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Mainly aimed at young adults, but high quality and readable for adults too, Young Adult Fiction navigates emotional stories and characters searching for who they are. This diverse genre can feature aspects from any other genre, from Family Dramas to Fantasy with a stop off at Horror and Historical Fiction along the way.
October 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. A group of Californian teenagers with superpowers should be having the time of their lives, right? Wrong… This action-packed page-turner about the self-proclaimed Zeroes shows that superpowers come at a cost. In fact, Ethan’s power, an all-knowing voice that speaks through him, has torn the group apart. And that’s also what lands him in serious trouble when he finds himself in the throes of an armed robbery. After being taken in for police questioning, Ethan, aka Scam, is compelled to call on the Zeroes for help. While still angry about the insults his voice poured on them, the old gang comes to his rescue. Chizara uses her superpower to crash the police station's systems so Ethan can escape. But that’s not enough; the shockwaves are already out there and the Zeroes, a collection of six compellingly realised characters, are drawn into increasingly high-stake situations. The first in a trilogy, and the result of a collaboration between three esteemed writers, this is an exhilaratingly original take on superpower-themed fiction. And, as the extraordinary teenagers are forced to find a way to harness their powers, it’s also an allegory about stepping up and taking responsibility. - Joanne Owen
October 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. In an isolated boarding school, a group of girls settle in for the holidays. Everyone else has gone home and there are rivalries and animosity between them – this definitely isn’t going to be a happy Christmas. But no-one knows just how bad things will get! As snow falls, cutting them off, stories of the monstrous beast that stalks the hills become terrifyingly plausible: something is out there, something murderous! It’s a classic set up and C.J. Skuse squeezes every thrill and heart-stopping moment out of it, adding a breezy, sardonic humour just right for teen readers. Grisly, nail-biting fun! ~ Andrea Reece
Pulsating with tension, twists and a whole lot of blood, Zom-B Fugitive is the penultimate book in an addictive twelve-volume series by horror supremo, Darren Shan. While the ingeniously unpredictable plot, involving the likes of a crazy killer clown, mutant babies and legions of brain-eating zombies, will have gore fans turning the pages at breakneck speed, this series also confronts big issues face-on. The horror of fighting for survival in a violent, post-apocalyptic world is juxtaposed with horrors readers will recognise from our own - racism, cruelty and the abuse of power. And the stakes couldn’t be higher as the momentum of this unique series hurtles towards its undoubtedly shocking climax. As B, the resilient protagonist, remarks, she’s “carrying hope for the entire world”. Featuring evocative full-page illustrations by acclaimed comic book artist Warren Pleece, this is an audaciously inventive read for older readers with a thirst for the gory. - Joanne Owen Stop press... Darren will be appearing at the Cheltenham Festival on Sunday 4th October. Click here to find out more. Further information from the Cheltenham Festival.
September 2015 NewGen Debut of the Month. Told through the eyes of three utterly unforgettable characters, this is a bold and poignant Young Adult debut about the wonders and complexities of love in all its forms. Mira is trying to forge a fresh start at high school after being hospitalised for recurring depression. Sebby, her best friend, is a lifeline, a whirlwind of warmth and energy, though he’s not without problems of his own. Sebby’s a foster kid, an impulsive risk-taker who’s hardly attended school since being badly beaten up by homophobic bullies. While Mira and Sebby struggle when they’re apart, together these infectiously unique individuals keep each other sane. Then they befriend Jeremy, an excruciatingly shy art geek and fellow outsider, and the three of them make a pact to live the impossible life, to sparkle like jewels ‘in the sad desert of the world’. With wit, warmth and remarkable honesty, it shows how friendship can provide shelter from the worst the world has to offer, and the strength to face it again. ~ Joanne Owen
Fate sets two English girls, Hope and Emily, on parallel journeys more than a hundred years apart. Both find freedom and love in the wild mountains of Montana, but what they don't know is that their stories are inextricably entwined.
September 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. Award- winning Jenny Downham launched her career with Before I Die. The story of a young girl facing death, it showed a bold author who could write sensitively about a subject that could easily be sensationalised. In Unbecoming she adopts a similarly direct approach to coping with dementia, the breakdown of marriage and discovering adolescent sexuality as faced collectively and individually by three generations of women in a family. When Katie’s grandmother, whom she has always been told is dead, turns out to be alive and coming to live with them, it begins the discovery of secrets that changes everything in her life. Katie’s grandmother Mary has dementia; she is gradually loosing memories from her past. And yet, looking after her while her mother works, Katie finds that the memories that Mary retains help her to unlock secrets from her mother’s past while also liberating her own feelings and enabling her to speak truthfully at last. An ambitious story that is told across a time span of fifty years, Unbecoming swoops in and out of the lives of the three women reflecting both their enormous differences and their inextricable bonds. Mary’s dementia and increasing confusion is painful but Jenny Downham is touching in her account of it; the effect of it on Katie is optimistic but not unconvincing. ~ Julia Eccleshare “Unbecoming is an astonishing feat of storytelling, a life-affirming book about identity and desire and learning to honour your own stories. It’s searingly honest and completely unputdownable.” - David Fickling
September 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. Rebecca Stead loves to set her readers puzzles: there are huge mysteries in her award-winning novels When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy and her new book, Goodbye Stranger also poses questions. Central character Bridge was very nearly killed by a car aged 8, and has never forgotten one of the nurses telling her that ‘you must have been put on this earth for a reason’ – the question what that reason might be circles in her head thereafter. At the time of the book’s action, Bridge is 12 and starting seventh grade, year 7 as we know it, a year that marks a real transition from childhood to the beginning of adulthood. She navigates it cautiously, even reluctantly, in contrast to her long-time best friends Tab and Em who seem more than ready to become young adults. In other plotlines, Bridge’s new friend Sherm tries to work out why his grandfather left his grandmother after fifty years of happy marriage, and – another mystery – which character, unnamed until the very end, is bunking off school in shame after betraying a friend’s trust? Full of ideas, insight and real depth, this beautifully told story examines love and friendship in all their forms, and asks us all to think about who we are. ~ Andrea Reece
September 2015 NewGen Debut of the Month. A great new debut about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love. “Love makes people crazy,” observes Maddy, the eighteen-year-old protagonist of this remarkable debut. It’s “worth everything. Everything.” Exploring the risks we'll take for love, and to protect those we've given our hearts to, Maddy’s story is utterly unforgettable. Since she was an infant, Maddy’s world has been confined to the books she devours, her devoted doctor mom and her loveable full-time nurse, Carla. For seventeen years, she’s lived with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or ‘bubble baby disease’, which means venturing outside could trigger fatal allergic reactions. But everything changes when a new family moves into her Californian neighbourhood, and Maddy is inexorably drawn to the enigmatic, black-clad Olly. They strike up a relationship, initially via instant messaging and then in person, when Maddy persuades Carla to allow Olly into their air-sealed house. He’s the biggest risk she's ever taken, Maddy comments. And Olly likens her to a fairy tale heroine, shut away like Rapunzel, except in Maddy’s case being rescued by a prince could kill her. But the deeper they fall in love, the more necessary it becomes for Maddy to take these risks. They share their first kiss and, “just like that, everything changes,” so much so, Maddy feels ready to risk everything to realise a lifelong dream with the person she loves.With enriching illustrations by the author's husband, David Yoon, himself a designer and writer, this is a heartrending, sparkling jewel of a novel, and its subtly-laid twist will take your breath away. - Joanne Owen EXCITING NEWS - Ahead even of publication MGM has optioned the rights to this novel by debut author Nicola Yoon. The story centres on a 17-year-old girl who suffers from severe combined immune-deficiency, which leaves her housebound. J Mills Goodloe, the screenwriter for Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively and upcoming The Mountains Between Us (Rosamund Pike and Charlie Hunnam), will adapt the novel into a screenplay. MGM has a successful track record of adapting YA novels, including its partnership with New Line on If I Stay, starring Chloe Grace Moritz. Zoella Book Club title Summer 16
September 2015 NewGen Debut of the Month. At once a sweeping love story and a high-concept page-turner, this ambitious, accomplished debut resonates long after the story has ended. Teenagers Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. And during their incarnations – the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the speculative near-futures of 2019 and 2039 – they are destined to meet, fall madly in love, and change the course of history for the better, though in so doing they lose one another, and themselves, over and over and over. Innovatively told through prose, letters, emails, articles and social media posts, this expansive debut is rich in both historical detail and thought-provoking hypotheses. The multi-narrative structure and compelling, question-driven plot (How many times must Katherine and Matthew die to save the world? Will their next time together be different?)will appeal to readers with a wide range of tastes and interests, from historical fiction and romance, to speculative fiction and time slip mysteries. Moreover, Katherine and Matthew’s extraordinary love and heart-breaking predicament speaks to the romantic in us all. ~ Joanne Owen
September 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2015. Sophie Nieuwenleven’s story is shocking, so she tells it in the only way she can – in code, using random code worms to keep any nubby parkers on their togs. Sophie’s parents have been keeping massive secrets from her, and her dad in particular has much to confess. With help from unexpected places and people, Sophie is able to work things out and rebuild her life. This is a highly original coming of age story, different, interesting, very funny. Despite the singularity of Sophie’s story, it will speak to everyone about identity and working out who you really are. Sophie’s code gives the text a kind of poetry, and the story has a pace and momentum that will keep readers turning pages. ~ Andrea Reece Costa Judges' comment: “A pacy, exuberant story full of wit and charm.”
The Predator Cities quartet is a stunning blend of past and future technologies where the world of the traction era and mobile cities fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic future. The publication of Mortal Engines, the first in the quartet launched Philip Reeve's brilliantly-imagined creation, sets the scene for a stunning quartet of action-packed novels set in a richly inventive world. Big cities gobble up smaller ones and London rules above them all. Tom Natsworthy, a third class apprentice in the Guild of Historians, has the adventure of his life after he sets out to try to find out what has happened to his parents. With a cast of inventive characters including Shrike, Anna Fang and Stalker, a deadly robot killer with a human brain, and cities whose imaginary and multi-layered architecture dazzles, this is a creation on a vast and imaginary scale. A comment from the author's publisher and Editor, Marion Lloyd Philip Reeve's Predator Cities quartet defies easy categorisation, but its brilliantly inventive fantasy world immediately grabbed the attention of readers, reviewers and literary prize-givers as soon as the first book appeared. There are now five inspiring adventure stories (including Fever Crumb, the prequel to the quartet), in whose futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting, moving cities trawl the Earth. They attack and consume each other in wastelands where natural resources are scarce, and Ancient technology is fought for. Fast-paced, sometimes violent, always surprising and original, Reeve's epic sequence of love, war and adventure are richly rewarding for both adults and children. Charlie Higson, April 2012 Guest Editor: "Reeve is my favourite living children’s author. His book, Here Lies Arthur, is a really clever and exciting reworking of the King Arthur legends that looks at the power of story telling, and his Predator Cities quartet was one of the series I looked at when I was starting to write for kids. I wanted to take the temperature, get some tips and pointers – how complex could you make the stories? How much violence was permitted? Could you kill off swathes of favourite characters? The answer was you can do what you like if you write well and draw your readers in, two things that Reeve does masterfully. The concept of this series – that in the future the oceans will dry up and our cities will be placed on giant caterpillar tracks so that they can trundle around fighting each other, is irresistible. Even if you think you don’t like sci-fi, you’ll love these adventures. To read the Predator Cities series in order: 1) Mortal Engines 2) Predator's Gold 3) Infernal Devices 4) Darkling Plain Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here. If you love Philip Reeve's Predator Cities sequence you should also read Haywired by Alex Keller. Also, click here to read Alex Keller's interview with Philip Reeve in The Solitary Bee.
‘Here Be Dragons’ is a fabulous fantasy adventure tale holding hands with an enticing romance. Ellie Morgan is 16, she lives on the edge of Snowdon, texts her friends and helps her mum as a support member for the mountain rescue team, she is stubborn, loyal and has caught the eye of a strange boy. As the menacing hidden world of Snowdon sweeps ever closer to Ellie, there are times when she makes some risky and potentially perilous decisions and I wanted to hold her back, to shout out a warning to her. Sarah Mussi has written an intriguing mix of contemporary and ancient, and they balance together beautifully. There are translations of Welsh where necessary and a map of the Snowdon area at the front of the novel. This is Book One of ‘The Snowdonia Chronicles’ and with battling dragons, ancient curses and a thoroughly modern heroine, I look forward to the next in the series. ~ Liz Robinson
Life-lessons, loves, laughs & LOADS more!
Especially compiled for Young Adults, this section is awash with wonderful worlds to escape to, great stories and characters you’ll love.
The years leading up to your 20s are such a vibrant and vivid time in your life. Adventure, friendships, self-discovery are all there in spades, but there’s frustration too, impatience and a strong desire to be understood. This section of fantastic books for young adult readers is filled with stories that reflect all of these feelings in settings that will give flight to your imagination. Be inspired by tales of self-discovery, run the rocky road of romance, battle big issues in mysterious worlds, beat the bleak future of dystopian regimes, or laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it all. There’s something here for all tastes and moods from half-god heroes to horseback holidays and literally everything in between.
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