Category Archives: YA Books

A new imprint from Head of Zeus and a lovely launch title for it…

The White Hare by Michael Fishwick Head of Zeus, not content with launching their Apollo imprint for reprints last year, have now launched another. Zephyr will be for children’s books and I’m delighted to be the penultimate stop on the blog tour for its launch title, The White Hare, a novel for 12+ by Michael Fishwick. It’s a lovely thing too, with… Read more »

Three Short Takes

AnnaBookBel   February 18, 2017   4 Comments on Three Short Takes

The Wall by William Sutcliffe Although published as a YA title, and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2014, this novel has crossover appeal – and should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand more about Palestine, Israel and the West Bank settlements. Thirteen-year-old Joshua lives in a town called Amarias in the ‘Occupied Zone’. One day, when he… Read more »

Two Short Takes

AnnaBookBel   February 10, 2017   3 Comments on Two Short Takes

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty I had been planning to read Apple Tree Yard well in advance of the then imminent TV series (preferring to read the book first), but only just made it in time. Suffice it to say, this was a thriller that I raced through in a couple of sessions, finding it unputdownable. This isn’t strictly… Read more »

YA adventure in Revolutionary France

Blade and Bone by Catherine Johnson This book was published to coincide with October’s Black History Month, so I fear my review is a little late, however, better late than never and this was a YA book well worth reading. Blade and Bone is the sequel to Sawbones which is where we would have first met Ezra McAdam, a mulatto boy… Read more »

Two Shorter YA reviews

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher This is the third novel by Pitcher, the first I’ve read, although I own a copy of her prizewinning debut My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. It also fills in the box on my BookBingo Card ‘by an author who shares your first name’… The story is narrated by Tess, a fifteen year old who discovers a… Read more »

Two Mental Health Issue-led YA novels…

Today, I have two slightly shorter reviews for you of YA novels that explore similar themes: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall The pink cover (available in three shades actually, going from medium to full-on shocking pink) does this novel no favours at all. Concentrate instead on the gilded cage and the heart that doesn’t dare to go out of… Read more »

Paris in July

Paris in July is an annual event hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea – it’s now in its seventh year. Given recent awful events in France, reading a French novel seemed a good way to show support. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan Translated by George Miller When first published in English translation in 2010, No and Me was a… Read more »

There’s a girl works down the chip shop swears she knows whodunnit…

V for Violet by Alison Rattle This is Alison Rattle’s fourth YA novel, and it’s a bit of a departure, the other three having been set in the Victorian era. I read and reviewed her second, The Madness, for Shiny New Books (see here), and I enjoyed the doomed romance between classes which turns to obsession a lot. She’s moved… Read more »

Pitch: The Time Bandits in Hawaii?

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig Nix Song lives on a tall ship with her father and small band of fiercely loyal crew, refugees from time. Captain Slate is able to ‘navigate’ the ship through time to any where, but only if he has a true and dated map – and each map only works once. He is searching… Read more »

A great end to a fantastic YA trilogy

Half Lost by Sally Green I’ve loved all three volumes of Sally Green’s Half Bad Trilogy. In the first, Half Bad, we were introduced to the young Nathan Byrn, son of a white witch mother and the most powerful of the black witches as his father. England is controlled by the Council of (white) Witches, and Nathan is approaching his seventeenth birthday… Read more »

An Atwoodian YA tale…

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill It’s rare that a cover quote on a book cover sums up a novel so completely, but the one from Vagenda on one of the paperback editions of Louise O’Neill’s debut novel is near-perfect: ‘Mean Girls meets The Handmaid’s Tale’ But of course I can’t leave it there! The moment I read O’Neill’s second novel, Asking For… Read more »

Shiny New Books Issue 8

I can’t believe that when our next issue of Shiny New Books comes out at the beginning of April, we will have been going for two whole years! The last issue of our second year is out today and features the winning poem in the first Shiny Poetry  Competition – it’s lovely. Naturally, you’ll find a handful of reviews by yours truly. I’ll be… Read more »

Catching up on reviewing…

My to be reviewed pile is larger than I like and I don’t want to forget the books – so here are some shorter reviews for you: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics This is one scary novel – published as a YA book but is definitely not for younger teenaged readers! The story is narrated by Amanda who is sixteen,… Read more »

Something ‘that scares me’…

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith One of the few remaining squares on my summer(!) book bingo card has been crossed off with this novel. I find few ghost stories truly scary and own few horror novels of the type that would scare me. However, big creepy… Read more »

A novel of fragile youth and Sylvia Plath…

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer Meg Wolitzer is best known for her quirky feminist novels about gender politics. I admit I’ve not read any of them, although the comedy aspects of her novel The Position appeal, in which a couple’s children discover that their parents are the creators of a sex manual featuring themselves, this event having ramifications that last through the… Read more »

Half bad? Not at all … it’s all good!

Half Bad by Sally Green This is the latest teen crossover fantasy hit that everyone’s reading, The Hunger Games is so last year dahling! At first I was resistant, but when it was picked for our book group choice, I grasped the mettle and am really glad I did read it. If you read the blurb which mentions witches a lot and… Read more »

The Truman Show meets Dickensian melodrama

Pastworld by Ian Beck Welcome to Pastworld.  Imagine that London has been reinvented as a theme park; that Dickensian London has been recreated in every detail. Rich tourists undergo immersion training, get costumed and are then brought in by airship to become ‘gawkers’ in this new, old world. Caleb, son of Lucius Brown, one of the park’s original imagineers, is… Read more »

Book Two of the Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second. Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Viola are pitched into a… Read more »

Another brilliant dystopia in this coming of age novel

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness This novel for early teens+ was short-listed for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, and won the vote of the boys shadowing the award at the school where I work. I have to say it was a fantastic read for adults too, being multi-layered and thought-provoking – putting a new spin on the… Read more »

A three-hanky novel…

If I Stay by Gayle Forman I came to this novel knowing nothing at all about the plot other than it was a family drama; but I had read several recommendations of the book from respected sources. They all said that it was a novel best encountered fresh, that knowing would spoil the enjoyment of reading it. I concur wholeheartedly…. Read more »