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A Pony for Jean

When her family must move to the country, Jean is convinced she is not going to like it, especially when everyone tells her how dull it will be. But Jean soon discovers that ‘every day in the country something happens, and it’s not like going to the cinema or to museums and seeing what happened…

All the Ways the World Can End

Lenny (short for Eleanor) is a bright, articulate teenager who along with facing the daily obstacles that all adolescents tackle such as fitting in and preparing for life after school, must also deal emotionally and practically with the day-to-day care of her ill father. One of the coping mechanisms she has developed is to list…

Anything That Isn’t This

Seventeen-year-old Frank's love of fiction and his ambition to be a writer set him apart from his fellow citizens in this novel's Orwellian dystopia characterised by constant surveillance, repression and mediocrity. The Grey, a metaphor for the lives of this cowed people, is wonderfully captured in Priestley’s prose and in his arresting illustrations. Underpinning this…

Ascension: A Phobos novel (Phobos Trilogy 1)

Leonor has been chosen as one of twelve young astronauts to take part in the Genesis programme. There are six girls and six boys, in two separate bays of a single spaceship, journeying on a one-way trip to Mars. They are also contenders in a televised space speed-dating show, which aims to create the first…

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…

Boys Don’t Knit

Ben Fletcher, weed, swot, OCD-sufferer, haplessly in love with Megan, is an unlikely delinquent. But following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady, a bottle of Martini Rosso, and a Porsche, Ben finds himself on probation.Research shows, his probation office tells him, that extra-curricular activities help keep young men from re-offending. Which is how Ben…

Bullet Catcher

Imma is a 15-year-old girl working as a cleaner/dishwasher in a saloon in a town called Sand that borders the desert. She used to live at the orphanage with her brother Nikko and together they dreamed of running away to join the almost mythological group of legendary outlaws called the bullet catchers – people who…

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,…

Fish Out of Water

In this teen romance, seventeen-year-old Mika has her summer plans disrupted by the arrival of two strangers into her life: Betty and Dylan. Betty is Mika’s estranged granny, whom she has never met. Dylan is her boss’s nephew, who comes to work in the pet store, and is moody and mysterious. Fish Out of Water…

Genuine Fraud

Jule West Williams truly does contain multitudes. It’s normal—expected, really—for an eighteen-year-old not to know exactly who she is, but Jule doesn’t have enough passports for her different aliases (and she has four passports.) Her friend Imogen Sokoloff, on the other hand, could hardly be surer of herself; an impulsive, charming heiress whose suicide note…

Goldenhand

In Goldenhand, Garth Nix takes us back to the Old Kingdom, shortly after the events of Abhorsen (published in 2003) and immediately after the events of Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case (2005), and reunites the reader with many familiar characters, including Lirael, Nick, Sabriel, Touchstone and their children. Even Mogget makes a…

Liberty’s Fire

In Lydia Syson’s third historical novel, set over the rise and fall of the Paris Commune between March and May 1871, four young adults from different socioeconomic backgrounds are thrown together and must navigate the volatile political climate in order to survive. At the heart of the novel is the love triangle between musician Anatole,…

Like Other Girls

It’s doubtful whether anybody over the age of forty could have written this book as the world it portrays – teenagers who are ‘transitioning’ to become the opposite sex as well as those with serious alcohol problems (and they’re only sixteen) just wouldn’t have figured back in their day. Or if they did, they certainly…

London Belongs to Us

At seventeen, Sunny has always been a little bit of a pushover – and she knows it. But when she sees a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows that for once, she’s got to do something. In the twelve-hour dash around her beloved home city that follows, she is befriended, helped, and…

Love, Hate & Other Filters

17-year-old Maya is struggling to find a way to tell her strict Indian parents that she wants to go to school in New York to study film, rather than go to a college close to home and study law. As she says, ‘My parents are frozen in the past, in the India of their youth.’…

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,…

Mother Tongue

Even though Darya Ivanova has graduated from high school, she is still looking forward to September. She has been like a mother to her younger sister Nika, who is now beginning school—which means that Darya will at last have some time to herself. To do what, she doesn’t exactly know, but at least she’ll have…

My Side of the Diamond

Have you heard the one about the couple jump off a tall building but no bodies hit the ground? Jazmin Little has and unfortunately for her, she is about to be embroiled in a mystery of paranormal conspiracy theories, secret agents and teenagers with publishing contracts. The latest from the critically acclaimed Sally Gardner is…

Night Shift

‘I had lost my compass and without it any map was forfeit.’ Debi Gliori, best known for ‘lovely’ picturebooks for younger readers, reminds us here that illustrated texts are not just for kids. The heroine of Night Shift is deeply depressed, through the condition is never named as such. Instead, a combination of pencil drawings…

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

When her father takes up a new position in a strange city, Ophelia must amuse herself by exploring the vast, mysterious museum where he has been charged with overseeing the greatest ever exhibition of swords. Being on her own allows Ophelia time to remember her mother who has recently passed away. Although Ophelia can sense…

Raybearer

In Jordan Ifueko’s début African-fantasy novel, a young girl, Tarisai of Swana, spends her early life preparing for a mammoth task:  to become a member of the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven – a council bound together by the power of the Ray. A second task, bestowed by magic on Tarisai by her mysterious mother,…

Spellslinger

Kellen is almost sixteen, which means he should be fighting magic duels and unlocking elemental powers to earn his mage name—standard rites of passage for his people. He’s failing all of them, which means that he is resorting to his best ability: quick-thinking deception. He’s smart and sardonic—until Ferius Parfax enters the scene. She’s a…

Stray

Set in the near future, Stray posits a world where children are kept in a virtual environment, with no exposure to the real world other than one hour’s exercise every day. Their consequent lack of identity is cleverly managed, with the children filtering their experiences outside VR through what they experience for the other twenty-three hours of…

The Big Lie

Mayhew’s England fell to the Nazis during the Second World War and the contemporary London in which the book is set, while familiar because of its place names, has lost its vibrancy, diversity and freedom. Jessika, the adolescent protagonist, is an enthusiastic and uncritical upholder of the Reich’s tenets. A rising ice-skating star, she is…

The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree

Mafalda is a nine-year-old girl suffering from Stargardt disease, which causes gradual vision loss and eventual blindness. With the doctors estimating that she has only six months before her vision fails completely, Mafalda begins to write a list of all the things she loves and won’t be able to do any more. All children are…

The Door That Led To Where

Aiden Jobey, aka AJ, is going nowhere fast. Along with his two best mates, the friends share a plethora of problems. AJ’s mother, the ‘red reptile’ as he calls her, has no redeeming features whatsoever and clings on to a loser of a boyfriend. Sally Gardner certainly eschews a cosy picture of contemporary life in…

The Electrical Venus

Living in Georgian England, Mim and Alex have grown up as misfits in Grainger’s traveling circus. Mim, whose mother was an English Duchess and whose father was a slave, has always been an outsider due to the colour of her skin. The only bright spot in her life is her friendship with Alex, a boy…

The Ghost Bride

A historical novel with a distinct fantasy twist, Yangsze Choo's The Ghost Bride is one of the most original YA books of 2013. Living with her father in 1890's Malaya, Li Lan receives a marriage proposal… from a man already dead. Li Lan turns down the proposal to be a ghost bride, but starts to receive visitations from…

The Great Galloon

For those who relish a great adventure story The Great Galloon ticks all the boxes. This tale is packed with tremendously brave characters, exotic creatures, fantastical machines, war and love. The protagonist, Stanley Crumplehorn guides us through the bizarre world onboard The Great Galloon. The book opens with a chaotic scene of rushed celebratory preparations. Jubilation, however,…

The Nearest Faraway Place

The Nearest Faraway Place is as its blurb says ‘a powerfully told story of the love between two brothers in the aftermath of a family tragedy’. Dylan and Griff loose both their parents in a car crash. The story is well narrated by elder brother, Dylan—named for Dylan Thomas, the poet. We follow the boys’…

Under My Skin

Apart from her singing voice, Sally Feather is average: average hair, average clothes, average social ranking. She secretly desires to be more, but can hardly admit it even to herself, never mind anyone else. When she gets a tattoo of a 1950s pin-up girl called Molly-Sue on her back, Sally’s found a way to get…

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