Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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In The Shadow of Heroes by Nicholas Bowling

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

Life as a slave in ancient Rome could be harsh and degrading, but Cadmus has it much easier than most. Taken into the household of the scholar Tullus when he was a baby, his keenness to learn and his excellent memory have made him invaluable to his master, who treats him more like a secretary and perhaps even a member of the family, rather than a despised, barely human creature. Full Review


Not My Fault by Cath Howe

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Maya and Rose won't talk to each other. Even though they are sisters. Not since the accident. Maya is turning wild and Rose doesn't know what to do. And now Maya and Rose have to go away together on a week-long school trip. Will the trip fix their sibling bond... or break it for good? Full Review


The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll

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Lucy is living in a beautiful, expensive house along with her joking, playful dad and her lovely mum. Everything should be perfect. Her dad is a property investor, making millions, and she and her mum don't lack for anything in their lives. But still, Lucy lives her life on edge, controlled by the words around her, whether they are spoken, or unspoken. You see, her dad is a bully, edging closer and closer towards physically abusing her mum, and Lucy is manipulated by him, unable to express her true feelings, or fully develop her artistic side which is where she feels her talents lie but her dad says won't ever lead to her having a successful life. Full Review


Check Mates by Stewart Foster

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

In many ways Felix is a typical boy in Year 7, enjoying playing games on his PS4 and hanging out with his friend Jake at the weekend. However Felix is struggling at school. He is not a problem child but he does have a problem. His ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate, he keeps getting into trouble and his grades are slipping. When his Mum suggests that he spends more time with his grandfather Felix is horrified. Ever since Grandma died his Granddad has been grumpy and more eccentric than before. All he wants to do is sit in the dark and play chess. Felix knows that this will be extremely boring. But sometimes we learn valuable lessons where we least expect to and perhaps Granddad and Felix can help each other. Full Review


The Tunnels Below by Nadine Wild-Palmer

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

Meet Cecilia. It's her twelfth birthday, and after a scene that shows her parents to be wacky, witty and wonderful as if fresh from an American sit-com, the whole family is set to go out for a grand day of celebration. Cecilia is toting a large, silvered ball that her younger sister found as a present, but ends up dropping it, and watching it as it rolls right back from her grip into the very Underground carriage they had just left. Mind the gap. Back in the train with it she finds she is alone – and the train promptly hares off to leave her abandoned in pitch darkness at a stop no other train has ever taken her to… It's the outskirts, Cecilia will find, of a strange society of English-speaking humanised animals, and her first acquaintance, a fox-man, will tell her that all talk of a world above, with suns and fields and fresh air, is pooh-poohed as the nonsense gibberish of people who have wandered in darkness too much and forgotten their origins. Can she survive all this wondrous civilisation can throw at her and find her way back to the family she left behind – or will the dark leaders from the resident crow family subject her to their evil reign? Full Review


The Secret Starling by Judith Eagle

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers Clara has lived in the crumbling Braithwaite Manor owned by her guardian, Uncle Edward, since she was a baby. It has been a lonely life as her uncle is strict and forbidding and she has been home schooled. Her only friend is Cook who looks after Clara with kindness and tells her stories of her own family and their adventures. Clara has recently become aware that something is wrong as many of the prized possessions such as paintings and porcelain are disappearing and then cook is dismissed. Shortly afterwards Uncle Edward abandons Clara in the local village with a fistful of money and disappears. Clara is now totally alone. Full Review


The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock

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Athan Wilde earns some money to supplement his family's meagre income by working for Mr Chen who is both mentor and friend. Mr Chen's wonderful imagination and sense of the future has led him to create some fantastic inventions for making life easier and work less back breaking. His latest endeavour is something on an entirely different level, however - it's a.... flying machine! Imagine that! Full Review


The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye

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Meet Harry Stevenson. He's a typical guinea pig, except he's perhaps a bit more ginger than normal. And more lazy than usual. And his appetite is possibly bigger than the norm. Apart from that he's a regular guinea pig. But the stories in which he features are nothing like. In the first one here, the lad who owns and looks after him is being forced to move house. It should be a simple journey for Harry, safe in his cage from all the predators that watching nature documentaries have put into his imagination, but he gets distracted and – shock horror – left behind. It takes some bravura slapstick and a charming contrivance for him to be found again. In the second, for we get two full-length stories in this volume, there's a party being held to get the lad used to his new schoolmates, and Harry used to life in a garden hutch. And one more wonderful conceit that drives high drama. Full Review


Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne

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

Meet Mera. She's the latest in a line of young women intent on fighting against their intended destiny for one only they can see for themselves. Her father, the king of Xebel, sees some cotton wool and a hunky man in an arranged marriage as her future – after all, Mera's mother, the territory's warrior queen, is long dead. Mera doesn't fancy the cosseting or the fella involved at all, and is in fact trying to get Xebel out from under the cosh of Atlantean power, for Xebel's royalty are merely puppets of Atlantean masters. So when she overhears her father request that her intended goes to the world of us air-breathing humans, and kill the Atlantis heir, she rushes off to get the quest (and the promised throne) all for herself. But of course, she has no idea what kind of person she will meet, and how hard it will be to get the job done… Full Review


Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez

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

It's the near future, and every coastal city – including Metropolis – is in need of a huge flood barrier, built on its coast by Wayne Enterprises. But the rising sea levels have put even those constructions under threat, forcing many people to relocate in America's biggest exodus for decades. Superman is helping out, of course – first he was patching up the dams, but now he's mining the asteroid belt for a rare dust that's perfect for blocking the solar energy from making further polar ice melt. Inland, in Wyndermere, the refugees from the coast are suffering bigotry and intolerance for being newcomers, but something else is much worse. A major bout of food poisoning is hitting the city. But it can't possibly have anything to do with what looks like sabotage of the flood barriers and the efforts to correct the climate, can it? Four young children begin to piece together clues that it can… Full Review


Cloud Boy by Marcia Williams

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Angie and Harry are best friends, almost-twins and next door neighbours. They have been inseparable their whole lives, until Harry's headaches become so regular he's taken to the hospital and has to stay there. Angie is annoyed at Harry for being poorly, their treehouse, Artcloud, has just been completed and they're supposed to play in it together, except Harry can't come out to play anymore. Angie's Grandma comes for an extended visit, and she always takes Angie to see Harry and reads them her letters from her time as a child in Singapore. It's a difficult time, and Angie must gather all of her resilience and bravery to be the friend Harry needs. Full Review


The Closest Thing to Flying by Gill Lewis

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Semira is an Eritraen refugee, living in the UK with her mum and Robel, a man who controls their money, their food, and their every move in the UK. He threatens them that if they don't do what he says, they'll be sent home. One day, Semira finds herself buying an old hat on a market stall, strangely drawn to the bird that decorates the hat. When she takes it home she discovers there is an old diary hidden inside the hat box, written by a young girl called Hen over 100 years ago. Semira finds herself caught up in Hen's story, finding in it an escape from her own life that is full of hunger and loss. She finds that she is challenged by the girl in the diary, to speak up in her own life and fight for her place in the world. Full Review


The Haven: Book 1 by Simon Lelic

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When Ollie and Nancy, the police officer tasked with guarding our young hero, are abducted in the middle of the night, things take a dangerous turn. Rescued by Dodge, Ollie is taken to the Haven, a secret underground community based in a network of underground tunnels that the London above ground knows nothing about. Here, children work together to battle great evils. And there is an immediate enemy to fight. Ollie would have been the hundredth victim of Maddy Sikes had he not been rescued. And Maddy intends to destroy the city. Full Review


The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder

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After a big blow-up fight with her mum, Emily is left alone with her dad. Her mum has gone away on some strange job (even though Emily didn't think her mum even had a job) and so she is not quite sure what is going on. Things turn even stranger still when her dad goes off to find her mum, and then doesn't come back. She heads out to investigate and discovers a strange, secret world called the Midnight Hour, which seems to be London during Victorian times, and is full of magical beings (and monsters!) What were her parents doing here? And will she be able to find them and rescue them, so her life can go back to normal? Full Review


Lightning Chase Me Home by Amber Lee Dodd

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Named after two famous female explorers, Amelia Hester McLeod loves to listen to stories of exciting adventures, but when it comes to being brave herself she finds it very difficult. She lives on a small Scottish island with her dad and her grandad, and spends her time daydreaming about where her adventurous mother might be off exploring. When her mum had lived with them, she had home-schooled Amelia, and her dad and grandad tried to continue that for a while. But now her dad has decided it's time for Amelia to go to school on the mainland. Amelia is afraid - afraid of having to make new friends, afraid of being picked on because of her problems with reading, and afraid of what's happening to her since she went and made a wish on a mysterious rock in the sea… Full Review


Little Bird Flies by Karen McCombie

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Bridie, or Little Bird as she prefers to be known, is a crofter's daughter living on the remote Scottish island of Tornish. Life is hard but often happy even though Little Bird struggles with the disability of a wasted arm and leg and often misses her mother, who died some time ago. Despite this, Little Bird has a warm and loving father, sisters to watch over her, a good friend in Will and a laird for whom she is a particular favourite. Little Bird knows every inch of her windswept, savagely beautiful island. Full Review


Pebble (Strong Winds series) by Julia Jones

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

Liam isn't quite the youngest in a large family: he doesn't have the distinction of being the baby anymore and he doesn't have the heft of his older brothers and sisters. He's rather like one of the pebbles on a large shingle beach: part of the mass but easily overlooked as an individual. So when he starts having problems with his sight no one really takes any notice. He doesn't want to bother his mother as she's heavily involved in the Luminal Festival and when he asked his elder step-sister, Anna, if she'll take him for an eye test, she puts him off. In fairness she's got important exams and Liam's convinced that it's just a case of getting spectacles, but Liam's eyes are changing in a rather strange way. Full Review


Lark by Anthony McGowan

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

I'll warn you first.

This is the fourth and last story about Nicky and Kenny. Try not to cry before you've even read the first page.

Things have got tense at home - again - for Nicky and his learning-disabled brother Kenny. Their mum is coming to visit - the mum who abandoned them a long time ago. They haven't seen her for years and the impending visit is stirring up a lot of uncomfortable feelings. And Nicky's girlfriend has ended things. To take their minds off it all, Nicky and Kenny plan a day out, trekking across the moors. But it doesn't go to plan and an accident puts both boys - and their dog, Tina, in terrible danger. Full Review


The Afterwards by A F Harrold and Emily Gravett

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Tell them what The Afterwards is about, they said.
Hopefully you know this, but...
It's a book with friendship in it.
It's a book with death in it.
It's a book with betrayal in it.
It's a book with love in it.
It's a book with a cat in it.
That's what I know.
That's what I can tell you.
That'll do me.

To be honest, I'd be surprised if that wouldn't do you, too.Full Review


The Coming of the Spirits by Rob Keeley

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In Victorian England, young Edward Fitzberranger is about to be infected with scarlet fever and die. Further back still in time, Sir Francis Fitzberranger is about to marry Tina, the love of his life. In the modern day, Henry and Luke are getting on with life. And in an alternate timeline, Ellie is working for a resistance movement and struggling under a Britain ruled by the Nazis... Full Review


Treasure of the Golden Skull (Maudlin Towers) by Chris Priestley

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers (If multiple categories use the same format, separated by comma + space) Sponge and Mildew are not the biggest fans of their school, Maudlin Towers. Who would be? It's run down. It's gloomy. You can't move for gargoyles and that's discounting the teachers. But when they find out that there's no money left and the school might close they realise that, tatty and morose as the Maudlin Towers is, it is home. So they set their minds on a rescue mission... Full Review


When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee

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

There is a place on this earth that, at the time of writing, is resplendent with life. In the spring seals gambol in the river – not venturing too far, for fear of being slashed open on the razor wire the humans have put in place. In the autumn, salmon come upstream, looking doleful as well they might, for they will spawn and die, if they reach their birthing grounds. Mountain goats gambol prettily among the hills – if the landmines men left behind do not prevent them from doing so. This is a snapshot of life in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between the two countries with Korea in their name, and it's the world's least welcome wildlife sanctuary. Full Review