NEW TITLES

There's a wonderful selection of newly published books for young adults, here are the highlights our reviewers have selected including the new series from Derek Landy, Demon Road, and a standalone novel from Sarah Crossan, One.

Lockdown
Peter Jay Black

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408851470

Fans of series including Alex Rider and TimeRiders will thoroughly enjoy these fast-paced, gadget-laden stories in which a group of highly talented and motivated teenagers - the 'Urban Outlaws' of the piece - grapple with computer viruses, shadowy mentors and some very bad guys. Lockdown is the third book in the series and although you won't need to have read the first two books to enjoy this one, it would help to place all the villains of the piece. In the first book, the Urban Outlaws managed to over-ride a computer virus to get a powerful computer going - but now that same virus has been stolen by Hector, who plans to use it to hack the secrets of the world. In a journey that takes them to the States, the Urban Outlaws have two missions to complete against the clock - and as they do so, their enemies are closing in. The fast pace of these books makes them ideal for reluctant as well as eager readers, and both girls and boys. The fact that the characters rely on their own skills to complete their missions - whether that's using physical parkour skills or finding their way around electronics - also makes these aspirational. Highly recommended for readers aged 10+ through to early secondary years. 320 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Lockdown
Gorilla Dawn
Gill Lewis

Oxford University Press

ISBN 9780192739179

Another amazing social and environmental piece from Gill Lewis, set deep in the African jungle, we are caught in the midst of war, murder, gorilla trading and environmental destruction in the name of progress. Powerful and thought-provoking from the start, I read it straight through to the end, unable to put it down. Imara is the Spirit guide for the Black Mamba and his band of rebel soldiers, she believes that she has the devil inside her and that he talks to her, directing her actions. Everyone else believes that to look into her eyes is to see their own death. The rebel soldiers bring death and destruction in their wake, stealing children, food and supplies as they travel to find coltan, a dull, grey stone, crucial to the production of computers and mobile phones all over the world. Bobo is the son of a ranger whose duty it is to protect the gorillas in the mountains. When the mzungus (whites) come to trade with the rebels, they bring guns and ask for a gorilla baby to be found for them. Killing the Silverback and stealing the gorilla from its mother, the rebels carry the baby away from all it has ever known, in much the same way as they take boys from their villages and train them to be soldiers. Imara is expected to keep the gorilla alive and, with the help of Saka, Frog and Bobo, she discovers that friendship and love are not weaknesses. We learn that although the country seems steeped in corruption, smuggling and murder, good finds a way through in the guise of the rangers, the Halfway House, the United Nations. We each have a choice; with each dawn we need to ask ourselves, what is our part in this? How are we to use this day to make the next one a better world Reviewed by: Kerra Dagley

Gorilla Dawn
Here be Dragons
Sarah Mussi

Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN 9781910240342

In her latest novel Here be Dragons (the first in the Snowdonia Chronicles series), award-winning author Sarah Mussi (Riot, Siege) delves into the mythical landscape and stories of Wales's highest mountain, Snowdon, which becomes the powerful setting for this mystical romance. Here Be Dragons explores the myths and legends of Wales through the seemingly fated love between teenager Ellie and a mysterious boy, Henry, who appears on the side of Snowdon. As the bond grows between Ellie and Henry over a few short days and the mysteries around Henry and his real identity deepen, Ellie begins to realise the true cost of a love like this. Despite its mythical roots, the novel is firmly rooted in a teenager's everyday life, which provides a contrast to the legends of dragons and wizards that permeate the story. Ellie's mum is a mountain rescuer and Ellie frequently accompanies her, in between her visits to a close circle of friends who we also get to know, especially her close neighbour George who is also in love with Ellie. This is a believable teenager who is swept up in surprising and dramatic events but who never loses touch with her home and her friends and there is plenty of humour and spikiness in their dialogue. Here Be Dragons is for younger readers than the urban, gritty novels Mussi is known for and will be enjoyed by readers aged 11+ who want a romantic adventure story. 423 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Here be Dragons
Railhead: shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017
Philip Reeve

Oxford University Press

ISBN 9780192742759

As the title suggests, this is a thrilling train ride of a book which hurtles along a track fuelled with imagination and suspense. The wheels turn slowly at first but as the journey takes off with ever more tantalising twists and turns the suspense builds into a thrilling climax. Petty thief Zen Starling is unknowingly dragged into a power struggle between the Guardians, Railforce, Raven and the powerful Noon family. Zen is rescued from Railforce by Raven and encouraged to steal an antiquity from the Noon Family. He is aided by Nova, Raven's Motorik, a free-thinking intelligent robot. What Zen does not realise is that whoever has the antiquity, holds the power over the galaxies. In a world where instant communication is available via headsets, where trains communicate with each other and with humans, where truth is hidden and knowledge is power, how do you escape? Not knowing who to trust is the least of Zen's problems; with his life on the line and his family is in danger, time is running out. Phillip Reeve has designed a new world where travel between planets is as easy as boarding a train and quicker than you can imagine. A world where each train has its own personality a robotic work force for maintenance and guns for security; a world where friendship and trust can mean life or death; a world which took ten years in the imagining and was well worth the wait! 300 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Jennifer Hambleton, librarian.

Railhead: shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017
Sarah Crossan

ISBN 9781408863114

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, something most people would dread. Living in America, they have been home educated by tutors and with that and hospital fees, finances are stretched. When their Father loses his job because of health issues, their Mother refuses to stop the counselling, so it is the schooling that has to change. They are bound to be stared at and treated differently by those around them, or as Sarah Crossan says 'thrown into a ring of lions/without a weapon'. Grace is the worrier, the least confident. That's usual in any sibling relationship and Crossan manages to demonstrate normality among everything that is different. She builds up each twin as a separate character with different feelings, although they always know what one another is experiencing even if they won't readily admit it. She describes the everyday life of school and the problems it raises for the twins. She also describes home life which isn't perfect for any of the family. They find real friends and Tippi's confidence and Grace's worries surface. So does another dilemma, one which has no right nor wrong answer. The doctors think they've got it sorted, but they cannot predict everything. This moving novel about identity and love is written in free verse yet manages to convey so much in so few words. This is a situation which only a handful of people will ever find themselves experiencing, yet it is one in which the reader is so fully immersed because of the powerful writing. Crossan has said that it could only ever have one ending, and I fully see that, yet it was still shocking to get there. 448 pages / Ages 11-15 years / Reviewed by Dawn Woods, librarian

All Sorts of Possible
Rupert Wallis

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471143663

I loved this book! Yet another great read from Rupert Wallis although completely different from his first book, The Dark Inside. This story follows Daniel as he and his father are swallowed suddenly into a sinkhole in the road. Without giving too much away, Daniel has to face further trauma while trying to find something that will help his father, and is petrified by shadowy characters pursuing him for 'the fit'. The book is at times shocking and I found myself crying out as the plot twisted and turned, before reading the last part in tears. Some people may find it unbelievable but like Rupert's first book, I think again that readers will interpret things differently and come to their own conclusions. 372 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian.

All Sorts of Possible
The Big Lie
Julie Mayhew

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471404702

My expectations were high going into this book, with the publisher promising me feminism, revolution and female sexuality, and, I am glad to say, aforementioned expectations were met and then some. I absolutely loved this! When it comes to YA, I'm quite hard to please - more often than not I feel like YA stories are just ticking a variety of the same boxes over and over again with nothing original or even particularly interesting to say. That is most definitely not the case here, however: The Big Lie has a lot to say, and it says it with panache, as well as subtlety and heart. Set in an alternate timeline where the Nazis conquered England, The Big Lie is about Jessika, a good girl, obedient to the Reich and her influential father, and Clementine, her fiery, rebellious best friend. As Jessika struggles to figure out her feelings, Clementine is fighting a different sort of battle, one which could easily end with her strung up from a lamppost like the other dissenters. As well as being a tense and gritty exploration of a very potent 'what if' scenario, The Big Lie is also a meditation on identity and free will, family and friendship. It confronts us with the seductive safety of just turning a blind eye and brings to mind that famous saying about evil triumphing when good men (or women in this case) do nothing. How much are we willing to compromise to ensure our own survival? These questions are all as important today as they were when the Nazis first came to power, as they have been throughout history. It addresses the personal as well as the political - Jessika must face up to her burgeoning desires as she attempts to navigate her increasingly thorny relationship with Clementine. Jessika's dilemma is that she's caught between the two people she loves the most, her best friend and her father, and it's impossible not to feel for her even as we cringe when she parrots back the party line. She is a study of yearning and denial, and her gradual enlightenment is handled skillfully and honestly, a frustrating but rewarding journey. Clementine is a fantastic firecracker of a character. She's wild and passionate but, as seen from Jessika's point of view, also difficult and elusive. Clementine is who we'd hope to be if we found ourselves in a similar situation...although realistically most of us would probably more resemble Jessika! It's an important fact to acknowledge if we want to understand how certain regimes and persecutions come to pass. The book is bursting with complex, interesting female characters and as well as providing us with examples of the many different forms resistance can take, it is the dynamics between these girls and women that drive much of the story. At some points it reminded me of Elizabeth Wein's work, with its emphasis on female friendship and camaraderie. The Big Lie is not only morally provocative - it is also a beautifully written and very tightly-plotted thriller, suffused with suspense and some stunning (and upsetting!) twists. It subverts expectations both structurally and through characterisation. There are no easy answers here, no happily ever afters, just more hard questions and even harder choices. 368 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Charlotte Revell, school librarian.

The Big Lie
Demon Road (The Demon Road Trilogy, Book 1)
Derek Landy

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008140816

The bestselling author of Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy, is back with the Demon Road trilogy, a full-throated horror road trip complete with demons, murderous parents and serial killers! Set in the US, Demon Road embraces American horror and its road trip traditions. When Amber, an ordinary 16-year-old school girl, discovers she is also a demon, she is forced to leave home, hotly pursued by her demonic parents intent on murder (hers). Amber escapes with Milo who drives an apparently possessed Dodge Charger. Her aim is to make her own deal with a powerful demon that will get her parents off her back. As you'd expect, not everything goes to plan... Derek Landy already has a huge fan base and Skulduggery Pleasant fans will enjoy his new excursion into a more horror-based series. Everything you'd expect from one of his novels is here, from the sharp dialogue and clean plotting to some great kick-ass characters - it's a really entertaining read (albeit with more gore than previously).

Demon Road (The Demon Road Trilogy, Book 1)
The Accident Season
Moira Fowley-Doyle

Corgi Childrens

ISBN 9780552571302

The accident season has been part of Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. Mum accident proofs the house and each child - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear. What is happening? When will it end? Why is the mysterious Elsie both present and absent at the same time? This book is a real page turner with questions and twists thrown in right the way through until the final page. Dreamlike and realistic in equal measure, this story is unique and engaging and a must read for anyone who enjoys mystery, magic and secrets. Reviewed by Caroline Mitchell. teacher.

The Accident Season
Finding Audrey
Sophie Kinsella

Doubleday Children's Books

ISBN 9780857534583

If you like John Green's The Fault in Ours Stars (TFIOS) you will probably like this similar themed story. Audrey cannot leave the house, she can't even look at people's faces when she talks to them. This is debilitating her life; she doesn't go to school, she doesn't hang out with friends, she doesn't go shopping or do all the other things most teenagers take for granted. Enter Linus, her younger brother's friend, and things begin to change for the better. Audrey begins to find a way to deal with the world. The events that had led up to Audrey's illness are revealed as the story progresses. Kinsella varies the writing style by using scripts from a video diary that Audrey is making to recount events. An online gaming competition takes an important role. This teenage tale includes elements of romance, family, illness and issues. 288 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Mrs Armstrong-Harris, librarian.

Finding Audrey
The Memory Hit
Carla Spradbery

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444920277

At the heart of this fast paced thriller is a drug, Nostalgex. The ultimate memory hit. Nostalgex, or rather the effects of Nostalgex, appear to be highly addictive; the desire to relive an event, drawing a person back, encouraging them to inhabit a past that has, well, passed. We're introduced to it right from the word go through a memory of a key event. After which, we spiral forward to a string of incidents on New Year's Eve and their consequences. Cooper, the main protagonist, is in serious trouble and Jess needs to help her boyfriend; the key to the solution for both lies in the memories of New Year's Eve. But is it worth the risk of taking the drug to relive those memories? The plot works well, it pulls you at breakneck pace through the lives of Jess and Cooper, the ramifications of one event, and how their fate was sealed long before New Year. The mystery plays out right to the end. Don't read this book at bedtime in case you find you can't put it down! 320 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Catherine Purcell, school librarian.

The Memory Hit
Clariel: Prequel to the internationally bestselling fantasy series
Garth Nix

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471403866

Clariel is the long-awaited prequel to Garth Nix's hugely popular Old Kingdom series. Clariel is sixteen and forced to move from her beloved Great Forest to the bustling city of Belisaere. There she finds a city in tumultuous transition - a King unwilling to rule, Abhorsens absent from their duties and a lack of respect for the respective powers of charter and free magic. Clariel feels trapped by the confines of the city and the expectations on her and eventually makes her escape when she realises her future is intricately bound with that of the city and its people. Headstrong and solitary, and beset by ancestral rages Clariel makes a series of shocking decisions and events spiral drastically and fatally out of control. For fans of the series (I have not read the other books) I imagine there will be much to recognise in the narrative but Clariel can equally be enjoyed as a standalone read. It is wonderfully written and the multi-faceted plot is expertly woven together. There is an expansive cast of characters and extravagant landscapes to be enjoyed. However, many of the characters (including Clariel) are hard to like/engage with and the pace (particularly at the beginning) can be slow. Despite these reservations, it's a book to persevere with and is ultimately a richly-rewarding read and a must for fans of fantasy fiction. 400 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins.

Clariel: Prequel to the internationally bestselling fantasy series
Night Owls
Jenn Bennett

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471125300

Beatrix Adams is an unusual teenager. To help her obtain a scholarship, she plans to spend her summer drawing cadavers. When she misses the last train home, she takes the night bus where she meets a boy who changes everything. A major strength of this book is its characters. Brilliantly drawn, Bex is a true individual, following her own path, yet flawed and real. The reader feels her vulnerability at times and admires her strength at others. Jack is the 'gorgeous guy', but he is not perfect or too macho. Both characters share a passion for art, but express this in very different ways - she, anatomical drawings, he, graffiti. This is a book that tackles the physical side of teenage relationships head on. For once, the girl has more experience than the boy, without being portrayed as 'easy'. The very frank, open discussions they have about sex are far more realistic and genuine than some YA books that uphold unhelpful stereotypes or 'myths'. There is that sense of overwhelming passion and desire, but there is also a tender, sweetness about their feelings too. Other relationships are also handled very well. Frustration and lack of understanding are mixed with family love as teenagers react to being in the time between child and adult hood, dependence and independence. If I had to find something 'wrong' with this book, it is that the ending does nicely tie everything up happily in a way that life doesn't always deliver; however, I wanted them to be happy so much that I was pleased it did! Beautiful book - well worth reading. 304 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

Night Owls
In Another Life
Laura Jarratt

Electric Monkey

ISBN 9781405271196

Hannah adores her older sister, Jenny; they are the best of friends, but different in every other way. Jenny dreams of leaving the States and flying to the UK to visit the places where their English mother grew up. But Jenny's dream turns to a nightmare when she vanishes without a trace.... Hannah travels with her father to England, determined to find the sister she loves and in the process discovers shocking secrets from her mother's hidden past. Hannah receives a text saying 'I need you, please come' after hearing about Jenny's disappearance, but why did she vanish? What has she learned about her Mother's past and will Hannah be able to find her? This book kept me hooked from the very first page, the characters are engaging and extremely well written and the story keeps you guessing until the last page. I would thoroughly recommend reading this is you like a mystery and I have already read it more than once myself to see if I can pick up more clues. 304 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Caroline Mitchell, school librarian.

In Another Life
The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo
Catherine Johnson

Corgi Childrens

ISBN 9780552557634

This novel is all the more fascinating for being based on a true story. Mary Willcox, a poor mixed-race girl in Regency England, experiences dreadful hardship, and is next seen as the mysterious Lady Caraboo, taken in by the wealthy Worrall family. Mrs Worrall is fascinated by anything exotic, and her rather flighty and shallow daughter Cassandra is excited by the new arrival. Brother Fred, a spoilt young man, first seen in a brothel, where his treatment of a prostitute is probably true to life but cruel, is a little more sceptical. Caraboo speaks in her own made up language, wears free flowing robes and a turban, and hunts with a bow and arrow on the island in the lake. We can see why she loves to be Caraboo, free from the hardships and violence she has experienced, and able to be more truly herself by assuming a false persona. As the book continues, the characters develop. Cassandra becomes less sympathetic, heedless as she is of her working class admirer's broken heart, while Fred softens and starts to fall in love with Caraboo, even as his suspicions about her are confirmed. Caraboo, meanwhile, is threatened by hangers-on around the family, who see through her but try to use her for their own materialistic purposes. The book has a lot to say about who we are and the pretenses we put on for other people, and also about the limited chances in life that a woman had: true of the wealthy and sheltered Cassandra as well. The historical period comes to life well in the book, although it also has a lot to say that is relevant today. The opening of the book where Mary, who has also lost her baby, is raped, is sensitive and not too graphic, and there is also an early scene in a brothel where prostitutes are paraded around the room on silver trays for men to select. This gives a feel of historical accuracy, and helps set the scene for a world in which women have severely limited choices, as well as saying something important about Fred's choices. However, I do think this makes the book suitable for slightly older readers than might otherwise be the case. 288 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Carol Williams

The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo