Reviewer:

Joe Kelly

Book Cover - The Trap

The Trap

What drives some young men in Europe to travel to a country they know little about and pick up a gun? This fast-paced novel by Alan Gibbons doesn’t give you a definitive answer, but it does provide an insight into the devastating impact that this decision can have on the families left behind.

Book Cover - Breaking

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 she drinks a mysterious vial, everything changes and suddenly Charlotte finds that she has become as flawless as those around her. However, this is to come at a great cost.

Book Cover - Internment

Internment

As we know in Ireland, internment without trial is a crude and cruel approach that humiliates and dehumanizes its victims and opens wounds in society that can take years to heal. When this happens to Muslims in a near-future America, teenager Layla and her family are forced to choose between acquiescence and short-term safety, or putting their lives in danger to fight back against a state that supposedly promises ‘liberty and justice for all.’

Book Cover - Lark

Lark

Those who have enjoyed the first three books of this series will be saddened by the fact that this appears to be the last. Just like the lark of the title, Anthony McGowan has created in Nicky and Kenny characters that are as captivating and vulnerable as they are rare.

Book Cover - Go, Johnny, Go!

Go, Johnny, Go!

Johnny Sexton is one of Ireland’s most talented and beloved rugby players. Paul O’Flynn, who is best known as an RTÉ journalist brings the story of this hero to the page, so young readers can relive the excitement of a career that has achieved almost every major honour in the game.

Book Cover - Good News: Why the World is Not as Bas as You Think

Good News: Why the World is Not as Bad as You Think

Very often, we are drawn not towards the uplifting and positive stories in the media but to the news that scares us and often make us feel anxious. Early in this informative text we learn that historically, humans were hardwired to focus upon and remember what’s dangerous as this made us more alert to danger. Unfortunately, this trait also means that bad news is what we remember most easily so it’s not uncommon to feel like there is no good news. However, the author soon convinces us that this isn’t the case at all.

Book Cover - And The Ocean Was Our Sky

And The Ocean Was Our Sky

To say that the latest book by Patrick Ness is simply a retelling of Moby Dick from the point of view of the whale would not do it justice. Instead, what the author has managed to do is invert the perspective of the reader to such an extent that our whole worldview changes.

Book Cover - Moonrise

Moonrise

In Staten Island, Joe is a champion athlete, but when word arrives from Texas that a date has been set for the execution of his older brother Ed, the last thing he is going to do is run. Instead, he resolves to face this immense tragedy head-on and travels to a forlorn prison town to spend these precious final days with his brother.

As with One, Crossan has decided to tell this story in free verse. This sparse, poetic style, where every syllable counts, manages to capture and portray the thoughts and fears of Joe and allow us to empathise with him in a way that prose could not.

Book Cover - All the Ways the World Can End

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 the myriad means that life on Earth could be wiped out forever, as she feels that no matter how much control we try to take over a situation, ultimately it’s out of our hands.

Book Cover - Rook

Rook

Having introduced us to brothers Nicky and Kenny in Brock and Pike, Anthony McGowan concludes this series set in the north of England with Rook. Just like the young bird in the title, teenager Nicky quickly comes to realise that the first tentative steps towards independence and adulthood can bring about unexpected challenges that require help from those around you.