Book reviews - fiction 11 and over

 The Stolen Sister by Joan Lingard

Joan Lingard is a prolific author, whose first book was published in 1963. Over the years, she has gained a huge following, particularly for her Kevin and Sadie series. This is the last in the Elfie and Joe trilogy - the others are The Eleventh Orphan and The Chancery Lane Conspiracy. In this story, Elfie's half-sister Rosalind is snatched from outside her school. The only hope is to get the ransom from Mr Clarendon-Smythe, but he places an almost impossible condition on supplying the money.

MapHead by Lesley Howarth

This is a reissue of the Guardian Children's Fiction Award Winner from 1995 and it still has a freshness that will appeal to children. At the age of 12 MapHead, from the Subtle Planet (a parallel universe), has come to earth with his father Powers to meet his human mother for the first time. MapHead can visualise maps in his head but he has problems dealing with emotions and human speech. The story is a clever combination of real life and fantasy and moves seamlessly from one to the other.

 Velvet by Mary Hooper

I really enjoyed the author's Fallen Grace and this book did not disappoint, with its marvellous evocation of Victorian life. Mary Hooper has a wonderful way of bringing the past to life and the detailed research behind her booksreally shines through. Orphaned Velvet is determined to rise above her life in a Victorian steam laundry but even that employment is soon to be denied to her. It seems that Madame Savoya, a famous medium, can offer her the way out... but what are her real intentions? Spiritualism was rife in Victorian England but it was a world of fraud and this book exposes that in a gripping and atmospheric tale.

 After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E Wedel

Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.

No Use Crying by Zannah Kearns 

Secrets, secrets, secrets, she thought. It’s just another word for lying. The discovery of a grandfather Niki thought had died years ago means a sudden move to London and the start of a whole new life. Niki has to learn quickly to fit in and survive in the school halls and on the tough streets. And at the same time she must get to know her grandad and come to terms with the fact that her mum has been hiding the truth. But when Niki suddenly discovers her mum’s biggest lie of all, could it change their relationship – and Niki’s own sense of identity – for good? This warm and powerful coming-of-age story is a sparkling debut from a brilliant fresh talent, filled with colourful characters that will stay with you long after the book is finished.

 Eggs, Butter, Sugar and Disaster by Alicia L Wright

An intriguing title for an unusual story! 'First take a generous helping of semolina Seralina, whisk up into the Norse pantheon, add dwarves to taste and sprinkle with a dash of immortality.  Leave to mature for just the right amount of time. Now settle back and enjoy a fun trip through numerous afterlives and see if Seralina can stop Ragnarok.

 The Hidden by Jessica Verday

The third in the trology - I wish I had read the others first to really appreciate the development of the story and the characters; I recommend reading The Hollow (book 1) and The Haunted (book 2 The Hollow Trilogy) first. Abbey and Caspian are meant to be together forever but Abbey will have to cross to the Other Side for that to happen. She'll have to give up everything but she can do anything as long as Caspian is there for her. A gripping conclusion to the series and  the ending is an unexpected twist.

Skin Deep by Malaika Rose Stanley 

Best friends Destiny, Keisha, Ebyan and Bee are the stars of a new series - Sugar and Spice. Destiny enters the Bright Sparks beauty contest without her mum knowing. She is determined to prove she has talent and brains and is not just a pretty face. But then disaster strikes and she begins to question where real values lie. What is really important? Will the group stay friends when things start to go wrong? A promising start to the news series, with a story that young teen girls will enjoy.

 Vengeance by Kate Brian

The Private series has sold millions of copies worldwide and this is the concluding book in the series. After the shocking revelation at the end of the rprevious book, and the harrowing ordeal at Reed's birthday party, will the Billings Girls escape from Easton Academy alive?  After many attempts on her life, will Reed survive?

Wired by Robin Wasserman 

The third and final book in the series. One year ago, Lia Kahn died. A few days later, she woke up with a new body - mechanical, unfeeling, inhuman. She had a new family: Mechs like her, who didn't judge her for what she could no longer be. She had a new life, one that would last forever. This is a thrilling conclusion to the series.

 

 

Deception by Lee Nichols

 When her parents go missing on a mysterious business trip, Emmas left all alone in a creepy old house. She decides to make the most of her freedom but it all goes wrong. She goes to live with a new guardina and starts at a new school but she can't get away from the strange visions haunting her. This is a haunting story about a girl trying to come to terms with strange happenings. The sequel is Betrayal (Haunting Emma)

The Merrybegot by Julie Hearn

A historical novel, set in Puritan England - a time when witches were hunted down with ferocity. Nell, granddaughter of a local 'wise woman' is in fear for her life as she is hunted down by the Witchfinder General. This is an absorbing story as the reader is drawn into Nell's story and the conflict between paganism and Christianity, all set in a credible West Country setting. The integration of real spells (in old-fashioned script) is an interesting addition. An evocative and well written story which captures the period and the countryside in a gripping way.

Striker Boy Kicks Out by Jonny Zucker 

THis is the exciting sequel to Striker Boy. The team are invited to play in a tournament in Spain but Nat is worried that the truth about his age will become known. And there's another secret - this one is to do with his host family in Spain. Will the secret come out in time to avoid disaster? At the same time, Nat faces stiff opposition on the football pitchAction packed, both on and off the field, this is a great read for boys.

Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend by Cora Harrison

This is the sequel to  I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend - I think readers should read that first to get the full benefit of these lovely stories. I couldn't wait to read it, and I wasn't disappointed. It is the story of Jenny Cooper, Jane Austen's best friend, and you could think the story is over before it has even started as Jenny is engaged to a handsome hero. But in the true spirit of historical romances, there are many obstacles to be overcome on the way to true love. Jenny is a typical young lady of the period but Jane is a far more feisty and outspoken character who is in danger of being ostracised by the strict society of the day. The historical detail is spot-on and the descriptions of Bath really transport you there. A really enjoyable read.

Hartslove by K M Grant

Daisy and her brothers love the crumbling castle that has been their family home for generations, but their father has spent the last of their money on a useless horse. Or is he useless? Daisy is determined that The One is going to be their saviour. But not everyone wants to help Daisy and her brothers - there are many people who want Hartslove for themselves. This is a story of hope and determination and is a gripping and substantial read, which portrays Victorian society excellently.

 

 The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

Eva Nine is a sensitive young girl who has existed only in a subterranean existence, cared for by a robot named Muthr. Her great ambition is to go aboveground, and her ambition is achieved, though not quite as she had imagined. She sets off on an epic quest to meet other humans and soon meets both friend and foe. Eva is an engaging character and the reader is drawn into the twists and turns of her story through the exceptional writing. This is a spell-binding book and it is no surprise to learn that it is to be made into a movie. The illustrations perfectly convey the other-worldly feel of the novel.

Rip Tide by Kat Falls

The sequel to Dark Life, set in a strange world where half the inhabitants live under the water and the rest above it. This is a gripping read - plenty of action as well as a love story. A fascinating world comes to life, where people have set up homes under the ocean. Ty knows the ocean is a dangerous place but there is more mystery there than he expected. There are problems on land too, where the amount of land available has been swallowed up by the sea. A thought-provoking novel which has much relevance today.

Emerald by Karen Wallace

A stunning cover image sets the scene for this novel, set in the world of a great Elizabethan manor house. I have always enjoyed historical novels and this did not disappoint as it is just a as good as books by some of the best-known of our historical novelists. The novel is packed with action - despite being in love woth another man (who is far away at sea), Emerald is set to marry a man she despises; her pet bear is under threat and, the biggest danger - she has become enmeshed in a group plotting to poison the Queen. I really found myself gripped by the story as Emerald sets out to reinvent herself. An excellent read for teens with a love of history - atmospheric and authentic.

He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

Chick Lit for teens; a great beach read - these sum up this book, one of a new series by Kieran Scott. The title shows just how much Keiran Scott is on the same wavelength as her readers. Follow the story as Ally and Jake take turns with the narrative in this easy, fun read. Ally seems to have quite a lot to deal with, whereas life is much simpler for Jake. Realistic characters and a tiny bit of suspense at the end of each chapter work well to draw the reader through the story, which is the second in the series. The setting, Jersey Shore, will be familiar to followers of the MTV reality show. Will Jake and Ally get back together by the end?

Nocturne by Christine Johnson

The reader was introduced to Claire in Claire de Lune and this continues to tell the story of how she comes to terms with being a werewolf and belonging to a female tribe. She wouldlike to be just an ordinary girl, with nothing more to worry about than what to wear to the Autumn Ball - but life is not that simple. Her wolf life begins to tangle with her human life and things start to go very wrong when her friends are hurt. Will she be exposed and is she putting her tribe at risk? A clever intermingling of fact and fantasy, this is a good read for fans of the paranormal.

Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase

A light-hearted and very funny look at the way one girl finds that boys are quite interesting, after all. Gwynne has always behaved more like a boy than a girl, but the arrival of Charlie in Year 10 is set to see all that change. She enlists the help of some girlie girls - but can she trust them and do they have a hidden agenda? An enjoyable read as you saher with Gwynne some of the ansgt common to teenage girls.

 

August by Bernard Beckett

Not a book for the faint-hearted! This has a chilling start - trapped after a car accident, bleeding and in agony, Tristan and Grace await death. Will anyone find them in time? Reminiscent of the drowning man seeing his past flash before his eyes, they revisit their past. Tristan is a philosopher struggling with the question of free will. Grace's life of hardship allows no place for such ideas. But a brief encounter changes their lives, setting them on a collision course with love and death - and each other. Be prepared to have your view of life changed.

 Pull Out All the Stops by Geraldine McCaughrean

Geraldine McCaughrean is a brilliant author and I have long been a fan of her books, so it was great to review a new title. With the unusual setting of a Missouri riverboat, we are drawn into the adventures of Cissy and Kookie as they join the Bright Lights Theatre Company on their travels. Set in the 1890s, the period is vividly brought to life and the book is peopled with some fascinating characters. Cissy is potrrayed as a feisty characher who is determined to rise above her background, and Kookie is a well-meaning boy whose attempts to help don't always quite work out. The adults in the story are equally well portrayed and provide strong role models. An enthralling read.

Buttercup Mash by Joanna Nadin

The 'mashed-up' life of Buttercup, as told through her diary, is great entertainment. and very amusing There's lots going on in Buttercup's life - her family is dysfunctional, her best friend is a drama queen and she has accidentally joined the school glee club! An everyday lifre turned into a really funny story. I like the way the little illustrations follow through the book and add to the feeling of busy-ness. Joanna Nadin is already hugely popular with teen readers and it is good to see a book aimed at a slightly younger age group - I suggest readers of 10+. A satisfying and fun read

 

Angel's Fury by Bryony Pearce

An absorbing book, rooted in history but firmly set in today's world. There is a cast of engrossing characters whose past lives are impacting on their present lives. Cassieopia is one of these as she relives the terrifying experiences of Zillah in the Holocaust. These have always been a part of her life but appear to become reality after she visits Germany. She is sent to The Manor for a cure - but are people cured there, or is something more sinister going on? A gripping story with characters and events which will remain with the reader long after the last page is read. A clever crossover between genres - something here for the lover of supernatural, thriller, romance and history. This is a stunning and haunting debut novel - I look forward to more from Bryony Pearce.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

It is 1943 and Europe is in the throes of the Second World War. Max’s father, watchmaker and inventor, relocates his family to a small seaside town on the Atlantic coast as he tries to flee the effects of the war. Their house was previously owned by Dr Richard Fleischmann whose family is surrounded by tragedy after the death of their son, Jacob. Strange things start happening to Max and his family. THis is an atmospheric story, which draws the reader in to the lives of the characters and the locality. THis is not a long book, compared with others of a similar nature, but is fast paced and plenty of action, so it feels like a really good read.

Million Dollar Mates: Catwalk Queen by Cathy Hopkins

Jess Hall, her dad and her cat Dave live the stunning Porchester Park – an apartment block for the strictly A-list. Just imagine the potential here for great stories! Anfd that is borne out by the huge success of the first two books in this series. In this story, a pop diva comes to live at Porchester Park, and encourages Jess to enter a modelling competition - but is this what Jess really wants? Cathy Hopkins has judged her market perfectly with this series and girls will love this fun star-studded story. Teens can extend their enjoyment of the series at www.milliondollarmatesbooks.co.uk  

Lula Does the Hula by Samantha Mackintosh 

After 16 years, Lula has a real boyfriend and has finally been kissed! But things with the perfect boy aren’t going to plan – thanks to his nasty friend, Evil Jazz. And there's an awful lot more going on in Lula's hectic life - she's got to dance the hula in public, put a stop to some criminal activity, win a race – and stop her father from totally embarrassing her. Will her life ever get back on track? A hilarious diary of a very unusual teenager, which will brighten up many a teenage girl's day. This is the second in the series. Samantha Mackintosh has been shortlisted for the Queen of teen Award, showing her appeal to this market. Visit the website at http://www.lulabooks.co.uk/

 Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh

Sweet 16 and never been kissed? How can Lula celebrate her 16th birthday when she has never been kissed? The rumour is that she has been jinxed, so all the boys run when they see her coming. And it gets worse - she thinks she has a stalker. And just what is her father up to, sneaking out at night with a lady's handbag? Well written, with plenty of tension to keep you reading on from one chapter to the next. A hilarious story with both action and romance, with a really likeable heroine and plenty of other equally likeable characters, this is a great teen read and good to know that it is the first in a series.

Please Sir! by Jack Sheffield

A welcome return for Jack's fifth year as Headteacher of the small village school in Ragley-on-the-Forest. As ever, the book is full of humour as the characters spring to life. As the series progresses, we feel that we get to know the staff, pupils and villagers better and better. For anyone who has lived through the period, the bringing back of long-forgotten memories is a feature to be cherished in these books. Remember the Sony Walkman and the arrival of the Rubik's Cube? The accuracy of these memories is outstanding - they stand as a piece of social history. The books are also a testament to an excellent teacher, as we see the way the children in Jack's care flourish. A perfect summer holiday read.

 

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

A well-established YA writer, Alyxandra has ventured (very successfully) into new ground with this novel, set in Victirian England.  Violet doesn't believe in ghosts, although her mother makes an excellent living playing on the credulity of the rich, but on a trip to great country house ghosts all of the sudden start appearing to Violet and she just can't get away from them. The most haunting ghost is that of Rowena,who was actually murdered although it appeared to be accidental death by drowning. Can Violet solve the mystery before the killer strikes again?  A gripping combination of historical novel, romance and supernatural, this will appear to a wide cross-section of readers.

Perfectly Reflected by S C Ransom

The second book in the Small Blue thing trilogy continues the story of Alex, who narrowly escaped death in the first book. Callum is still locked in a kind of half-life after drowing in the river Fleet but Alex still needs his support. Everything seems to be going wrong for Alex - just who is out to make her life a misery? Find out in this gripping tale. I love the fact the series is set in London - so much fiction of this type is set in the US. The city is vividly portrayed and the characters are strong and feisty, with a great relationship going between Alex and Callum. I enjoyed Small Blue Thing and it was great to be able to read the second in the series - thank you, Nosy Crow! Look out for Scattering Like Light, the third in the series.

Candle Man - The Society of Dread by Glenn Dakin

'Evil melts like wax at the hands of the Candle Man' we read on the cover - a spine-chilling introduction to this dark thriller. The reader is drawn into a world of extraordinary creatures, deranged villians and incredible powers. The story is gripping right from the start. Only the Candle Man can save the world from the terrible crelp who are creeping up from below the ground and snatching people away. This is the second in the series and builds on and develops the themes of the first book and deepens the backgrounds.

 Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

This novel is set in Victorian times and is a tremendous evocation of the period. Mary Hooper has written several books with historical settings and she has excelled in this one. Grace really comes to life and the reader gains a great insight into her life and the harshness of life for the poverty-stricken in Victorian times. She struggles to earn enough money to feed herself and her sister whilst keeping away from the dangers posed by the Unwin family, who are linked to part of her life Grace is trying to put behind her. The book is peopled with sgtrong characters and takes the reader through a roller-coaster of events. A thought-provoking and powerful story that will linger in the reader's mind long after the book is finished.

 Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

Who really is the Queen of Romance? Since her mother was secretly hospitalised for mental illness 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie as she takes over her mother's work. But next book is overdue and Alice is desperate for a story. When she meets Errol, she begins to fear for her own sanity. Then, to complicate things further, romance enters into her own life. Alice is a believable character, as are the adults who watch over her and teen girls will enjoy this story, with its intertwined elements of humour, fantasy and romance. Her mother's bipolar disorder is sensitively handled and will help with understanding of this problem.

 Trouble twisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

Twins Jack and Jaide find they are central to a supernatural organisation that protecting the earth from  Evil. They are taken from all they know, to live with mysterious Grandma X - is she on their side or isn't she? They find they have magical powers - that's all very well but it's very scary when you don't understand what the powers are or how to use them to escape from danger, or even who you can trust.  Follow the twins through a series of confrontations with their magical enemies and share with them as their powers and understanding develop. The collaboration of the two gifted authors works well and it will be good to see how the series develops.

 The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas

This is the third in a fantasy trilogy which started with The Magic Thief and The Magic Thief: Lost. Conn follows a shooting star, which he hopes will lead him to the wizard stone that can save the magic city of Wellmet. It is a dramatic race against time - Conn has been exiled from his beloved city and must escape from the dragon and get back to the city to prevent its magic from getting killed by Arhionvar. Conn is an engaging character, and the reader will relate to him. The book draws the reader through with a series of cliff-hangers and gains the reder's support for the hero. Best enjoyed once you have read the first two in the series. Enjoy more about the series on the Magic Thief web pages.

 Kill Fish Jones by Caro King

Grimshaw is a demon who carries out death bed curses - the more gruesome the better! There is only one person who can stop him and that is Fish Jones, who can see demons.  Limbo is a credible world and Grimshaw and Lampwick the robber are believable 'baddies'. The book, which could be on the dark side, is lightened by touches of humour. Fish is an unusual hero and much of what we learn about him we learn from his friends, as he doesn't have much to say for himself.This is an original, imaginative plot and compellingly written - an exciting read with a cliff-hanger of an ending.

 The Truth about Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorpe

Celia knows that the slightest injury could lead to her bleeding to death, so she spends her life being ultra-cautious. However one day, she just can't help herself and the consequence is a knife wound. But why doesn't she bleed to death? And why does her mother hustle her away to a new life? By this stage, the reader is compulsively drawn into the book and anxious to find out just what is happening. The truth is chilling - Celia is being hunted but her mother will not tell her the truth and so Celia becomes increasingly frustrated and rebellious. The book introduces some fascinating characters and is a real page-turner. A very promising debut novel.

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld 

This, the sequel to Leviathan, is set in Istanbul and this intriguing city is brought to life wonderfully by the author. It is portrayed as a city where Clanker culture and Darwinst principles meet in curious ways. Dr. Barlow and Deryn deliver their  cargo to the Sultan - the cargo that could bring an end to the war. But their mission goes wrong and the only way to save themselves  is for Dr. Barlow to offer up the thing that matters most: Leviathan. A gripping read, with lead characters who have developed and rounded out since the first story. The graphic illustrations by Keith Thompson are a wonderful lead in to the story and a great complement.

Back Home by Michelle Magorian 

Goodnight Mr Tom is probably one of the best known children's stories set in the time of World War II - Back Home, from the same author, is an equally compelling story, set just after the war. After five years in America, with plenty of freedom, Rusty returns to an England still bleak and dismal after the war. She struggles to adapt to the stricter regime, to develop a relationship with her mother and to life at boarding school. She makes a friend of Lance, who was also evacuated to America and decides to take dramatic action in her search for happiness. Rusty is  a wonderfully portrayed and feisty character; the reader really feels for her as she struggles with all the upheaval and the complexity of the new relationships she is trying to form. An excellent read and an evocative portrayal of the period.

Scrivener's Moon by Philip Reeve 

Mortal Engines is a compelling fantasy adventure series, which has received huge acclaim. Fever Crumb, who we have met in earlier books of the series, returns to a greatly changed London, rebuilt in preparation to fight the mammoth-riders. Fever Crumb must act quickly on her mission to find an ancient technology hidden in the mammoth-riders stronghold. The mysterious black pyramid she finds will change her world forever.This is a wonderfully imaginative series for teen readers - there seems no limit to the fantasies dreamt up by Philip Reeve, which compel the reader to keep coming back for more. A great addition to the series..

 Millicent's Book by Charlotte Moore

in 2010 Charlotte Moore wrote a riveting account of her family's life in Hancox: A House and a Family. This fiction account (based on real people and events) follows on from that and is an engrossing read. I found myself quickly drawn into the story, which opens with Millicent having been recently orphaned, and staying in Hastings in a very unusual household. The vividly descriptive language really takes you into the settings and makes you feel part of the story. A plethora of fascinating characters draw you into and through the book, which veers from joy to tragedy and back again. Millicent is a great observer and a fascinating character.

 The Wide-Awake Princess by E D Baker

This is an interesting take on the traditional fairy tales and I found it an easy book to get into. Through her short life, everyone has gone to great lengths to ensure no spinning wheels are in the palace, but on her 16th birthday, she pricks her finger and everyone falls asleep ... except, that is for her sister Annie, who cannot be touched by magic. She takes off on a magical journey, where she meets many familiar characters (but with some interesting twists, which will be appreciated by more mature readers!). A really fun way to revisit fairy tales with a feisty heroine who will appeal to girls - adventure and romance mix in a great story, which will leave you wanting another.

Montacute House by Lucy Jago

The book starts just as the Elizabethan mansion that is Montacute House is completed. It is a vivid portrayal of the inequality of life in the period, as we share in the life of Cess, the poultry girl at Montacure House. Boys are disappearing and when Cess' best friend William disappears, she joins the hunt. The story compellingly intertwines witchcraft, political ambition and daily life. Cess is drawn into an unfamiliar world and must learn who she can trust.The villagers, who ostracised her because of her illegitimacy, must never find out her links with witchcraft, or she would be shown no mercy Lucy Jago's knowledge of the period shines through and the book would make an excellent complement to KS3 studies of the period. A brilliant book. Visit the house with Lucy Jago here.

The Feud in the Chalet School by Elinor M Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School series was a hugely popular series, written between 1925 and 1970. It had, and still has, a loyal following and it is brilliant to see the stories reissued with all the original text. This will appeal both to those who read the stories as a child (and I was an avid reader of them!) who will love to wallow in nostalgia; and to today's readers who will be transported into a completely dfferent world. An interesting introduction (best read after reading the story) gives an insight into the writing of Elinor Brent-Dyer. In this story, the Chalet School houses St Hilda's, whose school has burnt down, and the book relates the inevitable tensions, with some thrilling adventures along the way. See the Girls Gone By website for all their books in print.

Jen of the Abbey School by Elsie J Oxenham

The Abbey stories of Elsie J Oxenham were very popular and have been unavailable or hard to get for a long time, so I was delighted to see that Girls Gone By have reissued some and remained faithful to the original - even down to including the illustrations. This story remains true to the traditions of the series with the emphasis on dancing - revisiting as an adult, I can fully appreciate the depth of knowledge, which went over my head as a child. The epitome of all that children wanted from a boarding school story - fun, friendship, an idyllic (if somewhat unlikely!) setting and apparently no work! Jen and her chums bring a family back together and excel in a dancing competition. Many familiar characters from the series appear or are mentioned, making this a nostalgic read and leaving me wanting more.

Lone Pine Five by Malcolm Saville

This is one of the Lone Pine stories set in Shropshire and features the characters who became familiar to readers in the previous four stories, although they develop and mature in this story. This adventure focuses on Jenny, whose desire to own an old spoon leads the Lone Piners into a series of exciting adventures as they search for Roman treasure in the mysterious Stiperstones. The magic of the Shropshire countryside shone through when I read these as a child and I was pleased to see the appeal remains. This is an exciting and well written traditional adventure story and will be popular with fans old and new. As with other books published by Girls Gone By, the additional information adds greatly to the enjoyment of these stories. It's super to see the original illustrations included, bringing the setting to life.

 The Girl who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui

This is the story of fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Kazuko, who accidentally discovers that she can travel back and forth in time. As she tries to uncover the identity of the mysterious figure that she believes to be responsible for her paranormal abilities, we are drawn into her adventures. Strange events start to take place and Kazuko is transported 24 hours into the past. She makes accurate predictions but her friends don't believe her. She is a feisty character and right from the start of the book we know she is strong and determined. This is the first publication in English of a book which is hugely popular in its native Japan and it is super to see it for the British market.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

This is the first in the Books of Beginning trilogy and is a superb piece of story telling. It begins with a snowy night where the children are taken from their parents and grow up in orphanages  Ten years later the children arrive in Cambridge Falls and immediately know there is something strange. They discover a curious room (surely it was not there before?) and within it is The Emerald Atlas, through which they are taken back and forth in time. They embark on a dangerous quest, involving witches, dwarves and time travel - elements bound to appeal to audiences of 11-15. The book is reminiscent in some ways of C S Lewis and J R Rowling and the excitement and gripping writing will ensure readers are immersed in the story. The book leaves issues undecided and the reader wanting more. 

The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater

This is a chilling read and not one for the faint-hearted. Each century, at a time called The Shadowing, the boundary between the human world and the demon world weakens and demons threaten the world. The girl is waiting to meet someone and is overjoyed when he arrives...but it is not right; in his borrowed shape, he has come to take her life. This haunting beginning opens a scary horror story. Callum has always been able to see beyond his own world, and his scary visions start to come true. A haunting story, which will linger in the reader's thoughts long after it is put down.

 

 Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil by Derek Landy

This is the 5th in a series which is already hugely popular. The novels cross the horror, comedy, mystery and fantasy genres, so will appeal to a wide range of readers. Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are struggling to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin and Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. This threatens to take her to the brink of death. She might be the one who will destroy the world but she can't share this information, so the characters can trust nobody. This is a really gripping story, very dark in places but with an undercurrent of humour that makes it very readable. Ideal for boys of 13+. I have not read the others in ther series, but think I would have got more out of the book had I read the others first - and not lessened my enjoyment, which I think would happen by reading them in the wrong order.

Vanished by Meg Cabot

This book combines two great titles into one volume - When Lightning Strikes and Code Name Cassandra - to give a wonderful read. Meg has an established audience of younger readers with her series The Princess Diaries, so they will be able to follow a favourite author as they mature. jess just wants to be an ordinary girl, but all hope of that vanishes when, following a thunderstorm, she has acquired a gift for finding missing people. She faces a real dilemma and just doesn't know who she can trust. Too many people want to benefit from her powers but there are some people who just don't want to be found. This is a book which draws the reader in very quickly and gets you involved and pondering the dilemmas for yourself.

 

 Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

This is the first book in the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. The novel is related in the first person by Ellie Linton,  who is part of a small band of teenagers waging guerrilla warfare on the enemy garrison in the fictional town of Wirrawee. Following a camping holiday, the teens return home to find their families have vanished. A terrifying scenario and the friends have to find a way to escape as well as to outwit the enemy. A gripping novel that will really have teenagers questioning their own views and beliefs. A superb story to promote discussion, which has already been a great success in Australia.

 Swim the Fly by Don Calame

 So much teen fiction seems to be aimed at girls and to have a supernatural theme, that I was delighted to see a new title specifically aimed at boys and set in the real world. Each summer Matt, Sean and Coop set themselves a goal for the summer. This year, the boys want to see a naked girl and Matt wants to swim the 100 yard butterfly. Teen boys will find this book full of humour and will readily identify with the well-portrayed characters, who are just like teen boys everywhere. It is already a huge success in the US and is set to repeat that here.  Published June 2011.

 Clash by Colin Mulhern

This is a strong and gritty novel, not for the faint-hearted. Despite the tough nature of the book and the plot, underlying it is the importance of friendship. This tense story is told from the viewpoint of the two protagonists, who are thrown together by a series of tragic events. Alex and Kyle are strongly portrayed characters who really make an impression on the reader. Despite the toughness of the story and of the characters, it shows how we all need the support of others, whatever our background and interests. This book doesn't pull any punches and gets the reader right inside the minds of these teenagers. An author to be watched!

 

 The Bad Karma Diaries by Bridget Hourican

This is a very contemporary book, with which girls of around 10 and up will readily identify. Denise and Anna need some money so they have the bright idea of arranging parties for younger children. This earns them money and gives them lots of funny stories for their blog. But they move into more dangerous waters when they start to take on bullies, and write about this on their blog. Follow the gilrs' adventures day by day through a school term. A good read, with realistic and believable events and characters which will strike a chord with the reader, who will want to know how it all turns out.

Spirit of The Titanic by Nicola Pierce 

The story of The Titanic has an enduring fascination for young and old alike, and interest is bound to peak as we approach the centenary of the disaster. This novel, ideal for 10+, tells the story of Sam, a real boy who died during the construction of the ill-fated ship. He comes back as a ghost on the voyage. and becomes involved in the lives of Jim and his family, as well as others on board ship. You really feel you are on board with Sam as he tells his story and you share in the excitement and the horror. Compelling written, this book really draws the reader in and is a fresh approach to a familiar story. It makes excellent background reading to historical studies.

 Chime by Penny Billingsley

This is billed as a YA book but I think it's vivid use of language and imagery would appeal to adults as well. It has a complex plot which draws in the reader and holds you through the story. This dark fantasy novel starts off in this compelling way: I've confessed to everything and I'd like to be hanged. Now, if you please thus compelling you to read on and find out why. Briony is a witch and she hurt her beloved stepmother, who is now dead, but Briony must still look after her twin sister. The arrival of Eldric turns everything on its head and changes Briony's world. A complex novel, dark and disturbing.

 

The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees

Celia Rees' gripping new story is set in London in 1601, where two characters are about to meet Shakespeare before he bacame famous. Feste and Violetta set out to rescue the holy relics that evil Malvolio took from the church in Illyria. This is the story of Illyria after the end of Twelfth Night - a country all-but destroyed. Can violetta be restored to her rightful place as the Duchess of Illyria? This is an unusual approach to story telling and I found myself wondering how a knowledge of Twelfth Night would alter the reader's perception of the novel. An enjoyable read which, once you get involved in the story, is a real page-turner.

 

 A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard

This compelling novel for teens brings together an teenage boy who has never fitted in, a long time homeless man, a boy separated from his mother by an unexpected war and a sad teenage mother. Through their eyes, the book explores issues of friendship, loyalty homelessness, hope  and courage. Together, the characters form a strange 'family' unit, looking for safety together. These are deep and emotive issues, handled sensitively and giving an insight into the lives of this disparate group. The message of the book, to me, is that everyone, no matter what they have to offer, has a place and value in society. Thought provoking.

 Ondine: The Autumn Palace by Ebony McKenna

 

This book starts only about a month after Ondine. Ondine and her perfect man Hamish enjoyed a lovely summer together, but now he has a new mission – to spy for the Duke who is in fear for his life.
Perhaps Ondine can get a job with the Duke as well so they can still be together...but this makes Hamish’s job more difficult. The pair work together to foil another plot against the Duke and meet some strange characters in the palace along the way. A mixture of romance, intrigue and mystery, this is a good read.

 

Hidden by Miriam Halahmy

This is an excellently written book which really draws you into the lives of the characters from the start. Typical of today's Britain and the issues facing society, this is a book many teenagers will identify with, it tells the story of Alix, just an ordinary 14 year old - until she and her friend Samir find themselves saving a drowning immigrant. Muhammed has spent all his savings on escaping Iraq and he is determined not to return. Who can Alix trust? The book deals with complex issues and gives an excellent insight into the feelings of an immigrant. Well-portrayed and believable characters make this a gripping read, really making the reader think about their own viewpoints and beliefs. There are two more books to follow in the series.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Four children - Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance - pass an unusual test and are taken to the home of Mr Benedict, who assigns them a mysterious task. Can the four work together to save the world? Four very different children, whose individual characteristics are well-portrayed - many young people will find something of themselves in these thoughtful and likeable characters which will increase their enjoyment of this book. A well-crafted and satisfying read, full of the elements early teen readers look for, this is a really exciting and fast-moving story, which grips the reader's attention right from the strange test described at the start. 

The Devil's Triangle by Mark Robson

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle has fascinated many people and it is used to good effect as the background for this gripping novel. Twins Sam and Niamh Cutler return to Florida every year with their father, in their efforts to solve the mystery which led to the disappearance of their mother nine years ago. This year, Sam and his friend Callum find themselves swept away and marooned on a terrifying island. Could this be the answer to the mystery? And will they ever find their way home? Pacy storytelling with plenty of excitement and suspense to hold the reader's attention throughout

 Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin

Teens will enjoy this inside story of the glitzy world of Hollywood. Jenna and Jonah (aka Charlie and Fielding) ate TV celebrities and earn more money than most of us can dream of. Their off-screen love affair is splashed over all the country - but it is just one big publicity stunt. In  real life, they can't stand each other. It all starts to go wrong when the paparazzi find out the truth, and Jenna and Jonah have to go into hiding. There, they find their feelings are changing... The book is written from the viewpoint of the two main characters, giving the reader a really good insight into both people and making the development of the relationship understandable from both viewpoints. Plenty of action and feisty characters make this a good read.

Killer Genes by C T Furlong

This story certainly gets off to a dramatic and gripping start. A seemingly peaceful concert suddenly turns to pandemonium as, one by one, the occupants of the front row succumb to dramatic illnesses. But these are not just ordinary people - oh no, these are world leaders attending a summit, so something must be done urgently. This is the second adventure for the Arctic6. They discover that the sinister Peter Gek is creating modified viruses. Can they save the life of the Americal President - and are their own lives in danger? A real page turner, this fast-moving story is ideal for the teen fiction market. Find out more at www.arctic6.co.uk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z0XnuV53Ww

 

 The Demon Trappers by Jana Oliver

The Demon Trappers is set in Atlanta, in 2018, where demons are trying to destroy mankind's possessions and world. Riley, whose father is one of the best Demon Trappers,  is an apprentice demon trapper - the only girl in a man's world. She is allowed to capture level one demons, the least violent and dangerous ones - but the demons are becoming more powerful by working in pairs. The book quickly draws the reader into Riley's world and you start to share in her emotions as she faces challenges, both from the demons and from her colleagues. Beck is a particularly interesting character and I look forward to seeing how all the characters develop in the rest of the series. A book for older teen readers toi really get their teeth into.

 Withering Tights: the misadventures of Tallulah Casey by Louise Rennison

At the start of the story Tallulah (cousin of hilarious character Georgia Nicolson) is off to Performing Arts College - time to grow up! But, although it is not quite the glamorous setting she had expected, things soon get better. Fans of Georgia Nicolson will not be disappointed and this may be a good starting point for slightly younger girls.Tallulah is such a funny character, beautifully portrayed by Louise Rennison. The rest of the characters are fun too and hopefully will be developed firther in the series. Teenage girls will readily identify with Tallulah and the story really draws the reader into her life, in which most teems will see an element of their own lives. Readers will be keen to see more of the series.

 Small Blue Thing by S C Ransom

Small Blue Thing is a paranormal teen romance with a very English background - the Thames is about as English as you can get! A great change from the majority of this genre, which are set in the US. Feisty heroine Alex finds an unusual bracelet set with a brilliant blue stone. Later, when she touches the stone, she finds her head filled with the image of a gorgeous boy. Callum is one of the river's dead and Alex can use the stone to communicate with these mysterious beings. At the start of the story Alex seems just an ordinary girl, with an ordinary family but as the story develops you will be drawn into the world of the dead souls. Who should Alex trust - Callum or Catherine? A complete story in itself, but I guarantee that you will be anxious to enjoy the sequel. Congratulations and best wishes to Nosy Crow on their first publication. Find out more about them on the Nosy Crow website.

Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis

Children's books - they must be a good thing, surely? Not this one. An old children's book turns up in a seaside town, seemingly full of the stuff of children's adventures - castles, knights and unicorns. But this is a strangely addictive book and nobody can put it down. Dancing Jax is a creepy thriller with some very sinister characters, in itself hard to put down, although I think readers of 11+ (as recommended on the cover) might be a little daunted by the length of this novel - at around 600 pages, I would prefer to recommend it to 13+ readers, and adults too will enjoy it. The characters are gripping and are well developed through the well-thought out story - but the end will have you wanting more. A welcome return from Robin Jarvis.

 Ice Angel by Charlotte Haptie

Every night, Balthazar, Jack and Clovis' father, used to drive his van, The Ice Angel, into the city to sell ice cream and dispense water. But one night Balthazar disappears and The Ice Angel is found abandoned. Many years later, the two restart the enterprise. But they find that there is opposition from the Scarsprings. Could this explain the mystery? Jack and Clovis are determined to find out in this compelling fantasy story and as the story unfolds they gradually unravel the mystery. This is a very atmospheric book, beautifully written and with an excellent use of language to set the scene.

Sequins, stars and spotlights by Sophia Bennett

It is decision time for Crow, Jenny, Efie and Nonie as they enter their last school year. Share with them as they make their choices. The author gives an excellent picture of the lives of these girls as they go through all the challenges of growing up and moving on. The girls all have different characters and readers will identify with these. This is an ideal book for young teenage girls interested in  fashion - and that will include a very large number. It is the third, and final, in the series 'Threads'. It is a light-hearted book, but none the worse for that - teenagers are often reluctant to read but this is an ideal title to encourage them, and they will be happy to share it with their friends too.

Sequins, stars and spotlights by Sophia Bennett

It is decision time for Crow, Jenny, Efie and Nonie as they enter their last school year. Share with them as they make their choices. The author gives an excellent picture of the lives of these girls as they go through all the challenges of growing up and moving on. The girls all have different characters and readers will identify with these. This is an ideal book for young teenage girls interested in  fashion - and that will include a very large number. It is the third, and final, in the series 'Threads'. It is a light-hearted book, but none the worse for that - teenagers are often reluctant to read but this is an ideal title to encourage them, and they will be happy to share it with their friends too.

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Avery Hood's parents suffered a terrifying death - and she was there. All she remembers about that horrifying night  is that she saw silver. Now living with her grandmother, Avery learns the world is full of secrets. When she meets Ben, she feels an instant connection with him - but then she catches sight of a gleam of silver in his eyes. Can she trust Ben? Slowly, her memory comes back - but does it come back in time? The relationships in this book, especially that between very and her grandmother, are beautifully portrayed and the characters very believable and the story gives a new twist to the idea of werewolves. I love the stunning, eye-catching cover.

 Crusade by Linda Press Wulf

The Children's Crusade is a little-known episode in medieval history, so it is good to see another book based on it  - although this is very different from Henry Treece's story. Orphaned Robert, an extraordinarily intelligent boy, and motherless Georgette are among thousands of children spellbound by the boy on the white charger, who encourages them to join his crusade. The journey is fraught with peril and Georgette will need to call on her reserves of courage to survive. I like the fact this book is written from the viewpoint of both a boy and a girl, giving it universal appeal - the reader is drawn into the lives of these two characters and their love story.

 A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master

This debut novel is set during the time of Partition in India, giving the book an unusual background and the reader the opportunity to get an inside view of this important period of Indian history. The lead character is Bilal, who is determined to protect his dying father from the news of Partition. The importance of love, family and friendship is shown as Bilal persuades others to collude with him in this deception. They even print false pages of the local newspaper to hide the truth from his father. But telling lies, however well-intentioned, can led to all sorts of complications, as Bihal discovers. This is a gripping story and a good insight into the period.

 A Year without Autumn by Liz Kessler

On her way to visit her best friend, Autumn, Jenni suddenly finds herself transported forward in time by a year. What happened? This enthralling story starts off with a very ordinary-seeming family holiday, which introduces us the the characters and helps us to get to know them. The tension begins as Jenni enters a lift that she thought was broken......and finds herself transported.  Follow Jenni as she tries to find her way back to the past to avoid the tragedy that lies ahead. A gripping story, peopled with very believable characters which will have you gripped from start to finish.
Publication date 11 April 2011.

 Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia's world is ordered and precise. She meets her Match on her 17th birthday. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life - but he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love; how many children they have; where they work and when they die. But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with Ky, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel . . . Share with Cassia as you follow her lfe in the very believable world created by Ally Condie and come to a real liking for this feisty heroine who is derermined not to give in. A great read.

Time Riders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow

Three people who should have died have been given a second chance. They work for an agency which nobody knows exists. This is the second action packed time travel adventure starring Liam, Maddy and Sal and will delight fans of the first. Maddy accidentally opens a time window and Liam is marooned 65 million years ago and in danger from a fearsome predator. It is a wonderfully imaginative story will be be enjoyed by young adults and adults alike.

Warning - Puffin market this book with a warning that it contains scenes of violence, so please treat with caution.

 

 Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Heroes of Olympus is a gripping series from the creator of Pecry Jackson and The Lost Hero is already, and deservedly, a best-seller. When Jason, Piper and Leo crash land at Camp Half-Blood, they have no idea what to expect. Apparently this is the only safe place for children of the Greek Gods – despite the monsters roaming the woods and demigods practising archery with flaming arrows and explosives. But is it really safe? The trio are apparently the chosen ones and they are the only people who can comp;lete the quest - and in a limited time scale. This is a really exciting story, vividly written anbd a total page-turner. Puffin market this as for readers of 9+, but I think it will appeal to a slightly older audience, perhaps 11 upwards.

   

Twinkle, twinkle little stars by Gervase Phinn

Gervase Phinn  tells wonderful stories of his life as a School Inspector in the Yorkshire Dales and this is a collection of some of the funniest extracts from his best-selling books. We all know that children come out with the most wonderful sayings and Gervase Phinn  has a real knack for retelling them to bring out the humour. The extracts are interspersed with some of his poems, which again capture the world of children in a marvellous way and will have you chuckling out loud. I would encourage parents and older siblings to share this lovely book with younger children who will find it really easy to relate to their own experiences. It helps us to view the world through children's eyes - always a good thing to do.

Twinkle, twinkle little stars by Gervase Phinn

Gervase Phinn  tells wonderful stories of his life as a School Inspector in the Yorkshire Dales and this is a collection of some of the funniest extracts from his best-selling books. We all know that children come out with the most wonderful sayings and Gervase Phinn  has a real knack for retelling them to bring out the humour. The extracts are interspersed with some of his poems, which again capture the world of children in a marvellous way and will have you chuckling out loud. I would encourage parents and older siblings to share this lovely book with younger children who will find it really easy to relate to their own experiences. It helps us to view the world through children's eyes - always a good thing to do.

 Infinite days by Rebecca Maizel

After five centuries of being a vampire, can Lenah become an ordinry human being? I wondered if there was room for another vampire book, but this one gives an interesting twist to the format, being about a vampire who wants to become human. The vampires will want their queen back, and is Rhode, the only vampire she truly loves, prepared to make sacrifices for her? Suddenly becoming a teenager is stressful enough and knowing nothing about the modern world makes it harder. At the same time each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt and find her gone. As the days race by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. This book involves you deeply as you wait to find out Lenah's fate. I love the cover of the hardback - makes the book seem very special.

Entice by Carrie Jones 

Just what is happening in the town of Bedford? The newsflash right at the start of the book immediately alerst the reader to strange happenings. Then you think you at a normal High School Ball - but with elves and pixies? Maybe not normal then. This is the third instalment of Zara’s story and fulfils the promise of  Need and its sequel Captivate. Zara misses Nick.  They’re meant to be together but Nick is dead, and has been taken to Valhalla, a mystical resting place for warriors. Can Zara and her friends get him back - and if they succeed, will he still want to be with Zara now she is a pixie? Meanwhile, more teenagers go missing as a group of evil pixies devastates the town of Bedford. An all-out war seems inevitable and Zara and her friends need all the warriors they can find . . . This story is full of suspense and will leave the reader wanting more. Visit Carrie's website.

 

 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

Bloomsbury has reissued the whole set of Harry Potter books in this attractive 'Signature Edition'. Timed perfectly to coincide with the cinema release of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows', these new editions are ideal to replace the dog-eared versions so many of us have, or to appeal to a whole new audience. Yes, it's over 12 years since Harry Potter first enthralled us, and his appeal has not diminished one jot. The new cover images give tantalising foretastes of what will happen in the stories for new readers, and those already familiar with the books will have their appetites whetted again. Great to see these books brought to prominence again. There is a great new Harry Potter website from Bloomsbury too.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

This beautifully crafted book cleverly interweaves modern-day New York and the Paris of the French Revolution and conjures up the atmosphere of both cities in a wonderful way. Andi lives in New York and is desperately struggling to come to terms with the death of her brother. She is sent to Paris and her story becomes involved with that of Alex, maid to the French Royal Family. As the two worlds intertwine, we are drawn into the horrifying world of the French Revolution. The message of hope shows how a world torn apart by grief can be mended by love. This engrossing narrative draws the reader in and is engrossing to the very end. Look out for 'A gathering light', the author's first book, too.

 My so-called haunting by Tamsyn Murray

This compelling book is the sequel to My so-called afterlife and more thsn lives up to the promise of the first book. Being a teen today is challenging enough, without the added complication of being able to see  (and communicate with) ghosts. As Skye helps at her aunt Celestine’s halfway house for troubled spirits, living and dead, and gets drawn into the unfinished story of Dontay, a murdered teenager. a love story is interwoven into Syke's efforts to help the troubled Dontay  - but how will this impact on her own future? Beautifully written, Skye is a very credible and likeable character.

 Lifted by Hilary Freeman

We have all been there - desperately wanting to buy something but totally thwarted by unhelpful shop assistants - but the vast majority are not so frustrated that they resort to shoplifting. Set very much in today's world, this is the story of 'Robyn', a compulsive shoplifter, who steals and then donates all the goods to charity shops. But she publicises her activities through her blogs and everyone starts talking about her. Only one person knows her true identity, but is this soon to come to an end? Hilary Freeman really manages to get inside the world of a teenager and helps us to share that world.

   

 Village Teacher by Jack Sheffield

This is the fourth in this super series of books about a Headteacher in a village school in North Yorkshire. It really had me laughing out loud as I read some of the wonderful comments the children came out with. It is a great book for today's students as they marvel over the fact that the school was getting really excited about the possible advent of its first computer - and the golfball typewriter was the newest technology! The older generation will revel in the memories of the past which are so wonderfully portrayed. Those who were at school at the time will be transported back to the world of blackboards and chalk. But what will happen....will the school have to close? The end of the book will have you in suspense.

 

Angel by L A Weatherly

A 'must-read' book that everyone is talking about! Willow isn't a 'girly' girl - she prefers messing about with cars to 'girly' things. But that's not all that sets her apart - Willow is no ordinary girl, she has a gift. The story switches between Willow writing in the first person, and the third person, and this device captures the reader's attention. A love story runs through this dramatic novel as Alex begins to fall in love with his sworn enemy and the brilliant writing draws you into the life of these two characters. Maybe angels turned bad isn’t a new idea, but the author gives this a twist. The angels in this powerful dark story act like vampires – they steal life forces and leave diseases, cancers and viruses in exchange. This is the first in a trilogy - I can't wait to read the next! I can't do this book justice in a few lines, so take a look at the preview. Lots more on the Angel website.
 

 Man eater by S P Gates

Looking for a book to encourage your reluctant 10-14 year old to read? This book (which has a reading age of 6.5) is another super title from Barrington Stoke. Can Levi save his brother from the man-eating lion? Short chunks of text, broken up with contemporary illustrations, make this book easily accessible. Look out for Levi's first adventure too - Killer Croc, or other books in the Solo fiction series.

The Poisoned House by Michael Ford

I couldn't put this book down. Just why is Abi so determined to run away from Gleave Hall, and why is thre tyrannical housekeeper, Mrs Cotton, equally determined she sould stay? Abi's very life is in danger as she endeavours to unravel the mystery of the Poisoned House. Abi is such a realistic character and as the story unfolds, and she finds she can trust nobody, you really get involved in her life. A super story for teenage readers.

The young chieftain by Ken Howard

Have you ever felt that life has ganged up on you and made you become a totally new person? Read about how happens to Jamie after his dad is killed. Suddenly, he and his mother must travel from their Los Angeles home to a remote Scottish island to bury him. Here, Jamie finds himself at the heart of ancient feuds where life itself is at risk. A mysterious, magical stone; a secret place only true chieftains can find; a huge struggle for power - these elements make for a really gripping story. Will Jamie meet his fate or find his destiny?

 The mourning emporium by Michelle Lovric

The vampire eels are back and one person thinks she is to blame. Venice is used to floods but this one brought ice floes and icebergs to destroy the city. Teo and Renzo were unable to kill Bajamonte Tiepolo  and in this gripping sequel to 'The Undrowned Child', read how they set out to save, not just Venice, but also London.  Tiepolo turns to London to find a new army and, strangely, Teo and Renzo find themselves on a boat bound for London. Our heroes have only a short time to disentangle the mysteries and save the cities. Can they do it? The book is set right at the start of the 20th century and brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the two cities..

 

The Bad Tuesdays by Benjamin J Myers

Children everywhere are disappearing. Orphan, Chess Tuesday, and her brothers, Box and Splinter, don't want to be next. This gripping tale - part sci-fi, part magic and mystery, really draws the reader in, with the exciting twists to the plot that have you turning the pages keenly to see what will happen next. I love the cover drawing, which will catch the attention of the book's target market. This is the first in a six part series - I look forward to reading the next one and I am sure readers will be drawn into this super series.

 White crow by Marcus Sedgwick

One scorching summer, Rebecca has to leave the bustle of London and go to Winterfold. She knows it inside out - but year on year, the beach, the cliff paths, even the village streets, are being swallowed up by the sea. Rebecca befriends Ferelith and they discover things about Winterfold than either of them really want to know. Inextricably intertwined is the story of the 17th century Rector and Dr Barrieux, lord of Winterfold Hall - he, too, was a newcomer to Winterfold. The haunting end to the story will stay with you for a long time. Marcus Sedgwick has been shortlisted for many prestigious prizes and this novel deserves to be a prize-winner

Hattori Hachi: the revenge of praying mantis by Jane Prowse

Right from the start, the reader knows this is going to be an unusual story. No 'normal' mother expects her daughter to dress up as a Ninja and climb down four storeys on a rope ladder. Why does she? You will have to read the story to find out what happens when Hattie's mother dosppears and she is drawn into the strange world of Ninjutsu training. This is far from being a 'girly' book  - it will appeal equally  to boys and girls who love gritty adventure stories. This is Jane Prowse's first - look out for more.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The classic novel brought to life in full colour in another wonderful production by Classical Comics. 'I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them'. No classical collection would be complete without this well-loved Dickens title. The wonderful tale of Pip, Miss Havisham, and the spiteful Estella is retold here with fresh enthusiasm contained within rich Victorian ambiance, for a wonderful reading experience.I highly recommend all the books in this innovative and appealing series.  

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