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No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton

Aya is eleven years old and has just arrived in Britain with her mum and baby brother, seeking asylum from war in Syria.

When Aya stumbles across a local ballet class, the formidable dance teacher spots her exceptional talent and believes that Aya has the potential to earn a prestigious ballet scholarship.

But at the same time, Aya and her family must fight to be allowed to remain in the country, to make a home for themselves, and to find Aya’s father – separated from the rest of the family during the journey from Syria.

With beautiful, captivating writing, wonderfully authentic ballet detail, and an important message championing the rights of refugees, this is classic storytelling – filled with warmth, hope and humanity.

No Ballet Shoes in Syria is such a heartfelt and thoughtful read which I am really pleased I took the time to read.

The story follows Aya a 11 year old refugee who has ended up in Manchester. Following her story broke my heart as it really shows the reader exactl…
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If you could go anywhere by Paige Toon

Angie has always wanted to travel. But at 29, she has still never left her small mining town in the Australian outback. When her grandmother passes away, Angie finally feels free to see the world – until she discovers a letter addressed to the father she never knew and is forced to question everything.

As Angie sets off on her journey to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will enigmatic stranger Alessandro help guide the way?

Another awesome read from Paige Toon. I loved it.

I you could go anywhere follows the story of Angie and what I liked about it that whilst it had the usual romantic story that we all want from a Paige Toon novel it was also a coming of age novel. Angie has never left her small town and after the death of her Nan she has the opportunity to go to Italy to find the father she never met. I loved seeing her go on this adventure and find her feet in a new setting completely out of her comfort zone as she meets new relatives and fri…

The Opposite of Always by Justin A Reynolds

Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . .

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else …

The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum

“I was special. I was a hero. I lost the best friend I ever had.”

Eleven-year-old Maggie lives in Fennis Wick, enclosed and protected from the outside world by a boundary, beyond which the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam.

Her brother Jed is an eldest, revered and special. A hero. Her younger brother is Trig – everyone loves Trig. But Maggie’s just a middler; invisible and left behind. Then, one hot September day, she meets Una, a hungry wanderer girl in need of help, and everything Maggie has ever known gets turned on its head.

Narrated expertly and often hilariously by Maggie, we experience the trials and frustrations of being the forgotten middle child, the child with no voice, even in her own family.

This gripping story of forbidden friendship, loyalty and betrayal is perfect for fans of Malorie Blackman, Meg Rosoff and Frances Hardinge.

I'm deliberately not going to say much about this book. It's awesome and reminded me so much of How I love …

The quiet at the end of the world by Lauren James

How far would you go to save those you love?

Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .


I loved this book. For me what was really wonderful about it was the characterisation and the setting.

I loved the two main characters and their relationship as the youngest two people alive. I loved seeing how they saw the world and how different a future London might be. You really got the sense of a world on the brink of extinction and I was fascinated to see how the last few humans w…

The boy who steals houses by CJ Drews

Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he's ever known. Now Sam's trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he's caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing - each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie.

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

This lovely book made my heart ache for the main character and the situations he finds himself in. Sam is 15 and homeless. he makes do by breaking into empty properties and living in them whilst the owners are away which works fine until one day when he breaks into a home where the family aren't ass away as he thinks.

He finds himself caught …

The disconnect by Keren David

Could you disconnect from your phone for six weeks? An eccentric entrepreneur has challenged Esther's year group to do just that, and the winners will walk away with £1,000. For Esther, whose dad, sister and baby nephew live thousands of miles away in New York, the prize might be her only chance to afford flights for a visit ... But can she really stay disconnected for long enough to win?

Keren's novels are always thoughtful and this was no exception. I really enjoyed this book because it had a really interested concept. The main idea of the novel is that the teenagers are offered £1000 to give up their phones for six weeks. I really enjoyed seeing how the characters dealt with that. As always with Barrington Stoke novels it was so readable and accessible.