Title: White Feather

Author: Catherine and David MacPhail

Pages: 96 Pages

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

The Blurb

The war is won but for Tony there is little to celebrate. His brother never returned from no man’s land and has died not as a hero but executed as a coward. Refusing to believe that his brother was a traitor, a grief stricken Tony is pushed to the edge in his dark quest to uncover the horrifying truth.

A thrilling narrative of intertwining perspectives, particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

White Feather is part of the Barrington Stoke range of dyslexia friendly texts. It is a story that focuses on the soldiers of World War One and how the concept of bravery was seen. How if you didn’t sign up to be a solider you would be considered cowardly and how if you refused to fight then that was a sign of being a coward too.

It is a story of one brother trying to find out the truth of his own brothers death and it leads him to interesting places. It is not only a story about war but also one about social class and how money cannot change the course of historical events.

White Feather is a brilliant short story, one that will engage its reader and immerse them in a world so far from their normality that it is hard not to be moved.

White Feather by Catherine and David MacPhail is available now.

For more information regarding Barrington Stoke (@BarringtonStoke) please visit www.barringtonstoke.co.uk.

Title: The House with a Clock in its Walls

Author: John Bellairs

Pages: 179 Pages

Publisher: Piccadilly Press

The Blurb

Lewis Barnavelt doesn’t have time on his side…

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan, comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbour, Mrs Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis couldn’t be happier. What’s not to like about seeing his uncle practise spells and eating Mrs Zimmermann’s delicious cookies?

At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Selenna Izard. It seems that evil Selenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls – a clock that could obliterate humankind.

As the clock can be heard ticking away in the house all the time, sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, it is up to the Barnavelts to find where it is hidden in the walls – and stop it. A true race against time…


The Review

In the grand tradition of teen mysteries comes The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Weird title, I grant you but it is a bit like Ronseal. It does with it says on the tin.

The story is about a young, orphaned boy (isn’t it always?) who goes to live with his mad-cap uncle to live in his house which is full of mysteries. A relevant amount of chaos ensues and our young hero, Lewis Barnavelt becomes embroiled in solving the mystery.

It is all fun and games, this book and it would be a perfect gift for a middle grade reader.

The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs is available now.

For more information regarding Piccadilly Press (@PiccadillyPress) please visit www.piccadillypressblog.wordpress.com.

Title: When You Reach Me

Author: Rebecca Stead

Pages: 210 Pages

Publisher: Anderson Press

The Blurb

Miranda’s life is starting to unravel. Her best friend, Sal, gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The key that Miranda’s mum keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives:
‘I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I ask two favours. First, you must write me a letter.’

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realises that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.


The Review

When you reach me is a story of wrong first impressions, friendship and time travel. It is a sweet story that was recommended to me by one of the students that I work with and I am awfully glad that she did.

It is the story of Miranda and how she is given clues to her future but she doesn’t know what to do with those clues. When You Reach Me follows her journey of trying to work out the pieces of the puzzle. At the same time, she is dealing with a mother who is practising for a TV show where they could win a life changing sum of money and a friend who has an illness but is not sharing the information with Miranda.

It sounds a bit complicated but it is actually very intriguing and a wonderful read.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is available now.

For more information regarding Rebecca Stead (@rebstead) please visit www.rebeccastead.com.

Title: A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning

Author: Lemony Snicket

Pages: 142 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Are you made fainthearted by death? Does fire unnerve you? Is a villain something that might crop up in future nightmares of yours? Are you thrilled by nefarious plots? Is cold porridge upsetting to you? Vicious threats? Hooks? Uncomfortable clothing?

It is likely that your answers will reveal A Series of Unfortunate Events to be ill-suited for your personal use. A librarian, bookseller, or acquaintance should be able to suggest books more appropriate for your fragile temperament. But to the rarest of readers we say, “Proceed, but cautiously.”


The Review

I’ve had the Lemony Snicket Series on my Kindle for a while now. I took advantage of an offer on Amazon to buy the whole series for 99p (99p – it is currently retailing for £42!). I decided to start reading it because I needed to read a new book with my students in school, after one chapter in to A Bad Beginning I knew that this was the right book.

It is a classic story of orphaned children and insidious family members with a dollop of disbelieving adults thrown in the mix. The Baudelaire children are sent to live with their insidious uncle Count Olaf who is desperate to get his money on the Baudelaire fortune and he will do absolutely anything to get it. Anything.

If you like your books to have high drama and high jinx then A Bad Beginning is the book for you. I’m off to read the sequel.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket is available now.

For more information regarding Lemony Snicket (@lemonysnicket) please visit www.LemonySnicketLibrary.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.