Author – Philip Pullman
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)
ER – JON
Author – Allan Jones
Age – 8+
Zac Archer is 12 and lives in a children’s home. He is a bright kid but doesn’t achieve his potential at school. His true love is free-running and he’s exceptional at it, but doesn’t know how exceptional.
When he witnesses a murder he’s suddenly caught up in an action-packed, dangerous mission to help find a memory stick of international importance. Two spy agencies are after it. Zac knows where the memory stick is and after a girl called Rina (codename Ballerina) comes to his aid more than once, he tries to help her retrieve it.
While bullets fly, Zac uses his skills to flee from enemy agents with Rina. But how do they know where he’ll be? And why does Rina tell him one thing and other agents tell him another? Who is telling the truth and which side should he take?
Zak is a likeable character – even with his exceptional speed he is just a normal kid caught up in something terrifying and thrilling at the same time. If you like Cherub, you’ll like this one.
(Spy, Crime, Betrayal, Action, Murder, Courage, London)
TEEN – KAU
Authors – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Age – 13+
Gemina is the 2nd part in the bestselling Illuminae series. A new heroine is the key character – at first just preparing for a party onboard her father’s ship the Heimdall – then attacked by Beitech Industries from the inside. Beitech is the company that attacked the Kerenza colony (in the first story).
This story was told in transcripts of ship chat rooms, analyst reports of ship’s surveillance camera’s, a journal, and secret personal palm pad conversations, (all collected by a tribunal afterwards).
This brings immediacy to the story, pulling the reader right in among the action, determination, pain, and highs and lows of the characters.
It’s part love story, part invasion, rebellion and alien attack, all while a countdown is marked through the book of drone ships on their way to wipe them from existence.
(Science Fiction, Wormhole, Series, Relationships, Drugs, Murder, Attack)
TEEN – COO
Author – Eileen Cook
Age – 14+
Imagine not remembering the past six weeks.
This becomes even more difficult to live with when those six weeks involved your best friend, a gorgeous Italian guy, a trip of a lifetime and an accident that not only killed someone, it might have been completely your fault.
This is what Jill wakes to in hospital, with a broken leg and a head injury that is preventing her from remembering not only those past six weeks, but words she would use in normal conversation. She is confused and scared and also amazed that her divorced parents are in the same room together at her bedside. Things must be serious.
Interspersed with police interviews, blog posts, TV transcripts, newspaper articles and junior high yearbook notes, With Malice travels at a quick pace, unraveling the mystery, the crime and Jill’s blocked memories to finish with a bang – the car crash that put her in hospital.
(Holiday, Friendship, Intrigue, Italy, Amnesia, Crime, Rehabilitation, Truth)
TEEN – ROL
Author – Danielle Rollins
Age – 14+ (due to language)
Angela is counting down the days before she can leave Brunesfield Correctional Facility. Her focus has always been on seeing her younger brother Charlie again. When a small, timid girl (Jessica) arrives in shackles and fully guarded, everyone wonders what this tiny girl could have done to warrant such treatment. Close behind Jessica arrives a smartly dressed woman called Dr Gruen with her young assistant Maryanne.
When Angela’s sentence is extended after her first encounter with Jessica, she is ripe for the offer that Dr Gruen gives to have that extension voided. She can leave as planned – in three months time, if she just looks after Jessica for a while. Angela has seen this strange little girl’s skill first hand and is scared for herself and her cellmates. But they soon become close, and Angela’s loyalty to the person who can help her leave Brunesfield or the young girl are confusing for her. Dr Gruen is there with an organisation called SciGirls, to help underprivileged teen girls into a prestigious science program. Or is she…?
The more Angela sees and hears, the more skeptical she becomes, until it’s almost too late.
(Correctional facility, Girl’s prison, Loyalty, Experiments, Paranormal)
TEEN – THU
Author – Helen Thurloe
Age – 12+
Azra loves school and science. She also loves her family. But when one is going to take the other away from her, she is faced with the biggest decision in her life.
This is Azra’s story of being faced with an arranged marriage a the age of 16. Her uncle has much influence in her family and he orchestrates the marriage even as she begs her parents to let her finish school.
She has to make a terrible choice – Family and their control of her arranged marriage or a future she chooses for herself. She can’t have both.
If you liked ‘Secrets of the Henna Girl’ you’ll like Azra’s story too. It shows her culture, customs and family traditions such as Ramadan, prayer and cooking – but also an important rule of her culture – obedience by woman.
Her brother gets away with much, including trouble with the law, laziness, unemployed etc, but Azra being a girl can’t even attend school events where there will be boys attending.
Azara’s uncle soon takes things into his own hands, with a shocking conclusion.
(Arranged Marriage, Ramadan, Pakistan Culture)
(Not in Napier / Taradale Libraries)
Author – Alex Bell
Age – 13+
Part of a Spooky Series called Red Eye, this was a very creepy book.
The Waterwitch Inn was built from a sunken ship with a history of terrible things happening to it, even before its maiden voyage.
When Emma returns to her home village to see her dying grandmother, she is drawn back to the closed down Waterwitch that her Gran used to own. Soon meeting her best friend Jem from her childhood, she is drawn back into his life and his worries that his sister Shell thinks she is a witch, their abusive father has broken Shell’s arm and now they have nowhere to live except hiding in the Waterwitch Inn.
But Gran claims she never sent them the keys they have, and she shut it because it is haunted. Emma, along with Jem scoffs at this notion, but Shell knows better. Something is in the cellar, and it’s all their fault.
(3 points of view – Emma, Jem and Shell – all 1st person)
A tale of witches, sunken ships and an age old curse. Should Jem believe Shell’s explanations of the strange things happening or is she unbalanced after the suicide of her mother and her father’s constant anger and abuse? The Inn setting is great with its ocean theme and the tension builds throughout the novel. Great read.
(Witch, Ship, Haunting, Creepy, Spooky, Curse, Ghost, Horror, Revenge)