Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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Electrigirl by Jo Cotterill and Cathy Brett

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Holly Sparkes is an ordinary 11-year-old schoolgirl, until she is struck by a mysterious bolt of lightning and then everything changes and she becomes extraordinary! Just like one of the characters in her brother's much loved comics Holly has developed superpowers. Holly can generate a massive amount of electricity in seconds, a skill that can, as Holly discovers, cause mayhem unless she can learn to control it. Her brother Joe, an expert in these things, decides to become her mentor and together they resolve to use Holly's new powers to good effect. They get the opportunity sooner than they expect with the arrival in their town of the company CyberSky and the sinister Professor Macavity. Full review...

The Box of Demons by Daniel Whelan

3star.jpg Teens

Meet Ben Robson. He is haunted by owning a Box of Demons, which like those TV-advertised DIY liquids, does exactly what it says on the tin. It contains three demons, of different kinds, that have hampered his concentration at school, caused no end of mischief he has had to take the blame for, and may even have had something to do with his mother being incarcerated in a special hospital. But is that all it contains? The demons, as naughty as they might be – where do they sit in the grand scheme of things, and where as a result might Ben end up, if the forces of good and evil choose now (a wet and stormy February), and here (North Wales) to have it out once and for all? Full review...

Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Darcy's a typical teenager whose natural habitat is the shopping mall and the multiplex. It's, therefore, not surprising that she's finding it almost impossible to adjust to living in a snowy wilderness without television, a phone signal or wifi. It doesn't help that she's also recovering from pneumonia and tires quickly. But it is this very weakness that changes her life when, exhausted, she stumbles into the shelter of a cave and finds herself embraced by a hibernating grizzly bear. Full review...

Atticus Claw Hears a Roar by Jennifer Gray

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

If you haven't already, meet Atticus Claw. This is the seventh chance you've had, may I mention. He was an outstanding burglar, but now, as he is 'owned' by the children of a policeman, he has come over to the light side, and is solving crimes and not causing them – which is especially important as no end of criminality has been going on. Chancing on a lost explorer's lost treasure chest, mysterious clues are dropped to lead both goodies and baddies on the trail of jaguar gods, once worshipped by the Maya – did they really take all their treasure to a hidden valley in a last-ditch attempt to appease their sacred spirits and save their civilisation? How many of the diverse characters, including a gang of idiotic magpies, are going to contrive to come along on the adventure? And is one of them a witch – and if so, what does that make Atticus? Full review...

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Al Chaudhury. He lives, unknowingly, among a family of time travellers. His grandfather has such a brilliant memory he can use a mind palace to store anything and everything, and could tell you what happened on every day of his life, and take himself back with his thoughts. His father knows the starlight at night is years old, and is a snapshot of a sun that is remote both in time and space. But even harder to fathom is that Al's father is a real time traveller, and is going to speak from beyond the grave, and send Al on a true mission through time, one that will either save his life, or completely ruin all Al's forevers, for, er, for ever. Full review...

Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Shane Hegarty

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

It was bad enough when Finn was being trained by his dad to hunt the monsters known as Legends: at least there was someone around to rescue him if he messed up, and to apologise to the neighbours for the occasional dented car or broken window. And seeing as Finn isn't anywhere close to being the greatest hunter the world has ever seen (he'd much rather be a vet, not that anyone has ever asked his opinion on the matter), there's been lots of apologising to do. Lots and lots and lots. Full review...

The Diary of Dennis the Menace: The Great Escape by Steven Butler

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Poor Dennis the Menace. He thinks he's sorted his life out, and got rid of the Bum-Face wimp he loves to hate so much. His school, the Bash Street, is giving the winner of an exam they are holding the chance to upgrade to the snotty Posh Street equivalent, which is a nightmare full of books (and worse) and is actually a boarding school – yes, one of those places for people who seriously want to live in a school. Clearly the exam will only have one winner – said wimp, Walter the Softy. But like I say, Dennis only thinks he has his life sorted – sometimes it can come round to bite him on the bum, and sort him out… Full review...

Cat Burglar (The Scarlet Files) by Tamsin Cooke

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Scarlet is thirteen. She goes to school, she does her homework and she's beginning to wonder about boys. So far, so normal. But Scarlet doesn't make friends. She and her dad move house pretty often, and she always wears dull clothes so she can fade into the background – unless you think a balaclava and night vision goggles can be classed as a fashion statement. And instead of surfing the web and downloading music, she spends her free time scrambling over roofs and picking locks. Scarlet is a trainee burglar. Full review...

Chicken Mission: Chaos in Cluckbridge by Jennifer Gray and Hannah George

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Chickens are not supposed to live in cities, but they do because humans have got small coops in so many of their gardens. Foxes are not supposed to live in cities, but they have gone there anyway in search of anything to eat – which can include the chickens. Lethal, gigantic cobra snakes are not supposed to live in cities, but one, called Cleopatra that has been a huge enemy to chicken-kind for years, has escaped from the city zoo and is on the loose. You might think that the Elite Chicken Squad could sort out the fox problem if they went to town – after all, they have done so twice before now – but things would be a lot different if by some chance the wily foxes got into cahoots with the cobra… And things would have a lot more urgency if Cleopatra happened to be ready to lay a large clutch of her eggs – which she is… Full review...

Ghost for Sale by Terry Deary

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

When Mr and Mrs Rundle see an advert in the paper for a wardrobe for sale, complete with ghost, Mrs Rundle decides that they absolutely must have it! They own The Dog and Duck Inn and Mrs Rundle feels that addition of a ghost will add interest to their Inn and bring them custom. The arrival of the wardrobe certainly shakes things up for the Rundles, though perhaps not in the way they'd imagined! Full review...

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas

5star.jpg Confident Readers

These are the memoirs of Jacques Papier. Jacques is not a popular boy. He's not last to be picked in playground games. He's never picked at all! If he raises his hand in class, the teacher never calls on him. The school bus driver often forgets to stop and let him off. Sometimes, his mother even forgets to kiss him goodnight. If it weren't for Fleur, his twin sister, and the fabulous games they play together, Jacques would be very lonely indeed. Full review...

Pick Your Poison (Ruby Redfort Book 5) by Lauren Child

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

...the thing that you are forgetting here is that this isn't a thriller - this is real life.

...if this was a book, who would you most suspect of being the master criminal?

You, said Ruby.

Ruby Redfort is a teen who has it all: wealthy socialite parents, a luxurious home, great friends, a job at a top-secret spy agency and a seemingly unlimited supply of banana milk. She's smart, sassy, witty and surprisingly likeable for a rich kid. Pick Your Poison is book 5 in the series; the penultimate book before the big finale which promises to be explosive. Full review...

Rise of the Slippery Sea Monster (Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates) by Gareth P Jones

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

The thing about pirates and their treasure is that once they have won it, they then have to keep control of it. Mutineers, enemy pirates, and those pesky good people, all step in with their say about what happens to it. Oh, and you can now add to that list a huge sea monster, that is capable of cutting its way through a perfectly circular porthole it makes in your treasure storage and helping itself. Is it any wonder that our heroic Steampunk Pirates need to combine forces with a returning character (last met in book two) to put paid to this new horror? Full review...

The Map to Everywhere: City of Thirst by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

A delicate net for catching clouds, a talking frog and a stop sign with a personally addressed warning on it: items which are ordinary enough on the Pirate Stream, but definitely not in boring old Arizona USA. Marrill is immediately on the alert: why are items from the other world washing up in a disused lot on the far edge of her neighbourhood? That can't happen, mustn't happen – she knows only too well from her earlier adventure that it means something dreadful has happened there and that if the contact continues, it may just rip her world apart. Full review...

Bella Broomstick by Lou Kuenzler and Kyan Cheng

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Bella Broomstick has dark brown eyes, chocolate curls, absolutely no warts on her nose, an ability to talk to animals, a caring nature and a talent for sketching. So not your average witch at all. Aunt Hemlock decides Bella will never get the hang of spells and banishes her to the world of Persons where everyone is supposed to be stupid. But Bella discovers otherwise and soon finds herself loved and much wanted – and a style of magic all of her own. Full review...

Lockdown (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black

5star.jpg Confident Readers

High-tech gadgets and gizmos, feats of daring that will have you chewing your nails down to the elbow, villains who just love to gloat, and then (because this isn't any old kids-beat-the-baddies saga) the well-established tradition of Random Acts of Kindness – New York style. This may be the third sortie for Jack and his rag-tag team, but somehow the author still manages to surprise and delight his readers by giving the characters even more complex back stories, and by ratcheting up the tension so high you'll need to nip outside and have a quick scream from time to time. Full review...

Lily and the Christmas Wish by Keris Stainton

4.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

I In the small town of Pinewood the people are busy preparing for Christmas. This year they are doing something special to celebrate. Each person will write down a secret wish and tie it to the Christmas tree in the town square. Although nine year old Lily likes this idea she is more than a little sceptical that wishes can come true, no matter how much you may want them to. Then a strange storm blows in and scatters all the wishes across the town. Lily wakes up the following morning to discover that Bug, her pug puppy, can talk! That was not what Lily had wished for but maybe it was someone else's wish? The Christmas magic has definitely gone wrong. Can Lily, her younger brother Jimmy and, of course, Bug put things right before Christmas Day? Full review...

My Dog Daisy by Jean Ure

4star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Lily did not want a goldfish. Nor did she want a hamster or a cat. She wanted a DOG and whilst she understood what Mum said about not being able to have a dog in the 5th floor flat without a garden she still thought it was unfair. After all, when they lived at Gran's house there was a garden and she could have had a dog, but then Mum and Gran had a row and they moved out. She hadn't even seen Gran for three months and she missed her. And the dog which she couldn't have. Even Keri, her best friend, though that she was going on a bit about the whole thing. Full review...

Gulliver by Mary Webb, Daniel Swift and Lauren O'Neill

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Be careful what you wish for. Gulliver wants adventure – and boy is he going to get it. His very first voyage ends in an almighty storm, which ends in him being washed onto a shore alone – but the shores of an island where he himself is almighty, compared to the inhabitants. After being shot at with the smallest of arrows, chained up, made a spectacle of – and sorted out a problem of etiquette most diplomatically – he tries again, only to be stranded on a second island, completely in contrast to the first… Whether or not you recognise the story from this summary, be relieved that this most perfectly conveys big ideas (and those of one big book in particular) for small people… Full review...

Vasilisa the Beautiful (Russian Folktales) by Anthea Bell and Anna Morgunova

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

When I say to you the first response I had on picking up this book was 'Ooh, someone knows their Klimt', and that I thought I had seen Kandinsky in the art inside, it tells you the aesthetic is definitely to the fore here. (That latter claim was a bit false – but there's definitely a touch of Picasso.) Of course there is a story, and a more-than decent story it is too, but with the intriguing, detailed and unusual artwork of Anna Morgunova, this picture book with many words really does come to life. Full review...

Tales from Schwartzgarten: Marius and the Band of Blood by Christopher William Hill

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Frankly, it's a surprise to discover there are still people left alive in the gloomy town of Schwartzgarten. In this story, the fourth in the series, creepy bad guys in masks roam the town after dark. The local kiddie catcher is determined to rid the streets of orphans by any means he can (quite a challenge, considering how high the death rate among parents is) and for some reason the chocolatiers of the town are being murdered in inventive and frequently sticky ways. Full review...