The Last Days of Archie Maxwell

Author – Annabel Pitcher36170364

Age – 16+

Archie is reeling after a family announcement. His father is leaving. His mother doesn’t even seem mad about it, and his big sister knows more than she’s letting on. When Archie learns the whole truth, his whole world implodes.

What if his the guys at school find out? His life won’t be worth living. They will show no mercy. And that’s when Archie begins to think about that guy who ended it all on the train tracks behind his house.

Archie likes a girl at school – who just happens to be the sister of the guy on the tracks. She blames herself and is trying to understand why her brother did it. When Archie offers her some relief from her guilt, they become a little closer. But she has her own secrets too. Is Archie strong enough to resist a final solution for himself and protect her from the same?

This is an easy read/novella for not only dyslexic teens, but those who may find larger texts daunting or unappealing. It was gritty, true to life, showing the no-filter language of teen boys amongst themselves and about girls. Fantastic read.

(Dyslexic, Homophobia, Suicide, Bullying, Mental Health, School, Family)



Jessica’s Ghost


Author – Andrew Norriss

Age- 12+

Francis doesn’t have many friends. He hides his love of designing clothes because of bullying at school and spends most of his time alone. Until he meets Jessica. Jessica quickly becomes his best friend, but Jessica isn’t normal – Jessica is a ghost. Francis’ mum can’t believe the change in her son and asks him if he could help a new kid at their school. Francis isn’t happy about it but agrees to meet ‘Andy’ at his mum’s request.

Andy is different too and despite first impressions, they too hit it off. What follows is a story of friendship, self belief,  belonging and hope.

Covering child depression, bullying, and suicide (bullycide), this story is anything but depressing. Written in a clear, simplistic way, it highlights an issue that is all-encompassing for the young person going through it, but gives hope and understanding to it.

I’m putting this in my group of wonderful books like Wonder and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

(Ghost, Suicide, Bullycide, Friendship, Clothes Design)



Author – Alex Morel

Age – 13+

Jane has a plan. And she is determined to stick to it. She has spent the last 6 months in her long stay at Life House after her father’s suicide, doing everything she can to convince the hospital (her Doctor in particular), that she is well enough by Christmas to fly home for two weeks.

She has a lot of pills that she intends to take in the plane’s bathroom once up in the air, then will return to her seat, pretend to sleep then never wake up.

Never in a million dreams, or in any of her constant second guessing of everything in her life, think that the plane might crash.

After severe turbulence whilst in the bathroom, she smashes her head on the ceiling then drops the pills. She wakes up in a nightmare.

Great read!

(Action, Courage, Conflict, Grief, Love, Suicide, Plane Crash, Determination)

All the Bright Places


Author – Jennifer Niven

Age – 14+

Theodore Finch is standing on the bell tower at his high school, contemplating jumping off. But he gets a surprise when he looks beside him and sees Violet Markey (one of the cool kids) standing frozen in fear. What was she doing there? Surely she wasn’t thinking of doing the same thing?

Theo talks her back over the safety rail and it soon spreads through school that Violet saved Finch (the weird, psycho, wacko boy) from jumping off the tower. They have US Geography together so when their teacher sets the class a project to check out all the ‘sights’ of Indiana, they have to do it in pairs. Finch asks Violet right out in front of the class and she goes with it, scared he will tell the truth about who saved who.

Through both viewpoints we see them slowly build a friendship, learning about each other while finding sites for their school project. An intense relationship develops with Violet becoming stronger and Finch becoming lost without her. When something threatens to separate them forever, terrible decisions could be made.

This might sound like a gooey love story. It is and it isn’t. Fantastic characterisation and story telling makes this a MUST READ.

(Suicide, Love School, Friendship, Conflict, Grief, Individuality)



Author – Erin Lange

Age – 14+

Butter is big. Or as the kids at school call him – the fat kid. He got his name from a bullying prank and it’s stuck. This story is about Butter’s relationship online with a pretty girl from school, who has no idea who she is talking to. When she finds out, she breaks his heart and helps him make a terrible decision – which actually makes him popular for once.

A heart breaking but believable story about the power of peer pressure and social media.

(Bullying, Peer pressure, Popularity, Social media, Love, Suicide, Obesity)

Dear Vincent


Author – Mandy Hager

Age – 14+

No punches pulled on this novel from the award winning NZ author Mandy Hager.
Love, Family, Secrets and everything to draw you in, make you cry, and love this book!

(Bullying, Conflict, Family, Friendship, Grief, Growing up, Secret, Suicide, Love, Award)

More Than This


Author – Patrick Ness

Age – 13+

Seth has made a decision to kill himself, so wades out into the bitter cold ocean and is smashed against rocks where he drowns.
He wakes on the front path of a house, strange bandages hanging around his top and bottom half, leaving his middle bare. He quickly realises he is back at the house he grew up in. Back in England, thousands of miles where he now lived with his Mum, Dad and little brother Owen.
How can that be? And what were the bandages for? He remembers the snapping of his bones in the ocean. Was he in hell?
There is no-one around – anywhere. After searching the house (and finding a strange coffin inside) and the surrounding streets, he discovers he is alone. The town looks as it has sat empty for years, with shoulder high weeds and grass along the streets and old dried up food in the shops. Where is everyone? Is he destined to spend eternity alone?

With ‘A Monster Calls’ being one of my favourite books ever, I knew I had to read ‘More than This.’ This novel had me enraptured from page 1 and just when I thought I might know where it was going it turned me upside down. A Must, must read. Fabulous!

(Suicide, Family, Grief, Future, Relationship, Gay, Mystery, Love)