Thursday, April 30, 2015

Half Wild by Sally Green

Nathan is a teenage boy who is struggling to survive in a magical underworld that despises him because of his unusual genetic heritage.

In this second book in the series he has stronger allegiances and a greater control over his own magic, but the themes of alienation and self-sufficiency still loom large. The book has a breathless pace and some great first person writing, but what's most exciting are the character developments and shocking twists. Read Half Bad (if you haven't yet) and then read this sequel, which might even be better than the first book.

Published by Viking Books March 24, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Eli and his friends live in the most perfect small town in America, there is no crime, all the adults have jobs and the kids don't even lie. But when Eli and his friend head out of town in an attempt to find something interesting, they get sick and even worse, the friend is shipped off to another town, without giving Eli a chance to say goodbye. Needless to say, this leaves the group of friends very suspicious. The town is not what they have been told, neither are their parents and neither are they.

A scarily possible middle grade conspiracy theory book, with great characters you're constantly cheering for. And the best part is that this book is just the beginning of a series.

For readers aged 8-10

Published by Harper Collins 20 February, 2015

The Imaginary by A F Harrold

The Imaginary is about an imaginary friend, his real friend is in a coma and he thinks if he can just get to her, he can wake her up and everything can go back to normal. Unfortunately, he needs someone to believe in him so he can get to the hospital and to make things worse he's being pursued by a man who eats imaginary friends. 

Although, this is a book for ages 8-10, but I honestly think everyone should read this. The Imaginary is a book for anyone with a big imagination, anyone who finds it hard to make friends and anyone who feels that real life is in the way of their creativity.

Published by Bloombury USA, March 3 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp

Pig has plenty to write about in his diary, his love of slops, his best friend duck and the evil chickens who live with him on the farm. Life is pretty sweet until pig works out that the farmer wants to eat him and the chickens are planning to send him to Pluto on a trocket (part tractor, part rocket). Now he has to decide which fate is worse and it's not an easy decision. 

This is a book that makes very little sense to adults, the grammar is deliberately bad (so that pig seems particularly stupid), there are tons of fart gags and a lot of slapstick. But I have it on the authority of two well read eight year olds that this book is really funny and who am I to argue with them? For ages 6-10.

Published by Scholastic, April 28, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

It's been ten years since we first met the Penderwick sisters in the award winning story about family, a vacation adventure and the kinds of small mysteries that can seem very important. The Penderwicks continues to be popular, because of it's timeless and charming feel and because of the emotional depth of the four girls who range in age from four to eleven and who have such fascinatingly different characters.

The newest Penderwicks book was published last month, it's called The Penderwicks in Spring and it focuses on Batty, who is now eleven and her younger siblings Ben and Lydia. Of course, the older sisters still play a vital role in the story, but most of them are away at college or behaving in unintelligibly teenage ways. Batty is trying to find out where she fits in this enormous family. Her self-confidence is at a low ebb and she does get quite sad, but the book still proves to be fresh, funny and eventually redemptive.

I loved this book, it made me laugh and cry. So much beautiful writing and insightful character. A truly lovely book with a very wide appeal.

Published by Knopf Books, March 24, 2015