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A Change is Gonna Come

This anthology of stories and poems by twelve BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) writers contains ‘as many BAME UK YA voices … as the rest of the industry combined’ according to one of its authors, Aisha Bushby. To address this woeful lack of diversity, four new voices join eight established writers in exploring different…

A Darkness at the End

The previous book in Ruth Frances Long’s trilogy left heroine Izzy in a dark place. She was forced to take some drastic decisions that ultimately led to the death of her boyfriend, Jinx. Although some time has passed, things haven’t improved much. Izzy’s lost her memory and with it some of her ability to keep…

A Family of Readers The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature

The structure of this book, viewed from the perspective of its ‘Table of Contents’ pages, may at first seem slightly intimidating, but familiarity with the layout will come with increasing and regular use. Divided into four major ‘Parts’ – ‘Reading to Them’, ‘Reading with Them’, ‘Reading on Their Own’ and ‘Leaving Them Alone’ – each…

A Friend in the Dark

A Friend in the Dark follows the twists and turns of the unlikely friendship between Victor, the class fool, and Marie, the smartest girl in the year. Marie is a musical prodigy, excellent at everything she does. It’s no give-away to say here that she is losing her sight—this reveal is written on the front…

A Gathering Light

There’s nothing like a murder on the first page of a novel to grab your attention, and Jennifer Donnelly’s A Gathering Light, is definitely a challenging and absorbing read. The story of two young lives brought together by tragic circumstances, it is a truly moving portrayal of life on the east coast of America in…

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Mel has learned to compartmentalise both her life and her emotions in order to gain a sense of control. Still mourning the loss of her larger-than-life older brother Nolan, whose absence is felt like a constant gaping hole in her life, Mel is also struggling to move on from…

Abandon

Abandon is the first in Meg Cabot’s similarly titled new dark fantasy romance series. The plot centres on a young girl named Pierce, struggling to return to normal life after a near-death experience. This is somewhat hindered by the presence of someone she met while down there. Abandon is a new direction for Cabot; it…

Across the Universe

Godspeed, the largest ship ever built when it left Earth 250 years ago, hurtles towards its destination: a new planet another fifty years away, ready for colonisation by its cryogenically frozen passengers. Seventeen-year-old Amy – considered non-essential cargo and on board only because both her parents are considered crucial to the mission – is woken…

All of This is True

Penny, Miri and Soleil are obsessed with the novel Undertow by Fatima Ro. They worship it, they worship her. When they meet Fatima at a signing, she wants to be friends with them and the girls can’t believe their luck. But how much of their friendship is authentic, and how much is an author fishing…

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…

Almost True

In When I Was Joe, Ty discovered the dangers of telling lies: the pain they cause, the difficulty of maintaining them and the strain they cause on all relationships. In this sequel the tables are turned as he finds his family and friends all have their own sets of deceits, deceptions and character flaws –…

Amazing Women: 101 Lives to Inspire You

As its title suggests, this is an amazing resource for young girls and boys, with a vast selection of women who have changed the world in some way. Potted biographies stand alongside glorious illustration. Some of the names are familiar – Michelle Obama, Helen Keller – but others such as Shirin Ebadi and Radia Perlman…

American Monsters

Derek Landy comes back with the third and last book of the Demon Road trilogy, American Monster, bringing Amber into the conclusion of her hectic journey. Amber, who used to be a young normal American teenager, makes a great discovery on her sixteenth birthday when the demons reveal themselves and her life takes an all-new…

Amy Peppercorn: Starry-Eyed and Screaming

Amy Peppercorn’s chaotic life becomes even more confusingwhen her amazing voice leads to a deal with a record company. By succumbing to trashy manufactured pop, Amy knows she is betraying her principles. Family and friends begin to act differently towards her and she feels carried along by forces stronger than herself. All the while Amy…

Angel

Move over vampires, there’s a new craze in town … angels! And not the godly, serene sort either. These are evil, power-hungry angels who survive by feeding off human energy. Once satiated, their human victims are left touched by the presence of the angel but destined to die. Alex is an AK – ‘Angel Killer’…

Angel Kiss

“When I like a guy, I tend to examine every word that comes out of his mouth with the determination of a profiler interviewing a suspect,” Jacki King notes in Laura Jane Cassidy’s debut novel, Angel Kiss. Angel Kissis a blend of suspense, crime, the supernatural, and contemporary realism – Jacki may be someone with…

Angel’s Fury

Every night Cassie Farrier, GCSE student, dreams of the death of Zillah, a little Jewish girl in Nazi Germany. On a school trip to Germany she recognises the field in which Zillah was shot. In the hope of ending her nightmares, she leaves an anonymous tip to the authorities, which leads to the discovery of…

Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes?

Olive knows she has mental problems, she just doesn’t want to know her actual diagnosis because she doesn’t want to use it as an excuse for her behaviour. When her parents run out of ways to help her, her doctor decides to enter her into a new trail programme, Camp Reset, a residential programme for…

August ‘44

Like Carlo Gébler’s previous children’s book, Caught on a Train, this is an exploration of the human impetus to tell stories. Here, the framing story is much stronger than in the earlier book and the relationship between inner and outer stories more developed. The framing story concerns an 11-year-old Jewish child and his extended family,…

Bad Alice

This is a brave novel in many respects, not least because of its narrative experiments, but mainly because of the manner in which it foregrounds two children’s attempts to deal with a difficult and sensitive topic shrouded in secrecy and silence. Ordinary means of communication fail the young protagonist Alice – bad Alice – and…

Beauty

Beauty is a finely spun retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in the early middle ages. Written as a novel which is narrated by the young girl herself, it unfolds her story of growing up like a bud unfolding to a full-blown rose. She is lively, stubborn and angular, until, falling slowly in love…

Beck

Beck is Carnegie Medal winning author Mal Peet’s final novel, completed posthumously by his friend and fellow author Meg Rosoff (best known for her novel turned movie How I live Now). A historical fiction set in the great depression, it follows the titular character Beck, a young mixed-race orphan from Britain, who is shipped off…

Before We Say Goodbye

Gabriella Ambrosio’s first novel, Before We Say Goodbye, paints an unforgettable picture of modern-day Jerusalem in all its war-worn reality, as seen through the eyes of two teenage girls of opposing sides: Myriam, an Israeli Jew who is mourning the loss of her best friend, and Dima, a Palestinian Arab who feels compelled to avenge…

Being Billy

This review is an extract from Inis 35. To read the full extended review pick up a copy of Inis 35. Billy Finn is angry. Abandoned by his alcoholic mother, beaten by his stepfather, rejected by his adoptive parents, and restrained by his carers, his life is far from a barrel of laughs. His strong…

Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

This is the best teenage novel I’ve read since Stargirl, in spite of the misleadingly in-your-face title. Never for one moment does one feel that this is written by someone who is ‘really’ an adult author on a little holiday – though one does keep noticing how experienced a hand is at work here. Ugly…

Biographic Austen

Impeccably researched, concise and laugh-out-loud funny, this unique biography uses beautiful graphics and brightly coloured charts to illustrate Austen’s life, talent and enduring legacy. Learn about the etiquette of a Regency ball, see the hierarchy of servants in a middleclass home, and compare the degree to which each Austen heroine was ‘marrying up’ financially. The…

Biographic Leonardo

It’s difficult to think of a historical figure better suited to an infographic biography than Leonardo da Vinci, whose very name brings to mind one iconic image after another. Instead of using text to recount a linear story, this book uses maps, timelines, pictures and charts to illuminate key moments in his career, as well…

Blue Moon

The subject of teenage pregnancy is sensitively handled in this really enjoyable novel. Mia is only 15 and it is easy to see how the ‘mistake’ occurred. The sexual element is there of course, but it is not dwelt upon; the concentration is on Mia’s growing awareness of what has happened and the difficulties she…

Borderland

This fantasy is the first part of a trilogy. Set in a parallel world, it focuses on the interconnecting fates of three groups of young people, two fantastic and one real. There are a lot of different characters to get to know at the beginning, so it is a little hard to get into at…

Born Confused

This writer knows just how to tell a good story. This is plainly and simply a wonderful book – no qualifications on this. The story centres on the life of Dimple Rohitbhai Lala, the American-born daughter of Indian parents living in New Jersey. Her best friend is Gwyn Sexton, white, blonde and Dimple’s role model…

Born Scared

It’s Christmas Eve and teenager Elliot isn’t just scared, he’s terrified. This isn’t the type of fear you have when you realise you’ve forgotten to buy your mam a Christmas present. This is the ‘fear of fear itself’. A gnawing, unrelenting monster or, as described by Elliot, ‘a howling demon whirling around’ inside. The only…

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

An eclectic collection of illustrated biographies celebrating thirty ‘Rebel Ladies’ who, in the author’s own words, ‘did exactly what they wanted with their lives.’ From a 7th-century Chinese concubine who rose to the position of Empress, to an actress who refused to submit to Hollywood beauty standards and found success playing iconic villains; from a…

Breaking

Charlotte is a student at a prestigious boarding school who has recently lost her two best friends in tragic circumstances. Pushed hard by her driven mother to succeed and excel, Charlotte feels ordinary and very much the outsider in comparison to the academic and sporting elite she is forced to compete against each day. When…

Bud, Not Buddy

‘…I don’t know when it happened, but it seems like my eyes don’t cry no more.’ Ten-year-old ‘Bud not Buddy’ has lived in a children’s home for four years since his mother died. Precious mementos of their life together are kept in his suitcase, which he takes everywhere with him. Sent to a foster home…

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…

Carve the Mark

Veronica Roth is perhaps one of the better known writers of Young Adult dystopian fiction. Divergent was made into a film and Roth has a certain multimedia or crossover appeal. In this her latest novel, she stretches her oeuvre to include science fiction, setting this book in a different galaxy with two main planets peopled…

Catalyst

‘I have no future. I’m going to live at home, care for my aging father, and sell condoms at the pharmacy.’ When, some sixty pages before the end of Anderson’s novel, 18-year-old Kate Malone has reached this conclusion, it represents a sad development for a young woman who seemed to be on the brink of…

Caught in the Crossfire

Set in the fictional English town of Oldfield, this novel explores some of the racial tensions which surfaced in Britain after the devastating events of September 11th 2001. It is focused mostly around two families. Mike’s family are from the white, working-class Moorside estate; Rabia’s family are Muslims and they live in the ethnically mixed…

Coming of Age

Amy’s growing up is painful. When only nine, she witnessed her mother’s death in a riding accident and the trauma caused Amy to lose her ability to speak and her memory of what actually happened. As her life slowly returns to normal, her voice eventually comes back, but her memory of the incident remains elusive…

Contagion

The first instalment of Terry’s newest trilogy Contagion takes the reader on a fast-paced journey through Scotland, from the isolated Shetland Institute to the idyllic village of Killin. It is in Killin that Shay first meets Kai. Shay was the last person to see Kai’s sister Callie alive before her mysterious disappearance a year ago.…

Dad’s Red Dress

Jessie Keane just wants her family to be normal… utterly, completely normal. Having moved from L.A. back to Ireland, normality would offer a chance to avoid the ‘looks’, the rumours and the bullying that she has dealt with in the past. But ‘normal’ is hardly possible. Not with a little sister who claims to have…

Daisy Chain Dream

This novel, first published by the Poolbeg Press in 1994, has been reissued by Hodder, along with the two earlier titles in the trilogy. Daisy Chain Dream is mostly concerned with the story of the ambitious and vulnerable Biddy Plunkett in the difficult years after World War II. Although a misleading cover suggests a narrative…

Dark Wood Dark Water

Callaghan’s début novel delves into the supernatural goings on in the Irish town of Bailey. The story follows three teenagers Josh, Kate and Gabe who each lose a loved one to the water. Forming an unlikely alliance with historian Naylor, they work together to uncover the centuries-old evil in their hometown. The dark opening sets…

Dead Beautiful

Dead Beautiful tells the story of Renée, a teenager whose life is turned upside down following the death of her parents in mysterious circumstances. After the funeral, she is sent to boarding school in New England by her enigmatic grandfather. But Renée is dismayed to find how far removed the Gottfried Academy is from her…

Divergent

The future of YA fiction is dystopian. But following in the shadow of the epic, controversial and downright fantastic Hunger Games, how can you tell a cheap knock- off from the real thing? Fear not. This popular sub-genre includes the likes of Allie Condie’s excellent debut, Matched, and I’m here to tell you that things…

Doing It

Somebody described this book to me as ‘shag, shag, shag’. Actually, there is far more snogging than shagging, and there is much more talk about shagging than there is actually ‘doing it’. Moreover, there is almost as much blushing as there is snogging, and far more anxiety, frustration, sexual failure and emotional insecurity than there…

Done Dirt Cheap

Virginia Campbell and Tourmaline Harris have lived turbulent lives for their eighteen years. In exchange for her mother’s debts, Virginia works for the corrupt district attorney, Hazzard—competing in pageants and dealing drugs. Tourmaline looks like a proper young lady, getting good grades and going to church, but her father is head of a biker club…

Elias Martin

At seventeen, Elias Martin was driven north ‘by dint of not fitting in anywhere else’. For twelve years Elias lives a solitary life of constant struggle to stay warm and fed as he slowly learns the skills that allow him to survive in the harsh tundra of the far north. One day, he sees strange…

Entangled

Cat Clarke’s debut novel, Entangled, tells the story of 17-year-old Grace, as she is held captive in a white room. Grace has problems, including a dysfunctional family, and her best friend Sal begins to push Grace away when Sal’s own life begins to change. Entangled tackles a number of issues, including suicide, self-harm, abortion and…

Every Hidden Thing

Deep in the badlands of America, the bones of an ancient beast, the king of the dinosaurs, lay to be discovered. Two men, Cantland and Bolt will race and connive to be the first to claim it, but their headstrong teenagers have their eyes on the prize too, as well as each other… Inspired by…

Exploring History Series

These books, from a new ‘Exploring History’ series, chart the history of a variety of countries and continents before and after the arrival of Europeans. Each book is written by an author associated with the country in question and this has broadened the viewpoint presented in each. In India, the author appeals directly to the…

Faerie Wars

These wars take place in richly imaginative worlds teeming with characters of amazing variety. These range from humans to demons to faeries of the night to those of the light, all interacting with other strange beings like a translucent cat and an orange dwarf. It is a gripping adventure story with many strands; almost too…

Fat Boy Swim

On the surface of it this looked like a good book. Jimmy, the central figure, is a very overweight young man who has to deal with his size and all the attendant problems that this brings to his life. The book is cleverly conceived – chapters are grouped into what looks like a menu: starters,…

Feather Wars

Feather Wars is set in the early years of World War II. It is unusual in that its setting is rural England where the war seems remote and offers little opportunity for the usual blitz and bomb shelters scenes. The writer skilfully intertwines the story of the war in France and a different sort of…

Feed

Feed is set in a corporate-dominated future in which most people have an advanced internet connection implanted into their brains (the Feed of the title). This connection enables everything from entertainment to advertisements to viruses to be transmitted directly into the user’s mind. This dystopian vision of a world where every billboard knows your name…

Final Draft

Meet Laila Piedra, a straight-laced student with a love for reading, watching and more particularly writing sci-fi. When her favourite teacher and number one writing fan, Mr. Madison, is hurt in a car accident, Laila starts to look at her writing differently. She has a new-found feeling of lived experience that affects what goes into…

Firebrand

Banished by a jealous Queen, two Sidhe brothers, Seth and Conal, are sent beyond the Veil to 16th-century Scotland and come face to face with the Witchfinder era. Moving from a feudal warrior existence to a tense, wary and mistrustful atmosphere, they tread carefully until their return home, but for how long? A multilayered book…

Flip

This review is an extract from Inis 35. To read the full extended review pick up a copy of Inis 35. The search for our identity, the question of who we really are, is one that we begin at birth and continue to search for until we die. When can we ever say that we…

Floored

In this creative collaboration, six wildly different teens become unlikely friends after destiny brings them together one day in an elevator and a certain incident cements their fates as forever-entwined. It would take a hard-core fan to pick out which successful YA author wrote each of the main characters, whether it’s Kaitlyn the witty but…

Follow Me Down

Follow Me Down is the debut novel from Julie Hearn, formerly a journalist and one of Philip Pullman’s creative writing students. This book deserves attention – it is quite simply one of the most original and compelling books from a new author since Nicky Singer’s Feather Boy. This is the story of Tom, a well-rounded…

Forbidden

Suzuma tackles the taboo subject of sibling incest in this credible and heartbreaking novel. The blurb reads: ‘She is pretty and talented – sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But … they are brother and sister.’…

Forgotten

London Lane is 16 years old, and to everyone except her mother and her best friend, she seems like a normal teenage girl. The truth is that at 4.33 a.m. every day, her mind resets, and her short-term memories are replaced with parts of the future that she ‘remembers’. Every evening she writes notes for…

Friction

Once I started reading this novel, I was hooked. Carried along by the immediacy of the present-tense narration, I found myself at once identifying with the characters and their dilemmas. Frank is a skilful writer who knows just how much to say and how much to leave unsaid. Her style is never complicated or fussy…

Geis – A Matter of Life & Death

A geis is a mythological Gaelic curse, under which you must obey certain rules and limitations or suffer the consequences. But rules are always broken and that’s when it gets interesting. On her deathbed, the great leader Matarka has decreed a contest to decide who will succeed her. After her passing, fifty random citizens are…

Genesis

In this, the follow-up to the acclaimed Oasis, Eilis Barrett continues to push boundaries and break new ground in dystopian YA fiction. Captured, incarcerated and now classified as a major security risk, heroine Quincy Emerson longs for freedom from Oasis and its entire value system – and craves revenge against those who have destroyed what…

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…

Gingerbread

Cyd Charisse is the daughter from hell, who is carrying around an awful secret within herself. Sixteen, with raging hormones and a uniquely solipsistic view of world, she makes life unbearable not only for herself but for those around her who try hard to keep loving her. Although she has never known her biological father,…

Girls Can’t Hit

  Feminism, Anglo-Saxon peasants and boxing – a surprisingly winning combination! Fleur leads a relatively tame life where her only excitement is dressing as an Anglo-Saxon peasant at the weekends. Her days are filled with avoiding sporty school bully Bonita and enduring her over-protective mother, with the occasional date with her nice/dull boyfriend George. When…

Girls Who Changed The World

From the author of Girls Who Rocked the World comes another volume of inspirational narratives for girls. Its overall message is that anything is possible. As she says on the cover: ‘Going after your dream doesn’t have to wait – be empowered by these incredible women and start changing the world now.’ The author has…

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…

Here I Stand: stories that speak for freedom

Chris Riddell’s startlingly effective cover and end-papers depict an androgynous captive breaking out of chains. It’s a fitting introduction indeed to a volume subtitled ‘stories that speak from freedom’ in which international authors, poets and illustrators, amongst them John Boyne, Chibundu Onuzo, Bali Rai, AL Kennedy and Sarah Crossan explore the notion of human rights…

Highly Illogical Behavior

Following in a similar vein to All the Bright Places and Everything, Everything, Highly Illogical Behaviour, seeks to highlight the people in society who have been made invisible as a result of their struggle with mental illness. Lisa is an ambitious sixteen-year-old desperate to leave both the small town she grew up in and her…

Holding Up the Universe

Libby and Jack both have problems to deal with as they start a new year at high school. But, while Libby’s past has been flung all over the internet for those who want to find it, not even Jack’s family know his. When circumstances force them together, they see that they have more in common…

Hole in the Middle

This clever novel is an allegory about embracing your difference and just being yourself. Morgan Stone is a regular teenager who lives with her best friend, her mother just happens to be a world famous fitness guru whose success is built on the idea of bodily perfection. Morgan has an unusual secret, though: a perfect…

Honor Girl

Things at all-girl Christian summer camp Camp Bellflower have remained the same for one hundred years with a comforting sense of familiarity for fifteen-year-old Maggie who has attended almost every summer of her life. This is something that goes completely out the window when Maggie falls suddenly, hopelessly and, to herself, surprisingly, in love with…

Hostage

David lives with his mother and younger brother. His father committed suicide four years ago as a result of depression and drink. His mother takes in a lodger, Sam, to help her financially and he and David become good friends. Sam treats David in an adult way and brings him to an important football match.…

I Capture the Castle

For readers all over the world, I Capture the Castle is a much-loved book – and, since it is frequently described as a woman’s novel, I ask myself why it means so much to me. In my case, there are some personal factors – its East Anglian landscape is my landscape, and the period the…

Image & Imagination: Ideas and Inspiration for Teen Writers

The teenage years are a curious time for young writers: on the one hand, it is a time of creativity and having much to say, and on the other hand, there are so many rules and regulations for writing within a school system that they grow wary of getting it ‘wrong’. Image & Imagination is…

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…

Ink

They say not to judge a book by its cover. However, in the case of Ink, you wouldn’t be in wrong in doing so. The illustrations on the cover of the book are breathtaking. The shiny bronze designs are set against a black backdrop which draws attention to the intricacies of the artwork. Though the…

Inventing Elliot

Elliot Sutton endures a life of incessant torment at the hands of vicious bullies until an unexpected family tragedy leads to a move of house, a new school and a fresh start. Paralysed emotionally by his previous experiences, Elliot vows that he will never again be a victim and will seize the new opportunities offered…

Iron Cast

In Destiny Soria’s Iron Cast, Ada and Corinne are Hemopaths, whose ‘afflicted’ blood gives them the ability to use song, music, poetry and art to manipulate the world and those around them. Set in 1919 just before the Prohibition, Hemopaths, like alcohol, are about to become outlawed. Working at The Cast Iron bar where illegal…

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…

Last Chance

anything.’ Thus 15-year-old Julian on the opening page of this ambitious novel, as he contemplates the complexities of his domestic situation. His father has just returned to the West Indies, leaving the boy some money, details of a betting system by which he will apparently make a fortune on horse racing and, most significant of…

Letters to the Lost

Seventeen-year-old Juliet’s photojournalist mother is dead and the only thing that’s helping her cope are the letters she’s been leaving at her grave. When someone writes a reply to one of them, Juliet finds herself sharing her deepest thoughts with a total stranger. Except he isn’t a stranger. Declan Murphy is a fellow student in…

Life: An Exploded Diagram

This is a new historical novel for young adults from the award-winning writer of Keeper and Exposure. A coming-of-age story set in rural Norfolk, England in 1962, the central plot focuses on the growing romance between 16-year-old Clem Ackroyd, a working-class boy with a talent for drawing, and Frankie, the rebellious daughter of a rich…

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…

Little Liar

This is an intense and gripping novel that seems to take its cue from the recent ‘domestic noir trend’ in adult fiction. Like many contemporary novels in that genre, Little Liar features a manipulative and morally ambiguous female protagonist who is by her own admission an unreliable narrator and who spends the novel scheming to…

Locomotion

Four years after their parents were burned to death in a house fire Lonnie (also known as ‘Locomotion’) and his younger sister Lili are now living, separately, with foster mothers. For Lonnie, 11 years of age, the trauma of the loss of his parents still hurts. It is his teacher, Ms Marcus, who, in inspiring…

Lola Rose

This book, in which an abused mother and her two children run away from a criminally violent dad to a new, adventurous life, deals with a whole range of predictable Wilsonesque ‘issues’ – domestic violence, parental inadequacy, alcohol abuse, sexual irresponsibility, social exclusion, cancer, food-related disorders and fat – but it handles them with an…

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…

Looking after your Mental Health

If someone has broken their arm and it is covered with a plaster cast, it’s fairly obvious to everyone what is wrong. If someone suffers from a mental illness, this may be less easily identifiable. We live in a world full of stress. For teenagers there are many pressures which affect their quality of life…

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.’…

Love, Shelley

An account of a 14-year-old girl’s life in a series of letters to her favourite singer Ziggy. Shelley, the narrator, feels she can be truly honest with her idol. Her letters reveal the neglect and verbal abuse that she and her delicate younger brother, Jake, suffer due to their mother’s alcoholism. School also presents problems…

Lucas

The mysterious and attractive Lucas immediately ignites Caitlin’s interest when she sees him walking along the narrow spit connecting her island home to the mainland. Lucas lives rough, surviving off what he can get from the land and the small income he earns odd jobbing. His feral lifestyle has left him free from the imagined…

Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice

Everyone knows the story of Pride & Prejudice, which is, of course, the story of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. Jane Austen’s romantic tale has been capturing readers’ hearts for centuries. But what of the youngest and wildest Bennett daughter Lydia, the one who really tried her poor mother’s nerves? Dismissed as the flighty one…

Mac Rí Éireann

Nuair a cuireadh an leabhar seo os mo chomhair den chéad uair, bhí a fhios agam go mbeadh léamh draíochta, álainn agus contúirteach romham. Tugann an scéal Mac Rí Éireann muid ar turas fantaisíochta ón Domhan Thiar fhad leis an Domhan Thoir. Insíonn sé dúinn fá Rí na hÉireann a chuireann ruaig ar a mhac…

Massive

Dealing with eating disorders and the family dynamics, Massive is a memorable, thought-provoking, but not wholly successful book. Carmen’s mum, Maria, is thin, obsessed with her weight and terrified of losing control. She sees her normal teenage daughter as fat, disgusting and undisciplined. Although the central character is a teenage girl, Massive is quite unlike…

Max

Konrad Von Kebnersol aka Max is the first product of a secret Lebensborn programme, a Nazi breeding plan dedicated to producing specimens of the purest Aryan perfection. Separated from his mother soon after his birth, baptised by Hitler himself and touted as the programme’s finest, he is enrolled in a Napola – a Nazi military…

Mollie on the March

This sequel to The Making of Mollie takes Anna Carey’s charming young suffragette heroine, Mollie Carbery, into the summer months of 1912. Like its predecessor, the book is written through letters to Mollie’s friend Frances, who is now on holiday in America—something the Carberys could never afford. Mollie’s frustration at not being able to travel…


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