Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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The Lost Magician by Piers Torday

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In a world ravaged by the horrors of the Second World War, two boys and two girls move to the countryside to stay with a professor. They find a secret door and then a strange and enthralling world where they are needed, to play a major role in an epic battle. Sound familiar? Full Review


Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay

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Samkad is living high up in the mountainous Philippine jungle just as the nineteenth century turns to the twentieth. But Samkad has no idea about any of that. He has never met anyone from outside his own small tribe and his thoughts are focused on becoming a man. He's desperate for the Elders to permit him to join the ranks of the warriors who protect his tribe from their headhunting enemies, even though he knows it will mean leaving his childhood friend Little Luki behind. Full Review


Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James

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To live above a bookshop – what could be better? Well, how about a bookshop with its own café, run by a brilliant chef who loves you to sample his cakes? Bliss! Of course, Tilly's life isn't perfect. Her mum went missing, she never knew her dad, and her best friend has joined a cooler group at school. But still, her grandparents and Jack the chef are kind and caring, she loves nothing more than to curl up and read, and as the book progresses she finds a new best friend – a real one. Full Review


Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon by Sally Gardner

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Betsy K Glory lives a rather wonderful life on a peaceful island where nothing horrible ever happens. Her father, Alonso, makes the most wonderful ice cream in every flavour you could imagine. Her mother, Myrtle, is a mermaid and comes to visit regularly, although she still lives in the sea. Betsy dreams of two things: firstly, about the circus owned by a tiger and whether it would ever come to her island and secondly, about a magical ice cream made from the berries of the Gongalong bush. One scoop of this ice cream can make wishes come true.

And then Mr Tiger and his circus arrive. And a journey is planned... Full Review


The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure (Legend of Kevin 1) by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

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Meet Kevin. He's a flying pony, and he's a little on the plump side. He loves biscuits too much is why, but he's happily living in the middle of nowhere, in the wild, wet hills of the Outermost West. Now meet Max. He's a simple human being, not flying anywhere, and wishing for a pet to share his time in his top-floor flat with, something his Byronically goth sister and parents don't agree with. One night, however, the wild and wet hills are wilder and wetter than usual, and an enormous storm blows Kevin out of his nest, and on to the balcony outside Max's window. The two are bound to become friends, but they might not be able to relax just yet, for the bad weather has not finished… Full Review


Clownfish by Alan Durant

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When Dak's dad dies very suddenly, from a heart attack, Dak is left feeling lost and alone. His mum is lost inside her own grief, struggling to take care of herself, let alone care for Dak, and so he escapes to the local aquarium - somewhere that both he and his dad had loved. But then he discovers that actually, his dad has turned into a clownfish and is living at the local aquarium! What will Dak do when the aquarium's future is in question, and he may potentially lose his dad all over again? Full Review


The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle

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Fionn is off to spend some time with his grandfather on the island of Arranmore. His older sister Tara is going with him. Tara is well into adolescence and she can be quite dismissive of her rather green younger brother. The siblings need some time away because their mother isn't coping well with the death of their father and needs time alone to get better. Grandfather is a strange, eccentric old man who lives in a tiny cottage full of candles. He has a crabby but wicked sense of humour and sometimes has trouble keeping hold of his memories. But he makes the candles dance and his eyes contain depths that hold the secret of the seas. Full Review


The Mapmakers' Race by Eirlys Hunter

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It's easily done. You nip off to fill everyone's water bottles, and your mum starts to fret in case you don't make it back before the train leaves. Mum gets off to find you, you make it back in good time but she doesn't, and hey presto, four children and a parrot disappearing into the unknown with no money, no home and not a parent in sight. Full Review


Where Do You Go, Birdy Jones by Joanna Nadin

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Bridie - Birdy - Jones is eleven and finding life rather hard. After her mother died, it used to be just Birdy and Dad and that was okay, but now there's Birdy, Dad, an overbearing step mum, a little sister and another baby on the way. There's precious little room for Birdy any more and the only place she really feels happy and secure is at her grandfather's pigeon loft. Birdy loves pigeons. She loves caring for them, training them, and releasing them to wait for them to find their way home. Full Review


Riddle of the Runes by Janina Ramirez

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The name Janina Ramirez is well known: her television programmes on cultural history, especially of early medieval times, are both lively and informative. She shares her extensive learning with a light hand (and a frequent giggle) and her enthusiasm encourages students and viewers alike to explore further the subjects she discusses. But how will that translate into children's fiction? Will her academic desire for accuracy make the story dull and fact-packed? Will she hold up the action to display her considerable knowledge? Nope, not a bit of it! Full Review


Showtime (Dance Trilogy) by Jean Ure

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Second years. The girls couldn't believe that they'd made it through the first year - in fact they'd all made it, all eight of them, which was most unusual. Usually some were thrown out - they might have grown too tall, didn't look right or didn't have the commitment required. Maddie felt a bit nervous when she thought about that last bit as there'd been a point when she might have been thrown out for that reason. She's now determined that she really does want to be a ballet dancer, except... Full Review


Boy Underwater by Adam Baron

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Cymbeline Igloo (yes, that’s his real name!) is nine years old, and he has never been swimming, and this wouldn’t be a really big problem except for the fact that the school bully has somehow got the impression that Cym is actually an amazing champion swimmer, and has challenged Cym to a race at their very first school swimming lesson! He tries to research swimming on the internet, but there’s an accident at the pool that, initially, sees Cym embarrassed in front of the other kids, but that results in his mum having a breakdown. Why has she never taken Cym swimming? And why does his accident at the pool create such devastation in Cym’s life? Full Review


The Girl Who Thought Her Mother Was a Mermaid by Tania Unsworth

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Stella's mother died when she was a little girl. Stella is growing up in a house with her dad, who is often away, and her grandmother, who is starting to experience the onset of dementia. This is all hard enough for a young girl, but at the same time Stella finds that she feels like rather an oddball, struggling to fit in at school, and as her grandmother begins to lose her grip on reality, Stella struggles with feeling very alone. When Stella's only school friend suddenly moves away, Stella struggles even more. She is desperate to find out what happened to her mum and to uncover her family's secrets. Full Review


Run Wild by Gill Lewis

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Meet Izzy and Asha. Bullied away from the local attempt at a skatepark, they find a huge waste ground in the shadow of a derelict gasometer to practise on, which they duly do, even though they have to drag Izzy's younger brother with them. The following day they all want to return, as does the brother's schoolfriend, despite – and of course because of – there being a huge wolf living in the site. Can the children survive living in the urban wilderness, alongside such obvious dangers? Full Review


The Mapmakers' Race by Eirlys Hunter

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It's easily done. You nip off to fill everyone's water bottles, and your mum starts to fret in case you don't make it back before the train leaves. Mum gets off to find you, you make it back in good time but she doesn't, and hey presto, four children and a parrot disappearing into the unknown with no money, no home and not a parent in sight. Full Review


Across the Divide by Anne Booth

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I want all children to know that they CAN already make the world a better place, and that there are other people, now and in history and in fiction, who stand alongside them in this. This is what author Anne Booth said about the inspiration behind her latest children's book and this thoughtful story about family, friendship and being brave enough to speak up for what you believe should help to achieve this. In Across the Divide she cleverly combines current issues regarding peace and conflict and the history of conscientious objectors during World War 1 in a moving portrayal of young people trying to make sense of the world and the decisions made by adults. Full Review


The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater

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

None of them believed me. Nobody believed I really couldn't remember what happened to my brother. I wanted to scream at them to listen. Because, for the first time in a long, long time, I was actually telling the truth.

Ed Clayton is a teller of tall stories. He just can't help it - even though he knows and everybody else knows that most of what comes out of his mouth is complete fantasy. It all started when Ed's father was accused of fraud and sent to prison. Then mum's mental health went to pieces. Then, with nobody bringing money into the house, poverty - real, grinding, poverty - set in and life became all about scratching about for pennies and visiting the food bank. All of this is horribly shaming, so is it any wonder that Ed has become a bit of a Billy Liar, hiding the truth of his home life in the hopes the power of imagination can make it all disappear? Full Review


The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin

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Elvis Crampton Lucas was found, as a baby, on a bench at the zoo. He knows little else about himself, other than that's where his father found him one day and he took him home and named him after the first three vinyl records he took down from the shelf! Elvis' life has been a happy one, but as his twelfth birthday comes around he finds himself suddenly wanting to know, and needing to know, the truth about who left him on the bench and why. Elvis' quest takes him far away, to a new country, facing challenges he'd never imagined in his desire to know the truth. Full Review


Walls by Emma Fischel

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When Ned's parents decide they can no longer stay together they come up with what they think is an ingenious plan, which is to divide their house in two, so that there will be a mum side and a dad side, and the children can spend a week on either side at a time. Whilst his parents hope this will be less disruptive, Ned is incensed by the walls that spoil his beautiful home and stop him from moving through the house as he used to. The walls make him angry, and that anger grows and grows until one day, Ned suddenly discovers that the walls are no longer important because he can walk through them! Full Review


Kat Wolfe Investigates (Kat Wolfe 1) by Lauren St John

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Kat Wolfe lives with her mum, a vet, in London and following a break-in they decide that the time has come to move out of the city. Kat, a confirmed animal lover, is delighted when her mum accepts the offer of a job on the idyllic Dorset coast as the job comes with one special condition. They must agree to adopt the previous owner's cat. However this presents a problem that Kat had not foreseen for the cat is a wild Savannah who resists all Kat's attempts to sooth and tame him. Furthermore when she starts a pet-sitting agency to make pocket money Kat's problems mount up. The owner of her first charge disappears leaving a series of mysterious clues behind him. What started out as a promising escape from city life quickly escalates into a mystery that deepens and becomes steadily more dangerous. Luckily Kat has her new friend Harper to support and help her. Although Harper is laid up with two broken legs thanks to a horse riding accident she is not about to let that stop her getting involved. Harper is a language and coding whizz and she and Kat are determined solve the clues and make people listen to them. Even if they can't do that by themselves they know that they have their animal friends to help. Can the team work together to save the day? Full Review