Not if I save you first

Author – Ally Carter35238072

Age – 12+

Maddie and Logan were best friends. She is the daughter of the President’s top security agent, and he is the President’s son. But that friendship dies after a failed kidnapping and someone gets shot.

Now all Maddie has for Logan is anger. He never once replied to the weekly letters she sent him from Alaska where she now lives with her dad. How could he call her his best friend then cut her off like that?

Then suddenly after 6 years, he is in her house, taller, stronger and undeniably and infuriatingly more handsome. Maddie has become tough in her years in Alaska. And she will use all her strength to remain angry at him. Until his life is in danger. All her skills will be needed to help them escape their pursuers and survive in the wilderness.

Told in both viewpoints of Maddie and Logan, this is a thriller wrapped around a love story. It’s not mushy though, full of action, twists and turns right until the end. Great read.

(Action, Romance, Alaska, Thriller, Trust)

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Zeustian Logic

Author – Sabrina Malcolm34105776

Age – 10+

Tuttle is holding everything together – at least he’s trying to. His dad was a famous mountain climber who didn’t return from his last expedition. The only thing that did return was news that Tuttle’s father left his client alone on the mountain to die.

No-one really knows what happened, but living with this news and their loss is hard. Mum spends too many hours alone in her room or asleep, leaving Tuttle to look after his little brother Fen who also spends most of his hours alone in his room.

Tuttle’s one escape is the stars. He spends a lot of his leisure time at the local observatory or trying to look through his own telescope from home. Trying, because the boy next door spends all his spare time tinkering with his car, revving it loudly and flooding Tuttle’s back yard with light from the shed.

Tuttle’s frustration and worries escalate with all that lays on his shoulders. And now there’s a snooping reporter and social worker to deal with. Can he hold his family together?

Fans of astronomy and myths and how they are connected will enjoy this story about this grieving family. The friendship between Tuttle and his mate Attila is humourous as they ‘bounce’off each other, together and online, and Tuttle’s inner turmoil is well written. Authentic kiwi fiction.

(NZ, New Zealand, Kiwi, Astronomy, Grief, Myths, Family, Friendship, Bully)

The Goose Road

Author – Rowena House36357681

Age – 9+

It’s 1916. Angelique is 14 and is not sure how she should feel after hearing the worst news about her father fighting in WWI. Her mother is grief-stricken but Angelique only remembers her father’s anger. Her fears for her beloved brother Pascal overshadow her guilt over her father, and she vows to make sure their farm will be just as it was when Pascal left to fight. He must have somewhere safe and loving to return to.

But doing everything herself is almost impossible, and when Nature takes a swipe at them, and then the Army take even more, Angelique is at breaking point.  There is even worse news to come – they will lose the farm if they don’t pay her dead father’s debts.

It’s a heart-breaking choice, but Angelique decides to sell Pascal’s Toulouse Geese. But the only way to get the best price is to take them to where the money is – the officers in the army. This means a long, cold and dangerous journey closer to the front.

Along the way they meet many people just as desperate to live as they are. She must keep her wits about her, and sum up all the courage she has.

The idea for this story came from a photograph the author saw on a TV documentary about the Spanish Flu pandemic – blamed on domestic birds like geese, chickens or ducks in 1916. It spread through the army who then spread it further when they returned home. (Angelique has no idea what is making her birds unwell along their journey.) Through thorough and meticulous research by the author, this story gives yet another face to war – that of those left behind, trying to hold onto hope for their loved ones while holding everything together at home. War took their fathers, uncles, brothers and sons, then their stock, their livelihood, farms and homes. Stunning.

(War, Family, Courage, Geese, Goose, France, WWI, Soldiers, Journey)

The Invasion (The Call 2)

Author – Peadar O’Guilan38592818

Age – 13+

Nessa may have returned from ‘The Grey Land’, but her battle isn’t over yet. She is instantly under suspicion. How could she survive with her bent and twisted legs? How could someone so weak return unscarred when bigger, stronger, better trained children and teens do not?

She is labelled a traitor – someone who has made a deal with the S’dhe in order to survive. There are now government agents searching for such traitors, and they will find them at any cost.

Something terrible is happening to Ireland. More terrible than The Call itself, with nothing to stop it.

Told in different viewpoints of Nessa, Anto, and others from the survival school Nessa attended, there is action at every turn, choices to make or believe and survival an even thinner thread than before.

Be careful what you promise, and who you promise to, as they are assembling out there, and coming for you….

(Fantasy, Violence, Fairy Folk, Legends, Myths, Ireland, Love, Friendship, Courage, Trust)

Cuz

Author – Liz van der LaarseCuz - Liz van der Laarse

Age – 10+

River is enjoying catching up with family, even though his uncle reminds him so much of his absent father. He’s also reminded how close his cousin Huia is to their Nan, who has taught her their Maori language, customs, protocols and medicine for much of her life.

Her knowledge is annoying, but he puts his grumbles aside when offered a trip on her dad’s trawler. They soon enjoy each other’s company and he relaxes, thinking about what it would’ve been like to have his own dad around through his life.

Then the unthinkable happens. Icy ocean. Remote beach. Isolation. Freezing rain, no food, shelter or communication. They are on their own.

Along with River’s strength and determination, Huia’s knowledge is now the only thing that could save them. Is his uncle still alive? Is anyone looking for them and if so where will they be looking?

Like Hatchet, Cuz is a story of survival, strength, courage and determination. It’s also more than that – a tale of family connections through past generations, to the land and nature who will provide if you know her secrets. 

Cuz is a New Zealand story which will be enjoyed by both kiwi and international readers alike. In the back of the book is a section on the plants etc that River and Huia rely on for their lives. Cracker Kiwi fiction!

(Kiwi, NZ, New Zealand, Survival, Courage, Determination, Cousins, Family, Action, Journey)

Changing Gear

Author – Scot Gardner39858219

Age – 15+

Merrick is 18 and there is only 2 weeks left before his final exams and the end of his school life. He has always been a good student, but lately his school is concerned that he’s ‘lost his mojo.’

Merrick is struggling with the loss of his grandfather to a sudden heart attack. Grandad taught him how to surf, and how to cope with both his parents remarrying and giving him several stepbrothers/sisters, all the while giving Merrick gems of wisdom along the way.

One morning Merrick makes a sudden decision to get on his beloved motorbike (he calls Brunnhilde) and just ride, leaving behind his friends, study and blended family. On his journey he meets Victor, an old, bearded, homeless man, a girl called Felicity, a dog with no name and…himself.

This is not just another ‘road-trip’ story. Merrick is grieving for his lost friend and mentor – his grandfather. He’s trying to figure out where he fits in his family, what the future might hold and how to deal with its expectations of him. He learns about relationships; no matter how long or fleeting, his habits that seemed entrenched and necessary but are not, and what’s important to him. The banter between Merrick and Victor is brilliant, the journey both inner and outer – superb.

(Road-trip, Relationships, Quest, Friendship, Grief, Motorbike, Australia)

Charlie and Me

Author – Mark Lowery36254737

Age – 10+

Martin is taking his younger brother on a journey, by train, foot, taxi – in fact any way possible, as long as they get there before dusk. The only problem is that they have crept out of the house before their parents have woken, taken something precious from the house and left Martin’s cellphone behind – on purpose.

Martin knows there will be challenges. Charlie is excitable, intelligent, unpredictable and according to Martin, his best friend. It’s a long way and he has to look out for Charlie even more than usual. He feels under scrutiny from train conductors, police on platforms and other passengers. Do they know they shouldn’t really be there?

Interspersed between their journey chapters, are chapters about the previous summer in Cornwall and the dolphin they saw that captivated Charlie’s heart. But is the dolphin the real reason for their travels back there?

(Dolphin, Road trip, Train trip, Travel, Spectrum, Secret, Friendship, Siblings, Family, Poetry)