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Young Adult
On Midnight Beach by Mary Louise Fitzpatrick On Midnight Beach by Mary Louise Fitzpatrick

For those of you who might be missing Fungie, this novel tells the story of a village caught up in the excitement of a dolphin making their cove its home. Emer and her friend Fee become captivated by the presence of the dolphin and also by their encounters with Seth and his friend Kit. This is a story exploring coming of age and also the intense rivalry that develops with the neighbouring village.

 
One by Sarah Crossan One by Sarah Crossan

This novel differs from the norm as it is written in verse. It is the story of Grace and Tippi who are conjoined twins. Sarah Crossman vividly crafts her verse to bring the reader into the world of the twins.

 
Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling

For fans of historical fiction this novel is set in 16th Century England. Alyce’s mother has been burned as a witch and now Alyce is a prisoner in Bedlam asylum from where she must escape to track down the mysterious John Dee. A dark, creepy thrilling read.

 
A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The Monster, birthed from the yew tree on the hill, appears in Conor’s room one night. This is the story of how Conor feels and processes his feelings of his mother’s illness and impending death. At its core it is a story about sadness but its beauty is how it shows us that all sadness must pass.

 
Wing Jones by Katherine Webber Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Wing Jones idolises her big brother Marcus, but he’s everything she isn’t: good-looking, athletic and popular. But when tragedy strikes, calling everything she ever knew into question, Wing comes into her own and discovers strengths and talents she never knew she had. Wing Jones is a gorgeous debut, a sensitive exploration of family ties, love and identity and what it really means to grow up, with a diverse cast of characters that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.

 
The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin

Twelve years after he was found wrapped in a newspaper as a baby, YouTuber Elvis sets off on a quest with his dad and friend to discover where he comes from. The journey takes on a darker edge when it becomes clear that someone is determined to force them to turn back. Filled with eccentric characters, this book reminds us to be ourselves no matter what others think and handles the subject of a person finding their birth parents in a caring and sensitive manner.

 
Splash by Charli HowardSplash by Charli Howard

Molly is in her final year of primary school, with secret dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer. Having always lived in the shadow of her manipulative friend, Chloe, Molly finally has the chance to compete in a regional swimming contest and define herself on her own terms. But with the pressure of fitting in, will she give up on her dreams for a shot at popularity? A classic underdog story, a relatable protagonist, an important message of body positivity, and celebrating who you are.

 
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

This story is set in 1925 on the Elizabeth Islands, off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The islands feature prominently throughout, in terms of their remoteness and beauty. The heroine of the story is strong, intelligent, independent Crow who was found, as a newborn baby, by Osh. Crow is anxious to learn of her past and explores questions of identity, family, love and betrayal. These clues form a mystery that runs through the entire novel. A beautifully written and thought-provoking story.

 
The Last Zoo by Sam Gayton The Last Zoo by Sam Gayton

Pia lives in a zoo in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with her parents (both ghosts), several old and cranky genies, a devil, and two young angels. She spends her days trimming genie-beards, trying to avoid being tricked into selling her soul, and waiting for the angels to make a miracle big enough to save the world.
A fantastic story with the plot immediately sweeping the reader away into a dystopian fantasy world with Pia, a slightly clueless heroine celestial zookeeper.

 
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

“We are now standing at a crossroads in history…” As a young activist with a massive platform, Greta has a simple message and no time for excuses or political posturing. This collection presents her most powerful and provocative speeches, delivered to world leaders on behalf of the young. A rallying cry, a warning and an insistence that we can do better. A book of our times.

 
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

When Isabella’s friend disappears on the island of Joya, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars.
This is a charming and adventurous story about complex friendships. A fine mix of magic and adventure with twists and turns and a bold, fearless heroine.

 
The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt

The Letter for the King follows the adventures of sixteen-year-old Tuiri, a squire, who at the opening of the novel is preparing for his knighting ceremony through a night-time vigil in a secluded chapel. An unexpected knocking on the door by a stranger, heralds the beginning of Tuiri’s secret quest and his long journey to becoming a knight. This book will appeal to anyone interested in action-centred adventure stories that contain worlds of sword fights and knightly values.

 
Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that if my dad cries, it’s first and foremost because of the wine.’ Louis Undercover is the story of a boy coming to terms with his father’s addiction and his parents’ separation. In a family brimming with things unsaid, Louis’s capacity for understanding, healing and growth is explored with sensitivity and grace. Central to this story are Louis’s relationships to others – everything that follows stems from Louis’s resilience and hope. Tender, potent and endlessly enriching.

 
The Song From Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold The Song From Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold

Everything about The Song from Somewhere Else is excellent. It is the oddest, most surprising and most extraordinary book. At first the pages turn darkly, telling the story of a girl called Frank who is being bullied by a gang of boys. Simultaneously, Levi Pinfold’s striking black and white illustrations depict a bleak, uncaring cityscape as harsh as Harrold’s prose. But suddenly Frank finds a friend in Nick, and with him comes beautiful, haunting music from another world. It is one of the most exciting and peculiar reads of the decade.

 

<< Staff Picks - Recommended Reads 2020