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Especially compiled for Young Adults, this section is awash with wonderful worlds to escape to, great stories and characters you’ll love. Please note that some of these books have more adult content and are generally suitable for 16+ readers. The books in this section might also be given a secondary age range. Some are suitable for 13+ year olds reading above their age and looking for a challenging read. Please note, content & subject matter will be suitable for a 13 year old. Non-Fiction in this section is often fascinating and educational to a wider age range.
June 2022 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2022 | Into a brief, hot summer slice of late adolescence, award-winning Meg Rosoff brilliantly unpacks a friendship which leads to a sequence of rollercoaster and heady experiences for eighteen year old Beth. Newly arrived in New York to take up a journalism internship, Beth is immediately swept up by her fellow interns including Eddie, an attractive, talented and rich New Yorker who invites her to move into her parents beautiful and comfortable home. Eager to leave the cockroach infested apartment, her first home on arrival, Beth is entranced by Eddie, whose extraordinary life has already ensured her familiarity with all the experiences - sex, drugs, drink - that are new to Beth. Their heady days together appear to be a reflection of the best friendship in the world. But is it? As the summer gets hotter, the drinks get stronger and her sense of what she should be doing gets more confused, Beth begins to realise that Eddie is not the friend she seems to be. No one captures the importance of friendship and the turmoil of coming of age better than Meg Rosoff.
June 2022 Book of the Month | Multi-stranded and suffused in sapphic love, Cynthia So’s If You Still Recognise Me debut is a compassionate, cute ode to fandom, finding love, and finding your people. The novel also deftly explores the intersection of sexism and racism, homophobia, and abusively manipulative relationships while remaining a super-sweet coming of age story that’s populated by characters who will make many a heart melt. Elsie is British-Chinese, bisexual, and has a serious crush on Ada, who she met on a comic fandom forum. Though separated by the Atlantic, Elsie is about to disclose her feelings when Joan, her best friend from childhood, returns to study at Oxford Uni after moving to Hong Kong. Cue all sorts of unexpected complications. Elsie is also still struggling with the lingering effects of an abusively controlling ex, whom she now suspects is one of those “men who see Asian women as submissive and obedient playthings they can dump all their problems on and then discard.” In addition, Elsie’s family is reeling from the death of Gung Gung, her grandad. Why hadn’t they visited him for eight years, and why is her Uncle Kevin so absent? At least Elsie has her new gay, and possibly asexual, comic store co-worker to turn to. A quest to do something wonderful for Ada and her family facilitates a superb representation of older lesbian, gay, bi and non-binary characters – individuals leading gorgeously fulfilling lives who inspire Elsie as she finds herself falling deeply in love, resulting in a sparkling, satisfyingly sincere summer read.
June 2022 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ | This is a story that we need to be told. A Carnegie Medal winner, Tanya Landman is one of our finest writers. She is particularly good at writing about historical events, picking out their relevance to our lives today with an unflinching honesty. This short novel is set in the decade before the second World War. Elsie and her family live in a packed, noisy tenement block just off Cable Street in the heart of Stepney. The family are poor, but so are all their neighbours and, despite the daily arguments between Mrs Smith and Mrs Rosenberg, they get along. Until the arrival of Oswald Mosley that is. Elsie’s story details the rise of Mosley and his party, and the impact it has in Stepney, turning neighbours into enemies, bringing friends into danger, and playing to the very worst in people. The story concludes with the famous Battle of Cable Street when ordinary East Enders – in defiance of the Home Secretary and the police – bravely barred Mosley’s Blackshirt bully boys from marching through their home. The events are as shocking now as they were in 1936 and truths about the reception Mosley received from the British establishment will make you feel ‘sweaty and awkward’ as Elsie says. The facts speak for themselves, but Elsie’s voice is clear, direct, full of anger at the injustice she sees.
June 2022 Book of the Month | With an opening that couldn’t be more arresting – “Corpses. Each one female and young…They’re mounted on stakes at the mouth of the jungle” – Namina Forna's The Merciless Ones, sequel to her powerful patriarchy-confronting debut, The Gilded Ones, presents a thrilling return to the richly-evoked kingdom of Otera. Some six months after she freed the Gilded Ones goddesses from imprisonment in the mountains and promised to “fight for all the women of Otera”, Deka is alerted to the rise of a dark power that she and her army must quell, alongside adapting to changes in her own gifts. Driven by Deka’s fiercely indomitable quest to save the kingdom, gender identity and sexuality are explored alongside themes of feminist empowerment - “Male and female…The mere thought unsettles us. Humans like to sever themselves according to these lines, although they are not so simply sorted…They force them to choose – male, female One or the other." With a whole lot of snaking twists, betrayals and impossible decisions, this is YA fantasy at its most fire-cracking, and thought-provoking with it.
Romantic love, family love, friend love, and selflove — Ebony LaDelle’s Love Radio debut is an uplifting joy, with two adorable teen characters teetering on the cusp of adulthood while dealing with big problems from the past, and questions about the future. Dani definitely isn’t looking for love. Not after what happened when her former friend left her alone with that college boy. And not when she’s so set on going to college and becoming a writer. A writer with the impact of her heroines, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and bell hooks. Meanwhile, Prince (AKA DJ LoveJones), is obsessed with music, and offers love advice on his hugely popular radio show around caring for his sick mom and adorable little brother Mook. When they meet, the fiery sparks can’t be ignored, so Dani agrees to giving Prince three dates to convince her not to swear off love. Cue a stack of sweetness from Prince (the dates he comes up with are so, so thoughtful), and Dani doing a whole lot of soul-searching. Alongside delivering a beautiful, exhilarating love story, the author weaves in Black history, and shows the power of kids seeing themselves represented in books. It also offers gorgeous representations of family love, support, respect and fun gatherings that allow everyone to thrive. All of which means Love Radio is inspirational, empowering, and super-sweet — what’s not to love?
June 2022 Debut of the Month | What a dazzling debut this is. Founded on the alluring concept of a glamourous hotel that changes location each night, Emily J Taylor's Hotel Magnifique presents readers with a sumptuous world of magical soirées and shows. It’s a story that’s shot-through with intrigue, mystery and menace as two sisters longing for a better life discover that the grass might not be greener, however bright it gleams. When Hotel Magnifique comes to her bleak hometown, 17-year-old Jani devises a plan to make sure she and her sister enter it. Her sister gains employment as a singer, while Jani enters a lowlier profession. Within the hotel’s opulent walls, the sisters are separated by their roles, and Jani is quick to catch onto the fact that the contracts they’ve signed might mean more than they’d bargained for. With distrust lurking in every shadow, and a sense of time running out, this sweeping story is a spellbinding read, and comes recommended for fans of the Lady Helen Dark Days Club series and The Night Circus.
This enchanting, empowering sequel to This Poison Heart, one of our 2021 favourites, twists, turns and captures the heart through exquisite storytelling and world-building. Blending compellingly relatable characters with ancient magic, Greek myth, and a sweeping quest to save loved ones, it’s as lush and thrilling as the kind of flamboyant botanicals its endearing protagonist has the command to conjure. Briseis has powerful ancestresses, and the power to create and control plants. Though she’s long worked to hide her gifts, she now has an opportunity to save her mother’s soul. In order to find the last piece of the Absyrtus Heart that will enable her to realise this, she must turn to her blood relatives and find her place in her ancient magical lineage. Briseis’ quest sees her voyage to a Greek island and battle with enemies who are descended from Jason, Medea’s vindictive husband. With tension mounting as time slips away and it seems as if deadly foliage has taken a stranglehold, love blossoms for Briseis too, making this consummately exhilarating.
Kicking off a new series in enchanting, gripping style, Brigid Kemmerer’s Forging Silver into Stars will thrill and delight fans of The Cursebreaker series that saw the author garner global acclaim for creating fabulous YA fantasy twists on timelessly appealing fairy tales. Forging Silver into Stars heralds a heady return to the richly-evoked worlds of Emberfall and Syhl Shallow, and here we also re-meet Tycho of A Heart So Fierce and Broken fame, who voices one of the novel’s three narratives. Four years after Grey took control of Emberfall, magic is still outlawed in Syhl Shallow, and Tycho now works as the King’s Courier, entrusted to relay confidential messages between the two kingdoms. In this context we meet best friends Jax and Callyn, who know first-hand how magic can lead to devastation, for magic killed Callyn’s parents, magic did nothing to help Jax in the wake of a debilitating accident, and magic cannot rescue them from the tax collector’s threats. Alongside their immediate problems, magic is rising in the wider world, with a magesmith married to their queen, and a stranger inviting them to help an anti-magic, anti-establishment plot in return for much-needed silver. Enter Tycho - instructed to root out the conspirator, handsome Tycho turns Jax’s head and unleashes torrent of conflict. Appealingly familiar to fans of The Cursebreaker, this is also fresh, and zings with tension and the tingles of romance, with the stage well set for future twists and escalations.
Telling a time-slip tale of 1980s homophobia and friendship, David Valdes’ You Spin Me Right Round is a thrilling rollercoaster ride of humour and a heart - think Back to the Future with a 21st-century twist. Luis Gonzales, a drama-loving 17-year-old fashionista of Cuban heritage, is his high school’s Student Body President and on the Prom Council, determined to change school policy so he and his boyfriend Cheng can go to prom together - the “opposite gender” guest policy sucks. Reeling from having his dream quashed at a meeting, Luis is transported to a 1985 incarnation of his school, back to when his mom and dad attended. “I’m here, I’m queer, it’s 1985 - get used to it”, Luis announces with bravado, but life for a gay brown teenager in a predominantly white Christian school in the 80’s is far from easy. With time ticking away, and Luiz desperate to find a way to save closeted Chaz from homophobia and get back to his mom and Cheng, readers are in for a trip that’s thought- provoking and funny, with Luiz’s slick, witty voice propelling the drama at breakneck speed.
The highly anticipated second novel from Carnegie shortlisted Dean Atta will not disappoint fans of his unmistakeably authentic and honest #ownvoices debut verse novel The Black Flamingo. Once again drawing on his own experiences, in this case of moving from London to Scotland, this novel revolves around Mack, who is forced to accompany his film maker father and sole parent to Glasgow, leaving behind his slowly blossoming relationship with his first love Karim, a basketball star and the hottest boy in school. Mack is a true romantic, openly and unashamedly gay but with low self esteem and high levels of anxiety. He doubts his busy father’s feelings for him and wonders if his two lifelong friends like him for more than his home cinema. K is very much still in the closet and can offer little reassurance especially at a distance. Meeting Finlay, the super confident gay star of his Dad’s film, and feeling an immediate connection creates a real moral dilemma for Mack. This is a wonderfully multi-layered depiction of complex characters and the verse novel format shows again that it is so well suited to capturing emotions. There is not just a beautiful economy of language but the spacing and layout on the page recreates the drama of each moment perfectly. There is warmth, humour, a real love for Glasgow and a positive celebration of love, diversity and inclusivity in this memorable and hugely engaging novel. A real must have for library collections.
Haunted by her mother’s death, and now uprooted from Limerick to a rural village, 18-year-old Saoirse is desperate to leave school and start her life afresh. Her tremendously tough journey through guilt and anxiety - quite brilliantly related with raw compassion by Helena Close - makes for an engaging, thought-provoking, moving read that sheds light on the realities of depression while offering honest glimmers of hope. Just ahead of sitting her sitting the Leaving Certificate, Saoirse’s ex-boyfriend commits suicide. It’s no secret that she cheated on him with his best friend, and she’s cast out by her peers. Devastated by guilt, grief and feeling isolated, her counselling sessions do little to help. Yet even as she descends into the darkest clutches of depression, Saoirse shines as a wise and witty young woman. She sees people for who they are, beyond her years, with her narrative casting a glaring light on the reality of attitudes to depression: “You are not allowed to be sad. People have no tolerance to sad. You can be Insta sad – sad because you saw pictures of dying refugees or abandoned puppies. You can’t be ongoing sad.. You can’t be scared or anxious or upset”. As everything becomes too much for Saoirse, she’s taken to a psychiatric hospital. Though painful, her journey to regaining herself is powerfully raw and touched by hope, with the wider cast of true-to-life characters (from Saoirse’s siblings and peers, to her straight-talking, gin-swilling grandmother) adding to the enlivening authenticity.
Research shows, sadly, that boys and men are just as concerned about their appearance as girls and women with all the problems and misery that can entail. That makes this book particularly important. It talks to young men clearly and openly about the issues surrounding body image and is full of advice on how they can protect their health and learn to understand and be happy with their bodies. There are tips from experts throughout but even more importantly, quotes from boys themselves and a question-and-answer format makes it very clear and accessible. Covering everything from developments during puberty to coping with social media and healthy eating, it’s comprehensive and engaging, big on reassurance backed up by evidence and lived experience. A must have for schools, GPs and parents of boys.
Touching on major moments in the story of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights including the Stonewall Uprising, the first Gay Pride Rally and the dazzling history of drag and the ballroom scene, We Are Your Children is a wide-ranging and inclusive account of a multifaceted movement, with detailed and characterful colour artwork. This book showcases figures from queer history like Harvey Milk, Julian Hows, Carla Toney, Crystal LaBeija, We Wha, Vincent Jones, Marsha P. Johnson, Alan Turing, Sylvia Rivera and many more. From the secret slang adopted by gay Londoners the 60s, to the decades of sit-ins and marches, there are countless fascinating stories to be told: stories of resistance, friendship, love, fear, division, unity and astonishing perseverance in the face of discrimination and oppression.
An emotional love story with a thrilling twist from the globally bestselling author of The One Memory of Flora Banks. Ariel's accidental meeting with a handsome stranger called Joe is completely perfect; they have a connection like she's never known before. They exchange numbers and agree to meet when he is back from a trip to France. But when Ariel messages him, the number Joe gave her is disconnected. He's ghosted her. She assumes she will never see him again. Except she does. Again and again. Ariel returns to the place she and Joe met, and is stunned to find him there, not in France as he said he'd be, and behaving as if he has no idea who she is. It turns out that their first meeting has been life-changing for them both, actually it's even more than that for Joe. But what do you do when - with every day that passes - you're literally growing apart from the best person you've ever known . . . ?
*Now an acclaimed live-action Netflix series!* Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. This joyful trip into the LGBTQ+ world of Heartstopper is the perfect gift for anyone who loves the graphic novels or Netflix TV series - from Alice Oseman, bestselling author and winner of the YA Book Prize. Now in full colour for the first time! The full-colour Heartstopper Yearbook is packed full of exclusive content from the Heartstopper universe - including never-before-seen illustrations, an exclusive mini-comic, a look back at Alice's Heartstopper artwork over the years, character profiles, trivia, and insights into her creative process - all narrated by a cartoon version of Alice herself. By the winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie's lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.
From the author of Black Heart Blue and Gloves Off - both LoveReading favourites - Wrecked is a breathtakingly affecting novel-in-verse that sees teenager Joe stand trial for causing a fatal car crash. Exploring thought-provoking themes around toxic relationships, self-preservation, truth and betrayal in an ultra-accessible, engagingly authentic style, this comes highly recommended for reluctant readers. Framed within the context of Joe’s excruciatingly tense trial at which he pleads not guilty to a charge of causing death by reckless driving, his narrative slips back and forth through key moments in his life, most crucially how he got together with Imogen, his girlfriend of many years, who was with him when the crash happened. When the police arrived at the scene, Joe was said to be the driver. “The truth is in hiding, it’s scared, it’s weak/ You see, I’ve been waiting so long for my chance to speak” - so goes Joe’s internal monologue before we hear evidence that tears his character apart. But someone is lying and, little by little, we learn more about Imogen, how she “lifted my shell and prodded deep underneath at flesh unprotected, she bit with sharp teeth - she stole chunks of my certainty.” Alongside the unfolding of past events and the present-day trial, additional devastation is unravelling in Joe’s family. Wrecked is an exceptional addition to the canon of contemporary novels-in-verse for young adult readers (see also Punching the Air, The Poet X, Clap When You Land, Rebound, Black Flamingo, Gut Feelings and the work of Sarah Crossan), and mention must be made of the book’s layout too – words and letters stutter, tumble, slip and fall across and along the pages, stirringly reverberating Joe’s state of mind. We explore the powerful themes in Wrecked with Louisa Reid in a Q&A.
In English teacher Louise Reid’s first venture into the verse novel, she uses the form magnificently using layout and different font sizes and styles to show as well as tell Lily’s story. We meet her in the opening poem, Roadkill at her lowest ebb. Bullied at school and battered and abused outside it, betrayed by childhood ‘friends’ and mentally trapped in a self-critical prison. This is an unflinching portrait of a girl who does not fit in and who hates herself. But it is also a picture of a family in poverty and the link between poverty and obesity is well known, but not often acknowledged and ‘fat shaming” is a particularly insidious and dangerous form of bullying where the victims are often blamed. The author also gives a voice to Bernadette, the loving mother equally trapped in her own misery, overweight and virtually housebound and to Lily’s feelings for her which veer back and forth from love to shame and blame. The layers of characterisation and backstory are subtly and delicately revealed in this beautifully paced narrative. Equally touching is the depiction of her father, quiet, loyal and desperate to help. It is at his suggestion that Lily takes up his old hobby of boxing. With training and the gym comes fitness, but more importantly other support structures and tentative friendships and Lily’s bravery helps Bernadette take some positive steps too. Their journey is not easy but never anything other than utterly convincing and psychologically authentic. This important novel has home truths for both sexes to ponder and a cleverly neutral cover and the highly accessible verse format means that it can be promoted to even the most reluctant of readers. We explore the powerful themes in Louisa's follow-up verse novel Wrecked in a Q&A with the author.
A stunning and heartbreaking new novel from Jamila Gavin, the bestselling and award-winning author of Coram Boy and The Wheel of Surya. England, 1937. Gwen, Noor, Dodo and Vera are four very different teenage girls, with something in common. Their parents are all abroad, leaving them in their English boarding school, where they soon form an intense friendship. The four friends think that no matter what, they will always have each other. Then the war comes. The girls find themselves flung to different corners of the war, from the flying planes in the Air Transport Auxiliary to going undercover in the French Resistance. Each journey brings danger and uncertainty as each of them wonders if they can make it through - and what will be left of the world. But at the same time, this is what shows them who they really are - and against this impossible backdrop, they find new connections and the possibility of love. Will the four friends ever see each other again? And when the war is over, who will be left to tell the story? A heartbreaking and gripping story of hope, fear and unbreakable friendship, for readers of Code Name Verity and When the World Was Ours.
Her Dark Wings is a potent, passionate modern-day take on the Persephone myth. On an island, near the entrance to the Underworld . . . Corey and Bree's friendship has always been unbreakable. Or so Corey thought, until Bree betrays her in the worst way possible, and then Bree's sudden death leaves Corey heartbroken and furious. But the Underworld calls to Corey too: enraptured by the passionate Furies, she is taken to the realm of a god who is unyielding, cold and irritatingly arrogant. It will change her, because the more she learns about herself, the more Corey's own power stirs. But can she resist her darkness within?
(Solitaire, Radio Silence, I Was Born For This, Loveless) | A review for Loveless Through the tangled identity struggles of authentic characters you’ll truly care about, Alice Oseman’s Loveless extends an understanding hand to aromantic asexuals (people who experience little-to-no romantic or sexual attraction, also known as aro-ace) while guiding all readers through fears of being alone and dealing with the pressure to hook up. Moreover, it’s a thoroughly entertaining, gripping page-turner that shows finding happiness isn’t dependent on romantic love. Georgia is desperate to experience her first kiss before she and her two best friends head to Durham University. After being made to feel “weird” and “disgusting” when she confesses to her peers that she’s never kissed anyone, Georgia seizes an opportunity to snog the one and only crush she’s ever had. When this goes spectacularly wrong in a scene that sizzles with tension and scorching comic timing, it hits her that “I hadn’t ever fancied anyone,” that the reality of kissing and romance “disgusts me.” But still she resolves to “try harder. I wanted forever love. I didn’t want to be loveless.” At Durham, while still struggling to find love, Georgia finds new friends in her outwardly confident, sexually active roommate, and Sunil, president of her college’s LBGTQ society. Sunil’s compassion and personal experiences help her discover who she is, to realise that she’s not alone in not feeling sexual or romantic attraction. Georgia’s journey to discovery is far from smooth, though, with many friendship-threatening, edge-of-your-seat errors made along the way.
With compelling characters, broken friendships and complicated romances, Bad Things Happen Here is a gripping murder mystery full of dark truths, lethal betrayals, and poisonous secrets. Paradise can be deadly. Luca Laine Thomas lives in Parris, a beautiful island plagued by the unsolved deaths of young women - most significantly, Luca's best friend. All Luca wants is to heal from the traumatic loss and leave her feelings of guilt and helplessness behind. Then Luca comes home to find police cars in her driveway. Her sister, Whitney, is dead. Luca and Naomi, the new girl next door, decide to take the investigation into their own hands, and along the way their connection deepens. Soon, their casual touches and innocent flirtations become something way more real. But finding out what happened on the night of Whitney's disappearance reveals lie upon lie. Nothing is as it seems. Will Luca's search finally reveal the truth about her sister's murder? Perfect for fans of We Were Liars, One of Us Is Lying, Ace of Spades and Asking For It.
Bestselling authors, Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber, joined forces on an utterly compelling YA romantic fantasy bursting with high-stakes adventure and crossover appeal about twin princesses separated at birth. Two sisters. One throne. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown? Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister's place in the palace. Trained from birth to avenge her parents' murder and usurp the princess, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility including marriage into a brutal kingdom. Life outside the palace walls is a place to be feared and she is soon to discover that it's wilder than she ever imagined. Twin sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other's lives a whole lot better... An irresistible fantasy romantic comedy from two YA superstars - perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber, Sarah J Maas and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander.
This impactful tale is beautifully crafted from a variety of viewpoints, written in a mixture of prose, narrative verse and journal entries, woven together with evocative illustrations by Natalie Sirett. While it is Kai’s story and his fall into darkness that is at the heart of the story, we also hear the voices of Orla, from the high-rise flats like Kai, and Zak from the big houses across the other side of the wilderness. This is the place where they spent most of their out of school time growing up and where they discovered and restored the bothy, which becomes the dramatic backdrop to astounding creativity but also danger, degradation, despair and near death. We later hear from new arrival Omid who has faced trauma and loss himself, which helps him make the connection with Kai, whose family has fallen apart following the loss of his beloved baby sister Sula. Despite the best efforts of his friends, Kai falls in with a dangerous crowd, gets excluded and his self-destruction seems inevitable. But the bonds forged in their childhood ultimately prove stronger. Kai’s deep connection to nature and in particular to a pair of ravens, who have their own narration, and the creativity which is sparked by Omid’s inspiring art, help to bring him home. There are so many important themes in this multi-layered novel which speaks so powerfully about the importance of urban green spaces and community and the way society can fail to recognise the true value of things. This highly original novel perfectly captures raw adolescent emotions and fills the reader with empathy and understanding. Highly recommended.
Alternating between the engaging narratives of two teenage boys, Malcolm Duffy’s Read Between the Lies is a riveting, read-in-one-sitting page-turner, sharing insights into dyslexia as it also explores family frictions and how to support the people around you. Soon-to-be-stepbrothers Ryan and Tommy are as different as ice-cream and cabbage. Tommy has recently been released from a young offenders’ prison, while Ryan is a piano-playing good lad who’s moved down south with his dad following his parents’ divorce. In Ryan’s words, “Don’t do cooking but hear it’s all about the blend of ingredients. Same with families. Ours is all wrong. Like ice-cream and cabbage”. Despite their marked differences, the teenagers do have something in common — they’re both dyslexic, but have very different ways of dealing with it. Tommy’s journey through handling prejudice against his criminal past (“a single bad decision doesn’t make you bad”) and learning to read is gripping, moving and - ultimately - uplifting, as is Ryan’s dedication to teaching Tommy to read. As Ryan’s mum announces her plan for them to move, and Tommy discovers long-buried family secrets, the perfectly-paced plot ramps up the stakes, with plenty of humour and touching moments shining through the boys’ troubles.
May 2022 Debut of the Month | Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience. Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind. At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small. Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.
The teenage years are such a vibrant and vivid time in your life. Adventure, friendships, self-discovery are all there in spades, but there’s frustration too, impatience and a strong desire to be understood.
This section of fantastic books for teens and young adult readers is filled with stories that reflect all of these feelings in settings that will give flight to your imagination. Be inspired by tales of self-discovery, run the rocky road of first romance, battle big issues in mysterious worlds, beat the bleak future of dystopian regimes, or laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it all. There’s something here for all tastes and moods from half-god heroes to horseback holidays and literally everything in between.
You can download a free Opening Extract of each book, usually about the first chapter. Read it on your screen, or print it off and enjoy anywhere. We give you enough of a book to see whether it’s your sort of thing.
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