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Books beginning with A


Absolute Power

Style: Weak → Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

The New Heroes, second-generation superpowered youngsters, have to make difficult decisions when their leader Colin runs away and they are under political attack from the worldwide Trutopian organisation led, unknown to them, by their enemy Victor Cross and the mind-controlling Yvonne.

Comic-book style superhero action; mind-control; the morality of military action; morality of prison conditions; human cloning.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Across the Barricades

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Kevin McCoy is a Catholic and Sadie a Protestant in divided Belfast.

Needs an understanding of the religious-political situation in Northern Ireland.

Coping with, Growing-Up, Romantic

Adam's Ark

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Adam, unable to communicate with other humans on account of his autism, finds that he can talk to animals telepathically, and this helps him become more confident as he tries to find out why he should have been chosen to receive this particular gift.

Family strain caused by an autistic child. Hidden strengths behind apparently disadvantaged boy. Ecological slant to humans' treatment of the planet.

Animal, Thought-provoking

The "Alex Rider" Series

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

(synthesised) Alex Rider, in some spectacular set piece, (foils a robbery / spikes an evil plan / discovers a hidden plot), at which point MI6 then call him in to tell him that they'll tidy up whatever mess he left behind, but that it would be useful if he were to infiltrate (a computer game company / a Cuban holiday resort / the home of a suspiciously rich man) armed only with (explosive chewing gum / acidic toothpaste / a metal-detecting yo-yo).

Attractive and mostly unobjectionable action-paced young spy stories. Occasional very mild references to a teenage girl's precocious interest in boys. General air of amorality among main characters.

Adventure, Boys

The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tipps

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

Lily and her family and friends are told that they have just a few weeks to leave their village which is to be used as a training ground for the D-Day Landings.

A quiet and readable story about the changes wartime brings. Loyalty and friendship. Breaking a serious promise.

Growing-Up, Historical, War

The Amber Cat

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

The imminent arrival of Robin's uncle Charley during Robin's bout of chicken pox causes his mother to reminisce about the days she spent with Charley, Nick and the slightly mysterious Harriet.

A combination of ghost story and family fun.

Family, Humorous, Spooky

Amongst the Hidden

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Luke is a third child in a world where only two are allowed per family, because of shortages.

A sideswipe, although ambivalent, at current policies and ideas about keeping population levels down to avoid shortages. Luke's farming family are close despite the problems of keeping him hidden. Jen's richer family have also risked many things to keep her safe.

SciFi, 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

The "Animorphs" series

Style: Weak

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

Half-a-dozen youngsters witness the crash of a flying saucer and are given the power to take on the body of any animal they can touch by the Andalite pilot before he is killed by his arch enemy Visser Three of the alien Yeerks: slugs who take over other creatures' bodies.

Conventional young teenage pap. Some redeeming features based on the friendship between the children and the occasional heroism displayed by them, their allies, or on one occasion one of their enemies. Mostly though black-or- white goody-baddy stuff with sporadic moralising.

Adventure, SciFi

The Apprentices

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

Each story in the series tells of the life of an apprentice in Victorian London.

Enjoyably Dickensian stories of Victorian London. Some vulgarity, but offset by virtue in general.

Historical, Short

Ark Angel

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Alex, recuperating in hospital, is mistaken for Paul Drevin, son of a rich businessman, and kidnapped.

Adventure, Boys

The Arm of the Starfish

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

17-year-old Adam Eddington is going to Europe to spend the summer working on a Portuguese island with the famous biologist Dr O'Keefe.

Accessible mild adventure story. Family closeness with faith, extending to friends. Dolphin intelligence.

Adventure, SciFi, Thought-provoking

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

Arthur - The Seeing Stone

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

12-year-old Arthur de Caldicot is the younger son of a lesser landowner in the Welsh Marches at the turn of the 13th century.

Firmly-rooted and very human take on 13th century life in England, mixed in with the story of the mythical Arthur. Simple, if sometimes superstitious, faith.

Arthurian, Friendship, Growing-Up, Historical, Magic

Ash Road

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

By accident, some boys start a devastating bush fire in Australia.

A small-town book, dealing with peoples' reactions to fire.

Adventure, Coping with

Astercote

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

Peter and Mair Jenkins come to live in a village when their father becomes headmaster of the school there.

Intriguing, mixing semi-supernatural with modern superstition.

Coping with, Spooky

Avenger

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

Elena becomes involved with a hi-tech mastermind nicknamed Dark Star when she asks him for help, and is drawn into his terrorist plot to gain revenge against the world.

Standard military thriller requiring little interference from the reader's intelligence. Amoral treatment of human beings as expendable pawns. Elena & Danny's loyalty to each other. Brief crude language.

Adventure, Boys