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Books of the week

Each week, our librarians and schools team select their favourites of the most recently published children's, teen and young adult titles, from picture books to YA fiction. Our favourites are highlighted as recommended reads, and the books with the highest number of votes from the team are named 'Books of the week'.

Latest books of the week

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Reviews

Lost

Lost

Ele Fountain
Pushkin Pr

Brother and sister, Lola and Amit live an ordinary life with their father.  They are young, intelligent and have their whole lives ahead of them....until the day that their father fails to return to the family home and the children are forced to grow up very quickly.

This fast-paced novel follows the highs and lows of Lola and Amit as they are forced to live on the streets and struggle to survive.  Thought-provoking, emotional and a real eye-opener that very difficult to put down.  It is  perfect JF/TF crossover read with plenty of issues to think about and discuss.

Leanne Jephcott Reviewed by Leanne Jephcott on 20th March 2020
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The faraway truth

The faraway truth

Janae Marks
Chicken House

A lively, thought provoking story with some great characters and plenty to engage and encourage debate. There are a range of issues which are explored sensitively.

 

The US setting doesn't detract at all, and all spellings have been anglicised. Perfect middle grade material.

Catherine MacKenzie Reviewed by Catherine MacKenzie on 17th March 2020
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And the stars were burning brightly

And the stars were burning brightly

Danielle Jawando
Simon & S

Intense, harrowing and extremely emotional, this is an incredible debut novel that will leave you both drained and incredulous. Thought-provoking and horribly realistic you WILL need tissues. An important read for the online/social media generation

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 16th March 2020
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Egg

Egg

Sue Hendra
Macmillan

Very clever, the illustrations say it all and are packed full of humour. The use of a single word (Egg) throughout is very effective and the themes of difference and acceptance are presented in a positive way. Great for PSHE uses, or just for fun!

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 6th March 2020
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Run, rebel

Run, rebel

Manjeet Mann
Penguin

Totally immersive & fast-paced verse novel with a likeable but flawed heroine who is caught between her own dreams and the expectations of her family.  Powerful, shocking but ultimately hopeful, this is an arresting and impressive debut.

NOTE : Contains scenes of domestic violence and alcoholism

Hannah Middleton Reviewed by Hannah Middleton on 6th March 2020
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The littlest bandit

The littlest bandit

Ali Pye
Simon & S

Littlest Bandit, the smallest raccoon in her family, loves reading but everyone else thinks it's boring. But when Grandma Bandit gets stuck in a tree, only the young bookworm can help her. 

This is a humorous and joyful celebration of reading, and the power of knowledge to change the world. Littlest Bandit is an adorable protagonist, and indeed all of the characters are skillfully and appealingly illustrated. Great shelf appeal and a lovely sharing read. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 3rd March 2020
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The littlest bandit

The littlest bandit

Ali Pye
Simon & S

Littlest Bandit, the smallest raccoon in her family, loves reading but everyone else thinks it's boring. But when Grandma Bandit gets stuck in a tree, only the young bookworm can help her.

This is a humorous and joyful celebration of reading, and the power of knowledge to change the world. Littlest Bandit is an adorable protagonist, and indeed all of the characters are skillfully and appealingly illustrated. Great shelf appeal and a lovely sharing read. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 3rd March 2020
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Willow Wildthing and the swamp monster

Willow Wildthing and the swamp monster

Gill Lewis
Oxford U P

This is a great start to a new JF series to suit readers moving on from short chapter books to more involved reads. The writing is excellent and manages somehow capture a nostalgic time when kids would spend endless days in the summer playing in woods with no boundaries and absolute freedom but also feels wholly contemporary. The reader is never talked down to and the imaginative world that our heroine finds herself is left ambiguous but still rooted in a real experience  - even when our narrator imagines  that a local author who lives in the woods is actually a witch (and she does nothing to contradict the children's notions!) The woodland space and her newfound friends provide Willow with some escape from her 'real life' problems as her parents are preoccupied with her seriously ill brother who is in and out of hospital. The story leaves us with an unsolved mystery and no neat happy ending for Willow's family, so readers will be intrigued to learn more in further volumes.

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 21st February 2020
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Demelza and the spectre detectors

Demelza and the spectre detectors

Holly Rivers
Chicken House

Eleven-year-old Demelza Clock is an accomplished inventor, looking to rational scientific explanations for the events in her life. But when she stumbles upon her grandmother's secret skill of being able to summon ghosts, her world is turned upside down. Just as Demelza begins to accept that this supernatural world is real, and that she too can talk to the dead, her beloved Grandma Maeve is kidnapped. 

Demelza is a really engaging character, unconventional and totally unafraid to be herself. The plot takes a intriguing concept and fairly rattles along, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. This is proper old-fashioned storytelling, with the supporting characters being lively and relatable too. 

A great series start from a promising debut author, this is a really enjoyable read for fans of slightly spooky, action packed junior fiction. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 14th February 2020
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The pure heart

The pure heart

Trudi Tweedie
Chicken House

In The Pure Heart, the author has given us a compelling plot which builds up a growing sense of foreboding right up to the end which will leave the reader agape. The mid-16th century Scottish setting lends itself well to the gothic supernatural horror which the heroine finds herself ensnared in. A strong debut title and an author to watch out for.

Deborah Bradley Reviewed by Deborah Bradley on 14th February 2020
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The diddle that dummed

The diddle that dummed

Kes Gray
Hodder

Laugh-out-loud funny story, ideal for reading aloud. The over-the-top, frustrated musician is a great comedic foil and the little diddles are surprisingly endearing. Crescendoes with a great surprise ending. An ideal blend of comedic repetition and toilet humour. Marvellous!

Lucy Forrester Reviewed by Lucy Forrester on 10th February 2020
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Wranglestone

Wranglestone

Darren Charlton
Stripes Pub

In a community struggling to survive fifteen years after a zombie outbreak destroyed modern life as we know it, sensitive homemaker Peter sticks out like a sore thumb from his tough, unsentimental neighbours. He watches Cooper, the rugged and practical darling of Wranglestone from afar, convinced Cooper doesn't know he exists. 

When Peter makes a deadly mistake, he is forced out into the wilderness surrounding the survivors' compound, and Cooper accompanies him. The two boys realise they adore each other, and their romance begins. However, the pair uncover an earth-shattering secret, one that could destroy their way of life. And when one of the boys is bitten, it seems like their love is finished before it even gets started...

This beautifully written, completely gripping novel takes a fresh approach to the well-worn zombie outbreak trope. Offering more than enough stomach-curdling descriptions of zombie-bashing to keep horror fans happy, the love story between the two leads is gently and romantically portrayed, giving Peter and Cooper a chance to develop and mature throughout the book. With an appealing set-up and some genuinely heart-stopping moments, this is a fantastic debut with good shelf appeal. Essential for any teen collection. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 7th February 2020
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Good dog!

Good dog!

Sean Taylor
Frances Lincoln

The titular protagonist tries VERY hard to be a good dog, but his exploits don't always result in a happy owner...

This simple, brilliantly funny picture book takes a look at an aspect of dog ownership that will be familiar to many. Gorgeous, expressive illustrations help to show how our hero's efforts at winning the accolade of 'good dog' result in absolute chaos! Simple, and yet expertly illustrating the bond between a dog and his owner, this is a heartwarming treat. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 7th February 2020
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The ice bear miracle

The ice bear miracle

Cerrie Burnell
Oxford U P

An exciting, beautifully written story with characters that grow on you and you root for.The unusual setting in frozen Northern Canada adds to the fascination, but it may need to be promoted as a worthwhile read. The rich language may be a stepping stone to bridging the word gap! Definitely worth having in any library. 

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 31st January 2020
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We catch the bus

We catch the bus

Katie Abey
Bloomsbury

Another glorious outing for the cheeky monkey and his companions. Transport theme has stacks of appeal & Abey's vibrant, witty illus are a joy as ever. Lots to look and at and discuss which makes this a great for language development. More please!

Hannah Middleton Reviewed by Hannah Middleton on 24th January 2020
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