Author – Tomi Adeyemi
Age – 13+
Orisha’s lands are made up of Kosidan (nobles and non-magical people) and Maji (those with powers to heal, bring fire, move water or summon spirits.)
But the Maji with their all-telling white hair and sometimes strange eyes have had their magic taken from them by force with much bloodshed and murder.
Zelie lost her mother in ‘The Raid’ that extinguised Maji magic, leaving her with an intense hatred of King Saran and his regime. But one day she comes closer to his regime than ever before and is drawn into a quest to take three magical objects to an island. This island and these objects have the power to bring magic back to their people. With magic comes power, and a way to strike back at those that have repressed them with tyranny.
With her brother Tzain at her side, she is forced to overcome her prejudice of their enemy and she encounters many unexpected things on their journey – including love. Can she get to the island? Will her own new magic be powerful enough to stir the gods or will Saran defeat them once and for all?
An epic 1st part of a trilogy, Children of Blood and Bone is a gripping African Fantasy. Told in the viewpoints of three strong characters, the story has great pace, power and intrigue as to whether they will achieve their quest. Brutal in parts with much blood spilled, this book captured me right to the last page, which left me wondering and wanting more.
(Fantasy, Series, Africa, Quest, Magic, Siblings, Romance, Power, Kingdom)
Author – Ella West
Age – 12+
Annie lives in a small town called Westport (west coast, Sth Island, NZ). Westport has endless rain, struggling coal mines and small town gossip. When Annie’s neighbour’s house is surrounded by armed defenders, it is the most exciting thing that’s happened for a while.
Annie doesn’t believe her neighbour Pete did any of the things they say he did. He’s always been friendly and quiet. But he’s gone missing and the longer he’s gone, the more suspicious he looks.
A police detective from the city arrives from Christchurch for the case, and his son Jack has come with him. Jack loves horses as much as Annie, and they meet by chance on the beach in the rain. More horse rides on the deserted beach build something between them. But surely it’s just for fun?
Annie’s comfortable life is turning on its head. There’s Jack and his smile, the local coalmine upsetting whole families by laying off staff, and Pete still on the run. Will things ever be back to normal?
I felt I was right there in Westport with the rain and the worries Annie and her family faced. I learnt about the dwindling coal mining industry and the upheaval it caused, and also a little about the mining disasters that have occurred there over the years. Rich with horse lore, animal lovers will enjoy this story. The mystery woven throughout the narrative will keep you guessing.
(Coalmine, Mystery, Romance, Fugitive, West Coast, Horses, Murder)
Author – Adriana Mather
Age – 13+
Sam (Samantha) and her step-mum Vivian have moved to her dead grandmother’s house in Salem, a small town where Sam’s dad grew up. She is instantly disliked at her new high school and she knows why. Her ancestor Cotton Mather was largely responsible for the Witch Trials in Salem centuries before.
‘The Descendants’ (a group of 5 teens always dressed in black, and true descendants of the so-called witches that died) are scathing of Sam and make life difficult. If it wasn’t for the neighbours, handsome Jaxon who sticks up for her and his mum; Sam would be just like she’s always been – friendless and feared.
People around Sam often end up hurt and she’s felt cursed since small. When this ‘curse’ follows her to Salem, it becomes much more serious. Is it all her fault? Where did this curse come from? Can she defeat it?
How to Hang a Witch is not only a fantastic read, it makes the reader aware of how close the 17th century witch trials were compared to the cyber-bullying of today. The phrase ‘Witch Hunt’ is applied to people in all sorts of conflict and this novel makes it clear why.
The other fascinating fact is the author is a descendant of Cotton Mather herself. Salem is a real town in America and she wanted to know more about both the Witch Trials and her own family history. Loved it!
(History, Witches, Ghost, Spell, Curse, High School, Popularity, Romance)
Author – Sally Gardner
Illustrator – Nat Barlex
Age – 13+
Jazmin’s best friend Becky has gone. She jumped off a building with her boyfriend. But moments after they jumped they vanished, leaving Jaz with the fallout, a devastating court trial, and her life shattered.
No-one believed her testimony at the trial. No-one would listen to her. But now, a man called Mr Jones has come to interview her. She can finally tell someone what really happened.
A line on the cover gives a clue to the reader that this is a story that contains something not of this world ‘They came to Earth to find love‘. And indeed it does include alien beings. But the entire story is still set on Earth as we know it today, through a series of interviews. This style and structure was intriguing and had to be followed closely as each person recounted what happened before Becky disappeared.
Something different from a multi-award winning author.
(Aliens, Friendship, Friends, Love, Romance, Sci-Fi, Action, Fear)
Author – Judy Sheehan
Age – 14+
Sarah is dead. How can this be? She was at her father’s wedding. Life was good. Sure she’d lost her mum and her dad became a workaholic and they’d drifted apart. But then Karen came along and she mended the hurts and the the distance between Sarah and her dad. And they were getting married.
How did she die? And what is this place she has ended up in? It looks like a shopping mall, but there are weird people walking around with no light in their eyes, mumbling to themselves and taking absolutely no notice of her when she asks them – what the heck is going on? Is she really dead? And why is she still wearing the gross coral coloured fluffy bridesmaid’s dress. Could she at least wear something else for all eternity?
Humour, ghosts, angels, murder, revenge, love, and a mission to achieve, I woke up Dead at the Mall is an entertaining read. It sure made me look at things like sunshine, good company, friends, family and the simple things in life in a whole different way.
(Funny, Humour, First love, Angels, Friendship)
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)
Author – Teri Terry
Age – 12+
(This is the 1st in a series)
16 yr old Shay (Sharona) is being teased about her full name again. When she fights back, leaving the bully on the floor, she flees bumping into a noticeboard on the way out. She snatches up flyers she has knocked off and escapes. When she is free, she opens the scrunched flyers and one of them shows a face she recognises. It is a photo of 11 yr Calista Tanzer, missing for a year. There is a contact number beneath the photo and Shay rings to say she has seen Calista.
1 year before, on a bike trail, Shay had noticed the young girl walking alone. She’d asked if she was ok then saw her get into a car with a man. Calista’s grieving brother (Kai) answers Shay’s call and wants to know everything she can remember and comes to see where his little sister was seen.
At the same time, some sort of virus seems to spreading through Scotland – fast. And it’s no ordinary sickness. It involves a temperature and pain – lots of pain. Is Calista part of this contagion?
Contagion is a thrill-ride that builds in intensity as Shay and Kai get to know each other, following anything they can find out about Calista’s last movements. It takes Shay to hell and back while people they know die around them. But where did the contagion come from and was it an experiment?
(Series, Love, Contagion, Experiment, Death, Revenge, Mystery)