Author – Marina Cohen
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)
Author – Chloe Daykin
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)
Author – Eileen Merriman
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)
Author – Margaret Mahy
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)
Author – Bren MacDibble
Age – 10+
Peony lives in a world where bees no longer exist and all pollinating and pest control is done by hand in orchards. She lives with her grandpa and older sister Mags in a tin shed, earning their living by working in the orchard. Peony, and Mags are ‘Pests’, killing pests as they find them. But Peony wants to be a ‘Bee’, climbing the trees and using special sticks to pollinate the flowers. At 9, she is one year too young, but she tries out anyway.
When her mum returns from the city, telling her of money to be made and lovely places to live, Peony doesn’t want to know. Although poor, they are happy in the orchard. But Mum won’t take no for an answer.
The city is like nothing Peony has ever seen, with a toilet inside, water that comes out of the wall, and lovely soft beds. But the work is long and the daughter of the house is incredibly spoiled. An unlikely friendship builds, Peony needing help to get home, and Esmeralda needing courage to leave her grand house.
This is a wonderful story of friendship, determination, and the power of family. Loved it!
(Climate change, Family, Abuse, Courage, Future, Friendship)
Author/Illustrator – Sally Rippen
Age – 7+
Polly just can’t get her spells right. She’s laughed at, at witch school and her only friend is her neighbour Buster. But Buster is a monster and witch-monster friendships are a no-no.
One day on a school trip, her witch class runs into Buster’s monster class. When Polly ignores Buster, his secret is out. He feels things very strongly. When he feels sad he shrinks and looks grey. Polly sees his classmates teasing him and he’s so sad and small. She goes to his rescue and suddenly sparks are flying from her fingers! Can she do spells after all?
This is a story of friendships and popularity (especially at school), and which one is more important. Polly has to make a choice, and she does – but is it the right one?
I really liked this new story from the author of Billie B Brown and Hey Jack. It’s going to be a great series!
Author – Patrick Ness
Age – 16+
Adam Thorn is looking forward to the going away party of a friend. But first he has a list of stuff to do. Get a run in before his shift at work, then a visit to his boyfriend Linus before helping his pastor father set up the church for weekend services. Little does Adam know that each of these jobs before the party will reveal a life changing event for him, altering his well planned future for himself.
These events help Adam find the courage to finally speak out against his controlled upbringing by his christian parents, his unsavoury employer and to finally realise what love truly is. This is a story of self doubt and self realisation, all while an entity has risen up out of the town lake inside a murdered girl. This entity wants revenge and will stop at nothing to get it.
Brilliant, effortless, wonderful writing with a strange supernatural element woven through the background.
(Gay, Homosexual, Sexual Identity, Love, Self doubt, Murder, Family)