Books of the Month 2022

There are so many great books published that it's easy to lose track through the year.

Each month we'll be choosing some of our favourite new book releases for y7/8 and highlighting books to look forward to in the coming year.

Keep checking back!


Tom Palmer

As the brutal Second World War stretches on with no end in sight, life for ordinary Dutch people in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands is perilous and full of hardship. There is very little to eat and they face the constant threat of arrest and enslavement.

After the murder of her beloved uncle and the capture of her brother by the Germans, Edda is determined to do anything she can to help the resistance fight back. But how much risk is one teenage girl willing to take?

An incredible re-imagining of the real life war experience of Audrey Hepburn which shows the importance of courage and the power of ordinary people fighting back. We think it's Tom's best, and most memorable, war story yet.

Read the first chapter here and see what we mean.


Cuckoo Summer
Jonathan Tulloch

Summer 1940. As the cuckoo sings out across the Lake District, life is about to change for ever for local boy Tommy and his friend Sally, the mysterious evacuee girl who lives on the neighbouring farm. When they find a wounded Nazi airman in the woods, Sally persuades Tommy not to report it but to keep the German hidden. This starts a chain of events that leads to the uncovering of secrets about Sally’s past and a summer of adventure that neither child will ever forget.

A brilliant new take on the wartime story set in the North East and Cumbria.


While the Storm Rages
Phil Earle

September 1939. The world is on the brink of war. As his dad marches off to fight, Noah makes him a promise, to keep their beloved family dog safe. When the government advises people to have their pets put down in readiness for the chaos of war, hundreds of thousands of people do as they are told. But not Noah. He's not that sort of boy. With his two friends in tow, he goes on the run, to save his dog and as many animals as he can. No matter what.

Another exceptional wartime adventure which shows why doing the right thing matters. Packs a huge emotional punch but full of heart, humour and characters to really care about too. Unforgettable!

Escape to the River Sea
Emma Carroll

In 1946, Rosa Sweetman, a young Kindertransport girl, is longing for her family to claim her. The war in Europe is over and she is the only child left at Westwood, a rambling country estate in the north of England, where she'd taken refuge seven years earlier.

The arrival of a friend of the family, Yara Fielding, starts an adventure that will take Rosa deep into the lush beauty of the Amazon rainforest in search of jaguars, ancient giant sloths and somewhere to belong. What she finds is Yara’s lively, welcoming family on the banks of the river and, together, they face a danger greater than she could ever have imagined.

An exciting new historical adventure in the original River Sea world. Just magical.

The Consequence Girl
Alastair Chisholm

The world of Colony is in ruins. No one knows what caused society to begin tearing itself apart - but the secret may lie with Cora, a girl living on the mountainside far away from others. Cora possesses an extraordinary gift: the power to see back in time, from an event back to its causes. Even more incredibly, sometimes she can change events. But the present is looking for Cora, and she is forced on the run - and must decide who she is, what she can do ... and how to fix the future.

A brilliantly imaginative, make-you-stop-and-think
sci-fi adventure about how to fix the future.

My Friend the Octopus
Lindsay Galvin

England, 1893, and aquarium fever is at its height.

Twelve-year-old Vinnie Fyfe works in the tea-shop at Brighton aquarium, and waits for her milliner mother to return from Paris.

The arrival of a giant octopus changes her life for ever. Discovering a talent for art, Vinnie begins to draw the extraordinary beast.

She soon realises she can communicate with the octopus through colour and – as a gripping mystery begins to unfold – discovers what true courage really means ...

A high-stakes Victorian adventure with an
underwater twist.


Our Sister, Again
Sophie Cameron

On a small island off the Scottish coast, Isla and her family are grieving the loss of her older sister Flora, who died three years ago. Then they're offered the chance to be part of a top-secret trial, which revives loved ones as fully lifelike AI robots using their digital footprint.

Isla has her doubts about Second Chances, but they evaporate the moment the 'new' Flora arrives. This girl is not some uncanny close likeness; she is Flora - a perfect replica. But not everyone on their island feels the same. And as the threats to Flora mount, she grows distant and more secretive. Will Isla be able to protect the new Flora and bring the community back together?

A superb sci-fi mystery about what it means to be human. A little bit sad, very hopeful and full of heart.

The Colour of Hope
Ross MacKenzie

Years ago, the Emperor used dark magic to steal all the colour from the world. Now he keeps it for himself, enjoying its life-giving power while everyone else must exist in cold shades of grey. That is, until a miracle baby is born – everything she touches turns to colour. But the child’s life is in danger from her very first breath. Can the girl and her adopted father survive in the forest – and what will it take to return colour and hope to the world?

A genuinely magical story to make you see the world through new eyes and realise just how much you take for granted.


Truth or Dare
Sophie McKenzie

Fourteen-year-old Maya cannot believe she has to spend the summer with her grandmother, helping out at the family cosmetics firm. But things get much more exciting when she meets a community of activists who are campaigning against the dumping of chemical waste. Getting closer to one boy in particular, Bear, Maya is dared into joining one of their protest missions, but doesn't know that her grandmother's business is the target. Someone has been lying about their environmentally-friendly products, and as danger threatens, Maya must uncover the truth or betray her family forever.

Nobody does thrillers like Sophie McKenzie and this edge-of-your-seat eco-drama, exploring the fine line between truth and lies, is one of her best yet!


Darren Simpson

The real world is a hostile place for twelve-year-old Bren, his schooldays stalked by vicious bully, Shaun, and his family life fractured at home. Ever since his sister Evie died in an accident, Bren's only safe space is Furthermoor, an imagined world of mechanised trees and clockwork animals, where Evie is still alive. In Furthermoor, no one can hurt Bren... until the mysterious Featherly arrives.

Now Bren is forced to confront his deepest fears and decide if his place in the real world is worth fighting for.

An unforgettable and imaginative story about courage, friendship and finding your voice.

The Secret of the Treasure Keepers
A M Howell

February 1948. Ruth has been whisked off to the lonely Rook Farm to investigate the discovery of long-buried treasure with her mother. But at the farmhouse, she finds secrets lurk around every corner. Joe, the farmer's son, is hiding something about the treasure, while land girl Audrey watches their every move. But before Ruth can find out more, the treasure is stolen...

With a storm coming, Ruth must race to uncover the secrets of the treasure keepers before all of their lives are changed forever.

A gripping historical mystery of stolen treasure, bravery and friendship set at the end of the Second World War.


Nisha's War
Dan Smith

Nisha’s Malayan home is destroyed by war and she and her mother, Amma, flee to her father’s ancestral house in England, perched on a cliff top on the cold Northern coast.

When Amma falls gravely ill, Nisha is left to face her formidable grandmother alone, forbidden to do almost everything, even climb the old tree. But when a ghost child beckons Nisha to sit under its branches, and promises her Amma’s life in return for three truths, its pull proves irresistible ...

Part wartime adventure, part historical ghost story, part family drama, Nisha's War is a real pageturner; Dan's best book yet!

Mitch Johnson

The world is unbearably hot, water is drying up, and life is hard. After a vicious thunderstorm, Ash wakes to find that the village's water has completely run out, and all the other villagers have mysteriously disappeared.

Ash must set off on a quest to find water, the rumoured flourishing land to the north and what happened to his father...

An epic dystopian adventure about saving our struggling world.

The Bird Singers
Eve Wersocki Morris

A rain-soaked cottage far from anywhere, a peculiar whispering at night, a handful of unusual feathers appearing on the doorstep, whispers of a shadowed woman in the forest, her mother behaving oddly...

As their holiday takes a dark twist, Layah wonders if the Polish myths her grandmother told might just be real...

A thrilling mystery full of dark magic and killer twists.


A new year means new books - and this month not one but three of our favourite NE Book Award authors EVER have books published.
There's no better way to spend those Christmas book vouchers!

The Horror of Dunwick Farm
Dan Smith

Animals behaving oddly, people falling suddenly ill – what’s creeping around down at the farm? Crooked Oak’s mystery-solving team return with another spine-tingling adventure.

Are you brave enough???

Into the Sideways World
Ross Welford

A mysterious animal, an alternate ideal reality, a looming global war, an impossible decision and a nail-biting race against time.
If you found a perfect world, could you leave it behind?

The most exciting adventure you'll read this year!

When the War Came Home
Lesley Parr

The First World War has ended, but it hasn't gone away. Many still battle the after effects of war.

As Natty tries to keep a secret and unravel a mystery, she finds her own way to fight for what she believes in - and learns that some things should never be forgotten .

A superbly told story about the impact of war on ordinary people. You'll not forget this one in a hurry.

The Rollercoaster Boy
Lisa Thompson

A spur of the moment holiday, a rundown seaside hotel, a famous novelist who has vanished, a locked room and some cryptic clues to be solved....this is one trip Todd won't forget in a hurry.

Part mystery, part insight into caring for a parent with bipolar, this is an exciting page turner about life's ups and downs, being kind and the importance of asking for help when you need it.

"The Grand Budapest Hotel meets Paddington 2" in book form.