NEW TITLES

Finding Jennifer Jones
Anne Cassidy

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471402289

Do I feel more sympathy for Jennifer Jones now? Am I still willing her to speak out and tell about being frightened to have her photo taken by the creepy Mr Cottis? Has this sequel raised more questions than provided answers? Jennifer Jones is older. She's been moved on from her previous placement as Alice Tully and is working at a Summer job during University. But she's broken the conditions of her release and written to Lucy, the other girl on the fateful day of Michelle's death. In her new identity as Kate, she is shocked when a little girl goes missing and the local police contact her to question her. She hadn't realised that they knew her whereabouts. In the face of a vindictive policeman Kate makes the decision, on her own and against parole conditions, to disappear to London to try to lose her past. But is this possible? Throughout the book we are fed more details of Jennifer's bewilderment of what was happening to her life when she was dependent on adults looking after her. Jennifer still refuses to blame her Mother. She still defends her and does not speak out about what her Mum asked her to keep quiet. Although this book would stand alone, having read Looking for JJ adds to the reading experience. I was fully immersed in the story and was shocked by Kate's treatment in spite of her crime. As there are now more reading groups than there were 10 years ago, I can see this becoming a firm favourite for meaty discussions. 275 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Dawn Woods, librarian

Finding Jennifer Jones

ISBN 9780007511204

In TAPE, a distinctive novel about music, love and destiny, two young people connect across time and each has a message for the other. In 2013, Amelia has just moved in with her nan after losing both her parents. She finds an old tape and when she listens to it, hears the voice of a boy, talking to her. Meanwhile in 1993, Ryan has lost his mother and is falling in love with a girl he has just met. He starts to record a diary on an old tape, but then catches the sound of another's voice, a girl, who seems to be speaking to him.... The strength of TAPE and Steven Camden's writing is in how it takes us directly into the lives of the these two young people as we see them coming to terms with their pasts and building their futures. Amelia and Ryan's stories are told in alternate chapters but, while they are 20 years apart, they share a similar tone and landscape so we know there is a connection and, about half way through the novel, we find out what that is. Camden says that he doesn't want his plot simply built up to reveal this connection; the real story is about how each of his characters takes the time to connect with those around them, explore the past and build their future through the tiny, everyday decisions they make. Threaded through this is the music they explore, the people they meet, the relationships they forge and the landscapes they cross. An intriguing, multi-layered novel that deserves to be savoured. 368 Pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

ISBN 9781444010220

As The One Safe Place begins, we see Devin having to bury his grandfather who has died suddenly and unexpectedly. Until now, they have lived together on an isolated life and, through his memories and descriptions of that time, we understand that Devin sees and feels things differently from most people; that sights and touch come to him as sounds and tastes. Devin soon realises that he can't cope with the farm on his own and has to leave it to find help in the city. At this point we realise we are in a near-future world shaped by catastrophic climate change; where the divisions between rich and poor have widened irrevocably and children are left to survive by their wits. Devin struggles to cope but is befriended by a girl, Kit. When they are offered a 'safe haven' in a children's home outside the city, Devin grasps the opportunity but soon discovers that the 'one safe place' of the title is no such thing. As well as an intriguing story for individual readers, The One Safe Place would make a great book group read as it touches on many of the uncomfortable truths already present in our world today from climate change and economic imbalance to the commoditising of life itself. It is also fascinating to read a story about a character with synesthesia who experiences the world so differently from how most of us feel and see things. 256 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

ISBN 9781848531239

I loved this book from the opening sentence - 'Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John'. Few books bring you to the brink of tears before you've finished the first page as this one did. Jewel grows up in a household torn by tragedy. Her mother, father and grandfather are laden with grief, guilt and anger. Jewel's life changes irrevocably when she meets a boy in her tree also named John. They become great friends, each finding in the other someone with whom they can share their thoughts, fears and aspirations and feel free. John however is not welcomed by her family. Jewel tries hard to make her family happy, navigating the world of spirits, secrets and blame at home while also learning to trust and expressing her own true character with John. The story of the family tragedy slowly unfolds throughout the book as we learn more about what each character thinks happened that day and their responses to it. John and another near tragedy combine to bring about change and reconciliation to Jewel's family and his own. Jewel tells her story with a clear and honest voice which makes the reader love her, John and all those in her broken family and makes this a very special book. It is very uplifting, positive and hopeful despite being full of pain and heartache. It is such a powerful book, and could be used as a springboard for discussions on many topics; bereavement, forgiveness, love, friendship, empathy, guilt and even the nature of God. Anyone above the age of about 13 must read it. It's already my book of the year. (408 pages)

Who Framed Klaris Cliff?
Nikki Sheehan

Oxford University Press

ISBN 9780192735720

This is an original and quirky first novel with a very unusual premise. The Klaris Cliff of the title is actually an imaginary friend, something which many families will be familiar with and which children tend to grow out of as they get older. However in this book such friends are not innocent playmates, but have gone 'rogue', and are being blamed for all manner of unpleasant incidents. As fear and suspicion grows, fuelled by hysterical media stories, the authorities are taking drastic measures to deal with this perceived threat. Our narrator Joseph's involvement with such an entity therefore spells real trouble - a visit from the scary 'RIPS' (Rogue Imaginary Person Service) with their dreaded 'Cosh'. Joseph's only option is to prove that Klaris is innocent, and to use his skills as a detective to discover who and what is really behind the incidents involving his best friend, and next-door neighbour, Rocky's family. The heart of this story lies in its exploration of relationships; friendships real and imaginary, and the complex interactions of family life. Joseph and his Dad are dealing with the after-effects of his Mum leaving home. As hope fades that she will return, Joseph must try to accept that his Dad is moving on, and come to terms with the fact that he may never see his Mum again. Meanwhile Rocky's family life is far from perfect, and their problems are brought sharply into focus by Klaris and her supposed crimes. Klaris herself is an enigma; who, or what, is she, and what does she want from Joseph? As the story develops, Nicky Sheehan really builds up the tension so that, with the summer drawing to a close and Joseph running out of time to save himself and Klaris, the reader is totally gripped. As well as a fantastic story, the book also makes its readers wonder anew about the phenomenon of imaginary friends. Are they real or not? What do they represent and where do they go when they leave us? You decide! 256 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lyn Hopson, librarian

Who Framed Klaris Cliff?
The Year of The Rat
Clare Furniss

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471120275

The loss of a mother at any age is difficult to cope with, but when Pearl loses her mother in childbirth at 15, it is bound to be a difficult time for her. The presence of the baby,ĎThe Ratíof the title, first in intensive care at the hospital, then on her return home is seen by Pearl as a constant reminder of her motherís untimely death. Pearl refuses to talk to anyone, not her stepfather, (the only father she has really known), her best friend, or anyone at school and the resentment and pain build and build, and the reader is swept along on this tide of grief. Pearl seeks out her real father only to find that he has a step-daughter of his own, and that he stepped back deliberately in order to let her stepfather be her real father. It is at this point that Pearl starts to come through the pain with the help of the perceived presence of her mother, and the love of those closest to her. Written in a staccato style which accentuates the little stabs of pain Pearl feels, it is hard to think that this novel cannot have been written without personal experience of an overwhelming grief. The image of a perfect mother turns out not to be a true picture but it takes Pearl some time to come that conclusion, helped in part by her motherís words to her. Covering a year each chapter is a month and charts Pearlís voyage of grief. This will be a difficult read for any teenager and particularly so for those who have lost a parent, but does show very clearly the depth of grief and the stages which it goes through before balance is restored in oneís life. When Pearl hacks off her long hair and refuses to go and get it cut professionally, the reader identifies with her, what does it matter what she looks like when her world is broken? Her relationship with Rose, ĎThe Ratí could have been explored a little more perhaps but this is a small criticism of a very good debut novel. This would be good for librarians, teachers and parents to give to teenagers of 13+ encountering grief. 255 pages / Ages 13+ / Reviewed by Janet Fisher, librarian

The Year of The Rat
Paper Towns
John Green

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408848180

Margo Roth Spiegelman is a miracle. Not only is she clever and beautiful, but she's been the centre of all the daring and unexpected escapades and schemes that have become the legends of high school. Quentin Jacobsen on the other hand likes a safe, predictable and easy life. He's also the boy who's been loving Margo from afar since they were nine. One night, a few weeks before graduation, Margo appears at Quentin's bedroom window and whisks him off for a night of pranks of revenge on their fellow students which she has planned down to the last detail. It's the best night of his life. The next day Margo Roth Spiegelman disappears. Her parents and the police basically wash their hands of her as she has pulled stunts like this before, leaving trails of cryptic clues for them to find her. This time it's up to Quentin to solve the mystery and undertake a road trip race against time to track her down before she kills herself. Is the Margo he will find anything like the Margo he has been looking for? How well can we ever really know anyone? Spot-on accurate observations from Green together with great characterization and humour (Quentin's friends are perfectly drawn) enable the reader to engage with the philosophical side of the book. It will definitely stimulate much discussion, and could be used as a great introduction to philosophy. Perfect for teens who question life and their relationships, and for anyone who loves a great story and appreciates great writing. 305 pages / Ages 14+ / Melanie Chadwick, librarian

Paper Towns
The Children of the King
Sonya Hartnett

Scholastic

ISBN 9781407137513

Bombs are falling on London and three children have been sent to the countryside, to keep safe from the war. Jeremy and Cecily are brother and sister, travelling by train with their mother to stay at Heron Hall, home of their uncle Peregrine. Used to family holidays here, evacuation holds no fears for them, unlike the other children who also alight at the local station. Shepherded into the town hall they must await being chosen or placed by the billeting officers. Cecily thinks it would be fun to also adopt an evacuee, to help with the war effort, and though her mother is initially reluctant, she eventually agrees, Jeremy, at 14, suggests that his younger sister chooses one who will be her friend and so it is that May Bright comes to stay at Heron Hall, where she is warmly welcomed by Peregrine Lockwood, the owner. Both fathers are absent; Mayís is fighting in France whilst Mr Lockwood has important war work in London. Jeremy feels this absence keenly and is desperate to be involved and useful in some way. Cecily and May, on the other hand, spend their time playing and exploring the surrounding countryside, including the ruined Snow Castle. They are intrigued by two strange boys they encounter there, boys they initially assume to also be evacuees. However it gradually dawns on the girls that they might be linked to the story that Uncle Peregrine is telling them about two princes taken to the Tower and not seen again. This is a story which gives the reader much to think about as it explores the effect of war on children. Family relationships are skilfully drawn, with the tension between mother and son, fuelled by Jeremyís impotence and rage at not being able to do anything to help, tangible. Sonya Hartnett is an acclaimed, accomplished writer with a lyrical style, who creates characters which stay in the mind long after the book is closed. 272 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Jayne Gould, librarian

The Children of the King
Hostage Three
Nick Lake

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408828229

Amy, her father and step-mother are on their luxury yacht on a world cruise. Itís all blue sky, shimmering sea and coral reefs then off the coast of Somalia everything changes when they are boarded by pirates. The men have guns and are not frightened to use them to secure the 5 million pounds they demand as ransom money. Cold and calculating, they call their hostages by number rather than use names, treating the family as collateral rather than people. Amy slowly gets to know the youngest of the pirates, their translator Farouz, and learns about his life and his family while also re-evaluating her relationships with her own parents and her attitude to life. Through Farouz the reader is able to see the other side of a story with which they will be familiar with from news reports. Itís a thought provoking book which challenges the reader to question their perspectives and view contemporary issues from all sides. It will generate plenty of debate and discussion with links to global citizenship, economics and business as well as ethics. 369 pages / Ages 13+ / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, librarian

Hostage Three