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Andrea Reece - Editorial Expert

About Andrea Reece

Andrea Reece has spent all her working life in children’s books. Her first job was at Transworld Publishers back in the 1980s where, amongst other things, she ran the fan club for readers of the smash hit teen series Sweet Dreams.

She went on to work for other children’s publishers, large and small, and with authors including David Almond, Nick Butterworth, Mick Inkpen and Michael Morpurgo. In 2005 she set up children’s independent Catnip Publishing Ltd., publishing Richard and Judy favourite Scaredy Squirrel in the process, and went on to run Books for Keeps, the children’s books journal.

She is very used to odd looks from people on trains and buses who see her reading children’s books, and is still as excited as ever to discover a new children’s author. Apart from being one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts alongside Julia Eccleshare she is also director of the children’s and young people’s programme of the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.

Latest Reviews By Andrea Reece

Everything Sad Is Untrue
For ages 9 to 90 ‘Every story is the sound of  a storyteller begging to stay alive’, says Khosrou – or Daniel as he’s known to his new classmates in Oklahoma - the narrator of the many wonderful stories that make up this book. Central of course is his own story, how with his mother and sister he had to flee his home in Iran, leaving his father behind, but there are also the stories of his grandparents and great-grandparents, plus the myths that he’s grown up with.  Horribly picked on at school ... View Full Review
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse
Four very different characters take centre stage in this unusual and beautifully illustrated book. There’s a horse, wise and reliable; a boy, Christopher Robin-like in his curiosity and kindness; a mole, driven by an optimism, and love of cake; and a fox, vulnerable and in need of love and understanding. The story of their friendship is told through Charlie Mackesy’s evocative pen and ink sketches. Most but not all are accompanied by three or four lines of text, not so much a narrative but rather meditations, little flashes of insight into the human condition: “We ... View Full Review
All About Mia
In Mia Campbell-Richardson, Lisa Williamson has created one of the stroppiest, most self-absorbed heroines ever to grace the pages of a novel. The middle of three daughters, Mia has convinced herself that she is unloved and overlooked by her parents in favour of her awe-inspiringly successful sisters. Indeed, when Grace, Cambridge-bound big sister returns home from her gap year pregnant – to the shock of all – Mia responds by laughing; it’s hardly surprising the atmosphere at home is tense. No matter how badly she behaves however, readers will remain on Mia’s side, such is the ... View Full Review
The Art of Being Normal
This is a sensitive, often funny and thoroughly engaging story of teenagers coming to terms with who they are. It’s easy to think in these liberal times that anything goes, but teens will be quick to point out that growing up is as difficult as it’s ever been. It’s particularly hard for David, one of the two central characters in this assured debut. David has known since the age of eight that he wants to be a girl. Teased as a freak at school, he feels he can’t even tell his family. ... View Full Review
Hey Sherlock!
This is the third in Simon Mason’s award-winning Garvie Smith crime series and you won’t find a better, more entertaining or more stylishly written whodunnit. His hero Garvie Smith is very smart – indeed, he’s a virtual maths genius – but very lazy, whether it comes to housework, schoolwork or his new job as a fencer (delivered courtesy of his friend Smudge). The disappearance of the teenage daughter of the house behind the fences they are fixing is something that exercises Garvie and he’s much better placed to solve the mystery than ... View Full Review
The Brink of Darkness
In a nutshell: passionate love story continues – in hell  |    Zoe and X are soulmates, even though she’s a 21st century teenager and he’s a bounty hunter from the Lowlands, ie Hell.  They were brought together in The Edge of Everything, but separated at the end when he sacrificed himself for her and returned to the Lowlands.  But never say forever – in this equally torrid and thrilling episode the two are reunited, Zoe recklessly plunging into the underworld to find X, now involved in a search for his missing ... View Full Review
Little Liar
In a nutshell: YA psychological thriller, as twisty as they come |    This story begins in a spiritual retreat. 17 year old Nora is there to recover from an accident and promises readers she will describe the chain of events that brought her there. It will, she says, be a true story, before immediately admitting that she hasn’t always told the truth. This is putting it mildly: Nora’s whole life is a series of lies and deceptions. She has a library of stories to explain her father’s death for example, and in an ... View Full Review
The Edge of Everything
In a nutshell: girl loves boy/supernatural bounty hunter  |   When star-crossed lovers Zoe and the boy she nicknames X meet the circumstances are hardly promising: stranded in a blizzard Zoe has fallen into the hands of a psychotic murderer and X, there in his capacity as supernatural bounty hunter responsible for dragging wicked souls to Hell, saves her. When Zoe persuades him to let the man go, her fate and X’s intertwine but as the plot unfolds, we begin to realise that maybe they were part of a bigger story all along. Sassy, fast-talking Zoe ... View Full Review
More Than We Can Tell
March 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: gripping YA thriller  |  Two damaged young people are the central characters in this gripping novel.  Rev, who lives with his adopted parents, still bears the scars inflicted by his abusive father, and fears that he may one day meet the man again or, even worse, turn into him.  Em’s homelife is toxic, her parents argue all the time and her mother often attacks Em too. She takes refuge online, but that space stops feeling safe when one of the vile trolls who target her (mostly for ... View Full Review
Optimists Die First
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award  | In a Nutshell: how to hope for the best even when you’ve been through the worst |   Susin Nielsen puts her protagonists through the most terrible situations, but always manages to keep the tone of her novels light, positive and ultimately uplifting. Teenager Petula’s little sister died in tragic circumstances and the effect on the family has been shattering: her parents are both coping in their own way, but growing further apart, while Petula sees danger and threats in everything. Because of her terrible anxiety she’s ... View Full Review
The Taste of Blue Light
February 2018 Debut of the Month  |  In a nutshell: angry, witty and ultimately life-affirming coming-of-age story The Taste of Blue Light establishes Lydia Ruffles as an exciting and original new voice in YA. We first meet her central character Lux Langley at her school’s end of year party, the kind of wild, uninhibited bacchanal that Richdene Art School is famous for. She seems to be everything many teens long to be – bold, confident, popular. But something happens that turns her summer bad, so that ever after it tastes to Lux ‘of tequila and ash’. ... View Full Review
WaR: Wizards and Robots
February 2018 Debut of the Month In a nutshell: sci-fi and fantasy blend in high-action, thought-provoking adventure Musician and entertainer will.i.am has collaborated with science of the future specialist Brian David Johnson to create an epic adventure. WaR seamlessly combines fantasy favourites wizards with robots, long beloved in sci-fi but now accepted as a crucial part of all our futures. Flipping back and forth in time, it stars feisty teenager Sara, whose mother is creating the first fully intelligent robot. This puts Sara at the centre of a power struggle, spanning centuries, between wizards and robots. As the story ... View Full Review