Book reviews: Magic, mayhem and summer romance with Simon & Schuster

Enjoy crazy capers, holiday hilarity and some hot summer romance as Simon & Schuster children's books get ready for the holiday season.

Wednesday, 20th July 2016, 10:00 am
Magic, mayhem and summer romance with Simon & Schuster
Magic, mayhem and summer romance with Simon & Schuster

Age 8 plus:

Invisible Inc. by Steve Cole

Totally mad and totally magical… the wonderful Steve Cole is back with more Magic Ink mayhem!

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Invisible Inc. is the fourth book in a hilarious, high-energy, all-action series that sees this ‘slightly crazy, highly frantic, million-selling, non-stop’ children’s author at his famously chaotic best.

Each standalone story in the Magic Ink series, packed with funny, anarchic adventures, wacky characters, and hilarious illustrations, is carefully created for reluctant readers who like their books to have both visual and verbal appeal.

Tailor-made for every boy who ever dreamed of saving the world (almost) single-handedly, and who ever wondered why action heroes never need to go to the toilet, this latest adventure stars the weirdest cast of characters you might never ever see… because they’re all invisible!

Welcome to the crazy world of Noah Deer (sounds like ‘No Idea,’ it was his parents’ attempt at a brilliant joke). Noah’s life has become an action story and it’s tough going. His madcap inventor mum lives in her lab in the basement of their house, an old, dark, creepy Victorian lodge.

Noah, who seems to get forgotten when his mum is working on a new invention, has the strangest feeling recently that he is being watched by something invisible. And then he learns that her new invention can zap anything into a ghost of its former self. It’s still there, but you can’t see it and you can’t touch it.

The trouble really starts when the sinister Seerblight Solutions steal her invention and Noah is zapped, only to find that he is not the first person to have been turned ‘invisible’ through the ages. With all humankind in terrible danger, Earth’s last line of defence is one never before seen or heard of…

Invisible Inc. A medieval knight, a Victorian inventor, a poetic pony and an ordinary boy. How can they possibly save the world?

Chaos, wizardry, a gang of sort-of ghosts and Jim Field’s brilliant black and white illustrations are just some of the many reasons why kids will love this fantastic, fantastical adventure story.

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £6.99)

Age 8 plus:

Holiday Ha Ha Ha!

Here’s a sparkling, sunshine book that guarantees youngsters will have the first and last laugh this summer.

A top class selection of much-loved children’s authors have pooled their talents for a super selection of eight sunny, funny reads to keep youngsters entertained during the long summer holidays.

Perfectly pitched for middle grade readers in search of some enjoyable comic relief from pesky parents and exasperating siblings, these short and humour-packed stories will induce plenty of giggles and guffaws.

The stellar line-up of authors includes Steve Cole, David Solomons, Joanna Nadin, Jeremy Strong, William Sutcliffe, Steven Butler, Candy Harper and Jonathan Meres and with a jump-for-joy book cover from illustrator Jamie Littler, children will be smiling even before they turn to the first page.

From disastrous car journeys, super-powered grannies, ghoulish ghost hunters and amazing aliens to fantastical forests, crazy creatures, tiresome traffic jams and terrible talent shows, there is something for everyone in this side-splitting selection.

You’d have to be very, very silly to miss these anarchic anecdotes!

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £6.99)

Young Adult:

Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie

It’s ten years since Sophie McKenzie’s gripping YA debut Girl, Missing took the reading world by storm.

Since its publication, the page-turning tale of an adopted teenage girl on the hunt for her biological parents has become a modern classic, selling over 150,000 copies in the UK alone and winning countless awards and prizes.

This new edition includes exclusive extra content from the author and is a must for fans and readers who are yet to discover this assured and stylish thriller.

Lauren Matthews has always known she was adopted but when a little research turns up the possibility that she was snatched from an American family as a baby, suddenly her life seems like a sham. How can she find her biological parents? Why will no one answer her questions? And are her adoptive parents really responsible for kidnapping her?

Lauren manages to persuade her family to take a trip across the Atlantic where she runs away to try to find the truth and embarks on a journey that takes her deeper and deeper into danger. But the circumstances of her disappearance are murky and Lauren’s kidnappers are still at large and willing to do anything to keep her silent and stop her uncovering what really happened when she was a baby…

Brimming with exciting cliff-hangers, suspense, danger and teenage angst, this tightly-woven masterpiece of YA writing will have readers hooked from first page to last.

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)

Young Adult:

How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss

Far from being brushed under the carpet, dementia has started taking a leading role in young adult fiction and this moving novel from Clare Furniss handles the difficult topic with a light touch and immense sensitivity.

Our memories are what make us who we are… some are real, some are made up, but without them we are nobody.

Hattie’s summer isn't going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her. Her boyfriend Reuben has run off to Europe to ‘find himself’ and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum’s wedding. Oh, and she has also just discovered that she is pregnant with Reuben’s baby.

If that wasn’t all bad enough, Gloria, Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria is fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery – Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever, and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future…

Get ready to laugh, shed tears and have your heart strings pulled as Furniss’ beautiful, thought-provoking story unfolds in a kaleidoscope of colourful characters, acute observation, powerful emotions and raw realities.

A compelling, clever and revealing story…

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)

Young Adult:

Nightwanderers by C.J. Flood

Female friendships come under close scrutiny in a dark, funny and sometimes pain-filled story from award-winning author C. J. Flood.

Flood, whose debut novel, Infinite Sky, won the 2014 Branford Boase award, has her finger firmly on the pulse of today’s sassy teens and this thoughtful, arresting tale of two schoolgirls whose friendship is severely tested is stunning testament to that profound empathy.

Rosie Bloom and Titania De Furia are as close as sisters… in fact, they are closer, and anyway Ti already has a twin sister, the hard-faced, trouble-making, aggressive Ophelia. While Rosie is shy, red-faced and passive, Ti, who comes from a large Italian family, is big, tough and daring but also irresistibly lovable. Ti didn’t choose her troublesome sister but she did choose to be friends with Rosie and that makes their relationship extra special.

Creeping out of their homes at night, Ti and Rosie love to secretly wander through their beautiful Cornish coastal town, exploring empty streets and sharing their frustrations about school and their different, but equally difficult, families. But when Rosie betrays Ti, the two girls run in different directions, making decisions that could do irreparable damage to both of their lives. As Rosie confronts harsh truths, she must find a way back to Ti, and to herself…

Set against the gorgeous backcloth of the beautiful coastal villages of Flushing and Durgan in Cornwall, Nightwanderers offers a powerful exploration of the nature of friendships as well as the importance and influences of family life.

Atmospheric, emotional and perceptive, this is an impressive story from an exceptional voice in teen fiction.

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)

Young Adult:

All About The Hype by Paige Toon

Is the rock star wild-child lifestyle all it’s cracked up to be?

The third super hot, super fun Jessie Jefferson novel from popular YA author Paige Toon – follow-up to The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson and I Knew You Were Trouble – is guaranteed to make youngsters question their own ideas of celebrity and stardom.

Jessie Jefferson is still getting used to being the daughter of one of the world’s most famous rock stars but is her new-found celebrity status really making her happy? And is it right to be dating your fellow band member just as you hit the big time? With her own music career on the rise, a thrilling, secret love interest in drop-dead gorgeous, guitar-playing Johnny and a fun group of friends, it seems Jessie’s glamorous LA life couldn’t get any better…

But she is fast discovering that it’s not all gigs and glamour. Even in a high school full of celebrities, Jessie is finding the rock star lifestyle is difficult and complicated. Is the spotlight too much for rock’s famous wild-child?

With its glorious setting under the sizzling LA sun and a steamy love triangle at its fast-beating heart, this is by far the hottest Jessie Jefferson outing yet. But Toon offers more than just exciting chick lit as she examines important issues like family, friendships, relationships and youthful rebellion.

Fun, frothy and thought-provoking…

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £6.99)