London is melting under an oppressive heatwave. Nik & Norva live in the Tri, a high-rise building where their father is the caretaker.
When one of the residents, Hugo, is found murdered, Nik & Norva are on the case.
They loved Hugo, he taught an art class in the common area of the Tri and always had interesting information about the Tri and surrounding community.
It's summer, so Nik & Norva have a lot of time on their hands to devote to the case, to the annoyance of the local residents and police. However, for the most part, the police aren't trusted in the Tri. This gives the detective duo more access to conduct their thorough and (sometimes) reckless research into who committed the horrible crime. As the suspect list mounts, Nik & Norva find themselves in a race against time to find the killer before their lives are turned completely upside down.
High Rise Mystery is an amazing new series by author Sharna Jackson. I loved following Nik & Norva's adventure through the Tri as they unwraveled the crime. They are smart, curious, stubborn and not against bending a few rules to get the job done. They are the perfect team to solve the case and I'm excited to know that they will be back with new stories and new cases to solve in the future.
The supporting characters in High Rise Mystery are just as strong. Nik & Norva's friend George is hilarious and more clever than he lets on. Mark is a potential love interest but also a suspect. Nik & Norva also don't like the way Jane has been acting, in fact, everyone in the building is a suspect.
Good thing they are organised and ready to take on whatever is thrown at them. It's funny, smart and a great who-dunnit that should not be missed.
Sharna recently spoke to the BBC on the importance of young readers seeing their lives, their cultures, religions, backgrounds and communities reflected in the books that they read. You can read the article here.
It also references a new report published by BookTrust, the UK's largest reading charity. The report states that "over the pas 11 years, fewer than 2% of all authors and/or illustrators of children's books published in the UK were British people of colour."
This is why BookTrust has launched #BookTrustRepresents, a campaign to promote and support these authors who are severely underrepresented in the UK.
In the eerie town of Suds, children are disappearing. Some of them come back, unable to speak, their eyes turned grey, their hair turned white, their spirit sucked from them completely.
Poppy is visiting her Gran for the summer, her Gran has funny rules like all washing has to be in before 6pm, no sugar is to be left lying around the house and never, ever clean any windowsills.
When Poppy meets Erasmus, an odd boy who doesn't seem to have a filter, they start to unravel an ancient, terrifying secret that hides just under the town's sleepy veneer.
As they get closer to discovering the truth, Poppy realises that her Gran, her friends and her own life are in horrible danger.
I loved this novel, the writing is crisp and clear and Poppy is an amazing protagonist. She's clever, stubborn and doesn't back down from a fight. The great thing about this story are the secondary characters who really jump off the page with grit and spirit. Erasmus is hilarious, loyal and headstrong as is Poppy's Gran. Poppy's dynamic with her absentee father is very realistic and touching. The villains in this novel are truly terrifying, stuff that creeps into your dreams and spins them into nightmares. It's a fantastic tale that will become a modern classic in my opinion. Don't miss it!
When Theo's photographic exhibit is vandalised, there are five suspects. To get to the bottom of the mystery, all five along with Theo take part in a Justice Circle during the last week of vacation to get to know each more and try and figure out who committed the dastardly act.
Theo has it in his mind who committed the crime, and has preconceived ideas about every single student. You've got the Nerd, the Princess, the Jock, the Weirdo, and the Screw-Up. He's got them all pegged, and he thinks the Justice Circle will be a waste of time.
However, as the week moves along, the stereotypes start to crumble. Theo isn't sure who did the deed and even worse, he starts to like every single one of the students. The matter stands though, someone in the room destroyed his work, someone in the room hates him.
I really enjoyed this novel, it's all about not knowing what people are going through behind the façade they put on in public. As Theo and the other students start to reveal their secrets, their fears and their hopes, we are kept guessing till the very end as to who did the act. It's a great middle grade novel that our students will really love.
When 12 year old Alex receives an old toy robot from his eccentric grandfather, he doesn't know what to think. His grandfather's always coming in and out of his life in weird and wonderful things.
There's something off about this toy, though, something Alex can't quite pinpoint. When strange things begin to happen, Alex and his grandfather end up in whirlwind adventure full of dangerous creatures and dastardly villains who are hell bent at gaining power no matter what the cost.
This novel has many great aspects to it, robots, golems from Jewish folklore stemming from the city of Prague and it also has some genuinely frightening scenes which I was surprised at but really enjoyed. There is a ton of action as Alex discovers that the robot he was sent holds the key to a centuries old mystery, one that can give the owner of the robot immense power over other people. Even with his brief encounter with it, Alex is able to use the robot to briefly control others and I liked how it was disturbing yet alluring to him at the same time, as it would all of us.
I think the students at Glenthorne will really enjoy this unique novel, I hope a sequel is in the works. I recommend it for ages 12 and up!
Kay Donovan & her friends are the most popular students at an elite private school. They run the place, they control the social atmosphere that is more important to most than grades.
One evening, after a party, they find a dead girl floating in a lake by the school. None of them claim to know her, she was a student at their school but she wasn't high up enough on the pecking order to be important to them.
However when Kay receives a coded scavenger hunt from the dead girl, her life becomes very complicated. She's plunged headfirst into a dangerous game where she must stab her friends in the back otherwise be framed for the murder. As the noose tightens, and the police begin to close in, Kay begins to unravel, and what is real and what is not becomes blurred.
I really enjoyed People Like Us, Kay is a great character, she has several flaws and can be very unlikeable but I never stopped rooting for her. She has a melancholic yet determined nature that keeps her chugging along in the face of obstacle after obstacle. At the Library that I manage, students can't get enough of school-based mysteries so I know this novel will be extremely popular.
I recommend it for ages 14 and up!
Penelope Lumley has just landed a job as governess at Ashton place, a formidable looking estate in the countryside.
Right from the start Penelope can tell something is a little off about the entire place. The people act funny and the children she is supposed to be caring for are nowhere in sight.
When she is shown them, she discovers the truth, that they are actually feral children discovered by Lord Ashton himself during a hunting party.
At fifteen, Peneloe has never experienced anything quite like this, but she is a headstrong and resourceful teenager and decides to plunge ahead with the daunting task of bringing the children into the "civilised" world.
Penelope teaches them basic manners, like not chasing squirrels (this will become a huge task late in the novel) and learning poetry and Latin.
To add to the pressure, Lady Constance has instructed Penelope to get the children ready for the biggest Christmas party in the land, something that fills Penelope with dread.
To make matters even worse, Penelope has the sneaking suspicion that not all is right with Ashton Place. Mysterious characters like Old Timothy roam the grounds trading whispers with the others and she doesn't like the vibe coming off of Lady Constance in general.
I can't believe it took me this long to get to this series. Anyone who ever grew up watching Mary Poppins or the Sound of Music and reading Harry Potter or any Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie will really dive into it. Penelope is a tremendous force of nature yet in a quiet way which only makes her more likeable. The children, Beowulf, Cassiopeia & Alexander will tug at your heart strings from the second you discover them huddled under a pile of hay in the barn. Then there's the mysterious Frederick & Lady Constance, perfect villains set in a strange estate that seems to breathe and act on its own.
One of the best books I've read this year, I'm really excited to promote it to my students in the Library!
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!