy. His Demon Road stories are definitely not for the faint-hearted: fourteen people have been disembowelled, ripped apart or had their heads staved in by the end of page two of this new book! But they are irresistible reading for anyone looking for thrilling page-turners peopled by a hugely appealing cast of eccentrics and outsiders (not all of them alive). Demon Amber is once again racing down America’s Dark Highway with her bodyguard Miles, racing against time to complete her bargain with the devil, only this time the Hounds of Hell are on her trail. Breathless, blood-stained, far, far more fun than it has any right to be! Other masters of the macabre for teenagers include Charlie Higson (The Enemy series), Darren Shan (Demonata series) and Michael Grant (Gone series). ~ 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
He was supposed to be having fun with his friends, not playing detective and stalking a serial killer. Theodore Boone - teenage lawyer and courtroom hero - is on a class trip seeing the sights of the capital city. But he hadn't counted on seeing the most wanted man in the history of his home town, Strattenberg. Suddenly Theo is caught in the hunt for an accused murderer, alongside the FBI. Theo knows he's getting in deep - and things could become even more dangerous. Because if this case goes back to court, it will be down to him. Will justice finally be done...or will the killer's criminal allies be out for revenge?
March 2016 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