NEW TITLES

Funny, poignant, powerful and magical, this month's selection of books for readers aged 11+ has lots of treats that we are sure will be finding their way to classrooms around the country over the coming weeks.

Simply the Quest
Maz Evans

Chicken House Ltd

ISBN 9781910655511

After reading Who Let the Gods Out? earlier this year I thought it was easily the funniest book I had read in a long time. I eagerly awaited the release of Simply the Quest hoping that 'writer of the Gods' Maz Evans could live up to her previous 'celestial tome', and BOSH. What a read! As funny, if not more so; Maz Evans has succeeded in creating a second book that is guaranteed to make you chuckle, keep you turning the pages, while also touching on the sensitive subject of a child caring for a parent with dementia. In Simply the Quest Elliot Hooper, aided and also often hindered by his Greek Immortal friends; Virgo, Zeus, Hermes and pals, is continuing his search for the Chaos Stones. These stones hold great power but if they should fall into the wrong hands, such as those of Thanatos, The Daemon of Death then it could mean the end of things for everyone. Daily life is anything but ordinary for Elliot as he tries to look after his Mum, without creating suspicion at school that all is not well at home. The last thing Elliot needs is the involvement of the school welfare officer. Needless to say with Virgo 'working undercover' as Elliot's cousin Anna, things do not always go as planned, particularly when Mr Boil the school's history teacher seems to have it in for Elliot. A thoroughly enjoyable read, ideal for those children who are able to read independently but have yet to fully appreciate the treasures held within the pages a book. Simply the Quest would make a fab class read for any Primary class, particularly those studying the Ancient Greeks and mythology, providing lots to discuss both at whole class or guided group level. Simply the Quest is simply the best! 368 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Samantha Phillips

Simply the Quest
The Starman and Me
Sharon Cohen

Quercus Children's Books

ISBN 9781786540089

The Starman and Me was introduced to me as a cross between ET and Stig of the Dump but, whilst there are echoes of both in this story, it is still a very original piece of writing. 12-year-old Kofi finds a strange little being on a local roundabout and after much debate, mostly with himself, he decides to help him. The children in this story have a huge amount of freedom, possibly unimaginable to some children in busy city streets, but this enables them to do what they need to do for the plot to move forward. Parents also loom large in this story and whilst not the main characters, they all play an important role in the plot. The story is tremendously exciting - some of the chase scenes or places where the tension is high mean this is a book that is hard to put down. I could see this making a cracking TV series with cliff edge endings to episodes. This would also be a fantastic book to read aloud to children, apart from the scope for lots of voices, this would be the sort of book a Y5 or 6 class would not want you to stop reading, even if it was home time! The book deals with some very complex issues, such as heavy-handed stepfathers, bullying, evolution and how far science should be taken - all of which would prove great talking points for an interesting 'what-if' scenario, not least whether you would have stepped in to help as Kofi does. This is a book to read with a more mature class who could handle all the issues and certainly not a book you would want to just have on the shelves of a classroom without first reading it yourself. But do read it yourself - it is very pacy and enjoyable. 304 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, school librarian.

The Starman and Me
The Explorer: SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD 2017
Katherine Rundell

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408854877

'Like a man-made magic wish, the aeroplane began to rise.' From the moment I read the opening sentence of this book I knew that I would be hooked. In fact, I knew even before that, when I held this book in my hands. It is a thing of beauty, sumptuously illustrated by Hannah Horn with wonderfully rich drawings of the rainforest and the creatures that dwell in it. The reader, along with the four children in the book, crash lands through the rainforest canopy into the Amazon jungle. It is an exciting and thrilling start to a tale that carries the reader along with at an expertly-crafted pace. The descriptions of the 'bite-your-fist beautiful' rainforest are so gloriously vivid that you experience the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of this new and often hostile environment alongside Fred, Con, Lila and Max as they struggle to survive. The attention to detail is just sublime! Yet this is far more than a deftly-written adventure story, for The Explorer is a book with real spirit and soul. Courage, anger, humour, grief, love, hope, fear, loyalty and steely determination are all to be found within the pages of this book. The author's characterisation is flawless, drawing the reader into this unlikely band of survivors: brave Fred who so needs to find approval from his father; prickly Con who does her best to mask her hurt and loneliness; protective Lila whose quiet sense of determination shines through and gloriously exuberant Max; curious, playful and usually covered in snot. In addition to the important environmental message of this book, The Explorer also has much to say about retaining our sense of wonder at the world, about human relationships and about finding courage in the face of difficult situations. If you haven't read it yet, you are in for a treat! 408 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Emily Marcuccilli, school librarian

The Explorer: SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD 2017
Spectre Collectors: Too Ghoul For School
Barry Hutchison

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9780857639608

13 year old Denzel can't concentrate on his maths homework - not while there is a terrifying transparent tangle of black tentacles making a mess of his house. Not as much of a mess, however, as the two teenagers who burst through his wall in pursuit of the ghost, recklessly wielding their guns and their magic. When it emerges that Denzel has a unique ability to see ghosts, the two teens take him back to the headquarters of Spectre Collectors, a secret organisation dedicated to protecting humanity from vengeful spirits. Packed with humour, adventure, ghosts, magic and technology, Too Ghoul For School is Men In Black meets Ghostbusters with teens! This book was a lot of fun. The main characters are a likeable and diverse bunch - Denzel is a 13-year-old boy of colour and son to a same-sex couple, Sumera is South Asian. There are some genuine laugh out loud moments (mainly courtesy of Denzel's best friend, Smithy) as well as a few very emotional scenes with Denzel and his parents - expect your tears to be well and truly jerked. The variety of ghosts, poltergeists, ghouls and other spectral beasties in this book is great - and it would be a fun creative writing exercise to get students to come up with their own phantoms for the Spectre Collectors to battle. This book has a very broad appeal - I would not hesitate to recommend it to any student who enjoys a good chuckle with their adventures. 236 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Daniel Katz, school librarian.

Spectre Collectors: Too Ghoul For School
The Guggenheim Mystery
Robin Stevens

Puffin

ISBN 9780141377025

In The Guggenheim Mystery, the queen of middle grade whodunits, Robin Stevens, has crafted a fabulous sequel to The London Eye Mystery by the wonderful Siobhan Dowd. The book itself is a thing of beauty, with eye-catching cover art by David Dean and I couldn't wait to dive into this hotly anticipated new title. In this story, Stevens has transported the characters of Ted, Kat and Salim to the bustling streets of New York City. Salim's mother, Gloria, has recently taken up the post of curator at the Guggenheim and their new life in the Big Apple is going well until, during a visit from Ted, Kat and Aunt Faith, a priceless work of art is stolen and Aunt Gloria is the prime suspect. The scene is then set for Ted, Kat and Salim to turn supersleuth and seek out the real thief. Stevens' tight plotting has this story zipping along in a hugely satisfying way. Ted's extraordinary powers of observation are called into play and the narrative is peppered with lists of who might logically have stolen the painting and why. Stevens does a tremendous job of picking up Ted's voice as the narrator of this story. Ted is on the autistic spectrum and we feel Ted's anxiety when confronted by strange new situations but, importantly, Ted's autistic traits are portrayed in a sensitive and positive way: 'This is what makes me special and different, and different is not a bad thing.' Relationships are something of a mystery to Ted, and as well as working to solve the mystery of the art theft, Ted is also learning about friendship and family as the story progresses. I particularly enjoyed Ted's growing appreciation for modern art, which is a field that baffles many of us! The setting of New York, with its roaring traffic, iconic landmarks and frenetic pace is sublime and the Guggenheim itself proves to be a fascinating location for the focus of the mystery. Highly recommended to all mystery fans aged 9+ 291 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Emily Marcuccilli, school librarian

The Guggenheim Mystery
All The Things That Could Go Wrong
Stewart Foster

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471145421

This book isn't about Dan. And it isn't about Alex. It's a book about bullying and friendship. Dan is angry about his brother and Alex has OCD and worries about everything; Alex is an easy target for Dan. But their mums are friends and they force them to finish off building Dan's raft together - neither of them relish this prospect to begin with, but as they work together, things begin to change. There are often two sides to every story and Stewart Foster tells both equally well in All The Things That Could Go Wrong. Over 61 short chapters, Dan and Alex take it in turns to tell the story from their perspective, giving the reader an inside track into the mind of both a child with OCD and a child who is channelling their feelings about their own difficulties into bullying someone else. Children can often be very black and white about bullying - this book will help teachers and parents explore with children the possible causes of a bully's behaviour. It could also encourage children who are expressing their emotions in a negative way to talk to someone about how they are feeling. The tension between the two boys is held throughout the book, making for an exciting read - children and adults alike will not want to put this book down as they end up rooting both for Dan and Alex. The book would be great to read aloud to the class but individual chapters could be used equally well to link to other texts that focus on similar themes (such as Wonder by RJ Palacio and The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson), particularly the ones which give an insight into why Dan bullies Alex. A thoroughly enjoyable read for readers aged 9-13 who love to read exciting stories about real life issues. 320 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Aidan Severs, teacher.

All The Things That Could Go Wrong
Chase
Linwood Barclay

Orion Children's Books

ISBN 9781510102194

Loved this debut novel by Linwood Barclay, which I believe is the first in The Chase series. The story is about a dog, Chipper, that is part of a top secret experiment and is part dog, part computer. However, he is about to be terminated as he has developed a 'fault'... he still likes to do doggie things, like chase squirrels etc. Chipper manages to escape The Institute and goes in search for a certain boy. Sadly, hot on his heels are the security men from The Institute who need to get him back at any cost before anyone finds out what he is capable of. Meanwhile, we come across our other main character, Jeff, who is living with his Aunt Flo after his parents died in a tragic accident. This is the boy Chipper needs to find... It may seem far fetched to have a dog with such skills and intelligence, but in the hands of such a talented author, I had no trouble accepting Chipper and his gifts. I have always wondered what dogs thing about and what they would say if they could talk with us. This is a fast paced story that is full of twists and turns which will keep younger, animal loving reader and the older reluctant reader engaged. They will be able to identify with Jeff and the troubles as he is having to adapting to life with his aunt and, although there are a few nasty threats, violence is kept to a minimum. Short, well-written chapters and 244 pages of fun, this is a must read for 9+ readers and older, less confident readers. Would also be a good book for reading groups as there are lots of discussion points that could be picked out. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, but sadly that is not until 2018. 244 pages / Ages 9-12 years / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian.

Chase
I Am Traitor
Sif Sigmarsdottir

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444934472

This story about visitors from space and alien abductions will have teenaged readers gripped. When spaceships arrive in Earth's skies, no one knows where they have come from and nor can they begin to know what they want. Then teenagers start to disappear, abducted in broad daylight or from their beds at night. No one is safe. When Amy's brother is taken, she is given a chance to rescue him but to do so, she must let herself be taken.... So begins Amy's journey into the unknown where loyalty and hope compete with fear, loss and betrayal. The premise is intriguing and I found myself routing for Amy and her small group of friends, as the tension rises throughout the story to reach an exciting but somewhat gory finale, with an opening for a sequel. A budding romance between Amy and a boy she meets on board the spacecraft definitely has room to run. With its echoes of historical wrongs and questions around the value of life when a life seems to have no purpose, there is a lot to be discussed here. I was also intrigued by Sigmarsdottir's vision of life on board the spaceship, as you travel with the characters taking that step from the 'not knowing' into the revelation of life on board the spacecraft. Here, there are references to concentration camps reflecting the conditions in which the children are kept, possibly to reference that lessons of history are not always learned, but I felt this could have been tackled differently. The author also explores our obsession with longevity through the aliens and quality of life, which will leave the reader thinking. An enjoyable read that gives the reader lots to think about and discuss. I'll be looking out for a sequel, too. 292 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Helen Long.

I Am Traitor
A Skinful of Shadows
Frances Hardinge

Macmillan

ISBN 9781509837540

In A Skinful of Shadows, Frances Hardinge returns to that blend of historical fiction and fantasy which she does so well - her previous book The Lie Tree won the Costa Award two years ago. This time instead of the Victorian era, Hardinge takes us to seventeenth century Britain and the Civil War. Into this setting she brings Makepeace, a child whose background is a mystery but who seems to have a special talent with the spirits of the dead.... A wealthy, powerful family the Fellmottes want to use those talents to further their own ends, something that would commit Makepeace to a life in the shadows. Can her skills together with the help of a bear, a doctor and an ancient Fellmotte spirit, give Makepeace a chance to save her soul? Hardinge is so skilful at weaving her characters into their setting and here it is seamless as Makepeace traverses the English countryside, weaving in and out of the Royalist and Parliamentarian lines, meeting families, soldiers and nobility. The details in the clothes worn, the food eaten and the households we are introduced to give an incredible richness to the story. The extraordinary changes of the time leading up to the collapse of the old order are mirrored through Makepeace's own search for survival and hope. She is an appealing character who grows through her struggles and her attempts to understand and master her ability to 'house' the spirits of the dead. It is also a story of redemption; Makepeace creates chaos, not peace, but she and other characters must find ways to discover peace within themselves. This is another very special book from Hardinge; its characters, richness of detail and atmosphere will stay with you. 432 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Alison Hall.

A Skinful of Shadows
Things a Bright Girl Can Do
Sally Nicholls

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781783445257

This wonderfully atmospheric historical novel captures perfectly the fight for women's suffrage through the eyes of three very different and opinionated young women. 17-year-old rich and clever Evelyn is furious that she is expected to marry and have children when she would rather go to university and continue with an education. As a result, she joins the Suffragettes and vows to do whatever it takes for women's freedom. 15-year-old opinionated May, a pacifist Quaker feminist, is a member of the Suffragists and believes that everything can be sorted out though non-violent means. She meets and falls in love with Nell who comes from the poor East End, works in a jam factory and loves the fighting at the suffrage rallies. Once World War I begins all their lives are thrown into turmoil. From privileged homes to prison cells to the slums of the East End, this book primarily deals with women's suffrage, however we also find out so much more. The impact of the men leaving home to fight; the frustration about things that we take for granted; and also issues of transgender. This book needs to be talked about at book clubs, read alongside history lessons and generally shouted from the rooftops. An utterly compelling, intriguing and sometimes infuriating read (but only because you become so incensed by the injustice of 100 years ago!) You may have a favourite character but you will be rooting for them all! 432pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lucy Georgeson

Things a Bright Girl Can Do
The Beast is an Animal
Peternelle van Arsdale

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471160455

This is an enthralling story by Peternell van Arsdale that reminded me of old folk tales with its atmospheric descriptions, mythical characters and moral layers but also because, as in the original tellings, there are truly dreadful consequences for doing the wrong thing. In The Beast is an Animal, a small community fears the arrival of twin babies who have matching birthmarks, so they ostracise the mother and her children. The children grow up in the 'fforest', marked by their abandonment and isolation, to become 'soul eaters', feeding off the fear of the villagers who cast them out. Only one child isn't afraid of what the sisters have become, a girl called Alys, who has powers of her own - powers she must keep hidden or be accused of witchcraft. Then Alys meets 'the Beast' in the forest and is given what seems an overwhelming and impossible task. The rich layering of the story within this framework, the believable quality of the world van Arsdale describes and the characterisation are each beautifully done; it is certainly a book that will reward re-reading. The author also explores powerful women; how they are feared and how society treats them, as well as how we treat our own children and those of 'strangers', so there is much to discuss. Although the first few pages read as if its a tale for children, the story soon becomes very dark and so I would recommend it for those aged 12+ (and adults) who enjoy an edgier read. I thought it was a thoughtful, beautifully-written novel and it's one that has stayed with me - a remarkable YA debut, I look forward to seeing what Peternelle van Arsdale writes next. 352 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Karen Hall.

The Beast is an Animal
STAGS
M. A. Bennett

ISBN 9781471406768

Greer MacDonald has won a scholarship to the exclusive STAGS but soon realises that the school is run not by the Friars but by the Medievals, a group of six beautiful but deadly sixth formers. With no friends and shunned by even her room mate, Greer makes the mistake of accepting 'The Invitation' to a hunting weekend at the estate of Henry de Warlencourt, the most beautiful boy in the school and leader of the Medievals. It soon becomes apparent that the invited guests are the hunted ..... STAGS is a great book for teens as it covers the usual problems of friendship and school life but with an underlying deadly and thrilling plot twist. It is also littered throughout with film references as this is a game that Greer and her dad play, and set in the luxury of an old estate. The author sets the scene well with descriptions of the school and stately home, especially during the hunting scenes. The story moves along quickly and although I did see the final twist coming, it did not spoil the book in any way. I think there could be a sequel made as the school and its characters have potential, with the last sentence ending with a question mark. Students will love this as it also has a hint of romance without being intrusive for boy readers. Hailed as the new Hunger Games, it reminded me more of The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. A good read. 290 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian.

STAGS
The Red Ribbon
Lucy Adlington

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471406287

This is a stunning YA debut from Lucy Adlington which takes us back into the horrific past of the concentration camps of WW2 but with a story that shines with light and love. 14 year old Ella volunteers for a job in the sewing workshop of Birchwood camp, something that was inspired by the existence of a real sewing workshop in Auschwitz. Ella's dream is to one day run her own sewing studio but for now, the sewing workshop at the camp provides her with a chance to survive. There, she makes friends with the gentle and astute Rose, a storyteller. Between them they imagine a future in the 'City of Light', but with survival in Birchwood dependent on the whims of the guards, it would only take one wrong move to destroy their hopes for the future. Woven through the story, the backdrop of mud, hunger and hopelessness, are Ella's dreams and Rose's stories and keeping the threads together is their strong friendship and their desperate need to survive. The historical details help create an authentic setting, developed with huge sensitivity to the horrific reality of the camps. Much of the worst offences are suggested rather than described but the reader is left in no doubt as to the nature of the camp. Interestingly, Adlington doesn't draw any of the characters in black and white and she explores the ambiguity in how the camp's conditions and the desperate need to survive affect people's behaviour and humanity. Even the guards she portrays are capable of moments of casual kindness, offset by their often brutal actions. The Red Ribbon would reward further exploration within book groups or as a class read as there is so much to discuss around human behaviour and what makes us act as we do. It is also a story that, despite its desperate setting, shines with light, energy and love. Definitely one of my favourite books of the year. 304 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Helen Long.

The Red Ribbon
SweetFreak
Sophie McKenzie

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471122231

This story follows Carey as she tries to prove her innocence over the accusation that she is 'SweetFreak'; an online bully who has sent death threats to her best friend, Amelia. Dramas abound - families are pushed to the limits, the police are involved and there are also a couple of love interests thrown in for good measure - what's not to like?! In a school setting, this book would be an ideal choice for a book club to discuss as it is totally relevant to today's teenagers. Despite the main characters being girls, it would definitely have a universal appeal. If I was aged between 12 and 15 I would absolutely love it and would happily spend time discussing it from the various characters' points of view. Having said that, it is worth noting that some of the characters - especially those introduced later on in the book - are quite cliched and for me they took away the edge from what was otherwise an incredibly fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, rollercoaster of a read that kept me guessing right until the very end. 341 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lucy Georgeson, school librarian.

SweetFreak
Alex, Approximately
Jenn Bennett

ISBN 9781471161537

Falling in love can be complicated. It was easy to establish a connection online with witty, like-minded and apparently perfect Alex but Bailey is astute enough to know that things might not work out in real life. When she moves from the East coast to the west, from her mother's to her father's, she attempts, with appropriate caution, to track down her online love interest. Meanwhile, she encounters the infuriating, attractive Porter Roth. The reader quickly identifies that the enigmatic Porter is in fact Alex but Bailey takes longer to unravel the differences, and similarities, between the two. What is real, and what is not? To whom will Bailey open up about past hurts? Who will gain her trust? Will the secrets be revealed? Wondering when, if ever, Bailey's detective skills will enable her to work out the mystery of the person closest to her heart adds to the enjoyment of the book - as do the frequent references to the movies. This is an enjoyable story about first-love which tackles serious issues sensitively. Imperfect reality is, in the end, better - and more exciting - than perfect fantasy. 400 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Jane Welby, school librarian.

Alex, Approximately
Genuine Fraud
E. Lockhart

ISBN 9781471406621

From the opening pages, Genuine Fraud had me hooked. Full of action and intrigue, some of it brutal, but all of it thrilling, it does not fail to keep you guessing. It is difficult to say much about the plot without spoilers but suffice it to say that things will become clear the further you read. Peppered throughout with literary references and set in the world of the super rich, the book takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The main character, Jule West Williams, imagines herself as a comic book character but instead of the girls that are usually weaker or pretty sidekicks to the hero, she is the archetypal action hero herself. The book will appeal to teens for its action, brutality, intrigue, suspense, cleverness and setting. I have put a higher age due to some swearing but generally I feel lower teens will enjoy this just as much. Much like another book by the author, We Were Liars, I couldn't put it down. I loved the way it is written in reverse, highly recommended. 262 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian.

Genuine Fraud
Release
Patrick Ness

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406331172

Release is a stunning novel - a book that captures the intensity of life, love and death. The story follows Adam for a summer as he negotiates growing up in a small town in America with a demanding family, as he attempts to balance his family with his own desires and needs. It follows Adam over only a few days, but they turn out to be a few days that changes everything about his life, so it is action packed in an everyday sort of way. Adam's best friend is down to earth and a lifeline for him - giving him sound advice and laughter as only best friends can. Interwoven with this story is a spiritual, other worldly story following the spirit of a teen from the same town who died. This reflects and touches on the main story, mirroring the joy, pain and love with regret and confusion. This is a story for older readers, as there are some explicit moments, but it is a story with themes that appeal across the board - first love, first loss, betrayal, redemption, friendship and how, sometimes, life confronts you. The scenes move from intimate moments of friends laughing together, to uncomfortable moments, to almost cinematic pieces of description and emotional combat. It is a powerful and emotive read, something that will bring back memories of your later teenage years and first love or give you a pointer as to what to expect! 288 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Alison Tarrant, school librarian.

Release
Lorali: A colourful mermaid novel that's not for the faint-hearted
Laura Dockrill

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471404221

A book about mermaids and their culture, I was not expecting this... Disney's 'Little Mermaid' this is not. This book, even though it does have a slow start, is full of character, adventure, chaos, a little romance and danger to name a few themes. Lorali tells the story of a princess mermaid that gets washed up on a beach in Hastings during her 'resolution, this is like a coming-of-age ritual all mermaids go through. The story opens when she is found on the beach by Rory, our other main character who was about to enjoy a night out with his friends on his 16th birthday, but instead he bravely takes on the role of protector to Lorali. The book is written from three different perspectives, Lorali, Rory and quite interesting The Sea. To begin with things are a little confusing, but soon things begin to drop into place thanks to one of the narrators, The Sea. Lorali might be a book about mermaids, with pirates and sirens and the sea, but it is very much set in the real world, with real world problems and issues. It is what made this book even more special and unique. Ok, the reason why a four star not a five... at times Lorali was a little difficult to read, Iris's past, for example, which had a mild rape scene written in it, another example is the violence from the Pirates (even though they are the perfect gentlemen) and the use of bad language which is why I have ideally placed it at a 14+. This 337 paged (paperback) book is genius, creative, beautiful, so different and dark at times. I would recommend it for confident readers of fantasy fiction and hopefully you will look forward to reading the follow up story Aurabel like I will. 337 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian.

Lorali: A colourful mermaid novel that's not for the faint-hearted
Aurabel: The edgiest mermaid ever written about
Laura Dockrill

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471404245

Loved this book, the sequel to Lorali, which I advise you to read before this one as Aurabel picks up two years after Lorali finishes. There is very little explanation about the past so it could be confusing for some readers. Aurabel is a Mer from the poor side of the sea, from the Tip, where she lives with her girlfriend Murray. Zar is now king and bowing to public pressure needs a Mer to help him get back in favour with his people, bringing in feisty Aurabel for the job. But all does not go as planned when cruel Sienna intervenes ( a fantastic villain, I might add), using plucky Aurabel's demise as the spark for a coup. But Aurabel is not dead; just plotting her revenge. Meanwhile, on land, Lorali is mourning the loss of Rory and is living in the human world. She spends most of her time at home with Rory's mum or helping out at the shop with Iris and Flynn. The story is once again told from three POVs and it really works. There are moments of pain, sadness, of overcoming hardship, anger, joy, love, unrequited love, you name it, it's there. The characters are engaging, realistic and unique. The chapters are short and pacy, once again for the confident reader, 293 pages (paperback) of Dockrill's excellent writing. The only reason for four star and not a five is the bad language, a lot more in this book than the first. 293 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian.

Aurabel: The edgiest mermaid ever written about