YA & Children’s Book Recommends Jul-Dec 2016 – for Independents

Car YA & Childrens with text As we all know, anyone who thinks they’re too old for Children’s Books has a lot of growing up to do. So for those of us who know better, here are our picks of the vibrant and fantastical Middle Grade and Young Adult (YA) titles publishing July to December 2016!
(NB. Our Jan-Jun 2016 Children’s / YA Round-up can be found here…)

NB. We believe in supporting bricks and mortar stores, Independent’s especially, whether online or in person, so we’ve created HIVE links for all of these through which you can support your local independent bookshop while often getting a better deal than from ‘more corporate sites’. Also a tiny snippet of any purchase comes our way to go towards site upkeep, so any and all support very much appreciated

Enjoy!

 

July

* Mth Author ISBN Bind RRP Pub
CC - Jul - And I Darken
AND I DARKEN
Jul
Kiersten White
9780552573740
PB
£7.99
Random House Children’s
We kick off with Kiersten White’s The Conquerors Trilogy, which kicks off with AND I DARKEN in July. It’s set in the Ottoman sultanate featuring a ruthless sword-fighting female lead: “The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess”, say Random House – and who’s going to say no to that?
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CC - Jul - The Otherlife
THE OTHERLIFE
Jul
Julia Gray
9781783444229
PB
£7.99
Andersen Press
Meanwhile Andersen Press serve up Julia Gray’s THE OTHERLIFE in which Ben – who can see the Otherlife where gods and monsters exist – discovers his tutor is dead. Something to do with the privileged bully who befriended him at school some years back who wanted to be part of the Otherlife maybe?
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CB - C - Apr - Desolation
DESOLATION
Jul
Derek Landy
9780008156992
PB
£7.99
Harpercollins
We’d yet to read book one in Derek Landy’s Demon Road trilogy when this published, but his fantastic Skullduggery Pleasant series was enough for book 2 to get a mention. Amber and Milo are being chased by demonic bikers the Hounds of Hell and need to get to a town suffused with supernatural darkness for the secret it holds before they catch up… We’ve read Demon Road now at least: it’s damn good…
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cc-jul-harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS I & II: THE OFFICIAL SCRIPT BOOK
Jul
JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
9780751565355
HB
£20.00
Little Brown
It’s not as if this needs explanation but we could hardly not include the latest Harry Potter – stageplay or otherwise – in our highlights…
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See more July highlights here including Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction and Graphic Novels…

 

August

* Author ISBN Bind RRP Pub Series Vol
CC - Aug - Wonderboy
WONDERBOY
Nicole Burstein
9781783444465
PB
£7.99
Andersen Press
First up from August is Nicole Burstein’s Wonderboy, the ‘same-world’ follow-up to Other Girl, prose-based superhero fun that zeroes more into living in a world where powers are real than active superheroing. In poor bullied Wilco’s case he’s got telekineses…
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CG - Aug - The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner
THE WITCH’S VACUUM CLEANER AND OTHER STORIES
Terry Pratchett
9780857534835
HB
£12.99
Random House Children’s
A Hatful of Sky was the last work by the wonderful and much missed Terry Pratchett, but Random House Kids are releasing his early stories from his days at Buck Free Press, Dragons at Crumbling Castle being the first, this collecting 14 more of those stories. Expect magic rabbits, wizards, pirates and food fights.
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CC - Aug - Here I Stand
HERE I STAND (WAS TAKING LIBERTIES?)
Amnesty International UK
9781406358384
HB
£9.99
Walker Books
With such amazing selection of books in August it would be hard to pick an overall Book of the Month – but Here I Stand from Walker Books / Amnesty International might well be it if we had to chose. “Inspired by the 800-year anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, a selection of writers explore the rights and freedoms still lacking in today’s society. Contributors include: Tony Birch, John Boyne, Sita Brahmachari, Russell Brand, Kate Charlesworth, Sarah Crossan, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, Matt Haig, Frances Hardinge, Jackie Kay, AL Kennedy, Liz Kessler, Elizabeth Laird, Sabrina Mahfouz, Paul Muldoon, Chibundu Onuzo, Bali Rai, Chris Riddell, Mary and Brian Talbot, Christie Watson and Tim Wynne-Jones.” An incredibly worthy subject, charity and list of stellar contributors. Nuff Said.
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Late Additions 05/08

CC - Aug - American Monsters
AMERICAN MONSTERS
Derek Landy
9780008157104
HB
£14.99
Harpercollins
 Demon Road
3
Derek Landy’s Demon Road trilogy concludes in August (see also book 2 in paperback above), the author’s take on the great American road trip, supernatural style, and you can hardly grab the US more with a title like American Monsters. Amber’s got parental issues – as in they’re sociopathic human demons well over a century old who were planning on eating her to keep their mojo going. Fortunately (?!) Amber’s a demon as well and she’d rather like to take them down. Unfortunately that’s going to involve something to do with the siblings who came before her and weren’t nearly so lucky…
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CC - Aug - Railhead
RAILHEAD
Philip Reeve
9780192742766
PB
£7.99
OUP
We snapped up Mortal Engines when it first came out, the instant classic series that stamped Philip Reeves name indelibly on YA fiction. He had us at the term ‘Municipal Darwinism’ – that and London travelling around munching up other motive urbanities. Well he hasn’t looked back since, writing, amongst many others, what might be the final word on Goblins for Middle Grade readers. So like Mr Landy his back catalogue is reason enough for a shout out for his latest. Railhead promises sentient space-tunnelling trains, ridden by a young thief who’s rather more than his illicit profession, something that has consequences on a universal scale. Warner Bros have snapped up the film rights.
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See more August highlights here including Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction and Graphic Novels…

 

September

* Author ISBN Bind RRP Pub Series Vol
CC - Sep - The Singing Bones
THE SINGING BONES
Shaun Tan
9781406370669
HB
£19.99
Walker
This is one of those really unique offerings we all but created Carabas to shout out about. Grimm’s fairy tales are brought to three dimensional life through extraordinary sculptural work by Shaun Tan. Really looking forward to a look at this – noteworthy also for the duo writing the introductions: Neil Gaiman and Jack Zipes! The launch title of Walkers Studio imprint..
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CC - Sep - Mark of the Plague
MARKS OF THE PLAGUE
Kevin Sands
9780141360669
PB
£6.99
Puffin
Marks of the Plague is Kevin Sands follow up to the Waterstone’s Children’s Award shortlisted The Blackthorn Key. Young detective duo Christopher and Tom get to the investigating when the one man who can save London from the plague is threatened by assassination… *** UPDATE: SLIPPED TO 2017 ***
CC - Sep - I'll be Home for Christmas
I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Various
9781847157720
PB
£7.99
Stripes (Little Tiger)
September also brings something so worthwhile we’d probably make it children’s / YA book of the month if we hadn’t done ourselves a favour of abdicating responsibility of making such near impossible decisions with so many fabulous books coming. The stories herein centre on the idea of home to raise awareness of homelessness and raise money (£1 from each book sold) for Crisis in the festive season. Kudos to writers Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah et al and to Stripes / Little Tiger for a such a worthy book, endeavour and for compiling such a stellar list of contributors.
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CC - Sep - Crooked Kingdom
CROOKED KINGDOM
Leigh Bardugo
9781780622309
PB
£9.99
Orion
We touted Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows back in our June highlights and just three months later comes the sequel. We’d not heard of her first series, The Grisha Trilogy, but by all accounts it was a setting people loved. These are set in the same, albeit a new location, Ketterdam City. It’s a YA heist thriller, fantasy style.
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CC - Sep - Cogheart
COGHEART
Peter Bunzel
9781474915007
PB
£6.99
Usborne
*** NB. Brought forward to August *** You can hardly get more Steampunk a name than Cogheart – or clockpunk perhaps for those who insist. It’s got some absolutely classic yet original ingredients in what promises to be a cracking read: the daughter of a missing inventor, a clockmaker’s son, and a ‘wily mechanical fox’ to complete the team. London-based of course and complete with airships (you’ve got to have a few airships). Wild adventure, secrets to uncover and ‘dastardly plots’. An Editor’s Choice title from the Bookseller’s own September highlights and definitely on our reading list.
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CC - Sep - What Sunny Saw in the Flames
WHAT SUNNY SAW IN THE FLAMES
Nnedi Okorafor
9781911115106
PB
£7.99
Cassava Republic
We certainly enjoyed Nnedi’s Lagoon (adult SF from Hodder) and we’ve been keeping tabs on what’s coming from her keyboard because she brings a very different voice – a Nigerian-American voice to be specific – to the genre. Familiar with Nigeria from regular family visits she brings the country to vivid life in Lagoon and now in What Sunny Saw in the Flames. Sunny is an albino, excellent at football… and possessed of precognitive powers. Now with other ‘gifted’ children she’s investigating a hidden supernatural world to stop, amongst other things, the maiming and murder of other young people – themselves included. One to watch.
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CC - Sep - The Graces
THE GRACES
Laure Eve
9780571326808
PB
£7.99
Faber
Then in Laure Eve’s The Graces, River is the outsider to the apparently supernatural Graces who, as if by magic, everyone is drawn to. She wants in – but are they really witches and actually dangerous for that matter? Well it’s pitched as a thriller so something’s going on – we’re as interested as anyone to know quite what that is. Another Bookseller Editor’s Choice from September.
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CC - Sep - The Wolf Wilder
THE WOLF WILDER
Katherine Rundell, Gelrev Ongrico (Ill)
9781408854853
PB
£7.99
Bloomsbury
And, not that the other titles here aren’t otherwise rated, but The Wolf Rider was a BS Editor’s Choice for the Middle Grade category and is a Waterstones Book of the Month for September! Young Feodora goes on the run from the Russian Army but the revolution is on the move and she has allies in the shape of wolves…
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CC - Sep - The Call
THE CALL
Peadar O’Guilin
9781910200971
HB
£10.99
David Fickling
Young humans train to survive the Call, when they’re summoned by the fae to be hunted, an experience only one in ten survive. Nessa’s legs were damaged by polio so what are the chances that the one will be her? One of The Bookseller’s September Ones to Watch. Also one a One(s) to Watch in their year ahead YA preview. They’re consistent.
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CC - Sep - The Creeping Shadow
THE CREEPING SHADOW
Jonathan Stroud
9780552573153
PB
£7.99
Random House Children’s
We thoroughly enjoyed book one of Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co (The Screaming Staircase) and while we’ve still to catch up you don’t need our recommendation to read the latest from the author of The Bartimaeus series. Young people are more sensitive to the supernatural so it’s they who’re tasked with dealing with it – and it gets pretty scary. Lucy returns to Lockwood’s team for a mission to remove the ‘Source’ of the Brixton Cannibal, but her departure has left ill feelings to deal with and there’s more going on than any of the team are aware…
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See more September highlights here including Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction and Graphic Novels…

 

October

CBJJ16 - HZ - Apr - Conjuror
THE CONJUROR
John and Carole Barrowman
9781781856390
PB
£6.99
Head of Zeus
 
2
First up from October is the paperback of Book 2 of The Orion Chronicles from the Barrowman brother and sister team of John & Carole (yes that John Barrowman). In THE CONJUROR the Animare twins, with the power to enter visual art and bring it to life, are sent to Edinburgh to deal with a boy whose music can alter reality… Using their powers to travel in time through brutal periods of human history they’re on a quest to uncover the truth of the murder of Remy’s parents, but it’s a race against time as dark forces are on the rise regardless of where they are in the past…
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CC - Oct - Saint Death
SAINT DEATH
Marcus Sedgwick
9781444000528
HB
£10.99
Orion
 
 
Marcus Sedgwick is back as well, as ever proving you never know what to expect next from him. Faustino lives in a poor and dangerous neighbourhood on the Mexican/US border who wishes to escape the gang he works for by crossing it. Watched over by Saint Death he’s on the run with 36 hours to replace money he’s borrowed. It’s hard to tell if this steps more into the supernatural genre or if this ‘folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian’ is less an active participant than objective narrator. Either way this promises to be a cracking read which could hardly be more poignant right now. One of the Bookseller’s Editor’s Choice titles for October.
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CC - Oct - Podkin One-Ear
PODKIN ONE-EAR
Kieran Larwood, David Wyatt (Ill)
9780571328406
HB
£9.99
Faber
 
 
Praise be to Faber and Kieran Larwood for bringing us what sounds like Watership Down meets Game of Thrones. We said it – mainly because we couldn’t resist it and wanted to get in there first beyond the natural comparisons of Podkin One-Ear to Redwall. A rabbit clan receives a bard at their warren and are treated to the adventures of a mighty rabbit warrior… Great stuff and definitely one to watch.
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CC - Oct - Goldenhand
GOLDENHAND
Garth Nix
9781471404443
HB
£14.99
Hot Key
The Old Kingdom
5
And then a big lead from Hot Key Books. Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom books occupy, to my mind, that enviable lofty plateau just below His Dark Materials and Mr Potter, but with such YA series as those from Philip Reeve, Derek Landy and Jonathan Stroud. This is book 5 and Lirael is facing undead creatures and Free Magic entities – and ‘the Witch with No Face’. Doubtless sleepless nights for some having simply read the back copy, but everyone else will be getting stuck in to the latest evocative volume and their latest fix of Nix.
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CC - Oct - Black Light Express
BLACK LIGHT EXPRESS
Philip Reeve
9780192744784
HB
£9.99
OUP
 
2
And Mr Philip Reeve has a sequel as well with the follow-up to Railhead (August highlight in PB, Warner Bros have snapped up the rights) which is set in a universe of sentient space-tunnelling trains. Thief Zen and Nova the android girl take a journey beyond the universe to see what’s there… I don’t think we need say more than that. Actually we probably didn’t need to say more than ‘Philip Reeve’.
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See more October highlights here including Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction and Graphic Novels…

 

November

* Author ISBN Bind RRP Pub Series Vol
cc-nov-trollhunters
TROLLHUNTERS
Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus; Sean Murray (Ill)
9781471405181
PB
£6.99
Hot Key
 
 
We were pretty much fans, though we didn’t then know his name, of Del Toro the moment we saw the poster for Pan’s Labyrinth. Now the master of cinematic folklore, with co-writer Daniel Krause and illustrations by Sean Murray, brings his vision to fantastical children’s fiction – oh and Netflix as well it seems! Anyone aware of a little series going by the name of Stranger Things that became an immediate sensation upon release? Anyone doubting that a story about trolls in America by Guillermo del Toro is going to be AT LEAST as big? No? Readers and retailers, get your orders in now 😉
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See more November highlights here including Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction and Graphic Novels…

 

December

* Author ISBN Bind RRP Pub Series Vol
cc-dec-bone-gap
BONE GAP
Laura Ruby
9780571332755
PB
£7.99
Faber
 
 
This was one of the Bookseller Editor’s Highlights in their December Book Preview and its sounds absolutely fantastic. Young Roza has been kidnapped by a man who’s face Finn O’Sullivan can’t remember and no one believes him anyway; because Bone Gap is a place where the bones of the world are a little looser, enough that people slip away. But Petey Willis has a sense that there’s more to the story and sets out to investigate. We’re promised that the truth is stranger than you can possibly imagine – and the Bookseller’s review very much bears that out. Very VERY intrigued…
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See more December highlights here including Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction and Graphic Novels…

 

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