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One of our Books of the Year 2015 The third in the hugely popular Wells and Wong series our two young heroines on - wait for it - the Orient Express! They're on holiday with Hazel's father Mr Wong whi is determined his daughter will give up detecting. Some hope! The story is set in 1934 just a year after Agatha Christie's classic was published. Daisy has already read it and when one of their fellow passengers is murdered - in a carriage apparently locked from the inside - the girls are in their element. There's a cast of colourful characters and red herrings galore, and as always Robin Stevens has created a proper mystery for the girls and her readers to solve. As always too the period detail adds to the appeal - food, clothes, attitudes of the time, all are described vividly. Hitler too casts a shadow over the action. Thrilling stuff that thoroughly respects its readers' intelligence, this is one of the best series around. ~ Andrea Reece EXCITING NEWS: This boarding school mysteries series Murder Most Unladylike is set for the big screen having been optioned for television and film by independent production company Pilot Media. Pilot Media optioned the rights from Emily Hayward Whitlock, head of book to film at The Artists’ Partnership, who was acting on behalf of Stevens’ literary agent, Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency.Cooper said she was “thrilled” to be working with Pilot Media and Salt Beef TV; the latter will co-produce any adaptation with Pilot. “With a diverse cast, opulent settings and a gloriously nostalgic feel, I always thought this series was perfect for adaptation,” she said. The Murder Most Unladylike series is set in a 1930s boarding school and features schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong. The first three books in the series—Murder Most Unladylike, Arsenic for Tea and First Class Murder."
The many readers enthralled by schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong’s first adventure Murder Most Unladylike will be thrilled to discover this new book, which offers another clever dose of subterfuge, murder and top-rate detection. While the original adventure took place at Daisy and Hazel’s school, Robin Stevens cleverly moves the setting for the follow-up to Daisy’s family home, a proper aristocratic pile, grand and shabby in equal measures. When a guest is poisoned Daisy and Hazel are immediately on the case. The girls are irresistible characters, perfect foils for each other, and as sharp as any of the great detectives. Owing more to Agatha Christie than Enid Blyton, and full of acute comments on the social customs of the times too, very little can beat this series for thrills and satisfaction. ~ Andrea Reece EXCITING NEWS: This boarding school mysteries series Murder Most Unladylike is set for the big screen having been optioned for television and film by independent production company Pilot Media. Pilot Media optioned the rights from Emily Hayward Whitlock, head of book to film at The Artists’ Partnership, who was acting on behalf of Stevens’ literary agent, Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency.Cooper said she was “thrilled” to be working with Pilot Media and Salt Beef TV; the latter will co-produce any adaptation with Pilot. “With a diverse cast, opulent settings and a gloriously nostalgic feel, I always thought this series was perfect for adaptation,” she said. The Murder Most Unladylike series is set in a 1930s boarding school and features schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong. The first three books in the series—Murder Most Unladylike, Arsenic for Tea and First Class Murder."
Asha has big dreams. She wants to be the youngest ever Prime Minister and, when inspirational teacher Mr McCardle gives her his precious copy of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, she wants to write her own books. But Asha’s life is no dream. Once an “invincible” barrister, her mum lost her job after falling ill and Asha’s back at her old school in Peckham. She’s also back with her old friend Patience. “Misfits, both of us. The fat Christian and the new girl”, Asha remarks, while longing to be accepted by beautiful, bold Angel. But things really unravel for Asha when she accepts Angel’s Black Dare - “whatever we say, you just got to do it” – and becomes caught in a web of lies that could hurt everyone she cares for.Featuring characters from the author’s Carnegie Medal nominated Joe All Alone, this is an insightful, gripping, character-driven novel about peer pressure and the conflict between wanting to fit in and standing up for yourself. As Asha realises, “telling lies can ruin lives. But take it from me, telling the truth’s no easy ride.” As the novel builds to a tense, emotional climax, you’ll be on the edge of your seat willing Asha to do the right thing. ~ Joanne Owen Click here to read why Joanna Nadin believes books are important beacons for children.
“I've built myself too many identities and now they're imploding,” remarks the main character of this gripping novel, encapsulating the main motif that runs through its veins. Aiden Kendrick is promising football prospect who trains with the Norwich youth team and lives with his mum and wealthy entrepreneur stepdad in an affluent area.He finds out that a girl he “used to be close to” has gone missing when the police turn up to question him. Both the police and Lizzie’s friends, including Aiden and his best mate, Scobes, dig into Lizzie’s online life and it emerges that she’s been chatting to a bloke called ‘Hal Peterson’. Then, as Hal’s identity begins to look increasingly suspect, the truth behind Aiden and Lizzie’s falling-out also comes to light, and a succession of increasingly shocking twists take the tale to a jaw-dropping finale. This riveting thriller explores many manifestations of deception, from digital duplicity and the forced fakery of the “Spoilt in the Suburbs" reality TV show that’s being filmed in town, to Lizzie’s love of drama, and secrets between friends. It will make you think twice about who you’re really befriending online, and what you think you know about real-life loved ones. ~ Joanne Owen
Winner of the UKLA 2017 Book Award | From the author of Lovereading4kids favourite We Are All Made of Molecules, this is another book that grips from the first chapter, a heart-breaking story that will nonetheless make readers laugh and leave them feeling better about the world. Henry’s life is changed for ever by ‘IT’, a terrible event that we learn about through the journal his psychologist encourages him to keep, and which describes, gradually and in surprising ways, how through new friendships and the Global Wrestling Foundation, he finds ways to cope. Nielsen writes about the heaviest subjects with the lightest of touches: here it’s suicide, bullying, breakdown but so subtly described, the balance between tragedy and humour so carefully managed, that this is a truly uplifting, even happy read.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | January 2016 Book of the Month As warming as a cup of hot chocolate on a winter’s day, Never Evers is guaranteed to leave readers happy and smiling. The story of two groups of teenagers on a school ski trip it is told in alternate chapters by Mouse (real name Matilda) and Jack. Max, the self-appointed leader of Jack’s gang is determined he and his friends will get off with girls on the trip, while Mouse has pressing concerns of a different nature. There’s an instant spark between our narrators but this path of true love will be interrupted by friends, a hamster and even a French version of Justin Bieber. It all makes for a fresh, funny romance, full of truths and charm. Ending with a first kiss, this is for a younger audience than the authors’ debut Lobsters. Readers will also enjoy Half My Facebook Friends are Ferrets, another funny and honest look at first love. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher School trips – love or loathe them, here’s the terrible truth with all its cringy, funny and frankly full-on embarrassing moments! Will it be all right in the end? Who knows! But that brilliant pair of comic friends Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison take us on a snow-filled, fun-packed journey no one will ever quite recover from! Makes me want to hide in the toilets all over again.
One minute Flora is dreaming on a train heading back to boarding school and the next a magic spell has spun Flora into the past. She’s mysteriously swapped lives with a schoolgirl in 1935! What a nightmare: no iPod, no mobile, no hair products and ridiculous rules. How will she survive? She has to speak French at breakfast, wear hideous baggy bloomers and sleep in a freezing dormitory. Flora also finds lots of positives in her new life but realises she must also find her way back to the 21st century and the reason for her time-travel. Full of magic and humour this wonderfully touching story will have girls desperate to join Flora on her time-travel escapades.
Tamsyn Murray’s Completely Cassidy books are tuned to the defining things about being a pre-teen girl: giggling with your friends; exasperating – and being exasperated by – your family; suffering waves of excruciating embarrassment (aka cringe-fests) about things no-one else will notice. It’s clear Murray understands her audience very well indeed and her writing is perfectly pitched for their pleasure. This adventure is set during the summer holidays, and features the family holiday in Cornwall, where Cassidy’s dad shows off his Elvis impersonations, and summer theatre school, where she discovers her own thespian talents. Cassidy will cringe, and do a bit of growing up too, and each are described with the lightest of touches. Completely Cassidy, totally enjoyable! ~ Andrea Reece Fans of Cassidy will also enjoy Cathy Cassidy’s Chocolate Box Girls books, and then Cathy Hopkins’s Mates, Dates series.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | February 2016 Book of the Month The heroine of Ann M Martin’s fine novel has a unique voice, and the story she tells is very touching. Rose (rows) has a diagnosis of autism and struggles to understand the unspoken social rules that are built in to the rest of us. Her props are homonyms – she has an ever growing list of words pronounced the same as another but spelled differently – prime numbers, and her dog Rain (reign, rein). When Rain goes missing, Rose works methodically to find her, but their reunion brings a problem: Rain originally belonged to another family, who also want their dog back. For Rose, for whom written rules are as vital as homonyms, there’s only one course of action to take. Rose tells her story exactly as it happens, but readers will infer so much more from her descriptions of events and the reactions of the other characters. A delight to read, this is a sophisticated and very moving piece of storytelling. ~ Andrea Reece How to Look for a Lost Dog joins the growing category of books about young people with a diagnosis of autism and Counting by 7s and We are All Made of Molecules are equally heart-warming and uplifting books for younger readers.
Another welcome return for Jamie Grimm, wisecracking wheelchair-using star of best-selling author James Patterson’s Middle School series for kids. In this episode Jamie is off to Hollywood to take part in the national finals of the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic Competition, having won various local and national heats along the way. All this success has gone to Jamie’s head though. Given that he’s always the butt of his own jokes, Jamie is going to have to have to learn to laugh at himself again to be in with a chance of winning the competition. Fortunately, his friends and family are there to help him do just that. Jamie’s voice rings loud and true as ever, the various different plot lines are easy to follow and it all comes together in another heart-warming climax.~ Andrea Reece
TIPS FOR BEING TOP OF THE CLASS (Sadly...I did NONE of these things.) 1. Stay awake in lessons (it helps.) 2. Don't draw HILARIOUS pictures of your teachers. 3. AVOID the class bully to stay out of trouble. 4. Don't let Mum and Dad write ANYTHING in your school planner. 5. Don't let your grumpy sister Delia BOSS you around. (Technically not a school issue - but still important.) I'm TRYING to get voted onto the school council as well - but thanks to the ABOVE list it's not exactly going to plan.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award ‘The Crossover’ is original and absolutely stunning, both visually and emotionally, it’s also an award winner, and deserves to be. First published in the United States in 2014 and described perfectly as a novel-in-verse, this is a story about basketball playing twins, Josh and Jordan. I initially wondered, as I looked at the visual impact of the first page, how easy it would be to read, as the words themselves slant and grow and fill the page with attitude. The answer is that this is a remarkably beautiful and accessible read, at times I even read out loud, the sounds resonating and rolling from the page. This style really encourages feeling and understanding to grow, and before I knew it I was fully immersed in the story and letting the words ebb and flow through my mind. Fresh, funny and heart achingly sad, ‘The Crossover’ is a dynamic, vital and gripping story, that I highly and truly recommend. ~ Liz Robinson