Does your young reader enjoy a good mystery or a bit of intrigue? This year we’ve reviewed a long list of books that are thrilling, and full of twists and turns. We’ve read about spies, thieves, corrupt organisations, myths and legends and more… Our highlights are below. This great list will definitely capture their imaginations!
The Haven by Simon Lelic
Why we love it: The Haven is the first book in a break-neck speed, thrilling, kids’ series that will appeal to lovers of Alex Rider and Cherub. It’s no surprise that award winning adult thriller writer Simon Lelic is behind the series. Reluctant readers beware: The Haven is jam packed with so much action and so many plot twists, you will not be able to put this one down and may not even notice that you’ve finished the book in one sitting.
What it’s about: Alone. On the run. Ollie Turner has nowhere to hide. But he gets a second chance. Underneath the city there’s a secret organisation, far from adult eyes. It’s called the Haven.
Soon Ollie is caught up in their battle: to stop Maddy Sikes destroying the city. Time is running out for Ollie and his new friends, and millions of lives are at stake …
The Unlisted #3: Sabotage by Justine Flynn & Chris Kunz
Why we love it: This is a fast paced, thrilling series that your young reader will devour. The characters are relatable and issues of loyalty, family and changing friendships will have young readers going along for the ride but also storing away some important messages.
What it’s about: Twins Dru and Kal are working with a group of vigilante teens to fight the Global Child Initiative. Attempts to capture and implant The Unlisted have been stepped up and Super Recognisers are now roaming the streets. How will ‘The Unlisted’ know who to avoid when they all look like everyone else?
Kensy and Max #3 Undercover by Jacqueline Harvey
Why we love it: The Kensy and Max books are highly entertaining with their pace-filled plots and highly developed characters who show amazing resilience in the face of danger and uncertainty.
What it’s about: Kensy and Max are back in London for no time at all before things begin to heat up – quite literally. As a result, Granny Cordelia ships them off to Australia on an undercover mission. The twins find themselves planted in a posh Sydney school where first appearances prove to be deceiving.
What seems like a straightforward assignment turns into something so much bigger. Kensy and Max must employ all their spy skills – the fate of their parents, and who they’ve been searching for, depends on it.
Malamander by Thomas Taylor
Why we love it: This stand-out middle grade read will appeal to so many different readers. Much like Nevermoor and Lemony Snicket, older children and their parents will also love the intriguing plot. The layers of quirkiness, history, legend, natural history and small-town community all create a wonderful atmosphere.
What it’s about: This mysterious tale is narrated by Herbert Lemon (Herbie), the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel in the misty seaside town of Eerie-on-Sea. Mostly, he assists with a lost hat or bag, that is, until Violet Parma lands in his office. And so begins the unravelling of an intricate web of secrets surrounding what is known as the Malamander, and the disappearance of Violet’s parents.
The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell
Why we love it: Katherine Rundell is a consummate storyteller and her writing is in a league of its own – this is a magical read that transports you into the heart of a complex dark underworld and then puts a light on all the good that manages to shine through. An atmospheric story set in New York amongst the trees of Central Park, dark speakeasies, the grandeur of Carnegie Hall and the circus, and then the dark cellars of Hudson Castle and narrow lanes of 1920s Manhattan.
What it’s about: Vita Marlowe has travelled from England with her mother to visit her grandfather in New York. He hasn’t been the same since her grandmother died and now it appears he has stumbled into some serious trouble. Just when her Grandpa should be finding comfort in his home, he has been swindled by a con man and left homeless. He seems resigned to the fact but Vita won’t let this injustice go. However she needs a team of people who have a range of special skills to carry out her plan to get the house back.
Wolf Girl by Anh Do
Why we love it: This is an intriguing, fast paced series and while the language and writing style make it an easy read, it’s also thought provoking. It will immediately appeal to readers that are interested in adventure and exploring what people can achieve in extreme situations.
What it’s about: Gwen and her family are forced to urgently flee their home and head off into the unknown. When an explosion stops their car, Gwen’s instincts kick in and she runs for her life. When she stops, she finds herself alone and lost in a forest. She begins to despair until a small wolf puppy joins her. Soon after Gwen finds herself with a pack of four dogs as her new companions. Can Gwen take care of her new found friends, survive and find her family?
Monuments by Will Kostakis
Why we love it: A mix of school legend, mythology and fantasy, Monuments also explores friendships, family relationships, loss and grief – there’s lots of fun and a lot of dry humour but also a chance to reflect on real life issues.
What it’s about: 16-year-old Connor finds a trap door under his school that leads him to discover a Monument (an ancient being or God) that has been hidden away for many years. When he learns that there are five of them and they are in danger, he joins with Sally and Locky to find and move them all to safety but there are a few things that get in their way…