Rose, Interrupted by Patrice Lawrence

Being a teenager is hard enough, but it’s even harder in a world you’ve never known… Eighteen months ago, 17-year-old Rose and 13-year-old Rudder escaped a strict religious sect with their mum.

They are still trying to make sense of the world outside – no more rules about clothes and books, films and music, no more technology bans. But also no more friendship with the people they’ve known all their lives, no community and no certainty. It doesn’t help that their mum has to work all hours to pay rent on their cramped, smelly, one-bed flat above a kebab shop in Hackney.

While Rudder gorges on once-taboo Harry Potters and dances to Simon and Garfunkel and show tunes, Rose swaps the ankle skirts and uncut hair of the Woodford Pilgrims for Japanese-cute fairy dress and her new boyfriend, Kye.

Kye, who she wants with all her being. But there’s loads of scary stuff about their new life that Rose and Rudder have no idea how to handle – it’s normal for girls to let their boyfriends take naked pictures of them, right?

When Rudder accidently sets a devastating chain of events into action, Rose must decide whether to sacrifice everything and go back to the life she hates, in order to save the people she loves. A story about coming of age, slap-bang in the middle of a strange new world.

Rose, Interrupted is a feminist YA stunner! Infatuation vs indoctrination, the importance of friendship and role models in finding yourself and your people, and a glorious celebration of the healing power of books and the creative arts.

Full of characters who you will be cheering for and screaming at in equal measures, Rose, Interrupted shows us real people trying their best in extreme situations. Love their flaws, love their optimism, love their reality. This book has it all.

You can order your copy here.

Birthday by Meredith Russo

Meet Eric and Morgan. Born on the same day, at the same time, in the same place. They've always shared this one day together, but as they grow up they begin to grow apart. Everyone expects Eric to get a football scholarship, but no one knows he's having second thoughts. Former quarterback Morgan feels utterly alone, as she wrestles with the difficult choice to live as her true self. Both of them are struggling to be the person they know they are.

Who better to help than your best friend? Told on one day every year, over six years, this is a story about how change pulls people apart... and how love brings them back together.

Birthday is a beautifully authentic #ownvoices coming-of-age story about surviving prejudice and finding self-acceptance. Prepare to be emotionally invested in this glorious will-they-wont-they with a heartwarming ending that will leave you grinning for days. The perfect summer read. We loved it.

And just look at those rainbow sprayed edges!

You can get your copy here.

Heartstream by Tom Pollock

A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star.

But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie.

Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time.

Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

Tom Pollock’s previous book, White Rabbit, Red Wolf was a Book Nook favourite, so we knew we were in for a treat with Heartstream. Pollock’s work is unique and fiercely intelligent; you know you’re going to get something wildly different and fresh.

Heartstream examines obsession, online community and belonging. It imagines the future of social media and explores the concept of how much of ourselves we share online – and when it crosses the line and becomes too much. The examples of the anonymity of online bullying are brutal and wholly relevant.

Heartstream is reminiscent of Years and Years and Black Mirror and shares their tension and visions of a technological online future. But it is when it looks at the relationships between all the characters- their uncertainty and confusion and soaring, conflicting emotions – that it really holds your heart.

This is a gripping, whirlwind of a book that will play with your emotions and keep you guessing until the very last page.

You can get your copy from our online shop here.

Toffee – Sarah Crossan

I am not who I say I am, 
and Marla isn’t who she thinks she is.

I am a girl trying to forget. 
She is a woman trying to remember. 

Allison has run away from home and with nowhere to live finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there – and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee.

Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be. But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself -where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?

A captivating read that portrays domestic abuse, loneliness, abusive parents and dementia with honesty and heart. Toffee is about finding your self and creating your own family. Sarah Crossan has done it again with beautiful, emotive language and tension that builds as Allison and Marla’s stories twine together. A story that will break your heart and then hold it together again.

You can get your copy from our online shop here.

The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla

Told over the course of the ten rounds of his first fight, this is the story of amateur boxer Sunny.

A seventeen year old feeling isolated and disconnected in the city he’s just moved to, Sunny joins a boxing club to learn to protect himself after a racist attack.

He finds the community he’s been desperately seeking at the club, and a mentor in trainer Shobu, who helps him find his place in the world.

But racial tensions are rising in the city, and when a Far Right march through Bristol turns violent, Sunny is faced with losing his new best friend Keir to radicalisation. A gripping, life-affirming YA novel about friendship, radicalisation and finding where you belong.

YA books often have a lot to say about the world and our place in it. The Boxer is a beautiful example of this. So much more than a book about a boxing match, it holds equality and respect at its core and brilliantly portrays the self-doubts and uncertainties of a young man navigating his way through trauma-recovery and racism while he fights to understand his own identity.

Relevant, fresh and a thoughtful celebration of self confidence and learning to take up space, The Boxer is an eye-opening look at the positive impact sports can have on mental health and identity. The Boxer is an inclusive and inspiring gem not to be missed.

You can get your copy from our online shop.

I Am Not A Number by Lisa Heathfield

The powerful and heart-wrenching new novel from Lisa Heathfield, award-winning author of Seed and Paper Butterflies. Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan, Louise O’Neill and Lisa Williamson.
The Traditionals have been voted to lead the country, winning people over with talks of healing a broken society, of stronger families and safer streets. They promised a happier future for everyone. They didn’t promise this.
When Ruby is swept up with protesters from the opposition, her life is changed forever. Locked in a prison camp far from home and with her belongings taken from her, she’s now known by the number 276. With horror escalating in the camp, Ruby knows that she has to get her family out – and let the world know what’s happening.
Set in the present day, I Am Not A Number is a powerful and timely book for both young adults and adults alike.

I Am Not A Number is a politically charged book that thrills with tension. A The Handmaid’s Tale for teens, it is inspired by the holocaust and the current rise in fascism. Reading Ruby’s story is all the more terrifying because it poses the question of whether it could happen today.

I Am Not A Number has all of Lisa’s trademark harrowing grittiness and the stunning, award-winning writing that has gained her so many fans. It is not easy to read about the prejudice and the terrifying events that occur in the camp but we don’t pick up Lisa Heathfield’s books for an easy read. We turn to them to have our eyes opened and to see inside the darkness. To see through the fake news and behind the gloss and filters to the bitter truth of prejudice and division. Lisa’s books make us contemplate a future out of our control, and help us to understand the darker realities of our world and what we need to do to change them.

Ultimately, I Am Not A Number is about the power of hope and is a celebration of the inspirational young people who are standing up to prejudice and are campaigning for a better more inclusive future. It shines a light in the darkness of political campaigns filled with hatred, fake news, and segregation, and offers another option. One of hope and a future of compassion and equality.

Just remember to breathe while reading!

You can get your copy here.

Our Books of the Month for May

A Mouse Called Julian by Joe Todd-Stanton – Julian likes living on his own but will that change after his dinner is rudely interrupted one night? 

Dave Pigeon (Royal COO!) by Swapna Haddow, ill. Sheena Dempsey  The fourth hilarious offering from our favourite pigeons, Dave and his best mate Skipper. 6+

Swimming Against the Storm by Jess Butterworth  – An exciting adventure with an environmental message set in the swampland of the Southern states of America. 9+

You Can’t Hide by Sarah Mussi A page-turning YA thriller complete with an unreliable narrator, secret identities and lost memories. Absolutely gripping!