Action/Thriller/Mystery

Kemosha of the Caribbean by Alex Wheatle

Recommended by Stephen Dilley @stephenjdilley Author: Alex Wheatle Form: Historical Novel Length: 320 pages Brief synopsis: Kemosha is born into slavery in 17th Century Jamaica but takes the opportunity to escape and learns the art of swordfighting before travelling the high seas on a pirate ship. Age recommendation and challenging content: A fair amount of violence …

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The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Recommended by Ruth Holder (@MrsRHEnglish) Form and genre: prose, gothic, action, mystery Length: 270 pages Summary: Irene’s family moves after her father dies and her mother gets a job as housekeeper for enigmatic toymaker, Lazarus Jann, whose sick wife has been shut away for years.. Strange events and figures, mechanical and shadowy creatures, chases…an exciting story! Age recommendation and challenging …

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The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Recommended by Diane Duncan (@Diane_Duncan) Form and genre: Prose. Fantasy/ Gothic horror Length: 225 pages Summary: Harvey Swick wishes away February and ends up being transported to the ‘Holiday House’ where everything he desires comes true. But he soon finds that the House is a vampire and demon ridden trap for children’s souls. Better for younger readers (year 7) …

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Barium and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Recommended by Jasmine Lane (@MsJasmineMN) Form and genre: Prose/magical realism + adventure Length: 224 pages Summary: It’s a phantasmagorical story that begins in a city so old and ruinous that it has forgotten its name. Age recommendation and challenging content:  Year 6 or Year 7 Notable reasons for recommending this book: Literary value. Brilliantly written …

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Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Recommended by Michelle Ings (@michelle_ings) Form and genre: Poetry Length: 400 pages Summary: One fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighbourhood escalates into tragedy. ‘Boys just being boys’ turns out to be true only when those boys are white.  Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal Shahid’s bright future is upended: he is convicted …

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The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy

Recommended by Alison Reid (@bongoreid) Form and genre: coming of age novel with elements of the supernatural Length: 272 pages Summary: A coming-of-age mystery with a healthy dose of the supernatural. A girl on the brink of adulthood deals with bereavement, family conflict and growing up. Age recommendation and challenging content: Would recommend for Year …

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The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Recommended by Lynn Thomas (@THOMLYNN101) Form and genre: Novel, futuristic/dystopian, cli-fi, sci-fi thriller Length: 180 pages Summary: Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something …

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Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

Recommended by Jennifer Neill (@Wrennjenni) Form and genre: Prose, historical fiction Length: 250 pages Summary: Feisty female heroine Sally Lockhart, has to overcome the shock of her father’s death and its consequences. Set in Victorian London, it deals with Sally’s adventure as she tried to solve the riddle of her father’s death as it leafs …

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The Dark Lady by Akala

Recommended by Siobhan (@siobhan_345) Form and genre: Prose – historical fiction (but also incorporates some of Shakespeare’s sonnets) Length: 320 pages Summary: Aimed at young adults and inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnets about the ‘Dark Lady’, Akala’s debut novel follows the life of Henry, a young pickpocket, who also happens to be magic. Set in the …

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Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird

Recommended by Sherish Osman (@Sherish_o) Form and genre: prose fiction Length: 352 pages Summary: Omar is a young boy who lives with his siblings and parents in Syria. War breaks out, and things change quite dramatically for them. They move around the country, facing many challenges. Age recommendation and challenging content: Recommended for Year 7 …

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