NEW TITLES

The following selection, for readers aged 11 years plus, takes us from fantasy and parallel worlds to fairy tales, adventure and every day life; there is something for everyone and some real gems that we hope you enjoy exploring!

Shift
Jeff Povey

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471118685

For Rev (who was there just to spend an hour looking at Johnson), Billie (who would rather be in Boots buying make-up), The Ape (who isn't really bothered either way), GG (so laid back he is almost horizontal), Johnson (man of mystery and good looks), Carrie (the human knitting needle), Lucas and Moth an after-school detention becomes an apocalyptic nightmare. A lit match, a flash of blinding light and a fire alarm are the only clues to what is about to happen. Clues they may be but they are not clues enough to warn any of the group that their afternoon is going to go from bad to a horrendous nightmare in a matter of minutes. In fact it takes more than a matter of minutes for them to discover what has a happened. It takes the whole book for any of them to find out how to reverse it, or at least get back to normality and by then ... well I'm afraid you'll have to read for yourself for Shift is the first title in a brand new series. Our group of misfits whose story is told by Rev are brilliantly imagined teens. Jeff Povey is a debut author who has captured their voices with clarity, wit and humour. Perhaps he was a misfit himself? However he has done it he has done it well. The unlikely sextet are different shapes, different sizes and they are about to meet another set of themselves of even scarier proportions. They face dangers from the world they inhabit and from themselves in ways that the reader can only imagine until they turn at page which will reveal all, or at least begin to. Brilliantly drawn, deftly narrated and generously sprinkled with a humour that pokes fun at itself as well as other post-apocalyptic and zombie YA fiction this is an action-packed, breath-taking, edge of the set, hilarious and exciting page turner. I can't wait for the next book and I'm quite sure that on e you've read it you'll feel exactly the same! 368 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Louise Ellis-Barrett, school librarian.

Shift
The Sword of Kuromori
Jason Rohan

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405270601

This book, the first of a series, introduces us to Kenny Blackwood. We meet him on a flight to Japan to join his father, with whom he has a troubled relationship. Strange things happen on the flight, however, and things just keep on getting stranger after he lands. Gradually, Kenny learns that everything is connected to his grandfather and comes to the realisation that he himself has some special, but still unclear, part to play in the events unfolding around him. There are devilish plots, a mystical sword, battles with terrifying monsters and thrilling motorcycle car chases, all coming at the reader at breakneck speed. Kenny's guide to everything that happens to him is Kiyomi, the dare devil motorcycle rider he first meets when she rescues him from the monster disguised as a policeman and their relationship develops during the course of this book as she rescues him from one dire situation after another. All the action takes place in Japan and Jason Rohan gives a lot of background information about the places Kenny and Kiyomi visit. The sense of alienation that Kenny feels, in an environment where he does not speak the language or understand the customs, is very well conveyed, even before we consider the magic and mayhem that surrounds him. The author has also provided the reader with a very helpful glossary of the Japanese terms that crop up in the book. The book concludes with a sneak preview of the next in the series to whet the reader's appetite and leaves Kenny and Kiyomi in another perilous situation. Fans of fast moving adventure stories who like a mythical twist to their books will enjoy this series. 316 pages / Ages 10/11+ / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian.

The Sword of Kuromori
Bodyguard 2: Ransom
Chris Bradford

ISBN 9780141340067

An action-packed thriller with wide appeal; it's got the guns and knives, the explosions, the near misses and the suspense, but it also has strong characters both male and female. This is the second book in the Bodyguard series, but it works well as a stand-alone novel. Connor Reeves is our all-action teen hero who secretly works as a teenage bodyguard, the premise being that teens are much more low-profile and inconspicuous as bodyguards for teenage clients. He and his team are engaged to protect the twin daughters of a media mogul while they holiday in the Seychelles on their luxury yacht. Conner embarks on his assignment hoping that the biggest threat will be sunburn, but his skills are soon put to the test. The yacht gets boarded by Somali pirates, Connor gets shot in the ensuing gunfight and the twins are taken hostage. Everyone mistakenly thinks that Connor was killed, but he survived and hides. Once he finds out that the pirates will kill the girls anyway, even after the ransom is paid, Connor realises that his training, his element of surprise and a lot of luck provides their only chance of rescue and survival. For a high-octane thriller there is also much to make you think (if you want to) as the issue of piracy and why it happens is touched on and explored from several viewpoints. There is a young Somali boy who doesn't want anything to do with the trade, but gets caught up in it, there is the lead pirate Spearhead who loves the thrill of the chase and wouldn't give it up even after making his fortune, and then there is Emily, one of the twins, who has already been held to ransom once before and is terrified. Overall a great read, with a brilliant and unexpected twist. 425 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

Bodyguard 2: Ransom
The World of Norm: May Need Rebooting: Book 6
Jonathan Meres

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408329498

Life is unfair to Norm, and this really was turning into a bad day even by Norm's standards. His history teacher dumps a punishment exercise on him about Kings and Queens because he fell asleep in class, which was hardly his fault; she should have made the lesson more entertaining shouldn't she. Things get a lot worse though when Norm finds his bike has been stolen. Mountain biking is Norm's thing, it's what he does; how's he ever going to become the world mountain biking champion with no bike? So he's being punished and he's lost his bike, but his kid brothers on the other hand not only get away with murder, but they're also now getting presents when it's not even Christmas! How unfair is that? In the search for his stolen bike he gets into more situations that are totally unfair; he has to deal with Chelsea (the world's most annoying neighbour) and he even ends up agreeing to play a football match to keep his Grandpa happy. Football! He detests football, and despite what Connor Wright mistakenly thinks, he's really rubbish at it. The conversations between Norm and the other characters and the way he constantly misunderstands people because he takes everything literally provides a lot of the humour. Norm is incredibly popular with year 7-9 boys at my school and I'm sure the appeal is equally widespread in primary school too. It's a humorous, easy, quick read with the text broken up with funny cartoons and plenty of white page, which is part of the attraction to my more reluctant readers. Anyone who has enjoyed Horrid Henry or the Wimpy Kid will abso-flipping-lutely love this. 295 pages / Age 8-13 (particularly boys) / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

The World of Norm: May Need Rebooting: Book 6
A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, Book 2)
Soman Chainani

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007502813

A World Without Princes is the sequel to The School for Good and Evil, which was a New York Times bestseller last year and is now well on its way to being turned into a film. In the series, Soman Chainani encourages us to question fairy tales and in this latest story, the role of men and women in fairy tales. Since the end of book one, when Agatha chose her 'happy ending' without a prince, the girls in the School for Good and Evil have taken her as a role model and decided to take control of their own 'happy endings' - which means princes have been banished! The School for Good and Evil is now a school for princes, with a separate school for princesses; the two don't mix, ever. But when best friends Agatha and Sophie are forced to return to the school, the status quo is upset and Agatha and Sophie have to decide whether they should fight for this world without princes, or try to turn the clock back... The story is, like the first book, hugely engaging and as well as adventure, there is plenty of humour in the exploration of our expectations of girls and boys - the section where one of the girl characters becomes a boy for a brief period is especially illuminating. To really understand what is at stake, however, readers will need to have read the first book before beginning this one. Do that and like us, you'll be wanting to read book three! Ages 11+ / 448 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, Book 2)
We Were Liars
E. Lockhart

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471403989

This is a beautifully-written book which paints a detailed and intricate picture of family life and relations. It describes the long summers of the Sinclair family spent on their own private island in Massachusetts, USA. The Grandparents have the big house, and their three daughters each have a separate house round the island where they spend each summer with their own families. The Liars of the title are Cady who narrates the story, her two cousins Mirren and Johnny, and Gat who is Johnny's step father's nephew and first comes to the island when they are all eight. For the Liars, they are paradise holidays spent running free, swimming in the sparkling sea, chatting under the stars with their cousins and playing tennis. However a dark thread runs through this idyllic world. The first indication of any tension in the family is the reception of Gat by the grandparents who thinly veil their prejudice at this boy of Indian origins joining their perfect white family. As the children grow up and with Gat's influence, they question their family's privileged position, begin to see the tyrannical side of their grandfather and the hypocritical sides of their mothers. The atmosphere on the island slowly grows more claustrophobic, building up to Cady's swimming accident which leaves her with severe migraines and memory loss. As snapshots of memories return to Cady the plot unravels and her world frays into tatters. At the end we see clearly the tragedy of Cady's secret. The twist ending was as totally surprising and unexpected as it was devastating. This will appeal to teens and adults. 225 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

We Were Liars
Poppy
Mary Hooper

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408827628

Over the next four years of the anniversary there will undoubtedly be many books on the subject of World War 1, but we are off to a very good start in the secure hands of one of our best historical novelists. Mary Hooper always chooses to write about history from a women's perspective and this particular period brought about such a radical change to women's lives that it is not surprising that Poppy's story will take more than one book to tell; the next instalment arriving in 2015. Poppy is liberated by the war from her position as parlourmaid to the gentry. She is enabled, by the intervention of an old teacher who recognises her ability, to train as a VAD. She is mixing with women from a very different class and holding her own. There is a very real sense of society changing and barriers breaking down - so much so that she begins to believe that the budding romance with the son of her old employers might actually have a future. It is with the dashing of those hopes that we leave her volunteering for active duty at the front. But this is no Upstairs Downstairs romance, although we are very much engaged in Poppy's feelings, this is a vivid and detailed piece of social history which gives us insight into the issues of class, politics and patriotism and certainly does not shy from the full detail of the horrific injuries that the nurses, the soldiers and their families were dealing with. It is the fascinating and obviously well researched detail of the huge temporary hospital in Southampton and the individual stories of boys too young to sign up, hideously disfigured soldiers who cannot bear to be seen by their families and the shell shocked men accused of cowardice that give this absorbing and highly recommended narrative its power. There is also a useful reading guide available http://media.bloomsbury.com/rep/files/poppy-teachers-guide.pdf# 288 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian.

Poppy
Shadow of the Zeppelin
Bernard Ashley

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408327272

It is now a hundred years since World War 1 broke out, and this is the turbulent backdrop against which Bernard Ashley's latest novel takes place. It was a time of great change - Man had only very recently taken to the air - and, with the world now at war, also a time of huge uncertainty. The story is told from three very different perspectives: Young Freddie Castle's, on the ground in Woolwich, his older brother Will's, on the front line in battle-torn France, and the crew of Zeppelin L31, tasked with bombing England's capital city. These three quite disparate and contrasting viewpoints allow the author to weave an emotionally complex tale that gives the reader a very real, three-dimensional picture of life in a time of literally earth-shattering conflict. Freddie, like the majority of his fellow Londoners, is vehemently anti-German and can't understand why his beloved Will won't take the King's shilling and sign up; a shocking incident finally pushes Will into uniform and sends him away to fight. The third point of view is provided by possibly the story's most interesting character, Ernst Stender, a German Jew. There are many questions in this book - the biggest probably being why we never seem to learn the hard lessons History teaches us... why, only twenty one years after the end of 'The War to End All Wars', did another, even worse war, break out? Bernard Ashley doesn't provide any easy answers, but what he does do is take his readers on fascinating trip back in time to meet some great characters, and also allow us look at an event that shaped the world we now live in. 320 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Graham Marks, author.

Shadow of the Zeppelin

ISBN 9781780621760

As the author explains in his opening note, although this is a work of fiction, the attack central to the book is based on the true story of what happened to Sophie Lancaster and her partner, Rob, in a park in Bacup in 2007. They had done nothing to provoke an attack; they merely dressed in an alternative way. Sophie died and Rob was seriously injured. Alan Gibbons was inspired to write this book after hearing Sophie's mother speak about the attack at a conference. Hate is set six months after Eve's sister, Rosie, was attacked and killed. For Eve life has changed in many ways - her parents have split up, she has moved house, her mother spends much of her time away from home campaigning and she misses her sister dreadfully. She is trying to settle back into school when a new boy, Anthony, arrives. Eve recognises Anthony as one of the boys who witnessed the attack on her sister. Anthony is finding it difficult to settle at his new school - he and his mum are on the run from her abusive ex-boyfriend and he is tormented by memories of the night he witnessed the attack on Rosie. Through dated chapters we follow the story of what happens to Eve and Anthony after they meet at school, through the trial and finally to some sort of resolution. In flashbacks, we also learn the circumstances of Rosie's death. Running alongside is the story of Oli, a boy at school who encounters prejudice and violence when he reveals that he is gay. The dual narrative works well and the reader sees both Eve and Anthony's perspective. The style is accessible and the portrayals of Eve's sense of loss and of Anthony's guilt are particularly effective. This is a powerful story about big issues. It deals with love, loss, forgiveness, guilt, prejudice and believing in who you are. Hate crime is a current issue, brought to our attention almost daily in the media. Young adults of 14+ are sure to relate to these issues and be challenged to reflect and discuss. 223 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Karen Poolton, college librarian.

More Than This
Patrick Ness

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406350487

Apart from anything else I want to say, and not to endorse using extracts in any way, but the first three pages of this astonishing book (which is now available in paperback) are bound to be used for creative writing exercises for ever more. It has overtaken Ian McEwan's Enduring Love as, for me, the best ever beginning to a book! So we start this new book from the double Carnegie winning author with the most magnificent, heart pounding, visceral yet beautiful description of a drowning. Seth is most definitely dead and yet he wakes. With his waking, naked and alone on what appears to be the pavement of his childhood home in England, thousands of miles from the scene of his death, we share his confusion. Is this the afterlife? Why would it be the English home they left in tragic circumstances and why does everything look as if it was abandoned to decay years ago? Why does he still need to eat? If it is his personal Hell then why does he meet Tomasz and Regine, two equally compelling characters, who also remember their own deaths and help him to escape the murderous intent of the mysterious black clad driver? Just when you think you are getting to the bottom of this psychological and philosophical mystery, as more memories and flashbacks are revealed, a sudden twist reveals a possible dystopian scenario. But this is only to hint at the page-turningly exciting, thought-provoking plot and there is so much more than this to talk about! What makes this book such a powerful, unforgettable read is once again the author's ability to write with such non-patronising honesty, understanding, warmth and humanity about the complexities of adolescent life and beyond. This is as much about the lives of Seth, Tomasz and Regine as it is about what happens after their possible death. I believe Patrick Ness is incapable of writing a dull word, but more importantly he provides us with books that challenge and inspire readers of any age. You never leave his books unchanged by the experience of reading them and this outstanding book will certainly live in your thoughts for a very long time. 480 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Joy Court, Librarian

More Than This