Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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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

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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

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When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee

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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

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Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

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It is the middle of the night when twelve year old Louisiana Elefante's granny wakes her up to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they must leave home immediately. Granny is prone to middle of the night ideas so initially Louisiana is not too worried by this but then gradually she realises that this time it is different. This time Granny intends that they will never return. Separated from her friends, Raymie and Beverly and her cat, Archie, Louisiana is devastated and desperate. She is determined that she will find her way home somehow. But as her life becomes entwined with the people living in a small Georgia town Louisiana starts to worry about the curse Granny told her was upon her head and fears that she is destined only for goodbyes. Full Review

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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

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Nan is a climber, the best chimney sweep in London. She is growing fast, so what will happen to her when she gets too big to climb, when people realise she is a girl? Everything changes, when she is stuck in a chimney, set on fire, and saved by a golem. A story of outcasts, and friendships, told through two tales, the girl and the sweep, and the girl and her monster. Both intertwined beautifully, so that you have a fairy tale within a fairy tale. Moments of sadness slip easily into glorious happiness, then swiftly into heart-breaking tragedy. This is a heart-warming and engaging read for both young and old. Full Review

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The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and Chris Mould

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Poor old Truth Pixie. She's cursed! She can't speak unless it's to tell the truth. You might think this is a good thing because telling lies is bad, right? But sometimes the truth isn't nice and sometimes a white lie is okay and sometimes it's better to say nothing at all. You might not want to attract the attention of the school bully by calling him mean and nasty, for example, or you might not want to tell someone that you think their brand new haircut looks awful. Full Review

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Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

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Jago doesn't like Clementine. He knows there is something different about her and he doesn't like it. And he never lets her forget it. Clementine knows she's different too, and that the difference is magic. And as much as she tries to ignore it, Clementine's magic is getting stronger. So when Jago's bullying gets too much, it's not really surprising that Clem loses control of it and gets herself suspended from school. Full Review

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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