SEED by Caryl Lewis (Macmillan £7.99, 275pp)
by Caryl Lewis (Macmillan £7.99, 275pp)
Award-winning Welsh writer Caryl Lewis’ first English-language novel is a near-perfect blend of witty humour, wild adventures, fascinating characters and troubled families, all underpinned by an inspiring lesson in pursuing your dreams.
A bullied only child, Marty lives with his single mother who has mental health issues, so he finds refuge with his impractical but effervescently imaginative grandfather on his housing estate. Marty’s only friend is the hot, deaf and equally lonely Gracie.
Grandpa gives Marty a special pumpkin seed for his birthday, which grows incredibly huge – big enough, in fact, for Grandpa’s wild and life-changing plan.
Will Marty finally see beyond his problems and believe in himself? An absolute treat. 8+
SKANDAR AND THE UNICORN THIEF by AF Steadman (S&S £12.99, 400pp)
SKANDAR AND THE UNICORN THIEF
by AF Steadman (S&S £12.99, 400pp)
Hands down who loves unicorns? Hmmm. If you think of rainbows and sparkles, this dramatic start will come as a shock. 13-year-old Skandar Smith dreams of being a unicorn rider, an elite group of teenagers on a secret island where dangerous unicorns are only tamed when paired with a chosen child.
After failing the crucial exam, Skandar is shocked to be taken by a mysterious stranger to the island, where he is thrust into a dark and violent world. He discovers a secret about himself that could cost him and his three new friends their lives… 9+
Cath Howe’s INSIDER (Nosy Crow £7.99, 250pp)
by Cath Howe (Nosy Crow £7.99, 250pp)
Callie, Ted, Zara and Nico are in their last year of elementary school – but Ted is bullied by teachers and students for being short and shy. When a particularly cruel trick humiliates him, he isolates himself from his friends and watches them from a tree as they enter the school for a dare.
They discover there Billy, one of Ted’s executioners, who has problems at home and sleeps at school. Ted assumes they have befriended his enemy and plots revenge.
A deceptively simple story that packs an emotional punch about loneliness, rejection, friendship and honesty. 9+