Title: Liccle Bit

Author: Alex Wheatle

Pages: 217 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

The Blurb

What’s worse than hiding a secret? Liccle Bit’s about to find out…

Venetia King is the hottest girl at school. Too bad Lemar is the second shortest guy in his year. Everyone calls him Liccle Bit, and his two best friends, McKay and Jonah, never tire of telling him he has no chance with girls. Things aren’t much better at home. His mum is permanently hassled, his sister a frustrated single mum and his dad moved out years ago. Liccle Bit wishes he could do something – anything! – to make life better. A new phone would be a start… 

When Venetia starts paying Liccle Bit attention, he secretly hopes he’s on a fast track to a first date. Unfortunately, as a new gang war breaks out, he finds himself on a fast track to something much more sinister. South Crongton’s notorious gang leader has taken an interest in Liccle Bit. Before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself running errands. But when he hears about a killing on the estate, Liccle Bit is forced to question his choices. How can he possibly put things right?

The Review

If you want a realistic hard hitting drama for kids you really should look no further than Alex Wheatle. He manages to deal with real issues that happen in socially deprived areas and make them seem realistic – not overly dramatic but with enough clout to know that the consequences will be dire.

Liccle Bit focuses on Lemar and how he unwittingly ends up on the cusp of criminal activity. Torn between loyalty and a want to better his circumstances Lemar ends up getting involved in things that should not concern a young teenage lad.

Alex Wheatle uses his stories as moral tales to show that there are much better things that a person can be doing with their time than be getting themselves caught up in a life of crime. I didn’t mean for that to rhyme.

Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle is available now.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

Title: The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels

Author: Janice Hallett

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

The Blurb

Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.

Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over.

From the bestselling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code comes a stunning new mystery for fans of Richard Osman and S.J. Bennett. The devil is in the detail…

The Review

I have read Janice Hallett’s previous books The Appeal and The Twyford Code and I really enjoyed the format. Hallett’s unique way of telling stories through mixed media is really engaging. However, I was starting to wonder if it was getting a bit….samey.

I was wrong.

Her latest book, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, is by far her best in my opinion. It looks at the unsolved case of the Alperton Angels, a cult that set about trying to convince a vulnerable young girl to sacrifice a child.

It is a story about coercion, about police corruption, about the ethical nature of journalism and it was brilliant. Janice Hallett is a master a drip feeling you enough clues to keep you guessing.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is a bloody good page turner.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett is available now.

For more information regarding Janice Hallett (@JaniceHallett) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Serpent’s Tail (@serpentstail) please visit www.serpentstail.com.

Title: How to Die Famous

Author: Benjamin Dean

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s UK

The Blurb

London-born Abel has landed the role of a lifetime for an upcoming blockbuster. On the face of it he’s Hollywood’s latest teen star, but below the surface he’s an undercover journalist on a mission to expose the ‘squeaky clean’ entertainment industry and the part they played in his brother’s ‘accidental’ death.

As Abel steps into the spotlight alongside fellow actors Lucky, Ryan and Ella, he soon discovers that beneath the glittering surface of fame and riches lies a darker world of secrecy, scandal and murder. Nobody is who they seem when the cameras are off, and everybody has something to hide. But who’s next in line to die famous?

The Review

I have been reading a lot of YA books lately – a hazard of working in a high school library – and the genres I know my students love are the crime, mystery and thriller. Benjamin Dean’s How to Die Famous encapsulates all three and then throws in a big dollop of celebrity culture.

It is the story of Abel who is trying to find out how his older brother died. Along the way he meets a group of teen celebrities who all have their own reasons to hate the celebrity lifestyle and who are there for him in his quest.

Benjamin Dean has a really lovely syle of writing. I felt compelled to read on further. I needed to know what happened and as is normal for me I didn’t have a clue who the bag guy was.

This is a perfect summer read.

How to Die Famous by Benjamin Dean is available now.

For more information regarding Benjamin Dean (@NotAgainBen) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Simon and Schuster Children’s UK (@simonkids_UK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: You’ll Be the Death of Me

Author: Karen M. McManus

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK

The Blurb

From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand new pulse-pounding thriller. Three former friends ditch school for old time’s sake – with horrible and deadly consequences. 

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close – best friends back in middle school. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class, and runs into Ivy and Mateo, they decide to ditch school. Just like old times.

But they’re not the only ones skipping school that day. When the trio spot classmate Brian ‘Boney’ Mahoney acting suspiciously downtown they follow him into an empty building, and walk straight into a murder scene.

Brian’s not the only one keeping secrets, and when their day of freedom turns deadly it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out.

The Review

Karen M McManus is a great writer of YA fiction who hooks you in from the first page and keeps you guessing from beginning to end. With You’ll Be the Death of Me Karen M McManus takes you into the seedy underbelly drugs within the education system and boy has she written a page turner.

I really enjoyed this multi-perspective novel. The characters were likable but flawed, the plot was believable but exciting and the outcome was satisfying. I bingeworthy read.

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M McManus is available now.

For more information regarding Karen M. McManus (@writerkmc) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House Children’s UK (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: The Club

Author: Ellory Lloyd

Pages: 308 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

From the author of R&J pick, People Like Her, and for fans of The White Lotus and Succession, Ellery Lloyd’s The Club is an exhilarating, addictive read, telling a story of ambition, excess, and what happens when people who have everything – or nothing – to lose are pushed to their limit.

The opening of Island Home is tipped to be the biggest celebrity event of the decade.

Famous around the world as an ultra-exclusive private members’ club, the Home Group is about to launch its most ambitious location yet, set on a remote island that offers guests complete privacy as well as utter luxury.

For the past few weeks, rumours have been swirling about who will be attending the extravagant opening weekend.

But things are far from perfect at Home and, with long-suffering staff struggling to satisfy spiralling demands, secrets at risk of being exposed, and careers at stake, the weekend slowly turns deadly – because in a world where your reputation is everything, you’d do anything to keep it…

The Review

The Club by Ellory Lloyd is the story of what it is like to be famous. The good part – parties, celebrity friends, exclusive freebies and also the seedy underbelly where every move you make is watched, scrutinised and used to bring you down.

It is a fast paced thriller with mulitiple threads to the story which is both the story’s credit and detriment. The detriment because at times I fiound myself a bit lost with the characters and didn’t feel that they were fully fleshed out enough for me to discern who was who but to its credit I did struggle to guess who had caused the crimes.

For me, The Club by Ellory Lloyd is a story of two halves – there are great aspects to it but it needed more in the character development – because I couldn’t always fully create a character in my mind I failed to care enough about them. It is, however, a great beach read. Perfect for the summer holidays,

The Club by Ellory Lloyd is available now.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.