Villains Academy by Ryan Hammond, reviewed by Evie M. (10)

Dear Readers,

Read this book if you want to learn how to be a true villain! This story is about a bunch of mischievous misfits who dream of being a villainous villain!

My favourite character is…

Mona and Sheila, as they were both favourable characters; Sheila plays pranks and jokes on people and Mona wants to be the leader of the pack although in the end she becomes the truest friend.

My favourite part is when…

They all become besets of friends and Bram feels that he has a place there.

The illustrations were awesome!

Who will get villain of the week?

Witchstorm by Tim Tilley, reviewed by Aysha (12)

I think Witchstorm is an amazing book that everyone should read!

It has good and bad witches, magical places, friendships and a treasure hunt.

“I absolutely loved this book . . . It made me desperate to read another Witch book.”

Aysha (12)

One day Will awakes to find his Ma missing. Curiously, he looks around and discovers Agatha’s amulet. Agatha is a witch that died a thousand years ago but before she died she made stormstone that controls all the elements. Will meets a witch called Magma, will she help Will find his Ma?

I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was well thought out and detailed and the illustrations were fantastic. It made me desperate to read another Witch book. I can’t choose which character was my favourite but it would be between Will and Aunt Hera. I loved how Aunt Hera loved sword fighting and was a really fun aunt to be around. For Will, I loved his skills in solving mysteries and I was very impressed with how dedicated he was in his search for his Ma.

I would recommend this book for ages 11 upwards.

Jamie by L.D. Lapinski, reviewed by Rosa (11)

The plot in Jamie is well written and altogether very good. Jamie is on the last stretch of year six and has not really thought about secondary schools. But as they get closer to leaving, they realise the only two options are for male and female genders only.

If you want an uplifting and feel-good book, Jamie is the one for you.

Rosa (11)

With the decision coming nearer and nearer they must take matters into their own hands and go on a great adventure that not only changes their life, but many other non-binary kids who are in the same situation as them too. 

Jamie is an easy one to read in two sittings it’s so fabulous. If you want an uplifting and feel-good book, Jamie is the one for you. Their friends and family (especially Olly) are funny and interesting. This brilliant read will make you laugh, cry and cheer, pure brilliance. 

Jamie is for everyone, but its especially good for tween/teen readers. It was amazing from start to finish, well done L.D Lapinski!  

Glitter Boy by Ian Eagleton, reviewed by Niamh (10)

Glitter Boy is Ian Eagleton’s amazing middle-grade book debut, after previously publishing the picture books Nen and the Lonely Fisherman, Violet’s Tempest, and The Woodcutter and the Snow Prince. It’s also got a fantastic cover design by illustrator Melissa Chaib. 

The story follows the main character James on his journey to overcoming multiple challenges that include homophobic school bullies, falling out with friends, coping with grief, and dealing with the separation of his parents.

Glitter Boy is one of the best books I’ve ever read… you want nothing to dim his light! 

Niamh (10)

A fabulous, sparkly and aspiring future song writer for his music idol Mariah Carey, James starts to lose his sparkle and shine when things start to become hard to cope with on his own. 

Glitter Boy is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Even though it deals with important and serious issues, it doesn’t feel like a depressing and sad book. James is such a fantastic, likeable and relatable character that you feel like you want nothing to dim his light! 

I loved James’s poetry throughout the book (worthy of any Mariah song!) and there were many funny moments like the nan/ham poem and the school jumper sniffing incident! 

It’s got loads of brilliant information about famous LGBTQ+ people throughout history, such as the activist Marsha P Johnson, and there’s even a quiz at the end! 

James’s experiences are based on the bullying the author, Ian Eagleton, went through himself at school and his book highlights how using the word gay in a negative way is absolutely unacceptable. The story overall celebrates that everyone should be allowed to be themselves and that kindness should always win over hate.

I recommend that all schools should be reading Glitter Boy in class, and I’m going to suggest it to my own teacher. Although I’m not really a Mariah fan, it feels right to end on that I’m ‘Obsessed’ with this book and Ian Eagleton you are my ‘Hero’. 

Perfect for fans of: Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean; The Secret Sunshine Project by Benjamin Dean; The Last Fire Fox by Lee Newbery; and Jamie by L. D. Lapinski.

If You Read This by Kereen Getten, reviewed by Leontine (12)

I really enjoyed this book, it was entertaining and quite short so it was a nice story you could read at your own pace. A heart-warming story packed with adventure, good friends and love.

This was a great book about Brie going on a treasure hunt her mum made her before she died as Brie takes a path of self-discovery.

This was an engaging novel that I’d recommend to people who like adventure stories.

When I See Blue by Lily Bailey, reviewed by Leontine (12)

I really liked this book because it talked about OCD which I didn’t know about before. It was a really enjoyable read because it was written in a way that made you feel the characters emotions strongly.

A story of courage and friendship about Ben, who has OCD, and April, battling against his OCD as April and Ben form an everlasting friendship.

I would recommend this to all my friends.

The Girl, the Ghost and the Lost Name by Reece Carter, reviewed by Leontine (12)

This spooky adventure was a page turner!

Full of witches, ghosts and more, this book is perfect for people who like dark, mysterious books.

Corpse is a ghost made of wax, seaweed and seashells. She’s lived on-the-rock-that-doesn’t-exist for as long as she could remember and for the first time ever she finds herself escaping to the mainland to find out who she really is . . .

Hazel Hill is Gonna Win This One by Maggie Horne, reviewed by Leontine (12)

This was a really nice book to read since it is not something I’d normally read. It was interesting and captivating. 

Hazel Hill is Gonna Win This One is about Hazel and her new friends standing up against harassment and bullying at their school when no one else could.

This was really engaging and nice to read. I would recommend it for people 9+.

Wren by Lucy Hope, reviewed by Aysha (11)

This thrilling historical adventure story is set in Wren’s ancestral home in Anglesey, in North Wales in 1870. 

Wren is not like other girls, she is adventurous and she likes taking risks. One day, Wren hears a strange noise coming from the walls of her house. A song or a call? Later at  breakfast, her strict father tells her there was no sound and tells Wren that he is planning on sending her to Boarding school where she will learn how to behave like a proper ‘lady’. 

“I loved this book as I never thought that it would have so much to the story…”

Aysha (11)

Wren notices a letter left on the table from a famous French inventor who built a flying bird and includes his plans. Deciding to escape from her home, Wren decides to build the flying bird in order to escape. Wren gathers the equipment, and with some help from her friend, they make it. However, the day she decides to use it, the weather is terrible and she lands in the cold sea, but when she was up in the sky, she spotted something…

What could it be?

I loved this book as I never thought that it would have so much to the story. I would recommend this book for 10-13 year olds but I think there should not be an age restriction on books so if you are an adult, go for it too!

(Cover illustration fan art by Aysha)

The Octopus, Dadu and Me by Lucy Ann Unwin, reviewed by Niamh (10)

The Octopus, Dadu and Me is the heart-warming debut book from Lucy Ann Unwin. 

Sashi is left completely heartbroken when her parents tell her she can no longer visit her beloved grandfather, Dadu, because of his dementia. Instead of visiting Dadu in the care home, her parents start taking her to the local aquarium to take her mind off things and that’s when she meets Ian… an octopus who longs to escape. 

I really like this book because it’s extremely unique and a great insight into octopuses and dementia.

Niamh (aged 10)

With the help of her friends, Darcie and Hassan, they come up with a plan to break Ian out of his aquarium prison. 

It has loads of fascinating octopus facts and fun cartoon illustrations throughout the book, drawn by Lucy Mulligan. Did you know that octopuses can squeeze through spaces smaller than their eyeball?!

My favourite parts of the book were Sashi’s special memories with her Dadu and about what it’s like to have someone so close to you who doesn’t even remember you because of dementia.

I really like this book because it’s extremely unique and a great insight into octopuses and dementia. I found out lots of facts about both in a fun and engaging way, at the same time that Sashi and her friends are trying to work out how to sneak an octopus out of the aquarium without anyone noticing!

I would recommend this book especially to anyone whose families have experienced dementia, as there are not many books that deal with this subject well or even at all. It’s also perfect for people who like adventurous stories. I look forward to more books from Lucy!

Perfect for fans of: Keep Dancing, Lizzy Chu by Maisie Chan, and Me and My Dad at the End of the Rainbow.