Archive for the ‘teen fiction.’ Category

In the second part of this royal wedding inspired post I’m featuring a brand new book from a somewhat well known author. Any girl who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s must have heard of Sweet Valley High. Whether you read the endless books or loved the TV series; Francine Pascal’s creation was a staple to most girls’ childhoods.

Sweet Valley Confidential, published this month catches up with Elizabeth and Jessica ten years after they graduated from Sweet Valley High but things aren’t going too well.

Jessica has commited the ultimate betrayal on her twin sister Elizabeth and had an affair with Elizabeth’s childhood sweetheart, Todd. Elizabeth, heart broken and angry has fled to New York to pursue her lifelong dream of being a reporter. She’s got a great job, but doesn’t see her family and friends. Meanwhile Jessica can’t move on with her life until she earns Elizabeth’s forgiveness.

The twins we see in this new book aren’t the ones we saw ten years a go. A lot has happened and we learn what got the twins to this isolated point throughout the book.

I’ll be honest, this book is very different to the ones I read when I was younger. First of all, it’s a completely different reading experience because I’m all grown up and so are Elizabeth and Jessica. It can’t be read with naivety and innocence anymore, but that’s part of the charm in seeing how life has changed the twins. If you grew up with Pascal’s book, I really do recommend you read this, if only for old times sake.

And if you can’t quite remember the theme tune from the TV series…

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal is published by Arrow 9780099557739 £6.99

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I just had to give a link to this fantastic debut by Paula Rawsthorne which is due to be published by Usborne this autumn!

As far as book trailers go, this looks pretty good and I can’t wait to read it. Hurry up, autumn.

“Celia Frost is a freak. At least that’s what everyone thinks. Her life is ruled by a rare disorder that means she could bleed to death from the slightest cut, confining her to a gloomy bubble of “safety”. No friends. No fun. No life. But when a knife attack on Celia has unexpected consequences, her mum reacts strangely. Suddenly they’re on the run. Why is her mum so scared? Someone out there knows – and when they find Celia, she’s going to wish the truth was a lie… A buried secret; a gripping manhunt; a dangerous deceit: what is the truth about Celia Frost? A page-turning thriller that’s impossible to put down.”

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When I first received this book to review for my magazine job, I set about reading it like I would any other; without having read any previous reviews or really knowing anything about it. When I finished reading, only a few days later I was deeply moved and that feeling stayed with me for a long time after. Since then, I’ve recommended the book to my fellow booksellers and to every customer I can stop.

Written by debut author Annabel Pitcher, ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’ is nothing short of a triumph. It is rare to come across a book by a new author that is so well established and confident in the story that is being told. But it’s a story of human loss and love…of raw emotion – something we all deal with but can rarely share with one another. We follow the story of Jamie who has been through a lot of tragedy in his life – far too much that a boy should ever have to go through. Hiis sister lives on the mantelpiece…in an urn. Ever since Rose was killed in a London terrorist attack things have been terribly hard for James; his Mum has left and Dad drinks. The only hope he has left is from sister Jas and intriguing new school friend, Sunya. This really is a heartbreaking story, not only for James and the devastation left in the wake of her death but also for the reader. But it’s also a read full of hope and moving on and is sure to resonate for a long time.

Be sure to watch the beautiful and haunting trailer for ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’ by Annabel Pitcher. Published by Orion Children’s Books on 1st March 2011 HB £9.99 9781444001839

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Liz Kessler, author of the Philippa Fisher and Emily Windsnap series’ is back with a book of heartache, humour and knowing what to do when life doesn’t always go your way. A Year Without Autumn is a magical read in notion, but in reality is disarming and deals with real, compelling issues.

When Jenni Green is taken in to the future, she can’t comprehend the life in front of her. Her best friend Autumn’s life is in turmoil; her Mum is close to a breakdown and her brother Mikey is in a coma. But given a rare opportunity, Jenni has the power to change everything and help her friend. But it’s not always easy getting back to present day…especially if you have no idea how you ended up in the future in the first place! 

This is a charming book which really made me stop and think about fate. Written with wit and passion, this is sure to be popular this spring. I really can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a welcome break from the frustrating trends we have seen in teen fiction recently and although there is the supernatural time travel element to contend with, we are rewarded with wonderful characters that I couldn’t help but become attached to. And have you seen the cover? Pure joy.

‘A Year Without Autumn’ by Liz Kessler is published by Orion Children’s Book on 7th April, 2011 HB £9.99 9781842555866

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Louise Rennison has become something of a household name for teens of the noughties and beyond. She is the obvious choice to follow on from Jacqueline Wilson’s books and is a refreshing read away from vampire and fantasy fiction.

‘Withering Tights’, which was published in paperback in February follows on from the huge success of the Georgia Nicolson series (think Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging) with a brand new heroine; Tallulah Casey!

This brand new series follows Tallulah and her friends who join the Dother Hall Performing Art College summer school for a fun filled summer of performing, with the added bonus of lots of boys and absolutely no parents! It’s clear to see why Louise Rennison won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for her book. She’s in tune with her impressionable reading audience and calamities involved with pursuing your dreams, and boys!

Set in the northern Dales of England, this is hardly the Hollywood Hills but that’s what makes this tale all the more funnier and all the more real. I’m certain Tallulah will be as big a success as Georgia…if her tights are anything to go by, she’s sure to make an impression on readers.

“Remember myyyyyy naaaaaaammmmee!”

The follow up (Withering Tights 2) is expected in June, HB £10.99      9780007156849

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison is published by HarperCollins, £6.99 9780007156825

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The Cat Kin by Nick Green


I took this book on to review with some interest as it is a re-issue of a once very popular book. The Cat Kin follows a group of children who by some twist of fate, end up in a mysterious Pashki class at their local leisure centre. For those not in the know, Pashki teaches humans to find their inner cat and use our existing senses to a greater height. Intrigued? I was too. The premise of Pashki did make me a little dubious for how this would translate into a teen read but with the villians and action throughout, there’s plenty to keep the book at a good pace. And if you thought cats were enough animal for you, there’s plenty far more dangerous creatures out there, causing concern for the Pashki community.

This book will appeal to girls and boys as the strong male and female protagonists Ben and Tiffany really play off one another, in a similar fashion to Suzanne Collins’ ‘Hunger Games’ series.

With their new found feral powers, it will take Ben and Tiffany all of their strength to beat off the villians that threaten their existence. But one thing is for sure…nine lives will come in handy. A great read and I look forward to the re-issue of the second book in this series ‘Cat’s Paw’ published in 2011.

Cat Kin is published as a re-issue by Strident Publishing £6.99


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It’s been something of an Angel themed week and to finish it off before the publication of ‘Angel’ on 1st October, here is my review. I was given a finished copy of ‘Angel’ from Usborne to review on here. As I work in a bookstore, I have also arranged a book signing event with Lee Weatherly on 29th October which I’m very excited about.

I’m always a bit sceptical about teen reads which continue an ongoing trend. To this day I have not read the Twilight books. I think it grates on my friend’s nerves that I haven’t been open to it, and I probably should be. So when given ‘Angel’ I was worried I wouldn’t be open in my opinion of that book…I needn’t have worried, it’s fantastic, it’s original and I will be pestering Usborne for a review copy of the sequel as soon as it comes in.

Willow Fields doesn’t fit in with the usual teen crowd at school. She fixes cars and actually enjoys doing it, much to her friend Nina’s embarassment and she has another unusual talent…she’s psychic. Willow has never really given this much thought until she does a reading for someone that will change her and everyone’s lives forever.

There is an unseen growing threat in the world; angels. These seemingly beautiful, serene creatures are here on earth for selfish reasons and their powers are literally draining the life out of everyone who looks at them. Willow seems to be the only one who can see this danger as everyone else is affected by the mind controlling ‘angel-burn’. That is until she meets angel killer Alex. He is trained to see angels for what they are; evil. So why is he after Willow?

Willow and Alex, forced into relying on each other for the sake of their lives, soon learn that the saying ‘live together or die alone’ is very much in play and they soon find themselves falling in love against their own better judgement and they embark on a dangerous journey to save humankind.

Angel is quite simply thrilling. It has everything you could possibly want or need from a young adult/teen read. The intense drama builds quietly through the first few chapters and soon you are catapulted into a world that was once so safe and is now in danger of being overrun by Angels. The concept that angels could be evil was difficult to overcome at first but this made the actions of all the ‘angel-burned’ humans all the more justified and real. Willow herself is catapulted from bedroom psychic readings to being shot at on a daily basis. Her yearnings for her mother, and for the sanctuary of home make an otherwise unique, disarming character relatable and ironically; more human.

For so much to happen in only the first book, I can’t begin to imagine where the sequel will lead us but I can tell you this; I am well and truly hooked and Angel is a book I will recommend to anyone who will listen, but with the added reminder that “the only good angel is a dead angel”!   

This book is going to be huge, and one that will stick around for a while…angels aren’t that easy to get rid off!

‘Angel’ by L.A. Weatherly is published by Usborne 1st October 2010


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The Angel blog tour is happening throughout September and October to promote the release of Angel the first of three books by L.A Weatherly.

When asked what I wanted to participate in for this blog tour, I was keen to find out about Lee’s literary inspirations and so set her the challenge of telling us her five favourite books. The answers I got surprised and charmed me, not least because she is a fellow Tove Jansson fan…

“It’s really hard to choose, as there are so many books I love, so I’ve just gone with the top 5 titles that I find myself returning to again and again. They’re pretty diverse!”

1. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. Very dated in some of its attitudes, but nothing beats it for sheer storytelling.


2. The Rama series, Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. And I’m not even a science fiction fan. But just read them, they’re amazing.


3. The Edge of the Cloud, K. M. Peyton. I love all the Flambards books, but particularly this one, which focuses on the romance between Christina and Will. I fell completely in love with Will as a teenager.


4. Moominpappa at Sea, Tove Jansson. My favourite of the Moomin books (which I’m a huge fan of!). Dark and brooding.


5. The Silver Chair, C. S. Lewis. I reread the Narnia books every few years or so. This one is a particular favourite; I love the journey with Puddleglum, and the captive prince in the world without sunlight.

What a diverse list of books indeed, thanks Lee! I thought it would be interesting to compare these five books against Angel as I can certainly see where a few inspirations come from.

Angel is a fast-paced thriller certainly but is a hybrid of romance and sci-fi…it’s got everything you could possibly want from a book. Gone With the Wind is a beautiful story, beautifully told. Like Scarlett O’Hara, Willow Shields in Angel is a lonely, captivating figure…one of intrigue to other men.

I’ve not read any sci-fi if I’m entirely honest. It lurks away in the recesses of bookshop walls but certainly with an story such as Angel, it’s important to explore all elements of the sci-fi genre.

Lee talks of her teen crush Will from Edge of the Cloud. Similarly I find myself drawn to Alex in Angel. His heroic nature is admirable yet he’s also very disarming in his growing concern for Willow which to me makes him so much more attractive.

Any fan of The Moomin’s is top notch in my books. We all need a little fun and escapism in life and it becomes quite clear that Jansson provides this…for a lot of unsuspecting people.

And finally, a Narnia tale, The Silver Chair. I love the tales by C.S. Lewis and whilst I don’t remember this tale so well from my childhood I do remember that feeling of possibility. When Aslan comes back to life, anything is possible and we see this in Angel as the angels take path in a book that is sure to open up the market for books about Angel.

It’s been a lot of fun participating in this blog tour, and I hope Lee has had fun being grilled by everyone. Please check back here tomorrow morning for my review of Angel.




Pre-order Angel at http://www.usborne.com/angel/pre-order.aspx

ISBN: 9781409521969, PB

Published 1st October 2010

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I’m sure you have all seen me singing the praises of ‘Angel’ by L.A. Weatherly on twitter, a new book published October 2010 by Usborne. Part of a stunning trilogy this book is not about vampires, nor werewolves…now it’s all about Angels!

‘The only good angel is a dead angel’

‘Willow knows she’s different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into people’s futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from…

But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willow’s secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.’

It’s an absolutely amazing book, I can’t wait to spread the word and after my long train journey today in which I will finally finish Angel, I’ll be posting my review. Just in time for my participation in the Angel blog tour. On the poster below, you can see all participating blogs as L.A. Weatherly lets us in to the world of Alex and Willow.

Next Wednesday L.A. Weatherly will be telling me her top five favourite teen reads that inspire her.

For more information on the book and forthcoming titles in the trilogy visit www.angelfever.com and view the gripping trailer here

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After the success of the original ‘Saga of Darren Shan’ and the subsequent ‘Demonata’ series, Darren Shan goes back to where it all began in book one of ‘The Saga of Larten Crepsley’.

I’ve had this review copy for a while now, and it took me a long time to work through my pile of ‘to-read’ books but I’m glad I finally got to it. Honestly, I’ve always written off Darren Shan books as for boys only so I started this book with some apprehension, especially as I hadn’t read his previous books.

There really was no need to worry. In fact, this book is probably a good place to start for those who want to know a little bit about infamous vampire Larten Crepsley. Consider it a prequel of sorts…I started the book with great anticipcation and preconceptions about this vampire figure. I mean, with a name like that he just sounds like some distinguished character challenging Dracula for the title of most notorious vampire.

But the book is more than that and you really learn a lot about Larten and where he came from, giving the premise of the book some context. So often is the case with many vampire fiction books, that we are just thrown into the deep end and just expected to accept everything about vampires, that it all gets too much. But this is a thrilling read as Larten escapes a horrible workhouse where he lives. From there he meets another vampire, with an equally suspicious name; Seba Nile and eventually joins a vampire clan with whom he embarks on a journey, becoming more of a vampire every day, but once you’re in, there’s no backing out.

What a great book! You get to travel  with Larten and the other vampires, and learn everything about him even before he’s learnt it himself. Boys, of course will love this book, especially those who are already fans of Darren Shan. But I think a lot of new people will discover this book and find it the perfect opportunity to get stuck into them. If this review isn’t enough to persuade you, just look at the cover. I love it, full of mystery, intrigue and adventure and it just draws you in.

This book is published in hardback, 30th September 2010 9780007315857 RRP is £12.99 although I suspect many retailers will sell it for half price. A perfect book as the nights draw in and we near Halloween.

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