Spellcasters: Book 1 Crookhaven The School for Thieves: Book 1 The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie Maggie Blue and the White Crow
Fablehouse: ‘A thrilling, atmospheric fantasy’ Guardian Wonderscape Tamarind & the Star of Ishta Orion Lost
The Monsters of Rookhaven Crater Lake Elsetime A Kind of Spark
Orphans of the Tide The Ten Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith The Vanishing Trick Evernight

Middle grade marvels

By Nicki Thornton

Middle grade marvels

By Nicki Thornton
Spellcasters: Book 1

Spellcasters: Book 1

Crystal Sung and Wendy Tan

£7.99 £7.59

This is a fun, pacey and thrilling fantasy tale with plenty of magic and friendship. I loved how the four girls weave their different cultural heritage and discover they each have unique family links and can call on their ancestors to channel mystical powers – but only if they work together. Spellcasters is a blend of urban fantasy with a relatable setting and warm and well-drawn characters and an engaging multi-cultural cast who represent the strong community values underpinning this immersive and clever story. Simply yet excitingly told this is absolutely perfect for today’s young readers to fall in love with.

Crookhaven The School for Thieves: Book 1

Crookhaven The School for Thieves: Book 1

J.J. Arcanjo

£7.99 £7.59

Pickpocket Gabriel Avery can hardly believe he’s been selected for the secretive Crookhaven school – where future criminals are trained. Gabriel is plunged into lessons from lockpicking to forgery, plus coaching in some nifty crimnastics – in case you need to get away in a hurry. He’s also plunged into the rivalry between those who come from distinguished criminal families and those, like Gabriel, new to the criminal world. Crookhaven is full of heist action and dangerous thrills and spills as the school tries to make master-criminals of all students. The action follows the students learning not just the lessons, but the history and traditions of the competitive criminal fraternities. The desire to get the best criminal record means rivalry gets nasty, especially to win the Crookhaven challenge – to break into an almost impossibly well-guarded room and steal something without anyone even knowing. Gabriel has all the makings of a criminal mastermind. Determined to win against the odds and beat those to whom crime is just a family business, he comes up with a devious plot, but needs to pull a reluctant team together. They have to break a few rules. But then isn’t learning to be a criminal all about teaching you to break the rules? Crookhaven is criminally good fun!

The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie

The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie

Yvonne Banham

£7.99 £7.59

This dark but delicious story plunges you into the gothic atmosphere surrounding those with dangerous psychic powers and the ability to reach the dead. Delores Mackenzie’s starts drawing troubled spirits to her peaceful home and is sent away to the creepy Tollbooth Bookshop to live with the strange uncles and pushed into a strict regime to force her to control her powers. She can do more than just see ghosts, Delores is a powerful necromancer and the wicked dead could use her to build a pathway back to the land of the living. Learning to fight back against malevolent spirits who want to use her, Delores is determined to control her dangerous gifts as she can also see ghosts who need her help. If she fails she’ll be locked away by the psychic Adjustment Council to prevent her being used by the dead no one would want coming back through from the other side. Yvonne Banham treads her own dark and dangerous path with this darkly imaginative story of a girl whose ability to see ghosts takes a terrifying turn. This is a gripping tale that expertly balances perfectly pitched horror for young readers with a tale of finding unlikely friendships forged in darkest of places. Perfect for young readers in search of a dark and dangerous story.

Maggie Blue and the White Crow

Maggie Blue and the White Crow

Anna Goodall

£7.99 £7.59

It’s not easy to return to a normal life when you’ve discovered a portal through to a terrifying other dimension in your local wood, shapeshifters are sitting in the trees outside your house awaiting your next move. And a white crow has arrived that will not leave your side. Maggie Blue is resisting any idea that her destiny is to return to the corrupt and broken world she narrowly escaped from before, a world plagued with constant darkness and wrecked with anger and greed. I love how Anna Goodall’s fiercely dark imagination builds this beautifully written story. Anna Goodall takes us to a vividly portrayed monstrous and brutal world. War rages, evil creatures destroy and murderous moon witches fight bloody battles in this deeply thoughtful, inventive and sophisticated fantasy which contains subtle messages about our own world. There is little about this alternative world to love, yet still some inhabitants do not want it to see it end. Some believe Maggie is destined to be its saviour - and some feel she is destined to destroy it, but either way she has no choice but to return to save the people she cares about. Once again humour is provided by everyone’s favourite one-eyed sharp-talking cat Hoagy and we learn more about Maggie’s ominous destiny, her mother’s mental illness, as well as who Maggie can count on as a friends. , including the bright spot on the other side of the portal, Oz who can talk to the trees. It all ramps up into a gripping action adventure and I very much look forward to the final instalment.

Fablehouse: ‘A thrilling, atmospheric fantasy’ Guardian

Fablehouse: ‘A thrilling, atmospheric fantasy’ Guardian

Emma Norry

£7.99 £7.59

Fablehouse and its friendly head teacher feels like a children’s home with a difference to Heather who has learned not to get attached to people or places because either she moves on or they do. But as Heather starts to feel at home, strange things start to happen. This is one of those incredible books that just has everything! The orphanage lies near a portal and the everyday is about to collide with the magical when the new gang of hastily formed friends, the Roamers, stumble on The Black Knight from King Arthur’s Court, who has landed in Fablehouse from another world. Fablehouse is being infiltrated and Heather knows it's up to her and the Roamers to decide whether they want and dive into danger and will fight to protect what they have. But first they need to learn how to trust. Emma Norry really writes from the heart as she weaves history and fantasy. I love how she takes as a starting point post-war abandoned brown babies who feel alienated and unwanted. Yet this is a tale of how new friends become loyal and, in the way traditions of the best children’s literature, become determined to change their lives for the better. Heather is a likeable character, prickly, yet unstoppable, but also big enough to change her mind and to learn the importance of found family, friends and fighting for what you believe in as she leads the Roamers into a wondrous adventure.

Wonderscape

Wonderscape

Jennifer Bell

£7.99 £7.59

Tamarind & the Star of Ishta

Tamarind & the Star of Ishta

Jasbinder Bilan

£7.99 £7.59

Orion Lost

Orion Lost

Alastair Chisholm

£7.99 £7.59

The Monsters of Rookhaven

The Monsters of Rookhaven

Padraig Kenny and Edward Bettison

£12.99 £12.34

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Jennifer Killick

£7.99 £7.59

Elsetime

Elsetime

Eve McDonnell

£8.99 £8.54

A Kind of Spark

A Kind of Spark

Elle McNicoll

£7.99 £7.59

Orphans of the Tide

Orphans of the Tide

Struan Murray and Manuel Sumberac

£7.99 £7.59

The Ten Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith

The Ten Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith

Loris Owen

£7.99 £7.59

The Vanishing Trick

The Vanishing Trick

Jenni Spangler and Chris Mould

£6.99 £6.64

Evernight

Evernight

Ross Mackenzie

£8.99 £8.54

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