Great Escapes: Summer Reads for Teens/YA

Summer is the perfect time for some great escapes. And what better way to escape than through some fantastic reading material. You can dip yourself in to someone elses' life, fast-forward into a future that may or may not be or take a roller-coaster ride into a great mystery or crime novel. Need a few suggestions to get you started? Here we go!
In The Angelica Touch by LJ Sedgewick (Janey Mac Books ISBN: 9780995702721), we meet 14-year-old Angelica, who has decided that before she can have a boyfriend, she must find one for her hotel manager mum, Molly. Her solution is to create an online dating website and set up a profile for Molly herself. What could possibly go wrong? A hilarious and poignant story that involves the internet world, a small dreary Donegal town, a match-making festival to rival all others and some really big surprises for Angelica.
Who hasn't dreamed of running away to join the circus? Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain (Walker Books ISBN: 9781406375657) takes us to a small, rural town in Northern Ireland to hang out with the Franconi Circus; in particular Birdie and Finch, twin trapeze sensations. When Birdie suffers a mysterious accident, Finch is left on his own to figure out school, friends, family, life on the flying trapeze, and what exactly happened to his sister. It's a lot to handle. Filled with laughter and tears, this is a wonderful, compelling, quirky read.
White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock (Walker Books ISBN: 9781406378177) shows us a contemporary world of the mind, murder and espionage. Peter Blankman is a maths genius with severe anxiety disorder and crippling fear. He lives with his brilliant scientist mother and tough twin sister, Bel who is his protector and his axiom. When his mother is brutally attacked at an awards ceremony and Bel disappears, Peter is driven into a world where violence, state and family secrets blend into one. And Peter, left with only his incredible abilities of analysis, discovers that his greatest weakness may be the thing that saves him.
The future can become a very strange place. In Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson (Walker Books ISBN: 9781406379006), when the Vuvv landed a few years ago with offer of a cure for any disease imaginable and technological advancements beyond wildest dreams. But now, there's no work, no clean air or water, no money...only alien technology and a race of beings with a passion for 'classic Earth Culture.' So, Adam and his girlfriend Chloe produce a 1950s-style, pay-per-minute romance show. As they grow to hate each other increasingly with each and every episode, pleasing the Vuvv may not be as easy as it seemed. Great sci-fi in classic form.
All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor (Bloomsbury ISBN: 9781408890936) explores the world of fandom and the lies, obsession and revenge that go with it. Miri, Soleil, Penny and Jonah get the chance to meet their favourite author, Fatima Ro. Together, they scheme and plot to become close to her, never suspected that Fatima has an agenda of her own. Told in a series of articles, interviews and excerpts from the upcoming book, the friends are plunged into a devious and sordid betrayal when they discover Fatima has used their darkest secrets as her plot and exposing them leads to tragedy. An addictive, original, gripping read.
Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Hodder Childrens Books ISBN: 9781444907896) is simply beautiful. Rachel and Henry have been separated by house move, a couple of years and an unrevealed tragedy. They find their way back to each other through a bookshop filled with whispers, dreams, secrets and letters hidden between pages. Working side by side, the pair watch life stories unfold and perish, only to be rebuilt again. Sometimes, second chances (and books) are enough.Life, in all its' uncontrollable, exquisite nature is offered in a realistic, amazing voice; and gratefully accepted by this reader.
You will honestly adore The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen (Usborne ISBN: 9781474940634). Malin carefully observes everything around her; her Dad's constant yelling, her mother falling apart and her brother lying. She's trying to figure it all out. Because life is difficult if you're Malin; you see things very differently. While Malin looks for consistency and precision, she is beginning to see that life isn't like that. It's big and noisy and messy and filled with unexpected things. Some of them are tragic. A lovely, compassionate coming-of-age story with a brilliant central character.
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury YA ISBN: 9781408871539) takes us into the world of young carers and begs the question, "how far are you willing to go for someone you love?" In a tender, believable story, Bobby is a young man looking after his MS-stricken mother and his younger brother Danny. An overwhelming task, Bobby holds up admirably with the support of his friend, Bel and the members of his young carers group. But when it comes down to Mum asking Bobby for one last thing, what can  he do? This is a book filled with life, humour and love.
Climate change has irrevocably altered the world both physically and politically in The Survival Game by Nicky Singer (Hodder Childrens Books ISBN: 9781444944525). It is now a world of mass-global migration, checkpoints, identity papers and strict government control. Mhairi Anne Bain has learned to live her own story, to look after herself. She knows you have to prove yourself worthy at every checkpoint just to survive. When she comes across a young boy with no voice and no one to help him, she slowly and grudgingly makes the decision to take him with her and keep him safe. A chilling and enthralling dytopian tale, it is out in July.
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (Walker Books ISBN: 9781406369052) is coming in August. Reiko loves to go to the desert at night; to escape the pressures of family life, her own secrets and the 'sameness' of her life. The desert gives her the glorious night sky, the silence and space to be herself. One night, she meets Seth who shares her love of the night and longs for something different. As summer draws to a close, their love starts to crumble. Things are never quite what they seem and sometimes you lose at love to find yourself. A tender, truthful read about becoming who you need to be.


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