Books our young reviewers have enjoyed. Tried and tested by The Book Nook Review Crew
Tola Okogwu£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Mia. When Onyeka discovers she has a superpower, her life changes immediately. Not only is her superpower one of the things that has always caused problems and stress – her uncontrollable hair of curls, coils and kinks – but she has to return to her place of birth – Nigeria. This is a place which exists only in her dreams, because her mother, Tọ́pẹ́, never speaks about it, or her father. Onyeka has so much she wants to know about both In the middle of Nigeria is The Academy of The Sun, a a place where children just like Onyeka (called Solari) train their powers. With her mother out looking for her father, Onyeka is left trying to control her power (called Ike), but when a threat to the Solari comes, it’s up to Onyeka and her new friends to help. But is the place that’s protecting them actually the thing they should be running from? Such an exciting story about finding your inner strength and discovering who you are. Five stars from me! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I’m so excited that there are more books to come in the series, and that this is to be made into a film!
Peter Bunzl and Maxine (Illustrator) Lee-Mackie£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Niamh. Magicborn is the latest novel by Peter Bunzl, who is the genius behind the Cogheart book series. Taking place in 1726, 12-year-old Tempest lives with her adopted fathers, Prosper and Marino, in Ferry Keeper’s Cottage. Saved from nearly drowning, she doesn’t remember about her past life, and why she can understand her robin friend, Coriel, and nobody else can. She longs to know who her mother is. All Tempest has from her is a bone carved into the shape of a cloud she wears around her neck, which has an engraved message ‘From your mother’. Tempest’s life changes when she is made to take the mysterious Lord Hawthorn and his apprentice across the water to an island in search of a wild boy that can change into a wolf… Expect a magical adventure that travels from Kensington Palace to the fairy realm. I loved the characters in Magicborn, especially the robin Coriel and how she affectionately ends her sentences with bird names, such as “Goodnight, little dunlin.” The spells were really exciting in the book, and I liked how it swapped between present and past events, revealing Tempest’s story. It would be amazing if there was a sequel and it would work really well as a film or TV series. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves magic, adventure and mystery. I’ve already recommended it to one of my friends so we can talk about it! I’m planning to dress up as Tempest for the next World Book Day! I even have a robin toy to be Coriel!
Skye McKenna£12.99 £12.34
Reviewed by Alma. One of the best books I’ve read in ages; enchanting! Ever since her mum left her there, Cassie Morgan had been living in a strict boarding school which does NOT believe in magic. Then (several years later – convinced her mum needs to be rescued) she runs away to her aunt in the small town of Hedgely, right next to the hedge which separates England and faerie, where she trains to be the best witch she can be and pass her fledgling test. But can she discover why children are going missing and find them before it is too late? And will she ever get what she wants? Hedgewitch is a magical book. The characters are realistic and the world is intriguing – I was devastated when it ended. A fun, happy story with a long lead up where you really get to know the characters. An epic climax, full of surprises and drastic plot twists; as interesting and exciting as the hedge itself!
Yarrow Townsend£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Catherine. Orla Carson lives on her own, save for her horse, Captain, and her beloved garden which was planted by her late mother. She’s happy to keep it this way but sickness comes to her hometown of Thorn Creek, and nature is blamed. Stowing away on a river boat, can Orla save the people of Thorn Creek with a little bit of luck, love, and all the help she can get along the way? The story is told in Orla’s perspective. Although only 12 years old, she is evidently a headstrong, determined character who you find yourself instantly rooting for. She prefers to do things her own way which becomes an issue as teamwork is required when two other children, Idris and Ariana, join her on her mission. Idris is the son of a Hauler, and Orla doesn’t think much of him at first. Ariana is quiet and clever, the thinker of the gang. The problem that occurs in this book is a sickness that strikes the fictional world where the story takes place. In a nearby town they had named it Mapafoglia: the map of leaves. Black veins would spread out across your body, like a map, and once it reached your heart it was the end. Yet a secret threat lurks close to home… could it be the answer that Orla and her friends are desperate to find? My favourite part is that the plants communicate with Orla so it’s as if they’re talking to her. I wonder if her Ma shared the same gift? I think that this brilliant, gripping book deserves a 5/5 star rating. I would recommend it to readers of ages 9 to 13 who love adventure and extreme plot twists – but if you aren’t in that age group then I’m definitely not saying you won’t love The Map of Leaves!
Laura Ellen Anderson£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Niamh. Rainbow Grey is the brand-new rainbowtastic adventure from the creator of the amazing Amelia Fang book series, the brilliant Laura Ellen Anderson! Laura has created a whole new world called The Weatherlands, based on all of the different types of weather. The main character is 10-year-old Ray Grey who is a Weatherling with no powers, but that’s all set to change the night of the eclipse festival… the book title and Ray’s multi-coloured hair on the front cover may be a big clue! Ray must try to save Earth from a massive storm, alongside her two friends Droplett and Snowden. And no Laura Ellen Anderson book is complete without a loveable, cute companion – this time in the form of exploding cloud cat Nim (short for Nimothy, not Nimbus!). Rainbow Grey is an amazing adventure, with lots of twists through the story. Just like Amelia Fang, her new book series has the winning formula of the power of friendship, an adorable sidekick (Nim is the new challenger to Squashy in cuteness), and a feisty main character that never gives up. I love the funny bits when Nim’s body parts get all muddled up when he explodes, often at the worst times! I really like that Droplett has the rain power to puddle-port anywhere and the exploding rumblebuns from the Rising Bun Bakery made me laugh! I also enjoyed that the book had lots of little hidden references to Amelia Fang – try to spot them all! I think that Amelia and Ray would be great friends, and what I like so much about Laura’s books is that you feel like the characters are your friends too. I recommend this book to everybody! I can’t wait for the next Rainbow Grey instalment and I think there’s going to be a lot of rainbow wigs and waistcoats being bought for next World Book Day. Laura Ellen Anderson is one of the best authors and illustrators in the world (and in Nocturnia and the Weatherlands!) and everyone should have all of her books on their bookshelves. Rating: 5/5 Perfect for fans of: Amelia Fang by Laura Ellen Anderson; Evil Emperor Penguin by Laura Ellen Anderson; Frostheart by Jamie Littler; and The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Louie Stowell£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Alma. I love a book with a really good setting and this has a very detailed world. Otherland is a fantasy story about a baby girl, Shilpa, who’s taken by the fairy queen. Two friends participate in the deadly Knight Games to win her back. But this is a world with no logic and you don’t know what is real… At first the lack of logic was a bit confusing, but I soon got used to it. And I liked how the two characters are always arguing at the start but by the end of the book they are very good friends. Loads of bits were very funny and made me laugh – a lot!
Ella Risbridger£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Aysha. The Secret Detectives is one of my favourite books to date as it's very well written. . This book is about a girl called Isobel Petty who is on a mail ship going fro, India to England with another girl called Lettie Hartington-Davis. On the journey, Isobel meets up with a boy called San Khan and they see something they shouldn't have. They work secretly to find the culprit and slowly Lettie joins them too. They get notes from a mystery person telling them to go away. will they go away or do Isobel, Lettie and Sam need to see who was the behind the plot before it's too late? I really liked this book as it is a murder, adventure and mystery story. I would recommend this book for children 9+ maybe 10.
M. G. Leonard£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Catherine. Warning – some gentle spoilers may lie ahead… I liked Twitch because even at the beginning Twitch is someone I want to like. I like how even when he gets bullied about loving birds, he never lets that dampen his passion, and it’s interesting to see the change in Jack Cappleman – how he began as an enemy to Twitch but because Twitch saved Jack from Madden and Peaky, Jack realised that birds are actually really cool, and he became Twitch’s friend. I love Twitch’s bed box, and Aves Wood sounds amazing! The twist in the story is almost magical, like something stalking you – you can sense it, but you are reading on and the lion is still behind you, you’re chasing the leopard when the lion is to blame. Or should I say chasing the Leonard?! Twitch’s real name is brilliant – ‘Corvus Featherstone’! – but my favourite thing about him is the teapot tree and his pigeons that live in a wardrobe, though it would also be cool to have swallows nesting in your bedroom! It’s great how he and the rest of his year at school act like birds to overcome the robber and I really like Ava and Tippi. The bird club (The Twitchers) at the end is amazing! I think this book deserves at least 18 out of 20 stars.
Emma Shevah£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by Evie-Belle. This book was an excellent read because I love anything to do with animals! I loved how each chapter there is a different point of view from the two main characters. I was then able to understand about each of their feelings. Both main characters have very different personalities but they make a perfect team. So this book is also about team work and friendship - as well as animals of course ! 'How to save the world with a chicken and an egg' also taught me facts about dogs sense of smell and exploding ants ....along with mucus, fudge and saliva! I didn't want it to end because it was so good , and even now that I am now reading a new book - I cannot stop thinking about how amazing this one was to read !
A.M. Howell£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Leontine. I really enjoyed this book. I like how it’s written as it never got boring and when a character was feeling a particular emotion I felt it too. This is a story about family, doing the right thing and standing up to bullies. Nancy -the main character- is determined, brave and will stop at nothing when righting wrongs. She’s accompanied in the book by her friend Burch and Violet her little sister. You’ll join these characters as they try and solve the mysteries piling up. This fascinating story is based in the Edwardian era in Suffolk at the time Halley’s comet (a comet that passes Earth every 75 to 76 years) was approaching the globe. I loved how there were a lot of details about how it would have been in those days. This gripping story is written by the author of The garden of lost secrets and The house of one hundred clocks. The mystery of the night watchers is an exciting,new book, great for fans of The good thieves by Katherine Rundell.
Tamzin Merchant and Paola Escobar£14.99
Reviewed by Rosa. This book was a joy to read because the author had lovely imaginative ideas that made the book exciting and warming to read before bed or in the day. The story is about a girl who works at a hat shop, who needs to stop war breaking out between France and England, by returning some enchanted peace clothes to their makers. I love how Tamzin Merchant (the author) created a heroine, not a hero, because it made the book more interesting to read as she wore big skirts, but they didn’t get in the way of her climbing and saving the day. It was cute how the messenger pigeon was hatched in her father’s armpit. The bond between Cordelia and Goose is spellbinding as their families are enemies. I would have loved to have learned how they met. It didn’t quite have me gripped at the start but by he end it left me hungry for more! The plot is an interesting one but it had two dilemmas which is juicy but also a lot to focus on. Tamzin Merchant handled it brilliantly by making the main character multitask magically and that made it even better. Nevermoor and the Sinclair mystery fans would relish as magic and millinery is the perfect combo.
Daisy May Johnson£8.99 £8.54
Reviewed by Sophie. My first impression of this book was that it would be all about ducks and being religious. So, sure, boring. Was I right? No, I was completely wrong! So, as I delved deeper into the pages, I realised that this book opened up a new section of imagination in my head. One of my favourite things about the book was the footnotes. Daisy May Johnson has an amazing sense of humour! Also, I really like the way that the story unfolds, bit by bit, including the back stories of each character, or most of them anyway. I would recommend this book to 8 years and older. It is an interesting read, there are some heart-breaking moments but it is also very funny. I can’t wait until it’s published in July, I will be recommending it to all my friends!
Rosie Jones and Natalie Smillie£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by Mia and Mum. Mia says: Edie and her best friend, Oscar, are about to start secondary school. Edie is excited and thinks things will be just the same, but it turns out a lot of things will change. Edie must learn it’s good to make new friends, try new things, and become even more independent. Edie has Cerebral Palsy. Before I read this book, I didn’t know what Cerebral Palsy was, but I do now, and Edie tells us how she’d like people to talk to her about it. I really liked the way it was written as Edie’s diary. It’s like a friend chatting to you and you learn about her feelings. Edie is also very funny. I liked the messages about giving people a chance and getting to know them, and following your heart and not doing something just because it’s what everyone else seems to be doing. I read lots of fantasy books and I wasn’t sure I’d like this book, but I loved it! Five stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Mum Kate says: What a great book! It’s such a good conversation starter too. I think most people could identify with someone or a situation in this book; starting secondary school and those pre teen years are a huge deal for everyone. I love the diary style which affords us access to Edie’s feelings. I’d like to see this book in every KS2 classroom.
Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston£12.99 £12.34
Laura-May here, I just finished Julia and the Whale and what can I say I loved it, the story for me was beautiful. It wasn’t high action it wasn’t heart racing it was just beautiful. The type of story you can’t put down for its intriguing tale. It’s one of those metaphorical stories where the side-subject spoken about isn’t a thing at all but an underlying message for something deeper. It’s magical. The shark mentioned represents being limited having others hold you back or holding yourself back. The imagery was truly enchanting. And the characters were entertaining and relatable. Big recommend for for 10-14 year olds who enjoy entrancing and descriptive books. Thank You for reading my review!
Tim Tilley£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Evie. ‘Harklights’, by Tim Tilley, is about an orphan named Wick and all of his adventures. At the start of the book, Wick longs to escape from his horrible orphanage, which is also a match factory in which he’s forced to work long hours and eat only porridge. When Wick finds a tiny baby in an acorn cradle, his whole world turns upside-down as he discovers the magical world of the Hobs. Wick has to try to intertwine his old life at the orphanage with his friends, and his new life exploring and helping the forest with the Hobs. ‘Harklights’ is a book that really pulls you in and is almost impossible to put down. You get so wrapped up in Wick’s story and really feel anxious for him and his friends. It has so many unexpected twists and turns that really take you by surprise! They make the whole read even more enjoyable and exciting, and make you want to read on and on. The book also has a really important message about looking after our planet’s environment and stopping deforestation. Wick has to help protect the Hobs and their forest from the ‘monster’ that is eating it. This moral is more critical than ever before in our real world, and it adds a really great extra layer to the book. Another thing I loved about ‘Harklights’ is the illustrations, also by Tim Tilley. In a way, they’re very simple pictures, made of layers of silhouettes. But I really liked this, because it meant I could fill in the details using my own imagination. I felt a bit like Wick, who has to use his imagination to picture what life is like outside of the factory. Overall, ‘Harklights’ is an amazing book and I would definitely recommend it for children aged 8 and up, and even adults. If you’ve read and enjoyed JK Rowling’s ‘The Ickabog’ then you would absolutely love ‘Harklights.’ I hope Tim Tilley writes a follow-up book soon! 5 stars!
Ben Bailey Smith£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by Riley. Something I said is an amazing book and has everything you would look for in a good story: depth, drama, and most importantly, humour! I would recommend this book to anyone from the age of 9-15, as even some adults would find it funny! I love the style of comedy that the author has chosen and hopefully we will see a sequel in the near future.
Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Catherine. Queenie is a very good book especially if you like cats. The main character is Queenie who is the cat at Blyton ward where Elsie, the second main character, goes to get her tuberculosis fixed. She goes to a hospital called Miltree Orthopaedic Hospital and her best friend there is a boy called Angus. Queenie helps Elsie settle into the hospital when she first arrives because she has been separated from her adored nan. The book is set in 1953 when the queen is having her coronation. I like that lots of Jacqueline Wilson’s books are set in Victorian times but actually this one is set quite a bit after. The pictures at the start of every chapter are good and they are by Nick Sharratt. He works with Jacqueline Wilson a lot and he illustrates quite a few of her books. I would recommend this book for children 7+ and I would give it four out of five stars. If you enjoy it you should probably try out the Hetty Feather series which is set in the Victorian era.
Lauren St John£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Alma. I Ioved Wave Riders because it kept me on my toes, as I didn't know who I could trust. The characters were so relatable, especially when they were at the party, and the story was so realistic I felt I could go inside it. There was also a mystery character, so I was always guessing who it was. However, when it was (finally) revealed I was really surprised because there was NO WAY I would have guessed! Wave Riders is about orphaned twins, Jess and Jude, who are living the dream sailing around the world. But when their guardian, Gabe, goes missing they are thrown into a world of mystery where nothing is as it seems. As the back of the book says: "How do you solve a mystery when that mystery is you?"
Anna Hoghton£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by Leontine. The mask of Aribella- I was really interested when I read that it would have magic, adventure and Venice in this book-The mask of Aribella - three things I like. I wasn’t disappointed. There was lots of heart-racing and spine-chilling moments that made the book irresistible for me. The detail of life in Venice at the time there were Doges -in Venice- was one of the many things I enjoyed about this story. Some things are still the same now! A few things you will read about if you decide to try it are: the island of the dead, a powerful mask, a hidden painting and a black cat. The setting, Venice, caused it to be even better, with the canals and intricate masks, the characters even travelled by gondola! I thought the characters were really well imagined, especially the evil one whose part in the story I found really fascinating. 4.8/5 stars from me. Now one of my favourite books, I would recommend it to people who like the harry potter books. I hope Anna Hoghton (the author) writes a sequel!
Holly Webb£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by Aletha. Earth Friends River Rescue is an interesting story about caring for the environment. It is about a girl called Izzy who is new at the school. When her friend Poppy has Izzy over to her house for a playdate, they then walked Poppy’s dog, Billy. However Billy fell in a river that was full of rubbish and got his paw stuck in an old bike that someone had dumped in there. Izzy then has the epic idea to clean up the river! I am a big fan of Holly Webb books but I especially liked this one because it is full of nature, friendship and fun! My favourite part is when Izzy’s enemy Ali pushed Izzy in the river and then there’s a big surprise that follows!!! It is very satisfying because usually Ali gets away with murder! Although I didn’t find it tricky, this book is a bit more grown up than the other Holly Webb books like The Secret Puppy and The Lost Kitten.
Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen£12.99
Reviewed by Jude. Pax Journey Home is a beautiful story about the bond between a fox and a boy. This is the sequel to Pax, which tells the story of how the boy met the fox. In this book, after being separated for a long time, the boy and the fox are drawn back towards each other. Peter the boy is a bit lost after his tragic back story and Pax the fox is enjoying the births of his new family. At the beginning, I found this book quite hard to get into, partly because I haven’t read the first book (though you don’t really need to have read it ). Once I did get going, I found their friendship amazing and touching. I loved the ending and found it really moving. Overall, I really liked this book, especially the way it takes it in turns to tell the boy’s side and the fox’s side of things. I think if you enjoy stories about the bonds between animals and humans and feel like you’re getting too old for pet stories like the Holly Webb animal books, then this is the perfect book as it’s a little bit more grown-up.
Sangu Mandanna£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Rosa. I enjoyed this book a lot, it was so realistic I felt like I stepped into the main character, Kiki’s world that she created called Mysore. Mysore is a fantastical world that Kiki made up, it has tons of peaceful markets and joyful people dancing and music calmly sweeping through the breeze. But a monster is tearing it apart and she is the only one who can stop it… This book was enjoyable as the author created characters with so much personality, they felt real! Kiki is a super interesting main character as she worries a lot but is an amazing artist. That gives it suspense as she might not be brave enough to fight Mahishasura, the demon monster that is willing to take over Mysore and expand the crack between universes so he can also take over the world. This book was so thrilling and had such good twists that I couldn’t stop reading! I like that the characters aren’t all friendly, so she has a few arguments and huffs with some. Even though it wasn’t very much of a funny book some of the parts were quite rib tickling. Kiki being an artist is an excellent part as it enables the city to be of her own magical devising. Kiki’s city was so enchanting and divine I wish I could take a holiday there! Five stars from me!
Robin Stevens£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Catherine. Murder Most Unladylike is about schoolgirl detectives, Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, who solve a murder at their boarding school, Deepdean, which is in the English countryside. After that, suspicious deaths seem to follow them around! There are nine books in the MMU series, plus three mini mysteries as well. I would strongly recommend starting with the first book, because if you read them out of order then things might not make much sense and there might be some spoilers of the previous crimes. The books are set in the 1930s, and most are written in Hazel’s perspective. Daisy is a really funny, impatient person whereas Hazel is more quiet and thoughtful. Their detective agency is called the Wells & Wong detective society. Daisy usually leads everything they do and can’t stand being overlooked by grown-ups. A Spoonful of Murder is set in Hong Kong, where Hazel is from and being there makes Hazel much more confident than she usually is, and Daisy is shyer. It’s really interesting watching how the girls’ friendship changes over the course of the series and how Hazel gets bolder. Robin Stevens is a very good writer because her stories are so awesome that you feel like you are right there in the book. Some of her adventures are created on the Orient Express, in Hong Kong, and even on a cruise along the River Nile in Egypt. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that these locations are the same as famous crime writer Agatha Christie’s novels like Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express. My favourite is Death in the Spotlight which is set in London at a theatre where Daisy and Hazel are helping out. It has such a marvellous plot that you have no idea where the story will take you. Robin Stevens did an interesting zoom author event for Brighton Festival and she said there will be a new series about Hazel’s younger sister, May, and it sounds like it will be amazing.
Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by Mia. Antigua, or Tiggy to her friends, is the daughter of an officer. She’s expected to stay on land, wear dresses, and fear the sea, but all she really wants to do is to explore the ocean. The Pirate King comes and kidnaps all the boys, including her little brother Diego. Tiggy sets out with her friend Marina and a crew of old pirates to rescue the stolen boys of Haven, discovering some secrets about herself along the way. I really like Tiggy’s determination. She’s not always confident that her plan will work, but she bravely gives it a go anyway. The crew work together well and have great friendships. This is an exciting pirate story, with magical and mythical creatures and I really hope there will be more adventures! 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Susie (Author) Bower£8.99 £8.54
Reviewed by Sophie and Malia. Malia says: The Three Impossibles is a novel about teamwork and courageous efforts. where, with these characteristics, even the dullest lead can be turned into the brightest gold. This is a gripping story, deliciously dark yet fairytale like. Mim is a brilliant character - she is strong and brave, independent and likeable. The storyline moves fast enough to keep you interested and reads beautifully with well written descriptive language. A great book to gift and read. Sophie says: First of all, I’ll try to give away NO spoilers. I didn’t know what to expect from this book. I wondered what one of the impossible tasks would be-perhaps it would be to never eat chocolate again! (Dun, dun, duun!) No spoilers but…. that’s not it. This book is impossibly amazing (get it?) The characters are unique and special in a loveably um… well characterish way. (Cool made-up word there!) My favourite part is the unexpected twist at the end - WHAT HAPPENS? I promised you no spoilers soooo……, well, no spoilers. Read it for yourself!
ANNALIESE AVERY£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Callum. I found (The Nightsilver Promise) to be an engaging book with an intricate story. Its about a girl called Paisley Fitzwilliams who is trying to find her mother after she goes missing. The story is set in a mystical world that puts it aside from other fantasy fiction books as it is set in a parallel version of Modern day London. Overall I found this book to be unique and easy to follow while at the same time having a complex plot and story. Callum Newman age 12
Tamsin Mori£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Thijs. When Stella is sent to the Shetland Isles to stay with her grandad I don't think she was expecting to make friends with a cloud. Yes, a cloud. Although the main character is a girl this is definitely a book for girls and boys. This is a brilliant book. The story is exciting. I liked all the characters especially Nimbus and it was fun to read about Shetland. A very exciting, magical adventure.
Maisie Chan£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by James. Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths is a heart-warming story about a young boy (Danny) growing around his maths champion family, and when his nai nai (grandma) arrives from China, it doesn't get any better! Why doesn't he fit in with the rest of his family? All Danny wants to do is draw mythical creatures and hang out with his best friend Rav, but his parents have him baby-sitting (or grandma-sitting in this case) Nai Nai for the entire holidays! Maybe this is a good time to get to know each other? Or will they just grow apart even more? I would recommend this book to anyone 8+ who wants a light, heart-warming story to read when they're feeling down. It is an extremely well written book that I thoroughly enjoyed!
Shirley Marr, Elisa Paganelli, et al.£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Leontine. A Glasshouse of stars- Three ways to describe this book are: heart-warming, beautiful and inspiring. At first it was a bit confusing as the style of writing the author, Shirley Marr, used was one I hadn't come across before. But I soon got used to it and started to really enjoy the story. Meixing Lim ( the main character) had very strong and relatable feelings that I thought fitted into the story perfectly. The characters were amazing! Like Meixing they were also very realistic, with really well thought out personalities. It's a story bursting with big feelings about the life of a girl moving to a new land. It's a sad story but also (like I said before) heart- warming with a satisfying ending. I didn't know what to expect as it wasn't like the books I read most of the time and for the same reason I wasn't sure I would like it, I was definitely proven wrong. An unforgettable story.
Nicki Thornton£6.99 £6.64
Reviewed by Aysha. As a fan of mystery, action and adventure stories, the Howling Hag has become one of my favourite stories, along with some other books! It's great for ages 7-8+ and I would recommend this book to people who love reading a good old mystery book sitting on the couch. Like me, you won't be able to stop reading it! The Howling Hag mystery is about two people (well three, if you count the talking cat, Nightshade.) Raven Charming, Mortimer Scratch (but he likes to be called Morti) and Nightshade (the talking cat). Raven knows that her family is the only magical family in Twinhills. Her sister Rookery can move things with her mind and eyes and her mum can detect magic. Sadly, Raven does not have an affinity for magic but will that change? In Twinhills Primary, some unusual things have been going on and people think that a mysterious witch, The Howling Hag, is causing it. Is there another magical family in Twinhills? As Raven, Morti and Nightshade wander into investigating the case of the Howling Hag. Can they solve the case before it's too late?
Victoria Hislop and Gill Smith£10.99 £10.44
Reviewed by Niamh. Maria’s Island is the first children’s book by Victoria Hislop, and is based on her best-selling novel The Island for adults. The main character is called Maria, who tells her granddaughter the untold story of her childhood growing-up on the Greek island of Plaka. Her home is near the island of Spinalonga, where people with a disease called leprosy have to live for the rest of their lives. The illustrations by Gill Smith are beautiful and help to bring the story to life, with bright, vibrant colours. I think that the book is an important story to be told because leprosy is still a real thing and impacts on people in developing countries without the healthcare that they need, even though there is now a cure. Maria’s Island provides an important lesson about never giving up hope and I found it really interesting how badly people treated someone with leprosy, even somebody in their own family! The book is fiction, but the island of Spinalonga was where people with leprosy in real life had to move away to and leave their family and friends behind. There were some upsetting bits in the book, and I would recommend reading it first with a grown-up who can explain some parts. I enjoyed this book and would like to ready more children’s books by Victoria Hislop if she writes anymore. Perfect for fans of: When Fishes Flew by Michael Morpurgo, and After the War: From Auschwitz to Ambleside by Tom Palmer.
Piers Torday£12.99 £12.34
Reviewed by Catherine. A ‘Terribleness’ has struck. Little-Hare is the only one who can save his world from devastation… or is he? With the help of his sister, Run-Hare, and an eager group of farm animal offspring, the planet might be in for a chance. But is a chance enough to save Mooncalf, the silver cow who is fading away like the sun on the horizon? The Wild Before is a beautiful story about friendship, courage and climate change. It proves that you don’t need to be big to be brave and that every action you take has an impact on something. It’s interesting how Little-Hare was always shadowed by his older sister, so after he found Mooncalf he started to exist more as ‘Little-Hare’ as opposed to ‘Run-Hare’s brother’. This book has wonderful descriptions of the countryside that make you feel like you’re one of the characters fighting Mooncalf’s plague. It’s really sweet that when Little-Hare discovers Mooncalf he promises that he will take care of her, even though he’s just a young hare. The Wild Before is the prequel to The Last Wild trilogy which features Kester Jaynes, the boy who can talk to animals, and I think they sound really good. If you haven’t read them then reading this book will almost definitely make you want to add them to your reading list.
Reviewed by Tegan. This book took me a few chapters to get in to but once I was hooked, I couldn’t put the book down. The book follows a girl called Maggie who sees another girl being kidnapped by a wolf and taken into another world. She really likes the girl, Ida, and decides to go into the world and get her back. This books is good for twelve and under because of the type of story it is and the language in the book. However, older readers are obviously able to read this and enjoy the story. The tale reminds me of a mixture of Stranger Things and other sci-fi stories. Maggie is also part of the LGBTQ community, she doesn’t like boys and likes Ida. I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes mystery, other worlds, and science fiction. I hope that a sequel comes out because the end made me wanting to read more.
Alex Cotter£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Evie. ‘The House on the Edge’, by Alex Cotter, is all about Faith Walker, a 14 year old girl who lives in a rather precarious place. Her house, The Lookout, is situated on the edge of a cliff. Slowly, the cliff is crumbling and splitting their house in two. Faith needs to take care of her mum and brother, Noah, as well as protecting her house. With the help of Sam, her new-found friend, Faith goes on a journey of emotions to save her home. ‘The House on the Edge’ an an exhilarating read, which shows you how easily everything in life can suddenly change. The story is full of twists and turns which keep you on the edge of your seat. It is emotional at times, and you really feel for Faith. At other times, the story really shocks you - especially when everything unravels towards the end! ‘The House on the Edge’ is a really realistic and relatable book - you can easily put yourself in Faith’s position. It is an absolutely amazing book, I couldn’t put it down! Another thing that I thought was really clever about this book was the little drawings of cracks on every page. They were a constant reminder of the lurking danger, that Faith’s home could be destroyed at any moment. They really helped to keep the tension going! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone aged 8 and up. The feeling it gave me of having absolutely no idea what was going to happen next reminded me of the feelings I had when reading Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom.’ If you liked that then you would love ‘The House on the Edge’! Alex Cotter is a very talented author and this is an amazing adventure book which I would thoroughly recommend. ★★★★★ 5 stars!
CLARE POVEY£7.99 £7.59
Reviewed by Rosa. This book was amazing especially the last few chapters, they were breath-taking, gripping and indescribably good! Bastien bon libre is a jewel of my bookcase that I will read again and again. The storyline of this book is very twisty. It is about a tween boy who has an amazing talent for writing, soon after his birthday his parents are killed and, strangely other writers are going missing too. He and Theo need to stop the kidnappers before it’s too late. The fact that all the boys at the orphanage all had magnificent talents was a great part and they all were loyal friends to Bastien and each other. The language used in this book was fabulous and set the scene vividly in my mind!
Pooja Puri and Allen Fatimaharan£7.99 £7.59
Helenka Stachera£7.99 £7.59
Nick Lake and Emily Gravett£12.99
Reviewed by Catherine. Locked Out Lily tells the story of a girl whose mum is having a baby. She’s about to become a big sister but she’s not happy about it! Lily is sent to her granny’s house when her parents go to hospital and that’s when strange things start happening. She runs away back to her house and realises she is locked out. Lily finds a talking crow who tries to help her, along with a band of his friends. Mouse, Mole and Snake are all talking creatures too who each help Lily in their own unique way. Some of the other characters include the father-thing, the mother-thing and the baby-thing. These are like replacements of Lily’s family but they have empty black eyes and are not all they seem. Nick Lake is good at writing scary scenes with Lily and these demons - you don’t really know what they might do and the reader feels constantly on edge. My favourite character was Mole because although she can’t see, she still helps Lily as much as she can. It’s not exactly a friendship between Lily and the animals but it is funny when Lily asks Crow if she’s dreaming and he does a poo on her head and asks, ‘Would that happen in a dream?’ Emily Gravett’s illustrations are amazing. I like how they are only done in black and white but they still look and feel very real. She is famous for her drawings of little mice and some of the best pictures are the ones with Mouse. I wonder if Nick Lake put a mouse in his book for that exact reason?!
Polly Ho-Yen£7.99 £7.59
How I Saved the World in a Week, reviewed by Rosa I loved How I Saved the World in a Week. The way she described the ‘greys’ sent a shoulder shaking chill down my spine. Even the cover feels suspenseful, tense, and mysterious. It is also handy because dotted throughout the tale there are little survival tips and skills. This perfectly written story had me hooked in the first few chapters. Are you on the edge of your seat and shaking with excitement yet? Well, if you’re not then the storyline will get you biting your nails. It is about a boy who gets taken out of school to do activities with his mum but when something goes wrong, he goes to live with Steve, his stepdad. Suddenly, these creatures start appearing, and together, he and his two friends save the world in a week. It was a touching and tear coaxing triumph that made me want to laugh and cry, I dearly hope that Polly Ho-Yen will make a follow up version soon.
Lucy Hope£7.99 £7.59