Our Favourite 9-12 Reads of 2023 So Far

By Bags of Books

Our Favourite 9-12 Reads of 2023 So Far

By Bags of Books

Impossible Creatures: INSTANT SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Katherine Rundell

£14.99 £14.24

Christopher is a boy from our world. Mal is a girl from the Archipelago, a magical world hidden from us. Christopher has a special relationship with animals, who flock to him in droves. Mal knows how to fly. When these two children meet by chance, it is the start of a wonderful friendship and an unforgetable adventure, in which they are joined by a griffin, a Berserker, a part nereid and a small dragon. This might just be the biggest children's book of the year, and rightfully so! The story of Christopher and Mal is exciting and entertaining, there's magical creatures galore (including the brilliant bestiary at the beginning) and the book is extremely well-written. Definitely one for young and old fantasy lovers everywhere.

Skandar and the Phantom Rider: the spectacular sequel to Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, the biggest fantasy adventure since Harr

A.F. Steadman

£12.99 £12.34

You will NOT be disappointed with this sequel (and you will count down the days until the next books is out)! Skandar's secret is out - everyone knows he is a Spirit Wielder, and it doesn't make his life any easier. But this isn't the biggest problem Skandar is dealing with - wild unicorns, the immortal ones, have been turning up killed, and the Island is having its revenge for that. He is also trying to find a way to bring Kenna to the Island and bond her with her unicorn, but it seems others might have the same idea ... This book is the definition of unputdownable, so don't start reading it before school, as you will have to skip lessons for the day or two. And be prepared to be left shocked and a bit heartbroken, and waiting for more!

The Rescue of Ravenwood: Children's Book of the Year, Sunday Times

Natasha Farrant

£7.99 £7.59

One of the loveliest books I've read in quite a while. The children in the story swore that they will have an unforgetable summer and by the end of the book you know that this came true. One child becomes a stowaway, one meets his long lost grandmother and the third accepts her extended family - and in the process they manage to save their beloved Ravenwood and the big ash Ygg from developers and have a marevllous time doing it. A book about friendship and belonging, about protecting what's dear to us and not going down without a fight. Every child wishes to have a proper summer adventure and this book will transport you to one of those! This must-read is suitable for anyone from 9 to eternity.

Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans

Isi Hendrix

£12.99 £12.34

This is the first book in a powerful new fantasy series! Adia Kelbara finally manages to leave her uncle's house, where she was always misunderstood and mistreated, and join the Academy of Shamans as a kitchen apprentice. Once there she quickly realises that there are no actual shamans at the Academy, just rich kids pretending to hae supernatural powers. When she gets kicked out of the school, Adia decides not to go back to the Swamplands, but follows someone to the Horrorbeyond. That someone just so happens to be the snarky goddess Gini, and all of a sudden Adia finds herself saving the emperor and the whole of the land from Olark. But Adia is more powerful than she seems ... A great fantasy read with remarkable characters, which also deals with much bigger topics of white missionaries in Africa, so a definite must-read for anyone aged 9 and up.

The Ice Children

M. G. Leonard and Penny Neville-Lee

£12.99 £12.34

One morning at the start of winter, Bianca's little brother Finn is found frozen in the park. He is alive, but frozen, with a content smile on his face. The next day two more frozen children are found, and three the day after. Bianca is determined to save her brother and the other children, and she is convinced that a mysterious book has something to do with the freezings. When she follows a strange man to an abandoned bookbinders, she ends up in Winterton, a magical land filled with winter fun, and all the frozen children. But there is the Snow Queen as well, and how will Bianca manage to save everyone? Especially as she needs to defeat and save winter at the same time ... A wintery fantasy turns into a timely climate change story, and you will enjoy every moment of it, especially during those cold winter nights. A magical standalone novel by M.G. Leonard, suitable for any 9+ winter enthusiasts.

Fireborn: Phoenix and the Frost Palace

Aisling Fowler and Sophie Medvedeva

£7.99 £7.59

Twelve has now chosen her Hunter name - she is Phoenix. Together with Seven, Five and Six she travels to the Frost Palace, to help the witches get rid of Shadowseam. Morgren and Victory are following the Hunters, and the Frost Palace is melting. Will Phoenix's elemental magic be strong enough for the task? Because the whole of Ember is under threat ... This is such a great sequel. It's exciting and imaginative, with epic journeys, magical creatures and believable characters; a must-read for any young Tolkien fan. And despite it being a massive 500 page tome, you will fly through it. But beware - it will be a hard wait for the next book in the series!

Stepfather Christmas: A Festive Countdown Story in 25 Chapters

L.D. Lapinski

£7.99 £7.59

I am a biiiiig fan of Christmas book and don't read anything else for the whole of December, and this book was the perfect fit. Harper's mum brought home her new boyfriend, and Harper's first thought upon seeing him was: "He looks like Father Chrismas!" Weird things start happening after that - how did a reindeer end up on the roof? And there is something not right about the snow in their garden ... Is there more to Nick than everyone assumes? A magical story about Christmas that will definitely get you in the right festive spirit, for 8+.

The Final Year

Matt Goodfellow and Joe Todd-Stanton

£8.99 £8.54

This is an utterly gorgeous, heartfelt novel that will really make you look at life from a different perspective. Meet Nate. He lives with his mum and two younger brothers and he is just starting his final year at primary school. When his best friend Patrick is put in a separate class and befriends the school bully, Nate is left to navigate his hardest year yet on his own. When his youngest brother Dylan is rushed to hospital, the rage inside Nate threatens to rear its ugly head as he starts to sink into the darkness. Thankfully, his new teacher Mr Joshua recognises the gift of writing Nate has and teaches him the power that words can have. This novel is beautifully written in prose. It touches on important subjects such as friendship, homelife, families, mental health, and shows the difference that a great teacher can make to someone’s life. I honestly sat down with a cuppa and didn't move until I had finished (that’s a lie, I got up to make another cup of tea but the book came with me) A novel that every child (and teacher) should read.

Crookhaven: The Forgotten Maze: Book 2

J.J. Arcanjo

£7.99 £7.59

In this second book in the series, we return to Crookhaven for another year of learning how to be a crook to do good! With even more difficult challenges than in the first year, life is getting complicated for Gabriel and his friends. How will they manage to conquer the underwater maze, especially as half of them hardly now how to swim? And why is Penelope acting strange around them? But the highlight is most definitely the cliffhanger ending, which will make you scream for the next book (out 2024). Amazing, but do read the first book first.

The Completely Chaotic Christmas of Lottie Brooks

Katie Kirby

£14.99

The latest in the hilarious Lottie Brooks series and as always nothing is simple and everything is full of chaos. This time it’s Christmas and a small family Christmas is just not meant to be. Lottie has somehow accidentaly invited her hot French boyfriend and his entire family but he can’t really be coming, can he? And what about Daniel? Let the carnage commence. As with the entire series, this book will have you in complete stiches. Perfect for fans of Dork Diaries and early teens. 10+

Friends and Traitors

Helen Peters

£7.99 £7.59

This is definitely one of the most exciting middle grade books this year! Sidney's boarding school has been evacuated to Stanbrook House, a grand estate in the countryside. There she meets the housemaid Nancy and they instantly hate each other. But when both of them happen to overhear Earl Evesham talking about illegal activities, they know they must join forces to stop him. After all, more than their job and school admission is at stake ... I was holding my breath during the grand finale, when the Earl is confronted in a very ingenious way! Set during World War II, this is a thrilling adventure story, which talks about British traitors and the powerlessness of ordinary people to stop them (luckily not in this case!)

Wonka

Sibeal Pounder, Simon Farnaby, et al.

£7.99 £7.59

A worthy prequel to Dahl's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Written in Sibeal Pounder's witty, magical style, you are transported to Willy Wonka's life as a young man, following his dreams of becoming a chocolatier. But quite a few obstacles are thrown Willy's way before he can make his dream a reality - horrible (in true sense of the word) competition, corrupt authorities and greedy crooks are all out to get him. But luckily he's made a few great friends along the way who will help him become the best chocolate maker ever. This book is briming with magic and chocolate and is definitely going to make young and old smile and laugh out loud. 8+

Operation Nativity

Jenny Pearson and Katie Kear

£7.99 £7.59

When a blinding flash of light wakes Oscar and Molly in the middle of the night they rush outside to investigate. They are not expecting to find a dazed Angel Gabrielwho has managed to take an unexpected detour and transport Mary, Joesph, a donkey, Wise Man and a Shepherd named Steve to Chipping Bottom. Here begins an absolutely hilarious and bonkers adventure to find all the nativity characters and send them back in time to save Christmas as we know it. A brilliant festive laugh-out-loud read that will get you into the Christmas spirit that i guarantee will have adults and children in stitches. I loved it.

Rosie Frost and the Falcon Queen

Geri Halliwell-Horner

£7.99 £7.59

Rosie Frost has never really felt like she fits in or belongs. It's always just been her and her mum. When she is suddenly orphaned, Rosie is all alone and sent to the mysterious Heverbridge Boarding School on Bloodstone Island, which is definitely nothing like anything Rosie has ever known. The island is full of beautiful nature and endangered animals but when the island comes under threat, Rosie knows that it's up to her to help save it. To do it she's going to need to enter the schools legendary Falcon Queen Games ... and win. With new friends and a helping hand from the ghost of Anne Boleyn, will Rosie learn to believe in herself and save the place where she finally feels like she belongs? This is a totally epic mystery adventure. I raced through this novel constantly desperate to read more. Great characters and descriptions. Perfect for fans of every genre.

Finding Wonder: An unforgettable adventure from The One Dollar Horse author

Lauren St John

£7.99 £7.59

I've never read a pony or a horse book before - and I'm glad this was my first one, because now I want to read more of them! Roo Thorn is buying her dream horse, the showjumper Wonder Boy. But just before she's about to pick up Wonder, he gets stolen. In the following months more famous, prize-winning horses go missing without a trace. And Roo and her aunt Joni are determined to find them, the chase leading them all around the country on an unforgettable quest. This book is an amazing mystery adventure, with loads of beautiful horses (also included are some gorgeous illustrations of them). I particularly liked the three main characters Roo, Joni and Skylar, and their style of life, as well as the author's love for horses that is clearly visible in every sentence. Definitely recommended for any mystery fan, not just the horse lovers out there!

Oscar’s Lion

Adam Baron and Benji Davies

£12.99 £12.34

One day Oscar wakes up, and his parents are gone. There is a massive lion lying on their bed instead. Clearly, the lion must have eaten them, but he won't be hungry again for a few days, so he can easily look after Oscar in the meantime. And so their adventure begins ... From the unforgettable visits to local museums to an unscheduled meet up with the local bully, there isn't a dull moment for Oscar and lion. But there must be more to this than meets the eye ... A beautiful read about family and grief, suitable for any 7 - 9 year olds, especially to be read out loud together at bedtime. Highly recommended!

Wolf Road: The Times Children's Book of the Week

Alice Roberts

£14.99 £14.24

If you are a history buff, then you need to pick up this amazing book. Written by professor Alice Roberts, it is not only a brilliant adventure, but also full of interesting facts which many times are definitely surprising - did you know that in Stone Age it was the women, mostly mothers and grandmothers, who were the leaders of the tribes, and the workload such as hunting and cooking was equally shared among men, women and children? I know now. And all these facts are expertly woven into the story, so you don't have a feeling of just a fact book. The book's protagonist is Tuuli, a child in a smallish tribe (talo), and we follow her journey from winter camp to their summer set. Along the way Tuuli rescues and adopts a wolf cub, and later meets Andar, a boy who is completely different to any other pesron she's ever seen. But their meeting will have consequences ... We heard from reliable sources that this is the first book in a trilogy, so fingers crossed we get the next one soon.

The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair

NATASHA HASTINGS and Alex T. Smith

£7.99 £7.59

Remember the great frost of 1683? Probably not, a bit before your time. That winter, the Thames froze and there was a big fair held on the ice, with stalls and rides and it must have been marvellous. But if one frost fair isn't enough, this book has another one, a magical one, running alongside at night. Thomasina hopes that visiting the Other Frost Fair with the mysterious Inigo will bring back her dead twin brother. But things get stranger and stranger, there are sinister Grey-Cloaks following her and the frightening Father Winter seems to have big plans for Thomasina. With the help of her friends Anne and Henry, and the powerful Frost Bear, Thomasina will have to fight for her life. Truly unputdownable, with a magical setting, this is a perfect book to read on a dark winter night, for 10+

Geomancer: In the Shadow of the Wolf Queen: An epic fantasy adventure from an award-winning author

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

£14.99 £14.24

Ysolda has lived in Glaw Wood all her life, and it is all she knows other than legends of far off places. She lives an outdoor life in tune with Nature. Hari, her older sister, can hear trees talking to each other, a gift Ysolda wishes she had too. One day when out with her sea hawk Nara, Ysolda meets a strange girl her own age and they fight. Returning home she sees the mysterious Ryders heading towards her home but an earthquake stops her getting there in time and her sister is gone. The stranger reappears and tells her she had come to warn her sister that the Wolf Queen has sent Ryders to take gifted people from all around and is searching for the Anchorite and End World Wood. She suggests they try to find the Anchorite themselves, but Ysolda sets off alone to rescue her sister from the Wolf Queen’s palace. I loved this book for its amazingly vivid descriptions of Giant Sea Wolves, a palace made of wrecked ships, mysterious forests and trees and roots, and its gripping story. Themes of trust, betrayal and strong women with magical powers, both real and feigned. Can’t wait for the next part.

Mysteries at Sea: Peril on the Atlantic

A.M. Howell

£7.99 £7.59

Any fan of Adventure on Trains will be excited to get their hands on this book, which is the first in a new series of adventures, this time set on ships! For the first time, Alice joins her father on board of the cruise ship he works on as staff captain. The Queen Mary is on its way to cross the Atlantic in record time and winning the prestigious Blue Riband. Alice is meant to stay in her cabin for the duration of the crossing, but she can't possibly do that, so she heads off exploring - and immediately stumbles upon a crime scene! She joins forces with two other passengers, Sonny and Miriam, and porter Charlie and together they discover that in addition to the first crime (viewed as an accident by the people in charge) someone is also trying to sabotage Queen Mary's record breaking journey. At the beginning this book seems like a very straightforward detective mystery, but ends up being so much more, with Alice discovering parts of her family history which might just change her life completely. A great read for any young detective story enthusiast, and all boat lovers. Definitely give it a go, you won't be disappointed!

Alice Eclair, Spy Extraordinaire!: A Sprinkling of Danger

Sarah Todd Taylor and Beatriz Castro

£7.99 £7.59

It’s not a secret that I love books, travelling and food, so it was a given that I will pick up Alice sooner rather than later. And once I did, I finished the whole series in less than a week! It is brilliant, definitely a series each young spying enthusiast needs to pick up. Alice is such a great character – she is a master baker and a spy, she gets to work with all kinds of glamorous and clever people, and can make friends with anyone. I can just imagine me and my friends wanting to be just like her and have all these cool adventures when we were young “detectives” (read 10- or 11-year-olds with a famous five obsession). Definitely one for fans of Robin Stevens and Bastien Bonlivre (and the beautiful descriptions of cakes are a bonus!).

The Boy Who Made Monsters

Jenny Pearson and Katie Kear

£7.99 £7.59

When Benji’s parents are lost at sea, he and his brother Stanley are sent to Scotland to live with their estranged uncle Hamish at Lochy Loch. The loch has been in their family for generations and it’s Benji’s only link left to his parents, so when he overhears that uncle Hamish owes so much money that they are about to loose their home, Benji decides he needs to come up with a plan to help save Lochy Loch. What better idea than a Lochy Loch Monster? There’s just one thing … evidence is needed to prove it exisits. Benji, with the help of his new friend Murdy, sets out to show everyone there really is a monster in Lochy Loch while learning to understand his brother’s grief and his own feelings along the way. While this books is brilliantly funny and had me chuckling away, it is also a gorgeous tale of family, friendship and grief.

One Chance Dance

Efua Traore

£7.99 £7.59

After an argument with his aunty, Jomi decides to leave his uncle's house and follow his mum to Lagos. But once he gets there, he realises that finding her in such a huge city will be much harder than he thought. Luckily, he meets a group of poor children who let him stay with them. They come up with a big plan to win a televised dance competition that Jomi knows his mum always watches - that way she will see he is in Lagos and will come find him. It is lucky that Jomi has a bush baby, Ghost, at his side, because there are many obsctacles to his reunion with mum. Set in rural Nigeria, and later in Lagos, this book will make you think about how people in other parts (i.e. not Western part) of the world live, that despite our problems and dissatisfaction with the way things are, it can't compare to life of ordinary people in many places in Africa, where there is no respect for human rights and the law is in the hands of corporations and people with money. That said, it's not a preachy read, and definitely very enjoyable and fast-paced, with loads of funny as well as sad moments. Suitable for 9+

Greenwild: The World Behind The Door

Pari Thomson and Elisa Paganelli

£12.99

Daisy Thistledown's upbringing has been different from what we're used to - she's been travelling around the world with her journalist mother, working on stories. But now her Ma's disappeared in the Amazon, and Daisy is in harm's way. Following her mother's instructions, she finds her way to Mallowmarsh, a pocket of Greenwild (which exist parallel to our world, Greyside) and is full of botanical wonders, where Daisy immediately feels welcome. But same as her, Greenwild is under threat, and it is all conected to her mother's disappearance. Daisy and her new friends will have to be very resourceful to save their way of life. A thrilling fantasy adventure with environmental issues at its core, this is the first book in the new series by author Pari Thomson. I particularly enjoyed descriptions of Daisy and Laila's travels around the world, Thomson's beautiful use of language transporting me to faraway places. Detailed illustrations by Elisa Paganelli and an evocative map make this book even more special. Suitable for 10+

The Misunderstandings of Charity Brown

Elizabeth Laird

£7.99 £7.59

This book is just so lovely and completely unputdownable! Partly based on Elizabeth Laird's childhood, it tells the story of twelve-year-old Charity Brown and her big family. They are members of a small religous group and are living their lives "apart" from the modern world - they don't go to the cinema, wear make up or do many other things that are completely accepted in wider society. But as Charity grows older and her siblings start moving away from their newly-inherited big house where her faimly looks after "the weary and the heavy laden", she starts making new friends and discovering her own truths about the world. A proper coming-of-age novel, and (I don't usually say this) a future classic. Suitable for 11+.

Safiyyah's War

Hiba Noor Khan

£7.99 £7.59

A beautifully written book, set in Paris during World War II. Safiyyah's family is Muslim, they live in the Grand Mosque of Paris. Despite all the horrors they see when German soldiers arrive in Paris, at least they are safe, as Germans are reluctant to target Muslims. Gradually Safiyyah starts noticing that her Baba is behaving differently and finally finds out why - he and other Muslim men have been helping Jews around town, providing them with fake documents and smuggling them out of Paris into the countryside. Due to circumstances they are forced to allow Safiyyah to join their efforts, and she is a massive help, especially when her Jewish friend Hana moves in with them after her parents have been arrested. Culminating in a great escape, this is a book you'll finish in one go! For the first time I found out about the Grand Mosque's help against the Nazis, while the book also depicts beautiful scenes of life in a Muslim family, as well as glimpses into Jewish traditions. Definitely worth a read for any 10+ history buff!

The Lovely Dark

Matthew Fox

£7.99 £7.59

This is a very unusual book in regards of the topic it talks about. Ellie and her friend Justin were in an accident, and they both end up in afterlife, with other children who'd been in horrible accidents. But Ellie's family is expecting her baby brother and Ellie desperately wants to return to the world of living to meet him, even if she's a ghost. Will she succeed? And why are her and Justin separated after arriving in the underworld? This is a beautiful, elegiac story for 10+, based on Greek mythology, but beacuse it's about children dying and afterlife, I would recommend this book to be bought only if you know the child you're giving it to very well and are sure they won't be upset by it. Definitely worth picking up though!

Time to Shine at the River School

Sabine Adeyinka

£7.99 £7.59

In the second book in the River School series Jummy meets Dongo, a new girl at the school, and has to battle The Atlantic Four from the Zambezi House for pretty much anything throughout the year. But more importantly, something is happening to the Shine-Shine River - it's smelly, sluggish and brown. Jummy and her friends need to figure out if Redbrick Bakery has something to do with it. I love boarding school stories and River School series, set in Nigeria, is one of my favourites. This book deals not only with friendship and school issues all children have, but with wider environmenatl topics as well. Definitely worth to be picked up in these climate change ridden times.

My Name is Sunshine Simpson

G.M. Linton and Fuuji Takashi

£7.99 £7.59

Meet Sunshine Simpson. She is ten years old. She was born in England and her heritage is Jamaican. Sunny is a feisty, loveable heroine, who is facing big changes in her life and it all gets a bit too much. Friends turned enemies, home-made haircuts and an upcoming school show are only part of her problems, but with good friends and a suportive family at her side, Sunshine is able to deal with even bigger issues. I dare you not to love this story! All about the importance of family and believing in yourself, it will make you laugh and definitely cry as well. It is also full of interesting facts about the Windrush generation and generally an empowering read, full of diverse characters. Most suitable for 9+.

Lottie Brooks's Totally Disastrous School-Trip

Katie Kirby

£7.99 £7.59

The fourth book in the Lottie Brooks series is just as hilarious as the last three! This time Lottie is back from her summer holiday and off on a school trip. What could possibly go wrong? A LOT, this is Lottie after all. If you are not aware of Lottie Brooks books, they are a series of diaries written by Lottie herself, starting when she is 11 and 3/4. They follow the friendships (and fall-outs), crushes and utterly hilarious mishaps as Lottie navigates growing up and surviving secondary school. They are perfect for girls 10 and upwards about to start secondary school.

Where The River Takes Us: Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

Lesley Parr

£7.99 £7.59

A book about friendship, grief and belonging, a true adventure story that will stay with you for a long time. As all Lesley Parr's books, it is a must read! Jason and his big brother Richie are in financial difficuties after the death of their parents. But Jase and his friends have a plan to get a nice sum of money - find and photograph the Beast of Blaengarw. Filled with fun and danger, their adventure proves to be more than they expected. Set in the 70s in Wales, against the backdrop of miners' strikes and thre-day working weeks, this book shows young readers a part of history we don't usually see in children's books.

The Swifts: The New York Times Bestselling Mystery Adventure

Beth Lincoln and CLAIRE POWELL

£12.99 £12.34

If you think your family is weird, you clearly haven't met the Swift family yet! Now, they are different, to put it mildly! The Swifts have gathered from around the world for a family Reunion, but someone starts killing off family members one by one. Sisters Shenanigan, Phenomena and Felicity are determined to  find the murderer, especially after their Aunt Schadenfreude dies. But will they be able to outsmart the killer in time? You will love the things the people in this book come up with, it's funny and engaging, and overall an amazing whodunit, with quirky characters (some lovable, some loathsome) - you won't be able to put this book down!

Cosima Unfortunate Steals A Star

Laura Noakes

£7.99 £7.59

Cosima lives in the Home for Unfortunate Girls, where the government put all children with disabilities, no matter if they have a family or not. For Cos this has been the only home she's ever known, and it has not been fun. One day a strange man called Lord Fitzroy arrives at the Home, and the girls overhear that he wants to adopt all the girls who live there. He's an incredibly wealthy man, ad when the children start to dig into his past, they realise that many things about him are very dodgy. They plan a big heist to get away from him and to secure their future, but they will have to be cunning as life for a disabled child in the 19th century isn't easy. This is a daring adventure, with many mysteries to solve, a proper villain and some great leading characters that will make you root for them from page 1. Featuring characters with physical disabilities as well as neurodiverse characters, it also touches on the topic of colonialism, so definitely worth a read!

The Case of the Lighthouse Intruder

Kereen Getten and Leah Jacobs-Gordon

£7.99 £7.59

Any 7- to 10-year-old who wants detective and mystery stories should pick up this book! The first book in a new series by this Jamaican author introduces us to Fayson who is going to spend the summer with her rich cousins on a private island. She becomes a member of The Greatest Gang of All Time, but the group of children is really not that great at solving mysteries, and that's where Fayson comes in - she's been recruited to solve the mystery of the man who appears every evening in the lighthouse, then vanishes without a trace. But there might be other factors preventing her solving the case ... This mystery novel is a great change from many other books (by no means all of them!) aimed at that age, dealing with a mystery instead of a lot of silly humour. I also enjoyed the Caribbean setting and Fayson speaking Patwah, which makes the whole story even more exciting.

The Stories Grandma Forgot (and How I Found Them)

Nadine Aisha Jassat

£7.99 £7.59

Nyla lives with her Mum and Grandma, who has Alzheimer's; her dad passed away when she was four. For a school project, Nyla starts researching her family tree, and all of a sudden many questions arise - what happened the night Dad died? Is he really dead? The book unexpectedly turns into a mystery, and the ending is surprising. A beautiful story about family and belonging, written in verse. It shows the young reader the lives of immigrants, and explores the struggles they face, with the focus on second- and third-generation immigrants trying to find their identity. The book is full of diverse and (mostly) very lovable characters, and it definitely stands out. Most suitable for 10+.

Quiet Storm

KIMBERLY WHITTAM

£7.99 £7.59

Since starting Year 7, Storm has often been told that she is quiet, that she should speak up, stand up for herself, and be more like her popular brother, Isaiah. At school Storm feels isolated from her friend Zarrish who is in another class. When Storm breaks a school sprint record, a new world opens up for her, with new friends who accept her as she is. Trouble is, her old friend seems to be turning against her and wanting her to change - what should she do? An empowering read about standing up for what you think is right, while still being true to yourself - 'You don't have to be loud to have a voice.'

Crookhaven The School for Thieves: Book 1

J.J. Arcanjo

£7.99 £7.59

Gabriel is a talented pickpocket and quite a misfit. Then he is recruited into Crookhaven, a school for thieves, and Gabriel finally has somewhere he belongs. The thieves in this school (and book) are of a different kind - they're a modern day version of Robin Hood, and despite being crooks, they will one day go out into the world to do good. The idea of this school is brilliant, and it has all the components of a great boarding school story, with all the interesting classes and troubles of friendship. We get to read all about different talents a good crook has to have, and see how they hone their trade. And there is also something special about Gabriel and his Grandma, but I'm not giving that away. A very interesting read, with a mystery at it's centre which will make you wait for the sequel (coming in autumn this year!)

Saving Neverland

Abi Elphinstone and Geraldine Rodriguez

£14.99 £14.24

Return to Neverland on this unforgetable adventure! It’s a thoroughly enjoyable book with brilliant characters, a proper frosty adventure, mixed with humour & lots of magic – you will read it in one sitting! I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of neverland’s magical features – I didn’t imagine it like this before. Most suitable for 9+

Pony: from the bestselling author of Wonder

R. J. Palacio

£7.99 £7.59

A story of adventure and bravery, about facing your fears. Pony, the (really) long awaited new novel from R J Palacio, author of Wonder, will not disappoint. Absolutely LOVED it. Set in 1860s after his father is taken by wanted criminals, desperate to find him, Silas, his friend Mittonwood (whom only he can see) and a mysterious pony, leave their cabin in the woods to set out on an adventure that will change their lives and what they know forever. Set like an atmospheric western. This book is absolutely fantastic and will be enjoyed by adults as much children. 9+

The Marvellers: the spellbinding magical fantasy adventure!

Dhonielle Clayton

£7.99 £7.59

Ella Durand is a Conjuror, and the first one to be allowed to join the Arcanum Training Institute for Marvellers. Even though there should be no difference between Ella and her fellow students, she is made to feel different by some children and teachers alike. But there is more to the whole Marvelleres-Conjurors gap tha meets the eye, and Ella finds herself involved in a mystery she never expected., having to clear her name, find her missing mentor and come face to face with the most evil Marveller of all, The Ace of Anarchy. The book is full of descriptions of magical objects and acts, features characters from all around the world and is partly set in vibrant New Orleans. A perfect read to transport you away from your bedroom! The first book in the stunning new fantasy series is aimed at 10+.

All Four Quarters of the Moon

Shirley Marr

£7.99 £7.59

A beautiful story about a girl moving from Singapore to Australia, where so much is different. Peijing wants to live the western way of life, but also feels she needs to follow the rules & traditions of her home country. A lovely portrayal of Singaporean way of life, and a gentle story of family and friendship. Suitable for 10+

Digging for Victory

Cathy Faulkner

£8.00 £7.60

Set during the Second World War, this verse form novel follows Bonnie whose brother has joined the RAF. She has always felt in his shadow, and longs to be a hero herself. The mysterious Mr. Fisher is billeted on their household - is he a conscientious objector, or a spy? Bonnie resolves to find out. I loved the inventive use of type in this novel, it really enhances the text, with curves and swoops and bold and faint letters. The story moves along quickly and the verse form might be good for reluctant readers too. Great themes of adventure, resilience,  bravery, strong but sidelined women, standing up for yourself - and STEM subjects - physics features heavily!

My Life on Fire

Cath Howe

£7.99 £7.59

Engrossing story, told from two viewpoints, Ren and Caspar. After losing all her possessions in a house fire, Ren and her little brother have to move in with a seemingly unsympathetic grandmother, while her parents, stressed and distracted trying to sort things out, live in a caravan in the driveway. Soon Ren feels an urge to replace things she has lost by taking small items from other people at school. Caspar, a very enthusiastic classmate, becomes her friend and when he finds out what is happening, helps her to put things right. Strong themes of friendship, sharing problems and a great description of why Ren feels she must take things to try to feel better in a terrible situation.

My Heart & Other Breakables: How I lost my mum, found my dad, and made friends with catastrophe

Alex Barclay

£7.99 £7.59

A funny and sweet diary of a teenage girl. Ellery (who is slightly neurotic) and her best friend Meg are characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. The female version of Adrian Mole for today’s teens. Family, friends and first crushes – I loved this novel. A great read that will make you laugh and smile throughout. Perfect for 11+ and fans of the Lottie Brooks series who want to move up to YA

Hedgewitch: Book 1

Skye McKenna and Tomislav Tomic

£7.99 £7.59

Delve into an alternate world where magic exits alongside the everyday and the village is protected by an ancient hedge – and Brownies is for witches! An enchanting fantasy, full of talking animal sidekicks, shapeshifters and goblins. Reading this book will make you want to join Cassie on her adventures (good thing a sequel is coming soon!). Suitable for readers aged 8+

The Offline Diaries

Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

£7.99 £7.59

A lovely diary style book, written by two girls, all about friendship, loyalty and staying true to yourself.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief: The international, award-winning hit, and the biggest fantasy adventure series since Harry Potter

A.F. Steadman

£7.99 £7.59

Forget everything you’ve ever thought about unicorns, because you won’t find anything pink and fluffy in this book! Skandar’s biggest wish has always been to become a unicorn rider. But strange things have started happening on The Island where the unicorns live, and someone is trying to prevent Skandar from achieving his dream. And when the boy finally makes it to The Island, things start getting dangerous. The mysterious Weaver is stealing unicorns and kidnapping islanders. And there is more to Skandar than meets the eye. But will his hidden power help him find the most powerful unicorn? The perfect read for all fans of Nevermoor, Amari or Harry Potter!

The Spectaculars: The Four Curses

JODIE GARNISH

£7.99 £7.59

Any lover of theatre and other performing arts will fall in love with this book! It has magic, a great adventure, a magnificent villain and feisty children – a perfect read! Wondria is a school for performing arts, but with a difference. The children attending it have magical powers – their singing makes you levitate, you join in with their dancing and the props can come alive. But when Harper joins the travelling boarding school, it seems her dreams have turned into a nightmare – the Four Curses have been awakened and it might just be Harper’s Fault … No wonder they call this book a mix between The Night Circus and The Greatest Showman, it’s fabulous!

Escape to the River Sea

Emma Carroll

£7.99 £7.59

Any fan of Journey to the River Sea will enjoy this book. It takes you back to the Amazon and you will meet the familiar old characters again, but the story is centered around a different young girl so it can be read as a stand-alone.

Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum

Alasdair Beckett-King and CLAIRE POWELL

£7.99 £7.59

Are you up for a murder mystery with a difference? This books has all the mystery and intrigue of other middle grade detective novel, but it's hilarious at the same time. Highly recommended!

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