Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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The Highland Falcon Thief by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Harrison Beck, or Hal as he prefers to be called, isn't exactly pleased when his parents send him off with his uncle Nat, a travel writer, on a long train journey. Although, this isn't any old train; this is the Highland Falcon, the royal train, and this is its last ever journey before it gets sent to a museum. A number of high-society figures, including film stars, millionaires and aristocrats, will be on this train, so it is quite the event on the social calendar. However, when an expensive brooch is stolen, Hal realises that maybe this trip won't be as boring as he previously thought. As the passengers begin to turn on each other, Hal vows to get to the bottom of the mystery…before the train gets to the end of the line. Full Review

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Sequin and Stitch by Laura Dockrill and Sara Ogilvie (illustrator)

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Sequin loved her mum to bits, but sometimes she got very cross with her. It wasn't that mum wouldn't go outside their flat - Sequin coped with that - it was because she never pushed to get credit for what she did. Mum is a seamstress and she makes the sort of clothes that you see on red carpets or at important weddings. She's not the designer - they're the people who make a lot of money from the clothes. Mum is the person who actually makes the garments and she's really talented, but when people talk about the dress or the suit, they talk about the designer. The seamstress is never mentioned. Full Review

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The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke

5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the winter of 1880, five babies are abandoned at the Little Tulip orphanage in Amsterdam, much to the annoyance of matron Gasbeek. Twelve years later, Milou, the last of the five babies to be abandoned back in that winter, struggles to work out the identity of her parents from the clues she was abandoned with: a small coffin with claw-marks on the outside, a cat doll made by someone called Bram Poppenmaker and a velvet blanket. She, along with the other four, patiently wait for Milou's parents to come back and take her home. However, when the five children are sold to the dodgy merchant Meneer Rotman, they know they have to escape. And so begins the adventure of a lifetime as the Unadoptables join forces to reunite Milou with her parents, all the time being pursued by the Kinderbureau and Rotman… Full Review

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Wink by Rob Harrell

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When Ross is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, aged 12, his desperate attempts at school to just be 'normal' become impossible. Suddenly he is the cancer kid, and everything he does, how he looks, and how he behaves falls under the scrutiny of the other kids in school. Ross is, understandably, angry. He is facing potential blindness, whilst dealing with an eye sealed in a permanent wink. He has gloopy eye medicine to try to help with the pain, plus the need to wear a hat at all times to protect his face due to the ongoing treatment. With the sudden ghosting by one of his best friends, and a series of horrible memes that someone at school creates about Ross, nothing about his life is normal any more, and he has to find new ways to deal with his feelings, and survive. Full Review

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Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm

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Thirteen-year-old Beth and her parents board the transport ship Orion ready for a new life on Eos Five. Their new home is still being terra-formed and life there isn't going to be easy, but it is going to be a fresh start. As Beth's mum puts it, There's a future waiting for us. A chance to make our own decisions, create our own lives. Full Review

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Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray and Manuel Sumberac (illustrator)

5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the last city on Earth, anyone can be the vessel of The Enemy - the god who drowned the world - who has come to wreak havoc on the last of humanity. When a mysterious boy is pulled from the corpse of a whale, the citizens immediately believe him to be the Vessel - all except for young Ellie Lancaster, a girl inventor. As the ruthless Inquisition prepares to execute the boy, Ellie must prove that he is innocent - even if it means revealing her deepest, darkest secrets... Full Review

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Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Demelza Clock is a scientist, often staying up late to work on her various gadgets, much to her Grandma Maeve's irritation. However, she has also inherited a certain set of skills that are not especially scientific: Spectre Detecting, the ability to summon the ghosts of the recently deceased. Under the guidance of her Grandma Maeve, Demelza begins to master her newfound skills. However, there is a mysterious individual on the prowl, kidnapping young Spectre Detectors. It's up to Demelza and her best friend Percy to get to the bottom of this... Full Review

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Jane Eyre: a Retelling by Tanya Landman

5star.jpg Confident Readers

A young woman, fresh from living with horrid relatives who could care less about her, and years in a dreary school, moves into Thornfield Hall with only one intent – to have something like the life she wants – and with only one job, to tutor a young half-French girl, whose father is almost always absent. When he does turn up he seems to be dark, brooding and troubled – but that's nothing compared to the darker, more broody and even more troubling secret in the house. Yes, if you know Jane Eyre then you know the rest – but if you don't, for whatever reason, this is a wonderful book to turn to. Full Review

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M is for Movement by Innosanto Nagara

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Set in Indonesia, in the not too distant past, this is a story about social change. Dealing with some difficult issues, such as political corruption and nepotism, the book is neither boring nor preachy. It educates gently, with vibrant, challenging illustrations, and it portrays how social movements need people who will try, even when it seems that they will fail. The message is a positive one; that in an increasingly uncertain world, we do still have the power to instigate change. Full Review

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Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers, Graphic Novels

Meet Dinah Lance. Frustrated that her policeman father will not allow her to try and follow in his footsteps, and seemingly lumbered with being a cheerleader at school, she is desperate to find her voice. But it's actually more a case of her voice finding her, as when she gets frustrated or plain dissed at school her vocal outcry can shatter glass better than any opera singer. You could almost call it a weapon, or a power. But in order for her to call herself a superhero, there has to be a whole path of steps for her to take – one of which will be into her past… Full Review

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The Rabbits' Rebellion by Ariel Dorfman and Chris Riddell

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

We're in the realm of the rabbits, only the foxes and wolves have taken over. King Wolf, His Wolfiness, has declared the rabbits don't exist, but the pesky birds have spread rumours from awing that the bunnies are in fact still around. Demanding a propaganda spree, King Wolf orders a humble monkey to be his official portrait photographer, but whatever the poor innocent monkey prints out in his darkroom there is a distinct leporine hint. Can King Wolf succeed in proving himself victorious, can the rabbits show their continued existence to all who need to know of it – and what can the poor monkey caught in between do? Full Review

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In the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Emmy is moving with her parents halfway across America, to follow her father's dreams of a big break in his music career. She leaves behind her friends and her school in Wisconsin, and moves to California, knowing only what she has heard in songs. Her struggle to settle into her new life, make friends and feel happy and confident again, is agonisingly told in a way we can all relate to. There are many new opportunities and setbacks, taking the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions, but it isn't until Emmy joins a coding class using computer language that she begins to feel she might have a chance to feel like she truly belongs. Full Review

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Lighthouse of the Netherworlds by Maxwell N Andrews

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, Fantasy, Confident Readers

The phrase about never trusting a book by its cover is something I put on a par with comments about Marmite. You're supposed to love it or hate it and I'm halfway between, and likewise, the old adage is halfway true. From the cover of this I had a child-friendly fantasy, what with that name and that attractive artwork of an attractive girl reaching for an attractive water plant. That was only built on by the initial fictionalised quotes, with their non-standard spelling, as if texts of scripture in this book's world predated our standardised literacy. But why was I two chapters in and just finding more and more characters, both human and animal, and more and more flashbacks, and no proof that this was what I'd bought in for? Full Review

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Max Kowalski Didn't Mean It by Susie Day

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

When Max’s dad finds himself in a spot of hot water, he disappears for a few days, leaving Max in charge of his three younger sisters, Thelma, Louise and Ripley. Max has no problem with stepping up to fill his dad’s shoes and be the man in charge, but when his dad still doesn’t come home, he starts to panic that interfering grown-ups will realise that the children are home alone and that they will step in and separate the family. So Max takes his sisters to Wales, to hide out in a friend’s cottage. It won’t be for long, surely? Because his dad wouldn’t miss Christmas, would he? Full Review

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Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Relax, everyone – our old friend Artemis may be off-planet, but the baddies aren't getting away with skulduggery any time soon because they now have not one but two members of the Fowl family to contend with. Those cute little twins are now eleven (and, frankly, cute no longer) and in this, their first independent adventure, they meet a troll and without even trying to manage to make two deadly enemies: a nobleman obsessed with immortality whatever the cost (to other people), and an unusual interrogator-nun. The boys are chased, kidnapped, arrested and even killed (though not for long), all with the help of one trainee fairy. Full Review

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The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Rayne lives in the small, hidden village of Penderin where she is a somewhat unwilling apprentice to her mother, the spell breather. Not everyone can spell breathe, you have to born with a magic spark and Rayne wishes she hadn't been born with one. She's a terrible spell breather, her attempts are always followed by disaster and she positively hates Mam's spell book with its sharp teeth that suck your blood. When a stranger finds their village one day, Mam must set off on a journey to the great library, leaving Rayne in the village as their chief spell breather, but an unfortunate mistake sees Rayne breaking her mother's book and turning everyone into monsters. She must face her fear travel across the monster-ridden country to find Mam and restore the book to save their village. Full Review


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Flember: The Secret Book by Jamie Smart

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

On the mysterious island of Flember, a young inventor named Dev finds an ancient book hidden in an old antiques shop. This book contains information about Flember, the energy of life. In true Frankenstein fashion, Dev uses it to create an enormous robot bear to help him clean up after himself. Hilarious chaos ensues. Full Review

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Invisible in a Bright Light by Sally Gardner

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

The beginning of this excellent story will leave the reader more than a little confused: who is the man in the green suit, what is the Reckoning, and why are rows of people in a cave? But stick with it – Ms Gardner is very cleverly letting us experience the same disorientation as our heroine. We watch in dismay as the strange man, who seems to have no eyes, does his best to persuade her to answer his questions. But for some reason, Celeste, despite her bewilderment, remains wary and gives nothing away. Full Review

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I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Cosmo's family is in crisis. Mom and Dad argue all the time. Emmaline doesn't quite understand it because she's too little but she feels it. And Max, who is bigger, does understand it and is terrified by it. Long ago, when Max was just a baby, Cosmo made a promise to protect Max forever and so he sets about his mission of repairing the family with everything he's got... Full Review

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Long-Haired Cat-Boy Cub by Etgar Keret, Aviel Basil and Sondra Silverston (translator)

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

One day a boy is in the zoo with his father when the man gets called away on urgent business. The boy isn't hustled into a cab and taken home first, though, no – he's given hot dog money, and taxi money, and told to just stick around on his own and enjoy himself. Well, it's no surprise that the orphan-for-an-afternoon sensation the lad feels doesn't make him happy, and so he thinks of a species name for himself and curls himself up into an empty cage as if he were a new exhibit. And it's then the drama begins… Full Review

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The Lizard by Jose Saramago, J Borges, Nick Caistor (translator) and Lucia Caistor (translator)

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Emerging Readers, Confident Readers

One day a giant lizard appears in the city. We don't even get told how it arrived, but it certainly appeared. People took against it, and if they weren't shrugging it off as a hallucination brought on by tiredness just as they fled it, they wanted something done about it. Can something be done about it, though? Full Review

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Deadwood Hall by Linda Jones

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

In late December Dylan Beaumont and his sister, Emily were on their way to spend the week before Christmas at their grandfather's house. It was snowing heavily and you could sense that their parents were becoming annoyed at the bickering in the back of the car. Emily was rather brusque with her nine-year-old brother's behaviour, but then that's your prerogative when you're a grown-up eleven-year-old. The snow was getting heavier and the journey longer when Emily opened the car window just a couple of inches. There was a dreadful smell and Dylan saw a horrible, snake-like figure clawing at the car window. Full Review