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Monsters: The passion and loss that created Frankenstein

Monsters: The passion and loss that created Frankenstein
Sharon Dogar

Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd


What is this about?
Mary Shelley was just 16 years old when she ran away from home to travel to Europe to be with the man she loved, Percy Bysshe Shelley. In this remarkable account Sharon Dogar brings to life both Mary Shelley and her step-sister Claire as they navigate life as outcasts, travelling across Europe to meet up with poets and artists.

Through the pages, we follow the threads of Mary's life - the loss of her mother, abandonment by her father and her creative and rebellious instincts - leading up to the moment that Mary started to write Frankenstein, the novel that birthed one of the most enduring monsters in English literature.

It is a detailed, meticulous and powerful account that helps us to recognise in the historical character of Mary Shelley the very real and courageous young woman that she was. news image

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The Valentines: Happy Girl Lucky

The Valentines: Happy Girl Lucky
Holly Smale

Publisher: HarperCollins


What is this about?
Hope, just as her name suggests, lives her life full of expectation: that her parents' relationship will be fine just as soon as her dad comes home; that the love of her life is just waiting around the corner; and that she will be a famous actress, just like her self-absorbed mother and formidable grandmother.

Hope lives her life as if she is starring in the latest blockbuster movie. But bit by bit, the movie that Hope has constructed and puts all her energy into keeping alive, starts to flake at the edges. Despite the money, the big house, and the glamorous siblings, we realise that the life she actually leads isn't anything like the life she portrays. Hope is desperately lonely, which is why she is prepared to risk everything with a trip to the other side of the ocean to find her true love...

A funny, unexpected and wonderfully warm story that has you hoping every bit as much as Hope that she will find the love she deserves. news image

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The Whispers

The Whispers
Greg Howard

Publisher: Puffin


What is this about?
THE WHISPERS is a powerful coming-of-age novel about a boy, Riley, trying to discover why his mother disappeared four months previously.

Without his mother, Riley feels adrift, especially as he comes to terms with his sexuality and identity within a deeply religious family. But he seems to be making little headway with the police, and feels that secrets are being hidden from him. Can the fairy-like Whispers, from his mother's stories, help him discover the truth about her disappearance? news image

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Only the Ocean

Only the Ocean
Natasha Carthew

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA


What is this about?
Two girls, Rose and Kel, are in a boat, on the ocean, with a storm approaching. They both know if something happens to them, it will be Kel's fault. After all, she is the one who kidnapped Rose and brought her here.

Kel had a desperate plan to change her future with an operation to buy her a new heart, a new chance at life. But when things start to go wrong, Kel begins to look at her life in a new way, one in which she can acknowledge her feelings about the past and move on to a new life.

But will a fresh chance at life be possible in this unremitting future world, ravaged by rain and water? news image

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The Way Past Winter

The Way Past Winter
Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Publisher: Chicken House Ltd


What is this about?
Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they've gone - taking Oskar with them.

Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back - even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.

The Way Past Winter is the latest haunting and beautifully-written novel from novelist and poet Kiran Millward Hargrave. news image

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Murder At Twilight

Murder At Twilight
Fleur Hitchcock

Publisher: Nosy Crow Ltd


What is this about?
Viv and Noah despise each other; she says him as arrogant, he sees her as annoying. When Viv has a fight with Noah, she doesn't think it'll be the last time she sees him. But when she gets back from school, he's nowhere to be found and there are police cars everywhere, lights flashing and sirens blaring. Then the finger of suspicion points at her mother, and Viv knows she has to do what she can to help bring Noah back.

Viv is sure Noah's run away to get attention. But it's really cold, dark and the floodwaters are rising. When she finds him, she realises that a much more dangerous story is unfolding around them...

From the author of Dear Scarlett, Saving Sophia and Murder in Midwinter comes this exciting, pacy murder mystery story. news image

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Snowglobe

Snowglobe
Amy Wilson

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books


What is this about?
When daydreamer Clementine discovers a mysterious house standing in the middle of town that was never there before, she is pulled towards it by the powerful sense of a mother she never knew.

The place is full of snowglobes, swirling with stars and snow and each containing a trapped magician, watched over by Gan, the bitter keeper of the house. One of these is Dylan, a boy who teases her in the real world but who is now desperate for her help.

So Clem ventures into the snowglobes, rescuing Dylan and discovering her own powerful connection to the magic of these thousand worlds. Vowing to release the magicians from the control of their enchantments, Clem unknowingly unleashes a struggle for power that will not only put her family, but the future of magic itself in danger. news image

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No Fixed Address

No Fixed Address
Susin Nielsen

Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd


What is this about?
Susin Nielsen's perceptive new book, NO FIXED ADDRESS, shows the reader how easily it is to become homeless through no fault of your own, and what a devastating impact this can have on young people with nowhere to call home.

In NO FIXED ADDRESS, we how teenager Felix Knutsson and his mum gradually slide into poverty and how a temporary move into a campervan becomes a permanent way of life for the family. Nielsen builds a vivid picture of what that means - little in the way of heating or proper food, no bathroom, and no security.

Felix is determined to change their luck; could winning a television show bring them the money they so desperately need? news image

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Rosie Loves Jack

Rosie Loves Jack
Mel Darbon

Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd


What is this about?
Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they're separated, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head.

Even run away from home.

Even struggle across London and travel to Brighton, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though people might think a girl like Rosie could never survive on her own... news image

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The Boneless Mercies

The Boneless Mercies
April Tucholke

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books


What is this about?
Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work.

Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate.

But glory comes at a price …

An epic YA fantasy set in a breathtaking new world. news image

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The Skylarks' War

The Skylarks' War
Hilary McKay

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books


What is this about?
When Clarry is born, her mother dies and her indifferent father leaves her and her brother, Peter to be raised by a series of housekeepers and well-intentioned neighbours. They long for their summer holidays in Cornwall where, largely ignored by their grandparents, they roam free with their cousin, Rupert who they adore.

Back home, Peter shares all he learns at school with Clarry who is not considered worth a proper education until boarding school is forced upon him. As war approaches and Rupert leaves for France, their world changes forever.

This is an amazing story, destined to be a classic. Following Clarry from her birth to adulthood, the book explores family relationships against the backdrop of the first world war. Clarry is delightful, remaining positive and caring in the face of neglect and indifference, devoted to her bother and cousin, and determined to succeed in the face of all adversity.

The Skylarks' War is a touching story, full of vivid description and historical detail. news image

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The Lost Witch

The Lost Witch
Melvin Burgess

Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd


What is this about?
Bea has started to hear and see things that no one else can – creatures, voices, visions. Then strangers visit Bea and tell her she is different: she has the rare powers of a witch. They warn her she is being hunted. Her parents think she is hallucinating and needs help. All Bea wants to do is get on with her life, and to get closer to Lars, the mysterious young man she has met at the skate park. But her life is in danger, and she must break free. The question is – who can she trust?

This is a powerful, beautifully-written fantasy by master storyteller Melvin Burgess that tackles trust, identity and relationships. It is suited to older readers aged 14+. news image

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Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
Holly Bourne

Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd


What is this about?
Olive is on the edge - the edge of GCSE results, life, love and friendship. We meet her as she emerges from her duvet den under a desk, in which she has taken refuge since she suffered a depressive relapse.

Concerned for her mental and physical wellbeing, her doctor offers her the opportunity of a life time - a residential clinic named Camp Reset, where for a month she will have the chance to learn how to manage her (as yet undiagnosed) condition whilst living with other teenagers with similar troubles.

Olive sets off with a heart full of optimism and a determined attitude - she will become 'normal'! We join her and the various residents of the camp as they slowly start to learn more about themselves and each other, and that actually, we all just need a bit more kindness in our lives.

This is a wonderful book, Holly Bourne's writing is clear and engaging and the pace matches Olives' mental state perfectly. This is sure to be a well-deserved hit among older readers aged 14+. news image

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Firebird

Firebird
Elizabeth Wein

Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd


What is this about?
If you are interested in History, then this tale is perfect. Unique and historical, it is refreshing to read and a real page turner. Based on historical facts from the Russian Revolution and set in the time of World War II, this story is a beautifully crafted adventure tale. Featuring a female protagonist - Nastia - the reader follows the powerful female pilots who fought to defend the Motherland.

Nastia is young, naive but brave and when the call for War is announced, she immediately makes herself available to fight. However, she must face many trials, battles in the skies and will quickly learn what it means to truly be the daughter of revolutionaries. news image

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Everything All at Once

Everything All at Once
Steven Camden

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books


What is this about?
Steven Camden one of the UK's most acclaimed spoken word artists and Everything All At Once is a collection of his poems that each capture a fleeting moment, event or emotion; together they build to tell the story of a week at any, and every, 'secondary school jungle' for every kind of student.

Everyone is given a voice in this collection - the year sevens and the school leavers, the cool kids, the sporty kids, the geeky kids and the teachers - making it fast-paced, engaging and all-too-true-to-life.

There are first day fears and inevitable fights, post-party rumours, PE lessons, detentions, toilet graffiti, falling in and out of friendship, fitting in and finding your place in the lunch hall, loving lessons and a teacher quietly inspiring reading.

If you enjoy this, you can also try books by Sarah Crossan, Kwame Alexander and Jacqueline Woodson. news image

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