Book Reviews · Reading

UKYA/MG Spotlight: 5 Books to put on your TBR

This year, one of my goals was to read more books by UK authors. So, when I was book searching at the library the other day, and came across a couple of books I’d been wanting to read FOREVER, I had to snap them up. I loved all of them, so if you’re feeling like reading more UK/MG UK authors, I would definitely recommend you put these on your TBR immediately!

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ALEX SPARROW & THE REALLY BIG STINK by Jennifer Killick

Alex Sparrow is a super-agent in training. He is also a human lie-detector. Working IMG_7477with Jess, who can communicate with animals, they must find out why their friends – and enemies – are all changing into polite and well behaved pupils. And exactly who is behind it all.

Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink is a funny, mid-grade novel full of farts, jokes and superhero references. Oh, and a rather clever goldfish called Bob. In a world where kids’ flaws and peculiarities are being erased out of existence, Alex and Jess must rely on what makes them different to save the day.

This was laugh-out-loud funny, and I’m not saying that lightly. I snorted into my tea MULTIPLE times throughout this book. If I had to describe Alex Sparrow in 3 words, it would be farts and friendship. If I had more words, I’d add in: adventure, danger, sassy goldfish, and mystery. If this sounds like your kind of book (and believe me, it does), I’d recommend you read it immediately. It’s a story that will have you grinning, and is sure to transform a bad day into a good one.

JUST CALL ME SPAGHETTI-HOOP BOY by Lara Williamson

IMG_7475My name is Adam Butters. I live on planet Earth, I like eating spaghetti hoops and I’ve decided I’m going to be a SUPERHERO.

Everyone loves superheroes, they solve problems and make people happy, and that’s good because my mum needs cheering up. Also, I’ve found out that before I was adopted my real mum called me ACE. So now I’ve just got to prove to the world that’s what I am. One mission at a time…

Hilarious, heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure, this is a story about the power in all of us to be extraordinary.

Lara Williamson’s writing is just extraordinary. It’s funny and whimsical and gross and beautiful all at once, which should be impossible. This story is equally special. It taps into ideas of family, and belonging and what a hero means. This book will stay in my heart for a long time.

 

A GIRL CALLED OWL by Amy Wilson

It’s bad enough having a mum dippy enough to name you Owl, but when you’ve got a IMG_7476dad you’ve never met, a best friend who needs you more than ever, and a new boy at school giving you weird looks, there’s not a lot of room for much else.

So when Owl starts seeing strange frost patterns on her skin, she’s tempted to just burrow down under the duvet and forget all about it. Could her strange new powers be linked to her mysterious father?And what will happen when she enters the magical world of winter for the first time?

A glittering story of frost and friendship, with writing full of magic and heart, A Girl Called Owl is a stunning debut about family, responsibility and the beauty of the natural world.

I love a good coming of age story, and this one felt achingly familiar and original all at the same time. The writing was beautiful, and made me shiver and wish for winter days, steaming mugs of tea and oversized jumpers. I adored Owl as a character–she was brave and determined, and dealt caught between two places FAR better then I would have done when I was her age. The mythology and world building is intricate and beautifully done, and the story is grippingly paced. LOVED THIS!

THE BOY WHO SAILED THE OCEAN IN AN ARMCHAIR by Lara Williamson

IMG_7474All Becket wants is for his family to be whole again. But standing in his way are two things: 1) his dad, his brother and him seem to have run away from home in the middle of the night and 2) Becket’s mum died before he got the chance to say goodbye to her. Arming himself with an armchair of stories, a snail named Brian and one thousand paper cranes, Becket ploughs on, determined to make his wish come true.

Weaving humour and heartbreak is extremely difficult to do well. Lara does it perfectly here. I can’t count how many times I laughed, and in a middle grade book with a very serious subject matter, the lighter moments (I LOVE Brian the snail) were lovely. This was unputdownable, the characters jumped off the page, and full of wonder.

 

MOLD AND THE POISON PLOT by Lorraine Gregory

He’s got a big heart . . . and a nose to match!IMG_7473
Mold’s a bit of a freak. His nose is as big as his body is puny and his mother abandoned him in a bin when he was a mere baby. Who else but the old healer, Aggy, would have taken him in and raised him as her own? But when Aggy is accused of poisoning the King, Mold sets out to clear her name.
In a thrilling race against time to save Aggy from the hangman’s noose, Mold faces hideous, deadly monsters like the Yurg and the Purple Narlo Frog. He finds true friendship in the most unusual – and smelly – of places and must pit his wits and his clever nose against the evil witch Hexaba.
This is an exciting fantasy story with an array of wonderful characters, including the inimitable Mold, told in a fresh and distinctive voice by a promising new writer.

Voice is such a huge part of writing, and the next time someone asks about it, I’m going to refer them to Mold, because his voice throughout this book rings loud and clear. It’s the epitome of great MG voice. I adored this fast-paced story, the world-building was fab, and the characters unique and tangible.

So, those are a couple of books I recently read and LOVED. I am always looking for more UK YA/MG recs, so if you have any please tell me. Hope you are all having a great Monday.

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