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Bart self-describes as boring – in a school full of high-achieving middle-schoolers, he only stands out because he’s so dull. But if that’s so, how come his story involves bizarre creatures, last-minute escapes, daring computer hacks, double crosses, and even the threat of total global destruction? The only way to find out is to read it… No-one knows more about the creation of unputdownable fiction than James Patterson, and this is another sure-fire hit combining sharply observed school life with computer game action and surprisingly touching family dynamics. Boring it ain’t, and despite the easy-reading feel there’s lots to get kids thinking as they race through the pages.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | 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 term sickness - sickle cell disease – which means he needs to be looked after carefully. When they surprisingly say yes, Sam is thrilled. But his delight soon turn to fear as he realises that the class bullies are planning something that is designed to humiliate him but which will end up putting them all at risk. How Sam deals with the bullies, including showing incredible courage in rescuing one from real danger, and how he deals with his own illness with another kind of bravery is all brilliantly captured in Malorie Blackman’s vivid drama.
A Dirty Bertie collection to delight his legions of fans who revel in his revolting ways! Featuring nine stories from Fangs!, Scream! and Zombie! A review for Fangs! - Disgusting Dirty Bertie is back for a new set of mucky adventures. As ever he has some crazy plans up his sleeve most of which involve him being disgusting in more ways than can easily be imagined. This time Bertie dresses up as a vampire for his school’s book week. But someone else has the same idea and soon things are going far from smoothly for Bertie! ~ Julia Eccleshare
From the million-copy bestselling author of THE PARENT AGENCY and BIRTHDAY BOY comes a wildly entertaining wish-fulfilment adventure that asks the question: what would happen if the strictest head teacher swapped bodies with the naughtiest kid in school? Strictest head naughtiest boy = chaos. Bracket Wood is about to be visited by the school inspectors. But there's one big problem: Ryan Ward. The maestro of practical jokes, Ryan has played so many tricks that in the end the Head Teacher just walks out. And then the new Head Teacher, Mr Carter, arrives. A man so strict even the teachers are scared of him. So imagine his surprise - and Ryan's - when they swap bodies. Now Ryan is Head Teacher - and his mortal enemy is one of his pupils. It's every naughty kid's dream! But soon Bracket Wood School is in a total mess - and only its worst ever pupil can fix it...
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | Uncle Gobb is back for a third utterly ridiculous, absolutely hilarious and totally originally told adventure. Michael Rosen and Neal Layton use a brilliant integration of words and pictures to tell this meandering and many-layered story which engages readers with the complexity and creativity of storytelling.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Kids who like sci-fi, a bit of super-hero action, and to laugh will really enjoy this new book. There's clearly something odd about Ant, aka Bug Boy, and most of the kids at school thinks he's a weirdo. Zac likes him though, even when he notices that behind the sunglasses Ant's eyes are like a spider's, covered in lenses. When Ant is kidnapped by the school's creepy science teacher, Zac goes to help - though it's just as well Tulisa lends a hand too - she's much tougher. The story proceeds at pace and, as long as you're not an arachnophobe, you'll really enjoy the adventure. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
Special Hardback and CD Edition. Best-selling duo Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb reunite in a lovely story that begins in a Year One classroom before taking us on an exciting, fantastical journey. Scenes in the classroom and at home with the children as they play with their shared Everywhere Bear are beautifully depicted in Donaldson’s nimble rhyming text and Cobb’s sketchy, lithe illustrations. Their imaginations take flight when the poor bear is lost, swept down a drain and into the sea in dramatic scenes before finally, almost miraculously, he’s reunited with Class One. In the hands of star author and illustrator, it all makes for an exceptionally satisfying adventure for young readers, with much they’ll recognise, much to make them wonder. ~ Andrea Reece Best-selling Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb create some wonderful adventures for the much-loved class bear in this warm-hearted and dramatic story with a strong classroom background. One thing is for sure - the Everywhere Bear knows that his life will never be dull! He goes home with a different child every weekend and no-one knows what surprises the weekend will bring! ~ Julia Eccleshare
July 2018 Book of the Month | No-one knows better than James Patterson how to keep the pages turning and of all his junior heroes Rafe Khatchadorian is perhaps the most appealing. He’s the kid who just attracts trouble, the one the teachers call out the minute something goes wrong; but readers know that Rafe is actually pretty insecure, sometimes lonely, and very alert to others and how they are feeling. In London on a school trip, Rafe finds himself sharing a room with his arch-enemy, while special attention from his friend (and secret love) Jeanne marks him out for some sneaky treatment by her boyfriend. The story unfolds against a backdrop of busy, tourist London and is funny, exciting and touching all at once while the action is non-stop. Congratulations again to Patterson and his writing and illustrating partners on another irresistible and thoroughly satisfying read.
This sparky collaborative novel by a glorious gaggle of top YA authors (Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood) centres around six memorable young adults whose paths cross at a TV broadcasting house: “The swot, the fraud, the dutiful daughter, the child star, the fan girl and the asshole”, all strangers who, “for whatever reason...ended up in the same lift at the same time.” Given their wildly different backgrounds, which range from working class Sasha to “asshole” posh boy Hugo, it’s unlikely they’d have met in anything but unusual circumstances. Indeed, their lives become bound together by a life-changing event that happens in the lift and compels them to meet year after year to mark the intense, affecting experience. The narratives are cleverly and seamlessly interwoven, with the same events told from different perspectives: Through recounting each character’s highs and lows, and the complications of their relationships with each other, this novel explores big issues with engaging authenticity - Alzheimer’s, grief, misogyny, shifting sexuality, falling in love, sliding out of love, and true friendship (i.e. the kind that doesn’t judge). Humorous lines are launched from all angles too, a personal favourite being Velvet’s “I look like I’m in bad fancy dress as a greasy-haired teenage version of Theresa May”. As the years pass, all six experience seismic shifts in how they see the world; transformations that start as an “excruciating, unreachable itch” and lead to “the realization that there’s more to life”. Gripping, entertaining and emotionally smart, this has the power to make readers laugh, cry, think and fall in love with YA fiction.
These poignant, punch-packing poems explore the varied emotional lives of secondary school pupils facing the giddy transition from being “the biggest to the smallest...in the secondary school jungle” like “gazelles in a field full of lions”. Complex tangles of feelings are laid bare with heart-rending authenticity, from the headiness of he-said-she-said gossip, to the bewildering “who the hell do you sit with?” loneliness that strikes when your best friend’s off school (Thanks a lot, Belinda). Vending Machine is an incredible piece of writing, encapsulating the anguish and anger of betrayal, of having your heart trampled on, and then the bliss of recovery when your heart feels “a little lighter”. Another personal favourite is the sublime Dear Mum, BTEC about a student “drawing different plans” after realising they are ill-suited to exams - plans they hope will make Mum proud. There are jubilant themes too, such as the breathless, time-stopping “WHAM!” of instant attraction, the jangling joy of being at the bottom of a celebratory pile-on after you’ve scored, and the magic of those inspirational, unforgettable teachers who take time to share a book they think you “should try”. A chorus of entertaining, emotionally-charged insights and observations sing and dance through these tender, playful pages, with each short verse alive with empathetic, true-to-life experiences.
July 2018 Debut of the Month | Based on the author's own unconventional upbringing on a Thames Barge, Mud is an unusual and touching roman a clef. Lydia tells her father he is ruining her life when he announces that the family - she has one sister, two brothers and a much loved cat - will be going to live on a boat, and that his girlfriend Kate and her three children will be moving in too. His casual reference to Swallows and Amazons makes her shudder and it's hard to imagine any teenager would enjoy their new life - the boat is leaky and uncomfortable, adults and children alike squabble, and the atmosphere is far from happy. At least Lydia makes a new friend - the fabulous, straight-talking Kay - while other bright spots of life away from home include teenage parties and a burgeoning romance. Events are recounted by Lydia via diary entries, and she is a wonderful storyteller - funny, honest, with a wry self-deprecatory tone that endears her to readers. It's a story that could be very sad - Lydia's father's drinking becomes a real problem and eventually Kate leaves him; but Lydia's quirky stoicism, and descriptions of the love and support of her friends and siblings keep it an uplifting read. This is a great story for teenagers, but would be enjoyed by readers of any age. ~ Andrea Reece ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As the 1980s dawn, Lydia finds herself caught in a maelstrom of monumental change herself, which she recounts in her unassumingly witty diary. Her mum died three years ago and her dad has remarried Kate, which means she now has a new stepmum, new stepsiblings, and then - horror of horrors – her dad announces that they’re all moving to a new home. On a boat. Cue much conflict and upset courtesy of two families trying to get on in ramshackle surroundings, her dad’s increasingly worrying behaviour and her big sister flying the nest for Cambridge University. Lydia’s articulation of her grief is deeply moving; those moments that leave her “overwhelmed suddenly by the strangeness of my mother just not existing anymore.” Throughout Lydia is a loveable bundle of self-effacing honesty and contemplation, and her astute observations cut to the core: “Everyone has to grow up, don’t they? Everyone has to go away one day.” As Lydia navigates these swirling new waters, she practices the art of getting on with things and discovers the delights of genuine friendship. Funny, poignant and perfectly-formed, this is a triumph of true-to-life storytelling. ~ Joanne Owen
July 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: 21st century style fun and friendship | In book 5 of this popular series, our gang of friends/vloggers Lucy, Abby, Hermione and Jessie, are enjoying a special week camping, and not just on any old campsite – they’ll be going to a famous music festival too. It should be a holiday they’ll never forget, but tensions between Jessie and Abby threaten to spoil it for everyone. Then Sassy arrives and does something so irresponsible it seems like they’ll all miss out on the festival. Told in a mix of straight narrative, diary entries and vlog scripts, this series feels bang up to date, while still keeping the emphasis firmly on the things that have always mattered most to young girls – friendships, confidence, finding out who you are. Hashtag heart-warming! ~ Andrea Reece
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