'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 15 February 2013

Fabulous New Fiction - February 2013

It's a brand new year and some fabulous new titles are rolling in - some a part of established series, some brand newbies. These heart-racing, funny-bone-tickling, thought-provoking tomes would suit junior and older junior fiction readers - so roughly ages 8 to 14, depending on the child. No matter the age and reading level, there's something here that's sure to delight.

Alice Miranda in Paris by Jacqueline Harvey
(Random House, $15.95)

Alice-Miranda and her friends are in Paris with a group of teachers from Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale and the Fayle School for Boys. The students have a very exciting opportunity: to sing at Paris Fashion Week. The amazing city is humming with excitement and outrageous fashion choices – quite often coming from Mr Lipp, the children's choir conductor.

But a couple of France's best known designers are harbouring serious secrets, and when Christian Fontaine has some expensive fabric stolen just days before his show, Alice-Miranda and her friends realise there is a darker side to the glitz and glamour of the famous city.
Alice-Miranda in Paris? Who can resist?

Maxx Rumble Cricket: Maximum Maxx! by Michael Wagner
Black Dog Books, $24.99)

Maxx is back! It s summer, it's cricket season, the Ashes is on and too much cricket is never enough . . .

What could be better than one Maxx Rumble book? All eight books in one volume!

Illustrated by Terry Denton and packed with action, large font and plenty of imagery, this series if perfect for reluctant reader.

What the Raven Saw by Samantha-Ellen Bound
(Woolshed Press, $16.95)

The raven doesn't want you to read his story. What if you find out the location of his treasure? Or worse, what if you learn his secret – that ravens can talk?

But you should read it, even though the raven wants to be left alone. A pesky pigeon, a beady-eyed weatherhen, a ghost boy and a lovestruck scarecrow will make sure this story isn't just about one grumpy raven. With their help, the raven will uncover a thief, sing his own song, and discover there's more to life than being magnificent.

Just promise that you won't steal his treasure.

Our Australian Girl - Meet Lina by Sally Rippin
(Puffin, $14.95)

It's 1956 . . . and Lina dreams of being a writer, but her strict Italian parents have other ideas.

Now that she's won a scholarship to an expensive girls school, Lina has other troubles, too. To fit in, she must keep her home life a secret, and even her best friend Mary can't know the truth. But how long can Lina keep her two worlds apart?

Meet Lina and join her adventures in the first of four exciting stories about a passionate girl finding a place to belong.

Our Australian Girl - Meet Ruby by Penny Matthews
(Puffin, $14.99)

It's 1930 . . . and Ruby Quinlan lives in a big house in Adelaide with her parents and her fox terrier, Baxter. As she gets ready for her twelfth birthday party, Ruby has never been happier.

But the world she knows is collapsing, and people everywhere are losing their jobs and their homes. Soon Ruby's comfortable life falls apart in ways she could never have imagined . . .

Meet Ruby and join her adventure in the first of four stories about a happy-go-lucky girl in a time of great change.

Bureau of Mysteries and the Mechanomancers by HJ Harper
(Random House, $15.95)

Obscuria is in trouble! Join the Bureau Of Mysteries as they puzzle their way out of a Mechanomancer disaster in this second book in the series.

George and Imp are back, this time alongside the adventurer Lord Periwinkle Tinkerton and his moody assistant, Lexica Quill. Together, they must battle the crafty Mechanomancers, ancient spirits that meld magic and technology to wreak havoc.

Fighting mechanical bulls, getting trapped in sewage dungeons with monster worms and confronting overgrown plant monsters, the team faces their biggest challenge yet.

And, as always, there are codes to crack and riddles along the way!

Vanguard Prime: Wild Card by Steven Lochran
(Puffin, $14.99)

Elite superhero team Vanguard Prime has a new mission . . .

When a villainous organisation puts out a Kill Order on the Knight of Wands, Goldrush gets caught in the crossfire.

What dark secrets lurk in the Knight's past? And will the two heroes survive the night?

The Floods: Bewitched by Colin Thompson
(Random House, $14.95)

Everyone gets old, even witches and wizards. Their backs get stiff. Their feet get sore, and their brains go and live far, far away.

Not even Nerlin Flood, the King of Transylvania Waters, is immune to the curse of old age. The rest of the family have noticed that Nerlin is slipping into total Doolallyness – he even has an invisible friend called Geoffrey-Geoffrey, who warns him not to eat broccoli because it will give him global warming.

Will the Old Crones be able to cure him, or is Nerlin doomed to spend his twilight years talking to the wall, wearing a crooked jacket* and incompetence pants?

* Which is actually a more accurate description of a straitjacket.

Joshua Dread: The Handbook for Gyfted Children by Lee Bacon
(Hardie Grant Egmont, $16.95)

When your parents are supervillains, it's hard to have a normal life. In the past two days, Joshua's parents have tried to end the world, the houseplant has threatened to kill him and his body has started doing weird stuff - really weird stuff.

Then his parents give him a book to help explain his new Gyft. It turns out Joshua has a superpower, just like them. But he doesn't have to use it for evil, right?