The Inn Between

Author – Marina Cohen25667027

Age – 10+

11 yr old Quinn has had a rough time of it lately, her younger sister’s disappearance turning her world upside down. And Quinn believes it was her fault. To make things worse, her best friend Kara is moving across the country and Quinn misses her already.

Kara’s parents invite Quinn on a road trip with them, so the girls can have time together before their move and on the way across the desert, they stop at a hotel. Inn Between.

Despite the staff being incredibly friendly, Quinn’s feeling of dread hasn’t diminished ever since they took the turnoff to the hotel. When Kara’s parents vanish and then her older brother too, the girls are left to try and figure out why.

What is the strange hum that Quinn can hear? Why is a strange old man following them everywhere? And what grabbed her leg in the swimming pool?

Sometimes sad, sometimes creepy and with a clever conclusion, this story is packed with plot and twists and turns to keep any tween reading. I never expected the ending. Great read.

(Creepy, Eerie, Spooky, Friendship, Guilt, Abduction, Disappearance, Siblings, School)

 

 

 

Fish Boy

Author – Chloe Daykin32490590

Age – 10+

Billy has got a lot on his mind – things he’d rather not think about. To escape he likes to swim in the sea not far from his home. Another escape has been David Attenborough videos as Billy is an avid nature lover, fascinated in the quirkyness of animals.

One day while swimming, a mackerel swims up to his face and speaks to him. “Fish Boy,” it says. Billy is shocked and surprised and mystified and when he finally blurts it out to his new friend at school (Patrick), he thinks Patrick will begin treating him like the rest of his classmates – because he’s weird.

But Patrick isn’t like the others. Patrick believes him and encourages him to swim again to see what happens. As his life seems to spiral downwards (school bullying and a sick mum), Billy wants to escape to the sea more and more. But Patrick is looking out for him putting his own life at risk.

This isn’t just another ‘sick parent’ story. It’s so much more than that with a touch of magic and wonder. The voice of Billy is brilliant and believable and his relationship with his father heartwarming.

(Friendship, Illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Family, Worry, Bullying, School, Differences)

The Butterfly Tattoo

Author – Philip Pullman35083953

Age – 15+ (Sexual Content)

When Chris helps a girl escape a group of guys at a posh party he is working at, he finds a love that consumes him. Jenny is funny, smart, beautiful and independent. She lives in a squat with two friends and one weekend he invites her to stay with him as he house sits his dad’s place and looks after their cat.

When Jenny goes home, her squat is boarded up, her friends arrested for drug dealing and she is without a home. Not wanting to go back to Chris’ dad’s place to ask where he lives, she loses contact with Chris. She doesn’t know his surname and doesn’t know exactly where he works. They both spend months searching for each other in the city of Oxford.

Jenny gets a job baby-sitting. She doesn’t know Chris works for the child’s father, or that the father is being hunted down by a killer. Somebody is going to die…

Quick but thrilling read by this master story-teller,

(Thriller, Love, IRA, Betrayal, Lies, Growing up, Blended family, Step mother, Abuse)

 

 

Space Jackers (1)

Author – Huw PowellSpacejackers (#1)

Age – 8+

Jake Cutler was just a baby when he was left at a cyber-monk monastery by a strange injured man. The only clue to Jake’s past is an amulet encrusted with 3 crystals which hangs around his neck.

On his 11th birthday, his past finds him in a fiery attack on the monks. He flees to the nearest space port and with the help of an infamous fortune seeker he escapes the planet he grew up on. But little do they know, the cargo ship they’ve hidden on is a pirate ship – the Captain, Granny Leatherhead – an eye-patched, no-nonsense woman, is the leader of the Space Dogs.

Instantly locked up, Jake and his new acquaintances wonder what will happen to them. They are about to embark on the adventure of their lives. Space monsters, black holes, the evil Intergalactic Army and even other pirates are part of their adventure, not to mention a purple skinned alien and their search for a hidden planet with more wealth than all the other planets together!

Fantastic! Pumped with action, adventure, an orphan (or is he?), aliens and a family betrayal, this first book in the Space Jackers series is perfect for thrill seekers.

(Pirates, Space, Aliens, Friendship, Adventure, Action, Humour, Series)

 

Pieces of You

Author – Eileen Merriman34660764

Age – 15+

Rebecca hates her new school and new home far away from her friends in another city. She’s lonely and lost. When invited to a party, she goes to try and make friends and maybe fit in a little more. But on the way home, drunk and alone she encounters a group of boys where one of them takes advantage of her condition. She escapes before she it goes too far but is left with feelings of intense grief, loneliness and guilt that it was her fault. She begins to cut herself.

But then there is Cory Marshall. He is the boy next door, friendly, funny and handsome and over a shared love of books and poetry, they become friends and then a couple. But the boy that hurt her is one of Cory’s friends and she can’t be anywhere he is. Every time she bails on Cory (parties and school ball), he gets more confused and then angry with her. But Cory is dealing with his own demons – meeting his birth mother and learning who and what his birth father is.

Eileen Merriman is new to the NZ Teen Fiction stage after winning many awards for other writing. Pieces of you is a stunning teen debut. The characters are real, believable and well written and any fans of David Levithan, Jon Green or Jandy Nelson will love them.

(Romance, Adoption, Truth, Cutting, NZ Author, New Zealand, School, Ball, Kiwi)

The Changeover

Author – Margaret MahyThe Changeover

Age – 15+

Laura Chant has premonitions. She’s tried to explain them to her mother, but she brushes them off. Which is exactly what Laura does when she has another one.

Little does she know that her world will soon be tipped upside down, her 3 yr old brother Jacko fighting for his life and a witch called Sorry offering to help. But it’s up to Laura. Will she make the Changeover to help fight the evil that has hold of Jacko?

Margaret Mahy at her best! This teen novel is gripping, beautifully written and pure Mahy Magic.
The Changeover won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1984 – which was the second time she’d won it. (The first in 1982 for her novel The Haunting). This new cover is also the best one yet!

(Witch, Demon, Siblings, Romance, Courage, NZ Author, Award, Kiwi, Classic)

Orbiting Jupiter

Author – Gary D Schmidt30335557

Age – 12+

This isn’t a long read and would be great for those teens who are a little reluctant at the thought of reading one of the doorstops they regularly see on library or bookshop shelves for teens. But just because it’s only 192 pages, doesn’t mean it won’t pack a punch – because it sure does.

I felt so much for Joseph, who at only 14 had experienced prison for attempted murder of a teacher, found an all consuming wonderful first love then lost it again, and learned that he was a father but was forbidden to ever have any contact with his baby daughter (called Jupiter.)

Now in foster care with 12 yr old Jack and his parents, Joseph is quiet, deliberately and instantly misunderstood by some of his teachers and the school bus driver, and the target of some school bullies.

But Jack quickly finds that Joseph is none of the things he is labelled with and he stands by him, just like he would an older brother. Jack’s parents treat Joseph as if he is their son, and Joseph responds to that – but his past soon catches up with him, with terrible results. Joseph has to make a choice. A sad but beautiful story of friendship, family and belief in someone you love.

(Family, Foster Care, Bullying, Prejudice, School, Young father, Love, Trust)