Book reviews - fiction 11 & over (page 2)

Poppy's Angel by Rachel Billington

In the dramatic sequel to Poppy's Hero, Poppy struggles to bridge the divide between two very different London worlds. She feels ungrounded in this story - firstly staying with her friend Jud in London and then her friend Jude in the country. But the friend she really needs is Angel, the outcast among her friends. It's Angel who needs her help - she finds him lying in her kitchen, bleeding. What has happened? Who else is involved? This is a perceptively written story about a side of life many prefer to ignore - the impact on families of a parent in prison,  Read Poppy's Hero first to get the full benefit from this book and the way our feisty heroine's character has developed.

Black Sheep by Na'ima B Robert

The cover depicts that chilling sight - a bunch of flowers marking a roadside 'shrine' - and sets the scene for the story. When sixteen-year-old Dwayne meets high-flyer Misha, problems are bound to follow. Misha disobeys her mother and continues her relationship with Dwayne. But Dwayne is hiding dark secrets and is getting more and more drawn into deadly gang life. One night the whole thing falls apart.... A hard-hitting book which doesn't hide from reality, it is an insightful look inside a world we read about but of which most of us remain blissfully unaware. 

Waiting for Gonzo by Dave Cousins

An action-packed story that has you racing through the book in anticipation. somehow things go wrong... Uprooted from his familiar life, Oz  finds himself in the quiet village of Slowleigh (get it?). Things go wrong from his first day at school - and then he manages to cause an accident which results in his mum being in hospital.. Could things get any worse? Then he finds out his sister has a major problem. I particularly enjoyed the supportive relationship bewteen siblings Meg and Oz and the way Oz looks out for his big sister in her time of need. The book is full of surprising twists and turns, with humour, wit and warmth. Publication date 7/03/13.

The Prey by Andrew Fukuda

Gene and the remaining humans are on the run - death is but a heartbeat away. They must find a way to survive in The Vast and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. Gene is haunted by the girl he left behind and his growing feelings for Sissy, the girl at his side. Are they finally safe when they find a group of exiled humans in the mountains? It seems not, as Gene begins to wonder if the world they've entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. A chilling story - the second in the trilogy which began with The Hunt.

 The Boy From France by Hilary Freeman

I like the fact that this book has a scenario familiar to many young people - the French exchange visit. Most of the class are very excited to learn that there will be some boys visiting, but Vix is too busy with her sick mother to be concerned. But when Xavier arrives, he is gorgeous and really appears to take a shine to Vix. But she has her doubts - is this for real? It's well written with perception and understanding of the emotions young teens feel. A good read, with realistic and likeable characters.

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

What did happen that terrible night in the kitchen? Mallory's boyfriend was stabbed and bled to death in her kitchen - and she was the one who stabbed him. Despite the fact that it was done in self defence, Mallory cannot get it out of her head.. So her parents send her to an upmarket boarding school to get away - but there is no escape. Gradually, Mallory starts to piece things together but when a pupil is found dead, who do people suspect but Mallory? An intriguing and atmospheric story, full of twists and turns. Publication date 14/02/13

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Ballet demands complete trust - but who can Vanessa trust? Her older sister, Margaret, disappeared - disappeared from the same ballet school that Vanessa now attends, as she fulfils the destiny of dancing which lies in her family.  Vanessa is an outstanding dancer, at one with the music, so Josef asks her to dance the lead in the Firebird. But Josef is a manipulative and sinister character and Vanessa is in danger... The beautiful cover draws you into this book - although it will appeal to YA lovers of ballet, it is a far cry from the ballet stories for younger readers, although it may well capture the same market as they progress to YA books. Publication date 12/02/13

Wonder by R J Palacio

"'My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.' Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things - eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren't stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all? WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page."

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

"This follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher. Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets."

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there's an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines. Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem's story-Just One Year-will be published in September 2013."

Dearly Beloved by Lia Habel

"A sharp, slick sequel to zombie adventure debut Dearly, Departed. Can the living coexist with the living dead? That's the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as "The Laz" hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites. Just ask Nora Dearly, who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . who was sadly no longer breathing..."

The Last Minute bu Eleanor Updale

"9.21am: business as usual on a high street in England. 9.22am: the explosions are heard for miles around, and in the early confusion there is talk of a gas leak, a plane crash, and even terrorism . . .The people of Heathwick had been preparing for Christmas unaware that many would die, and the rest would be transformed for ever. Travel with them, second-by-second, through the hopes, fears, love, worries, gossip, cruelty, kindness and trivia that dominated their final minute before tragedy struck. And in the everyday story of an ordinary street, look for clues to what happened, and why."
 

The New Recruit by AndyMcNab

"What if your prank killed your best friend. Could you live with yourself? You try to forget and move on; you enrol in Army training, you want to make something of your life. The training is tough and it almost breaks you. But you survive; you know you'll make a good soldier. Finally, when you're out in Afghanistan, under enemy fire, you come face-to-face with your best friend's brother. He still blames you for his brother's death. You now have more to fear than just enemy soldiers . . ."

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

This skilfully written first novel is set in the kingdom of Goredd - a kingdom where humans and dragons who fold themselves into a human form co-exist - although not always harmoniously. The uneasy peace between the two is threatened when a member of the royal family is murdered and the crime seems to have been committed by a dragon. Talented musician Seraphina joins the royal court and finds herself embroiled in the murder investigation - and in danger herself. Fast moving yet with time for some moving prose, this is a clever interweaving of fantasy, mystery and romance and introduces a feisty and unusual heroine.

Cordelia Codd: Not Just the Blues by Claire O'Brien

One day, Cordelia Codd will take taxis everywhere, have a pet dog to carry in her handbag, and have manicures every Wednesday. But in the meantime everything seems to be going wrong - her Dad has left home and she's fallen out with her best friends. Something has got to be done - so she and new best mate hatch a master plan... Ideal for fans of Jacqueline Wilson, the reader is quickly drawn into Cordelia's life and warms to this intriguing character. The book is written with a real insight into the feelings of pre-teen girls, with all the emotions vividly described. Recommended for readers of 9 upwards.

Dark Warning by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Ever since Taney was four she has been aware of her uncanny gift, a gift inherited from her mother - she can see things before they happen. Her strange gift isolates her from other children and she struggles to find the answer to the questions that intrigue her. She meets Billy and starts to feel that here is someone with whom she can relax - but can he be trusted?  Are her visions of girls being attacked warnings? Set in Ireland during the 1700s the historical background and depiction of society at the time is vivid and interesting and the story will grip the reader.

Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher

Cat Manno never saw the truck coming and when it hits her, she doesn’t feel the pain for long. She is unaware of the ambulance ride, the tests, the surgery as she is existing in parallel words. She wakes in the middle of a forest without any familiar city sights, and finds herself in the midst of adventures peopled by characters from fiction, from the stories her grandfather read to her, including Long John Silver (Treasure Island) and Chingachook (Last of the Mohicans]. Her grandfather is there too.  It's a great way to bring the classics to life and to introduce them to today's readers.

North Child by Edith Patou

Once again, Usborne bring us a beautiful gift edition of a well-loved book - in this case, a modern classic. This is the story of Rose, a girl destined to travel far from her homeland; a girl unaware of her eventual fate. It is based on the Norwegian fairytale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon and is a vivid evocation of Norway, a land of snow and ice, mystery and magic. Rose is a courageous, adventurous and strongly drawn heroine who will warm the hearts of readers, who will empathise with her story. She is drawn away from her home by a polar bear and goes to lead a lonely existence - and one that leads her eventually into danger. It is a beautifully crafted story packed with meaning and insight which repays close attention - the author Q&A and the reading club notes are a nice touch to facilitate this.

Lady Catherine's Necklace by Joan Aiken

I am an avid reader of Jane Austen follow-ons and I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and mr Darcy are happily married and now the scene turns to Rosings Park in Kent, the home (as followers will well know) of the redoubtable Lady Catherine de Bourgh. A carriage accident means that brother and sister Ralph and Priscilla Delaval must live at Rosings Park and this leads to scandal and secrets being exposed..., and to some very dramatic happenings. It's an enjoyable read, for both established fans and those new to Jane Austen.

Changeling by Philippa Gregory

It's 1453 and the signs point to it being the end of the world. 17 year old Luca Vero is accused of heresy - in that period a sin rendering him liable to death. He is recruited by a mysterious stranger, and isntructed by sealed orders to record the end of times across Europe. Sent to a nunnery to investigate  Isolde and the strange happenings for which she is help fresponsible. Luca arrives to find a pyre being prepared to burn her for witchcraft... Although I did enjoy this books for teens, I must confess to preferring Phillipa Gregory's other work, which seems to feature more well drawn and realistic characters.

Ruby Redfort - Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child

Charismatic Ruby Redfort burst onto the scene in Look Into My Eyes, having first appeared in the hugely successful Clarice Bean stories. There are strange goings-on in Twinford - well, at sea anyway... Can Ruby and her spy agency crack the case of the Twinford pirates avoid the clutches of a vile sea monster and outwit the evil Count von Viscount? Another story packed with humour, fun, friendship and mystery which will delight fans of the first book.

Killing Rachel by Anne Cassidy

Rose's mother and Joshua's father have disappeared. Police inquiries have gone nowhere and the case, it seems, is closed: Rose and Joshua have been told that the police believe their parents are dead. But Rose and Joshua still hold out hope that they are alive. Joshua is determined to follow up his own inquiries, which includes working out the meaning of the cryptic notebooks - the murder notebooks - they have discovered. Then Rose is distracted by odd, desperate messages she receives from Rachel, a former best friend from her school, followed by the terrible news that Rachel is dead. But perhaps Rachel's death will provide one more piece of the puzzle about what has happened to Rose and Joshua's parents . . . A taut and pacy thriller in The Murder Notebooks series, from an acclaimed writer for teens. Publication 14 March 2013.

The Lost Girl by Sanga Mandanna

A gripping novel centred on a girl whose  life is not her own. She has been created to replace Amana, should Amana die. So everything Amana does, likewise Eva must do, and she must think herself into Amana's life.  Then, horrifically, Amana dies in a car crash and Eve and  must accept her destiny and turn her back on everything she's ever known - the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love - to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive. . . The Lost Girl is a thoughtful and emotional story of what it really means to be human.

Blood Prophecy by Alyxandra Harvey

The thrilling conclusion to the Drake Chronicles is a gripping story of love and loyalty. Solange Drake will not claim her birthright; she will not be queen as vampire tradition dictates. But change always comes at a cost . . . Possessed by a vengeful twelfth-century witch, Solange commits heinous crimes against the vampire tribes that she pledged to empower. Motives are questioned. Trust is broken. The treaty between the Drakes and the Helios-Ra is under threat. Solange must escape the folds of memory and time and fight for the fate of the royal crown - and win. Her destiny, and her heart, depends on it. Published 14 February 2013.

Colin Fischer by Ashley Miller

A brilliant detective story for readers of 10+, from the screenwriters of X Men First Class and Thor. A must-read for anyone who loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. 'Fans of John Green and Sarah Dessen will like this book very much' Publishers Weekly Colin Fischer is 14 and he has Asperberger's. A lot of the world is a mystery to Colin - he can't read his classmates' expressions without looking at a chart, the colour blue is really off-putting and he has no idea why his parents like to hug him. But when a gun goes off in the school cafeteria one lunchtime, Colin knows he can work out who did it. Colin loves cool, hard logic. His hero is Sherlock Holmes. Only Colin can piece together the puzzle that links chocolate cake, a dodgy gangster, a cheerleader and a very unlikely suspect. Publication 7 February 2013.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

The  year is 1952 and  Janie Scott, who has moved from Los Angeles to London, is finding it very boring. But then she meets Benjamin Burrows who dreams of becoming a spy.  Benjamin's father, a mysterious apothecary, is kidnapped and he entrusts Janie and Benjamin with his sacred book. And that sacred book holds secrets which are the only way to find Benjamin's father. To make it harder, Russian spies are also after the book. It's a dangerous quest for the two young people. I especially like the extensive use of illustrations - unusual in a book for this age group. Adventure, political freedom and romance are just some of the elements that make up this enticing book.

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech

In the town of Blackbird Tree a series of strange events unfold when Naomi and Lizzie, two spirited orphan girls, meet the strangely charming new boy, Finn. Three locked trunks, the mysterious Dingle Dangle man, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy change their lives for ever. As the story alternates between their small town and across-the-ocean Ireland, two worlds are woven together, revealing that hearts can be mended and that there is indeed a gossamer thread that connects us all. This is a beautifully told story, with a host of memorable characters. It cleverly combines many elements which will appeal to young readers - I would say 10+ to ensure that they fully appreciate all the nuances of the book. A tale of mystery and friendship that highlights the way in which our lives interweave with those of others.

North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler

A gripping and atmospheric adventure story set in the sleepy seaside village of Porthaven. Mia's grandfather has disappeared, so Mia and her mother travel down to support Mia's grandmother. There's little to do until Mia pals up with Dee and Peter. But why is Dee so elusive?  And what has happened to Grandad? Mia is determined to find out what's going on, but time is short... Publication date 17 January 2013. Liz Kessler is definitely an author to look out for! The book was inspired by the real village of Hallsands, South Devon, which collapsed into the sea in 1917.

Lexiland by Suzi Moore

Since 10 year old Emma's twin sister Laura choked to death on a slice of birthday cake, life has totally changed. Emma feels she's become invisible, she hates school, despite the fact she is really clever. Without Laura really by her side Emma still feels like the loneliest girl in school. But then Lexi comes onto the scene - Lexi is most unusual.  Their friendship won't happen overnight and it won't happen easily but, it will be unique because they have both lost something... something that they have to learn to live without. Secrets uncovered, mysteries unravelled and a friendship to last forever. This is a story about grief, friendship and identity. Publication date 31 January 2013.

The Disappeared by C J Harper

Set n a future where children are segregated into institutions that range from comfortable "Learning Communities" to prison-like "Local Academies", seventeen-year-old Jackson is an academic high flyer. But then he is sent with Wilson to deliver a package to a factory where the two boys are attacked leaving Jackson badly beaten and Wilson dead. Confused and upset, Jackson returns to his Learning Community only to be dismissed by his teachers who claim not to know him. Sent to an Academy, an institute set up to train factory workers - the total opposite to his previous comfortable world.  Jackson starts to realise that his whole life has been based on half-truths. And in order to survive he needs to expose the lies that surround the Academy and find out the truth about who he really is. Publication 31 January 2013.

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

A suitcase and an old laundry bag - that's all Kasienka and her mother take to England. It's a lonely life Kasienka is plunged into but she finds her strength in swimming. The story gives us a remarkable insight into the feelings experienced by young immigrants - the isolation and the problems of coming to terms with a new culture. Kasienka is a remarkable and well-drawn character - the reader is really drawn into her emotions. It shows how easy it is to stereotype and highlights the fact that we must all make an effort to understand others.When I first saw that the story is written in verse, I thought it would be disjointed, but far from it - it is lyrical and flows seamlessly yet packed with emotion right from the start. A unique book which is a real page turner! A stunning debut novel.

Darius Bell and the Crystal Bees by Odo Hirsch

This is a very timely book and an excellent way to highlight the plight of bees. "'There'll be nothing, Darius. Not just honey. No fruit, no vegetables – nothing!' Mr Fisher shook his head in despair. 'I'll have to leave.' The bees on the Bell estate are dying. There'll be no more delicious honey, and without the bees to pollinate flowers, no more fruit and vegetables. No more of Mrs Simpson's glorious pies and cakes! Worse still, it also means that Mr Fisher the gardener and his family, including Marguerite, will have to leave. Darius won't let it happen. He tries everything he can think of, without success. Then Darius has a great idea. But he will need help from his friends and family to make it work. And he must drive a hard bargain with Mrs Lightman, the school principal and a dragon if ever there was one..."

Being Here by Barry Jonsberg

"The boy sat in the branches of the fifth tree on the left, his scuffed boots dangling. Leah turned her eyes up. His face was heavily freckled, his eyes large, brown and almond-shaped. His hair stuck out at wild angles. 'Hello,' she said. Sixteen-year-old Carly is interviewing Leah Cartwright for her local history project. But Leah resists, determined instead to tell her own story: that of a lonely child on an isolated farm, a girl whose only escape is into the world of books. And when Adam appears in the orchard Leah discovers a friend. A secret friend. Leah draws Carly in with the magic of story - to her present, her past, her secrets, and her unique friendship with Adam. Being Here is a beautifully told story about a girl whose rich imagination rescues her from a grim reality, and an unlikely boy who changes everything. A compelling novel about love, faith and consequences."

Winter of Grace by Kate Constable

"At a peace rally, Bridie and Stella rescue a cute Christian boy. He introduces Bridie to a whole world she never knew existed. The girls' friendship has survived Stella changing schools, both girls being interested in the same boy, and so much more. But what will happen when Bridie's new interests and ideas collide with Stella's? Another true-to-life story from the author of Always Mackenzie."

Crow Country by Kate Constable

"'Beginning and ending, always the same, always now. The game, the story, the riddle, hiding and seeking. Crow comes from this place; this place comes from Crow. And Crow has work for you.' Sadie isn't thrilled when her mother drags her from the city to live in the country town of Boort. But soon she starts making connections - connections with the country, with the past, with two boys, Lachie and Walter, and, most surprisingly, with the ever-present crows. When Sadie is tumbled back in time to view a terrible crime, she is pulled into a strange mystery. Can Sadie, Walter and Lachie figure out a way to right old wrongs, or will they be condemned to repeat them?"

The Winds of Heaver by Judith Clarke

"When Fan was little she dreamed of magical countries in the far away blue hills. As she grew up she dreamed of love, and the boys came after her one by one. Clementine thought her cousin Fan's house in the country had a special smell: of sun and dust and kerosene and the wild honey they ate for breakfast on their toast. But then there were the feelings: the anger that smelled like iron and the disappointment that smelled like mud. Still, Fan was strong and beautiful and Clementine thought she'd always be like that. But Fan was seeking something, and neither she nor Clementine knew exactly what… "

My Life and Other Catastrophes by Rowena Mohn

"Ever get the feeling your life would qualify for National Disaster Relief? Say hello to Erin Costello. Erin's pretty much your average teenage girl ... except that her mother has all the maternal instincts of a black widow spider, and her dad is out of work and completely clueless. That's probably why they're divorced. Not that anyone except Erin seems to care. Certainly not Erin's sucky little brother Ben, who's too busy making money, or her best friend, Rami, who is turning into a fanatical environmental activist - with the emphasis on mental. And definitely not Creepazoid - Erin's mum's new boyfriend - who may or may not be a drug-dealing pervert disguised as a mild-mannered PE teacher! It's an eventful year for Erin Costello, but is her imagination running wild?"

Head Spinners - Six Stories to Twist Your Brain by Thalia Kalkipsakis

"Beware the twists in these tales ... A fish sandwich. A tingle on the arm. A boring birthday present. LOOK AGAIN! The fish has a secret. The tingle is transforming. The birthday present is a time machine. These stories will make your head spin and keep you thinking long after you finish reading!"

A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson

"Beatrice May Ross is smart, observant and analytical. So when a dead body is discovered in the taxidermy department at the Museum where she’s doing work experience, she's determined to use her sleuthing skills to solve the case. A Pocketful of Eyes will keep the reader guessing right to the very end with loads of twists and turns, plenty of laughs, a pacy plot, a very appealing lead character, a handsome Boy with a fascination for unusual animal mating habits, surreptitious nocturnal visits to the Catacombs, a hot kissing scene on the back of a stuffed tiger and, of course, a dead body in the Red Rotunda." Crime fiction has an enduring popularity, although there is not a vgreat deal written for teens. This is an excellent introduction to the genre and I hope that young readers will be inspired to go on to read the likes of Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh.

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

" Nick is given a sinister but brilliant computer game called Erebos. The game is highly addictive but asks its players to carry out actions in the real world in order to keep playing online, actions which become more and more terrifyingly manipulative. As Nick loses friends and all sense of right and wrong in the real world, he gains power and advances further towards his online goal - to become one of the Inner Circle of Erebos. But what is virtual and what is reality? How far will Nick go to achieve his goal? And what does Erebos really want?"

The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig (Autobiography)

This is a vivid and emotive description of the Jewish Rudomin family's exile to Siberia during World War II. In 1941, when Esther was 10, she and her family were arrested by the Russians, taken from a comfortable life and transported to Siberia. This is the account of their five years spent in exile, and of how the Rudomins kept their courage high,even though they went barefoot and hungry. The harsh conditions are well depicted and the story gets to the reader's heart. It is a heart-warming account of the resilience of one family in extreme circumstances and is a book which should make us all stop and reflect.

Finale (Hush Hush) by Becca Fitzpatrick

The gripping conclusion to the Hush Hush series finds Nora firmly convinced that Patch is the only one for her. But as he is a fallen angel, how can their love survive as they face their biggest challenge ever? The reader will be kept in suspense right to the end of the fast-moving and action-packed story as the love between the two plays out and trust is in danger of being lost, in this beautifully crafted story with unexpected twists to the plot. Those who have followed Nora through the series and have come to know and love her character will be sad but satisfied by the conclusion of the series.

The Raiders (The Inuk Quartet) by John Riel

In this series, three young adventurers travel across ancient Greenland and the reader gains an interesting perspective on the Inuit culture and way of life. This second volume of the Inuk Quartet continues the exciting adventures of Leiv, Apuluk and Narua who the reade first met in The Shipwreck. They are settled peacefully on Thor Gunnarrsson's farmstead in Greenland - but that comes to an end when Viking invaders threaten their new home. Leiv, Apuluk and Narua must rely on their wits, their courage, and their friendship to protect their new home. Atmospheric illustrations capture the spirit of the story. As with all Barefoot Books, I am amazed at the fabulous quality of their paperbacks, which are just as satisfying as a hardback to handle.

 The Snowstorm (The Inuk Quartet) by John Riel

It's been a long and dark  winter for Leiv, Narua, Apuluk and Sølvi.They decide to head north with two dogsled teams to see if they can make it across the ice to Helluland (modern Baffin Island). But when a terrible blizzard and a shocking kidnap disrupt their journey, the four young travellers must use courage and quick thinking to get themselves home. It's an unusual setting and super to see it as the background for a series.
I urge you to get the full benefit of this series by reading the books in order - The Shipwreck: The Inuk Quartet, Volume I is the first to read.

Snake Bite (Young Sherlock Holmes) by Andrew Lane

These books give us a fascinating insight into what the world's most famous detective might have been like as a teenage boy. This is the fifth in the series, which to my mind just gets better and better as we see how the sleuth developed his amazing skills. This time, young Sherlock has been kidnapped and taken to China where he finds himself plunged into a dangerous adventure. Three men bitten by the same poisonous snake in different parts of Shanghai - is is possible? The answer appears to lie in a message hidden in a diagram like a spider’s web. But solving it leads to an even more urgent question: what has all this got to do with a plot to blow up an - but that's not the end of the problem in this gripping adventure. 

Secrets and Shadows by Brian Gallagher

The grim reality of war threatens to end a summer of fun and a new friendship. Barry Malone is sent to Ireland to escape the bombings in Liverpool during the Second World War - and meets Grace Ryan, who is living with relatives following the bombing of her house. She meets Barry Malone, an English boy sent to neutral Ireland from Liverpool to escape the war. Barry suspects that the teacher at the sports club, where he and Grace are having such fun, is a Nazi spy. Increasingly, the duo find themselves in danger as they seek the truth. This book had me gripped from the start - it's a refreshing change to read a book set in Ireland during the war, and the background is vividly portrayed as we are drawn into the story and the suspense builds.

Rebecca's Rules by Anna Carey

Too much is going wrong in rebecca's life at the moment - her boyfirend has moved away, she's alienated her best friends and she's going to a party she doesn't even want to go to - so she makes herself some rules to change things for the better. She determines to stop moping and get her friendships back on track - and this is the hilarious story of just how she sets out to achieve her goals. The theme will strike a chord with amny a young teen, who will appreciate the realism of the characters. This is the sequel to The Real Rebecca and is another warm and delightful read, with a positive and feisty heroine.

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Aria Rose, youngest daughter of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, faces an arranged marriage with Thomas Foster, son of her parents' enemies. The marriage has been arranged to end an age-old feud - but Aria is completely mystified about how the whole thing has come about, due to a loss of memory... until she meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths. He is the one who can help her answer the questions. Comparison with Romeo and Juliet is inevitable, but this is a story full of magic. It's set in a post global warmin g world, a world where the rich live safely above the water and the poor struggle in the depths. A likeable heroine, teamed with mystery, romance and action make a good read.

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

A book full of suspense, and questions to which the reader will want the answer - just why do Will's parents' insist, unlikely every other parent, that he gets average grades and holds back in the cross-country team. But he makes a mistake, gets an incredibke exam result and is snapped up by an exclusive and mysterious prep school - one nobody has ever heard of. And things get even more mysterious when men in big black cars start to follow him and he finds himself in the centre of a titanic struggle.This is an excellent book for teen boys, with a strong male character, packed with drama and adventure. Will is guided by a set of advice from his father and this makes for interesting reading. It is a long book but the fast-paced actionhold the attention.

Slither's Tale (Spooks) by Joseph Delaney

Slither is not human - he preys on humans, sneaking into their homes to gorge upon their blood while they sleep. His latest victims are set to be the daughters of a farmer who has died - but the farmer has done a deal and offered the eldest daughter to Slither. This is the start of a treacherous journey with danger adound every corner, as they try to deliver the younger sisters, Bryony and Susan to the care of their aunt and uncle. This is the latest installment of the terrifying Spooks series.

Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry

This is the sequel to Rot and Ruin and Dust & Decay. Benny, Nix, Lilah and Chong journey through the zombie-infested wilderness that was once America, seeking the jet they saw in the skies months ago. If that jet exists then humanity itself must have survived, and will give a hope for the future. But Ruin is a deadly place - more so than they could have possibly imagined. Fierce animals, a death cult and swarms of zombies are there to be overcome. These zombies are different - faster, smarter, and infinitely more dangerous. Has the zombie plague mutated, or is there something far more sinister behind this new invasion of the living dead? One thing Benny and his companions can't afford to forget: In the great Rot & Ruin, everything wants to kill you. To survive, each one must call on huge reserves and dig deep into their own strengths. Published 25/10/12.

Wintering by Susan Phineas

A young adult fantasy, in the well tested format of switching between two worlds. Fer has always felt that she doesn't belong. She hears the call of the wild wood, the secrets it whispers. When her grandmother reveals clues about the disappearance of her father and his mystical bond to her mother, Fer begins to unlock secrets about the parents she never knew. Led to a reflecting pool which uncovers The Way, Fer finds an enchanting and dangerous land. And it is here that she will realise her destiny - to face down the deadly Mor and free this land from its imprisonment in ice and evil. It's an imaginative and well described world. Published 8/11/12.

Another Life by Keren David

This is the gritty sequel to When I Was Joe and Almost True. A way of life alien to most of us, but a very real (and terrifying) world. Kicked out of yet another boarding school, Archie is happy to be back in London and away from boarding school. But things are not all he had hoped for - cousin Ty is struggling to cope in a Young Offender Institution, and his old friends have made new lives. Just what is the truth about Ty? Archie goes on a mission to discover who Ty really is. It is a fast moving and dramatic story, excellently written, but not one for the faint-hearted - and I recommend reading the others in the series first.

Crusade: The Vanquished by Nancy Holder and Debbie Vigue

Jenn and the Salamancan hunters are on the brink of the final battle against the deadliest Cursed Ones. But the team is still reeling from Eriko's death and internal bickering threatens to drive them further apart. Jenn knows she needs to rally her team and lead the charge into battle, but her concentration is shattered. She's torn between her love for Antonio, and her hate for the bloodthirsty vampire he's become. Jenn wants to believe in his humanity, but she's slowly losing her faith, and with new Resistance fighter Noah on the scene, her heart as well. With the final battle imminent, and all hope fading fast, is Jenn and Antonio's love strong enough to overcome the darkest evil? Published 8/11/12.

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole

The first in a new series introduces us to sixteen-year-old Evie Greene, who thought her horrific apocalyptic hallucinations were a sign that she was slowly losing her mind. But in a terrifying tale, her visions come true, decimating the world around her and killing all those she loves. Evie is forced to accept that she was seeing the future. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she turns to wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate, Jackson Deveaux for help. As Jackson and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have got the same call and discover that Evie is not the only one with special powers. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and as the battle between good and evil intensifies, it is not always clear who is on which side...

Day of Rebellion (Jack Christie Adventures) by Johnny O'Brien

When Jack Christie's father disappears, the time-travelling teenager and his best friend Angus track him to a strange icebound future where China has evolved into a global superpower. Time has splintered and Jack and Angus must discover the point of divergence - the moment that history altered. Travelling back to 1860, they find themselves in the midst of the bloody Taiping Rebellion: a world of Chinese warlords, Empires and brave rebels. But Jack and Angus possess an object that all the warring factions want and it's not long before the boys find themselves - and the future of the world - in grave danger.

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

If you enjoy The Hunger Games and similar titles, then this is a book for you! But be warned - this is even more chilling. It is the story of Connor, Risa and Lev, who have managed to resist 'unwinding'. Don't know what that means? Then you must read Unwind first. This is an uncanny and disturbing story, which introduces Cam, a new character made entirely from parts of other teenagers - so-called troublesome teens. Despite legal action, the practice continues and those opposing it place themselves in danger.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Elizabeth has an unusual new job - hidden behind the ordinary-looking facade of a Manhattan building is a very special place, a library where you can borrow anything your heart desires. And the most special place of all is the Grimm Collection - a remarkable collection of objects related to the folk tales, which are mysterious and powerful and can only be lent to certain people. When the objects start to go missing, Elizabeth must find out what is going on - and why. It is an intricate and beautifully written story which will mesmerise the reader.

Hidden Lies (A Paradise Barn Story) by Victor Watson

Set in the atmospheric world of the Fens, this continues the adventures of five courageous friends. Cassie finds herself in danger immediately after the funeral of her uncle, as she goes into hiding whilst unknowingly holding an object many are seeking. It's a hidden secret which could change the course of the Second World War, the setting for this absorbing and unpredictable novel.  An excellent example of historical fiction, which really gives the reader a feel for the period without any artificiality. Well written and sensitive, this is a book which will keep you guessing right to the end. I do think that you should read Paradise Barn and The Deeping Secrets first though, to get a real feel for the way the characters and the narrative develop. You will appreciate the story so much more this way.

Rise of the Shadowmares by L A Jones

Twins Andrew and Poppy, thought they had defeated Vesuvius, the master of the Nightmare Factory, once and for all, in a story which started with The Nightmare Factory. They were wrong. Now his power is rising, and his army of Shadowmares have managed to cross to Earth. They rule the night, feeding off humans' fear in 'fear farms' where they have build hundreds of fear pods. Andrew learns that the only way to stop them, and stop Vesuvius, is to find an ancient artefact, the Fender's feather, which holds enough magic to power a dream catcher for Earth. The mission will be long and difficult, and time is running out...

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

This is the first in a paranormal trilogy with a strong romantic element. Jacinda is a Draki (a descendant of dragons, with the power to shift into human form); Will is a Draki hunter, with power of life and death over Jacinda - so he is the last person she should fall for. She risks all and ultimately her own life as she tries to get close to him. The story draws the reader in quickly from the start. Jacinda is an unusual and compelling character, well portrayed and the reader will be drawn into her story  and keen to see the outcome in the sequels.

This is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott

This is the dramatic conclusion to an action-packed trilogy, following Ally and Jake and others through their final year of school. Ally sticks by Jake, even when Chloe claims he is the fcther of her baby and despite the fact that gorgeous Lincoln is available. But who really is the father, and will Jake accept this? Ally is a feisty and loyal character - a good friend to have. The characters are well portrayed, especially the girls, and it's good to see how they mature during the novels. The emotions and dilemmas the characters face are well described and convincing, although I found I wondered just why Ally persevered with Jake. The feel of school in the popular New Jersey area is vividly portrayed and will interest British readers with its similarities and its contrasts.

Missing Me (Girl, Missing) by Sophie McKenzie

The action takes place six years after the end of Sister, Missing. With Madison now a teenager, I found it fascinating to see how the author portrayed her as a much older person. She finds out from an overheard conversation between her mum and her older sister that their biological father was an anonymous sperm donor and sets out to track him down. It's not long before she is on the trail and danger stalks her right from the start. Just who is the father she finds and what does it mean for her and her family? I found myself really rooting for Madison, anxious to reach the resolution of her story and wanting things to turn out well for her.
 

Secrets, Lies and Locker 62 by Lil Chase

It's Maya's first day at her new school and nothing seems to be going right for her. She finds she has been assigned Locker 62 - a place where secrets are. Ever since the disappearance of Hillary Randle, students have posted their deepest desires and fears in Locker 62. She could use the knowledge to help people. Or she could use it to become popular. Maya, who was bullied, who has never been cool, who will do anything to be popular, is now the most powerful girl at school. What will she choose to do next? A well told and gripping story with a very surprising end.

The Demon Notebook by Erika McGann

School just got scary...Grace and her four best friends, Jenny, Rachel, Adie and Una, are failed witches – and they have a notebook full of useless spells to prove it. Until one night, they accidentally unlock a portal into another world – and the notebook assumes a demonic life of its own. The girls watch helplessly as one by one, their spells start to work, moving pitilessly towards the worst one of all...A possessed best friend, a terrifying local witch, a haunted cottage – do Grace and her friends have enough skill and courage to stem the powerful magic gushing from the Demon Well? And can they do it before something tragic happens...? Touches of humour make this story of magic and friendship a good read for lovers of paranormal fiction.

The Adjusters by Andrew Taylor

A chilling story - if you like your fiction gritty and realistic, then this is a book for you. Be warned - it contains violent scenes. Superficially Newton is the perfect town - everyone is happy and the students do well in school. But beneath the surface, things are very different...and Henry Ward and his friends are determined to uncover what lies beneath. Just why are these children all so perfect? This puts them in danger - danger from the mysterious so-called medical centre which carries out 'adjustment procedures' on those who don't conform. The tension builds and the reader is drawn into the book through the well depicted characters.

Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun by Liz Kessler

Mystery and magic, friendship, romance and adventure - winning combinations. The fact the book is written in the first person gives the narrative immediacy and draws the reader in to sharing Emily's feelings. King Neptune wants to understand his mysterious nightmares and he knows that he needs Emily and Aaron's to help by going to the Land of the Midnight Sun. They find a mysterious and magical world harbouring a deadly secret. Can Emily and her loyal friends save their world? Imaginative and compelling, this is a great addition to the series.

Arabesque by Colin Mulhern

Another unusual and thought-provoking from innovative publishers Catnip. Amy and Mia are apparently just normal teenagers much of the time - but their other world is that of gymnastics, where they show great talent and potential. A world which is turned upside down when the pair are kidnapped and in which Amy needs all her skills, both emotional and physical, to ensure their safety, as the captors change from amateur blackmailers to the world of organised underworld crime. It's a gritty fast-moving story, with a strong lead character - one that will leave the reader emotionally drained and certainly not one for the faint-hearted! If this is your type of story hist will draw you in and you will find it un-put-downable.

The Little Grey Men by B B 

It is hard to know what to say about such an enduring classic,except that it is great to see it reissued for a new generation to enjoy. Set in the idyllic British countryside throughout the changing seasons fro spring to the first frost, it is the tale of three gnomes who go in search of their missing friend and have a series of perilous adventures. It is a wonderful evocation of nature and it's quite amazing just how much information about the countryside is found through the book - all, of course, superbly complemented by BB's wonderful drawings. It is an enchanting story, brought alive by vivid descriptive writing. A book for every household and a wonderful piece of escapism for child and adult alike.

A Soldier's Secret by Marissa Moss

This is the first person story of Sarah Emma Edmonds who masquerades as Frank Thompson during the Civil War. Among her many adventures, she was a nurse on the battlefield and a spy from the Union Army and was captured by (and escaped from) the Confederates. It's an almost unbelievable story, but it is based on a true story. A compelling narrative with a strong and resourceful heroine. The book is perfect to support KS3 studies of the American Civil War, with its authentic and well researched historical background. The book includes a Civil War timeline, archival photos, a glossary of names and a detailed note on sources.
 

Rebecca's Rules by Anna Carey

There are are lots of things wrong with Rebecca's life at the moment - her boyfriend has moved to Canada; she has annoyed her best friends Cass and Alice by going on about him all the time and she is going to a crazy girl’s mad birthday party and I am not sure why. So she makes some rules in the hope they will improve things - no moping, no ignoring her friends’ problems, find ]something exciting for her, Cass and Alice to do so their friendship gets back to normal. Perhaps........ joining the school musical? 

Ruby Redfort - Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child

A stunning and definitely eye-catching cover entices the would-be to open this book - and they won't be disappointed! Ruby Redfort, just like Lauren Child's other heroines, is a fascinating character - code-cracker, detective and special agent, all at the age of 13. In this, the first in the series, we learn Ruby's background. When an anonymous caller sets Ruby a challenge, it’s not long before she finds her way into the HQ of the most secret of secret agencies – SPECTRUM. They need her help to crack a code but her desk job soon spirals into an all-out action adventure, as Ruby uncovers the dastardly plans of the formidable Fool’s Gold Gang. The reader will enjoy solving the codes in the book.

Life According to Alice B. Lovely by Karen McCombie

13 year old Edie Evans is tired of being treated like a child and she thinks she is quite competent to look after her little brother, 6 year old Stan. She certainly doesn't need a babysitter...but along comes the strange, the shy, the captivating Alice B. Lovely and maybe things will change. The way the outcome is achieved makes for an intriguing and not always predictable read. Alice is a delightful character; Edie not so delightful, at least at the outset of the story, but it's great to follow the way her character mellows. Good characters and a twisty plot make this a good teenage read.

Fight (Blade 2) by Tim Bowler

A gritty and hard-hitting urban novel, the second in the Blade series, by an author who knows just what boys want for a good read. Blade has been badly injured - he is exposed and vulnerable; his enemies have caught up with him, and Blade knows they'll show no mercy. If he doesn't get away, he's dead. Mary has told him to give himself up. But it's too late for that now. He's surrounded by big, new dangers, his strength is failing, and all he can do is run. Narrated by Blade himself, be prepared to enter his world. It's not pretty . . . it's urban, real and dangerous. As Blade's story unfolds, readers will become completely hooked by this unforgettable character.

Shadows Across the Sun by Maya Healy

Set in Japan in the year 1216, in the second of the quartet, the two sisters Hana and Kimi continue to follow their destiny. Disguised as boys, they study at Master Goku's dojo and  prepare themselves to take revenge on the uncle who murdered their father and older brothers.  But after their uncle's unexpected arrival and Master Goku's untimely death, the sisters' future is uncertain. Kimi and Hana are forced to go on the run once more, but word has come that their mother and younger brother are alive and waiting for them. Can Kimi, Hana, and their friend Tatsuya survive the perils that lie ahead and defeat their uncle once and for all?

Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling

In the sequel to Finding Sky, Phoenix finds her destiny - her destiny is Yves Benedict and to be with him, Phoenix must break away from the Community - a gang of thieves with paranormal powers. Resisting the Seer puts them Phoenix and Yves in mortal danger. Can Phoenix learn to trust Yves, when she has never before trusted anyone? The suspense builds up well and the characters are well-drawn, with some reappearing from Finding Sky - this gives continuity and makes the reader look forward to seeing how the characters develop in future titles.  I like the fact this book is set in the UK, making a familiar setting for British readers - so many in this genre are set in the US.

Geekhood by Andy Robb

At 14, Archie is an utter and complete geek. He can control his virtual world but the real world is a very different thing. With problems that include warring parents, a crass step-father, bullies and rubbish hair nothing seems to be in his favour. But then, a beautiful girl appears on the scene. This is a book which really gets under the skin of teenage angst and insecurities and it will resonate with many a teenage boy. Archie is a believable, funny and endearing character, firmly rooted in today's world and with traits many boys will see in themselves. It is beautifully written and adults who want to understand their teen (especially a geeky teen) will do well to read the book.

Why We Broke up by Daniel Handler

An intriguing and unusual approach to a break-up. When Min and Ed break up, MIn gives Ed a letter and a box of artefacts wich together explain why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a cinema ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of earrings, a comb from a motel room, and many other items reflecting the course of an intense relationship are illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. Each item is pictured in full colour in fascinating drawings by Maira Kalman. The idea of a box could catch on!

White Dolphin by Gill Lewis

Following the huge success of Sky Hawk, this is Gill Lewis's second novel. It's a thoughtful and engrossing book, set in Cornwall, with a gentle yet emphatic environmental message - it is also a sensitive portrayal of a person with cerebral palsy. Kara and her new friend Felix work together to save an injured dolphin and then turn their attention to trying to stop dredging in the bay. But can they win against the powerful forces that are working against them? A pacy story and well-decscribed characters create a well-rounded and enjoyable story. There is much here for the reader to learn about marine conservation, with facts and links. A well plotted story which engages the reader from the start and shows how we all the the opportunity to make a difference./td>

The Forgotten Echo (The Remarkable Adventures of Tom Scatterhorn) by Henry Chancellor

Tom's old enemy, Don Gervase Askary, is up to his evil tricks again and Tom knows he has to try and stop him. As he sets off on another exciting adventure, in and out of time and travelling to places far and wide, Tom encounters danger from every side. Things he sees in the future could have a devastating impact on his life and the lives of those he loves. But is the future set in stone? Or can Tom's actions now rewrite the future and make for a happier ending? As Tom sets out on a near-impossible mission, he is helped by friends old and new, but in the end it will all come down to him and whether he can defeat Don Gervase Askary and his beetle army. This breathtaking climax to the Tom Scatterhorn trilogy will grip readers from the first page to the last-get ready for a non-stop adventure!

Viper's Nest (The Cate Carlisle Files) by Isla Whitcroft

Why should boys have all the fun? Now, in the form of feisty 16 year old Cate Carlisle, there's a 21st century Bond figure for girls. On holiday with her mother in Los Angeles, Cate is anticipating swimming and sunshine. But her friends, and some priceless artefacts, go missing from an archaeological dig in Mexico .......... and when she finds her mother's new boyfriend is selling Mexican antiques, Cate's suspicions are aroused. Is she right? This is the third in an exciting series, set in glamorous locations with plenty of action to keep the reader enthralled (and guessing!) from beginning to end. Cate has the environment close to her heart - a topical issue which will interest many readers.

Ibarajo Road by Harry Allen

Charlie and his friends are privileged teens who are given one last chance to redeem themselves following a disastrous bender. Charlie decides to work at a refuge for orphans - but poverty and corruption infiltrate everywhere The novel tackles a series of hard-hitting issues, including poverty, AIDS, drugs and murder. It is not a story for the faint-hearted, but the dark side is balanced by the message of hope in the provision of resources such as schools and hospitals. A dramatic opening sequence has the reader immediately engrossed and wanting to know what happens next, and it sets the scene marvellously for this gripping novel.

Duty Calls - Battle of Britain by James Holland

This book tells the story of a (fictional) pilot - one of the band of very young men who flew bravely to save this country from the Luftwaffe. The danger, excitement and fear is excellently conveyed in this story about Pilot Officer Archie jackson, who is just 19 years of age. He's a character with whom boy readers will find it easy to engage, and this will encourage them to read the book. An excellent evocation of the period which is a great read and also one that will give a good background to studies of the period. Not just for teen readers - I think that those who lived through those dark days will also find it an interesting and nostalgic read.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

A hilarious take on the fairy tale tradition. In fairy tale land; you probably remember the handsome prince, Prince Charming etc - but here they have names and we meet Prince Liam. Prince Frederick. Prince Duncan and Prince Gustav. Each is cast out of his castle for one reason or another, and after they meet, they come across an evil plot. Can they live up to their heroic heritage? Things don't quite run in their favour - but the recounting of their misadventures is hilarious! Great fun.

Goliath (Leviathan) by Scott Westerfield

The culmination of this epic tale is just as exciting and full of suspense as the first two in the trilogy.
Alek and Dylan have returned to the Leviathan and they must pick up Tesla, a Russian inventor who is threatening to destroy half the world.  The aspects of the story started in the first two volumes come together here in a gripping finale, as the many threads are drawn together to a satisfying conclusion. The characters are well-rounded and the touch of romance will appeal. Make sure you read the series in order though, or you are missing out on a real treat.

Silenced by Simon Packham

Chris needs to talk, but he can’t. He lost the power of speech completely when his best friend, Declan, died in a car crash. As months pass, school friends give up on him and only eco-freak Ariel and a suspiciously friendly new boy, Will, are left. While Will encourages increasingly dangerous ways for Chris to forget Declan, Ariel realises her silent friend is hiding something. But what is Chris’s terrifying secret? And will he find his voice before it’s too late?

Signs of Love by Melody James

At last, Gemma has the opportunity to work on an actual article for the school webzine. But it involves working with annoying senior news reporter, Will Bold, who doesn't want Gemma's help. Regardless, Gemma throws herself into the role of undercover journalist with unexpected results...Her mystic alter-ego, Jessica Jupiter, is still proving to be a hit amongst the students of Green Park - and as her last project of getting Treacle and Jeff together worked out so well, Gemma's keen to use her new found cupid-status to help Savannah in a love dilemma.

City of Swords by Mary Hoffman

This is the gripping conclusion to the Stravaganza series. Laura is a Stravagante - she can travel through time and space. She stravagates with her talisman to sixteenth-century Fortezza, a town similar to Lucca in Italy and meets her Stravagante, a swordsmith. She also meets the charming and attractive Ludo, and falls for him. Their love for each other is tested when Ludo lays claim to the crown of Fortezza, and Laura finds herself fighting on the side of the Stravaganti opposing him.

Million Dollar Gift by Ian Somers

Ross Bentley has a strange gift -  the gift of telekinesis but he keeps it hidden, even from those closest to him. But when he learns of The Million Dollar Gift, a contest in which the organisers have challenged anyone to prove they have a superhuman skill, he can't let this opportunity go by and enters the contest. He stuns the organisers by passing every test and wins the prize money. But his identity is exposed and he becomes famous overnight - not what he wanted, especially when he becomes targeted by deadly enemies.

Thyme Running Out by Pamela Oxridge

Now released in paperback, this is the enthralling and eagerly-awaited sequel to Justin Thyme. The plot is intriguing and complex and keeps the reader guessing all the way through. Yet again, Justin's life is thrown into chaos by the curse that lies on his family. There are many questions to which he needs the answers.  Will he finally unmask Agent X and his spy? Has Evelyn Garnet stolen his wristwatch? What's making Eliza the gorilla act so aggressively? Why is Sir Willoughby planning a secret trip in the time machine? And where has Justin's sister, Robyn, mysteriously vanished to? Only Nanny Verity knows the truth - but can she be found before it's too late? Another excellent read and one which will be particularly enjoyed by boys - but read Justin Thyme first! Read an extract online.

Blood Moon by Alyxandra Harvey

The Drake Chronicles, of which this this is the fifth book, form a gripping and slightly unsettling series which keeps the reader of the edge of her seat. When the vampire tribes convene for the rare Blood Moon ceremonies, family secrets and forbidden magic put all of the Drakes in danger. Nicholas is caught between saving his little sister, Solange, or his girlfriend, Lucy. Who will he choose? This is a dark novel, realted from the viewpoint of Lucy, Solange and Nicholas.

 
 

Loose Connections by Rosemary Hayes

A touching story about families, seen through the eyes of a teenage boy. While Jake’s dad is away and his mum in hospital, Granny is supposed to be looking after Jake - but as it happens, it is Jake looking after Granny. She has become forgetful and confused and Jake tries to look after her himself, without worrying his parents. Help is on hand, in an unexpected form - but Jake then has to help with a neighbour withy learning difficulties. It is a positive and realistic story and one which would be excellent for introducing young people to the topic of dementia. It is also very relevant to the many young people in the position of being carers for older ones and gives an insight into their lives. A thoughtful story with an element of mystery. 

A Waste of Good Paper by Sean Taylor 

When Jason's teacher Pete asks Jason to write a journal, it is not a waste of paper at all but a thought-provoking insight into the day-to-day life of Jason, a boy at a school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It explores his life at school and his troubled home life, with a mother who has just given up drugs, whose violent boyfriend has just returned. The storyline is gritty and emotional, but there is some light relief in the relationships between the pupils. The diary format will appeal to teenagers, who will find they are quickly drawn into Jason's life in this compelling and eye-opening book. 

At Yellow Lake by Jane McLoughlin

Told from the perspective of three teenagers, who are at Yellow Lake for very different reasons, this is a gripping story. Jonah is at Yellow Lake to get in touch with his Native American roots. Peter has come all the way from England to bury a lock of his mother’s hair – her final request. Etta’s on the run from her mother’s frightening boyfriend and his criminal friends. As the three take shelter in a cabin by the shore of the lake, they soon understand that they have stumbled onto the scene of a horrifying crime. Will they leave the lake alive?
 

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

The third book in the Shade trilogy provides a gripping conclusion.  Aura is determined to unlock the mysteries of the Shift and her role in it. Logan is finally ready to pass on, and after an emotional farewell, Aura can at last move on and admit her feelings for Zachery. But when the government threatens her and Zachery in an attempt to discover what she knows, Aura knows that now more than ever she must protect herself and the ones she loves.  The other books are Shade and Shift (Shade Trilogy)

Pop! by Catherine Bruton

Many of us are intrigued by the world and people who enter TV shows in the hope they will become famous. They should read this book! The story revolves around three children who decide to enter a TV talent show in the hope it will resolve the problems in their lives. "The story of me, Agnes, Jimmy and baby Alfie too; the tears, the tragedy, the broken homes and feuding families, the star-crossed lovers. And only some of it was made up. If I say so myself, it was genius: a sure-fire golden ticket to stratospheric stardom. Or at least that was the plan..."

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Elise's father, who has died, left a series of eight letters for his daughter, one for each birthday. The story explores what she finds. Despite the US setting of this book, 11+ readers in this country will recognise many of the feelings and happenings recounted in this story of 11 year old Elise, who is a very believable character. One of the themes of the book is bullying, along with love, death and family relationships. All are sensitively handled in a story that will grip the reader from early in the book and stay with you after finishing the book.

1.4 by Mike Lancaster

It's a brave new world. In the far future, people no longer know what to believe...Did Kyle Straker ever exist? Or were his prophecies of human upgrades nothing more than a hoax? Peter Vincent is nearly 16, and has never thought about the things that Strakerites believe. His father - David Vincent, creator of the artificial bees that saved the world's crops - made sure of that. When the Strakerites pronounce that another upgrade is imminent, Peter starts to uncover a conspiracy amongst the leaders of the establishment, a conspiracy that puts him into direct conflict with his father. But it's not a good idea to pick a fight with someone who controls all the artificial bees in the world.

Devoted by Hilary Duff

In the second book in the trilogy (Elixir is the first) Clea is back and is still searching for the answers about her missing father and her connection with the elusive and dangerous Sage. But will her discoveries put her in even greater danger? The story is full of intriguing twists and turns and will leave the reader eager to read the concluding book.

Hurricane Gold (Young 007) by Charlie Higson

This is a really exciting and gripping series, perfect for adventure fans of 11+. Criminals go to the Caribbean island of Lagrimas Negras to hide. Flying ace Jack Stone leaves his children safely (he hopes with James Bond, but a gang of vicious thieves lie in wait and they will stop at nothing to gain the contents of Jack's safe. A dangerous chase through the Mexican jungle ensues. A fast-paced adventure that continues the series which introduces readers to the activities of the young 007.

The Youngstars by Ursula Jones

The book is set in 1930s Britain - the time of the Depression - and much of the action is centred on Liverpool. It features a troupe of youngsters performing in variety shows as `young stars'. Their evil manager forces them to work and takes most of their earnings. A remarkable secret is exposed and an intriguing mystery unfolds in the pages of this gripping novel.  It is superbly written, with many elements of comedy. The twists and turns of the plot keep the reader involved. The accurately portrayed historical background of the book is thought provoking and enlightening.

 Whatever Love Is by Rosie Rushton

Just as Jane Austen's Fanny Price was sent to live with wealthy relatives who introduced her to a whole new social scene, so our modern day heroine Frankie Price follows in her footsteps. She finds it all a bit much to cope with, but when her friend Ned comes under the spell of Alice, Frankie realises it is time to take action. Written with a real grasp of teen emotions, this is a good story. This is the sixth book in the 21st Century Jane Austen series - they are well worth a read!

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

We live in a world where an inordinate number of people seem to be obsessed with their looks, and this, the first title in a dystopian trilogy, takes the reader into a world where 16 year olds have surgery to make them 'Pretty'. Tally is all set to be made Pretty, when her new friend Shay goes to live with the Uglies. Tally learns she will never be made Pretty unless she betrays the Uglies. discovers the horrifying results of the surgery, and falls in love, she has some hard decisions to make. The book tackles the issues in a meaningful and thought-provoking way and really encourages young people to think about perfection as opposed to individuality.

The Horse Road by Troon Harrison

Kalisto's nomad mother has passed on her riding skills to her daughter, and Kallisto loves her horses. She sees the Chinese army approaching her city, obviously intent on stealing the horses. When she reaches home, she finds all the horses are gone. A brave challenge results in her regaining her beloved horse, Swan - with a condition.  A gripping read which is a fascinating insight into Chinese culture. Fact and fiction are enticingly interwoven in this story, which is the first in a trilogy of equestrian adventures, each to be set in a different country and era. A fast-moving story with a fearless heroine.

Song Quest by Katherine Roberts

The story is based in a school for singers - singers whose songs can be powerful forces for good and evil. Three young singers are sent to the rescue of the Merlee and find themselves enmeshed in a dangerous fight against the powers of darkness. It is a well written and thought provoking story, with well-drawn rounded characters, whose different personalities add strength to the narrative. Yes, it is a fantasy world, but so well drawn that it becomes real as the reader gets immersed in the story and the fate of the characters. A long-awaited reissue of a wonderful story.

Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby

Rural New Zealand in the 1930s - an unfamiliar setting to most of us, but one which is brought to life by the tales Uncle Trev tells. Uncle Trev has a wonderful fund of tall stories, which he is determined to share despite not being welcomed by Mum, who fears (and rightly so) that he will upset her organised life. Despite that, Uncle Trev has a strong sense of family and his retellings of these tales is important for the closeness of the family and the local community. The vivid use of language should inspire young writers. Oral storytelling is essential for all the preservation of all cultures and this is a wonderful example of a fascinating tradition. There is wonder and amazement in every tale, even about the simplest of subjects; a gentle humour shines through although there is also a serious aspect to many of the tales. A wonderful book for reading aloud.

The Secrets of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams and Deborah Beale

This is certainly no ordinary farm! Instead of cows and sheep, this farm is home to dragons, unicorns, flying monkeys... Tyler and Lucinda have returned to a far-from-ordinary place for the summer. This summer, everything has changed - security fences are everywhere and Ordinary Farm is in no small danger. Shortly after Uncle Gideon declares he wants to leave the farm to Tyler and Lucinda, he goes missing, and the children suspect the evil hand of the witch-housekeeper, Mrs. Needle. But then Gideon just as mysteriously returns, weak and unwell. Mrs. Needle persuades him that the children are conspiring against him and, suddenly, horribly, the tables are turned... So begins an adventure to save the farm, involving a magnificent dragon, magic mirrors and a haunted mine.  

The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen

I must confess to a liking for historical novels and this book is a cut above many. By day, Sophie is a conventional young woman, attending balls and masqurades but by night she turns into a highway robber, risking her life on the roads. Sophie is a strong heroine, especially when we consider the constraints placed on young women of her time. The story shows clearly how limited were the options for young ladies. She stands out against the cruel gtreatment by her father, and finds romance - but will she risk revealing all? The historical detail, and especially the descriptions of Bath, are accurate and fascinating. The ending is not what I anticipated and I wonder if there is more to come? An excellent read - for teens and adults.

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Rosaline and Rob are childhood friends. Their friendship gradually evolves into something deeper and more meaningful, and when Rob returns after the summer break and asks Rosaline on a sort-of date, it seems they are destined to become a couple, just as Rosaline always knew they would be. But when Juliet, an embittered person, arrives on the scene, the new relationship seems doomed to failure, as  it looks as if Rosaline might be about to lose her best friend and her new boyfriend... Echoes of Romeo and Juliet weave through this skillfully narrated novel.

The One Dollar Horse by Lauren St John

Fifteen year old Casey Blue lives in Hackney with her ex-convict father. So she can spend as much time as possible with her beloved horses, Casey volunteers at a local riding school. She rescues a starving, half-wild horse - could this be the way to make her dream of becoming a Three Day Event champion? Storm Warning is a hard horse for her to train, but Casey's guts and determination make the impossible seem as though it may just be possible. She has the full support of her father, despite is past mistakes but she also has to contend with or the distraction of a boy with whom she refuses to fall in love. The reality of the background makes this a gripping read and it gives a fascinating inside into the world of top level equestrianism. Casey is an inspiring heroine, who is determined to reach her goals and she is an excellent role model.

The Ghost Roads by Eoin McNamee

I find it hard to review the third in a trilogy when I have not read the prequels. I would always advise reading a series like thgis in the right order, to enjoy the development of plot and character, and to get the best from the story. Ambrose Longford,leader of the Ring of Five, Ambrose Longford, is still determined to control both the Upper World and Lower World. But Danny and his friends at Wilsons School for Spies stand in his way. As Danny struggles with his role in the spy world, Longford is attempting to bring down the other members of the Ring, to usurp all of its power. Or is he? In this exhilarating conclusion to the Ring of Five trilogy, Eoin McNamee's twists and turns will leave readers wondering who they can believe...
   

 Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

An emotional story about not judging on appearances and about learning to accept and live with loss. ...After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred - physically and mentally. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Things change when she meets Ryan, and the telling of the story from the perspective of both makes it easy to identify with these two strong characters. This book is a refreshing change from the plethora of paranormal books which are so popular with young adults. We can all learn a lot from this story.

Warsuit 1.0 (Quicksilver) by James Lovegrove

Od Fitch hates everything about his life -  living in the middle of nowhere, the fact that his mum is dead, his dad is too wrapped up in his research to notice him, and school which is too easy. But Od's father is not the mild-mannered genius that Od believed him to be - he has been designing the most powerful weapon known to mankind, Warsuit 1.0. Od gets trapped into a terrifying race against time. Quicksilver is a new series for 11+ readers, designed to engage them quickly with fast moving plots in reasonable length books.

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

Sherry and her family have been sealed up inside a bunker for over three years, and this experience is realistically and scarily portrayed. Finally they have to venture out in search of food. Not only is there a devastated world to face, but The Weepers, who are savage mutant killers. Sherry enlists the help of Joshua when her father is captured by them. There are elements of reality in the book, which only serve to make it darker and more frightening. It is emotional and hard-hitting, but the reader is drawn in and almost mesmerised by the characters and the extraordinary events taking place. A powerful debut novel.

Million Dollar Mates: Golden Girl by Cathy Hopkins

This is the fourth book in waht is an ideal series for girls with aspirations! Jess and Pia are backhome revising, while all their friends from upmarket Porchester Park are enjoying exotic holidays. But then Jess's new boyfriend, JJ, asks them to join him and his family on a 7 star, all-expenses paid trip to India! It's a dream come true for Jess - until she arrives and realises she's not the only golden girl with her heart set on JJ...  There's a great website for all fans of the series at www.milliondollarmates.co.uk.

Drive By by Jim Carrington

Something that started as a cruel but relatively harmless prank goes badly wrong when the victim dies. Johnny is wracked with remorse and when he starts waking up every night feeling a presence in his room he becomes convinced that the old lady is haunting him. The reader too might well be haunted by this chilling story, which shows how easily events can spiral out of control. A powerful novel that will really hit the mark with young adults who have made a bad decision and had to face up to the consequences. The author has a real gift for writing compelling fiction that gets to the heart of teen anguish.

Breaking the Circle (The Maya Brown Missions) by S M Hall 

This sequel to Circle of Fire sees the feisty character that is Maya further develop, both in character and in the skills she hopes to refine as she follows her mother's footsteps as a Special Agent. Breaking the Circle is a gritty novel dealing with the controvesrial and emotive topics of immigration and drug dealing, so it will inevitably give rise to some strong feelings. Maya is mugged on the way home from school and finds herself closely involved with the muggers and especially with Kay who seems to be another victim. Maya is determined to help Kay but finds herself immersed in the dark side of city life.

 Poison Most Vial by Benedict Carey

A book for all young murder mtystery fans! Famous forensic scientist Dr. Ramachandran is dead and Ruby Rose's father is the prime suspect. It's down to Ruby to prove that her father did not murder his boss and she needs to enlist all the help she can from her new neighbours.  It's not a promising list - there's T-rex,  two weird kids from school and a strange old lady in the apartment upstairs - perhaps her knowledge of chemistry will come in handy?  Ruby learns that really thinking about a problem, getting absorbed in it, can help reach a solution - with the aid of chemistry.  Publication date 1 April 2012.

 The Great and Dangerous (Ministry of Pandemonium) by Chris Westwood

Ben Harvester and Becky Sanborne are clocking off after a normal shift at the Ministry of Pandemonium, guiding the souls of the newly-dead to the afterlife - not a normal job to most people but an intriguing setting for a story. The enemy are keen for revenge and a freak tornado that destroys Becky's house is only the start. Ben and Becky try to reconcile their two lives and the story os full of excitement - fast-paced and enthralling. The cliffhanger at the end will have you anxiously awaiting the third book in the trilogy - but do read this series in order, or you may find it hard to understand just what is happening.

Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Kevin Crossley-Holland is a wonderful storyteller who writes compellingly and whose historical novels have brought history alive for many readers. He writes with passion and a real enthusiasm for his subject and the reader is immediately drawn into the tale of Solveig. She is a feisty Viking woman who is determined to help her father in his quest to find Harold Hardrada, despite the fact her father went back on his promise to take her with him. On her journey, she meets up with many different people, all of whom help us understand the age in which Solveig lives. Edith is a fascinating character, whose Christian faith contrasts strongly with the violence that lies at the heart of Viking culture. On her journey, Solveig learns about  tolerance, friendship and loyalty. This is the first of a trilogy - Viking Sagas - and I am already eagerly awaiting the next book.

 Hallowed: An Unearthly Novel by Cynthia Hand

Part-angel Clara is still reeling from the choice she was forced to make amidst the vicious forest fire of her nightmares. Now, torn between her love for Tucker and a destiny that will separate them, Clara is faced with another shocking revelation: someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows is that the fire was just the beginning. This is the captivating sequel to Unearthly and we learn much more about Clara and her family. The religious element is stronger in this story and that may not appeal to everyone, bit the strength of writing about the characters should overcome this. A definite tear-jerker. 
 

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge

A Victorian heroine who, constrained by the mores of Victorian England, has to hide behind the identity of another. 13 year old Penelope Tredwell is the orphan heiress of the bestselling magazine, The Penny Dreadful. She writes atmospherically chilling stories which are widely acclaimed and one day a letter from the governor of the Bedlam madhouse draws her into terrifying reality way beyond anything her imagination could have thought up. At 12 minutes to midnight every night, the inmates of Bedlam are waking up and writing - what horrors are going to be unleashed as snippets of the future are revealed? A gripping story which brings Victorian London vividly to life.

 Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Why 'Choker'? An embarrassing incident in the cafeteria led to Cara's nickname, and explains why she is so anxious to avoid a certain group of girls. Cara is a loner,  having moved away from her best friend before the story starts - but Zoe comes back to Cara, looking for a safe refuge from her parents. Cara's initial joy at having Zoe back dies down as strange things start to happen and people go missing. What is happening to Zoe? She is turning into a strange and eerie character and Cara can no longer overlook what is going on. A dark psychological novel with deep undercurrents and with a spine-chilling build up towards the end.

Pulse: A Siren Book by Tricia Rayburn

Pulse is the second book in this paranormal romance trilogy.  The book opens with Vanessa being shown around a college campus, and being very aware that her sister, who died recently. A seemingly ordinary start but we soon learn that Vanessa's sister was murdered by sirens - femme fatales of the watery depths. Vanessa discovers that everything she believed about herself and her family was a lie and she worries that if her boyfriend finds out who - or what - she truly is, he'll run a mile. I must confess that this is not my favourite genre, butit is hugely popular with teen readers, who will find Pulse an enthralling read with an intriguing heroine.

Lilah May's Manic Days by Vanessa Curtis

In this follow-up to The Taming of Lilah May Lilah May has finally got her temper under control... or has she? Things with her best friend, Bindi, are going from bad to worse - and she needs Bindi's support to help her control her temper. There's a lot going on in her life  - her brother Jay is still missing and gorgeous Adam Carter is still out of reach. When Jay returns, the family must re-adapt. Will she keep calm? Vanessa Curtis has portrayed adolescent emotions well in the funny and moving book for 11+ girls.

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

I had seen such great reviews of this book and I was delighted to receive my review copy - and I certainly wasn't disappointed! It is a heart-warming account of Asperger's Syndrome sufferer Caitlin and her struggle to come to terms with the murder of her brother. The author has really got inside her character and Caitlin's emotions and way of thinking really draw the reader into her world - a world many of us find hard to understand. Following the development of Caitlin;s character is gripping. The relationship between Caitlin and her father is strenghtened by working together on a project - finishing Devon's Eagle Scout project - which can only be done with the help of the community. A poignant and well-writtenstory, elements of which will remain with the reader long after the last page is read and from which we will, hopefully, take away valuable lessons.

India Dark by Kirsty Murray

An unusual background for a book - a group of Australian singers and dancers making their way across early 20th century India. The atmospheric story takes us right to the heart of India, as one disaster after another befalls the two girls. The performers stage a strike against their manager and a court case will decide their fate. The story is narrated in turn by the two girls and I must confess to finding this device a little hard to follow, although it gets easier as the reader gets to know the characters. The book has you geussing all the way - what is the scandal? Which girl is telling the truth? Excellently researched, the book makes an enthralling adaptation of a true story.

Poppy's Hero by Rachel Billington

Shocked to see her father behind bars, pale and in prison clothing, Poppy, who is convinced of his innocnece, determines to free him. The escape plans hatched up by Poppy and Will are far-fetched - and foiled when her father is moved to an island prison for five years. Poppy learns the importance of friendship and family. A realistic portrait of what life is like for children brought up, through no fault of their own, in criminal families, portrayed through the eyes of the angry and confused Poppy.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Prue McKeel's baby brother is kidnapped by crows and thus begins an adventure that will take her and her friend Curtis way beyond her hometown and deep into the Impassable Wilderness. They uncover a secret world as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. To me, the story has echoes of children's classics such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and authors such as Philip Pullman. Ideal for readers of 9+ who want a long engrossing story that they can really get stuck into, with really attractive black and white illustrations by Carson Ellis. Find out more at http://www.wildwoodchronicles.com/. Published 8/03/12.

Educating Jack by Jack Sheffield

Those of us who have been eagerly awaiting the resolution to the cliffhanger Jack left us with at the end of Please Sir! will welcome this latest book... but I am not going to put you out of your misery! You must buy the book and read it for yourself. All our favourite characters are here and of course Jack's trademark well-researched pieces of social history are well to the fore. I am sure that many people are, like me, transported back to an earlier age - and are always saying 'I remember that!' as they enjoy Jack's humorous reminiscences - here are Dallas shoulder pads and BBC Breakfast Time and plenty more. His love for teaching shines through in these books and the way he describes children's foibles really brings them to life. This time, there is no cliffhanger ending.... I do hope that does not mean no more books.

 

Scattering Like Light by S C Ransom

In the third book of the Small Blue Thing trilogy, Alex knows there must be a way that she and Callum can be together, despite the vastly different worlds they inhabit. Things are further complicated when Max appears on the scene - yet another compelling character masterfully depicted. How far is Alex prepared to go in pursuit of her dreams? The unexpected twists and turns have kept the reader gripped throughout the first two books and there is always a concern as to whether this will be kept up. In this case, I am glad to say the third book did not disappoint. But do read the others first!

This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees

This is nothing like Celia Rees' previous historical novels - this is an altogether darker more gritty tale, but still a masterful story. Jamie is mesmerised by Caro and the mysteries surrounding her, despite warnings about her. The reader is drawn to his character and I certainly found myself wishing he would see Caro for what she is before getting hurt. It is a deep book which explores political issues which may well be unfamiliar to the audience. Persevere with this compelling novel and and if you are a fan of psychological dramas you will be glad! It's an emotional story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

The Devil's Triangle: The Eye of the Storm by Mark Robson

The Bermuda Triangle has long been the subject of speculation and Mark Robson draws on that mystery in a compelling way in his series about the myths that surround the area. In the second book of the series, Sam and Callum are stranded in a strange parallel world.  They have joined Sam's mother's rebel group, who are trying to stop the raptor species from creating even bigger holes in the fabric between the two worlds. Sam is desperate to get home, but what will he have to do to get there? Back home, Niamh is trying to uncover the truth about the boys' disappearance but can she do it before her father is convicted of murder? Fast-paced and gripping, the story races to its conclusion, drawing the reader in and ensuring they want to read on to the end.

Hollow Earth by John and Carole E Barrowman

Matt and Emily are no ordinary twins  -they are half Animare, and half Guardian . Their insight into the thoughts of each other goes way beyond that unusual bond and closeness so many twins have. At times in our own world, the bond between twins can seem quite uncanny, so imagine a closeness that way exceeds that, coupled with an ability to bring art alive and even to enter into the world of a painting through the power of imagination, and you have a fascinating premise for a story. Their powers grow through the story and their skills place them in great danger - can their Grandfather's powers help them? The potential is huge and there is plenty of scope for more gripping adventures. See the interactive website at http://www.hollow-earth.co.uk/ for lots of facts and activities to enjoy.

 

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

This is the first in a new trilogy for young adult readers. Em loves the winter holidays and this year, things look promising - but there's a problem; the boy she fancies is going out with her best friend. And he has problems of his own - he has done something cruel and he can't keep it hidden. As with many of this genre, it is set in the US. There are two facets to this book which work well together. The contemporary story takes us into the lives of some strong feisty teens, who, like us all, have their faults and are all the more realistic for it. The paranormal aspect, a genre which is hugely popular with the YA audience, is interwoven through the book with many unexpected twists and turns. A gripping start to the new series that leaves you wanting to read on.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

This is a powerful story, told by a soldier who was based in Afghanistan. It tells the story of Zulaikha, a girl who suffers from a cleft lip and who had surgery arranged by the US army. Zulaikha is anxious to go to school and is thrilled to meet Meena, who teaches her the poetry so loved by her mother and who supports her in her desire for learning. It is a tale of humanity amidst the outrages of war and conveys a strong message of hope growing out of disaster. The characters, especially Zulaikha, are sensitively written and the reader really gets drawn into her world  - a world which is fast changing - and desperately hopes she will rise above her problems. 

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. Somehow, she came back to life. But what sort of life when she has a strange ability to sense death? When she meets Jason, who has recently come out of a coma, she thinks she might find the answer but he is not what he seems. A poignant and intriguing read which will give you plenty to ponder over.
 

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

Eloise didn't believe in the world of Faery - until she's abducted by Lord Strahan, King of Faery who uses her as a lure to capture her aunt. An adventurous and addictive read full of action with plenty of touches of humour.. It gives the reader two separate romances and two heroines to root for - Jo is a wild character with a real sense of humour. Her love affair with Eldric is stromg and gripping. Eloise is a loyal but gentle character who puts friends and  family first. THe story moves fast and is easy to follow. An enjoyable read.

Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume

Sally is an imaginative girl and she loves making up stories - but sometimes she can't quite separate real life from her imagination. But even escaping into a fantasy world can't help when her brother's illness means the family must separate and she struggles to come to terms with her new life. Judy Blume has a wonderful way of getting right inside the life of teen girls and creating characters girls can really emphasise with - Sally is one of her best characters. This has given her books an enduring popularity - hence this re-issue. Despite being set in 1947, the book has a real meaning for today's reader.

Lost on Brier Island by Jo Ann Yhard

14 year old Alex's life has suffered devastating tragedy and she is sent to spend the summer on Brier Island with her aunt. It seems that everyone knows everyone else's business and that is the last thing Alex needs----------- or is it? Gradually the beauty of the island and its quirky inhabitants work their magic.,When Alex forms a special bond with a baby whale, she gradually starts to heal - until she is faced with a life or death struggle. An emotional and powerful story, with a stunning setting, and which addresses some complex issues, this is an excellent read for early teens.

The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard

There's almost too much going on in 13 year old Grace's life -  her father’s mysterious death, her mother’s erratic parenting, and her creepy nosy neighbour. She escapes, with her friends, by searching for fossils.  Grace receives a strange note regarding her father’s death which sees th efriends turning into detectives - and finding themselves in danger as they race to resolve the mystery. The setting is credible, the characters believable and the background of fossil hunting accurate. It's an exciting and fast-moving story that will appeal to lovers of the traditional adventure story.

The One Dollar Horse by Lauren St John

 Lauren St John is already well-established as a popular author for younger children and here she moves to a slightly older market. Cassie loves horses but her inner city life holds out little hope of her fulfilling her dream to become a three-day-eventer. One day she rescues and horse and gradually, as she works with him, she realises his true potential. But disaster strikes when she thinks her dreams could come true. Is this the end of her hopes? A well-written story that takes the reader into the competitive world of equestrianism.

Signs of Love: Love Match by Melody James

Another new series for tweens and a great way to ensure that this age group continue the enthusiasm that hopefully they developed for reading when younger. Gemma dreams of being a journalist but her first 'job' on the Green Park School ezine is writing horoscopes. Hardly the start she had wanted, but she makes the most of her opportunity to help her friends' love lives along. Astrology, friendship and romance - a great combination to capture the atention of the tween market. 

 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Can life get any more weird for Mara than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there? You would think not, but there is far more strangeness to come, when she tries to find out more about the mysterious accident of which she was the only survivor. Despite moving right away from the area, she cannot escape the horror. Will she find love again? A gripping and haunting story which will appeal to fans of paranormal and romance. 

 

Smoulder by Brenna Yovanoff

Life as the youngest daughter of the Devil is hard and Daphne feels close to nobody except her brother. When he goes missing, she sets off to Earth to find him, and finds it a brutal but fascinating world.  She meets Truman and they go in search of her brother, braving the hazards of Las Vegas and the perils of first love. Can she save both these boys who have become close to her? A compelling and dark read.

   

Moominvalley in November by Tove Jansson 

This, the last in the Moomin series, has a very different feel to most of the rest of the series. Winter is coming and the arrival of the Moomins is eagerly awaited. But they don't come. Instead, a group of diverse creatures engage in thought-provoking discussions of life, which linger in the reader's mind long after the last page is read. Atmospheric and somewhat surreal, the atmosphere is enhanced by Jove Jansson's evocative illustrations.

Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem 

Based on a true story, this is an atmospheric adventure with a feisty heroine. Set in Ethiopia, it is the story of 13 year old Lucy, whose mother is the US Ambassador. Both of her parents are focussed on their careers and Lucy does not get to see anything of the exciting country - until she is kidnapped and has to make her own way home through the dangers of a countryside of which she knows nothing except through books. Lucy's flashbacks provide an interesting extra dimension to this gripping novel, which gives a real insight into the country.

Deep Deep Down by Garrett Carr

Around a hidden lake in the mountains is a perfect place. The people there live long and contented lives. But not for much longer...Andrew, May and Ewan will destroy everything. Unless the mystery that awaits deep, deep down destroys them first... A wonderfully related story which interweaves myths and legends with exciting modern-day action.

New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin

Sam starts at a new school - she is the only one going there from her primary school and she is dreading it. Right from the start, she is picked on by a group of bullies, who make her life a misery - until gradually she starts to make some friends. Sam loves performing on stage - could her love of this help her in summoning uo the courage to face the bullies? It's a realistic story, that will strike a chord with readers. It helps us understand both the bully and the bullied and hopefully will strengthen its readers and help them handle the issue of bullying. 

Teacher, Teacher by Jack Sheffield

This is the first in a series of books about a Headteacher in the Yorkshire Dales in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Jack brings to life a varied cast of characters and by the end of the story we feel we know them really well. The book is filled with hilarious anecdotes as we follow a year in the life of Ragley School. The period is wonderfully evoked and all those who lived through the time will be saying 'Oh yes, I remember it well.' The attention to detail is fascinating and the charachers are brilliantly drawn - you feel as though you were there in the classroom or around the village.

Adventures of a Wimpy Werewolf - Hairy but not Scary by Tim Collins

What an age to become a werewolf! Luke was a normal, albeit rather studious, boy.   Strange dreams merge into reality as weird changes start to take place. Just what is happening? A hilarious account of Luke's attempts to come to terms with his strange new identity as he moves between two worlds. Packed with entertaining and embarrassing incidents, the comic cartoons and the hand-written diary layout are perfect for the target market.Brilliantly wtitten, the series combines elements of  Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series with Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and will appeal to fans of both.

 Blood Runner by James Riordan

Samuel's parents are killed by the South African police and he is sent to live with his uncle, while his brother vows to avenge their  parents' lives. Samuel finds he is a gifted runner and he aims high - the Olympics, no less. A powerful story about the reality of growing up in South Africa under Apartheid, written with huge understanding and compassion. The two contrasting paths of the borthers give an insight into different ways of combating prejudice and make this a really though-provoking book which brings home to readers the reality of Apartheid.

 Sea of Tears by Floella Benjamin

After 20 years in South London, Jasmine's parents decide to return to the security of Barbados. But hiw will Jasmine adapt? Her parents just want what they think is best for her - but she doesn't perceive it in the same way. All she has known is life in London and she makes a foolhardy attempt to return. In a reversal of the more common scenario, Jasmine finds herself the victim of prejidice in her native country. It is a compassionately written story of migration, bullying and friendship, which raises all sorts of topics for discussion and would make a great classroom read. A book for 12+, which raises some disturbing issues, but in a sensitive and touching way.

Lost Christmas by David Logan

Goose's life changes totally when his parents are killed. His friend Frank involves him in a life of petty crime. A year after the accident that killed his parents, Goose's dog Mutt goes missing and he has to turn to the mysterious Anthony for help. A gripping and heartwarming story takes the reader across Manchester on a journey through love, loss and the quest for home and belonging. The characters are realistically portrayed and the reader shares their sense of loss and sorrow. A TV film of the book is to be shown in December 2011, so get in now and read the book!

The Dead Ways by Christopher Edge 

An unusual proposal - the government intends to close down the motorway network to clean up the environment - but what terrors will this unleash? A fast-paced story, with the reader drawn quickly into the action as you share with Scott in his adventures.This is a strong and scary story with Scott caught up in a deadly race against time. This is a great read, especially for boys and an ideal book to encourage less enthusiastic boy readers as the fast-paced activity will draw them in.

Playground 50 Cent

'The mostly true story of a former bully'. Butterball doesn't have much going for him - his parents have separated, he has moved to a school and area, and his weight is ballooning out of control. When Butterball attacks Maurice in the playground, he is sent to a counsellor. The reason behind his behaviour reamains hidden and the suspense is built up as finally - and unexpectedly - the real reason comes to light; the clues are there for the discerning reader.The settings are realistic, the characters credible and this important issue is brought to light in an accessible way. A recommended read for all those who wonder just how it is bullies are made.

 Devoted by Hilary Duff

The sequel to Elixir finds Clea still searching for the answers about her missing father and her connection with the elusive and dangerous Sage. But will her discoveries put her in even greater danger? Secrets, a mysterious underworld and dark romance combine to make a gripping read.

 Prized by Caragh O'Brien

In this, the sequel to Birthmarked, Gaia ventures into the wasteland with her baby sister, Maya, hoping to find a settlement rumoured to lbe in the Dead Forest. When Peter finds her, she is close to death. Sylum, where he takes her, has as many strict laws as the Enclave and when Maya is taken from her, Gaia is forced to stay and submit to their strict social code, or risk losing her sister forever. The future is bleak for the village and Gaia is determined to uncover the secrets of the village, whatever it takes. When Leon is also captured, Gaia faces a tough choice between Leon and Peter. When the decisions you make affect the lives of everyone around you, how can you be sure you're making the right choices?

 Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie

It's two years after the events of Girl, Missing and life is not getting any easier for sixteen-year-old Lauren, as exam pressure and a recent family tragedy take their toll. Lauren's birth mother takes Lauren and her two sisters on holiday in the hope that some time together will help, but a few days into the holiday one of the sisters disappears, under circumstances very similar to those in which Lauren was taken years before. Can Lauren save her sister, and stop the nightmare happening all over again?

 Johnny Mackintosh: Battle for Earth by Keith Mansfield

People in London are being taken away in unmarked police vans, never to be seen again... While trying to keep up with his school studies and ensuring his football team stays top of the league, it's Johnny's job to safeguard planet Earth. Suspicious of the strange occurrences, Johnny investigates to find that alien enemies are feeding humans to their Queen on a nearby planet. He then discovers a more terrifying secret: the aliens are planning a devastating invasion of Earth. The battle for Earth will take all of Johnny's and his friends' strength and resolve. Can they win? If they do, what price will they pay to save the world?

Bleeding Hearts by Alyzandra Harvey

Lucy's cousin Christabel has come to live in Violet Hill, and adjusting to the difference between life in a small mountain town and her home in the city is difficult. The strict curfew that Lucy's parents enforce is hard to respect. Surely something really dangerous couldn't possibly happen in this tiny town. But Christabel starts to notice some mysterious happenings, and it seems like Lucy, her boyfriend Nicholas and his brother Connor are all in on a secret that Christabel doesn't understand - one that seems deadly serious. Although she won't admit it, Christabel would love to be in on any secret with Connor Drake. When Christabel is kidnapped by the ruthless Hel-Blar vampires, Lucy and Connor finally fill her in on all the undead drama. Together, they must find a way to stamp out the Hel-Blar for good.  

 Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Vigurie

The Salamancan hunters are at war, and Jenn Leitner, the newly appointed Hunter, must lead the Salamancan hunters into battle against the Cursed Ones. But tensions are running high, and heated arguments threaten to fracture the group, especially after the hunters discovered that Jenn's sister, Heather, has been converted. Struggling to balance leadership and being the Hunter with her desire for revenge against the vampire who converted her sister, Jenn tries hard to over come any personal vendettas as she prepares for battle. But with her beloved Antonio spending every waking moment with her newly-turned vampire sister, and the rest of her team fighting among themselves, Jenn finds her inner strength and trust wavering. And as the Cursed Ones and other sinister powers continue to rage war against humanity, Jenn will learn, along with the rest of the Salamancan hunters, that it is always darkest before dawn...  Published 27/10/11.

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