Theme:

Sci-fi and fantasy

Monster Island Cover Image

Monster Island

Following a family tragedy, Sam Shipwright is sent to live with her grandad on Draymur Isle, an island as cold as the people who inhabit it. While Sam tries her best to adjust to her new life - ignoring her classmates’ jabs about her mad grandad, trying to keep Myrtle, her chaotic pet goat, from eating her shoes, and avoiding the relentlessly cruel Major Chase - she also has to learn to accept a terrifying truth.

Darby O'Gill and the Good People Cover Image

Darby O'Gill and the Good People

This book is a newly edition edition of six stories written by Herminie Templeton Kavanagh in the early 1900s, produced by children’s literature scholar Brian McManus.

Unraveller Cover Image

Unraveller

It feels wrong to play favourites, but of all the many skills Frances Hardinge displays in each of her novels, world-building ranks very high indeed in this reviewer’s list. From underground cities to gods-infested islands, Hardinge’s settings always come with wonderful depth and detail, making them much more than just a background to a character’s progression.

Spark Cover Image

Spark

Ash, from the Last Village, is forced to leave his home when the water supply dries up and the other villagers vanish without trace. In a world that seems to be slowing burning in the ever-increasing heat, water is humanity’s most precious resource – and it’s running out.

Happytown Must be Destroyed Cover Image

Happytown Must be Destroyed

Leeza is a regular schoolgirl in the regular town of Owt. She’s plagued by allergies (hence her nickname, Sneezer), indecision and feelings of inadequacy. NOT exactly the type of person you want to have to depend on to save the world. But one Monday morning she wakes up to find that everyone in Owt is HAPPY. This happiness, strangely enough, manifests itself in a desire to exercise and eat healthily, which in the case of Leeza’s couch potato parents (and most of the townspeople to be honest) is highly unusual! Something suspicious is going on …

Furthermoor Cover Image

Furthermoor

Darren Simpson’s novel is an unusual blend of fantasy narrative and the emotional theme of confronting life’s hardships. Bren is a teenage boy consumed by grief over the recent tragic death of his sister, Evie. He carries a heavy burden on his shoulders, between familial issues, school bullying and depression. His only solace is in travelling to a mystical land called Furthermoor using the magical mechanics of his watch, to meet Evie and confide in her his struggles since her death.

The Thief Who Sang Storms Cover Image

The Thief Who Sang Storms

Linnet is an alkonost, bird-like creatures similar to humans who have the gift of singing magic. Their island of home of Morovia was once peacefully shared with humans, but now the island is divided, singing magic is outlawed, and the alkonosts are forced to live in a swamp.

Hedgewitch Cover Image

Hedgewitch

Children have been disappearing in London, but Cassie Morgan is more concerned with trying to be invisible at her boarding school, where she has attracted the ire of school bullies and, as a consequence, is a social pariah to her peers. Cassie copes with her solitude by retreating into a world of reading, yearning for the day when her mother will come for her. This hope is shattered when the callous school head mistress announces that Cassie's mother has officially been declared dead, which prompts the girl to run away rather than be despatched to an institution.

Yesterday Crumb Cover Image

Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup

Yesterday Crumb is pulled away from a life as a mere circus speculation to a new magical adventure every day. This element made the book super enjoyable to read as well as the family and friends Yesterday found along the way.