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"Thomas Taylor's middle grade novel Gargantis really stood out to me in my pile of lockdown reads – it's so atmospheric, has such an immersive plot, and who can resist the brilliant Herbie Lemon and Violet Parma? A wonderfully eerie, suspenseful sequel to last year's Malamander."
"I feel like My Dark Vanessa is a title that got lost during Corona Time. It has the pace of Gone Girl but much more uncomfortable because the repercussions of what #MeToo means are far and wide."
"Like an expanded, more dangerous version of The Faraway Tree, there is a new world to experience each time you step into a suitcase. Twelve year old Flick has just moved to the area and is feeling completely underwhelmed by her new surroundings, so stumbling upon The Strangeworlds Travel Agency couldn’t have been more fortuitous. Taking a step into Strangeworlds however, can be more dangerous than you think, and Flick finds herself in a race against time to save not just our world, but all the others. A thoroughly enjoyable, fast paced bundle of magic and mahem. We loved it."
"A very quiet book in the way it's written, but an insightful look at family life of one man's second family. A beautiful story that has all the tension of a good thriller and the ability to make you question what you know about the people you love."
"If you liked American Marriage (and all of us did!) then you will love this new offering from Tayari Jones. Her writing is absolutely beautiful and she captures the minutiae of relationships and what it means to be human. It will also challenge the way you think about a lot of different issues. A masterpiece."
"The Stripey Badger had a box of Julia Chapman's Date With Danger delivered during lockdown and this deserves to be on the list. The fifth book in the series, it continues the adventures of Samson and Delilah and of course Tolpuddle. Fairly gripping along with exciting plots, great Yorkshire characters and set in fab scenery, it is a great read."
"The Vanishing Half is a family saga centred around two twins who come from a small Black town in America, but choose to live very different lives – one white, one Black. I loved this one from the start; it explores the complexities of racial prejudice and draws you into a sweeping and fractured history of three generations of the Vignes family. If you're looking for an engaging and original story that really makes you think, then look no further than this."
"Newly out in paperback, this was our book club read for April and although we could only discuss via messages, everyone of the group loved this book and that doesn't happen very often. Laura Cumming delves into the mysterious kidnapping of her mother from a beach in 1929, found safe and well five days later. Cumming unlocks a series of secrets and lies to reveal the untold truth. This is a wonderful, true story of human relationships, beautifully told."
"I would probably have missed it if not for lockdown. It's a thought-provoking book about the shady world surrounding illegal migrant workers in London, who are taken under the wing of an altruistic man. It raises intelligent questions about morality of immigration; when does doing good cross the line into enabling individuals to undermine justice? When does lifting one person up result in pushing another one down? It's well-written and on an interesting subject – worth a shout about!"
"A house full of secrets and ghostly goings on. Hedy and Spencer's stay in their grandfather's old house is far from normal – the plot twists and turns from beginning to end, proving to be a genuine mystery for middle grade readers. With a spooky cliff hanger at the end, Lish and Ngai keep the reader wanting more."
"If I didn't tell you about Saving Missing, my mum would never forgive me. It is so relatable, and just an absolutely beautifully written story of loneliness and unlikely friendships (and what goes through all of our heads sometimes."
"At a time when we are unable to travel, for those who like to escape with non-ficion/travel writing rather than fiction, this is the perfect book. It is beautifully written and takes us across Siberia and opens our eyes to its history, people and landscape as well as the search for pianos!"
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