Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts
The novel, Zac and Mia, follows the journey of two teenager cancer patients as they struggle with the challenges both in and out of a cancer ward. Written from both children’s’ perspective it is an engaging, unbelievably realistic read with such raw, genuine protagonists. Zac is calm and kind while Mia is perpetually angry and feisty, in the outside world they would never be friends. But in hospital there are different rules – especially when everyone else there is your grandparent’s age. Set in and out of the hospital Zac and Mia is a powerful (not too depressing) novel, perfect for fans of John Green’s the Fault in Our Stars. The base of the novel is friendship- often tentative, ignored and depended upon. Unlike in many novels things don't ‘magically’ fall into place at every turn, both of the characters are humanely flawed and this makes their friendship both believable and enthralling.
The novel isn’t really about cancer. Cancer is how they meet and the battle they face but it isn’t the focus or the point of it. Zac and Mia is about friendship, love, struggle and finding ones strength in others. Beautifully written, it is easily one of the best books that I have read this year.
For ages 12+ (but enjoyable for all)
The Diviners is a gripping, sensational read that presents a completely new story, a historical fiction with about 1 000, 000, 000 twists and constant thrills. A young adult fiction unlike any other I’ve read! Awesome! Fabulous! Frightening!
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City and she couldn’t be happier about it. New York is the city of shopping, fame, actress and movie palaces! Evie has found her place with the glamorous Ziegfield girls and loves the thrills of the rakish pickpockets. However she has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
Although maybe Will isn’t as crazy as everyone thought, maybe just maybe he’s right. When a series of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. But Evie has a secret, a mysterious power that could save her if it doesn’t get her killed first.
A brilliant book of peril, romance, exploration, mystery and horror, that will keep you clued to the coach.
Recommended for 12+
- Katie McGregor
Hilarious. Romantic. Geeky. Moving. Beautiful. Life in Outer Space is utterly ravishing. This is geeky at its greatest. Keil has created a life so believable but incredibly captivating.
Sam Kinnison is an intelligent boy, an obsessive-war craft player, a fan of horror movies and generally a geek. However he is perfectly happy being so. He has his few fine friends, the computer room for lunchtime and a life free from the trouble of girls, well at least until Princess Lea turns up.
In comes the Camilla Carter. She is beautiful, popular, caring and for some absurd and unexplainable reason she wants to befriend him. Obviously this leaves Sam shell shocked and distracted, which was not part of his plan.
A fabulous novel about a movie geek and the dream girl he refuses to fall in love with.
For ages: 10+
Rated: 9 ½ / 10
Reviewed by Katie McGregor
Everybody Sees the Ants
Written by A.S King
This dark, humorous, stunning novel shows the effects of bullying and a child’s way of dealing with the pain. A brave endeavor brilliantly pulled off. It is a jaw-dropping combination of both realism and imagination.
Lucky Linderman is sick of the pain, is sick of the torment, is sick of how no one notices or at least pretends not to, he is sick of his turtle mother and his non-existent father. If it weren’t for his secret he wouldn’t be here. Constantly under attack from Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying Lucky needs an escape. This is his secret… in his dreams he escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Lao with his Grandfather. Here Lucky is a hero, a brave warrior. But dreams don’t last forever and there comes a time when every person must face their demons.
This powerful novel about taking a stand will grip your heart and never let go.
- Katie McGregor
When We Wake
This beautifully written novel about the ethics of a new world and the right to another life experiments with a possible near future, the good and the bad. Captivating. Culturally adventurous.
Tegan Oglietti died. Her heart stopped. Her eyes closed. So that was it, right? No. One hundred years in the future, she wakes in a government facility. She is the first person ever to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived. It's a beautiful future in it things are better. That was until terrible secrets came to light. When you have another chance to fight for a better future, do you take it, when you know the consequences of such an action?
This action-packed novel will keep you anxiously reading until the end. The time has come, to face the heat and change the future.
- Katie McGregor
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
Becca knows what you’re thinking and until now she was using it against you. She is on the run from her abusive stepfather and she has taken sanctuary on Whidbey Island. Things were spacing out and she was finding her place, but when a boy was found next to dead heads begin to turn.
This action-packed novel will leave you thirsty for more. Although it takes a while to get into it, once you do you won’t look back. Wonderfully written and contains incredible description. The Edge of Nowhere is a mesmerizing novel!
Recommended for 12+
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
‘Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.’
The future world is one of prosperity, where you are safe from the deadly disease. Lena is thrilled in this new world, counting down the days to her immunity. She longs to be free from such evil, free from love.
In a world where love is despised, where children are no more than a responsibility and marriage is just a mutual agreement between two parities, everything is perfect. Really, is it? Lena is waiting for the day when she is cured, but then she does the unthinkable. She falls in love.
Delirium is an incredible dystopian fiction and a heart-wrenching love story.
Recommended for 9+
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
What if you only had one day to live? Would you change something? Fix any regrets? Fall in love?
Samantha Kingston has it all and she knows it. So what if she has hurt a few people in her time, everybody does. So what if she is occasionally selfish, it’s that or be a loser. There is nothing else she could want and her future is bright. That was until she died. Forced to that one day for eternity, she realizes that maybe there was something she had been missing.
This heartbreaking debut novel will leave you speechless, soaking in its magnitude. Lauren Oliver is a god of young adult literature. Before I Fall will stay in your mind long after you read the final page. You will never forget.
Recommended for 10+
Dangerous. Breathtaking. Brutal. Merciless. Spectacular. This book is all that and more. Kendra has woven her characters into a magnificent, ghostly web. Her words so picturesque that they feel real.
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat, hunting for the dead.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into her deserted Victorian home. When Cas enters her home, she, spares his life.
The story is a gut-wrenching, gorgeous, heart-breaking, tortured love story. Basically it is just your average-boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story.
For ages 12+
- Katie McGregor
BRILLIANT! This book is a roller-coaster ride! With so many ever-changing surprises and discoveries you are in for the ride of your life. This book only gets better as it goes along. If you aren’t immediately interested from reading the blurb, take my advice and read it anyway! You will be pleasantly surprised!
Rosie Kenning’s mother (Trudie) is dying, slowly losing contact to her daughter due to Huntington’s disease, leaving Rosie orphaned. Alone and lost, with the prospect of inheriting that fatal disease herself, Rosie is searching for answers on how to continue. When she discovers that Trudie wasn’t even her mother to begin with. Filled with the pain of losing her mother, but also finding a new one she begins to track down her biological mother, changing her life forever.
When faced the dilemma of finding a new home but destroying the lives of others or remaining alone, what will Rosie chose? Selfish and happy or selfless and alone? Only one thing is certain:
One Secret Can Change Everything!
- Katie McGregor