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 – Gary D Schmidt
Age – 12+
This isn’t a long read and would be great for those teens who are a little reluctant at the thought of reading one of the doorstops they regularly see on library or bookshop shelves for teens. But just because it’s only 192 pages, doesn’t mean it won’t pack a punch – because it sure does.
I felt so much for Joseph, who at only 14 had experienced prison for attempted murder of a teacher, found an all consuming wonderful first love then lost it again, and learned that he was a father but was forbidden to ever have any contact with his baby daughter (called Jupiter.)
Now in foster care with 12 yr old Jack and his parents, Joseph is quiet, deliberately and instantly misunderstood by some of his teachers and the school bus driver, and the target of some school bullies.
But Jack quickly finds that Joseph is none of the things he is labelled with and he stands by him, just like he would an older brother. Jack’s parents treat Joseph as if he is their son, and Joseph responds to that – but his past soon catches up with him, with terrible results. Joseph has to make a choice. A sad but beautiful story of friendship, family and belief in someone you love.
(Family, Foster Care, Bullying, Prejudice, School, Young father, Love, Trust)
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 – Tom Moffat
Illustrator – Paul Beavis
Age – 8+
Grandad is barking mad! Literally! He has licked the postman and is running around on his knees barking like a dog!
Finn (nicknamed Fingers because he is always dropping things) thinks Grandad is the coolest person he knows. Why does he think he is a dog? Finn and his older sister Sally soon discover what’s happened. One of Grandad’s inventions is the cause and all they have to do is find out how to use it and get it to Grandad in hospital.
But he’s been acting like a dog there too, and the hospital staff can’t cope. Grandad is going to be transferred to a higher security hospital for disturbed patients – which means Finn and Sally will never be able to break him out. They have to solve the problem, and fast!
A muddle of mix-ups and mind-swaps follow as they deal with a growling grandpa, a zealous hospital security guard and Finn’s butter fingers. Just when you think everything is going to be okay, another mix-up muddles things.
Winner of the 2015 NZ Tom Fitzgibbon Award, this is a family funny, fantastic read. Make sure you keep track of the mind-swaps or you’ll be muddled indeed.
(Award, Kiwi author, NZ, Dog, Invention, Family, Grandparent, Grandad, School, Humour)
Author – Adrian Edmondson
Illustrator – Danny Noble
Age – 6+
Tilly’s dad is an inventor. One night she is woken by a loud bang and showers of sparks. Her dad had invented a time machine. When he tries to show her how it works, it breaks down. With a promise to show her in the morning, he sends her back to bed.
But Dad isn’t there in the morning – or after school. Tilly knows she has to go and find him. Dad has programmed interesting times and events through history into the machine and Tilly follows him onto a ship being cannonballed, a world cup football match, up victorian chimneys and to her own 6th birthday party. Will she ever catch up to him?
With B&W illustrations throughout and written by a master UK comedian and actor, Tilly’s tale is fun, dangerous and sweet as she searches for her dad and remembers her mum.
(Humour, School, Science, Time Travel, One-parent Family)