Author – Julie Lamb
Age – 8+
Summer Rain is a laugh a minute – at least the boys at school think so. She’s always cracking a joke or laughing stuff off. It’s her way of fitting in and dealing with things at home. Not that it’s bad or anything, it’s just… embarrassing. When her dad is away during the week for his work, Summer stays with her fun, a little crazy and a whole lot stingy Pop. The thing is, Pop isn’t poor, Summer has seen a bunch of bank statements to prove it.
Now 12, Summer is feeling like she’d like to change from the tom-boy she is – just a little? A popular girl at school starts showing an interest in her, which confuses Summer, but she begins to enjoy some ‘girl stuff’ for a change.
Things are just fine until a woman starts to show an interest in Pop. Surely she’ll be gone again as soon as she realises how crazy-stingy Pop is? Summer is suspicious, and digs a little deeper into this woman’s past. She doesn’t like what she finds, but Pop just won’t listen!
All is revealed in the end, with the reason for the girl’s interest, Pop’s solution and Summer being just who she wants to be.
This story may be set in NZ, but girls everywhere (especially tom-boys, like I once was), will really enjoyed the trials of Summer at school, home around her small town. This book won the Best 1st Book of the Year Award in the NZ Children’s Book Awards 2017. And it definitely deserved it. Loved it!
(New Zealand, NZ, Kiwi, Funny, Humour, Tom-boy, Friends, Award)
Author – Sarah Crossan
Age – 13+
Joe Moon has always looked up to his big brother Ed. He was there for him when their alcoholic mother wasn’t, attending parent interviews, walking him to school or just taking him out for some fun.
But Joe hasn’t seen Ed for ten years. And now Ed’s on Death Row, he needs Joe. His mother long gone, and his aunt pretending Ed doesn’t exist, Joe goes to the small town and the prison that holds his brother.
This is Joe’s story of getting to know his brother again, asking him the questions he needs to ask, hoping when there is no hope left, for a stay of execution. Along the way he meets someone unexpected. Someone who shouldn’t be there for him, but helps him deal with what is to come.
Stunning. The poetry format gives you all you need and no more to feel the character’s heartbreak, confusion, anger, and even happiness as he remembers pieces of his childhood.
A tale of love and forgiveness – for everything and anything, and hope for one more month, one week, one hour, one minute….
(Family, Love, Growing up, Execution, Prison, Hope, Relationships, Award winning author)
Author – Irfan Master
Age – 12+
Adam’s family is struggling. They have just lost his grandfather and learned that he donated his heart – given to someone else who needed it after he died.
Adam’s mum hasn’t cried yet, and he’s worried about that.
Adam’s little sister Farah still doesn’t speak, preferring to sign instead.
Adam blames himself.
This story could be bleak. It could be dark and depressing and leave you wishing you never picked it up. It is the opposite.
Yes, life is tough. Mum has to work two jobs. They are grieving. Adam likes to be alone even more now, spending all his time drawing in his sketch pad or writing down words to make some sense of the world. His exceptional talent at drawing is also shown in tagging, but unlike other taggers he knows, he is working alone on a bigger project. One that takes months of being out in the cold, bit by bit, revealing something important.
And then there’s William. He’s different. He’s tall and white and just appears one day on their door-step. He has something to tell them. Who is this stranger?
Out of Heart is all about – HEART. All the different types of heart. Kind-hearted. Hard-hearted. Broken-hearted. Cold-hearted. And luckily for Adam’s sake, a Sweet-heart. And with interesting quotes from books, and poems, or facts about the heart sprinkled through the book – it was nothing but heart-warming. LOVED IT!
(Abuse, Grief, Family, Tagging, Friendship, Relationships, Blended Family, Courage, Conflict)
Author – James Roy
Age – 5+
Let’s do Diwali (5) – Chook is paired up with Praj in his class because his best friend Joe is sick. They have to research an international festival and Praj asks if they can do Diwali – A festival of lights. Chook is worried about how big the crowd might be and if he’ll like the food, but Praj’s mum makes him feel part of things with traditional clothing and careful choice of food for Chook to try. He loves the happy atmosphere, the food, the music and the fireworks!
On the Road (6) – Chook and his family are going to visit their younger twin girl cousins. What will they talk about? But Chook takes his chess set and his brother takes his socccer ball. Evie learns chess very quickly and Poppy ends up playing soccer with Ricky outside. They have things in common after all.
Unhappy Camper (7) – Chook doesn’t want to go on the school camp. His mum and friend Joe try to convince him it will be fun, but he still worries. When Chook’s brother Ricky is jealous, camp doesn’t sound so bad after all. He finally picks up his gear and goes to school – only to find they aren’t going anywhere. They are going to camp at school!
Up and Away (8) – When Chook’s teacher asks them to write about what job they’d like to do when they are older and why they think they’ll be good at it, Chook can’t decide. He thinks about being a pilot like his dad, but he’s a bit scared of that. When he helps out in the travel lounge with a little girl who is scared of flying, his dad is proud of him. Being a pilot is much more than just flying planes. It is being good with people too.
Four more stories in this easy-read series for boys, with characters they can relate to in their own daily lives.
(School, Growing up, Courage, Friendship)
Author / Illustrator – Mike Lawrence
Age – 8+ (Graphic Novel)
On the way home from Flower Scouts one night, Avani is abducted by an alien. No one is more surprised than she is, but she quickly learns that her new alien friend Mabel is a scout too. But Mabel’s badges are for exciting things like robots, jetpacks, and teleporting, not things like make up, party and songs, like at her dreaded Flower Scouts.
Using a translating and communication device, Mabel can teleport Avani to her planet any time they like and Avani spends a lot of time with her new friend. When Mabel tells her about Star Scout Camp, Avani is keen to go. But she needs a signed form from her dad. As soon as she has bypassed that problem, she is off to camp with Mabel and the other alien Star Scouts.
It isn’t long before she makes an enemy. Pam is a Methane breather and hears Avani call her a Toot breather. A badge competition is soon the only way to compete. The loser is to be kicked out of Star Scouts. But these are the best friends Avani has ever had, who allow her to be herself. How will she ever beat a giant alien slug?
The amazing full colour illustrations full of humour, alien life, and star systems, enrich this great story about friendship, competition, being yourself and admitting when you’re wrong.
(Sci Fi, Scouts, Graphic Novel, Friendship, Competition, Humble, Determination, Series)
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 – 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, handsome and he makes her laugh. 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)