Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult

Middle Grade Spring Collection

The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by Mark Dawson (Welbeck Flame)

Fans of middle grade mysteries and classic children’s adventure stories will love The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse! A ghostly figure on the beach, stories of smugglers and shadowy winter evenings make this the perfect book to curl up with.

Something is going on in the seaside town of Southwold. The After School Detective Club decide they need to take matters into their own hands and find out who the ghostly figure on the beach really is. Before they know it, they’re wrapped up with a gang of real-life smugglers and an investigation that puts them all at risk!

Coming up for Air by Lou Abercrombie (Little Tiger)

Middle Grade meets Young Adult in this exciting story that bridges the gap between the two age ranges.

Film-loving Coco moves to the seaside town where her mum grew up. Mum has lost her job and they have to return to their estranged family in the hopes that they will take them in. While in Piscary Bay, Coco discovers a passion for free diving. A new group of friends reveals secrets from her family’s past that she just can’t ignore. Will Coco be able to find out what happened all those years ago or are some things better left in the past? All she knows is that she can’t ignore the pull of the waves and the mystery of what happened to her dad.

Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs? by Simon Packham (Firefly Press)

For Archie Ebbs, life is great – he’s popular, school is going well, he’s often the centre of attention. The reality is that he takes his life for granted. He doesn’t ever consider that things could change.

So when his mum, a staff nurse in A&E, tells him they have to move out of their house, he can’t believe it. He and his big sister, Izzy, have lived there for such a long time – it’s home. Things go from bad to worse when Mum begins to realise that she can’t find a new home in their price range. They are about to become homeless. Archie’s safe place – his home, his bedroom, his belongings, his cat – is no longer his.

What follows is heart-breaking. The shame and stigma of homelessness leaves Archie feeling invisible. He and Izzy distance themselves from their friends to try to protect their secret and, as a result, they disappear from their old lives.

Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs? is a story of empathy and the importance of sharing life with others. As eye-opening for teachers as for children, it challenges us all to make sure no one falls through the cracks.

How to Steal the Mona Lisa by Bethany Walker (Scholastic)

Funny, dramatic and a little bit wacky, How to Steal the Mona Lisa is the kind of book that will appeal to so many young readers. Mia’s school is in trouble. Underfunded, the art department is closing. When the royal family announces a £25 million reward to whoever locates the missing painting, The Lost Mona Lisa, she realises this just might be the answer to their problems. Told through all sorts of text types – notes, emails, newspaper reports, blogs and coded messages – children will love asking questions and gathering evidence right along with Mia and her friend Jake. It’s fantastic to see a glasses-wearing main character for children to identify with (even if her optician is a little bit suspicious!)

Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell (Walker Books)

What happens when a notorious trickster is banished from Asgard to live as a ‘normal’ eleven-year-old boy on Earth? Chaos, trouble and even more tricks, that’s what! Loki has to be good or he’ll face eternity in a pit of angry snakes. That’s easier said than done for a powerless god who can’t make the right choice even when it’s staring him in the face. Told through a hilarious diary filled with fun doodles, children will quickly lose themselves in the joy of being naughty. Energetic, slightly rude, and completely off the wall, there is no doubt Loki will be a huge hit!

The Ship of Doom by M.A. Bennett (Welbeck Flame)

Time-travelling thieves, artefacts from another time, changing the events of history – The Ship of Doom is the perfect book for fans of historical fiction who love to wonder “What if…?”

Luna, Konstantin and Aidan are on a mission from 1894 to 1912. Their task – to locate Guglielmo Marconi’s iconic invention, the wireless radio. Little do they know the ship where they will find the radio is doomed.

For most of us, the name Titanic sends an icy chill down our spine but for the members of The Butterfly Club, it’s luxury, adventure and challenge all rolled into one – at least at first. That fateful night changes everything.

This is a fantastic new take on the Titanic story. Luna, Konstantin and Aidan demonstrate just how powerful knowledge can be and how important it is to think of others, not just yourself. The Ship of Doom is the first in what promises to be an exciting series for The Butterfly Club.

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line.

Books by Kate Heap:

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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