Here are our favourite recent fiction releases from the last year straight from the Downe House library. The aim with all our reading lists of non-fiction and fiction for teens is to encourage young adults to pick up their next book.
Set near the start of WW2, this is an engaging, fast-paced thriller centred around the discovery of a codebreaking Enigma machine on an airbase in Scotland. The action is driven by the lives of three young people determined to make their mark on the war effort. We follow the fortunes of fifteen-year-old Louisa, an orphan of mixed race heritage and aspiring pilot who looks after an elderly German woman, Jane. Their bond and the friendships between Louisa, Ellen and Jamie are inspiring but this doesn’t detract from the story’s thrilling denouement. This book has everything – a really exciting plotline and strong, inspirational characters.
The Lake District 1899. The Earl of Gosswater has died and twelve-year-old Lady Agatha has been cast out of her ancestral home – the only home she has ever known – by her cruel cousin, Clarence. In a tiny tumbledown cottage, she struggles to adjust to her new life and the stranger who claims to be her real father.
And on the shores of Gosswater Lake, the spirit of another young girl will not rest. Could the ghost of Gosswater hold the key to Aggie’s true identity?
Beautifully written, this is a thrilling ghost story that you won’t be able to put down.
Winner of the 2020 Carnegie Medal, this is the end to the story of Nicky and Kenny, the brothers featured in McGowan’s previous novels Brock, Pike and Rook, but you don’t need to read those to enjoy this emotional and dangerous adventure story. The intensity of the story is by no means diminished by the shortness of the story.
Things are getting tense at home for Nicky and Kenny as they wait for a visit from their estranged mum. To escape, they go for a walk on the moors, taking their little Jack Russell terrier with them. But what should have been a laugh, a lark, turns deadly when the weather changes and they are caught in a blizzard. Nothing will ever be quite the same again…
Advisory note – this novel contains themes that some readers may find upsetting, including suicide and bullying.
When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart. Al was special. Al was talented. Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan, Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?
This is a compassionate and current story that confronts the challenges of growing up today.
Karen M McManus
The highly anticipated sequel to the bestselling thriller, One of Us Is Lying, this is a new mystery set at Bayview High School. A year has passed since the events of One of Us Is Lying. Now someone has started a sinister game of Truth or Dare. Choose truth and you must reveal your darkest secret. Choose dare and that could be even more dangerous, possibly deadly. When the game takes an even darker turn, no one knows who to trust.
This is a great murder mystery packed with cryptic clues and countless plot twists.
The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. When 15-year-old Hark finds the still beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists and a secret cult, so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. This is a richly imagined fantasy adventure set in a strange island world which will fill your head with startling visions of the Undersea and scary dead gods.
Tabby and her mum Cate never stay in one place for long enough for her to go to school or make friends. She has learned how to disappear into the background and not give away any personal details. But her life changes when she is involved in a car accident. Her mum is arrested and Tabby discovers that her life has been a web of lies and deceit. As she adjusts to her new life, Tabby is drawn to the ocean and enrols at a swimming summer school to help her heal. But all is not as it seems… A great new psychological thriller from the best selling author of Slated.
1950s Spain under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco is as dystopian a setting as Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale. Spanish women are treated like chattels, babies lack basic medical care and ordinary Spaniards live in fear and poverty. Ana, the young heroine, is a chambermaid at a grand hotel in Madrid where she meets Daniel, the son of a rich Texan oilman. He loves taking pictures with his beloved camera but his photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions that lead him, together with Ana, to uncover the hidden darkness within the city. Sepetys breathes life into a historical time and place and Ana and Daniel’s love is the big heart of this compelling and moving story.
From the author of The Miniaturist comes a deeply moving novel about motherhood, friendship and secrets. Elise meets Constance on Hampstead Heath in 1980 and quickly falls under her spell, following her to LA where she struggles to fit into the glamorous world that Connie inhabits. Three decades later, Rose is seeking answers about her mother who disappeared when she was a baby. Constance, now a reclusive novelist, is the last person to have seen her and Rose is drawn to her imposing mansion in search of a confession.
This is the final book in the Wolf Hall trilogy, recounting the rise and fall of Henry VIII’s Minister, Thomas Cromwell. As the book begins, Cromwell is at the height of his power and all England lies at his feet, ripe for religious reform. But as fortune’s wheel turns, his enemies are gathering. How much longer can he survive?
This is an immersive novel that perfectly conjures the intrigue, in-fighting and danger of the Tudor court. But Cromwell himself is the book’s crowning glory – a complex, intelligent and passionate man – a fitting subject for what is, together with Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, amongst the greatest works of historical fiction ever written.
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