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http://goodtoread.org/age-range/pre-teens-plus/

Books aimed at Pre Teens+

Age 10 and upwards


Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea

Style: Good

Attitude: Fairly Positive

One story from two memoirs; the orphaned evacuee who wants to find his roots and his daughter who achieves this.

Two memoirs; the first of a London evacuee from WWII, sent to Australia, where he grew up with the idea of finding his elder sister in England, by sailing a yacht back to GB. He died and – the second memoir – his daughter did the journey alone and met her aunt.

Adventure, Biographical, Documentary, Family, Friendship, Growing-Up, Romantic, Seafaring, Thought-provoking

The Amulet of Samarkand

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

When Nathaniel summons the Djinn Bartimaeus to steal the eponymous amulet from magician Rupert Lovelace as an act of petty revenge, his plan gets out of control and ends in tragedy for the people he lives with.

Witty and well-paced fantasy adventure. Humorous summoning of Djinni as servants. A childish act of revenge resulting in tragic deaths. Bravery & determination to combat an evil scheme.

Adventure, Fantasy, Humorous

Artemis Fowl

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Artemis Fowl, a 12-year-old criminal mastermind, comes from a long line of rich Irish criminals; however in recent years his father, now missing and presumed dead, managed to squander a substantial amount of the family's fortune and drag the name Fowl into disrepute.

Enjoyably different take on the world of Fairies; the 12-year-old main character's amorality in achieving his ends

Adventure, Friendship, Humorous, Magic

Artemis Fowl - The Arctic Incident

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Artemis Fowl wants to find his father, held hostage in Russia; Holly Short wants to find who's supplying the goblins with human technology; Foaly wants to find out who's disabled all the LEP Technology and pointed the finger at him.

Adventure, Friendship, Humorous, Magic

Artemis Fowl - The Eternity Code

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

The C-Cube, built by Artemis Fowl partly from Fairy technology, and therefore capable of breaching the Underworld's defences, is stolen by a shady American businessman who will do anything to obtain power.

Artemis' growing sense of responsibility to his family and to his employee, Butler. Holly's friendship for Artemis & Butler leading her to risk her job for them.

Adventure, Friendship, Humorous, Magic

Artemis Fowl - The Opal Deception

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Artemis Fowl steals the world's most sought-after painting, but becomes entangled in a revenge bid by Opal Koboi against those who thwarted her previously.

Adventure with a little agonising by Artemis over the direction he should take.

Adventure, Friendship, Humorous, Magic

Back Home

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

Rusty is a 12-year-old English girl returning home after spending the war years with a family in the USA.

Honest efforts by a returning young evacuee to fit into now unfamiliar surroundings. Contrast between pre- and post-war expectations of conventional roles. Casting in a good light a more bohemian style of upbringing, less concerned with conventional taboos and more with children's freedom. Family tension and break-up.

Coping with, Family, Girls, Growing-Up, Historical, War

Beauty

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The story is the conventional one of Beauty & the Beast: the father who inadvertently trespasses on the enchanted castle, and who must send one of his daughters to live with the Beast who inhabits it; the growing love between the Beast and the girl; the overstayed leave-of-absence and how it brings the Beast close to death, causing the girl to proclaim her love for him, unwittingly breaking the enchantment he was under.

An enjoyable retelling of Beauty & the Beast; nice depiction of loving family and generous neighbours

Fantasy, Girls

The Blue Sword

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The context of the story is a fictional setting where a civilised people not too dissimlar to the British of the Empire have come to live in a country originally populated by a hill people with a rich history shot through with magic.

Fantasy

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Young Bruno is upset when his family is uprooted from their comfortable Berlin townhouse and forced to live in the featureless Outwith at the insistence of his soldier father's chief The Fury.

A moving look at the horrors of Auschwitz through the eyes of an innocent young German boy, the son of the camp commandant. No explicit violence but the final moments are quite tragic. May be suitable for younger readers in company with an older reader who can explain what's happening if needed.

Friendship, Growing-Up, Historical, Moral Issue, Thought-provoking, War

Brotherband: The Outcasts

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Hal is left leading the third of the year's brotherbands: all those not chosen for the other two bands.

Courage and wit in overcoming prejudice and disadvantage. Teamwork vs Selfishness. Competence vs brute force.

Adventure, Boys, Fantasy, Friendship

Brother in the Land

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

One of many post-nuclear-holocaust books, this one written in 1984 details one boy's experiences following a nuclear strike on England.

Ultimately tragic and with no real surprises it is quite readable and not too harrowing.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

The Bus People

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

Bertram is a school minibus driver on the "Fruitcake Run", picking up various handicapped children.

Short, Thought-provoking

The Casson Family Series

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

The Casson family cope with everyday life, their friends, and each other.

Affectionate understanding in a realistic, if occasionally off-beat, family setting. In spite of the sometimes unconventional activities of the Cassons, the family setting is very robust with mostly unspoken affection at its core. Humorous and fresh with believable characters and situations. Eve & Bill are effectively separated. Tom's parents are divorced (and his father has had a daughter by his new girlfriend). Saffy's parents are an unmarried woman and a married man. Bill has a girlfriend in his London flat, and one of Caddy's many boyfriends looks for a while as though he's going to become Eve's partner, but in the end doesn't.

Family, Humorous

The Changes Trilogy

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

One day, without warning, the whole of Britain turns superstitiously against technology and millions of people flee the country leaving the cities and much of the countryside deserted.

A thought-provoking look at what life might be like if technology were no longer available. The need to combine skill and hard work in a post-industrial society. An assumed supernatural premise.

Adventure, Fantasy, Thought-provoking

Charlotte Sometimes

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Charlotte goes to sleep in a boarding school and wakes up to find herself in the same place in 1918, and mistaken for Clare who has taken her place 40 years in the future.

Gentle time-shift story put across thoughtfully in terms of the relations between Emily and Charlotte and the acceptance by Charlotte and Clare of their situation, less disturbing than it might have been, since they are both new to boarding school life.

Classic, Magic, School

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

The Tooting family restore a classic camper van with a view to travelling abroad, only to discover that it has wings and a mind of its own.

Quirky and heartwarming story about a making the best of every opportunity when all you’ve got is a flying car.

Adventure, Fantasy, Humorous

The Chronicles of Prydain

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Taran, often through his own well-meaning thoughtless haste, but helped by chance, finds himself embroiled in the struggle to free the land of Prydain from the clutches of the evil Arawn.

Love, friendship and perseverance overcome the wiles and tricks of many enemies, each side striving to turn the ancient magic of their land to its own advantage.

Classic, Fantasy, Friendship, Growing-Up

Devil in the Fog

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

14-year-old George is the oldest of the 7 Treet children who, together with their father, are touring thespians, forever on the edge of poverty, but forever cheerful.

Growing-Up, Historical

The Dolphin Crossing

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

John Aston, realising the plight of the British forces at Dunkirk, takes the family's small craft Dolphin and, helped by Pat Riley, braves the sky and land-based attacks to ferry troops from the beaches.

A short but thoughtful story, focusing on the effect war has on different characters and what courage is about. Those left behind in wartime. Spirit of those who took their small craft to ferry troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. Generosity of both boys supporting each other in different ways in spite of very different backgrounds.

War

The Donkey's Crusade

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Thomas is 17-year-old child of a family most of whose members are of the Guild of Travellers, undertaking to guide people around the Middle and Far East.

Adventure, Animal, Fantasy, Historical

Drummer Boy

Style: Weak

Attitude: Positive

Charley Bates, a young Rochford boy with no ties, is drawn by the glitter of the army to join up as a drummer boy during the Crimean War.

Historical, War

The Eagle of the Ninth

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Marcus is invalided out of the army after his first command is overrun by tribesmen stirred up by druids into a holy war; he undertakes to travel north in an attempt to retrieve the Eagle emblem of the vanished Ninth Legion, lost when under his father's command ten years before.

A well-researched and accessible window on life in Roman Britain. Believable characters populate an historical landscape. Loyalty of friends and respect for varied lifestyles and cultures.

Boys, Historical

The Edge of the World

Style: Poor

Attitude: Positive

A couple of youngsters find that they can step sideways into a parallel world which equates geographically to their own, but is barren.

Magic

Esperanza Rising

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

Esperanza, accustomed to a comfortable life, has to come to terms with poverty when her father is killed, leaving their land to his self-serving brothers.

Dignity in poverty. Generosity of families and individuals, helping others even when it is difficult.

Coping with, Growing-Up, Historical

The Exiles at Home

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Ruth, hiding in the school library when she's feeling ill, rashly fills in a form to sponsor an African schoolboy, writing her age in such a way that it looks like she's 18.

Slightly wacky but realistic family of girls. Determination not to let down the African schoolboy they've rashly promised money to. Their ingenuity in trying to get money for a good cause. Valuing older people.

Family, Humorous

Fireweed

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

15-year-old Bill is evacuated to Wales away from the grudging aunt with whom he lives.

A sturdy attempt to portray two mid-teenagers looking after themselves during the war; slightly dated style; no immodesty

Growing-Up, Historical, War

The First Book of Samuel

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

11-year-old Samuel is the only child of his father's second marriage; the youngest sister of the first marriage lives with them.

Growing-Up

Fly, Cherokee, Fly

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Darryl finds an injured pigeon and looks after it, helped by the advice of a local pigeon fancier.

Animal, Friendship, Growing-Up

Forever X

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

The Shepherds (Anne & Jack with children Joy and Mel) are on their way to the Lakes when their car breaks down fortuitously near a B&B.

Family, Humorous

Gideon Ahoy

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The story of Gideon, a 16-year-old deaf and retarded boy, who is given a job on a barge for the summer.

Family, Thought-provoking

The Golem's Eye

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

Nathaniel and Bartimaeus try to discover who’s controlling the Golem they believe is responsible a series of high-profile acts of destruction across London.

Engaging magical adventure story with some intriguing discussions about moral convictions and the rise and fall of empires.

Adventure, Fantasy, Humorous

Goodnight, Mr Tom

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Willie Beech, a timid 9-year-old, is evacuated from Deptford to Sussex, and is billeted on Tom Oakley, a widower who has allowed himself to become bitter and misanthropic since his wife and child died of scarlet fever 40 years before.

Slightly awkward storyline, but heartwarming; religious-driven cruelty of Willie's mother, her illegitimate baby and eventual suicide; the kindness of the villagers and especially of Tom Oakley.

Coping with, Friendship, Growing-Up, Historical, War

Greenmantle

Style: Classic

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Richard Hannay, after a period as a soldier on the front line, is called in by Sir Walter Bullivant to discover what secret card the Germans hold with which to inflame the Islamic peoples of the Middle East.

Wartime danger and heroism. While the broad brushstroke attitude towards war and other peoples is typical of the period of the book's publication, there is a surprising degree of respect both for the German enemy and for the Turkish religion and mindset.

Adventure, Boys, Classic, Historical, War

Heroes of Olympus

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

Following on from the [series:percy-jackson original Percy Jackson series], the gods of antiquity are under threat from the earth goddess Gaia and cause the Greek Demigods to throw in their lot with their Roman counterparts whose existence had been hidden from them.

Classical gods fathering half-blood children. Young characters maturing as they overcome adversity. Some very mild young-teen romance based on a trusting friendship and shared adversity. Many classical references in a modern setting.

Adventure, Boys, Fantasy, Friendship, Mythical, Romantic

Hidden Turnings

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

A set of short stories by several contemporary authors, mostly in the SciFi/Fantasy mould.

Fantasy, Short

His Banner Over Me

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

At the age of 4 Flora Gould (Gorrie) leaves Taiwan, where she was born to Canadian missionaries, to return with her family to Canada where she stays with her brothers and sisters until she is close to marrying.

Biographical, Family, Historical

The Historical Stories of Cynthia Harnett

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive → Edifying

Gentle, readable and edifying historical stories featuring youngsters in homely situations between the 15th and 17th centuries.

Historical

The History Keepers: The Storm Begins

Style: Weak → Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

Jake Djones is caught up in the work of the Bureau of History Keepers when his parents, who have secretly worked for them all these years, disappear while on a mission.

Inoffensive if uninsipired. Time-travelling family & friends with minor heroics against dastardly villains.

Adventure, Time-Travel

Holes

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Stanley Yelnats, sent to a harsh young offenders' camp in the desert when he is wrongly convicted of stealing a pair of shoes, finds his place among the other boys and offers to help one of them, nicknamed Zero, who is illiterate.

Quirky and feelgood story. Bearing misfortune optimistically. The benefits of helping others. Living in the shadow of a curse.

Coping with, Friendship, Growing-Up, Humorous

The Homeward Bounders

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Jamie Hamilton inadvertently discovers "Them": a mysterious group controlling his world as a board game.

Adventure, Friendship, SciFi

Huntingtower

Style: Classic

Attitude: Positive

Dickson McCunn "an incurable romantic" sells his grocery shop and goes walking in the highlands.

Adventure, Boys, Classic, Historical

If Only They Could Talk

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

First of the autobiographical series about a Yorkshire vet's day-to- day happenings, ups and downs.

Animal, Biographical, Humorous

I, Juan de Pareja

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

Juan is born into slavery in Seville, Spain in the early 1600s, and after the death of his mother when he is just five years old he becomes the pageboy of a wealthy Spanish lady, Emilia.

Based on what is known of the life and household of the Spanish painter Diego Velazquez, this is a sensitive fictional account of the life of Juan de Pareja, a black Spaniard and slave-cum-friend of the painter. Friendship, loyalty, mercy and generosity are beautifully illustrated, and issues of slavery and cruelty are explored with a modern understanding of their evil, but in a way that is not unbelievable in the story's context.

Biographical, Historical

Indigo's Star

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

Indigo, returning to school after glandular fever, keeps his worries about being bullied from the rest of his family, except that Rose finds out and spills the beans, leading Saffy and her friend Sarah to barge right in and subdue the gang leader.

Affectionate understanding in a realistic family setting. Ill-feeling owing to separated parents taking new partners.

Family, Humorous

It's Not the End of the World

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Noah and his family build an Ark and fill it with all kinds of animals in time for the flood of which, they believe, they are the only worthy survivors.

Animal, Growing-Up

Jimmy Coates: Killer

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Jimmy Coates is an ordinary 11-year-old, fighting with his sister, grumbling over his homework, until some people turn up at his house and try to take him away.

Genetically-engineered assassin child

Adventure, Family, Friendship, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Jimmy Coates: Revenge

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Jimmy Coates, along with his family & friends, is hiding safely from the British Secret Service in New York's Chinatown until he starts to experience painful headaches leaving images in his head which he believes point to an assassination attempt against the American President.

Enjoyable action-packed adventure with a certain family warmth and a thought-provoking core. Three genetically-altered assassin-youngsters with issues of free will and responsibility. Political-military complexities between three regimes. Deceptions and subterfuges between supposed allies. The loyalty of Jimmy's family and friends in difficult situations. Brutal action sequences between the youngsters.

Adventure, Family, Friendship, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Joan of Arc

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

20th-century Eloise is told the story of Joan of Arc by an angel after she is bitterly disappointed not to have been chosen to play Joan in the town's celebrations, as she was not born in Orleans.

Sympathetic retailing of the story of a warrior saint.

Biographical, Historical, War

Johnny and the Dead

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Johnny Maxwell can see the dead people in the graveyard who are like normal people, but dead.

Humorous, Magic

Journey to the River Sea

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Maia is an orphan who goes with her new governess to live with her nearest relatives in Brazil in the city of Manaus on the Amazon River, a city made rich by the local rubber plantations.

Entertaining and engaging. Caricature of crass and small-minded Westerners among sympathetic natives.

Adventure, Friendship, Historical

King of Shadows

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Nat Field is a member of the Company of boys, an acting group for 11-18 year old boys who perform Shakespeare's plays traditionally.

Well-written; gives good understanding of Shakespeare's world and plays; Nat's father's suicide; Arby & Julia live together

Friendship, Time-Travel

The Lantern Bearers

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

A young Roman Decurion, unwilling to leave Britain with the last of the Legions, lights the beacon of Rutupiae one last time.

Superb story mingling action with authentic historical detail without losing depth or accessibility. Some brutal but not gratuitous violence; positive portrayal of Christianity; loyalty in friendship in spite of many hardships

Adventure, Historical

Larklight

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

Art & Myrtle Mumby have to flee when their house, Larklight, is overrun by giant spiders.

Brilliantly imaginative; gently mocking Victorian ideals and sensibilities; quietly reconciling faith and science. Wild battles with gruesome spiders; questionable actions by a powerful being. Easy acceptance of other races and sexes. Undemonstrative love between family members and friends.

Adventure, Fantasy, Growing-Up, Humorous, Romantic

A Little Bush Maid

Style: Classic

Attitude: Edifying

Norah can’t wait for Jim to come home for the holidays, and when he does arrive, accompanied by Harry and Wally, every day is full of adventures.

A vivid depiction of the quintessentially Australian; values such as mateship, hard work and bush hospitality to beautiful illustrations of the outback, Australian character and humour. Heart-warming, humorous and highly enjoyable Australian classic!

Adventure, Classic, Friendship, Girls, Growing-Up

Little Women

Style: Classic

Attitude: Edifying

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March are girls growing into young ladies in the late 19th century.

Classic, Girls

The Load of Unicorn

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Young Benedict “Bendy” Goodrich lives with his adult brothers who run their retired father's scrivener business in Paternoster lane, but his ambition is to work with William Caxton who's pioneering the newly prosperous craft of printing in his workshop by Westminster Abbey.

Interesting historical story around the changeover to printing. A hotheaded young man learns to control himself. Generosity of several individuals when helping others without reward.

Adventure, Historical

Lorna Doone

Style: Classic

Attitude: Positive

The story tells of the adventures of John Ridd after his father is murdered by the Doones.

Classic, Romantic

The Lost Hero

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Jason, Piper & Leo are thrown into the world of half-blood children of gods and embark on a quest to free Hera-Juno from the clutches of a mysterious enemy.

Classical gods fathering half-blood children. An enjoyable if slightly disappointing adventure quest. Heroism as friends help friends and people have to work together to save the lives of others.

Adventure, Boys, Fantasy, Friendship, Mythical, Romantic

The Machine-Gunners

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Set in the mining town of Garmouth during WWII the story revolves around Chas McGill, who has the second best collection of war souvenirs in the town but desperately wants it to be the best.

Adventure, War

The Magician's House Quartet

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

This is a series of four books, written intentionally as a series.

Animal, Magic

The Mark of Athena

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

The joint Greek-Roman crew of the Argo II must sail to Rome to confront Gaia whose plan is to overthrow the Olympian Gods altogether.

Adventure, Boys, Fantasy, Friendship, Mythical, Romantic

The Midwinter Watch

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

A hundred years ago, an inventor discovered a clock that could turn back time.

Adventure, SciFi, Spooky

Mirrors

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

A collection of short stories by different authors, each one having to do with mirrors.

Short, Spooky

A Monster Calls

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed

Conor is a boy who cannot accept the reality of his mother dying.

How a young boy copes with the impending death from cancer of his mother.

Boys, Coping with, Family, Fantasy, Gritty, Growing-Up, Moral Issue, School, Thought-provoking

Moonfleet

Style: Classic

Attitude: Positive

John Trenchard, a 15-year-old, becomes involved with a gang of smugglers, flees with their leader and finds a valuable diamond.

Adventure, Classic, Historical

Mr Standfast

Style: Classic

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

To trap a brilliant German agent, Richard Hannay has to pose as a pacifist, assisted by Mary Lamington, Blenkiron, Peter Pienaar and others.

Straightforward plot. Elements of endurance and loyalty. A subtle, if unredeemed, villain. Some demeaning references to native Africans. War as a job to be done.

Adventure, Boys, Classic, Historical, Romantic, War

Operation Red Jericho

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Becca & Doug McKenzie become involved with the Honourable Guild of Specialists when their parents disappear, leaving them in the care or their uncle, captain of the research boat _Expedient_.

Slightly larger-than-life heroes and villains; a broad cultural sweep to the front and backstories; unremarked equality of men and women; courage and steadfastness among (heroic) allies. Impetuous if well-intentioned disobedience and deception by the children.

Adventure, Friendship, Historical

The Pearls of Lutra

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

A gang of pirates steals a set of pearls from an otter family, killing all but one of the otters in the process.

Animal, Fantasy

Peter Raven: Under Fire

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The year is 1800 as Peter Raven sails as midshipman aboard the Torrone, only to be hurt in a sea battle off France; when he sails again to the Caribbean the ship is attacked by Pirates and he is set adrift to save himself.

An exciting story, well-populated. A few slightly gruesome scenes.

Adventure, Boys, Historical, Seafaring, War

The Princesses of Barmarre

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Princesses Meryl and Addie live in the land of Barmarre, which is constantly attacked by Gryphons, Ogres, Spectres and Dragons, and where the plague of the Grey Death kills indiscriminately; Meryl is brave and Addie timid, until Meryl contracts the Grey Death, and Addie sets out to look for a cure.

Fantasy

Ptolemy's Gate

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

As the British Empire starts to implode, the ruling Magicians are unable to subdue the dissent of the increasingly magic-resistant Commoners.

Magic & Djinni in an alternative modern world. Friendship and affection with a light dusting of humour. An appeal to the honour and morality present in people despite the apparent pragmatism of their day-to-day struggles. Heroic self-sacrifice for the common good.

Adventure, Fantasy, Humorous

Pure Dead Brilliant

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Baci has invited her fellow classmates from the Institute of Advanced Witchcraft to stay, unaware that one of them is a demon from the Hadean Executive, after the legendary Chronostone.

Family, Humorous, Magic

Pure Dead Magic

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Luciano Strega-Borgia has gone missing after storming out of the castle, and his wife has to go on a training course for witches, so she engages a Nanny who sidesteps the younger Strega-Borgia's attempts to repel her and takes on the running of the house, which soon becomes a complicated business.

Family, Humorous, Magic

The "Pure Dead" Series

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

The general plot lines involve various or all of the family members finding themselves in self-imposed scrapes and trying to get out: Titus creates too many mini clones, Damp sends the family's pet rats off by email, the house roof falls in, Luciano is kidnapped by the mafia when he walks out after a row, Ffup finds herself giving birth to the Loch Ness Monster's baby, etc.

Fun; Close family; Some earthy humour

Family, Humorous, Magic

Pure Dead Wicked

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

The roof of Stregaschloss has collapsed, and the Strega-Borgias are forced to live in the local hotel while their house is being repaired.

Family, Humorous, Magic

The Rinaldi Ring

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Eliot's American mother dies in a mugging and he stays with his English cousins while his father comes to term with his grief.

Spooky

Ring out Bow Bells!

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

Dickon is apprenticed to Master Whittington, former mayor of London and head of a house of Mercers, although Dickon's own family are victuallers - old enemies of the clothiers.

Family, Historical

Saffy's Angel

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Saffy, the second of four children, discovers that she is adopted and is determined to regain the Angel her grandfather left her in his will as a mark of something which is really hers.

A lighthearted look at family and friendships. Cheerful and close family, although the father is effectively living elsewhere. Positive look at wheelchair-bound youngster.

Family, Humorous

The Scent of Magic

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Rachel and Eric are just learning to control the powers they discovered on Ithrea when a party of High Witches arrives on Earth to avenge the death of Dragweena.

Fantasy, Magic

The Secret of Castle Cant

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Lucy Wickright discovers a plot to kill the Baron and take over the Barony by controlling the young heir to the title.

Whimsical palace intrigue which turns quite nasty. Trust and friendship between two young girls. An illegitimate child acknowledged. Caricatured villainy resulting in the deaths of loved ones.

Adventure, Fantasy, Girls

The Silver Branch

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Rome's control over Britain is swaying, and two young Roman soldiers find themselves flung unexpectedly into the power politics of British leadership.

Politics & adventure in Roman Britain. Courage & loyalty to friends and family.

Adventure, Boys, Classic, Historical

Skybreaker

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Matt Cruse learns of the location of the lost airship Hyperion, reputed to be carrying vast wealth.

An enjoyable adventure, if a little slow-moving in places. The pseudo-Edwardian setting with its valve-and-steam technology provides the atmosphere for what is a fairly conventional adventure plus romance story with no real issues. The supporting characters are mostly cardboard but the main leads have just enough depth to them, the female characters in particular having strengths and weaknesses without compromising their femininity.

Adventure, Boys, Fantasy, Seafaring

Smith

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Smith is a 12-year-old pickpocket in Dickensian London.

Adventure, Historical

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

A funfair comes to a small town and a couple of boys, Jim & Will, discover some rather sinister attributes of the fairground owners and crew, notably a carousel which can make you older or younger.

Classic, Macabre

The Son of Neptune

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

Percy Jackson has lost his memory of Camp Half-Blood and battles his way to the Roman Camp Jupiter where he must convince the Roman demigods that he isn’t a threat to them while he tries to recover his memory.

Adventure, Boys, Fantasy, Friendship, Mythical, Romantic

A Spoonful of Jam

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Elsie Hollis is terrified of the gang in the next street, and auditions for a part with the local repertory company simply to stay out of the way; she is astonished when she is actually given the part.

Growing-Up, War

Starcross

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Art, Myrtle and Mrs Mumby visit the new Starcross hotel on an asteroid near Mars only to discover that a more sinister scheme is afoot, involving mind-controlling top hats, a time-travelling ship from the American War of Independence, and a set of French Secret Agents.

Imaginative cybersteam adventure story. Slightly less pacy than the original. All manner of heroism, bravery, self-sacrifice, humour, and gentle romance.

Adventure, Fantasy, Growing-Up, Humorous, Romantic

The Star of Kazan

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Annika, found by Sigrid and Ellie on a walking trip, is brought up by them in the house of the Professors, until Frau Edeltraut comes along and reveals that she is Annika's mother.

Heartwarming story of one girl's steadfastness in the face of deception and hardships, and the lengths her friends go to to help her.

Friendship, Historical

The Stone Book Quartet

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

4 interlinked short stories covering one rural Macclesfield family over some 3 centuries.

Historical, Short

Stone Heart

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

With the help of the Gunner from the Royal Artillery War Memorial and Edie, a girl of his own age who has special part to play, George is drawn into the war between Spits -- the human statues of London -- and Taints -- the gargoyles and monsters, until he finishes what he started when he inadvertently damaged a statue outside the Natural History Museum.

Fantasy adventure based around the statues of London. Persevering friendship, self-sacrifice and generosity. A religious character portrayed as untrustworthy. Slightly awkward mixture of straightforward physical battles and a mystical quest. Broken family backgrounds including implied violence between father and daughter. Occasional mild coarseness.

Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship

The Swish of the Curtain

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Positive → Edifying

As the summer starts, the Halfords move to Fenchester and strike up a friendship with the Fayne & Darwin families, prompting the youngsters to pool their talents and put on a play for their friends and acquaintances.

An undemanding story of youthful ambition and success. Dated but still very readable. Family tensions between children's ambitions and parental plans. Warmhearted generosity and good humour both in public and in private.

Classic, Family, Historical

The Talent Thief

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Cressida Bloom's talent for singing is stolen along with those of many other youngsters at a Convention for Young Genius, and she and Adam must chase the thieves.

A parable of putting the needs of others ahead of ones own talents, however great. Adam's persevering affection for his sister despite her attitude, and her later realisation of this fact. The idea that talents can be extracted, stored and passed on.

Adventure

They Came Like Swallows

Style: Classic

Attitude: Edifying

At the centre of 8 year old Bunny’s life is his mother who is the only member of the Morrison family who understands Bunny’s sensitive and thoughtful nature.

Insightful and tender look at motherhood, family and death during the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 in America. A beautiful and heartbreaking story recommended for sensitive readers 12 years and up.

Classic, Growing-Up

The Thirty-Nine Steps

Style: Classic

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Richard Hannay gives a man shelter for the night, only to find him dead in the morning.

Adventure, Boys, Classic, War

The Three Hostages

Style: Classic

Attitude: Positive

General Sir Richard Hannay, hero of "The 39 Steps" et al.

Adventure, Boys, Classic, Historical

Three Men in a Boat

Style: Classic

Attitude: Positive

George, Harris and J are three rather lazy young men around the turn of the century.

Classic, Humorous

A Traveller in Time

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Penelope visits her aunt and uncle in their farmhouse "Thackers".

A gentle story with the time-travel elements played down, rather as in Penelope Farmer's "Charlotte Sometimes". There is a homely feel about the farmhouse in both eras. Religion does enter into the story since the Tudor peoples are living in a time of religious change where political partisanship is bound up with religious beliefs. Interestingly, although Penelope would seem to be C of E if anything, Catholicism is portrayed positively without any fanatical overtones.

Classic, Historical, Time-Travel

Treasure Island

Style: Classic

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Positive

A dead pirate’s chest throws up a map showing the way to treasure buried on a secret island.

“Buccaneers, and buried gold”. The original Boys’ Own Yarn combining youthful bravery, charismatic villainy and buried treasure. A slow start for the modern reader and never as racy as Alex Rider but very readable nonetheless once you’re immersed in its world

Adventure, Boys, Classic

Tuck Everlasting

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The over-protected eleven-year-old Winnie Foster loses her patience and runs away into the woods next to her house where she meets seventeen-year-old Jesse Tuck drinking from a water spring.

A brief but deeply philosophical fantasy that explores the nature of life, change, death and immortality.

Classic, Fantasy, Historical, Thought-provoking

Victory

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Present-day Molly finds a fragment of the Victory's flag in the binding of an old book and starts to feel the echoes of Sam Robbins' life on board Nelson's ship at Trafalgar.

A lightweight pair of stories, each with its own poignancy, drawn together by the fragment of a flag from HMS Victory. Honest efforts of a family remarried after widowhood to get along. Brutality of life at sea in Nelson's Navy. Friendship and emnity on board ship. Cheerful and concerned family life. Very mild sexual references.

Family, Time-Travel, War

The Village by the Sea

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The story of an Indian village family, roughly contemporary.

Family, Growing-Up

The Wizard's Promise

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The Griddas, fighter witches released by the High Witches to fight the Wizards, have turned and destroyed the High Witches themselves; and now they are turning their attention to Earth, and in particular to the child Yemi, and Rachel and Eric have to muster the newly-awakened magic of the children of Earth to defend the planet.

Fantasy, Magic

The Wool-Pack

Style: Good

Attitude: Edifying

Nicholas Fetterlock is the son of a Cotswolds wool merchant at the end of the 15th century when the wool had made such merchants and the country rich.

Classic, Family, Historical

Worlds Apart

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Susan lives with her mother and has no idea who her father is.

Family, Romantic

A Wrinkle in Time

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Positive → Edifying

Meg crosses dimensions to where The Dark Thing is holding her father captive, taking Charles Wallace and Calvin to help her free him.

Intriguing if slightly dated sci-fi morality tale. Strong bonds of family and friendship. A warning about creating a perfect state if the cost is the loss of individuality and love.

Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship, Growing-Up, Romantic, Thought-provoking

The Writing on the Hearth

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Stephen, whose father was bodyguard to his Lord of Suffolk, is under taken into the Lord's household when his stepfather remarries and his sister enters a convent.

Edifying and interesting historical read. Some ambiguous elements of witchcraft.

Classic, Family, Historical