Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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Jedi Academy 2: Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

There lived a boy called Roan Novachez who always dreamed of being a pilot like his big brother. Fate works in mysterious ways and poor Roan ended up at Jedi academy instead. His first year was full of drama and tween angst; trying to make friends, fit in, impress girls and avoid lightsaber-wielding bullies. Roan thinks this year is going to be different: This school year will definitely be the BEST YEAR EVER!' Of course, nobody told Roan that when you make statements like that, you are just asking for trouble... Full review...

Hattie B, Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song (Book 1) by Claire Taylor-Smith

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Hattie's birthday is not going as well as she planned. Mum and Dad are busy at work, her teenage brother is ignoring her and her best friend has decided to go away for the weekend. Hattie is resigned to a morning of watching DVD's in her bedroom until a surprise knock at the door heralds the delivery of a very special gift that will change her life forever. Full review...

Jelly Baby by Jean Ure

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Flora, who is generally called 'Bitsy' and sometimes 'Jelly Baby' because she's well rounded, doesn't really know what it's like to have a mother. Mum died when she was two and only her elder sister, Emily, who's thirteen, has any real memory of her. Since then the girls have lived happily with Dad - the rather absent-minded Professor - and Aunt Cass. They've not really bothered about keeping the house tidy and things do get rather scruffy but it doesn't seem important until they're told that their father is bringing a girlfriend home. The girls are delighted. They want their father to be happy. Full review...

Wild Boy and the Black Terror by Rob Lloyd Jones

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In Victorian London, the city has been plunged into shock and confusion by a poisoner who strikes without trace, driving victims insane before killing them. Wild Boy and Clarissa, still hated and feared by much of the population, must try to avoid detection as they aim to solve the case and free the capital from the terror. Full review...

Buckle and Squash and the Monstrous Moat-Dragon by Sarah Courtauld

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In this story we have two sisters. There is Eliza, who dreams of being a swashbuckling hero, whilst her sister Lavender spends her time mooning over pictures of princes, hoping to become a real princess. One day Lavender gets kidnapped out in the forest by a rather dreadful villain, Mordmont. Will poor Lavender ever escape? Will Eliza get to be the hero? And what about these monstrous moat dragons?! Full review...

The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

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My house is a mess, the laundry is piling up around me, my poor children haven't been fed and I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Chris Colfer. From the moment I opened the cover of his latest book, I have been spirited away to a magical land of fairies, elves, dragons and trolls and I'm afraid all of my mundane, everyday tasks and responsibilities have been sadly neglected ever since. Full review...

The Classic Adventures of Paddington by Michael Bond

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Some characters have stood the test of time and few would deny that accolade to Paddington, the bear from darkest Peru who now lives with the Browns at 32 Windsor Gardens, London. We've enjoyed him for over fifty years now and to celebrate the occasion eleven of the classic books have been collected in one, slipcase volume. All the stories are unabridged and accompanied by the gorgeous illustrations by Peggy Fortnum. Full review...

The Story of Matthew Buzzington by Andy Stanton

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Ten year old Matthew Buzzington was less than impressed when his father got a new, high-powered job and they had to move to the big city like IMMEDIATELY. It meant a new school, complete with a bully called Pineapple Johnson. (No. Sorry. You'll have to find out for yourself.) Matthew held on to one fact though - he knew that he had a superpower. He could turn himself into a fly. There's only one problem. It didn't work. No matter how hard he tried, no matter how he concentrated on thinking himself into being a fly, he was still a ten-year-old boy with curly hair and he was getting bullied. Then everything changed one night when Matthew, his four-year-old sister Bella and Pineapple Johnson were accidentally locked in the school one night. And burglars broke in. Full review...

S is for South Africa by Beverley Naidoo and Prodeepta Das

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Beverley Naidoo is best known for her award winning fiction for older readers but in this title in the World Alphabet series she brings her native country of South Africa to life for younger children. Starting with A for the Apartheid Museum and finishing with Zoo Lake in Jo’burg she covers many different aspects of life including traditions, food, landscape, animals, music and family life and each subject is accompanied by one of Prodeepta Das’s stunning photos. The poetic text flows and this would work well read aloud. Full review...

Shrinking Violet Absolutely Loves Ancient Egypt by Lou Kuenzler

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Shrinking Violet Absolutely Loves Ancient Egypt is the fourth instalment in the popular series about a tween girl who magically shrinks to the size of a doll whenever she gets excited. In her latest adventure, Violet's gran wins a trip to Egypt and decides to treat Violet, her surly sister Tiff and moody cousin Ant to a Nile cruise. The trip culminates in an archaeological dig at the mysterious 'Temple of the Cats', but when Ozzy the ship's cat goes missing, it is up to Violet and Gran to solve the mystery before it is too late for the unfortunate feline. Full review...

The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham

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It's hard not to be clumsy when you have to wear the big old boots you father left behind when he disappeared years ago – even if you do stuff them with fresh straw every day. But that doesn't stop eleven-year-old Rye O'Chanter and her two friends from getting up to all manner of mischief, from 'borrowing' a forbidden text from the Angry Poet to sneaking out at night to see the Black Moon festivities. Full review...

ZOM-B Clans by Darren Shan

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WARNING! If you haven't read the first book in this series, STOP READING NOW! NOW! Spoilers ahoy!

Go on. Run along. Full review...

Dragon Shield by Charlie Fletcher

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"Dragons don't exist,"whispered Jo. But even those three short words sounded more like a wish than a statement of fact.

Something dark and sinister is going on at the British Museum. An ancient power has awoken and it has stopped time. People are frozen like statues. Only Will and his sister Jo are still moving. The only humans still moving, that is. The dragons are moving. They're spitting real fire, too. And they're attacking Will and Jo. A glorious golden girl comes to their rescue, followed by an angel and a muse. And Will and Joe are plunged into a world where statues are alive and where good battles evil. Why are they still moving? Who is behind the stopping of time? And will they ever get Mum back? Full review...

Boy In The Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

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Wonderful, wonderful story about a lonely boy, his agoraphobic mother and building-eating plants. That could never work, right? Wrong! It's a must read and you won't ever have read anything quite like it before. Full review...

Secrets of the Tombs: The Phoenix Code by Helen Moss

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Egypt – a land of mystery and beauty, where history surrounds you and death is always present. There are treasures to uncover, riddles to solve and a colourful and exotic world to explore. A perfect setting for this, the first in a new series of thrillers which combines intriguing landscapes, archaeology and adventure. Much of the architecture and scenery in this book really exists and can be visited, including some of the tombs and museums, and many readers will feel inspired to seek further information about this most exciting and dramatic of locations. Full review...

Borgon the Axeboy and the Dangerous Breakfast by Kjartan Poskitt and Philip Reeve

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A real Barbarian breakfast has to have two elements – fun, and danger. So when Borgon wakes up wanting to prove himself to be the last of the really crazy and brave savages in Golgarth Basin, it's not enough to just give his parents a batch of crocodile tails – especially when his mum Fulma can't eat them as it's her teeth-sharpening day. So off he goes in search of a ridiculously dangerous breakfast, such as a Barbarian might only eat once or twice. The mysterious food source certainly provides a lot of danger, and the book itself provides a lot of fun too. Full review...

Wendy Quill is Full Up of Wrong by Wendy Meddour and Mina May

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Meet Wendy Quill. She's a big-hearted and big-haired primary schoolgirl, and not everything goes right in her world. When she is allowed to use her brand-new, second-hand bike to go to the shops for the first time on her own, she slightly squishes an old lady, and has to worry about the police presence at school the following day. She feels anxious when she's compromised herself with flapjacks and not being in the right gang at school. The only good bits of her life are the best friend she has, how loyal her invisible dog is, and the fact that when she wants to read her older sister's diary a ghost gets it down from a too-high shelf for her. No, honestly it does. Hey, I've read this book and I know what happens if you lie – so it has to be the truth. Full review...

Star for a Day by Jean Ure

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Lucy French (Luce to her grandad) is thirteen and she lives with said Grandad, Mum - and eleven-year-old Lola. Lola's the one who gets all the attention, is able to loosen Mum's purse strings with a pout of her lip and who was upset when she only got Highly Commended in last year's Talent Show. This year she will, of course, require a completely new outfit and the undivided attention of the family - and that not long after she's had a new outfit to go to a party. Lola is gorgeous, bubbly and brims over with confidence.

Lucy isn't - and doesn't. Full review...

Bluebird by Bob Staarke

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Comic strips are supposed to be exciting, action packed adventures. Full of bright colours, buzzing characters and onomatopoeia. This book is different in every way. For a start, there are no words. Not one single bang or crash or wallop. Then there’s the colour scheme. I think muted describes it best. This is a book of blacks, whites and greys and just a subtle touch of blue. Wow, does that blue pop though. And then there’s the theme, at which point things get really interesting. Full review...

The Tornado Chasers by Ross Montgomery

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There are a lot of violent storms in the valley where Owen lives, and almost as bad are the bears that roam the countryside. Naturally, his parents decide there's only one thing to do: the family must move to the small village of Barrow. Here, everything is planned to keep children safe from harm. They're only allowed out of the house in pairs, curfew is at four o'clock and lights out is at six. And for children who don't follow orders, there's always the County Detention Centre, a grim prison-like structure presided over by the mysterious – and terrifying - Warden. Full review...

Eye Spy by Tessa Buckley

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Twins Alex and Donna live in a somewhat unusual household. Their mum died when they were tiny so they live with their father and grandmother. Nan does all the heavy lifting in the household - she cooks, cleans, works, goes to parents evenings at school. Dad spends most of his time in his workshop - a converted railway carriage at the end of the garden. Dad, you see, is an inventor - and a rather eccentric and preoccupied inventor at that. Full review...

War Girls by Adele Geras, Melvin Burgess, Berlie Doherty, Mary Hooper, Anne Fine, Matt Whyman, Theresa Breslin, Sally Nicholls and Rowena House

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This collection of short stories written by some of the leading writers for young adults today is a moving and engaging account of an aspect of the First World War not often covered in teen fiction. Each story explores how the war changed the lives of young women of that time forever as they learned to cope with loss and grief. Full review...

Goblin Quest by Philip Reeve

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That's the trouble with heroes. They get it into their heads (and let's face it, there's usually plenty of space in there for the occasional idea) that they absolutely must do something big and valiant to win a place in the Hall of Heroes. I shall go down in history, they announce, and future generations will sing of my bravery and my exploits. Trouble is, of course, once they've fixed on a quest, nothing on earth can stop them – not even the fact that it's the most brain-freezingly, pants-wettingly STUPID thing they could possibly have decided on. Full review...

The Cat Who Came in off the Roof by Annie M G Schmidt and David Colmer (translator)

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Meet Tibble. Despite the feline-sounding name, he's a human man, and a journalist at that. But his boss at the town newspaper isn't too pleased with what product Tibble delivers – for all he seems to write about is cats. The night of his impending dismissal a cat walks in through the window of Tibble's attic flat – or it would have been a cat, a ginger called Minou, but something has turned her into a human. Enough cattish behaviour and intelligence remains however, and she soon helps Tibble out by telling him all the real news that the town's cats are privy to and have never been able to convey before. But can the very feline Minou survive in human form, and what happens when the grapevine of gossip from the cats leads to something so vital to report, but so impossible to prove? Full review...

Dork Diaries: TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell

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Oh dear – Nikki Maxwell is on TV. It could be worse – her younger sister or her embarrassing parents could be on TV with her, but for now it's just her. And that's a problem. Several books after surprisingly winning the school pop talent contest, Nikki and her friends get a contact with a top entertainment supremo called in, and Nikki is thrust into the limelight of reality TV, and pop boot camp. But how can she possibly juggle that, and learning martial arts at school, and keeping all her friends and boyfriend happy, and avoiding the evil Mackenzie? Full review...

Bright Star by Jenny Oldfield

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Morgan was just thirteen when she was sent to her aunt's ranch in the Rockies for the summer. It was all a bit alien to her - I mean she was a city girl from Chicago and she was going to have to get on with horses. It's not long though before she realises that she has a real affinity with horses and ponies and develops a special bond with a terrified wild mustang. It's Morgan who rescues the animal when it's trapped in barbed wire and calms it sufficiently to bring it into shelter. Full review...

Really and Truly: A Story About Dementia by Emilie Rivard and Anne-Claire Deslisle

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Every child who is lucky enough to have grandparents loves spending time with them. After all, no one can tell a story better than a grandparent. Charlie and Grandpa have a relationship like that, and no matter whether it’s a pirate who lives in the attic, or a gnome who lives in the cellar, Grandpa can keep him entertained for days with his stories. Full review...