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All reviews tagged with Jane Mitchell

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A Monster Calls

This review is an extract from Inis 35. To read the full extended review pick up a copy of Inis 35. The news that Patrick Ness’s next book would not be solely by him, but based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, a talented and award-winning author in her own right, caused…

Booked

Thirteen-year-old Nick Hall is a talented and enthusiastic soccer player, with a best friend Coby, and supportive parents. It is unusual for soccer to feature in a book set in the US, but this is only one of several unusual aspects to this book. Written in sparse free verse, Nick’s tale is told in second-…

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…

Indigo Donut

This is a big book for any young (and not so young) reader, so you’re going to have to love the story to stick with it. But Patrice Lawrence does big stories with heart and soul: her award-winning Orangeboy packed a solid 449 pages. Indigo Donut is told in alternating points of view by Bailey…

Kick

Based in Indonesia, this book from new voice Mitch Johnson explores the gritty world of child labour, poverty and corruption through the eyes of 12-year-old Budi. Mad about football, Budi dreams of being an international football star. These dreams and his devotion to Real Madrid and its star player Kieran Wakefield sustain him in his…

Kill All Enemies

I’ve always liked the power of Melvin Burgess’s writing – though not always his subject matter – and was accordingly satisfied by his latest book. Although at first, I disliked the three protagonists: they’re loud, aggressive and violent. In fact, they’re very similar to those who ran riot, wrecking the streets of London in August…

Naked

As you read the first half of this book, I wager that you won’t have any inkling of the major surprise that awaits you in the final chapters. The unexpected shift in gear and direction turns this tale from what appears to be the story of punk band Naked and its struggle for recognition into…

Never Fall Down

Patricia McCormick’s powerful and graphic book recounts the real life experiences of Arn Chorn-Pond, a child struggling to survive during the brutal regime of the Communist Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Separated from his family and forced to work gruelling hours with other small and traumatised children, Arn draws on his own resources to not only…

Rose of No Man’s Land

This second time-shift novel featuring plucky Rosie Sands finds her transported to the trenches of WW1, where she meets Nurse Edith Cavell and learns how she aided British soldiers to escape from the Germans. The horrors and hardships of the trenches are effectively recreated and Rosie demonstrates inner strength and resources when needed. She grows…

The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight

An exciting new thriller from this now well-established author, this is one book that had me staying up late, turning the pages. Valentine sets up a great premise in the opportunity that presents for Chap Hathaway, a troubled and homeless 16-year-old, when he finds himself handed a ready-made loving family searching desperately for their missing…

The Ghosts and Jamal

Thirteen-year old Jamal is the endearing protagonist in this charming and ultimately uncomfortable story set in Nigeria, from exciting HopeRoad Publishing. Author Bridget Blankley tells his story almost solely from Jamal’s point of view, and he has a unique take on the world—informed in part by his particular way of understanding the spiritual beliefs and…

The Girl In Between

This book, by a new Irish writer for children, has an intriguing and strong voice, a main character whose language is rich with pure and authentic Dublin-speak, and some witty and charming turns of phrase. The unnamed young protagonist tells her own story, full of imagery typical of a country rising from the wreckage of…

The Glass Collector

Books that draw the attention of young readers to the exploitation of human rights and the unreasonable burdens placed on some members of society are always commendable; The Glass Collector is one of these. Perera’s second book, after her critically acclaimed Guantanamo Boy, is set in Egypt, among the Zabbaleen, a minority religious community of…

The Golden Day

In this whimsical and beautifully crafted tale, the class of ‘little girls’ are brought by their eccentric teacher to the park to listen to the stories of mysterious Morgan, told in his deep owl’s voice. Morgan and Miss Renshaw lead the little girls to an ancient and magical sea-cave to see sacred Aboriginal paintings from…

The Harder They Fall

This funny and thought-provoking book is the latest offering from Barrington Stoke’s super-readable teen series. It is a great book for all readers. It focuses on friendship and family. It also looks at the all too common problems of poverty and bullying through the eyes of the geeky and highly likeable protagonist Cal, who volunteers…

The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne

Set far in the future of a mostly-destroyed England, this action-packed adventure is the first of a fantasy series for young adults. The story gallops from one knife-edge moment of terror to the next, with little downtime for the reader to draw breath, as dangers and deadly threats assault the two unfortunate main characters, Scarlett…

The Space We’re In

This début novel is an uplifting tale narrated by ten-year-old Frank who lives with his parents and five-year-old brother Max. Frank’s lyrical words dance off the page from the opening and draw the reader into his heart-warming and heart-breaking story. Frank’s dad works with computers, while his mum used to paint wonderful galaxies and universes…

Tudor Rose

Rosie Sands goes to sleep in her own home and wakes up in the royal palace during Tudor times, where she meets Queen Elizabeth 1, all because of a special watch. A great read from this innovative and important publisher which specialises in short books for older children who are reluctant readers, dyslexic or struggling…

Unsettled

From its opening acknowledgements and introduction, this book draws you in and demands that you take notice of every word. Part memoir, part poetry, part polemic of the life she was forced to live, Rosaleen McDonagh’s extraordinary debut is a rich and complex portrayal of one woman’s life in modern Ireland. As an Irish traveller,…

We Go On Forever

This science-fiction dystopian romance is built around on a strong premise somewhat derivative of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. It holds tension well over the course of the story, revealing its shocking conclusion effectively. This is achieved through short chapters narrated alternately by the two main characters, Alba and Arthur, so the reader learns…

‘Black Bones’ and ‘Out’

Two terrific new titles from this innovative and important publisher, which specialises in short books for older children who are reluctant readers, dyslexic or struggling to read. Because the content has been stripped of superfluous words, complex plots and expressive language, these books may seem to be suitable for younger readers, but don’t be fooled…

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