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

Sunday 28 July 2013

KBR Recommends: New Middle Fiction, July 2013

The Andy Flegg Survival Guide by Mark Pardoe, Puffin, $16.99, 9780143306771

Hilarious book about a boy coping with puberty, family break-ups, friends, enemies and girls - all recorded in a journal that he has to keep if he wants the Xbox that is rightly his!

According to his tyrannical teacher (and much to his parents' horror), 11-year-old Andy Flegg is a reluctant writer. So that's how he finds himself forced to write in a journal every day until his next birthday if he wants to get the Xbox that his parents had already promised him. That's a ridiculous number of Xboxless days, but somehow this writing thing seems to grow on Andy and he soon finds himself revealing all too much!

Kill the Music by Nansi Kunze, Random House, $17.95, 9780857980151

Most people would love to be Lorna Powell, travelling the globe with her brother and his mega-famous band. Then again, most people don't realise just how annoying four handsome rock stars can be. A new home and a new school seem like the start of a normal life – until Lorna overhears a chilling plot to silence the band forever.

Soon Lorna is drawn into a frantic attempt to identify the killer before they strike. But it's not easy to track suspects around the world when she's got homework to do and secrets to protect. And when gorgeous lead singer Marius starts to act strangely, Lorna wonders if she's had the wrong idea all along . . .

The Apprentices by Maile Meloy, Text, $19.99, 9781922147141

Two years have passed since Janie Scott last saw Benjamin Burrows, the mysterious apothecary’s son who stole her heart. She’s thrown herself into an ambitious chemistry project and, when it vanishes, she suspects the rich and powerful Magnusson of stealing it. And she knows she needs help to fight him.

On the other side of the world, Benjamin and the apothecary have been working in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam, using their elixirs to help the sick and wounded. But Benjamin has also been experimenting with a new formula that allows him to see into Janie’s world.

The friends are thrown into a whirlwind chase around the Pacific Ocean, trying to find each other and the truth behind what threatens them.

The Apprentices is a magical blend of fantasy and reality that sparkles with life and adventure—a delightful sequel to the much-loved The Apothecary.

Fox Swift by David Lawrence with Cyril Rioli, illustrations by Jo Gill, Slattery Media Group, $16.95, 9780987420534

Fox Swift is an 11-year-old football star. When his family moves from the city to the small country town of Davinal, Fox has to choose which of the town's two teams to join: the rich Dragons, which attracts all the best young footballers, or the Diggers, a struggling club, battling to field a side each week.

After a run-in with the school bully, who turns out to be the captain of the Dragons, Fox decides to join the Diggers - can he turn the club around?

With football tips and training drills from AFL star Cyril Rioli, as well as cheeky cartoons, a laugh-out-loud storyline and a quirky dictionary of footy words, Fox Swift is a fun-filled book for footy-loving kids.

The Poison Boy by Fletcher Moss, Chicken House, $14.99, 9781908435446

Orphan Dalton Fly, food taster to the rich, has a lucky escape after discovering poisoned wine. But his mate dies horribly, and Dalton wants justice.

Together with Scarlet Dropmore, the high-born girl whose life he saved, he sets out to rescue his city from the poisoners within.