Recommended by Lyn Lawton (@lynjlawton)
Form and genre: young adult science fiction, dystopian prose
Length: 279 pages
Summary: The novel takes place in an alternative version of 1050s, where Britain is under rule of an oppressive regime. So therefore, it poses the interesting question: what would have happened to Britain if Hitler had won the war. The main character, Standish Treadwell, has extreme dyslexia (like the writer herself). This leads to Standish being teased in school by his peers and victimised by his brutal teachers, as he cannot even spell his own name correctly. However, he has a vivid imagination and is a character you are soon rooting for. His best friend, Hector, becomes his protector and ally. As the story progresses we realise that anyone who opposes the regime ‘disappears’ including Standish’s own parents and that the regime are planning to be the first to reach the moon.
Age recommendation and challenging content: There is some violence, death and a traumatic ending. Definitely suitable for Y9, but not Y7/8.
Notable reasons for recommending this book: It won the Carnegie Medal in 2013. It is also highly original. Illustrations are included (which tell a separate story when your flick through the pages). Language is accessible for all, but the content makes it challenging. It requires a lot of reading between the lines.