Newest Teens Reviews

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Owen Pendragon by W S Markendale

3.5star.jpg Teens

Monsters are slipping through somehow from somewhere to kidnap children in Cornwall and the army seems powerless to do anything about it. 12-year-olds Owen and Mary assume they too are therefore powerless as they watch friends and neighbours disappear. Imagine their surprise when they realise that thanks to an ancient relative, they have more influence on what happens than they think and not just on what happens on Earth. And their distant relative? The former monarch and head of the round table, no less: King Arthur. Full review...

Stanly's Ghost: Book 3 (The Bitter Sixteen Trilogy) by Stefan Mohamed

5star.jpg Science Fiction

Cynical, solitary Stanly Bird used to be a fairly typical teenager – unless you count the fact that his best friend was a talking beagle named Daryl. Then came the superpowers. And the super powered allies. And the mysterious enemies. And the terrifying monsters. And the stunning revelations. And the apocalypse. Now he's not sure what he is. Or where he is. Or how exactly one is supposed to proceed after saving the world. All he knows is that his story isn't finished. Not quite yet … Full review...

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel and Jon Klassen

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Steven can narrate this book to us, but he can hardly ever mention the name of his newborn baby brother. That's not down to a fault with Steven, although there are many of those – obsessive hand-washing, nightmares, anxiety attacks. It's because there's something wrong with the new addition to the family. His parents mutter behind closed bedroom doors of regretting trying for a new child so late in life, but whatever the reason there is something demanding a lot of medical care and attention, even if the child can more or less live in the family home. But hope seems to be shining a light into Steven from the most unlikely source – angels that come to visit him in his dreams, from within a pleasant, light-filled haven, with full knowledge of the family's troubles and an offer of a way out. Obviously, worried for the happiness of his family, and knowing this is just a dream, Steven will only say yes to the offer of help… Full review...

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Women in Science takes fifty prominent women in STEM fields and celebrates their achievements. There are women from the ancient world and women working today. Each of them is given a double page spread including a stylised portrait and infoboxes with factoids on one side and a page of text with a brief biography and outline of her achievements. These intrepid women are inspirational for their work and their discoveries but also for the barriers they overcame - barred from classes or employment because they were women or even barred from employment because they were black in racially segregated America. Full review...

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

4.5star.jpg Teens

He caught me in a prince's trap. And now I'm in a King's cage. But I'm not leaving this place unless I leave behind his corpse – or mine.

The third instalment in the Red Queen series, picks up right after the final events of Glass Sword. Mare has been taken prisoner; shackled in Silent Stone and powerless without her lightning. At the mercy of the boy who wears the crown, Mare is haunted by the consequences of her past decisions. Tortured and weak, Mare has a front seat to watch Maven's clever tactics unfold and destroy all that she believes in. Being broken and beaten, Mare will never be the same again after her captivity but can she escape the Palace with her life to fight another day? Full review...

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd and Emma Shoard

5star.jpg Graphic Novels

When Jim's family halt at Dundray, his heart grows heavy. A new Buffer school for this Pavee boy to attend. Jim doesn't like school. He doesn't like Buffers. And you know, you couldn't really blame him because the distrust and suspicion is mutual. Prejudice against the Traveller community is strong and when Jim and his cousins turn up on their first day, it's to stares and muttered insults from the pupils and condescension from the teachers. Within days, Moss Cunningham and his gang have accused Jim of stealing a CD - he did no such thing - and have begun a campaign of threats, bullying and worse. Full review...

Moondust by Gemma Fowler

4star.jpg Teens

Lunar Inc. is lying to us. It's been lying to us from the moment lumite power was discovered.

After the dark days of future Earth, where an energy crisis has led to chaos, lumite power has become the only solution for peace. Yet that peace is fragile. The memory of the reactor explosion at Andrianne, ten years ago, is still fresh in the public's mind. FALL, the First Anti-Lumite League, continues to campaign fiercely against the United Government and the company responsible for lumite power – Lunar Inc. Full review...

Fish Boy by Chloe Daykin

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Billy is struggling at school. He's being picked on by the school bully and he's starting to feel very alone. His mum is sick, although nobody seems to know what's wrong with her. She has been sick for a long time meaning that she can't work, so Billy's dad is working extra hours to try to keep the family afloat and Billy is frequently left to fend for himself. His only escape is in watching his favourite, David Attenborough, or in swimming in the sea. One day, however, things take a magical turn as whilst swimming Billy meets a mackerel who speaks to him! This, combined with the entrance of a new boy at school, starts to change Billy's life in some rather unexpected ways. Full review...

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

5star.jpg Teens

Meet Alex. He's just eleven, but is sure he has the responsibility age of a thirteen year old. He'll prove this by taking his rocket Voyager 3 and his dog Carl Sagan on an Amtrak train to the desert to a launch festival for hobbyist rocket-makers – and all without the help of the adult brother he only knows now from phone calls, his seemingly comatose couch potato mother, and the father he was told died when Alex was three years old. This book is a transcript of verbal essays and conversations he has made to put in his rocket to send to the stars, so aliens can learn about life on earth in 2017. The fact that we're able to find out what's on it does seem to suggest a failure with Voyager 3, but as for finding out about life – we can only suppose the lad is a bit more successful… Full review...

Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond by Martin Jenkins and Stephen Biesty

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I take it as read that you know some of the history of space exploration, even if the young person you buy books for doesn't know it all. So I won't go into the extremes reached by the Voyager space craft, and the processes we needed to be expert in before we could launch anything. You probably have some inkling of how we learnt that we're not the centre of everything – the gradual discovery of how curved the planet was, and how other things orbited other things in turn proving we are not that around which everything revolves. What you might not be so genned up on is the history of books conveying all this to a young audience. When I was a nipper they were stately texts, with a few accurate diagrams – if you were lucky. For a long time now, however, they've been anything but stately, and often aren't worried about accuracy as such in their visual design. They certainly long ago shod the boring, plain white page. Until now… Full review...

Knife Edge by Robert Swindells

4star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

I'm just not interested. I'm not interested in there ever being a knife in junior fiction, unless it comes with a lesson. And I'm just not interested unless that lesson tells you one thing – that they're quick. Knives can be quick to find, are quick to whip out, and quick to get the bearer into trouble, whether they actually meet flesh or not. Sam is the student of that lesson here – his school has a Citizenship campaign whereby the pupils do odd jobs for local elderly, and he finds a perfect knife he thinks will defend him from the local gang – a gang whose leader he constantly rattled in primary school. As for the rest – I'll leave his personable first-person narrative to teach you… Full review...

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G Thompson

4star.jpg Teens

Six years ago, cousins Amy and Dee were abducted. They were never recovered and no trace of them was ever found - that is until Amy suddenly returns home, alone and unable to tell anyone where Dee is or what happened to her. Amy's unexpected homecoming gives hope to her family, but she's a different person after spending most of her teen years in captivity, and she's not sure if she can ever fully go back to her old life. Amy is someone she left behind when she was 10 years old and in the years of her absence, she became Chelsea and Dee became Stacie. But why has she come back now? Who took them in the first place? And where is Dee Full review...

Waking in Time by Angie Stanton

4star.jpg Teens

Abbi has had a hard year. Her beloved grandmother died and, before the grief really had a chance to settle, Abbi has left the safety and security of home to start college in Wisconsin. And it really does feel as though she has left the two most important people in her life - mother and grandmother - behind. But it's hard to forget and somehow the past keeps hold of Abbi's mind. And then, one morning, she wakes in her dorm room to find herself transported back in time to 1983. And it won't be the first time-shift she experiences. As Abbi jumps further and further back in time, she meets Will. Time is pushing Will forwards, not backwards and his journey began in 1927. Full review...

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

5star.jpg Fantasy

Scarlett Dragna has had one desire all her life: to visit a Caraval. These interactive events put on by magician and entrepreneur Legend are world famous but very exclusive. It's therefore a huge surprise when Scarlett and her sister Tella receive tickets. These will take them away from their sadistic father and prison-like island home for the first time. Caraval is never what one expects though and when Tella is kidnapped, Scarlett experiences the sinister side of a game in which nothing is what it seems. Full review...

Wild Lily by K M Peyton

4star.jpg Teens

Lily did love Antony. She was just 14 years old and he was 17, but Antony was the son of the big house and Lily was the daughter of one of the estate workers. They laughed and played together with all the other teens and children on the estate and Antony accepted Lily's adoration and was fond of her. He was an odd mixture of a spoiled brat and a neglected child. His mother was long dead and his father mainly absent on business and parenting was something which was bought in. In the early 1920s cars and aeroplanes were in their infancy and for his 17th birthday (his father thought it was his 12th...) Antony asked for an aeroplane. His father agreed and Antony went to Brooklands and bought a Sopwith. Full review...

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

5star.jpg Teens

Mia thinks she's being ironic when she has the phrase 'All About Mia' emblazoned on her T-shirt. Ironic because it's NEVER about her. How can it be? She's just the mess in the middle – sandwiched between her oh-so-perfect straight A grade sister, Grace, and her super-talented soon-to-be Olympic swimmer sister, Audrey. As far as Mia's concerned she may as well get permanently wasted. She's convinced there's no point trying until a series of events coincide to show her just how wrong she is. Full review...

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Reuben is a small boy growing up with his mum in a big city full of injustice and fear. The family have little money and working two jobs means that Reuben's mum trusts him to be on his own a lot. For a young child Reuben develops a lot of independence, which really helps him when he finds an unusual and precious object and decides to try to uncover its secret. He hopes it might be valuable and dreams of being able to buy his mum her ideal home. Unfortunately there is someone else also looking for the object and Reuben enters into a dangerous game of hide and seek as he dares to take on the most powerful and ruthless man in the city Full review...

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Matthew has OCD. Not that he knows that's what it is. He just likes things clean, he really hates germs, or going outside, and he feels safest upstairs in his room and the front bedroom, where he can control the dirt, and where he can watch everything that's going on outside, making notes on his neighbours' activities. When a little boy, Teddy, from next door goes missing one day, it turns out that Matthew was the last person to see him, and with all of his neighbours as suspects Matthew struggles against his crippling anxieties in order to try and uncover the truth of what happened to Teddy. Full review...

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

5star.jpg Teens

We Come Apart tells the story of a burgeoning friendship and romance between Jess and Nicu. Both have problems to deal with. Jess has an abusive stepfather who beats up her mother. Nicu is a Romanian immigrant to the UK and faces xenophobia in the UK as well as an unwanted arranged marriage when he returns home. Both kids get caught shoplifting and are sent on a rehabilitative course (mostly involving picking up litter). The friendship they strike up is born of circumstance yet gradually becomes more, a lot more... ... but is there a future for Jess and Nicu? Full review...

Waiting for Callback: Take Two by Perdita Cargill and Honor Cargill

5star.jpg Teens

Everything seems to be slotting into place for 15 year-old wannabe actress, Elektra James. The summer's here and she's finally landed the boy of her dreams. Added to that she's about to start filming a blockbuster film with internationally famous co-stars. Could life get any better? Ur… maybe… No, definitely … especially when said boy of her dreams lands his own starring role in a TV series that's filming in Transylvania. And, to make matters worse, shooting a blockbuster film (while dressed in a costume that looks like a sack) isn't quite as smooth and glamorous as Elektra imagined. Full review...

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

4.5star.jpg Teens

Sam McCoy has her life all planned out. She is going to win the national debating competition, go to college in New York and become a human rights lawyer. She is so sure of this that it almost feels ordained. And she has worked for it too, sacrificing relationships and friendships in the service of ambition. You can imagine, then, that Sammie views a diagnosis of Niemann–Pick type C as little more than a rock in the road. She won't let a pesky health condition stand in her way. Full review...

Tilt by Mary Hoffman

4star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

To make an author, you first show someone books. To make a reader, you first show them the books they want to, and/or can, read. To make a builder, you first show someone buildings. I use those platitudes to introduce Simonetta, or Netta, who lives in Pisa late in the thirteenth century. She is surrounded by fabulous buildings – it's not for nothing the area will become known as the Field of Miracles, for the Cathedral, Baptistry and bell tower look gorgeous. But something is wrong with the latter one – it's definitely leaning, cracks are showing, and over the hundred-plus years it's taken to get this far people have built the floors at odd angles to correct the problem. Netta is intent on being the person who can solve it, alongside her father who's employed to finish it off. But therein lies the problem – it's all well and good showing someone buildings, and making them want to be an architect, but if they're the wrong gender then all hope is lost… or is it? Full review...

Until We Win by Linda Newbery

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

The best journeys are made with little steps. Lizzy is slowly leaving her boring village behind – by being cheeky yet clever at her lessons, and getting a job in an office in the nearest proper town – and by saving to buy, and teaching herself to ride, a bicycle. All that's under the watchful eye of a mother insistent she learns to knuckle down with the housework on behalf of the men, and an older brother working at the village hunt. At the office, however, further steps are suggested to her – shorthand and typing classes, but she gets diverted. A chance encounter in a tea rooms puts more stepping stones in her way – en route to becoming a fully committed Suffragette, concerned only with making demands for votes for women. Full review...

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

5star.jpg Teens

Flora Banks has anterograde amnesia. This means that she hasn't laid down any new memories since she was ten years old and had a brain tumour removed. She's now seventeen and can remember life before the tumour but can't hold on to anything that happened after that for more than an hour or two. She gets by with the help of her very protective parents and her best friend Paige, and from the endless notes she writes to herself that tell her who she is, what's wrong with her, and what's been happening in her life. Flora has a tattoo on her arm. It simply says be brave. Full review...

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

4star.jpg Teens

Jared Stone has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. It's inoperable and he has only a few months left to live. Desperate to ensure financial security for his family after he's gone, Jared decides to auction himself - the rest of his life, his death, everything - on eBay for a reserve price of one million dollars. Unsurprisingly, eBay cancels the auction as against their terms and conditions but that's okay because Jared has come to the attention of a reality TV producer... Full review...

Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird

5star.jpg Teens

Omar is a twelve-year-old boy living in Bosra, Syria. He works two small jobs before and after school. He prefers the jobs to school. Omar dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur with a network of businesses to rule over. He's already developing a successful sales patter. Omar has a clever sister who wants to be a teacher, and a clever brother who few realise is clever because he has cerebral palsy and people can't see past his speech impediment. He has a father who works for the government, a mother who worries too much, a hypercritical granny and a couple of annoying younger siblings. Full review...

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

4.5star.jpg Teens

Steffi has just started a) sixth form and b) medication for her anxiety. It's all rather tricky, as you can imagine, particularly as Tem, Steffi's best - well, only - friend has enrolled at the local FE college to do an NVQ and so Steffi is all by herself. On the first day, a teacher introduces Steffi to Rhys, a new boy to the school and also just starting sixth form. Rhys is deaf and Steffi knows a little bit of sign language, hence the introduction. Both kids have communication barriers - Rhys can't hear and Steffi, who suffers from selective mutism and severe anxiety, often can't talk. And they fall into friendship, attraction, and love. But it's a rocky road... Full review...

The X-Files Origins: Devil's Advocate by Jonathan Maberry

3.5star.jpg Teens

Dana Scully can be added to the list of teenaged people upset by their family moving home in those key years. Her naval father being relocated has meant she has been uprooted from a nun's Catholic school to a regular, secular school elsewhere, but echoes of religion are still everywhere – not least a no-longer-used church opposite their new home. But it's inside that the strongest taste of faith is residing – Dana is seeing visions that could be claimed to be precognitive, and dreams possibly peopled by a satanic angel figure. That would all be troubling enough, but school children are dying in allegedly drug-fuelled car wrecks that nobody can really believe in, so straight-edged are the victims – and Dana is having even more troubling experiences as a result. Working out the cause and effect here could fill an X-File, but of course we're in the years long before those exist. Dana might well be on her own in her investigations... Full review...