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All reviews tagged with YA


 

0.4

Fantasy is all too often limited to being considered easy escapism. The old school of science fiction, however, originally more for adult readers, used to see itself as tackling harder issues – meaning of life, etc. – and Mike Lancaster’s brilliant story 0.4 is a welcome addition to old and young readers alike in that…

15 Days Without a Head

Laurence may seem like your typical gangly, awkward teenage boy, but he has a secret. And no, Laurence isn’t lucky enough to have a superpower or psychic abilities. His secret is of the heartbreaking style, his mum is an alcoholic who has given up on life, Laurence and his little brother Jay. Rather than experiencing…

1913, Larkin’s Labour War

This book takes on a big challenge. The story of the Lockout of 1913 is a complex political and economic story. It is the story of Dublin’s working class. Like many other important events in Irish history it is also a story of failure, albeit failure transformed. This book is classified as a graphic novel,…

A Beautiful Lie

‘A story has to settle on you long after the teller has finished. Then, as if a key has been turned in a lock, the door is opened and all that you’ve learnt is before you.’ And there is much to be learned in this book, a first novel that opens many doors on the…

A Crack in Everything

The day Izzy sees the graffiti angel in the streets of Dublin is the day everything changes. Pulled into the world of the Sidhe, she learns about the hidden realm of Dubh Linn that intersects with mortal reality, and gets caught up in an age-old war. Long’s background as a librarian and folklore enthusiast shines…

A Face Like Glass

'One dark season, Grandible became certain that there was something living in his domain within the Cheese Tunnels.’ So begins Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy/adventure novel, and this first sentence sets the tone for the rest of the book: intriguing, funny, and slightly offbeat. The novel is set in the underground city of Caverna, a closed…

A Greyhound of a Girl

'Love', wrote the poet Cecil Day-Lewis, ‘is proved in the letting go.'  It is a quotation which would easily serve as an epigraph for Roddy Doyle’s sixth children’s book, a novel which, in the opinion of this reviewer at least, surpasses any of his previous achievements in his writing for a young readership. It is…

A Midsummer Tights Dream

Louise Rennison is one of my favourite authors; her ability to get into the teenage mindset perfectly amazes me. Being a teenager and a massive fan of her Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series, I had to try out Tallulah Casey’s misadventures of boy snogging. In her previous misadventures Tallulah meets a charming group of friends and foes…

After Tomorrow

What is it like to become a refugee? When society breaks down in England and supplies become scarce, armed gangs roam the streets stealing from anyone who has anything left to eat. Marked as ‘scadgers’, people who have tried to keep hold of food, Matt and his family are forced to flee to France to…

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour

A year ago, Amy would not have imagined living in her family home in California and finishing school alone. Neither would she have imagined that her father would be dead, her mother on the opposite side of the country, and her brother nowhere to be seen. When Amy finishes school, she has to get herself…

An Uaigh

Úrscéal nuálach suntasach é seo, nach ndéanfar dearmad air go luath. Insíonn sé scéal Aislinge, déagóir a éiríonn ón uaigh ar Oíche Shamhna tar éis di a bheith marbh ar feadh beagnach céad bliain. Ní thuigeann sí ar dtús cén fáth a bhfuil sí tagtha ar ais, nó cad iad go díreach na cumhachtaí speisialta…

And For Your Information… (A Butterfly Novel)

The second of Denise Deegan’s popular Butterfly novels, this story reacquaints us with the same group of privileged teens we met in the first instalment but shifts the focus from Alex to Sarah. This time, the recession has hit the South County Dublin masses, at least as far as Sarah’s life is concerned. Financial pressures…

Arrow

“Fairies of the Oak” said Rob. “We are at war”. This book is the third in a series and it starts smack bang in the middle of a plot that seemed pretty involved and a little alienating to someone who hadn’t read the previous two. Perhaps if I had done so, I would have enjoyed Arrow more…

Ash Mistry and the City of Death

This is the second of Ash Mistry’s adventures and the story picks up where book one left off. On top of Ash being in love with the girl next door and having to deal with being the living weapon of death goddess Kali, it now seems that the evil Lord Savage is up to his…

Ask Amy Green: Wedding Belles

Amy Green is used to having plenty of drama-rama in her life. In this book, not only is she helping Clover with the Agony Aunt letters forThe Goss magazine as usual; but her mum Sylvie’s wedding is fast approaching (with mucho planning still to be done), her best friend Mills is being bullied by the other…

At War with the Empire (Ireland’s Fight for Independence)

Hunt’s latest graphic novel begins in 1919 and the aftermath of the 1916 Easter rising, the subject of his 2010 title Blood Upon the Rose. This is not historical fiction, but an attempt to portray modern Irish history in an exciting and accessible way. In many ways it succeeds. Visually the book works very well, the…

Back to Blackbrick

The fact that the story is told by the main character in the book makes it very compelling. The reader is caught up and involved immediately and can feel all of Cosmo’s emotions as he tries to deal with the fact that his beloved granddad is developing Alzheimer’s and beginning to forget who he and…

Belle Epoque

A book with a strong moral centre, Belle Epoque features Maude, a recent runaway who has arrived in 1880s Paris hoping to live a romantic dream. However, Maude must soon face the reality of life in the big city, particularly one fascinated by beauty and money. Maude unwittingly takes on the job of repoussoir – hired out…

Beyond Clueless

Our heroine, Marty, is suffering the same tortures that all teenagers will recognise. She’s been sent to a private Catholic school, away from her Gay Best Friend and soulmate, Jimmy. Marty must navigate new friendships while seeing Jimmy slip away to new friends in the Gay Straight Alliance in his school. Things seem to be…

Binny for Short

If ever proof was needed that children are best left to their own devices, then look no further than this off-beat story by former Whitbread Children’s Book Award winner, Hilary McKay.  After losing their father at a young age,  the Conwallis children and their mother Polly have just moved from their cramped city flat to…

Black Dove, White Raven

Elizabeth Wein’s third novel, Black Dove, White Raven, continues in the same vein as her previous and highly acclaimed works: a historical fiction depicting characters of exceptional courage and resourcefulness that defy the accepted cultural norms within which they must exist. The book follows its young protagonists Teo and Em, from the American South, where…

Blood Tracks

**SPOILER WARNING** This reviewer loved the book so much that they couldn't help give some things away. You have been warned!   **SPOILER WARNING** This story begins in a dramatic, disturbing manner when  sixteen-year-old Gina’s beloved father picks her up from her running practice, drives through the rain-soaked evening to a desolate part of town,…

Blood Upon the Rose Easter 1916: The Rebellion That Set Ireland Free

The graphic novel format as a means of representing Irish historical events is a relatively new and exciting departure in Irish publishing. Using such a format, Blood upon the Rose tells the complex story of the 1916 Rising from its early planning to the final defeat and executions of the leaders. For dramatic effect, the…

Bloodstone

Bloodstone is the sequel to Allan Borough’s Ironheart, which introduces the characters of India Bentley and Verity Brown, tech-hunters in a post-apocalyptic world. Knowledge of the first book is really essential to get full enjoyment from this story, as new comers will find it hard to grasp what exactly has occurred leading up to the…

Body Harvest: The Outer Reaches

Body Harvest is the first entry in the ‘Outer Reaches’ series by Malcolm Rose, award-winning author of the ‘Traces’ series.  This YA crime thriller is set in an alternate reality where two distinct species of human, descended from homo erectus, co-exist: majors and outers. Majors (the majority) are similar to homo sapiens, with superior eyesight…

Breathe

Breathe is the first novel in a trilogy set in a plant-deprived dystopian world where one of our most basic needs – oxygen – has become commodified. Citizens live within the Pod, where the air is breathable, but not equally distributed; the rich, or ‘Premiums’, can buy enough oxygen to live normally, whereas the poor ‘Auxiliaries’…

Bunheads

Nineteen-year-old Hannah is not a prima ballerina, yet. In fifth grade she informed her mother she was going to become a professional dancer. After years of insulated living in the Manhattan Ballet Academy, Hannah is now a senior corps ballet dancer with hope of promotion. Hannah has chance encounters with two possible love interests and…

Buried Thunder

Gripping from the opening paragraph, this thriller is one that called me back to it until I was finished. I generally don’t read scary books, and never at night, but this story was so well told I just had to keep reading. And how wonderful it is to have a complete story.  There is a…

Burn Mark

Burn Mark, set in an alternative London, where the witch hunt never ended, is Powell's début novel. Powell creates a world with a very delicate social structure in which both witches and non-witches alike must live. Glory Starling Wilde is from a long line of witches, with ties to more than one powerful coven (similar to a modern…

Burning Secrets

There is nothing better fitted to delight the reader than change of circumstances and varieties of fortune, according to Cicero. Burning Secrets certainly creates such changes for teenage Daniel, his sister Louie, and their mother when they take the ferry to the isolated island of Wragge to find peace in the wake of some devastating…

Call me Drog

Right or wrong, I generally don’t read the blurb on a book before reading the text. I like to come to a new book uninformed so that every bit of the story is a surprise. So, when I began reading this first novel by Cowing, I thought I was in for a really sinister treat. …

Carrier of the Mark

Leigh Fallon’s debut centres around Boston girl, Megan, who has just moved to Kinsale.  She falls for the mysterious Adam DeRís, but not by chance.  Megan’s new boyfriend is part of an ancient order which dates back to the Tuatha De Danann, and he has an elemental superpower – the ability to control water.   Unbeknownst…

Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn

Cork-born illustrator Will Sliney and The O’Brien Press bring the legend of Cú Chulainn to the world of comic lovers with the release of this exciting new graphic novel. This is a great, swaggering story of superhuman heroes, scheming gods and epic battles, retold in illustrations that echo the Marvel comic superhero stories that Will…

Chocolate SOS

The sixth of Sue Limb’s books featuring Jess Jordan, Chocolate SOS reads well as a stand-alone as much part of the series. Existing readers will be glad to see more of the already-established characters and new readers will enjoy meeting them. In the wake of a dinner-dance disaster, Jess has dumped her boyfriend Fred, expecting…

Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise

Geoff Rodkey was the screenwriter for the films RV and Daddy Day Care, but his transition to writing novels brings forth a very different kind of story. There’s no Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy style characters here (hooray!). Instead, we have bloodthirsty pirates, heart-breaking romance and a cabin boy called Guts. Set in a world very similar to…

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)

Meyer’s sci-fi fairytale sees Cinderella’s glass slipper translated to a too-small foot that has been outgrown by its teenaged cyborg owner, in a powerful and compellingly written reworking of the original that raises important questions about beauty, desirability, class and gender. Beyond this, through the figure of its protagonist,Cinder encourages its readers to engage philosophically with…

Code Name Verity

Set in World War 2, Code Name Verity tells the story of two best friends. Maddie, a pilot, and Quennie, a special operations executive, both striving to become the best in what is known to be a man’s world. When one of the girls is captured by the Gestapo she is tortured until she finally…

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

In Jill Wolfson’s Cold Hands, Warm Heart, the reader follows the journey of a heart. From the moments before the donor’s accident, to the recovery of the recipient, this is an insight into the lives of those dependent on organ donations and the life giving effects they can bring. The book revolves around the lives of…

Colm and the Ghost’s Revenge

It’s 12 months since Colm managed to overcome an evil creature and a master criminal to destroy the Lazarus Key. Yet he is about to quickly discover that there is not one but three Lazarus Keys and soon finds himself once more in battle with cunning and supernatural forces. The story is fast paced and…

Cross my Heart

Laura della Scala has lived a sheltered life in a convent since she was twelve years old. That is until the night, her father unexpectedly calls for her to come home and the world that she knew gets turned upside down. Laura is to take her sister’s place in an arranged marriage. Initially blinded by…

Crow Girl Rises

Barrington Stoke is a publishing company that famously caters for young people who have problems such as dyslexia; the books are designed in a way that makes them easier to read with cream pages and clear spaced out font. Crow Girl Rises tells the story of a girl, Lily, who is being bullied in school. After…

Curse of Kings (The Trials of Oland Born, Book 1)

Curse of Kings has an atmospheric start with a prologue that introduces the main antagonist and heralds the start of an oppressive era for the Kingdom of Decresian. The fantasy storyline is familiar. The protagonist, Oland Born, is given a quest to save the kingdom from the corrupt Villius Ren and travels through unknown country to…

Dads, Geeks and Blue-Haired Freaks

This is Ellie Phillips’ first young adult novel and she certainly has what it takes. Thanks to the first person narrative, we are immediately drawn into teenager Sadie’s warm, supportive, chaotic Philippine-Jewish family in multi-ethnic Hackney. On her 15th birthday she receives a card from her father. Hardly surprising until we realise that her father…

Dance of the Dark Heart

"If it lives, beware it." This blood-stained warning, issued at the birth of Jack Orion, is left unread and perilously unheeded throughout his lifetime. A foundling taken in by the Huckle family and inseparable companion to their daughter of the same age, Jack has signs of the devil's blood in him. When Janet's mother forces…

Dangerous to Know

The classic story of two teenagers in love, forbidden to be together. It is quite an exciting story, action from beginning to end and I really did find it hard to put down. Moran has a flow to her writing; there never came a lull or a boring moment in the story, it kept moving…

Dark Warnings

In a sense this novel’s most successful character is the city in which it is set, Dublin in the rare auld times, with all its ‘muck and dust and dung, noise and hustle and throng.’ Into this location the author places her adolescent protagonist, Taney, whose narrative voice is that of one who likes to…

Dead Time (The Murder Notebook)

It is unusual to find a book for teens which takes on adult themes and an adult genre, and succeeds as well as this. A murder-mystery and cold case investigation with a difference, it blasts previous detective fiction for young adults out of the water. Cassidy’s characters are precisely defined and believable, and her descriptions…

Death and Co.

Adam Mortson is your typical teenager. He hangs out with his nerdy friends, plays pranks on his evil principal and fancies the stunning Melissa. Unfortunately for Adam, he is also a Luman – a spirit guide who leads souls into the afterlife – a destiny he can’t escape.Death & Co, the first in a trilogy,…

Death of a Chimney Sweep

Leading his blind brother Sammy along the murkier bank of the Thames, young Alfie finds the body of Joe, a small chimney-sweep boy he’d met briefly earlier in the day. The boy had been incoherent with terror and appeared to be running for his life. Now he has obviously failed in his race from his…

Department 19: The Rising

The second volume in Will Hill’s series about Department 19, the covert government department tasked with defending society against supernatural attacks, The Rising picks up after the terrifying attack on Lindisfarne that ended book one.  Jamie, Larissa and Kate are struggling to come to terms with the consequences of this battle, consequences that will have…

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Anthology

When asked to review this book I admit I squealed quite a bit, did a little dance, gushed out my yeses and did an even bigger dance as if no one was looking (luckily they weren’t). I say this to explain that I’m reviewing it from a certain position – that of a Whovian since…

Dodger

Terry Pratchett’s new book is definitely one to read again and again (and again!). Set in Victorian London, it follows a ‘tosher’ named Dodger, an orphan who makes a living searching for coins and valuables in the city’s sewers. One night he witnesses the beating of a young girl and intervenes, and so begins a…

Does your Face Fit? (Poems about fitting in and standing out)

Nasen, which benefits from sales of this book, is the leading UK professional organisation dealing with special educational needs, and the nasen Inclusive Poetry Competition was established to allow young people to express their feelings on inclusion. Several of the competition winners feature in this collection, compiled by Roger Stevens – a poet, writer, musician…

Doglands

Tim Willocks’s first fantasy novel, Doglands, won the 2012 Montreal Book Festival prize for YA fiction. Written from the first-person perspective of Furgul, a lurcher whose mother is a greyhound, Doglands tells the story of Furgul’s quest for freedom after the brutal breeder Dedbone discovers that he is not a purebred. After escaping Dedbone’s savage attempt to kill…

Dordán

Úrscéal corraitheach a bhogann faoi luas is é Dordán. Cuireann sé síos ar Natasha atá ag ullmhú don Ardteist. Is breá léi am a chaitheamh lena cairde Mollaí agus Ailbhe, a théann ar scoil léi, ag plé gasúir, na scrúduithe, na Debs, agus an todhchaí. Níl a fhios ag Natasha cé a rachaidh léi chuig na Debs: b’fhéidir deartháir a…

Dracula (Eagrán do dhéagóirí)

Léirmheas le hIarla Mac Aodha Bhuí Is fada an leabhar seo i gcló ach mar scéal cáiliúil clasaiceach a spreag scannáin agus leaganacha éagsúla gan áireamh, is maith agus is mithid é a mholadh. Chóirigh Emmett B. Arrigan leagan do dhéagóirí agus is é an file agus an t-aistritheoir sároilte cumasach Gabriel Rosenstock a chuir…

Echo Boy

In the future, everyone has an Echo – humanoid machines that live to serve its human masters and look identical to us, but have no life of their own. However, teenager Audrey, whose parents are slain seemingly due to a malfunction, is about to meet Daniel, a cutting-edge Echo with something more than cogs in…

Eleven Eleven

At around 5 am on the eleventh of November 1918 it was decided to call an end to what would become known as World War I. This news should have brought instant relief if not joy to those still fighting at the front. However, the vagaries of war meant that hostilities would not officially cease…

Far Far Away

Early in McNeal's novel we meet a character called Mrs Truax of whom we read:  'Hers was a sad story, full of dark corners and odd circumstances'. As the book proceeds these 'dark corners' and 'odd circumstances' will be found to extend well beyond Mrs Truax, creating an overall atmosphere suffused with spooky eeriness.  The…

Fearless (Mirrorworld)

Cornelia Funke’s Fearless is the second novel in her Young Adult fantasy Mirrorworld series. Funke is best known for her Inkheart trilogy, which cemented her reputation as a master storyteller. She has raised the bar again with this delectable new series, which takes old fairy tales and turns them into something entirely new. Main character Jacob Reckless…

Fire & Ash

This is the fourth and final book in Maberry’s gritty, enthralling Rot and Ruin series and you’ll need to read the others first. It marks the end of the journey for Benny Imura and his friends across the zombie-infested wasteland known as the Rot and Ruin. They’ve finally found the mysterious jet whose flight led them out…

Firewallers

In the wake of a banking scandal involving their Dad, Jess and her sister Millie are taken by their Mum to a remote Scottish island to avoid the press.  Here there is a commune of people living a simple life without Internet, mobile phones, cosmetics etc.  The girls wonder how the young people there can…

Fluttering their way into my head

Among Gabriel Rosenstock’s many accomplishments is his mastery of the haiku as a form and a way of life. This is his latest book of and about the tiny verse-form, an expanded version of an Irish-language book from early in 2014. It’s aimed at young people, and specifically addresses teenagers. It deserves a wider audience,…

Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind

Fourteen-year-old Archie is a Geek who spends his Friday nights engaged in Role Playing Games, and whose Interior Monologue reveals the thoughts he can’t share with his friends and doesn’t dare express around his mum and her boyfriend, ‘Tony the Tosser’. This self-deprecating hero understands that when a girl – a pretty girl, at that…

Geekhood: Mission Improbable

As a fan of The Big Bang Theory the premise of Andy Robb’s Geekhood series is familiar to me. Just like the sitcom, this series recounts the adventures (both real and imaginary) of four male protagonists (albeit younger than Sheldon et al), who, because of their preference for gaming, fantasy, and other nerdish activities, over…

Getting Over Garrett Delaney

Sadie has been hopelessly in love with her best friend, Garrett Delaney for the past two years – but he doesn’t even notice. She forces herself to read  Nietzche, go to arty films and dress in the style he likes  – in frayed jeans and battered leather satchel. When Garrett  – with his magnificent cheekbones…

Glow

Two ships, the Empyrean and the New Horizon, have been launched to find New Earth. The New Horizon has been years ahead of the Empyrean, so the Empyrean is naturally surprised and curious when the New Horizon appears beside it–until the New Horizon attacks, killing almost all the adults and kidnapping the girls. Glow is…

Goliath (Leviathan)

Goliath concludes the ambitious and highly original trilogy of alternative WW1 history that began with Leviathan and Behemoth. The world is divided into two main camps: the Darwinists (Allied side) manipulate the life thread (DNA) of animals to create fantastical hybrid creatures. These range from enormous airships evolved from whales, to tiny message lizards that mimic the voice of…

Gone

Imagine a world where there is no one above the age of 15, there’s no adults, teachers, police, or doctors to provide any guidance in our society; they’re just gone.. Imagine a world where good and evil meets, where you have to decide which side you are on, knowing you are going to end up…

Good Red Herring

‘You are under arrest for the murders of Persephone-Fen Maguire and Marl Fitzwilliam, otherwise Boll Mason’. Thus Detective Chief Inspector Hal McCabe as he confronts the guilty party, only a few pages from the end of what has been a lengthy (300 pages) and occasionally convoluted sojourn in the curiouser and curiouser world of Susan Maxwell’s imagination. A list of…

Gravenhunger

A mysterious letter suggestive of a terrible tragedy leads Phoenix, his father and his cousin Rose to spend the summer at Gravenhunger Manor: secret property of Phoenix’s recently deceased mother and officially the creepiest place on earth. Fact. Eerie goings on and frightening warnings don’t stop Phoenix from trying to solve his mother’s mystery and,…

Grymm

Dragged to the fading town of Grymm by their parents, unwilling stepsiblings Mina and Jacob find themselves living in a place that is right out of their nightmares. A letting agent who seems to want to eat their baby brother, a milkshake bar which serves maggots in its drinks, and a bloodthirsty butcher, baker and…

Guardian Angel

To my shame, I have to admit to having been a “CHERUB” virgin, so I did genuinely wonder what all the fuss was about. Now I know. From the get-go, we are sucked into an action packed world where kids work as undercover agents for a secret society called CHERUB. In this mission, one of…

Halfling

Halfling, Rebecca Lloyd’s first novel for children, may have its origins in an earlier award-winning short story, but the transition to a longer format has successfully resulted in a moving and original work for young readers. Danny is an overwhelmed eleven-year-old, worn down by the burden of acting as carer to his father, who is…

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I will go out on a limb here, and suggest that it’s not the story, in this case, that requires a review. And so I will move directly on to the product itself. The job of illustrating Harry Potter would be, in equal parts, a dream and a nightmare for most artists. None would turn…

Heart-Shaped

Ireland’s first Laureate na nÓg, Siobhán Parkinson, returns to teen fiction with a companion novel to 2011’s Bruised which told the story of fourteen-year-old Jono and his young sister Julie who run away from home following abuse and neglect by their alcoholic mother. Heart-shaped is narrated by Annie, Jono’s school friend and possible girlfriend, who…

Heist Society

Katarina (Kat) Bishop belongs to a dynasty of highly successful art-thieves, but following the death of her mother she decides to ‘go straight’. She cons her way into one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the world and begins a fresh start. However, her former life won’t let go of her so easily. This…

Heroic

This book explores the bonds of brotherhood and the challenges faced by disaffected young people from grim backgrounds with little hope or means of escape. Set in two locations: Afghanistan and a bleak council estate in England, it is told alternately by two hard-bitten and street-wise brothers. Jammy, the older, wiser boy, attempts to put structure…

Hunting Lila

Lila can move things with her mind. After she is mugged and nearly uses her ability to hurt someone, she runs to her brother and the only person she has ever loved, her brother's best friend. But Lila, and others like her, are being hunted, sought out by an organisation that both her brother and…

Hysteria

Mallory is a very disturbed young lady. Recently cleared of murdering her boyfriend Brian, she is sent away by her parents to private school to escape her past, but a change of scene does not mean a change of reputation…  Hysteria contains some very lyrical passages and is written with a fresh tone. The first line…

I’ll be Home for Christmas

Is there such a thing as a happy home at Christmas? Well, it depends on which of these fourteen stories you read, all written by the UK’s top authors for young adults and compiled in aid of the homelessness charity Crisis. I’ll Be Home for Christmas has stories of varying lengths and styles, written by…

Improper Order

There is a certain kind of teen fiction which it seems girls just cannot get enough of. The heroine is sassy and resourceful, quirkily attractive but does not “do” pretty. She will have a good line in self-deprecation, sharp insights into family and friends, possibly an unusual pet and, most of all, she will be…

Insurgent

Insurgent is the second instalment in the highly successful Divergent trilogy. The story follows Tris's journey as she deals with the aftermath of the destruction of her family and home by a war that continues to rage around her. She now has to find the courage to live and to fight in order to stop the…

Interworld

Joey Harker has just discovered he has the ability to move between dimensions. It’s known as ‘Walking’, and when Joey does it for the first time, by accident, he attracts the attention of two warring empires, one ruled by the power of magic, the other by technology. Between these two empires stands Interworld, an organization…

It’s Not Summer Without You

It’s not Summer Withour You is follows the bestselling The Summer I Turned Pretty. 17 year old Isabel, (Belly) is still in love with Conrad and best friends with his gorgeous brother, Jeremiah, with whom she has always shared family holidays on the beach. Conrad kissed her on the last day of their holiday before he…

It’s Not Summer Without You

A sequel to The Summer I Turned Pretty, an American romantic fiction with a backdrop of summer beach houses, surfing, and pool parties. The protagonist, 17-year-old Isabel, (Belly) is still in love with Conrad and best friends with his gorgeous brother, Jeremiah, with whom she has always shared family holidays on the beach. Conrad kissed her…

Jenny Q, Stitched Up

Best known as an actress and comedian, Pauline McLynn has tried her hand at writing for the teenage market with her YA debut Jenny Q. Jennifer Quinn deals with the teenage trials of having a horrendously embarrassing family, somehow navigating the emotional minefield of liking boys for the first time and dealing with the fallout of…

Jenny Q, Unravelled

In her first book in the series, Jenny Q – Stitched Up, Pauline McLynn introduced us to the endearing Jenny Quinn, with her self-deprecating sense of humour in evidence as she tackled the typical and not-so-typical dramas of a thirteen-year-old's life. Now that Jenny and a host of well-drawn, believable characters in the form of her…

Lottery Boy

Is there a more popular daydream than winning the lottery? It seems to promise not just money but a whole new life. And when your old life has crumbled underneath you, with the loss of your mother and your home, how much harder would you fight to keep that dream alive?    As this book…

Maggot Moon

Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon is a melting pot of conspiracies, smoke screens and possibilities, all of which centre around a great ‘what if’ moment from history – namely, what if the Allies didn’t win World War II? The book’s protagonist, Standish Treadwell, never specifies where ‘the Motherland’ is, and could be suffering under any regime,…

Merciless Reason

Look out world, Nate Wildenstern is back. He’s been lying low in the colonies for the last three years, trying to come to terms with the Serpentine inside his chest that endows him with disturbing powers and avoiding the wrath and havoc of his crazed genius brother Gerald who is hell-bent on making an engimal…

Million Dollar Gift

Like a modern day Catcher in the Rye, this story tells of a young man’s journey from childhood into the exciting, often daunting world of adulthood. The main protagonist, Ross Bentley begins his journey as a lonely teenager coming to terms with life’s offerings. Ross feels let down in life – excepting Gemma, he is…

Missing Me

Missing Me is the final installment in Sophie McKenzie’s Missing series and sees Madison, younger sister of previous protagonist Lauren, on another adventure. This time Madison stumbles upon an illegal baby surrogate ring and must try and keep her pregnant sister safe. But how will she fare against the mysterious bad guys?This installment follows the pattern…

Mister Creecher

Mr Creecher is a re-imagining of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein for a younger audience – upper middle-grade, with the exception of a few mild references.  The story tells the tale of street urchin, Billy, who is rescued by a monster, whom he names Mister Creecher.  In payment for the monster’s protection, the street-wise Billy must spy…

Mocking Bird

According to Oisín McGann in the most recent Inis magazine, the key question for reviewers (and awards judges) is: Are kids likely to read this? Given that Mockingbird, the American-National-Book-Award-winning teenage novel by Kathryn Erskine, is narrated by a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome whose mother is dead, whose beloved brother has just been killed in a…

My Name is Parvana

Parvana is a fifteen year-old girl living in post-Taliban Afghanistan. She lives with her mother and sisters, and works at a school for the education of girls in her community. She has been captured by American soldiers. Determined not to speak, Parvana shows incredible resilience. She has needed this strength to survive to this point,…

Nest

Esther Ehrlich’s début novel is a riveting journey into the psyche of a young girl dealing with complex and intense emotional states due to circumstances beyond her control. Naomi ‘Chirp’ Orenstein lives on Cape Cod with her sister Rachel and her parents, next door to the troubled Morell family with their boisterous and sometimes troublesome…

Ocean of Blood

I'll be honest from the outset, I'd never read anything by Darren Shan and had no desire to.  And so it was with a heavy heart that I delved into the pages of Ocean of Blood, forced upon me as it was by one particularly cruel editor. “Too much gore”, I pleaded. “Not enough knee-trembling, earth-shattering romance”,…

One Seriously Messed-Up Week: in the Otherwise Mundane and Uneventful Life of Jack Samsonite

Diary formats are making a return; Anna Carey gave us a loveable new protagonist in The Real Rebecca, and now Tom Clempson is doing it for the boys with One Seriously Messed-Up Week. Sam Taylor, or Jack Samsonite as he prefers to be called, is keeping a diary for his school project. He documents his mission to try and pass his GCSEs, attract…

Only The Good Spy Young

Cammie is no ordinary girl. She attends the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women-but she and her friends are not spoiled heiresses, they’re spies. The fourth book of the Gallagher Academy series, “Only The Good Spy Young” leaps into action with Cammie discovering one of her teachers is a double agent, working with the very…
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