ISBN 9781408827611

Mary Hooper's latest story takes us into the early 1800's, from a gentle opening in a country house to the raucous, ramshackle streets of London town. Hooper follows Kitty Grey, a dairy maid working in a large country house during the nineteenth century. Daisy volunteers to travel to London to collect a copy of the newly-published Pride and Prejudice for her master's daughter, but on arrival her bag and money are stolen and she and the child she is travelling with are left to fend for themselves. A series of unfortunate events lead to Kitty being accused of arson and a sentence of transportation to Australia in a ship of women convicts. Hooper's story strikes a well-observed balance between Kitty's experiences and expectations living in the country, and how life was experienced by impoverished Londoners at that time; for many, on a knife-edge where a single slip could take you into poverty, swiftly followed by a descent into crime and gaol; Hooper's depictions of Newgate Prison are strikingly real. Fortunately for Kitty, her ending is a happy one but we are left all too aware that for many, this was not the case and the life of children at this time was particularly harsh. Hooper delivers a real historical treat in this story, which brims with evocations of life at this time and is both hopeful and also powerfully realistic. Ages 12+ / 288 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone

ISBN 9781405263115

The second BZRK story takes us back into the world of the nano as two opposing groups battle for control of the minds of the world's leaders through the use of nano technology. The fanatical Armstrong Twins have developed nano technology to help them control how how humans think and behave; their first goal is to take control of the mind of the US president. Opposing them is BZRK, although the aims of this group aren't spelled out. Both groups rely on a handful of trained 'twitchers' to manage the tiny nanobots and biots that do the work of altering how people think and feel. As you'd expect of Michael Grant, this story moves at a cracking pace and the world he creates - both at nano level and in the 'real' world - is horribly realistic as well as being fantastical. We care about the characters and where the unfolding technology will take them. What you can be sure about with Grant, is that it's unlikely to be pleasant.... This is a brilliantly paced adventure within a superbly envisaged world. Ages 12+ / 448 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Chris Wooding


ISBN 9781407124285

We are familiar now with the idea of zombies and plagues turning familiar worlds into devastation but this latest offering from Chris Wooding (author of The Haunting of Alaizabel Crey), the devastation is wrecked by a virus that turns humans into machines. Focused on a school setting, this novel follows a group of teenagers fighting for survival as those around them are turned, one by one, into mechanical beings who are controlled by a central, terrible being. The action is fast-paced and relentless as the battle between the two sides intensifies and it is the human relationships - the friendships won and lost - that keep the reader engaged. This is a definite winner for readers looking for a dramatic read that doesn't pull its punches; fans of Darren Shan's Zom-B series would also enjoy it. Ages 11+ / 224 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Meaghan McIsaac

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781849397674

Urgle is the debut fantasy novel by Canadian author Meaghan McIssac, published by Andersen Press. It tells the story of a boy named Urgle, his little brother Cubby, friend Av and the other brothers of the Ikkuma Pit. They have no mothers and fend for themselves hunting in the nearby forest. Each brother trains their Little Brother to survive until it's time for their 'Leaving Day' when they have to give up their place in the pit for a new baby. No boy knows what's beyond the forest. No-one before had ever returned to the pit after they had left. That is until one day Urgle and his Little Brother Cubby witness creatures chase a man into the Pit. After identifying him as one of their own by a scar on his ankle, the brothers take him into their care. When Cubby gets taken away by the same strange creatures, Urgle, other brothers and the unknown man set off to get him back. A journey not only for Urgle to find his Little Brother but also himself. This is an unusual story which I found hard to get in to. It is set in a world unknown to us but eventually links to our world emerge. The descriptions throughout the book are very good, for example the world outside the pit is full of dangerous things that Urgle has never seen before, swamps that swallow things up, flesh-eating insects, warrior tribes etc and the imagery is very powerful. Urgle the main character and non-typical hero begins the story weak, scared and not very skilled at hunting. He is not the brave, strong protagonist we expect to find. After the arrival of Blaze we get more action and adventure and the pace quickens. Overall the plot is well thought out and well developed with a satisfying ending. The front cover is striking and reflects the darkness in the story. This new fantasy novel is suitable for teens. There is plenty to discuss in the story and I would like to use this title with a Teenage Reading Group. The story could also be used to explore the themes of family and friendship. Ages 12+ / 352 pages / Reviewed by Valerie Christie, librarian.


ISBN 9781405264594

In The Originals, Lizzie, Ella and Betsey look like triplets, but they are really clones. Since clones are forbidden, they must live in hiding. To the outside world, the three girls are one person but to make this happen, they have to share one life; only one of them can leave the house at one time. Everything is fine, until one of them falls in love and things can never be the same again... Cat Patrick has already proved herself with her earlier bestsellers (Forgotten, Revived) and this story, like her earlier novels, takes a real world setting and gives it a twist. In this case, the central characters are clones in hiding. The idea of three teenagers living the life of one person is intriguing and Patrick makes it entirely convincing as they pull together to make it work. There is also enough of a 'behind the scenes' plotting to keep the pace of the novel going; exactly why is the teens' 'mum' being so secretive about her work and who is out there looking for the triplets? This is an absorbing concept with characters who grow on you and a storyline that keeps the reader guessing. Ages 11+ / 304 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone

ISBN 9781408837450

This is the author's first foray into writing for teenagers, but there is undoubtedly much in this intelligent thriller to engage his many adult fans as well. I particularly like the fact that at no point is the locality and setting of the story ever mentioned. For many teenager readers this book will seem to inhabit the almost familiar dystopian future genre familiar to fans of the Hunger Games and the like. Readers who have more knowledge and awareness of the history of the Middle East will see the tell tale signs of the Arab and Israeli conflict and the impact this has had on the people and the environment over the past 46 years. Having a 13 year old narrator who has grown up in this society, on the privileged side of the Wall, allows the reader to discover alongside him the reality of life on the other side and the shocking realisation that the world view he has been brought up with is not the whole story. Woven into this is a very personal family tragedy. After the death of his father on active service his mother has been swept into another relationship and the step father Joshua loathes comes to represent the very worst abuses of his homeland society. Extraordinarily well written, this would make an excellent class text for year 9 and above. The author himself cites Animal Farm as an inspiration for a book that can be read on many levels with the deeper political meaning being there to prompt discussion and debate as well as engaging characters and a page turning narrative to hook the more casual reader. Read an interview with the author here: Reviewed by Joy Court, School Librarian Services