Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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

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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

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The Afterwards by A F Harrold and Emily Gravett

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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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

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