A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
According to the Met Office, Spring officially begins in 2 days time. I have to say, as I sit at my desk wrapped in 3 jumpers, 2 pairs of socks and fingerless gloves, with a hot water bottle at my back, this sounds a tad optimistic, but we have had a bit of sun where I am these last few days, so maybe it’s on its way. Anyway, while we’re waiting, I thought I’d share a list of 6 books I love and think everyone should read while they’re waiting for that yellow thing in the sky to put in a proper appearance.
S is for… Still Falling by Sheena Wilkinson
Luke falls. He has epilepsy. And, as it turns out, he has much bigger issues too. Esther falls. In love. It’s wonderful – but there’s a shadow she can’t identify and that she can’t make go away just by loving Luke. Luke’s experience has taught him to despise himself; Esther’s self-belief is fragile. And love it not as easy as it looks, but they are still falling…
Sheena Wilkinson is one of my favourite YA contemporary authors, and Still Falling is one of my favourite YA contemporary novels. A dark and emotional story which pulls you in from the very first page, it is beautifully and authentically told.
P is for… Panther by David Owen
Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick; he’s become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he’s hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart. When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to turn capture it. Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he’ll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?
Panther, David Owen’s debut novel, is a clever and compelling story with a misfit main character I instantly felt drawn to. As Derrick stalked the beast which was supposed to be roaming his hometown, and his life began to unravel, I couldn’t tear myself away.
R is for… Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling – that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It’s enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents’ marriage troubles. There’s just one thing bothering her…
Shouldn’t it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way – not Miss Murray, her English teacher?
Read Me Like a Book is Liz Kessler’s first YA novel – she is already well established as an author for younger readers – and I loved it. Ashleigh is a great protagonist and the issues she deals with as she questions and faces up to her sexuality are brilliantly and realistically dealt with.
I is for… In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll
‘You’re telling me there are fairies in this wood?’
When Alice’s brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother’s house. There’s nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden – but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn’t seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?
I’ve been on quite a MG reading kick recently, and Emma Carroll is one of my favourite authors writing for this age group. Her stories pull me in with vivid descriptions and gripping plots, making me feel like I’m a kid all over again. Wonderful!
N is for… No True Echo by Gareth P Jones
Eddie is pretty certain nowhere could be more small-town, more boring, and more inconsequential than his home town of the Wellcome Valley. Unfortunately, he is about to be proved spectacularly wrong.
Eddie’s problems start with the arrival of Scarlett, a new girl in town who seems rather too confident and mysterious for your average schoolgirl. She attracts trouble (and Eddie) like a magnet, and she’s apparently only interested in two very strange things – protecting the town’s local crackpot scientist, and telling Eddie absolutely nothing about what on earth is going on. And why is she so interested in Eddie’s long-dead mother? Things quickly go from weird to worse for Eddie, as he finds himself right in the middle of a dangerous mystery – one with consequences not just for him and Scarlett, but time itself.
This is the first novel by Gareth P. Jones I’ve ever read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was a quirky and darkly humorous time-travel novel full of twists and turns, and one of the most brilliantly plotted denouements ever!
G is for… (The) Glass Demon by Helen Grant
The first death: Seventeen-year-old Lin Fox finds a body in an orchard. As she backs away in horror, she steps on broken glass. The second death: Then blood appears on her doorstep – blood, and broken glass.The third death: Something terrible is found in the cemetery. Shards of broken glass lie by a grave.Who will be next? As the attacks become more sinister, Lin doesn’t know who to trust. She’s getting closer to the truth behind these chilling discoveries, but with each move the danger deepens.
Because someone wants Lin gone – and won’t give up until he’s got rid of her and her family. Forever.
I’m a big fan of Helen Grant. BIG fan. Her writing style is spare and exquisite, and I love the fact that her novels are set in European locations other than Britain – in this case, Germany. The creeping sense of menace in this story kept me hooked until the very last page.
So, what are you reading this (almost) Spring?