Ones to Watch

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!


The Nine Night Mystery

Last night Wesley and his friends Josephine and Margot threw their neighbour Rachel a surprise birthday party.

This morning, Rachel is dead. And Wesley is the one who finds her body. Rachel's friends throw a traditional Caribbean Nine Night celebration to help guide her soul to the next world. But Wesley, Margot and Josephine don't have time to mourn Rachel.

They are determined to find out who did this - and find out what secrets Rachel was keeping.

A twisty-turny murder mystery about the power of community and pulling together. 


The Angel of Grasmere
Tom Palmer

July 1940 – as Tarn struggles to come to terms with the loss of her beloved brother in the chaos of the British retreat at Dunkirk, she and her friends scour the hills around their Lake District home, watching for any signs of the long-dreaded Nazi invasion.

But as the war drags on, with little good news from the front, the locals become aware of someone carrying out anonymous acts of kindness, such as saving a flock of sheep from a snowdrift and getting help for an injured farmer who might other wise have died.

With no one claiming credit, they come to think of this unidentified stranger as a kind of guardian angel, but when his identity is finally revealed can Tarn come to terms with the truth…?

A moving and hopeful wartime story about bravery,  kindness and looking out for others. 
Another winner!

Bird Boy
Catherine Bruton

After the death of his mother, Will is sent to stay with his uncle in the mountains. After years trapped in a high-rise flat, with only birds for company, Will doesn't know how he'll survive, but he soon finds solace in the woods, when he's surrounded by birdsong.

With his new friend Omar - a refugee from Afghanistan - Will discovers an osprey nest, with two small chicks inside. He forms an unbreakable bond with the birds, especially the smallest chick.  But when tragedy almost strikes again one stormy night,  Will is determined to step up.  As he helps the tiny bird to grow and to heal, he finds a strength inside himself that he never knew he had. Maybe, finally, Will can find a way to take flight too...

An unforgettable story about the importance of friendship and the power of nature.  

The Girl Who Couldn't Lie
Radhika Sanghani

Priya Shah lies. A lot. She pretends everything in her life is perfect, so she doesn't disappoint anyone.  But when she puts on a bangle left to her by her Ba - the one person she was always honest with - she finds herself unable to tell a lie.

Priya is mortified. She tells her dad she hates his cooking, she tells Dan Zhang about her huge crush on him, she shares her best friends' secrets at school. She can't get the bangle off, and she can't stop the truths pouring out of her.  As more things go wrong, and Priya's truth-telling spirals out of control, can Priya learn to be honest without hurting the people she loves?

An easily relatable story about being yourself; funny and packed full of heart.


King of Nothing
Nathanael Lessore

Anton and his friends are the kings of y9.  They're used to ruling the school and Anton wears the crown. The other kids run away when he's about but that's the way he wants it - he's got a reputation to live up to after all.

So when he gets into serious trouble at school, he doesn't really care, but his mum most definitely does. She decides it's time for Anton to make some new friends and join the Happy Campers, a local activity group. Anton would quite literally rather do anything else, especially when he finds out Matthew, the biggest loser in school, is also a member.

But after Matthew unexpectedly saves Anton's life, Anton figures maybe this kid is worth a shot. Teaching him some game is the least Anton can do to repay the debt.

As the boys strike up an unlikely friendship, Anton finds himself questioning everything he thought was important. Does he want ruling the school to be his crowning glory or should he set his sights on better things?

Clever,  funny and packed full of heart, this relatable book about finding your people is an absolute triumph.  We couldn't have loved it more!

Ellie McNicol

As Keedie and her twin sister Nina approach their fourteenth birthday, they seem to only be growing further apart. Keedie instead feels drawn to, and fiercely protective of, their quiet younger sister Addie - who on the surface is the opposite of loud and fiery Keedie, but in fact they have more in common than anyone knows.

A brilliantly realistic, insightful story about bullying,  being yourself and standing up for what's right as a neurodiverse teen.  Everyone needs to read this book.


Bite Risk: Caught Dead
A J Wills

After Sel Archer and his friends uncover a conspiracy that turns the whole world upside down, it seems that the residents of Tremorglade are finally free. Adults can Turn at the full moon with no restrictions, no longer locked in cages and left to roam free.  But the town's new found fame is at risk as attacks begin to happen on Howl Night. Rumours of a foul, unkillable beast begin to stir . . . someone or something is plotting to control the Turned once and for all. 

Completely brilliant comedy horror thriller.

Black Hole Cinema Club
Christopher Edge

When Lucas meets his friends at the local cinema - nicknamed 'The Black Hole' - they're excited about the movie marathon ahead. Non-stop action, blockbuster special effects and all the snacks they can eat. But as the lights go down, Lucas, Ash, Maya, Caitlin and Finn watch in disbelief as a jet-black tidal wave comes crashing out of the cinema screen and the five friends find themselves swept into an epic adventure.

Secret hideouts. Prehistoric monsters. Lost cities. Impossible missions. Being the hero of your own film should feel like fun. But as the cliffhanger scenes they're pitched into become ever more perilous, Lucas and his friends start to wonder if these movies are really make believe. Can they save the day before the end credits roll? The fate of the world might just depend on it...

A cinema trip will never be the same again once you've read this edge-of-your seat pageturner!


The Fights That Make Us
Sarah Hagger-Holt

Jesse has recently come out as non-binary, and is struggling to find their place at school, and ideas for their project on lost stories from history.

Thirty-five years earlier, Jesse's cousin Lisa is falling for her best friend, but with new laws being introduced to restrict LGBT people's rights, they'll have to fight for the world to accept who they are.

When Jesse stumbles across Lisa's teenage diary, they are fascinated and horrified by her stories of living a secret life and protesting in the streets. Now it's Jesse's turn to find a way to shine a spotlight on a history that mustn't be forgotten.

An involving, unputdownable story about LGBTQ+ rights through recent years and the importance of being yourself.  Timely,  thought-provoking and hugely important.


The Creatures of Killburn Mine
Dan Smith

When a meteorite crashes to Earth near Crooked Oak, Pete, Nancy and Krish are determined to find it. But they’re not the only ones …

After spotting one of their teachers up on the moor where the meteorite landed, they start to wonder if his strangely altered behaviour and appearance might be connected to the arrival from outer space. But nothing could prepare them for the horror they uncover deep down in Killburn Mine …

The creepiest and most sinister mystery in this dark sci-fi  series yet.  Are you brave enough to read it?

Northern Soul
Phil Earle

Marv’s fourteen and his life is simple. There’s football. And his best mate, Jimmy. Perfect.

Nothing else matters until a new girl at school called Carly crashes into his life. For Marv, it’s love at first sight, his emotions flipped upside down, as he knows a girl like Carly will never notice him.

He needs help – lots of it – but when it miraculously arrives in the shape of a musical idol from the past, the path to Carly’s heart proves anything but easy …

A funny, big-hearted, acutely relatable story of football, first  (unrequited) love and meeting your musical heroes.

Time Travelling with a Tortoise
Ross Welford

Al Chaudhury travelled back in time to save his father’s life.   And it worked – Al’s dad is alive again and life is back to the way it should be. At least, that’s what Al thinks.

But when an accident robs Al’s beloved Grandpa Byron of his world-beating memory, Al is forced back in time again, this time leaving someone behind, trapped in a prehistoric dimension.

Al is forced into a rescue mission to recover his friend from the past… and to make sure that there will be a future waiting for them all.

Pacy, brilliantly clever time-travelling adventure with family at its heart.