Izy's life is pretty ordinary, she's got a best friend at school, Grace, who she shares everything with. She's got a teen sister Megan who is moody and suddenly seems to be angry at the world and she's got a little brother who is kind and funny and annoying all wrapped in one.
Then a bombshell rocks her family, her father announces that he is transitioning into a woman. He's going to have a new name, Danielle, wear women's clothes and start hormone therapy.
At first, Izzy and Megan are shocked, then angry, especially Megan, who feels it's an absolute embarrassment. Izzy's anger turns quickly into sadness as she contemplates losing the person she knows as her dad.
To make matters worse, word gets around school about her father's decision. The whispers, the name calling, the outright abuse becomes too much for Izzy. On top of this she's got to rehearse for the upcoming Guys & Dolls musical that she has a big role in and nobody in her family seems to notice. It's going to be a rough ride and the question is, can she survive the turmoil?
Nothing Ever Happens here is a very touching story that is told with a lot grace, humour and consideration. Everyone in Izzy's family deals with the news about Dee (what they decide to call Danielle) in different ways. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how each character initially resisted then adapted and accepted Dee's wishes to become the person she wanted to be.
How Izzy handled the bullying was very well written, she took it on mostly by herself until she decided to reach out.
This book is about empathy, understanding and representation, things that are vitally important in the toxic whirlwind of self important garbage that swirls in a constant storm on places like Twitter and Facebook. I am delighted that it's out there and on the shelves of our library.
We've all been on school trips we've not enjoyed. I once had to go on a school trip to see how a local courthouse was run only to see a family member standing before the judge.
Well, that has nothing on Ian's upcoming school trip. Ian's mum is being a little over protective about this particular trip. She's packed him ten pairs of underwear and is very interested in embarrassing him to the tenth degree every chance he gets.
Ian's not worried, though, why would he be? It's just a school trip.
School Trip from Hell, that is. What begins as a slightly unnerving visit to an eerie mansion turns into a full blown fight for survival as Ian and his friends fend off tentacled monsters and slow moving but equally deadly zombies. Not to mention the entire show is being run by some sort of evil mastermind zombie controlling creature.
Mutant Zombies Cursed My School Trip is a hilarious addition to Matt Brown's other hilarious stories. They are sharp, clever and with a little bit of an edge to them, perfect reads for those in Year 6 or 7 who claim they hate reading when in fact they haven't found a book like this one.
London has been flooded, Kara and Joe scavenge their way through a rickety part of the city. To some, they are considered scum, urchins who don't deserve to live, to others they represent an opportunity to bring about change. When the siblings come into possession of a bizarre looking map, they find themselves on the run.
Captured by sea pirates, they must escape from their prison in order to save the only home they've ever known.
FloodWorld is fast paced near future in a terrifying dystopian world where climate change has ravaged our planet and threatened our way of life. The world is split between the super poor and the super rich, there is no in between. I really got pulled into this world and enjoyed every minute of it. Kara and Joe's plight is gut wrenching and nail biting at the same time, they've got nothing in this life but each other so the stakes are very high as they tumble into one twist after another. Fans of Sarah Govett's The Territory will really sink their teeth into this thrilling adventure!
Cole is a boy with big problems. His mum is about to lose her job at the local museum and his dad, an ex music roadie, is out of work as well. Cole's best friend is Mason, a boy whose family doesn't have to worry about money.
When Cole discovers that a painting in his mum's soon to be closed museum may house a secret to a lost treasure, he becomes obsessed with finding it.
Then something extraordinary happens. When a famous artist visits Cole's school. she believes that Cole's painting is a unique work of art and that Cole is an artistic genius. Suddenly thrust into the spotlight, Cole must endure mounting pressure to create a new piece of art if he's going to save his family from poverty. On the back burner is the painting's secret treasure trail. As the deadline mounts, the pressure on Cole becomes too much to bear.
I flew through this novel, Cole is a flawed character that you can't help but root for. We've all been in situations where white lies have gotten out of hand and this novel takes it to a level that is thoroughly enjoyable.His immersion into a world that is completely unknown to him was a real thrill to read. I also really loved the treasure hunt the children embarked on. The Boy Who Fooled the World is a novel that is perfect for ages 10+, it has a great moral base with genuinely funny and touching moments.
Noah is about to embark on a bleak summer holiday. His adopted mother is a best selling novelist and needs inspiration. To find it, she decides to travel to a remote Scottish island and live off the grid for a couple of weeks in a ramshackle cabin while she furiously pounds away on her typewriter.
The catch is, she wants Noah to accompany her. It just so happens that Noah is deathly afraid of water as a result of a cruel PE teacher and an incident in a pool. Nevertheless, he makes the short boat journey to the rocky island whose only inhabitant is a mysterious bird watcher who lives in an even more dilapidated cabin on the far side of the island.
On the short journey across the water, Noah discovers that the island used to house a leper hospital, and that not many people have the courage to stay on the island for very long. The captain taking him across won't divulge any more information, unfortunately. It doesn't take long for Noah to get entwined in a mystery of his own, and there's the mysterious figure that seems to be watching him from afar. What follows is a thrilling horror-adventure set in a stunning atmospheric island.
Set in the early 1950s, Inchtinn is a perfect scary read for a dark December evening. Noah's growth throughout the novel is admirable, I was really rooting for him and enjoyed seeing his confidence grow. The eeriness of the island crawled off the page, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!
Lance's Year 6 camping trip isn't going as planned. Before they even make it to Crater Lake, their final destination, a man covered in blood runs in front of their coach, screaming about bears and other strange things. This rattles everyone, except their teachers, who handle it in a calm manner.
Something's not right in the camp, though. It's sweltering outside and they are served boiling hot soup for dinner. Lance and a small handful of other students refuse to eat it, a decision that will save them. As their bunk mates fall asleep, Lance decides to stay up and hang out with his friends. When they decide to check on the other students, they discover something completely out of this world.
Now it's up to them to save the rest of the camp and yes, the world from a gruesome and determined alien force. The catch? Lance and his friends can't fall asleep. Whatever happens, do not fall asleep, otherwise it's "Game Over, Man."
Crater Lake is a non stop action ride that will make you shiver and laugh at the same time. I really loved Lance and his friends, Killick has created a really enjoyable misfit crew of kids, some of whom can't stand each other but they understand what's at stake so they agree to work together.
The challenges they must overcome are many, yet they solve them organically, nothing is forced or shoehorned in. I was completely on board for every turn no matter how intense or insane they became. This is the kind of book I will set aside to give to kids who claim they hate reading because I know this will help turn the tide. Fans of Holes by Louis Sachar will eat this up.
There is no wasted dialogue in this one, it's pure jet fuel firing on all cylinders so hold on tight. Recommended for ages 10+
Thirteen year old Beth has just become captain of a giant colony ship called Orion. It wasn't how she intended on starting the week. There was a bizarre "Event" that the ship's ever-present AI system, aptly named "Ship" won't discuss in detail. The event has left the actual captain and all other adults in a coma-like slumber leaving Beth a few other young teens in charge. They know the basics, but there's real trouble brewing in the form of alien ships and especially Scrapers. Scrapers are space infamous space pirates that answer to no one and do whatever they want, especially to crippled space stations stranded in the middle of the galaxy. To get everything up and running, Beth must use all of her wit and cunning, not to mention tons of elbow grease. She needs to convince the crew that she's up for the job and keep from going insane. Full of laughs, scares and huge twists, Orion Lost is an amazing space romp that will have you asking for more. I truly wanted to spend more time with these characters, they are a clever, resourceful and caring group that keeps going in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The villains are pitch perfect and the endless black void of space is always there, hovering around them. I will be purchasing multiple copies of Orion Lost for our Library as it is an amazing fast paced read that both boys and girls will love. Highly recommend it for ages 10+
America is in a post-apocalyptic nightmare where the dead have risen.
Peter, his father and a small community have forged a life on tiny islands in a national park. The problem? When winter descends and the ice freezes, there's nothing from stopping the dead from the walking to their homes on stilts and running riot.
I love this idea. Also, a national park is the first place I'd try to forge a new life when things go sour. It makes sense and Charlton puts you into that world brilliantly, the cold seeps through the pages and into your bones.
The protagonist, Peter, has always known he wasn't as tough as his father, or Bud, the father of Cooper, the boy he likes who lives on the other side of the lake.
One day, Peter allows a stranger to approach the shore in his canoe, this breaks all the rules and Peter nearly pays for his life because of it. As punishment, he's forced to go onto the mainland to learn how to wrangle the dead and help the rest of the crew survive. What follows is a series of misadventures where Peter discovers dark secrets about the place he calls home. These are secrets that will test Peter's willpower, grit and love for those around him.
Wranglestone is a great read, it's full throttle action with a lot of clever twists and scenes that will make your skin crawl. Peter and Cooper's dynamic is great, as is Peter's relationship with his father, proof that love can exist in the face of terror and showing how it's even more important when things go as bad as they do in Wranglestone.
This is sharp writing with great characters and a great twist on the zombie genre, I really recommend it when it arrives in the UK in Feb!
Sanity & Tallulah are best friends, they have a normal life, except that they live on a space station called Wilnick in the "middle of nowhere" in outer space. When Sanity decides to go "mad scientist" and grow a 3-headed cat named Princess Sparkle Destroyer of Worlds, her parents get super annoyed. Then, to make matters worse, Princess Sparkle Destroyer of Worlds goes missing and strange things start to happen on the space station. Namely, lights go off and on and the entire electric system goes out of whack. Sure that Princess Sparkle Destroyer of Worlds is to blame, Sanity and Tallulah set out to find her, but what they discover is something far more sinister than they imagined.
Hilarious, smart and fast paced, Molly Brooks has created an amazing universe that readers will not want to leave. Sanity & Tallulah are a great team with caring yet constantly annoyed parents who have to try to clear up after the trouble they inadvertently cause. They are a wonderful duo and I can't wait to read more of their adventures.
This review contains a discussion of suicide.
Nathan's life is falling apart, his brother Al has committed suicide. Nathan discovered him and is understandably broken because of it. There were no signs that this was going to happen, or were there? Nathan starts to dig further into his brother's life and ends up going down a dark path. However, it's a path that he hopes will lead to the truth as to why someone with as bright a future as Al would do something like commit suicide.
What follows is a devastating, beautifully written and raw story about mental health, bullying, the dark side of social media, homophobia and much more. Danielle Jawando has written what is in my opinion required reading for high school students. All of these characters are fully realised, Nathan's brother Saul is tough on the outside but underneath lies someone who is shattered and caring. Nathan's mum has separated from her husband and is struggling to put one foot in front of the other, her bereavement is real and pours off the page every time she appears. Megan, one of Al's only friends in school, is torn between her desire to do something great for Al as a memorial and her confusion over her so called friend's attitude toward Al.
Then there are the villains of the story, Eli and Cole and the mysterious Lewi. Eli is a truly terrifying character who is all to real, an alpha male nightmare fuelled by drugs and booze and testosterone.
As Nathan digs further and further into his brother's death, he begins to think that he can't trust anyone in his life. He starts to unravel, to lose his cool and to blame himself for what happened. This story hit me hard for several reasons, I could not put it down.
And the Stars Were Burning Brightly will tear your guts out, it's a tough read but a necessary one. I cannot recommend it enough, it deserves a huge audience, I guarantee it will be hugely popular at Glenthorne's Library, I can't wait to get it into the hands of our students.