NEW TITLES

From sci-fi to historical fiction, this month's new books include a wide range of genres and some real highlights from authors including Philip Reeve and C. J. Skuse. The books also include powerful writing exploring subjects including first love, betrayal and feminism.

Reckless III: The Golden Yarn
Cornelia Funke

Pushkin Children's Books

ISBN 9781782691266

How wonderful to step through the mirror once again and to follow Jacob and Will into the lands that lie behind it. This is the third book in the series and we discover that Mirrorworld, where the enchantments are as real as its creatures from folk lore, is in trouble. Weaponry from our modern world is being brought in to fight their fights, as the Alder elves plot to return from their exile in our world. Jacob and Will are each caught up in the web of alliances and scheming that criss cross Mirrorworld, and increasingly their own world, too. Will is persuaded by an Alder Elf to pursue the Dark Fairy; the elves want her dead, so that they can return to Mirrorworld. Jacob and his companion Fox, in turn, pursue Will, trying to discover who or what he is chasing and to bring him to safety. The two strange mirrored creatures guarding Will make it impossible to approach him. Then there is the Dark Fairy, in flight across land and sea, trying to find a cure for the heartbreak she has suffered. Each of the characters is in some way at odds with love; love that should be but isn't; love that shouldn't be, but is. And it is the fate of the Dark Fairy that reminds us, at the end, how very powerful love is. This intricately-woven, beautifully realised world of enchantment is one to disappear into and savour. The multiple plot lines and its vast landscape reward careful reading from book one; enjoy! 448 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Ellen Page.

Reckless III: The Golden Yarn
Haunt Me
Liz Kessler

Orion Children's Books

ISBN 9781444009187

Joe wakes to find himself trapped in his own bedroom and through the window he sees his parents and brother leaving the house for good. Eventually Erin and her family move into the house and she and Joe discover there can be love across the divide of life and death. Joe and Erin share a love of poetry but, more importantly, their relationship enables them to face some of the problems and unhappiness they have experienced in life. Then, by chance, Erin meets Olly, Joe's older brother, and gradually begins to have feelings for him. Which brother will Erin choose? It really is a matter of life and death. There are a lot of issues to deal with in this book, including bullying and sibling rivalry, but it is intrinsically a love story between three people. The main characters are likeable and I think young teenagers will enjoy the story. 392 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Dorne Fraser, librarian.

Haunt Me
Black Light Express
Philip Reeve

Oxford University Press

ISBN 9780192744784

The sequel to Railhead doesn't disappoint. With the same high energy, high speed action, Zen and the android Nova are once again embroiled in the schemes of the Guardians and get caught in the crossfire between two corporate families as the ruthless Kraitt wage war upon the Noons and usurp the Empress Threnody Noon. As the railwar wages, Threnody, Zen and Nova (along with Chandni, a young criminal newly released from freezer prison) flee for safety as their trains rattle across the known and unknown parts of the galaxy. A brand new K-gate opens up a new part of the network but what will happen when the humans realise there are alien species out there? Why have the Guardians been so desperate to keep alien life secret for so long and what makes them willing to destroy each other in their determination to keep this a secret? Our heroes plunge into the Black Light Zone in a desperate bid to return home, not knowing what lies ahead, but certain that destruction is close on their heels. With gun fights, bombs, intrigue, double crossing and plenty of plot twists, Philip Reeve has expanded the world of Railhead with his superb imagination. 311 pages / Ages 11-adult / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian

Black Light Express
Our Chemical Hearts
Krystal Sutherland

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471405839

Henry Page is a good, but not brilliant, student in his last year at school. He's well-mannered, has buttered up the right teachers and aims to get into a good college. He lives with his cool parents who are laid-back, funny and totally in love with each other. He has two fantastic friends Murray and Lola; the trio always have each other's backs and are incredibly supportive. Into this mix then steps the new girl, Grace Town. She's odd. She wears baggy boy's clothes, walks with a limp and a cane, often has unwashed hair and spends her afternoons in the cemetery. Henry and the mysterious Grace are selected as joint editors of the school newspaper and so end up spending lots of time together (though not much newspaper work gets done). Henry slowly falls in love with this girl who he doesn't really know anything about. She has a car and lets him drive home from school each day, but then leaves her car at his house and walks off in the wrong direction. He is never asked into her house. They have some good times together, but whenever he starts to mention his feelings, or get close to her, she withdraws. As he slowly learns more about her tragic past and heartbreak, he comes closer to becoming heartbroken too. It's a bittersweet love story which explores the nature of bereavement and grief, as well as the consuming obsession of teenage first love. Destined to be a hit with all young romantics, it will soon be joining John Green, Jennifer Niven, Rainbow Rowell and Jandy Nelson on the shelves of many young adults. 313 pages / Ages 13+/ Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

Our Chemical Hearts
Silence is Goldfish
Annabel Pitcher

Indigo (an Imprint of Orion Children's)

ISBN 9781780620022

Now available in paperback. Author Annable Pitcher has made a name for herself in exploring complex, emotional situations with a light touch and a tenderness for her very real characters ((Ketchup Clouds, My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece). In Silence is Goldfish, she returns to this territory, exploring issues around identity, family and communication through her teenaged character Tess Turner. Tess has always wanted to please her father but when she makes a dramatic discovery about him, she finds she is not brave enough to confront him with this truth, and not sure what to say to him if she did. At first, she tries to rebel by running away but, having never rebelled before, she finds she can't so instead, Tess reverts into herself and into silence, refusing to speak to anyone other than a plastic goldfish-shaped torch that she buys from a garage shop. As the story's events unfold, however, Tess gradually comes to realise that true power lies in words, not silence. Pitcher is adept at exploring family relations through this story; the interplay between Tess and each of her parents, but especially her father, sounds very real and we are on Tess's side as she retreats into silence. Despite that silence, Tess's voice comes over loud and clear through the 'silent' chats she has with the goldfish and this lightens the tone of the story, bringing lots of humour as well as insights into why Tess is behaving as she does. Tess is no victim and nor is she conventionally attractive; she's just very 'normal', and it's good to see a lead character like her. There is much to explore and discuss in the story so Silence is Goldfish would also work well for discussion and book groups. 384 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Silence is Goldfish
Oh, Freedom!
Francesco D'adamo

Darf Publishers Ltd

ISBN 9781850772859

It is the year 1850. Tommy and his family, along with their neighbours, are slaves and the property of Captain Archer. They live and work on his cotton plantation and are managed by the cruel Pastor, Jim Kniff and his overseers. Their future is to work hard, long hours with the constant threat that they could be split up and sold at any time. One day a stranger, Peg Leg Joe, arrives and sings a song to the village that will change the lives of Tommy and his family forever. Oh, Freedom! is an accessible book for a younger audience that gives us an idea of the threat to slaves making their way to freedom on The Underground Railroad. Tommy and his family set out with another couple and Peg Leg Joe on a perilous journey in their attempt to find a better life. Followed relentlessly by Jim Kniff, his overseers and dogs, they are starving, cold and frightened. Will they reach Canada and freedom? The book is beautifully but simply written. It manages to convey the terror, hardship and suffering without presenting the pure brutality and torture that was endured by so many people. The book would be ideal for reading groups as it would create great discussion and I will certainly recommend it to year 7/8 readers. I also think it would work well with the History department. 138 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian.

Oh, Freedom!
Wolf by Wolf: Blood for Blood: Book 2
Ryan Graudin

Indigo (an Imprint of Orion Children's)

ISBN 9781780622057

After years of planning, Yael has succeeded in killing Hitler. The shooting is broadcast live across the empire that Hitler has ruled since the National Socialists won the war. It is the signal to the resistance that their revolution should start. Even as she flees the scene though, she knows that she has failed. She has unleashed the fury of the Reich on many innocent people for nothing, as the man she killed was a shape-shifter like herself, and the real Hitler still lives. Thrown together with Luka and Felix, she is determined to return to the resistance HQ and to kill Hitler whatever the cost. Their journey is fraught with danger and many narrow escapes. They are captured by the Nazis only to escape and fall into the hands of the Soviets. Each is fighting their own demons, and has different motivations and loyalties; can anyone be trusted, and who has betrayed them? As the story unfolds we also learn more about the past life of each of the trio, and so the characters are developed. The sequel to the excellent Wolf by Wolf does not disappoint, and has a very satisfactory conclusion. 480 pages / Ages 13+ / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

Wolf by Wolf: Blood for Blood: Book 2
What's a Girl Gotta Do?
Holly Bourne

Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781474915021

Lottie is very angry with the way she is treated just because she is female. After a disturbing sexual harassment incident on the way to college, she resolves to start a project, highlighting and standing up to every single incidence of sexism she comes across for a whole month. Although she has support from her close friends, Evie and Amber, from the other members of FemSoc and eventually from Will who is tasked to film the project, she finds it much harder than she thinks. She finds the campaign exhausting and sometimes confusing as she tries to speak out against all sorts of sexist behaviour while struggling to cope with A level work, pressure from her parents, a looming Cambridge interview, a social media hate campaign and problems with friends. All this while she is falling in love too! This is the third book in the Spinster Club trilogy which has, in turn, focused on the lives of Evie, Amber and now Lottie, though readers can certainly enjoy this book without having read the previous two. It is an entertaining read as, although she is very serious in her campaign, Lottie's exploits are often very funny and she demonstrates some extremely inventive ways of highlighting sexism. She is a totally believable character, showing incredible self-confidence alongside extreme vulnerability. The author doesn't shy away from showing the contradictions and complexities of being a feminist as well as the pressures and pleasures of being a teenager today. The book is bound to prove popular with girls from 14+ who will no doubt be able to relate to the many of the issues raised whilst enjoying an engaging read. As with the other Spinster Club books the language is honest and, at times explicit. 421 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Karen Poolton, college librarian.

What's a Girl Gotta Do?
The Deviants
C. J. Skuse

Mira Ink

ISBN 9781848455269

The story starts dramatically with a body being washed up on the beach of a sleepy English seaside resort. Responding to questions posed by an unknown inquisitor, our narrator Ella takes us back to the events leading up to this death. Ella has been going out with Max, the son of a local businessman for years. But recently their relationship has become strained. Max has started to push Ella to have sex, but Ella is unhappy and doesn't feel ready for a sexual relationship. As a talented athlete training hard for the Commonwealth games, she tries to channel her anger and confusion into her training, but it's not enough and she has started self-harming. What are the demons haunting her? When she and Max discover their old friend Corey is being victimised, they join up against the bully, but what drove them apart all those years ago? We learn that Ella and her friends Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane, the self-named Fearless Five, once explored their idyllic surroundings, shared adventures and looked out for each other. But, after the tragic death of Max's sister, things changed and they drifted apart, only Ella and Max staying together. Now reunited, they embark on a crusade against anyone who has hurt them. Their acts of revenge become increasingly more elaborate and risky. Slowly, the friends reveal the secrets they've been keeping and Ella is forced to confront her past. The repercussions tear their world apart. There is a twist in the ending which may or may not be to everyone's taste. I found it disappointing, but I suspect that others will enjoy it. This books deals with many issues: sexual coercion; self-harming; disability; bullying; teenage pregnancy; suicide; sexuality; sexual abuse; and would make an ideal basis for class discussions. It is an engaging read which would appeal to fans of Anne Cassidy, Cat Clarke and Keren David. 314 pages / Age 14+ / Reviewed by Alison Ustun, school librarian.

The Deviants
Lost Stars or What Lou Reed Taught Me About Love
Lisa Selin Davis

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471406195

No longer the bright astrophysics-loving teen she was, 16-year-old Carrie is an angry and abusive teen taking drugs, drinking and partying with her dead sister's older friends. Struggling to come to terms with the tragic death of her sister and subsequent abandonment of the family by her mother, Carrie teeters on the brink of destruction, raging against her father, her younger sister, and herself. Forced into a summer of manual work, meeting the new boy next door, and focussing on her love of astronomy and music, Carrie begins to open up and take control of her life again. A realistic, raw tale dealing with issues of mental health, grief, guilt, family, friendship, growing up and love. A good YA read with which many will identify, but I found some of the characters a little underdeveloped to become engaged with. Set in the '80s, there is a great authentic musical backdrop to many scenes. 252 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Sam Pett, school librarian.

Lost Stars or What Lou Reed Taught Me About Love
The Diabolic
S. J. Kincaid

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471148385

Did you enjoy the self-indulgence of The Hunger Games' Capitol? Are you a sci-fi fan with a thirst for space? Hankering for the Machiavellian deceit and political manipulation of Star Wars' Senator Palpatine? Ready to return to the moral debate on humanity/technology thrown up by Asimov's 'I, Robot'? Do you find yourself waiting for the next kick ass heroine to match Tris Prior? Would you be interested in an 'I, Claudius'-esque successor, hiding his intellect in order to survive within a murderous family? In which case, I have good news; may I introduce you to The Diabolic by S.J.Kincaid. It is the sum of all those things! A Diabolic is a bespoke, engineered humanoid whose sole purpose is to protect the person they have been created for. A thinking, killing, tactically aware bodyguard with superior strength, the ability to reason and no emotions beyond those required to carry out their duty. Inferior to humans, created to serve, dangerous and mistrusted, found abhorrent by many. However, one Diabolic named Nemesis, perhaps through the humanity shown to her, is evolving, discovering her humanity, feeling emotions - though essentially, lest we forget, is still an assassin. But what of it? In an empire spread throughout solar systems but ruled despotically, Nemesis finds herself summoned to the Emperor's court masquerading as Sidonia (her ward) as a way of quelling her father's rebellious ways. Nemesis must then fool everyone into believing she is 1) human and 2) Sidonia, the devoted daughter of the Senator. S.J.Kincaid has created a world where the ruling elite live in star ships and the rest of humanity toil on the planets' surfaces. The pursuit of knowledge is considered heresy and with technology no longer being advanced and an increasing reliance on machines, some people are starting to fear the short-sightedness of this arrangement. Hence the Emperor's harsh treatment of those suspected of fostering a rebellion. There are so many strings to this bow! Twists and turns, betrayals and lies, the dastardly scheming of the influential families, loyalty and love; enough to keep the pages turning of this fast-paced sci-fi thriller. You can barely pause for breath trying to keep up with the machinations of the political elite - and all on a space ship! I've put the suggested age at 14+ but there's no reason why a well read, adventurous 12+ in secondary school shouldn't pick it up. Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Catherine Purcell, school librarian.

The Diabolic