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Books of the week

Each week, our librarians and schools team select their favourites of the most recently published children's, teen and young adult titles, from picture books to YA fiction. Our favourites are highlighted as recommended reads, and the books with the highest number of votes from the team are named 'Books of the week'.

Latest books of the week

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Reviews

Ace of spades

Ace of spades

Faridah Abike-Iyimide
Usborne

A powerful book that's very readable. It covers a lot of issues and has an abundance of plot twists. The main characters are likeable and resilient (they have to be!) Recommended.

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 18th June 2021
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The outlaws Scarlett and Browne

The outlaws Scarlett and Browne

Jonathan Stroud
Walker Bks

Highly imaginative, slick world-building perfectly combines with masterful characterisation and thrill-a-minute adventure. Think Bonnie and Clyde in a post-apocalyptic Britain, with added super powers. Superb storytelling I couldn't put down

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 14th June 2021
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Not my problem

Not my problem

Ciara Smyth
Andersen Pr

Our rebellious sparky heroine is a joy and the story manages to avoid the usual cliches of high school stories, with unconventional characters, witty humour, lots of silly antics plus moments of searing emotion too.  Think Derry Girls but minus the nuns and with a preoccupation with sorting out everyone's nonsense for them, just for the sake of it....A really cracking read.

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 8th June 2021
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Children of the quicksands

Children of the quicksands

Efua Traore
Chicken House

A very enjoyable story.  It's well written and exciting and gives a real taste of living in a remote African village. The juxtaposition between the new digital world and the old world is nicely done. There are plenty of surprises. 

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 1st June 2021
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You are a champion

You are a champion

Marcus Rashford
Macmillan

Full of good advice for how to live your life well, broken down into small chunks of accessible information from a well known name. Bound to get lots of attention, it should loan well and be a useful tool in schools.

Deborah Bradley Reviewed by Deborah Bradley on 28th May 2021
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Things to do before the end of the world

Things to do before the end of the world

Emily Barr
Penguin

This combines a timely premise and a mystery element sort of like the Talented Mr Ripley but with the end of the world looming? You might feel like you don't want to read about how the world might end on a particular date in September due to a shortage of air (I wasn't sure I did right at this moment!). But the idea of everyone on earth spending one last hedonistic summer ticking everything off their bucket list just in case is very appealing and the plot here does interesting things with it showing us how different characters and the wider world in general cope with their impending doom. We are quickly distracted by the mystery of Olivia's cousin Natasha and what her agenda really is. She arrives suddenly and whisks Olivia away to a life as a glamorous grifter, making money from unsuspecting tourists with street magic tricks and 'psychic' readings but all is soon revealed as Olivia becomes suspicious and also keen to use her newly found confidence to forge her own identity away from her magnetic, over-bearing cousin. The great characters and writing make for a wholly entertaining and thought-provoking read. 

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 25th May 2021
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Bad apple

Bad apple

Huw Lewis Jones
Thames & H

A fun cautionary tale about anti-social behaviour (1 page genuinely made me LOL!). Rhyme works well and should be fun to read aloud. Great stuff.

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 24th May 2021
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The yearbook

The yearbook

Holly Bourne
Usborne

A compelling, emotional rollercoaster of a book addressing issues of bullying & domestic abuse in a believable way with great teen appeal. Bourne does it again, buy plenty.

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 17th May 2021
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The outrage

The outrage

William Hussey
Usborne

This is a powerful, clever and all too plausible dystopia with excellent characters and a gripping plot.  The scenario of a future England ruled by shadowy, far-right megalomaniac known as the Lord Protector,  where homosexuality is illegal, books and films that don't support the government's message have been banned and teenagers are sent to camps to try and suppress their sexualities and rebellious natures is not a new plot scenario but here it's so well done and feels so realistic that it really sets you on edge. But the characters surrounding our hero Gabe, who is compelling himself, are really what makes it - from his loyal band of friends who he shares his illicit film stash with, to his complicated parents who we start to gain one picture of until all of the assumptions we have made about of them are suddenly turned on its head when Gabe realises that they have been part of the resistance movement all along. There's some lovely touches as well, like the gang's obsession with the pop culture they find 'from the past' and how they imagine how life used to be when everyone could be who they wanted to be. The central romance between Gabe and Eric is beautifully handled and it's all seeming so doomed and tragic that the only criticism might be that actually it does seem to have a happy ending after all which seems a bit neat. However this works as both a decent thriller and a book that could also generate plenty of discussion for schools use for KS4/5.

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 7th May 2021
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Melt

Melt

Ele Fountain
Pushkin Pr

An exciting story with characters you really root for. Dual narrative works well, with an important message about global warming and greed. Well worth having

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 3rd May 2021
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A girl called Joy

A girl called Joy

Jenny Valentine
Simon & S

It's a good read. It's well-written. It packs a lot in including travel, a new home, new school, positive outlook, and the environment. Joy is a great and very likeable character. It's a book that makes you smile

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 28th April 2021
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The duck who didn't like water

The duck who didn't like water

Steve Small
Simon & S

An absolutely gorgeous story with truly endearing characters and wonderful, expressive illustrations. Lovely friendship and acceptance theme as well. A must-have

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 19th April 2021
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Boo!

Boo!

Kate Read
Two Hoots

Fantastically expressive illustrations, great use of colour and an engaging story with an amusing twist at the end. An absolute must-buy!

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 16th April 2021
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What beauty there is

What beauty there is

Cory Anderson
Penguin

The warm thread of hope that runs through this book makes it an excellent read. Poetic and thoughtful in places. Great characters, great story, well-written. This is an author to watch.

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 9th April 2021
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Esme's rock

Esme's rock

Simon Philip
Oxford U P

Lovely, unexpected tale that shows it's ok to be loud! Illustrations are great and the humorous touches (mammoth on a spa day?!) are great. Well worth buying.

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 26th March 2021
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