Newest Teens Reviews

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Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

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Valor is under arrest for the attempted assassination of Anatol, Demidova's Crown Prince. Queen Ana is furious and sentences Valor to life imprisonment in Tyur'ma - a brutal prison constructed of stone and ice... ... it's not sounding too great for Valor, is it? But the thing is, this is exactly what she had been hoping for and she's even prepared to risk her parents' respected positions at Demidova's court to achieve it. Because Valor's sister Sasha is already in Tyur'ma - accused of stealing a national treasure vital to cementing a peace treaty between Demidova and a neighbouring nation. Valor is convinced of her sister's innocence and intends to break her out. Full review...

The Glow of Fallen Stars by Kate Ling

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The Glow of Fallen Stars is the second book in Kate Ling's Ventura series - you can read our review of the first instalment here. Seren and Dom, together with Ezra and Mariana, have escaped the Ventura, the spaceship on which they have spent their whole lives, and crash landed on the planet Huxley 3. At last, they are away from the stifling authoritarianism of life on board the ship and free to pursue their own lives underneath a real sky, walking on real land. Full review...

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager

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Emma Nash is a typical 16 year old with all the insecurities and obsessions that come with this age. When the love of her life ghosts her (i.e. breaks up with her by acting as if she doesn't exist), she spends the summer moping in her pyjamas. However, September arrives all too soon bringing with it the start of Sixth Form and a resolution to make some important edits to her life. This includes e-tweaking herself with disastrous, and often hilarious, consequences. The whole experiment is recorded in Emma's private blog: a blog that she might just regret ever writing. Full review...

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant

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Two random strangers. Thirty-six questions guaranteed to make them fall in love. What's not to like?

Based on a psychological theory, Grant's novel explores the concept that love can be engineered by using thirty-six simple questions. Questions such as What would constitute a perfect day? or When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? are designed to reveal the souls and characters of both participants, enabling them to form a deep connection with a stranger. In a modern world dominated by technology, this face to face interaction is performed to test whether genuine human interaction can give love a push or will it leave them feeling vulnerable and reserved? Full review...

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

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After an accident leaves his brother, Kam, with severe neurodisability, it's obvious that the lives of Sef and his family will never be the same again. Plagued by feelings of guilt and struggling to cope, Sef turns all his attention to the only way that he might be able to help - money. In an attempt to raise funds for his brother's care, he enlists the help of Claire. As a volunteer at the facility looking after Kam, she's the only person from school that really appreciates just how dire Kam's situation is, and how important it is to get the funding that he needs. Aided by Claire's equipment and YouTube know-how, the two create a channel where their alter-egos, Truth Girl and Dare Boy, play an escalating game of Truth or Dare to persuade viewers to donate to their cause. However, £60,000 is no small amount, and fundraising through YouTube is no easy feat. Just how far are they willing to go for their cause? Full review...

High Spirits (Spirits 4) by Rob Keeley

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Millions of people will die in the war, Ellie. And it's our job to make sure it happens. That's why our work isn't easy.

And if that's not ominous, I don't know what is.

It's been two years since Ellie's last adventure in the spirit world or talked to her friend, the ghost of Edward Fitzberranger. She has tried to do what Viewpoint asked her to do and live a normal, boring, human life. Mum is still working for the Journeyback historical re-enactment company but it looks as though her job won't last much longer. Money is tight and Mum, as ever, is stressed. Dad got compensation for his accident, so he is living the life of Riley. He's eager to help out but Mum won't hear of it. And Ellie has a romantic interest in Luke. All in all, things could be better but they could also be worse. No more spirits. No more corrupting of timelines. Full review...

Libby in the Middle by Gwyneth Rees

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Twelve-year-old Libby has an older sister, Bella. Bella used to be a real confidante to Libby but things have changed since she got a boyfriend. Now, Bella makes Libby feel childish, foolish and unwanted. The close friendship they had shared has gone and Libby worries that it will never come back. Libby also has a younger sister, Grace. Grace is lovely but it seems to Libby that Grace, as the baby of the family, commands all the parental love and attention. Libby is well and truly stuck in the middle, without a role of her own. Full review...

Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

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Away from home. Away from friends. Leaving behind parts of the person that you were growing up, in the hopes of finding more of the person that you want to become. Going to university is a monumental transition. For some, it's an escape. A chance to start anew. A freedom of the sort that you'll rarely have at any other point in life. An opportunity to make lifelong friends and memories that will stay with you forever. However, student life can also be a double-edged sword. There's a fine line, after all, between the opportunity to meet new people and the pressure to make new friends. With great freedom comes great responsibility. In the hands of new young adults, just leaving the nest, it's something that can get very messy, very quickly. Phoebe and Luke went to the same high school, but never really floated in the same circles. But when the two collide in the madness of Fresher's week, little do they realise that they're about to get pulled into each other's worlds for a messy, intense and hilarious term that neither of them will ever forget. Full review...

Fighting Fantasy: The Port of Peril by Ian Livingstone

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As I promised I would when I looked back at the beginning of the 35 year history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (here), I took to the brand-new-for-2017 volume with my pen, mapping paper, and most importantly, dice. For the first time in a long, long time, I would not read a book for review. I would play it. And so, armed with healthy stamina, reasonable luck but frankly embarrassing skill, I set off. This is the report of that journey – as well as hopefully being the usual useful book review. Full review...

SweetFreak by Sophie McKenzie

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Carey and Amelia are best friends, so both are naturally very upset when SweetFreak, a malicious online account, begins to abuse Amelia. To make matters worse, the police soon find evidence that Carey was the one who sent the messages. Soon everyone, even Amelia, is convinced of Carey's guilt. Only her sister, Poppy, accepts her innocence. When the online threats spill over into real life, Carey is determined to discover who is framing her. Full review...

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

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Rita and Lo are sisters and best friends too. Their partnership extends to a double act as a trapeze act in the travelling circus that forms a backdrop to their lives. Always on the move, travelling from one place to another, never staying in one town for long is all they have ever known. The sisters are surrounded by the love of their family and the close friends who make up the other circus acts. Their lives are happy and secure. Until one day Lo meets a boy, a special boy named Dean. Their growing friendship, together with a secret that Lo discovers, will change things for ever. Full review...

The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen

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He wasn't an alien, I was sure of that. It was more like he'd walked in through an ancient door from the past... except he was here, in my bedroom and his misty forest was somewhere real on Planet Earth.

Twelve-year-old Kofi thought he was seeing things when he spied a tiny human on a roundabout near to his house. But he wasn't. Rorty Thrutch is as real as you or me. But how did Rorty come to be hiding out in the middle of a roundabout in Bradborough? And why is he so insistent that he'll soon be bad dead? Full review...

Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence

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In Bailey's opinion, Indigo didn't look like she needed a hero. One by one, she looked Mona, Saskia, Betti and Kay in the eye. Then she gave them the finger: slow motion. Headphones on again, she sauntered off towards the science wing. Hell. That was... She was...

That's Indigo for you! Indigo is seventeen. And on her umpteenth school. Pitt Academy is a last chance for Indigo and her foster mother Keeley is anxious that she makes it there. But it's not easy for Indigo - her reputation for kicking off always precedes her. And that's the least of it - because someone always finds out about her past: that she is the tiny little girl who was found by the body after her father killed her mother. Full review...

A Change Is Gonna Come by Various Authors

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A Change Is Gonna Come is an anthology of stories and poems interpreting the theme of change by twelve BAME writers. It's Stripes Publishing's response to the under-representation of BAME authors in the UK. And it's a great response. Full review...

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

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A group of teens witness something that they shouldn't and find themselves hunted by half the kingdom. Royal plots, magic, adventure and a rich culture to immerse yourself in. Can the pack of bastards make it to safety before the vicious warriors chasing them catch them? Full review...

No Filter by Orlagh Collins

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Em - Emerald - has led a pretty privileged life. Her wealthy parents have sent her to a posh private school. She's friends with all the right people, as her social media accounts will attest. Everything is sweetness and light in Em's world. Or is it? Equivocation over covering up bullying has put Em in the crosshairs of the school's cool girl pecking order. Friends are suddenly less friendly. There are secrets at home about to turn from secret to open crisis. And when Em's mother overdoses, the dominoes start to topple. Full review...

The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long

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On Griff's thirteenth birthday, he and his brother's lives change forever when their entire family is caught up in a road accident. The Nearest Faraway Place is told from the point of view of his brother, Dylan, as they both try to come to terms with the end of their world as they know it. Full review...

Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais

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The results are in – and for the first time in three years Mireille has not been voted ugliest girl in school, but only the third ugliest. When her replacement at that exalted low position comes calling for sympathy, Mireille is at first too hard-hearted to give a damn, for angry self-defence is her default mode. But soon all three medallists in the unwanted competition form a trio, and all three see a reason to go and gatecrash the 14th July Presidential Garden Party – one girl because her favourite band are playing there; another as her brother has been ignored for a major military honour in favour of his ex-superior, who should instead be getting hauled over the coals and not applauded; and for Mireille, the reason is that the President's husband is her natural birth father, and has never acknowledged her… Full review...

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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I picked up Love & Gelato in hope of a light-hearted summery read, with an added draw being that the action takes place in Italy, a favourite country of mine, and that's exactly what I got. The novel tells the story of Lina, a teenager who fulfils her dying Mother's wish by spending a summer in Tuscany, conveniently staying just outside of Florence, getting to know the father she has never known. She is aided on this quest by a journal her Mom left her, documenting the year she met Lina's father whilst studying photography in Florence. Full review...

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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They need something to believe in, something beyond crowns and kingdoms. They need to believe in the old stories. In the power of the land.

It was fourteen years ago that Elanna's life changed completely. Fourteen years ago that her father's plans of revolution fell through, and at the tender age of five, King Antoine held a pistol to her head and took her hostage. Raised by the King, Elanna grows into adulthood suppressing her magic and resenting the parents she once loved. Now twenty, Elanna prepares for either study or marriage, until King Antoine dies and she's condemned to death for treason. On the run, Elanna encounters her father's men, and finds herself moving from one imprisonment to another. Her father it seems, wants to carry out the revolution that failed fourteen years ago, he wants to unite the people in creating a fair kingdom and he wants Elanna to be the face of the rebellion. He wants her to be the Steward of the Land capable of powerful magic to make the very Earth move. Elanna must to decide which side she'll align with and how she will shape her destiny. Can she deny her people the help they desperately need to build a new world? Full review...

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

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Ethan and his family are moving to a little town in Georgia from the big city of Boston in a last ditch attempt to help Ethan get over the loss of best friend Kacey. And the move does give Ethan a great deal else to think about. There's living in Grandpa Ike's dilapidated old house and the uncommunicative Grandpa Ike himself. There's a new school with a new pecking order to navigate. There's a new friend in Coralee, who has a great line in tall stories and who likes adventures almost as much as Kacey did. But it's hard to leave grief behind, especially when you feel as guilty as Ethan does... Full review...

Surrender by Sonya Hartnett

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Anwell lives with his physically abusive father - vicious corporal punishment for a minor infraction is a constant threat - and his mentally abusive mother who loses no opportunity to belittle her young son and express her disappointment in him. Anwell is not popular at school and his life at home is severely proscribed. So, when Finnigan appears, Anwell is grateful for a friend. Finnigan is strange and wild and full of a dark freedom. He doesn't even go to school. Full review...

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices 2) by Cassandra Clare

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After the cataclysmic events of the devilishly macabre 'Lady Midnight', Cassandra Clare produces another melodramatic magical mêlée for its sequel, conjuring up new risks and agonisingly painful decisions for the Blackthorn family and their friends. Their troubles are by no means over as they face the aftermath of Malcolm Fade's reign of madness and the malicious machinations of the cohort [a sect of power-hungry Centurions who want to punish Downworlders and minority groups with draconian legislation]. Above all Julian wants to keep his siblings safe but his self-destructive love for Emma and the reappearance of Annabel threatens to tear them apart. Full review...

Resurrection by Derek Landy

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Skulduggery Pleasant – the sharply dressed and wise-cracking skeleton – is back and he needs help. A small group of disgruntled sorcerers have banded together and have plans to use their unique set of skills to wage war on the mortal world. Others have tried this in the past but this particular group have a scheme that should guarantee their success: they're going to resurrect a terrifying evil. Despite his powers, Skulduggery can't defeat them alone. He successfully persuades his former partner – Valkyrie Cain – to join him for just twenty-four hours. But will she stay when the time runs out? Will they be able to save the world? Full review...

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy

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Like Other Girls is a story about a girl called Lauren. She is not like other girls, though she does sometimes like other girls. For one, her mum is the headmistress of her school, for two, she doesn't fit in to a clique, and for three, her boyfriend thinks she's mad. Lauren's world has been turned upside down by a revelation of someone close to her and when something enormous happens to Lauren, she has no one she can turn to, or so she believes. Full review...

Rook by Anthony McGowan

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When Nicky and his learning-disabled brother Kenny come across a rook being attacked by a sparrowhawk, they chase off the raptor and rescue the rook.Kenny is convinced that a good dollop of love and affection is all that's needed to keep the bird alive but Nicky is sceptical. And in any case, Nicky has other things to worry about, like avoiding the bully at school and finding a way to talk to the girl he likes. In the previous two books in this sequence, troubles were dogging Kenny and the boys' father but in Rook it's Nicky who could do with a helping hand. Things are about to go wrong. Will Nicky find a way through? Full review...

All The Things That Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster

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Alex has OCD, and as if that wasn't awful enough, he's getting badly bullied at school. Dan's the guy who's bullying him, but he's not really sure why he is apart from the fact Sophie says he should. The only thing Dan does know is that he really misses his brother, Ben. All the Things that Could Go Wrong follows both Alex and Dan's stories as they just try to make it through the days. While Alex fights his OCD and his bullies, Dan fights his loneliness and all the anger that he seems to have inside him now. You might think this is going to be a cut and dried story of the nice boy who's being bullied and the bad boy who's doing the bullying, but it isn't. Full review...

Troublemakers by Catherine Barter

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Ever since Alena can remember, it's been her step-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick who have looked after her. Her mother died when she was just three years old. It might be small and unorthodox, but Alena's family is a loving one. However, simmering political tensions in London, triggered by a series of bombings, threaten to spill over and shatter the stability of the only family Alena has ever known. Faced with complicated questions about family and politics, Alena finds herself looking back into the past, at the life of activism that her mother led, a life that her brother has always been suspiciously secretive about, in the hope of finding some answers. Full review...

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

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It's camp. It's supposed to be fun.
Well excuse me for not having the time of my life.

That simple piece of dialogue is the key to this autobiographical graphic novel. Why is Maggie not happy at camp? Forget the way she's isolated by being a sleep-walker, and ignore the fact she's from a different state to every other girl around, and practically only there to obey her mother's family tradition – she's all of a sudden become an ace shot on the rifle range, and can boss the Backstreet Boys-themed talent performance. But those aren't enough for Maggie to feel settled and like she's enjoying her summer, and anyway they do come with their own problems. No, the bigger problem is something else – the fact that she seems to be falling in love with one of the counsellor campers, there to look after the welfare of the younger inmates – being potentially a lesbian is a shock to our narrator. Full review...

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

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'The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars?' Sign me up, please. But this YA mystery is more like a teenage Agatha Christie: it's twisty, complex, and at several points I began to wonder if the final reveal would be that everyone was the murderer. Full review...

Marvel: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

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Doreen Green moves from California to New Jersey and, quite by accident, embarks on a journey to become a hero. A fantastic origin tale for the brilliant Squirrel Girl character this story is engaging, fast-paced, hip and extremely cool. What would a person be like if they had the proportional strength and agility of a squirrel? Wonder no more. Full review...

Steve and Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin

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Like many books for confident readers and teens, our heroes are the victims of cruel bullies – to be precise, as we are well into the twenty-first century here, of the cyber kind. But this isn't some worthy self-help, tell-an-adult book, nor is it a gloomy book about young people who can't see the point of going on. Nope – these guys take the unusual (and, in the light of later events, utterly daft) decision to simply sail away into the sunset, to take a break from civilisation, online Thor and his idiot Viking horde, and the insanities in general of all adults. In their defence, it seems a sensible move at the time... Full review...