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Showing posts from November, 2018

Paper Avalanche by Lisa Williamson

'Bonnie. Never Mum or Mummy or Mother. Just Bonnie.'

When it comes to flying under the radar, Ro Snow is an expert.

No friends.

No boys.

No parties.

And strictly NO VISITORS.

It may be lonely, but at least this way the truth remains where it should – hidden.

Then Tanvi Shah, the girl who almost died, comes tumbling back into her life, and Ro finds herself losing control of her carefully constructed lies.

But if Ro’s walls come crumbling down, who’s going to take care of Bonnie…


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I loved paper avalanche. I've been excited about this novel for ages because I love Lisa's novels and  was not left disappointed because this was excellent.

What I found to be particularly excellent about this novel is the character voice. The main character Ro lives with her mother who hoards everything. The relationship they have is unconventional with Ro often trying to fulfill the adult role in the household while still in school. She worries about money and is desperately embarrassed about h…

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more...?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn't been too great, but at least he's not being bullied anymore, and he's sort of got a boyfriend, even if he's kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He's heard a little about Charlie - the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months - but he's never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are…

Armistice Runner by Tom Palmer

Lily has lots of worries. She's struggling to compete in her fell-running races and, worse, she's losing her gran to Alzheimer's. But then she discovers her great-great-grandfather's diaries from the First World War. Could his incredible story of bravery help her reconnect with her gran and even give her the inspiration she needs to push through and win

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Such an interesting novel which was poignant and thoughtful. I also enjoyed how it taught me about another facet of World War One that I didn't know much about at all namely the runners used at the front line to send messages and share information across the front. 
I also love how brilliantly accessible Barrington Stoke novels are whilst being cracking novels giving children who find reading more of a challenge stories that will engage and excite without patronising them. I have already put my copy in the school library and will be recommending it regularly to my students

Firebird by Elizabeth Wein

Nastia is no traitor. She is a daring pilot, the daughter of revolutionaries, and now, as the Second World War descends on Russia, she must fight to save the glorious Motherland. But all is not as it seems, and when the battles begin, secrets are revealed and everything that she once knew is challenged... A thrilling adventure brimming with historical detail and powerful female characters. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+.

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I really enjoyed this book for several reasons.

Firstly the historical side was cracking. A really thoughtful story that was clearly well researched and felt true to the time period it was set in.

I loved how exciting the story was following the main character who is a female pilot serving during World War Two accused of treason.

I'm so pleased that I have access to these cracking novels from Barrington Stoke which I can use in the classroom.

The Strange Diaries by Elly Griffiths

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare's life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer's works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn't hers...

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A real page turner. I'm not a huge crime fan but I love Elly's Ruth Galloway and decided to…

True Sisters by Keren David

Ruby has had a lot of foster siblings over the years, but none of them have been anything like Clara. After growing up in almost complete isolation, Clara is distraught at being separated from her mother and overwhelmed by life in a world she doesn’t understand. But the more Ruby tries to help Clara fit in, the more she realises she has to face up to some struggles of her own.

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Another cracking story from Keren David. She really nails it when it comes to writing relationships and this is what this book does really well. I really enjoyed seeing the way in which the relationship between Ruby and Clara developed over the course of the book.

What is even more impressive is how this book manages to do this as well as having a lot of say about not judging people in a more compact format being a shorter novel for Barrington Stoke.