NEW TITLES

Publishing for young adults is so strong that it can be hard to select favourites but these are the books our reviewers are highlighting for us this month, from a story about time travel to those about friendship, families and growing up.

Waiting for Callback
Perdita Cargill

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471144837

Waiting for Callback follows teenaged Elektra's ups and downs as she attempts to become a fully-fledged actress. Written by a mother and daughter duo, Perdita and Honor Cargill, it captures the embarrassments, laughter and sheer hard work of a teenager doggedly persuing her dream, to act, and will be enjoyed by fans of Holly Smale (Geek Girl) and Jenny Mclachlan (Flirty Dancing). When Elektra gets herself an agent, she is overjoyed but this turns out to be only the beginning and, after auditioning for the part of one dead girl after another - and not getting them - Elektra realises that only her love of acting is driving her on. We get to see 'behind the scenes' of the actor's world - there is very little glamour - and watch Elektra struggle to balance her school life and friends with this outside world, as well as the demands it puts onto her family. Along the way there are lots of cringe-worthy incidents, much laughter and a possible blossoming romance - as well as eventual success. I look forward to reading what Elektra does next. 340 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Andrews.

Waiting for Callback
Time Travelling with a Hamster
Ross Welford

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008156312

When Al Chaudhury discovers his (dead) father's time machine, he is set a challenge which involves going back to the 1980s. He quickly finds himself involved in breaking and entering, setting fire to a school, lying, stealing, and trying not to lose his hamster, Alan Shearer. This is a very clever story, combining lots of science, interesting facts, humour and a very well-plotted story. Full of twists and turns, plenty of adventure and wonderful characters, the book leads to a very satisfying conclusion. Family relationships are at the heart of this story, particularly those between the male figures. Without wishing to give too much away, the relationship between Al and his father is cleverly explored and developed. Al's grandfather, Byron, is a delightful character who adds much humour and love to the story. A challenging read, this will appeal to anyone who likes a read that keeps them on their toes and offers plenty to think about. 400 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

Time Travelling with a Hamster
Twenty Questions for Gloria
Martyn Bedford

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406363531

Twenty Questions for Gloria: Two go missing. One comes back. Which already invites a couple of questions: who goes missing? Why does one come back? and for that matter which one comes back?This is a story about Gloria; tired of her ordinary life, starting to question the point of it all, the endless monotony of school and the tedium of existence. Cue mysterious boy. He enters her classroom and acts in a way she wishes she could. Unbound by convention, unconcerned by opinions of others. He's everything her life isn't, he breezes in with no explanation and breezes out - and the seeds of their friendship are sown. By the time she learns the truth about him, Gloria is a long way from home. The story starts in a police interview and flips between the interview and the events leading up to it. The narration is clever, holding back just enough at each turn to maintain the intrigue. It's a well-told, enjoyable story with rounded characters that I really want a happy ending for - and will gladly recommend! The proof copy had a guide of 12+ which I'd agree with. I struggle to place it in a genre, the blurb calls it a psychological thriller... 304 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Catherine Purcell, librarian.

Twenty Questions for Gloria
Genesis: River of Ink
Helen Dennis

ISBN 9781444920437

A good and exciting read; it's one of those books that you can't put down because the chapters end on cliff-hangers. The story is about a boy who staggers out of the river Thames, he has no memory of who he is or where he's come from. The doctor who is on duty at the hospital takes pity on 'River boy' and welcomes the boy into his sister's home; it's here that he meets home-schooled Kassia and Dante who get entangled in the web of mystery that surrounds him. I certainly enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to the pupils at the school where I work. 357 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Paula Hazlehurst, school librarian.

Genesis: River of Ink
The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
Melissa Keil

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847156839

It is that long, luxurious summer after high school is finished for ever and before the rest of your life starts. Alba lives in Eden Valley, a small no-place of a town where nothing ever happens, and is using the summer to hang out with her friends, draw awesome Cinnamon Girl cartoons and avoid thinking of what to do next. All changes when the End of the World is announced on youtube, and Eden Valley is named as the only safe place to be. Suddenly everyone is moving to Eden Valley, and Alba's life is changed dramatically. Daniel, Alba's childhood friend, returns to the town after years playing a screen heartthrob in a soap and starts to make romantic advances. Her best friend since forever, Grady, suddenly starts acting weird. Her mother's cafe is swamped by hippies and other colourful characters that've descended on the town. I loved the mixture of the approaching apocalypse and the approach of Alba's future in which everything is uncertain except the fact that her friends would all be moving away. So her world is ending one way or another and she's finding it difficult to cope with and, given the array of amazing friends she has, I'm not surprised. Melissa Keil has found a funny and novel way of approaching the coming of age book. Teen girls will love it. 369 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
Beautiful Broken Things
Sara Barnard

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509803538

I'd heard a lot about this book before I began reading it so my expectations were high and Beautiful Broken Things turned out to be a beautifully-written and multi-layered book. Best friends Rosie and Caddy are inseparable until Rosie finds a new friend at her school, Suzanne, and the balance of their friendship changes. Rosie has always been the more confident of the two and as she turns 16, Caddy wishes that something would come into her life to make her braver, more confident - more like Rosie, in fact. Suzanne is wild, funny and a risk-taker and gradually Caddy is drawn more into her world and way of doing things. But Suzanne also has her own problems and, as these are gradually revealed and her risks grow bolder and more dangerous, they become overwhelming. The story offers a perceptive and honest exploration of the very close friendships and bonds that teenaged girls can develop, and how they can impact on individual lives in both a positive and more complex way. Intriguing and thoughtful. 400 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Katie Barrow.

Beautiful Broken Things
How Hard Can Love Be?
Holly Bourne

Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781409591221

This is the first time I have read one of Holly's books, I enjoyed it so much I have purchased the first one in this trilogy, Am I Normal Yet?. This story is about 17 year old Amber who travels to America to re kindle her relationship with a mother who left her behind two years ago. When they finally meet up, Amber soon realises things are not going to go smoothly and that she is not the perfect mother she has built her up to be. However, first love also happens on this adventure, but will Amber let herself get caught up with love and all its emotions as, in her experience, love tends to hurt you? She is fully supported by her best friends Evie - who is the character in the first novel - and Lottie. These three call themselves The Spinster Club. The friends are funny, feminist, intelligent and very loyal to each other as they help each other through many problems such as mental health and addiction. As an adult, the book brought many memories back of being a teenager, of how cruel life can be as we grow up and experience new things. I have rated the book for 14+ teenagers due to the mild sexual content and offensive language. It's got 460 pages of humour and, at times, painfully honest accounts of first love and friendships that young people may face. 460 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian.

How Hard Can Love Be?
Clare Furniss

ISBN 9781471120305

Hatti's best friends are away for the summer, having a great time, leaving her with her chaotic family life, her job at the 'Happy Diner' - and the discovery that she is pregnant. Things are further complicated by a phone call introducing her to a relative she knew nothing about - her great aunt, Gloria - a wonderfully irreverent and quirky old lady. But Gloria is losing her memory. The two women set off together to confront the secrets from Gloria's past on a trip that helps them both. This is a very powerful and moving story. Clare Furniss has an amazing ability to create and develop very real, yet highly individual characters and to sustain them throughout the book, allowing the reader to feel attached and engaged to each one. Hattie's family is chaotic and crazy, but full of love. The twins are fantastic - Alice is an absolute monster! - and Carl, her mother's partner (desperate to be her husband!), develops as Hattie's understanding of him grows. The reader learns about Kat and Reuben, Hattie's friends, mainly through her eyes as they are both off doing their thing for the summer and again, as Hattie reflects and matures, so our understanding of them does too. Even very minor characters, like Peggy come alive! However, it is Gloria who stays with you long after you have finished the book. Her story, her strength, the secrets that are uncovered, the relationship that develops between her and Hattie - leave you with much to think about and reflect on. You said it was memories, and without those we're nobody. But maybe that's not right. It's not memories. It's what we feel and what other people feel about us. A beautiful and very special book- one that I will read again and again. 406 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

The Lone City 2: The White Rose
Amy Ewing

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406347586

The second in a trilogy that started with The Jewel, this book (310 pages) continues the story of Violet, forced to become a surrogate for the royal family who live at the centre of the Lone City in opulent luxury, whilst other members of society, strictly differentiated by wealth and class, live more difficult lives. The Jewel ended with Violet about to escape from her cruel mistress, and this follow up book is a really exciting and well-paced read. Violet is a strong and determined character, and despite the very real dangers she faces, insists that she is not the only person who must be saved. She forces her rescuers, members of the Society of the Black Key, to take Ash, the boy she has fallen in love with, and Raven, also a surrogate and Violet's dear friend, who has been particularly badly treated during her time in the Jewel. The tension mounts as they make their escape, and the excitement of the story builds and builds. The dangers they face are very realistically portrayed and there is some quite vicious violence in the story. Once they finally reach the safe house, we start to find out more about Violet's special powers. The 'auguries', powers possessed by all surrogates, are magical; and the third augury is the most important of all. The characters are well drawn, the twists and turns of the story make for a thrilling read. Violet is a feisty heroine who will not be pushed around by anyone, even the people aiding her escape. She is a brave, strong character who wants to determine her own destiny; but we will have to wait for the final book in the trilogy to find out if she is successful. 310 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Ros Alcock, school librarian.

The Lone City 2: The White Rose
Wild Lily
K. M. Peyton

David Fickling Books

ISBN 9781910200506

I have a confession to make; I've never read a book by K M Peyton. Not being a fan of stories involving horses, which many of them are, I just have never chosen to read one. I am very glad that now I have. Wild Lily is a sweeping drama that spans a lifetime and you can't help but fall in love with the heroine, Lily. She is a young girl born into a life of hard work and essentially poverty, but she never complains. Lily is in love the rich boy next door, Antony, who happens to live in the big mansion house where her father works in the grounds and her love for Antony remains steadfast throughout, despite his disregard and lack of care toward her. Whilst they are friends of sorts, Antony relies on Lily a little too heavily but she is happy to oblige, helping him with everything from learning to fly a plane and parachute jumps to organising a party while his father is abroad. Antony lives with his father, a disinterested man absorbed in business and his sister, Helen, who is beautiful, but blind and deaf. On the face of it, the family are very wealthy and Antony attends Eton. Other characters include Antony's school 'chums', friends of convenience perhaps at first, some of whom show their true worth as the story progresses with tragedy and misfortune striking twice in succession. The story also features some of the locals, who provide a further glimpse into the life of a village in the 1920s and how the rich folk who live in the big house could have such an impact on everyone, for good and for bad. Lily brings the whole cast together, with her hopes for the future, her uncompromising spirit and her desire to remain true to her feelings for Antony, and also to look after her younger brother and ageing father. You're never quite sure whether true happiness will evade Lily and whether Antony will one day realise her true worth. Wild Lily full of excitement, humour, adventure, mystery, bereavement, friendship and above all, hope. It is an old-fashioned story, written without the need for bells and whistle, magic or monsters and not a dystopian world in sight, which frankly I found refreshing in a climate where so many young people's books aim to be more weird and wacky than the last one. And I absolutely loved the ending of this story, which shows so wonderfully how it feels to be alive! Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Victoria Dilly

Wild Lily