Title: Second Best Friend

Author: Non Pratt

Pages: 82 Pages

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

The Blurb

Jade and Becky have always been best friends; inseparable and often indistinguishable. But when a spiteful comment from an awful ex pushes Jade to the edge, she begins to see that she has always been second best in everything. When the school election offers her the chance to finally be number one, Jade learns just how far she is willing to go to be better than her closest friend.


The Review

Non Pratt is one of my go-to authors. Ever since I read Trouble I have been hooked on her writing which makes it rather strange that it took me so long to read Second Best Friend. This is her second dyslexia friendly text released through Barrington Stoke and I must say, Non Pratt does not patronise her readers.

Second Best Friend is the story of Jade and Becky – best friends but political enemies in an upcoming class project. However, the seemingly perfect Becky is beginning to push Jade’s buttons – through no fault of her own, I might add – but jealousy and a mild inferiority complex turns Jade into the worst version of herself. Through her manipulation she realises that the grass isn’t always greener and most people do not have all of their ducks in a row.

I really loved this story. It displayed how toxic even some of the best friendships can become when outside influences start rubber-necking. Non Pratt also focuses on the morals of teenagers without being condescending – she knows that teens are going to do questionable things but rather than tell them off she shows them the consequences of their actions along with recognising how difficult it is to grow up in a social media age.

What I really love about Non Pratt’s Barrington Stoke releases is that she still writes for a mature audience. I work in a school and in particular with weaker readers and some of the stories available to them are – for want of a better word – boring. They don’t speak to a modern teenager. Non Pratt has her finger firmly on the pulse of the young adult genre and Second Best Friend is a clear example of this.

Second Best Friend by Non Pratt is available now.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.wordpress.com.

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

Title: Truth or Dare

Author: Non Pratt

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian’s “writer to watch” Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne.

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

Ever since reading Trouble by Non Pratt I have been a fan of her writing. She did not disappoint me with her recent release Truth or Dare.

Told in two parts, it tells the story from the two protagonists, Sef and Claire’s, perspectives. Sef is determined to get money to pay his brother’s hospital fees. Sef’s brother has recently suffered a brain injury and his care is scarily expensive. Claire and Sef come up with a plan to raise the money. The more time they spend together, the closer they become.

The lines of friendship become blurred and now they are both in way to deep.

Truth or Dare was a fast paced, intense read that I couldn’t devour quickly enough. Page-turner really doesn’t seem a strong enough word to describe just how good it was. Non Pratt is in possession of a really rare gift; she is one of the strongest voices in YA fiction today.

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt is available now.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksYA) please visit www.walker.co.uk.

35 Stars

I'll Be Home for ChristmasTitle: I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Author: Various

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Little Tiger Group/Stripes Publishing

The Blurb

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon, Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah.

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see www.crisis.org.uk

The Review

I love Christmas. It is my favourite time of the year. I love the food, the trimmings, finding the perfect gift for the perfect person. I love wrapping presents. I love being warm inside with the Christmas tree twinkling in the background.

I sometimes forget that for some people Christmas is the worst thing in the world.

In a sense, the purpose of I’ll Be Home for Christmas is to make you remember those that don’t like Christmas or those that don’t have reasons to love Christmas the way others do. I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a collection of anti-Christmas stories. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t negative about Christmas; they highlight the pain, worry and anguish that can come with this time of year for others.

And is that essentially what Christmas is about? Thinking about others?

I implore you to buy and read this book. Not just because it will give you a fresh perspective to think about but because for every copy of this book that is purchased £1 will be donated to Crisis.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Various is available now.

For more information regarding Little Tiger Group (@LittleTigerUK) and Stripes Publishing (@stripesbooks) please visit www.littletiger.co.uk.

For more information regarding Crisis (@crisis_uk) please visit www.crisis.org.uk.

For more information regarding the various authors featured in this book please visit the websites listed below.

Benjamin Zephaniah (@BZephaniah) – www.benjaminzephaniah.com, Non Pratt (@NonPratt) www.nonpratt.com, Marcus Sedgwick (@marcussedgwick) www.marcussedgwick.com, Cat Clarke (@cat_clarke) www.catclarke.com, Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) www.hollybourne.co.uk, Juno Dawson (@junodawson) www.junodawson.com, Sita Brahmachari (@SitaBrahmachari) www.sitabrahmachari.com, Tracy Darnton (@TracyDarnton), Tom Becker (@Tbeckerlegge), Katy Cannon (@KatyJCannon) www.KatyCannon.com, Melvin Burgess (@MelvinBurgess) www.melvinburgess.net, Julie Mayhew (@JulieMayhew) www.juliemayhew.co.uk, Lisa Williamson (@lisa_letters) www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com.

4 Stars

UnboxedTitle: Unboxed

Author: Non Pratt

Pages: 139 Pages

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

The Blurb

Four friends meet up at their old school to open the memory box they stowed there years ago – with five letters inside for four of them, because their friend Millie has died. When they open the box they find a new letter from Millie and discover that she has left them special instructions: permission to open her letter only if they all read aloud the letters they wrote to their older selves, revealing their deepest secrets.

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+

The Review

I work in a school and I have the great privilege of working in the school’s library. We are really lucky because I know a lot of schools have had their libraries closed down; they are seen as a costly resource. I always get angry at this because I saw a news report that said out 24 countries in Europe, the UK came 23rd out of 24 for literacy skills. We were nearly at the bottom of the table. Yet valuable resources like libraries are being closed down within schools. To me, that is barmy.

The reason I mention this is that my students always come to me and ask for book recommendations. This is great but the chances are that these students aren’t reluctant readers. They come to me asking me about the YA fiction that I have read and loved. Non Pratt’s Trouble is one such book (I loved it and you can read about how much I loved it here). However, I must admit that I do struggle when trying to find books for some of my students who aren’t as enthused about reading as I am. I just don’t read that many books at that level; I’ve had the love of books and reading instilled in me since I was a young girl.

Now though, I have the answer. Non Pratt’s new release Unboxed is specifically for reluctant readers and it is printed in a dyslexia friendly font and on thick tinted paper. Besides all of these technical details, Unboxed is just a damn good story.

It is the story of friendship and how people and circumstances can change. I suppose because as teenagers we believe we are invincible. Nothing can touch us. Unboxed makes us realise that we aren’t and that we need to make every moment count. It is a coming of age story that is really powerful in its delivery. From the reluctant reader texts that I have read I can honestly say that Unboxed is nothing like them. I have been harping on lately about how modern day YA fiction doesn’t talk down to its readers. Writers are treating readers with respect and making sure that they tackle real world issues. Writers of this genre are not shying away from the harder topics. Non Pratt is one such author.

Unboxed is brilliant. It will make your heart ache and it will make you want to tell everyone you know that they need to read it – reluctantly or not.

Unboxed by Non Pratt is available now.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.com.

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

4 Stars


Hannah is 15 and pregnant. She doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t want to say who the father is. She would rather people think that she is a slut and sleeps around than reveal that. However, new boy and fellow classmate Aaron offers to pretend to be the father. Hannah doesn’t know why he has done it but they both agree to keep her secret.


Being that there is less than two weeks left of the year I was fairly certain that I had chosen my favourite book of the year and then I picked up Trouble. I had planned on reading it to vet it for the library in the school in which I work. They wanted to know if it was appropriate for both upper and lower school. Little did I know that I would be blown away. This book – Trouble – is amazing.

Not only is it an accurate representation of teenagers (believe me, I know, I’ve worked with them for nearly seven years) but it is such a clever, unusual and dramatic tale. One that had me drop a few f-bombs as I realised what was about to happen, get angry at characters and actually yearn to protect our protagonist, Hannah.

There are only a few books that I can name that have ever had that response from me. This is when I know I am reading something special. I also know a book is good if I can read it in one sitting…which I did.

Trouble is a book that all kids should read. Ok, some could see it as scaremongering other somewhat promiscuous teens to not get themselves pregnant (remember guys – no glove, no love) but the way I read this story was that a young articulate girl finds herself in a situation way beyond her experience and proves herself to be strong and indestructible by the bitchy cohorts in her peer groups whilst realising who her true friends are.

I am so glad I was asked to read Trouble. My highest praise has to be given to Non Pratt. You have written a remarkable book which will stay with me for a long time. Well done.

Trouble by Non Pratt is available now.

You can follow Non Pratt (@NonPratt) on Twitter.