Review Round-Up

Hello! There have been soooo many fabulous books released in the last couple of months, and it is difficult to keep up....or to find space to review all of them. With that in mind, here are some of the new books that I am recommending, with a small review as to why. In no particular order....
The Secret Life of Daisy Fitzjohn
author: Tania Unsworth
Orion Childrens Books (March 2016)
ISBN: 9781444010268
Daisy Fitzjohn has spent her entire life in the rambling, crumbling Brightwood Hall alone with her mother. She has NEVER left the grounds of the mansion. Her mother spends some time each day carefully wrapping one item as a memory of the day, cataloging their entire life. One day, her mum goes shopping and doesn't return, leaving Daisy alone... and no one outside Brightwood Hall even knows she exists. A stranger arrives with a suitcase, and a plan that threatens Daisys' whole world.
A seemingly improbable story that is eloquent, gripping and suspenseful.Part family drama, part mysterious adventure, this is a beautifully crafted tale all the way through. (10+)
Perigee and Me
author: Ross Montgomery
Faber & Faber (March 2016)
ISBN: 9780571317950
Caitlin is 11-years-old and lives on an island with marine biologist and mother and a famous scientist father, who spends his time traveling the world on book tours, so life is pretty lonely for her. After a storm and meteor shower, Caitlin finds a tiny, shrimp-like alien, Perijee, on the beach. She takes him home to look after and soon becomes utterly attached to the creature, treating him like a brother. The only real problem is, Perijee eats a lot...of everything...and is continuously growing. Before long, the authorities are trying to track down this shape-shifting monster, whose emotions and fear have driven him out of control...but Caitlin is determined to save him. Told in a brilliantly, genuine narrative voice; warm, heart-felt story of  displacement, friendship and kindness in the face of adversity. There are shades of ET in this wonderful, stand-alone novel. A wonderful gift of a book!. (9+)
Time Travelling With A Hamster
author:Ross Welford
HaperCollinsChildren'sBooks (January 2016)
ISBN: 9780008156312
When Al Chaudhury turns 12, his grandfather gives him a letter from his late father that charges him with a daring mission; travel back in time to 1984 and save his fathers' life. With a hidden time machine and his fathers' explicit instructions, Al discovers that time travel is fraught with complications. It also requires a lot of nerve and daring, imagination and lies, theft, sneaking around at night....oh, and setting his school on fire. Ignoring the philosophical advice of his grandfather, Al journeys to and from his present life and his dads' childhood to right wrongs and change the future, and he does it all without losing his beloved pet hamster in the process. A quirky, fast-paced adventure that will have you laughing and shedding a few tears. Marvelous! Thoroughly loved it! (9+)
How To Look For A Lost Dog
author: Ann M Martin
Usborne (January 2016)
ISBN: 9781474906470
Rose is 11-years-old, autistic and struggles to make human connections  and understand her classmates. Day-to-day life is a challenge. But when her father gives her a stray dog, which Rise names Rain, the dog becomes her touch-stone in a confusing world, her best-friend...her everything. During a storm, Rain goes missing. Despite resistance from all around her, Rose will not give up looking for him, from town to town, through storm and floods. Engaging, beautifully expressed, poignant, both hopeful and heart-breaking, How to Look For a Lost Dog is a must-read that will change your perspective. (9+)
The Person Controller
author: David Baddiel
HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (February 2016)
Twins Fred and Ellie are twins who love to do all the same things. They are brilliant at video games; especially brilliant at them! But, they are so good at many other things, like school, sports and dealing with bullies. One day, they meet a Mystery Man, who promptly sends them a game controller, but it's unlike any other game controller they've ever seen. As it turns out, while it doesn't work on any of their games...what it does is control people. The answer to their problems has arrived! Or has it? Funny, moving and filled with magic, this is a laugh-out-loud, yet meaningful offering from David Baddiel, who is emerging as one of the best childrens' writers today! Perfect for fans of David Walliams (9+)
River of Ink (Genesis)
author:Helen Dennis
Hodder's Childrens Books (January 2016)
ISBN: 9781444920437
A teenage boy is washed up on the banks of the Thames near St Pauls Cathedral. He is drenched to the skin, in a state of shock and completely unable to remember anything...who he is, where he has come from, family friends. The only clue as to who he may be lies in a strange drawing he makes, which appears to be some sort of symbol. But even the boy has no idea what it means. Starting his life over with a new name, the search for his real identity begins. He is completely unaware, however, that people are searching for him, as well...but not for obvious reasons. Jed, as he is now known, begins a dangerous quest, which he has only one year to complete...with dire personal consequences if he doesn't. Gripping, thrilling mystery, this is the first in what promises to be a fantastic series. (13+)
Changers: Drew
authors: T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper
Atom (January 2016)
ISBN: 978034902422
Ethan Miller is just a normal kid about to start high school in a new town. He finally has life going in a direction he likes; new haircut, 2 inches taller, looking forward to the football team this year. Okay, his parents are behaving a little oddly, but what parents don't? Life is good! Then, he wakes up the next morning to make a shocking discovery. Ethan is now a girl. Ethan is a changer...part of a little-known ancient race of humanity who live out each of their four years between the ages of 14 and 18 as a different person. Now called Drew, our main character has some serious readjusting to do. Charming and well-written narrative that gives an insight into gender and teen identity...entertaining, as well. (14+)
Not If I See You First
author: Eric Lindstrom
HarperCollins Children'sBooks (January 2016)
ISBN: 9780008146306
Parker Grant has been blind since a tragic accident at age 7. But that doesn't stop her from seeing right through people. So, she has created a set of 'Rules': don't treat her any differently because she's blind, don't take advantage, don't play games....there will be no second chances. But when the boy who broke her heart 2 years ago suddenly appears at her school, Parker discovers that avoiding her past just doesn't work. And it certainly doesn't make the pain go away. The more the truth emerges, the more Parker begins to question if things are really what they seem. A very insightful novel about human nature in general, particularly in the teen years. (14 +)

So, there's a few to keep you going. More will be posted in the next few days.


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