Where the Light Goes by Sara Barnard, reviewed by Farrah (17)

Where the Light Goes is a devastating, raw and nuanced depiction of grief, familial relationships and the human psyche after a beloved family member takes her own life. It is a complex and realistic dissection of life in the limelight, media scrutiny and its real-world implications, that is thoroughly necessary in today’s society where life is so deeply influenced and dictated by the internet and the media. 

Sixteen-year-old Emmy Beckwith is the younger sister of Beth Beckwith, who is known to the wider world by her stage name of Lizzie Beck. The book begins with Emmy finding out that her sister has taken her own life. From there, Sara Barnard expertly manipulates the writing style and plot structure, using first person perspective, messages, transcribed voice notes, flashbacks and newspaper articles in order for the reader to attempt to understand Emmy’s lived experience and stream of consciousness; we are inside her mind and immersed in her awareness. The book carries on over an extended span of time and excels at emphasising that grief is non-linear, and does not abide by time periods or schedules. 

“A lingering and devastating portrayal of grief, but equally one that tells of loves longevity.”

Farrah (17)

The characters in Where the Light Goes are complicated and realistically-driven, as are the events that take place. Lizzie Beck rose to stardom at a young age, and its subsequent consequences are explored. Emmy has to grapple with the separate, distinct identities of her sister and ultimately recognise them as one amalgamated person, while reflecting on their loss of privacy, and the exploitation of Beth that continues on long her death, with the media capitalising on the real, tangible grief of those who really knew her, and falsifying their sympathies when they were so cruel to her while she was alive. 

Where the Light Goes reflects on grief and its tangible, visceral effects, while simultaneously considering how it impacts relationships and the trajectory of people’s lives. It urges you to evaluate how you behave online, and to remember that behind every screen, there is a real, human individual who is receiving the comments, backlash and media scrutiny.

This is not a book that you should enter lightly; please check the trigger warnings and consider whether these are topics you are comfortable with reading at the moment. If you do decide to pick up this book, you will find a lingering and devastating portrayal of grief, but equally one that tells of loves longevity, and characters and a story that will remain with you long after you turn the last page. 

The Book Nook Big Birthday Bash: We are 15!

Believe it or not, our lovely little bookshop has weathered 15 whole years — and what a 15 years it’s been!

Voted Children’s Bookseller of the Year in 2012, 2015 and 2018 at The Bookseller Industry Awards and being named a finalist again in 2023, winning Best Independent Retailer at the Brighton and Hove Business Awards numerous times, hosting events from countless magnificent authors and illustrators, persevering through lockdowns and adapting our own Little Nook Café to incorporate an Art Gallery.

To celebrate our 15th Birthday we are holding a day of events and would LOVE for you to join in our birthday celebrations with us!

It will be held at All Saints Church, Hove on Saturday February 17th featuring some of our favourite local authors and illustrators.

Events will be:

  • 10-11am: Draw off! With Nick Sharratt, Steven Lenton, Sophy Henn and Adam Stower. Tickets available here.
  • 1pm-2pm: Supertato event, with Sue Hendra. It’s time for Eviltato vs Superpea! Tickets available here.
  • 4-5pm: Exploring Fantasy Worlds with Laura Ellen Anderson, Vashti Hardy and Jenny McLachlan. Tickets available here.
  • 7-8:30pm: An evening of poetry, drawing and conversation with Chris Riddell. Tickets available here.

Each event will be £4 per person, just follow the ticket links listed above.

*We would also love to encourage supporters to buy a ‘Pay It Forward’ ticket. If you can’t make the events personally, but would like to donate a ticket or two to a family on a lower income, just let us know in the order notes.*

Finding Wonder by Lauren St John, reviewed by Aysha (12)

Finding Wonder is a brilliant book and it should definitely be on your to-read list!

The story is about a girl called Roo. After the unexpected death of her father, she moves into a wee caravan with her Aunt Joni. Then something extraordinary happens, she discovers that before his death, her father bought a winning lottery ticket.

“My favourite character has to be Aunt Joni as she gives a warm, calming feel to the book.”

Aysha (12)

Deciding to spend the money on something she loves, when Roo sees that her favorite horse, Wonder Boy has gone on the market, she decides to buy the horse. However, before she can collect Wonder, the horse goes missing and within weeks, more famous horses go missing.

Roo and her Aunt Joni decide to investigate. Will they find Wonder Boy and the other horses?

I think this book is for ages 9+. I adored reading this mystery.  My favourite character has to be Aunt Joni as she gives a warm, calming feel to the book. 

Launching our Summer Book Club!

Join us for a reading adventure this summer, with weekly book clubs! Each week we’ll explore a different story together in a small group.

Tickets are £7, but include the week’s book and a biscuit!

We’ll be alternating age groups to give all our young readers a chance to take part and discover new favourite books!

  • Book Clubs for 9-12s will be held on Tuesdays 25th July, 8th August and 22nd August.
  • Book Clubs for 7-9s will be help on Tuesdays 1st, 15th and 29th August.

Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. You can book here:

Please also check out our events page for our *free* summer event programme!

Katie Kirby Q&A for parents!

Join Katie Kirby (Hurrah for Gin) and Alison Perry (Not Another Mummy) for a glass of wine and to chat all things Lottie Brooks and parenting! 

Wednesday 5th July 7pm-7:30pm

Katie will be discussing her hugely popular character from the Lottie Brooks series and taking questions from the audience.

Tune in live from Katie and Alison’s Instagram pages, or come along to The Book Nook to attend the event in person.

Book here to be in the audience. (Or email: events@booknookuk.com)

*EXTENDED to July 1st!* We want your pre-loved books!

This June we’ll be collecting your pre-loved books, so that book charity the Children’s Book Project can re-distribute them to children who need them most.

The Children’s Book Project works with primary schools, foodbanks, prisons and women’s groups to gift gently used, donated books to children with very few books of their own. Last year, they gifted over 400,000 books to children in need.

The collection box will be in the shop from the 9th to the 24th of June, so get sorting!

The Book Project are collecting fiction and non-fiction and any age range from 0-14, they just kindly ask that books are in good condition, and they cannot use:

  • Used or incomplete sticker, colouring or craft books;
  • Academic books, dictionaries or 11+ practice papers;
  • Foreign language books;
  • Religious books; 
  • Ex library books;  
  • Adult books; or
  • Tatty, damaged, scribbled in or yellowed books.

Independent Bookshop Week @ The Book Nook!

We have loads going on to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week this year

  • 10% off ALL books, in store AND online Mon 19th – Fri 23rd

Online, use the Coupon Code ‘IBW’ at checkout to apply the discount. (Exclusions apply. Only for use with books, cannot be used in conjunction with other coupons or discount.)

  • £5 National Book Token giveaway!

Pop into the shop to find out how to claim your free £5 National Book Token voucher.

  • Interactive pre-school events with Poppy and Sam at 11am and 2pm on Saturday 17th!

We have two fun-filled interactive events, led by professional storyteller Liz Fost: can you help Poppy and Sam find all the animals on Apple Tree Farm? Events are aimed at ages 2-5. Tickets are £5, redeemable against any purchase of a Poppy and Sam book on the day. More details here.

  • Book Drive! Collecting pre-loved books in store for the Children’s Book Project.

We still want all your pre-loved books! All the details here.

  • Friends and Traitors early release signed and dedicated by Helen Peters!

Includes a gift! Order here.

  • Story time every day @ 10am and 3:30pm

Come along and enjoy a relaxed story time. Nursery groups welcome! (Max 14 children) Email events@booknookuk.com to enquire.

The Wishkeeper’s Apprentice and Honey’s Hive, reviewed by Caitlin (8)

The Wishkeeper’s Apprentice by Rachel Chivers Khoo

Can Felix Jones, along with the Wishkeeper, save Whittlestone?

An amazing story, filled to the brim with magic and adventure. I think it would be best for kids aged 6 to 9. 

Watch out for the evil wish snatcher. He is nasty.

Honey’s Hive by Mo O’Hara

A really fun story. 👍👍

It’s about a bee who doesn’t fit in. There are lots of fun facts about bees. And a few about wasps actually. 

Honey, along with her best friends Beanie and Hex, has to save the hive. Can she do it? ❤️❤️❤️

Niamh’s 12 Days of Christmas ~ Best books of 2022

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Rainbow Grey in a pear tree (again because the second book came out this year! Hooray!). I’m back again with more amazing book recommendations to buy for Christmas this year! These books are mainly aimed at 9–12-year-olds but some of them are suitable for older and younger readers. 

  1. Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll – This isn’t just one of my favourite books of 2022 but one of my favourite books ever! The story follows Ramya, wearing her trademark beret, as she encounters different mythical creatures like vampires, kelpies, sirens and fae around Edinburgh. In Elle’s own words, the main characters in her books (and Elle herself) are “unapologetically neurodivergent” and in this book Ramya’s dyspraxia doesn’t stop her from saving the day. I can’t wait for the final book, Like a Curse, out next year!
  1. Frankie’s World by Aoife Dooley – Being normal is boring. Just like me, Frankie is the only person in her class who listens to rock music, does karate and loves creating art. However, Frankie’s classmates call her names like freak and weirdo, and she feels like an alien compared to everybody else. She sets out to find her dad to see if he’s different like her and discover more about herself. It’s illustrated in a fun, comic style and the book is inspired by the author and illustrator’s own experiences of being autistic.
  1. Escape Room by Christopher Edge – This is no ordinary escape room! In this escape room you may not ever scape! The main character Ami must work with her teammates to solve the puzzles or face fatal consequences. And who is the mysterious Host and why do they need to “Find the answer. Save the world”?! A thrilling, adventure with a brilliant twist at the end. My lips are sealed!
  1. Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Taking the Blame (book 2) by Louie Stowell – Loki is back and still trapped in the body of an 11-year-old boy! This time Loki must protect Earth from fearsome Frost Giants and clear his name after Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, goes missing. The book is written and drawn in the form of Loki’s diary and is absolutely hilarious. I can’t wait for book 3 next year! Read my Book Nook Review Crew verdict here.
  1. Spooked: The Theatre Ghosts by Steven Butler (illustrated by Claire Powell) – As a big fan of The Nothing to See Here Hotel series, I was delighted Steven had brought out a new book in time for Halloween! Just like the main character Ella, I loved getting to know the ghosts of the Hippodrome Theatre in Cod’s Bottom. I particularly liked fortune teller Madame Grebble and her random predictions, and Veronica Ratsinger is a character you love to hate! I also enjoyed how Claire Powell brought the ghosts to life with her illustrations.
  1. Libby and the Parisian Puzzle by Jo Clarke (illustrated by Becka Moor) – I love a good detective story and this one didn’t fail! Attending her aunt’s travelling school, Libby must help her new friend Connie find her missing jewellery and clear her aunt’s name, after she’s accused of stealing them. It’s fun trying to solve the mysteries along with Libby and Connie, and I enjoyed the Parisian setting because of all the fantastic food they get to eat and landmarks they visit!
  1. The Colour of Hope by Ross MacKenzie – Just like his Nowhere Emporium series, this book is filled with excitement, magic and dark moments (including some gory bits!). In a world of no colour because the Emperor and his aunt, the Necromancer, stole all the colour for themselves, everyone else must live in grey. However, a miracle child is born and everything she touches fills with colour. The Ripper Dogs and Blacks Coats that work for the Emperor will do anything to stop her! Wow, this book is as amazing as it sounds!
  1. Magicborn by Peter Bunzl – An enchanted adventure that travels from Kensington Palace to the fairy realm. Filled with danger, magic and mystery, I enjoyed following Tempest on her journey to finding out her true identity and making new friends and family on the way. My favourite character was the talking robin Coriel and how she ends all of her sentences with bird names, like “What’s the plan, little kingfisher?”, and dog names when she’s turned into a dog! I’m looking forward to the sequel! You can read my full Book Nook Review Crew review here.
  1. Rainbow Grey: Eye of the Storm by Laura Ellen Anderson – Having come into her powers as a rainbow weatherling in the last book, Ray finds it’s going to take some practice to control her powers! When all the cloud creatures start to disappear and she’s blamed, Ray must clear her name and find the creatures quick! Funny, adventurous and beautifully illustrated, this book is a must to read. And Nim the cloud cat is once again adorable! The final book in the series is out next year! You can read my review of the first book in the series here.
  1. The Great Fox Illusion by Justyn Edwards – Flick must compete in a television magic trick competition to win the legacy of a famous magician, called The Great Fox. However, Flick has a secret and is also searching for the mysterious Bell System trick to bring her missing dad back. Featuring real-life magic tricks, you can try to solve the challenges at the same time. It’s also very inspiring that the main character has a prosthetic leg and the story tells you about the challenges of having a disability. My full Book Nook Review Crew review can be read here.
  1. Greta and the Ghost Hunters by Sam Copeland (illustrated by Sarah Horne) – Another fantastic ghost book out this year! Can you tell I like the TV series Ghosts too?! After a near death experience that leaves her afraid to leave the house, Greta finds she’s living with more people than just her parents, brother and grandma! My absolute favourite ghost is Percy, who wants to play traditional games like “thrash a boy” and “stick push a poo”! A laugh out loud book with some touching moments and an uplifting message at the end.
  1. The Underpants of Chaos by Sam Copeland and Jenny Pearson (illustrated by Robin Boyden and Katie Kear) – Sam Copeland gets the honour of being featured twice! This is a very different book, where Sam is joined by Jenny Pearson in telling the story of the unexplained events that are happening at Little Strangehaven Primary, like everyone growing a beard, the stone building gargoyles coming to life, or underpants trying to smother you! And as if two authors weren’t enough, there are two illustrators taking turns to draw the chapters! A brilliant, hilarious book!