Author – Scot Gardner
Age – 12+
Sparrow is kind, respectful, brave and friendly. He’s also resourceful and street savvy. He has to be – sleeping on a block of toilets at night, avoiding his brother and his paint sniffing gang of teens, and helping cafe owners with their chairs night and morning in payment for food.
Sparrow is a selective mute after a troubled childhood, and this story begins on a boat full of kids from juvie. A fire forces them into the croc and shark filled waters, and 16 year old Sparrow swims for his life to the far north Australian coastline. With determination and courage learnt on the streets of Darwin, he learns how to survive in the bush and mangroves.
This tale of survival is interspersed with chapters of his earlier life, people that have helped him, the reason for his mutism, and why he’s called Sparrow.
But he’s not alone on the coastline. Someone else escaped the burning boat. Someone who needs saving even more than him.
Sparrow is yet another compelling teen novel from this accomplished Australian author. This book is not only about survival. It’s about loss, courage, love and hope for a future that seemed impossible to imagine.
(Street kid, Survival, Love, Determination, Self sufficient, Fishing, Hunting, Australia, Love, Courage)
Author – E Lockhart
Age – 14+
This book is in effect written backwards. I loved the way this story was structured with the main character Jule living a charmed life of luxury, and then the further you read the more you learn, all the things she did, had to do, or was lucky enough to happen, to allow her this life. But things are unravelling and she is having to run faster to keep up with it all.
The more I read, the more intrigued I was. There were hints along the way that she wasn’t supposed to be who or where she was, and I wanted to know how on earth she got there. The plot went back and forth and I had to keep track of the dates, but it just added to the enjoyment of the book as things were revealed, piece by piece, for the past year or so of Jules life to click together – but the finale could blow it all apart again!
She’s no angel this girl, but I loved her character and that we found out what drove her to be the person she is now. We Were Liars by the same author is one of my favourite reads ever and Genuine Fraud is one to match it. I’d like to read it all over again….
(Thriller, Family, Privilege, Rich, Wealthy, Crime, Friendship, Deception, Secret)
Author – Linwood Barclay
Age – 10+
Chipper isn’t just any dog. Well not now anyway. He grew up on a farm with his brothers and sisters but one day was picked up and taken to a laboratory.
Everything was white. The walls, the floor, his cage and the coats the people wore. And then everything was black while they operated on him, replacing parts and adding things like GPS, USB ports, and cameras to make him a super smart canine. But on the day they decide he still has too many of his dog instincts (he likes chasing things), he knows his hours are numbered.
Using the intelligence they gave him, he escapes. Meanwhile there is a boy named Jeff. He’s lost his parents in a plane crash and is living with his aunt, working at her camp ing ground. He soon makes a friend in Emily, a girl who is visiting with her dad.
Chipper, Jeff and Emily are quickly caught up in spy rumours, escape plans, super technology, men in black suits and explosions. Who can they trust and where can they hide?
This is the first in a new series, with more action, intrigue and evil plans afoot to come….
(Family, Animals, Courage, Technology, Computers, Dog, Laboratory)
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 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)
Author – Janine Beacham
When something happens to Rose Raventhorpe’s beloved butler and friend Argyle, she is devastated. Strange things begin to happen in her Victorian city of Yorke and she is intrigued by the missing cat statues that Argyle told her are protecting the city.
A prophecy says if the cats disappear, terrible things will befall Yorke. Determined to find Argyle’s killer, Rose discovers a secret society, a labyrinth of tunnels below Yorke and a mystery that must be solved.
Any young mystery fans will love Rose’s adventures. This is the first in a series.
TEEN – JAC
Author – Tiffany D Jackson
Age – 15+
Mary B Addison was 9 when she killed 3 mth old Alyssa Richardson – allegedly. After spending time in ‘baby jail’ Mary is now 16 and in a girl’s group home, with an ankle bracelet to keep track of her. Life has been tough and Mary trusts no-one – not even her mother who visits her regularly.
Mary loved Alyssa and would never have killed her, and it’s only when she becomes pregnant herself (with the promise that her baby will be taken from her at birth), that she begins to tell the truth. With help from uncertain places she even reignites her dream to go to College (University).
But she is still wary of people and their motives, and suddenly she realises she wasn’t wary enough. The tension increase where it’s not just her and her baby’s future at stake, but both of their lives.
Allegedly has a very easy reading style as you get to know Mary. But do you trust her yourself? An amazing debut novel.
(Murder, Crime, Infanticide, Lies, Secret, Pregnancy, Courage)
TEEN – GIB
Author – Alan Gibbons
Age – 12+
With short chapters and only 186 pages, this story about an English family almost torn apart by terrorism (from the inside) will capture many who aren’t that keen on reading, or haven’t been able to find a book that grabs them.
The Trap deals with an issue that can destroy families on both sides of terrorism. Majid is training to be a doctor in the UK. His family fully support him in his education and dreams to help people, but when he begins spending more and more time with a man who talks of UK infidels, war, martyrdom and glory, they are worried for him. But Majid feels he has to make his own decisions.
This story follows those decisions and Majid’s path to war and back.
The tension rises throughout this novel, to a thrilling conclusion – or is it the end?
(War, Conflict, Crime, Family, Racism, School. MI5, Agent, Extremist, Muslim)