Archives for category: For Teenage

Published by Macmillan (February 2018)

Friendship. How far does friendship take you? Should you ever break a promise? Do we really listen to our friends? Do we take the time to join the dots and see what might be happening beneath the surface?

Bonnie, is a straight A student. Dedicated, organised and sensible. Her friend Eden, however, isn’t – but they fit one another. Support each other and when a promise is made, its kept.

When a friend, ‘goes off the rails’, it can be difficult to work out what caused it and what is happening.  So when the school’s music teacher becomes overly involved with one of the girls, the repercussions and results are wide ranging and distressing.

There are enormous pressures being a teenager. Social and academic – to do well in exams is to be successful. It doesn’t always follow. There is more to life than exam results – they don’t make you happy, however, as I said to a young boy today, who is obviously the apple of his mother’s eye – they do give you choices, and that can make you happy.

This story is about love, friendship, self belief, confidence and a mistake – a belief that one thing will make everything else fall into place. The trouble is happiness is made up of lots of things at the same time. Safety. Love. Security. Settled financial circumstances and a meeting of minds. It is rare for one thing to bring happiness – its a mixture of circumstance.

What is love? How do you know, that what you feel is the ‘real’ thing? How do you really know about the person you love?

This is a complicated, and yet simple story of hopes, dreams, love and friendship.



Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd.

A book of hopes and dreams. Dreams that are so much greater than the dreamer. This is about football on the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia.

Games played by boys in the streets with anything that moves when kicked and, if they are lucky, boots that look similar to those used by professional players.

Boots that look similar.

Millions of boots.  The use of a rattan stick. Of underdogs – it is a harsh story, but one that is repeated all over the world in one form or another – the end links of a world driven by money and greed.

It is a story of friendship, bravery, families, a story of football, and so much more.

An extraordinary debut novel.

Published by Bloomsbury.

I haven’t had the joy or the terror of having a child – a mixed blessing / curse. In some ways I would love to have had a child, however, it wasn’t to be. In other ways, I sometimes think I and he or she was lucky. I’m not sure I’d have fitted in to today’s ways of bringing up children… Neither have I had anorexia. If anything I am the reverse. I love food and as a result am, over weight really and not very fit. So this book is about subjects of which I have very little knowledge. It is a powerful and in some ways, heart rending book.

It is a tale of numbers. A tale of a young girl under the control of ‘Nia’. Anorexia has Hedda firmly in her grip and isn’t willing to let go any time soon, and if possible ever. Hedda, though, makes a bargain with ‘Nia’ – if Nia agrees to let her eat sensibly for the unborn child, then she will come back to her, back to her control.

This is in a way a terrifying story. It is a story of hope, mixed with a strong splash of darkness.

I am not sure I would have had the strength that Hedda displays in similar circumstances…and I am lucky in the support I know I wold have had from my family. Read it – and let your family know how important they are…


Published by Walker Books.

This post was started as a review of Truth or Dare. Then I remembered Trouble, also by Non Pratt and expected to find an earlier post about that brilliant volume. For some reason, that I don’t know, it never got on to the site. So it has a mention at the end – as these are both books to sink into…

I have never ‘played’ Truth or Dare. Not even when the Internet didn’t exist. I sometimes wonder at the repercussions for those who now become involved in these challenges, particularly now that they can be viewed by everyone who has access to social media. I suppose I didn’t like the idea of where such encounters might lead. Would I have spoken the truth, would I have done something dangerous, just to be part of a group? I don’t know – I avoided the issue.

This is book is about two brothers, a dare that went right, and dares that perhaps didn’t end in the way the participants expected. It is a tale with a heart. It covers the phenomenon of social media dares – Internet sites that, to quote one, states: ‘…a social media where users upload video proof to earn street-cred.’ Which isn’t something I have ever worried about. In this book the dares, are on the whole, performed for another result entirely. Well, most of the time…

The book comes in two parts. Claire’s and then Sef’s story; you read hers and then (with my proof) turn the book over to read Sef’s. Claire’s starts in September. Sef’s in August; the story ends in the following February.

It is the story of bravery – and not just as a result of the dares. Friendship and of course trust. It is also about facing the truth, however hard. It is also about how small things can change lives irrevocably. It is also the story that begins, in a way with a small bat.

A bat. Flying mammal. As in blind as a…

This is an enticing book – one that will get under your skin. It is a rollercoaster of a ride with death just a page turn away…

Do you dare to read it?

Non Pratt also wrote Trouble which came out some time ago – a book about teenage pregnancy which was enticing, and extraordinary. Sadly I either hadn’t set up my blog then, or I just didn’t get around to reviewing it, which would be strange, as I became totally involved with the book.

So, buy the two as a pair – they make good siblings and are brilliant reads.

I have removed the pictures from this post – as they have reverted to the Walker Books logo – not much help when searching for them. I have replaced it with this rather nice Edward Gorey illustration. I think its rather fun…

Published by Corgi early November 2017

This is a story of a day – an extraordinary day centred around Natasha and Daniel – two young people destined, perhaps, to meet. Is there such a thing as Destiny? This is one story of these two characters, there may be other stories about them, that don’t turn out as this one does, but this is this story…not one of those.

It is the story of emigration. The small things that happen, that are catalysts for larger life changing events.

It is a story of racism. Of hopes, dreams, fears, regrets and prayers. It is a roller-coaster of a story – a day in the life of two people and some others, along the way.

There are mini chapters, mini interludes if you like, covering subjects as

Fate – A History,

Half-life – A History of Decay,

Multiverses – A Quantum History,

Hair – An African American History, and

Eyes – An Evolutionary History, which are fun and curious, but mainly it is essentially a book about people, the interconnection between different people and how they relate to one another. It is a love story.

Nicola Yoon is also the author of Everything, Everything, already reviewed in this blog.



Published by Simon and Schuster

This is a book about a journey into the past and future of a family. It is a story of secrets, some generations old, others just a few weeks / months. It is a story of life, survival and choices. Choices made with the best of intentions, with the knowledge that once made we can never go back and take that path again. It is also a story of love, for partners, and children. It is another remarkable story by Clare Furness an author who seems to be able to write extraordinary stories about people and relationships. (She is also the author of The Year of the Rat). This one, is a story of hope, and ultimately – about what is important in life. A touching and rather glorious story, which affected me more than many other stories have done – it stayed with me all day yesterday, as I finished it… A remarkable volume.

unbecoming-coverPublished by David Fickling Books

This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. Katie is trying to find out who she is and what she wants. She has a secret that she is not sure what to do with. Her father has disappeared and her mother is becoming more and more controlling. Her younger brother has issues too, and out of the blue her grandmother arrives into the family circle suffering from a progressive form Alzheimer’s. A time grenade walking into Katie’s family.

This is someone Katie has never met, never been introduced to and it seems both she and her mother have secrets too. What happened to her great aunt and who is this woman who claims to be her estranged grandmother? What happened between her mother and this woman? A complicated story about relationships, responsibilities and families. It is also the story of a young girl learning to take on more than she thought she could, who begins to investigate her history, her mother’s and her grandparent’s and in the process begins to find out exactly who she is and what she wants from life.





trl-cover-72dpiPublished by Orchard Books

Home alone. Well not quite alone. Father gone, and mother missing. Things are complicated, which is an understatement. Wren is 9 going on 10 and sees way too much. Lucille, has seen too much, has heard way too much, is doing to much and is trying to keep everything together. Absolutely everything, without support, and with the vague hope that perhaps her mother might just ring, tonight. Or maybe tomorrow, but definitely when it’s Wren’s birthday. Emotionally charged – a book of survival…

the-witches-sabbath-1-bb09241Published by Hachette Children’s Books

A superb story of two teenagers whose story is closely entwined. A story of a prophecy (there’s a surprise), of witches, modern and ancient. Of families, sisters and aunts. Of good. Of ancient and modern magic – of belief and of evil. Oh, and mothers, and their hopes and dreams.

Its superb.

Its a love story too, and of one of sacrifice.

If you like all things witchcraft, wild and magic this is certainly one for you…brilliant.

I can’t find a completed cover for this on the Internet so have chosen one of my favourite Arthur Rackham pictures of witches and their familiars…the cats in this are particularly suitable for this story…and it is a picture for Minx – a cat in the story… who reminded me so much of my familiar, presently asleep on my bed…

Due to be published on the 16th of June 2016



Published by Chicken House

Not yet Published at time of going to Post: April 2016

I don’t read the blub on proofs, quite intentionally. They can spoil a story, or lead me to think I don’t want to read it for some reason or another. There have been several proofs over the years that I have loved, but would not have read if I had realised the subject matter. This was one such. I enjoy music, but I don’t have a large selection and I know very little -it is a rather eclectic mix of CDs too – most are bought because of the memory the music invokes, not necessarily the music itself. I haven’t been to many rock concerts either, and those I have were a long time ago…

Love Song is about music. It’s about boy bands, and their fans and begins with a description of a meet and greet – which reminded me of an event I helped monitor when I worked in Harrods – Aerosmith were due to come to sign their album, and I was pulled in to help with the crowd. For some reason I’m always put at the end of the official line to tell the late comers they were too late…and typically on this occasion that is what happened. There were two school girls there who had bunked off school, I remember…almost hysterical with excitement, but willing to wait to just see them.

They were late.

Very late.

So late the store had closed by the time they came, and the two girls with a long queue of hopefuls were still hanging around behind me. Aerosmith did the right thing though, and insisted on seeing everyone, which resulted in one of my two running  down the line afterwards to thank me, tears pouring down her face to tell me he had spoken to her…her favourite member had spoken to her… It was quite an evening, and having heard their latest hit so many times, I actually began to enjoy the music….

So Love Song starts with an occasion I could relate to – though thankfully we didn’t have a fire…there is music, beauty, handsome boys with that smile, and a brilliant description of relationships burgeoning and falling away…

To be honest, I loved the book – it has a list of the music that is mentioned in the story and I think it would be quite something to listen to some of it whilst reading it.

Enjoy this – it is lovely and has the right ending too…

As to the cover, it wouldn’t have encouraged me to read the book (apologies to those concerned), but working as I do with the belief never ‘to judge a book etc.’, I have found a gem – a real gem of a story.