If you’re looking for a big book with a track record as a bestseller in many different languages this adventure set in the time of knights and castles is well worth considering.
Published by Pushkin Children’s Books in 2013 and now in paperback, its route into English is noteworthy:
1962 ‘De brief voor de Koning’ published in Netherlands
1963 Where it wins Children’s Book of the Year Award
1977 Published in German
1990 Published in Danish
1994 Published in Estonian
2000 Published in Czech
2002 Published in Russian
2004 Wins Best Children’s Book of the Last 50 Years Award in Netherlands
2005 Published in Spanish and Japanese
2006 Published in French
2007 Published in Italian and Indonesiabn
2008 Published in Korean
2009 Published in Chinese and Portuguese
2011 Published in Greek
2013 finally published in English (translation by Laura Watkinson)
Two psychological YA thrillers from an author with an interesting profile.
Grew up in Sussex, England… studied Politics, Philosophy & Economics at Oxford University… worked as a music journalist and entertainment critic… now full-time novelist and screen-writer living in Los Angeles, California.
As well as her ‘Abigail Haas’ novels, she has published both YA and adult fiction as Abby McDonald.
On top of that, writing as Melody Grace, she has a self-published Beachwood Bay romance series that according to her website spent several weeks on the USA Today bestseller lists, scoring over 1 million downloads, and charting at #1 on iBooks.
And yet her website also says that she has failed to find a US publisher for Dangerous Boys. Read the author’s own very honest and revealing blog post about this.
This big (400+page), chunky Penguin was on my To Read list when it came out back in the summer, but every time it rose near the top it was supplanted by something more inviting. Definitely one to consider if you’re looking for a male-voiced coming of age story.
The book was first published in the US in 2013. Here’s an extract from the New York Times Review by A J Jacobs:
Smith is best when writing about the exhilarating torture of a first crush. He captures the excitement even of chaste moments, as when Ryan Dean’s fingers interlock with Annie’s in the back of a car, “our hands resting on the soft fabric of her skirt where it draped over her thigh.” The tension was such that I had to skip to the end to see if they hooked up.
This is Andrew Smith’s sixth young adult novel — he is perhaps best known for “Marbury Lens,” a dark, strange tale about a teenager who is given magic glasses that allow him to peer into a parallel world of giant insects and clawed demons. But it’s a bit of a departure. For one thing, it’s Smith’s funniest book by far. With “Winger,” Smith has adopted a convincingly adolescent writing style. Our narrator has a weakness for one-word sentences like “Ugh” and “Crap.” He’ll use absurdly long hyphenated modifiers, as with this description of how the football players spoke to him: “in a very creepy Greek-chorus-in-a-tragedy-that-you-know-is-not-going-to-end-well-for-our-hero kind of way.”
There’s also plenty of meta-commentary. “That was a really long sentence, wasn’t it?” he writes at one point. Not to mention a bunch of gross-out humor, including several bathroom scenes and a “catastrophic penis injury.” And cartoons! Ryan Dean is a nascent artist, so we get drawings, Venn diagrams and charts, many of which deal with his libido.
Two very different books from the same author, both published this year, one by Andersen Press, the other by Hot Key.
Seven Second Delay – described as “a blood pumping thrill ride” by one Amazon reviewer – and as a “Tense dystopian thriller” by School Librarian – has a striking, predominantly matt black cover design.
Boys Don’t Knit, as the very different cover evokes, is a diary format comedy. (There is already a sequel)
If you’re looking for a fast-paced, page-turning adventure series to hook a young reader aged 9-11, the Secret Breakers series by H. L. Dennis (billed as ‘Da Vinci Code For Kids’) is definitely worth considering.
The sixth and final book in the series, The Circle of Fire, was published in the autumn but all the Hodder-published titles should still be available.
So you know that teenage girl you need to buy a present for will already have Zoe Sugg’s novel Girl Online – what else can you consider?
She may very well have this book as well, but then again she might not. It came out in the Spring, and received a fair bit of media attention, but nothing like the amount of attention and hype that Girl Online has had. Steven Spielberg has apparently snapped up the movie rights, so he sees cinematic potential in the story told in Popular’s pages.
It is not a novel, rather a diary-style account of an American teenager’s rather clever plan of trying to lead her life according to advice set out in Betty Cornell’s Teenage Popularity Guide from the 1950s.
Betty Cornell herself writes, in a short Introduction, to the teenager’s memoir:
Maya Van Wagenen told me that I had changed her life. She had used my book for tops and hints on how to deal with the challenges she was facing in school. Remarkably she used advice I wrote decades ago and applied it in today’s world. I was so delighted that my book had withstood the test of time and was still providing help to teenagers.
When I finished reading Maya’s book… I felt a cascade of feelings: pride, love, satisfaction, and happy memories. It amazed me to see Maya tell her tale with such knowledge,m poise and grace.
It looks diverting and thought-provoking at the very least.
Scam On The Cam, A Sesame Seade Mystery by Clementine Beauvais, illustrated by Sarah Horne.
This is the third book in the Cambridge-set Sesame Seade series and it appears to be being well-recieved.
“Beauvais has a real talent for capturing naturally funny moments,” said Inis Magazine.
“Sesame Seade is the greatest eleven-year-old detective you could hope to meet. Weird and witty,” according to Marcus Sedgwick.
Sesame certainly has a strong and distinctive voice, judging from the opening of this book, in which she is found acting as cox in a boat race.
Beauvais writes for both the French and English markets, and indeed some of her French YA titles sound as if they are definitely Worth A Look (straight away, if you read French, and hopefully in due course if you need them in translation).
Interesting author. One ACHUKA will start watching more closely.
The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren, translated by Susan Beard.
This is a new translation with new illustrations by Tony Ross.
Its chapter book presentation makes it an appealing gift for a newly independent reader aged 6-9.
The chapter titles themselves give a good indication of the story content and atmosphere:
All of us Noisy Village Children
Brothers Are Difficult
My Best Birthday Ever
More Fun On My Birthday
We Break Up For Summer
We Thin Out The Turnips And Get A Kitten
How Ollie Got His Dog
It’s Fun Habing Your Own Pet But A Granddad Is Also Good