Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

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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 her through London’s criminal underground, traversed by Triads, child gangs opium dens.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Some mention of murder, opium use and criminal activity. Recommend for Year 8 and above.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: Strong female lead and antagonist, gentle lead in to original Victorian texts, challenging moral questions.

Other useful information: Part of a series.