Archives for category: For Teenage


Published by Chicken House

This is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read.

Another dystopian novel, this one set after the waters have risen. A group of people are left surviving – floating on the back of an enormous jelly fish. That in its turn seems to be farming them, throwing fish onto its mesoglea, so that they can survive. Protected somewhat from the elements, wind, sun and salt by the plastic that they have pulled from the sea to make a small shelter. They are on their own. The sea lapping at the edge of the jelly fish, dark shapes rising and falling beneath their feet.

In the distance they can see a small coastal village, nothing and no-one moves around the buildings and the fields above, apart from sheep high above the cliff and enormous crab like creatures, possibly the relations of those little crabs found in rock pools, are seen scuttling around the houses, large and formidable.

This is as I said quite the most peculiar book I have read, in a very long time. A quirky strange tale – almost a fable – and very different…a most extraordinary book…

Something to be read by the sea…

Image result for extraordinary birds sandy stark-mcginnisImage result for extraordinary birds sandy stark-mcginnis

Published by Bloomsbury

Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe,

but what do dreams know of boundaries?

Amelia Earhart

This is something quite unique. A story of recovery, hope and bravery. A story of continuation and existence. A story of hope. This is December’s story. Her last foster home from which she hopes to fly. Literally.

She is known to leap from trees. She has been known to leap from a barn roof. She hopes that the scars on her back will at last allow her wings to unfold and so prevent her from falling.

It is Henrietta’s story too. A bird to be released back into the wild, if all goes well. The training of Henrietta is different from that I have known from my experience of falconry – there the bells are attached to the tail feathers or leg furniture. They are not there to attract the bird’s attention, that is usually done with a whistle or cry. In this the bells attached to the glove do just that.

This is a unusual and quietly compelling tale of the emergence of trust…and hope and of flight.

Not yet published – and I have found two possible covers – I prefer the bottom one – it seems to capture what the book is about much more clearly…

Image result for cradle worlds lachlan

Published by Egmont

My big sister, is bigger than me. Well actually I’m not sure she is any more, but she was. She is, though four years my elder.

When she was bigger than me, though, we didn’t always get on. She was bigger than me. Could do things I couldn’t. Did do things I couldn’t or wasn’t allowed to. She also used to tease me with the result that I used to get cross. I think that was the word we would have used. Furious would probably have been better. She would wind and wind and wind again and then without any warning whatsoever, she would back off and stop. There seemed no reason as to why this might be. It was only when we became older that she admitted to me that at a certain point I would develop red triangles on my cheeks. Beyond that point she feared to go. I’m not surprised.

I am still a person of determination. I believe in fairness. So I still get cross. Though rarely now (though I can’t be sure of this)  so cross my red triangles appear. My anger though, was then and is now, full of energy. Not a little like an earthquake…

Which brings me to this extraordinary book.

When emotionally driven, Jane Doe’s anger and or fear sparks earthquakes.

The rock shaking sort.

For this alone, I would review this book.

I am pleased to report, though, that the rest of the book is as brilliant.  Though it is certainly a darker tale of bravery, friendship, other worlds and a desperate attempt to save them all, than perhaps I usually read. I should, obviously, read more.

Characters include Jane Doe – our heroine, a teenager trying to trace her father, who is, incidentally, the epicentre of the aforementioned earthquakes. Her father – who has disappeared. Tin-skins – mechanical dogs and not the nice sort, either. Hickory, a boy with history. More than his share. Leatherheads. A key. Violet who is eight, but not any more and Roth.

You really don’t want to know about Roth. Not someone you want to meet. A mix of all those evil characters from all the books you have read, (from those books, you know the titles I mean) mixed well with the ethics and views of the Nazis.

He is an entity that really can mess with your brain, your thoughts, and who you are and, who, incidentally, it is said, happens to be immortal.

His olfactory presence too, leaves something to be desired…

Image result for cradle worlds lachlan

A book to read, if you dare. Dark, full of adventure, with stupendous new characters.

Sadly Jeremy Lachlan lives in Australia. Too far to come and sign his books. If, however, should he ever come for a trip ‘Up Above’, I would be extremely pleased to welcome him to Waterstones Finchley Road O2.
This also means that the cover may not be the one that was on the copy I read. It may be the other, also depicted on this post…

Please note – I have now finished this, and find that there will be more to come! This is marvellous news…stupendous book – hopefully Jeremy will one day come all the way from Australia and sign books in Finchley Road O2 – just not just yet!

Image result for the secret deep lindsay galvin chicken house

Published by Chicken House

I’m not sure what is happening this year – there seems to be a number of books set in water recently. Some ‘straight fiction’ others are a little different, fantasy would,  I suppose, cover most of those.

Fish, mermaids, pirates and the sea are reoccurring themes.

None though are like this one – this is unique.

A book about trust. Who do you trust? Your parents? Friends? Uncles, cousins or aunts? I suppose most of us would trust our aunts or uncles, particularly if they were close to one of our parents. Wouldn’t you? Would you trust your aunt with your little sister? Would you ignore your sister’s seemingly irrational concerns? Would you trust your last relative to care for you and your sister?

This is a story of trust, sisters and …well, you will need to read it to find out. To say water has a lot to do with the story is an understatement. This is a remarkable story – I want to tell you more, but don’t want to spoil this brilliant tale.

Enough to say it was stupendous and I found myself annoyed when I had to stop reading to return to work – time ran out…read remarkably quickly, but then, good books always are.

Image result for out of the blue cameron macmillan

Published by Macmillan

Angels. I’m never quite sure what people mean by angels. Perhaps its the result of being agnostic – so I’m a little uncertain as to where they fit in the way of things, religiously or otherwise. I have never, though, thought about what might happen should they start to fall from the sky.

The idea that angels could fall out of the sky – and probably through it from wherever it is that angels reside, is a little disturbing, to say the least, even for someone who isn’t sure if they exist or not. It makes me wonder too about cherubs, and if angels could fall, could cherubs too? Would the falling angels materialise somewhere in the sky to drop, or would they fall from somewhere else?

There is no  mention of cherubs falling from the sky in this quite unique volume, just of angels, plummeting to the earth, with more often than not, fatal results. What happens to angels after death, would be another whole book in itself…

This book is about what happens when people become aware of these winged beings. Some like to collect the feathers, and converge on their bodies in the hope of gathering more, others join cults.  Some believe it is the beginning of the end of the world, and most people don’t believe the ‘beings’ have rights or are entities in their own right, that should be given the respect you might expect for someone who has just suffered such a traumatic event.

Jaya’s father is searching for the next ‘fall’ – trying to work out where  and when it might be. Jaya, though is still trying to work through the grief of her mother’s death, when she comes across a group of people who believe that these beings, these angels should be given the respect we generally reserve for people.

This is a thought provoking volume, which I must say probably accurately describes how people would react to such an event – which is to say, not very well. It is quite an extraordinary book with many layers about friendship, responsibility, bravery and loyalty…

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. You shouldn’t. This is a case in point.

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.