Book reviews - fiction 11 & over (page 8)

The most recent reviews are at the top of the page, so these are generally the most recently published books.

The Valentines: Happy Girl Lucky​ by Holly Smale

Fans of Holly Smale's wonderful Geek Girl series will be thrilled with this new series, following the lives of the Valentine sisters, Hope, Faith and Mercy. It seems like the girls have everything - fame, success, money and beauty - and it's all come easily. But what is really important? What Hope wants most is love, and she's prepared to go to any lengths to find it... but the real world is far from her romantic imaginings. Family and friendship are the key themes in Hope's search for love. As the book progresses, the reader will warm to this initially rather naive girl whose character develops effectively as the story unfolds. The story is excellently told, with real insight into what teens want to read.

A Tudor Turk (The Chronicles of Will Ryde and Awa Maryam Al-Jameel 1) by Rehan Khan

This atmospheric historical novel is set in Istanbul, 1591. The Staff of Moses, a magical symbol of power, has been stolen from Sultan Murad III. Of course, he wants it back whatever the cost, so a trusted band is assembled to set off in pursuit of the thieves. They are a motley band from many countries, all playing their role in the story and with very different characters to keep interest levels high. The leader is Bosnian Mehmed Konjic, a wise counsellor and natural hero. With its vividly portrayed settings and exciting storyline, this is a powerful and engrossing story. Recently, I have reviewed very little top quality historical fiction for teens, so this fills a gap and I hope will engage a new generation with the genre.

Starting Over by Jack Sheffield

In a departure from the norm, Jack takes us back to earlier days - to Ragley in 1952. Central to the story is Lily, who is starting her first year as a teacher at the village school, under the Headship of John Pruett, who, after his years in the war, has settled into the role of headmaster. Local policeman Tom is on hand too. But can Lily build a new life or will past secrets get in the way? The storyline brings a new dimension to the well-loved series. The author's trademark devotion to accurate period detail (which is a huge part of the charm of his books) is as strong as ever, as we relive - or learn about - a world where TV was new and unusual, children learnt to read with Janet and John and Dairylea Cheese Spread is a new and exciting product. It's wonderful to meet so many of the characters that people the later books - there's Vera, Stan Coe, Big Dave and Little Malcolm, Nora and many more. As ever, full of humour and nostalgia with witty and perceptive observations on village life, coupled with atmospheric descriptions of the surroundings.


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