Tilly is eleven years old and is in love with books. It's no surprise considering her grandparents own and run the magical Pages & Co. bookshop in London.
Pages & Co. is a magical place because of the love and literary energy that surrounds it but it's also magical in strange and to Tilly, bewildering ways. She sometimes sees her grandparents speaking to customers who are standing there one minute and are gone the next.
When she turns a corner and comes face to face with a girl who looks exactly like Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, she's not sure if the bookshop is responsible or her own mind.
Then she meets Anne of Avonlea and eventually uncovers the secret: Book characters are travelling from the world of novels to Pages & Co. through a magical process called Book Wandering.
Tilly soon discovers that she also has the ability to Book Wander, but that there are strict rules to follow. With the help of her friend Oskar she sets out on a quest to discover what happened to her long lost mother. Her journey will take her through her favourite children's literature and features a host of amazing characters and villains.
Pages & Co. can be read anywhere but it deserves to be read on a cold, rainy day in a bookshop cafe because it will warm your soul. Tilly is a smart, stubborn and sometimes fiery character with a good heart, she's a great new character that you'll want to follow through the pages of any book.
There are many new novels being published for children and teens in the UK in the Fall of 2018 but make sure you don't miss Pages & Co. because it will be on at the top of the list of any student ages 9 and up.
Olive is not feeling her absolute best. She's standing on the edge of a cliff after a bout of severe depression. Talked down by the police, she's convinced to attend a Camp Reset, a trial facility for those suffering from a wide array of mental illnesses.
At the camp she meets many other teens: Jamie, a wannabe rock star with an attitude and good looks. Then there's Lewis, the quiet, shy boy who knows Maths better than anyone she's ever met. Sophie, who is fragile and quiet and delicate in Olive's eyes becomes a quick friend, but Olive's not there to meet friends, she's there to get her brain back to whatever normal is supposed to be.
Halfway through the program, she has an epiphany: What if the teens in the camp aren't the problem? What if society is the problem. If Olive and her friends can figure out a way to infect the world with kindness, there wouldn't be mental illness, right?
Olive becomes convinced she's got it worked out, she starts sleeping less, working out algorithms with Lewis and a plan with the rest of the crew in order to create a kindness revolution of course.
I won't spoil the novel any more but what follows is a detailed look at mental illness and the hope, humour and devastation that is wrapped up in it.
I really loved this novel. Last school year our book club, The Booklings, hid messages of kindness and well being in novels around the Library and this story has inspired me to try and make it a bigger event in Sept.
Kasia is a house-bound teen. Suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), she can't go down the stairs without feeling completely wiped out let alone go to school, meet friends and lead an average teenage life.
She spends her days in her room, listening to podcasts and audio books, doing homework and watching the world from her window.
Across the street and number 48, she swears she sees a figure in the window of a young girl. This seems strange to Kasia because she never sees her leave the house. Then one evening a car pulls up on her street, a man exits the vehicle and drags a screaming girl into it before stepping on the pedal and driving off.
Kasia is shocked and phones the police. Across the street, she sees the shadow of the girl in the window, watching everything unfold.
The police have nothing to go on. No one else has reported a missing person and there's no other witnesses. Kasia knows there is another witness but the police tell her that a young girl doesn't live across the street.
Is Kasia losing her mind? Has she been cooped up in her room for too long?
Kasia makes a new friend when a boy named Nav and his mum move in on the street to make amends with Nav's grandmother. Nav is sympathetic to Kasia and her medical condition, when many teens her age are not. Together, Nav and Kasia try to piece together the mystery of the shadowy girl in the window next door and the abduction that Kasia swore she saw. I won't spoil the novel any further, you'll have to read it!
Peny Joelson's writing is fast paced and concise which is what I love in a YA novel. It's also informative without delving into the info-dump that many authors fall victim to. I learned a lot about ME reading this book and I never once felt like i was being dictated to. I've only met one person in my life with ME and only briefly so I was interested in learning more. The frustration that Kasia feels when people in her school don't really believe her that she suffers from a real medical condition and is just trying to get out of school is tough and I can't imagine how that feels.
Girl in the Window covers some tough issues but I wouldn't hesitate to give this to a twelve year old student at Glenthorne. I really loved it, fans of mystery thrillers and even books like Everything, Everything will be wanting to read more from Penny!
Ralph, Jojo, Noel, Persephone, and Cammi are in the 6th grade (Year 7) and play a table top role playing game called Reign of Dragons.
They create magical stories and submerse themselves in a fantasy realm full of orcs, kobolds and other deadly creatures.
One day, while playing with a special golden D20 die, the kids summon the characters they have created for the game into modern day Brooklyn.
One minute they are flat pieces of paper and the next they are living and breathing, standing in the kids' kitchen.
What follows is a hilarious and heartfelt tale of a group of very confused fish out of water. Completely overwhelmed by their new surroundings, the Reign of Dragons characters rely on the children to guide them through the ways of the world.
With a Reign of Dragons convention happening soon, and the creator of Reign of Dragons in attendance, it seems their only option is to bring them to the convention and try to figure out how to get them back home.
There are some truly funny moments in this novel, like when the Rogue plays a cup and ball game with hapless New York tourists and is forever flabbergasted as to why he can't simply pickpocket anyone he sees. And when the party tries to figure out the magic of an iPhone weather app.
Anyone who has ever played Dungeons and Dragons will really love this story, but you don't have to be a D&D fan to enjoy it.
There are some really great messages in the novel and it's great to see the children gain their confidence and figure out the challenges with their Reign of Dragon counterparts.
Denis Markell's first novel, Click Here to Start is without question one of the most popular books at the Glenthorne Library. Game Masters is no different in that I know it's going to be a hit with boys and girls alike. If you are a school Librarian you need to pick up these two novels as they will fly off the shelves.
I recommend it for ages 9 and up!
Mo needs to escape. Her mum's new boyfriend, Lloyd, is an abusive brute who has a dark past, the boy she likes, Sam, has his heart set on a new girl and life in Crongton in general can be outright dangerous.
When Lloyd goes too far and reveals a horrible secret her mum has been harbouring, Mo vows revenge.
As she gets more and more involved in the criminal element of Crongton's toughest residents, she begins to wonder how she got so deep, and if she can ever get out.
Straight Outta Crongton is a unique novel in that Wheatle has created his own rhythm and in some cases words that his characters use to describe their situations. It reminded me a lot of A Clockwork Orange in that respect. I never once felt like the language was shoe-horned in, it flows as natural as the concrete pillars in the tower blocks that line Crongton.
I really loved Mo, she's a complex character that does some deeply wrong things yet I never once stopped rooting for her throughout the entire novel. She never once stops fighting for her right to be happy and to be respected by everyone around her. She demands that her mother provide a safe place for both of them and when that doesn't happen she storms out. Mo is a fighter and I really enjoyed following her through this journey.
I would highly recommend this and the other books in Wheatles' South Crongton series, check them out!
Taran's dream is to become an MC, her and her twin brother Hari live in Firestone House, a tower block in London with a bad reputation that doesn't paint the full picture of community and togetherness that the twins know and love.
When Hari and his friend Jamal witness a horrible crime, they find themselves on the run from corrupt policemen.
Using Firestone House as their refuge, they begin to uncover the truth behind the crime they have witnessed. Now the clock is ticking to get their evidence into the right hands before they and their friends befall a horrible fate at the hands of the dirty cops.
Run, Riot is about a lot of things but it focuses a lot on gentrification. "Cleaning" up areas of a city that are viewed as unprofitable in the eyes of faceless corporations. Their goal is to bring in middle to upper class people and rid the area of those who need affordable housing. They don't care where they go as long as they aren't in the way. Firestone House is up for redevelopment and it plays a crucial role in the novel.
It's also a straight up thriller which reminded me of a movie I used to love as a teen, one called Judgement Night which takes place all in one night and sees people on the run from violent criminals.
The novel portrays the everyday distrust that many people have of authority and especially the police. The rage and anger that boils up in people who feel like they've got no one to really turn to, even in times of dire emergencies, is a constant thread throughout. It's a hard hitting theme that strikes a nerve with anyone who is living through this kind of dystopian nightmare and people who think it can't possibly be that bad but should be awoken to it.
It is in this vein that Run, Riot breathes life into its characters. They are typical teens and not so typical at the same time. They are afraid, angry, resilient and possess a strong sense of community and justice. It's a great YA novel with a lot of thrills and anger and retribution. I highly recommend it for ages 14 and up!
Nelle is a private-eye hoping for a new case. When Eddie de Menthe, a well known candy hustler approaches her and says his most prized possession, his teddy bear, has gone missing, she takes the case.
In this world candy is prohibited. That doesn't mean everyone is eating it, they're just doing it in secret. There are rival gangs and shady people handing out candy left right and centre.
Then Eddie goes missing, Nelle thinks it might have something to do with the mysterious chocolate factory on the edge of town, a seemingly derelict building owned by the reclusive Mr. Farnsworth.
As she unravels the clues, the suspect list seems to get larger and larger and then there are the two "police" officers shadowing her every move.
Candy is a detective novel and a Dahl-esque adventure rolled into one. Nelle is a memorable and interesting character as are the villains and the sidekicks. I know students will really take to his novel, fans of David Walliams will also be charmed by the story. I recommend it for ages 9 and up!
When Kat Wolfe and her veterinarian mum move to the Jurassic Coast from London, they feel like they've landed in paradise. Kat's mum has her own vet service and Kat starts a pet-sitting business.
However, when Kat suspects that one of her clients may have been kidnapped, or even worse, murdered, she begins to peel away the thin veneer of peace and tranquillity that resides in Bluebell Bay.
With a small handful of friends, both human and animal, Kat uncovers a conspiracy that leads all the way to the highest echelons of the UK government.
Is she right? Is there a dark shadow descending upon the small village at Bluebell Bay, or is it all in her mind? As the connections become clearer, Kat must do everything in her power to convince the adults in charge that something sinister is lurking behind the manicured grass and windswept fields on the cliffs.
Kat Wolf Investigates is a great mystery adventure for ages 10 and up. Students will love Kat's rebellious yet loyal character. The village itself is full of prime suspects, quirky personalities and oddballs, creating a story that is fast paced, funny and interesting.
I really loved this novel and I know a large group of students at the Library I manage who will love it even more!
It's 1944 and Jakob is hiding from the Nazis in a horse stable in Austria. When they come to investigate the possibility that Jakob's guardian is harbouring a Jewish boy, the SS officer is angered that he can't locate him.
To compensate, he shoots and kills one of the guardian's acclaimed Lipizzaner horses.
Fearing they will return, Jakob and his guardian escape in the night with the remaining horses. Their goal is to reach a village across the mountains where they feel it will be safer.
Along the way they meet Kizzy, a Roma who has her own tragic story to tell. Kizzy is an adept rider and great at hunting and fishing and makes a valuable companion. To reach safety, the trio must enter Nazi held territory and areas crawling with Nazi sympathisers. To make matters worse, they aren't even sure what will be waiting for them on the other side of the mountains.
Flight is a harrowing tale of survival, cunning and adventure. Jakob and Kizzy make a great pair as they try to outwit and out-manoeuver the many threats to their safety. When Jakob's guardian becomes seriously injured, the hope of saving the horses becomes even smaller. It's a story of desperation and grit that any 10 year old will love. Fans of WWII, horses and friendship will really sink their teeth into it!
Demelza lives on the tiny island of Penfurzy with her father. Nothing much seems to happen on the island but that doesn't stop Demelza from creating fantastic adventure stories in her mind along with her pet goose Captain Honkers and her trusty Game Gauntlet (Anyone remember NES' Power Glove?).
Then one stormy evening a girl crashes through her door. Her name is Nessa and she tells Demelza that she just needs a place to crash for a few days and doesn't want any questions asked.
As they hang out together, Demelza tells Nessa about the legend of Penfurzy, knights who came across priceless treasure and curse that wiped them out hundreds of years ago.
Through a series of chance circumstances, Demelza and Nessa start to unravel secrets buried deep in the island's history. These revelations make them wonder if the legend of the Penfurzy knights is really true.
Knights and Bikes is a hilarious and fast paced fantasy adventure filled to the brim with nostalgia for 1980s video games and culture. I usually don't like it when I hear reviewers say a book is "This crossed with this" however I couldn't help think about films like The Goonies, tv shows like Scooby Doo, games like Dungeons and Dragons and of course books found in the Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance series and the amazing graphic novel Templar.
It's a great, original story with friendship and adventure at its core and I was very happy to see that there's room for sequels. Do not miss this awesome story, any book that contains a bicycle that's been named "Neon Justice" is aces in my book anyway. Loved it! Recommend it for ages 9 and up.