What To Read Now

Book covers for reviews of books by Phil Earle, Rosie Day and Rebecca Henry

What To Read Now

We have a selection of special books this month. Keep an eye out for Phil Earle’s latest belter due out on 2 June. Lola, our 13-year-old reviewer, found Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon by Rosie Day both helpful and laugh-out-loud funny. We also feature school librarian Rebecca Henry’s coming-of-age story, which has been shortlisted for the Jalak prize.

A big thank you to our reviewers. We welcome guest reviews, so get in touch if you’d like to write for us.

While the Storm Rages by Phil Earle, suitable for ages 9 +

Reviewed by Ali Palmer, BCiS Co-Director  

There is magic in Phil Earle’s storytelling. The ability to focus on the experiences of one child in particular despite the total overwhelming background noise of war allows the reader to get some understanding of what it must have felt like to lose all the things that you love and take for granted.

Perhaps to the adults in the Second World War, the decision to get rid of family pets and send the children away to the countryside for their safety may have made intellectual sense, but it is heart-breaking. We totally understand why the children rebel; we make the journey along the Thames with Noah, Clem and Big Col; we know that, in their eyes, they are doing the right thing. But this inevitably leads to mishaps which make for a fast-paced adventure. It is also the story of friendship in the unlikeliest places and a reminder that people can, and often do, change if you give them a chance.

Out on 2 June 22.

Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon: 30+ kick-ass women on how to take over the world by Rosie Day, suitable for ages 13 +

Reviewed by Lola, aged 13, from West Sussex

This non-fiction, witty and comforting book is the perfect addition to any teenage girl’s bookshelf. It is best for ages around 12/13 to16 but can be given earlier or later depending on what you think is best.

Each segment explores a story from someone different, explaining how they dealt with the challenges that arose in their teenage years. In this book, you will hear about teenage life from many different angles, and you can also read about celebrities experiencing exactly what you are. This book made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion (which is not something that happens often!), so not only is it helpful, but it is also humorous.

Whilst reading this book, I felt that I could relate to most of the chapters. This book is for everybody, and there are ways to help with most things you could experience. This is the perfect book to give as a gift, reward, or just a treat. It’s a book for every occasion and situation. I would rate it as a 4-star book. It is a wonderful mix of help, humour and advice.

The Sound of Everything by Rebecca Henry, suitable for ages 13 +

Reviewed by Jade Greene from Give A Book

“Do you expect anything from people whom you say expect nothing from you?” sums up our protagonist, Kadie in The Sound of Everything. Angsty and untrusting, she struggles to find her place in a world which seemingly has no place for her, as far as her experience through the care system has led her to believe.

She lives by three rules to “protect” herself as she’s passed from one foster home to the next, though in reality, they serve as little more than a crumbling and unstable dry-stone wall built desperately to keep people, and the hurt they cause, away. 

This “wall” then must inevitably come down. Though Rebecca Henry’s coming-of-age novel is not so much a wrecking-ball of fast and chaotic action, but rather a steady unpiecing, bit-by-bit, of all the rocks which have piled up to create Kadie Hunte’s tough exterior, and her social media alter-ego, Goldilocks. Aided, like Chekhov’s gun, by her friend Emerson; always there but rarely seen.

A slow-burner of a story but fiery all the same, The Sound of Everything explores the often overwhelming noise of teenage feelings, of finding our place in the world, and of learning that vulnerability can be our biggest strength. 

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