Winning Reads

Winning Reads

All these books have won major awards and are well worth a read!  They are all in the Academy Library and most Public Libraries.

* Asterix denotes books suitable for older readers.


Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But X has secrets, her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight.

Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.

SSkellig by David Almond

When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain.

Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home and finds something magical. A strange creature, part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital.

But Skellig is far more than he at first appears and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael's world changes for ever.

MMillions by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Brothers Damian and Anthony did not mean to get caught up in a botched train robbery. But what would you do if a massive bag of cash dropped from the sky and you had only a few days to spend it before it became worthless? Buy a million pizzas? End world poverty? Not such an easy decision, is it?

The boys soon find out that being rich is a mug's game. Not only is the clock ticking but the bank robbers want their money back.

BDThe Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks *

I cannot believe I fell for it.

It was still dark when I woke up this morning. As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was. A low ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete. There are six little rooms along the main corridor. There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in or out. What is he going to do to me? What am I going to do?

If I am right, the lift will come down in five minutes. . . .  It did. Only this time it was not empty.

KNLGThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness *

Prentisstown is not like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Then Todd Hewitt unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible and now he is going to have to run.


JJunk by Melvin Burgess *

It was a love story. Me, Gemma and junk. I thought it was going to last forever.

Tar loves Gemma, but Gemma does not want to be tied down. She wants to fly. But no one can fly forever. One day, finally, you have to come down. Melvin Burgess’ most ambitious and complex novel is a vivid depiction of a group of teenagers in the grip of addiction. Told from multiple viewpoints, Junk is a powerful, unflinching novel about heroin. Once you take a hit, you will never be the same again.

LJJLooking for JJ by Jane Cassidy *

Three children walked away from the edge of town one day but only two of them came back.

A gripping and emotionally searing novel from a talented author, Looking for JJ explores the circumstances and motives behind the murder of a child, by her friend.

Six years later, JJ has now been released and has a new identity. But is there any way that she can lead a normal life?

PNMLPostcards from No Man's Land by Aiden Chambers

Jacob Todd, abroad on his own for the first time, arrives in Amsterdam for the commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem where his grandfather fought fifty years before. He meets the terminally ill Geertrui, an old lady who tells an extraordinary story of love and betrayal, linking Jacob with her own Dutch family in a way he never suspected, which leads him to question his place in the world. This richly layered novel, spanning fifty years, powerfully evokes the atmosphere of war, whilst brilliantly interweaving Jacob's exploration of new relationships in contemporary Amsterdam.


RHRuby Holler by Sharon Creech

Tiller and Sairy live a quiet life in Ruby Holler, their children have long since left home and things are peaceful.

But when they decide to adopt two children from the local orphanage to take on a giant adventure, they form an unlikely foursome and Tiller and Sairy have to deal with some pretty unconventional behaviour on the part of the children, who do not believe they could ever be wanted.

A wonderful, magical story that combines quirky action and adventure with family, loyalty and learning to belong.

OOne by Sarah Crossan

Grace and Tippi do not like being stared and sneered at, but they are used to it. They are conjoined twins, united in blood and bone.

What they want is to be looked at in turn, like they truly are two people. They want real friends and what about love?

But a heart wrenching decision lies ahead for Tippi and Grace. One that could change their lives more than they ever asked for.

GLA Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

When Mattie Gokey is given a bundle of letters to burn she fully intends to execute the wishes of the giver, Grace Brown. When Grace Brown is found drowned the next day in Big Moose Lake, Mattie finds that it is not as easy to burn those letters as she had thought.

As she reads these letters, a riveting story emerges, not only Grace Brown's story but also Mattie's hopes and ambitions for the future and her relationships with her friends and family. 

BCBog Child by Siobhan Dowd

Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she has been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him, his brother on hunger strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the troubles and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what, a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls.


FBFlour Babies by Anne Fine

When the annual school Science Fair comes round, Mr Cartwright's class do not get to work on the Soap Factory, the Maggot Farm or the Exploding Custard Tins. To their intense disgust they get the Flour Babies, sweet little six pound bags of flour that must be cared for at all times.



GBThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him, after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

MMMaggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Set against the backdrop of a ruthless regime determined to beat its enemies in the race to the moon, Maggot Moon is the stunning new novel from award-winning author Sally Gardner. When his best friend, Hector, is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of the Motherland. Utterly original and stunning, it is impossible not to be moved by Maggot Moon's powerful story and the unforgettable heroism of Standish.


MoMMonsters of Men by Patrick Ness *

War, says the Mayor. At last.

Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they are so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge…

SEGA Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

I'm the one who's left behind. I'm the one to tell the tale. I knew them both, knew how they lived and how they died.

Claire is Ella Grey's best friend. She is there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene, catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story, as she bears witness to a love so complete, so sure, that not even death can prove final.

UtMUnhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes

Meet the Rat: A dancing, football-playing gangster baiting ten year old. When she foresaw her father's death, she picked up her football and decided to head for New York. Meet her older brother Bob: Protector of the Rat, but more often her follower, he is determined to find their uncle in America and discover a new life for them both.

On their adventures across the flatlands of Winnipeg and through the exciting streets of New York, Bob and the Rat make friends with a hilarious con man and a famous rap star and escape numerous dangers. But is their Uncle a rich business man, or is the word on the street, that he something more sinister, true? And will they ever find him?

BSBuffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman

What kind of a girl steals the clothes from a dead man's back and runs off to join the army? A desperate one. That's who. At the end of the American Civil War, Charley, a young African-American slave from the deep south, is ostensibly freed. But then her adopted mother is raped and lynched at the hands of a mob and Charley is left alone. In a terrifyingly lawless land, where the colour of a person's skin can bring violent death, Charley disguises herself as a man and joins the army. Soon she is being sent to the prairies to fight a whole new war against the savage Indians. Trapped in a world of injustice and inequality, it is only when Charley is posted to Apache territory that she begins to learn what it is to be truly free.

WWEWhere the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

Every time a lad came fowling on the St Kilda stacs, he went home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is.... 

In the summer of 1727, a group of men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food. No-one returns to collect them. Why? Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they have been abandoned to endure storms, starvation and terror. How can they survive, housed in stone and imprisoned on every side by the ocean?

HTHenry Tumour by Anthony McGowan

It wasn't my choice: Henry was in charge.

As if school bullies and his mum's tofu sandwiches were not enough for Hector Brunty, he now has another dilemma: a talking brain tumour. Henry Tumour turns out to be the perfect alter-ego, advising Hector on haircuts, high-fashion, and tactics for snogging the best looking girl in school, Uma Upshaw. Controlling his speech and brain chemicals is one thing, but soon Henry Tumour is trying to make more decisions about Hector's life than he would like.

Can Hector overpower his tumour in order to get what he really wants, before they both go under the knife?

SoTThe Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo

This is the story of 12 year old Sade and her brother Femi who flee to Britain from Nigeria. Their father is a political journalist who refuses to stop criticising the military rulers in Nigeria. Their mother is killed and they are sent to London, with their father promising to follow. Abandoned at Victoria Station by the woman paid to bring them to England as her children, Sade and Femi find themselves alone in a new, often hostile, environment. Seen through the eyes of Sade, the novel explores what it means to be classified as illegal and the difficulties which come with being a refugee.

MCA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that do not quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there is a visitor at his window. It is ancient, elemental, a force of nature and it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth. 


TMGTom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

When Tom is sent to stay at his aunt and uncle's house for the summer, he resigns himself to endless weeks of boredom. As he lies awake in his bed he hears the grandfather clock downstairs strike eleven - twelve - thirteen!

Thirteen! Tom races down the stairs and out the back door, into a garden everyone told him was not there. In this enchanted thirteenth hour, the garden comes alive, but Tom is never sure whether the children he meets there are real or ghosts.

TamTamar by Mal Peet

When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before.

His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar's life forever.

NLNorthern Lights by Philip Pullman

“Without this child, we shall all die.”

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford.

The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch clans reign and ice bears fight.

Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world.

HLAHere Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

Gwyna is just a small girl, a mouse, when she is bound in service to Myrddin the bard, a traveller and spinner of tales. But Myrddin transfroms her into a lady goddess, a boy warrior and a spy.

Without Gwyna, Myrddin will not be able to work the most glorious transformation of all and turn the leader of a raggle taggle war band into King Arthur, the greatest hero of all time.


JiCJust in Case by Meg Rosoff

What if Fate were out to get you? The day David Case saves his brother's life, his whole world changes. He must hide, become an entirely new person to escape Fate . . . if he can.

This stunning, thought-provoking and darkly comic novel for teenage readers was one of the most eagerly awaited books of  2006.


MSSMy Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwich

In the bitter cold of an unrelenting winter, Tomas and his son, Peter, arrive in Chust. Despite the villagers' lack of hospitality, they settle there as woodcutters. But there are many things Peter does not understand. Why does Tomas dig a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut so they live on an isolated island? Why does Tomas carry a long battered box everywhere they go - and refuse to tell Peter of its contents?

When a band of gypsies comes to the village, Peter's drab existence is turned upside down. He is infatuated by the beautiful gypsy princess, Sofia, and intoxicated by her community's love of life. He even becomes drawn into their deadly quest - for these travellers are Vampire Slayers and Chust is a community to which the dead return to wreak revenge on the living.

STTSSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

It is early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories.

Fans of The Book Thief or Helen Dunmore's The Siege will be totally absorbed.


LSLiar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

When Georges moves into a new apartment block he meets Safer, a twelve year old self appointed spy. Soon Georges has become his spy recruit. His first assignment? To track the mysterious Mr X, who lives in the flat upstairs.

But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: what is a game and what is a lie? How far is too far to go for your only friend?

SCStone Cold by Robert Swindells

Homeless, frightened and alone, Link finds himself down and out in London. He survives only because he is befriended by the streetwise Ginger.

But then Ginger disappears. Other kids are vanishing, too. Will Link be the next victim?



LWThe Last Wild by Piers Torday

This is a story about a boy named Kester. He is extraordinary, but he does not know that yet. All he knows, at this very moment, is this:

1. There is a flock of excited pigeons in his bedroom. 2. They are talking to him. 3. His life will never be quite the same again...

Kester lives in a land in quarantine. A deadly virus has killed all the animals except pests and it is expected to be equally dangerous to humans. But when Kester realises he can talk to the pests, he finds they have great hope invested in him.

OOSOut of Shadows by Jason Wallace *

For Robert Jacklin - packed off without warning to boarding school in Zimbabwe - everything is terrifyingly new. Branded an outsider from the moment he opens his mouth and unable to decode the subtle power struggles of the classroom, he longs for the safety of his old life in England. And then he meets Ivan. Clever, cunning, seductive Ivan, who offers him not only friendship, but power. As Robert is drawn slowly into Ivan's destructive web, he begins to question things he had always held true and, as Ivan's grip tightens, he finds himself caught up in something far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

MGMachine Gunners by Robert Westall

'Some bright kid's got a gun and 2000 rounds of live ammo and that gun is no pea-shooter. It will go through a brick wall at a quarter of a mile'.

Chas McGill has the second best collection of war souvenirs in Garmouth and he desperately wants it to be the best. When he stumbles across the remains of a German bomber crashed in the woods its shiny, black machine gun still intact, he grabs his chance. Soon he is masterminding his own war effort with dangerous and unexpected results.

CNCrongton Nights by Alex Wheatle

Living on the South Crongton council estate has its worries and life for McKay has been even tougher since his mum died. His dad has been working all hours to keep the bailiffs from their door. His brother is always out riding the streets at night, tempting trouble and now, having strayed off his turf on a heroic (if misguided) mission to help out a girl, McKay finds himself facing a friend's crazy ex-boyfriend, some power tripping hood rats and a notoriously violent gangster with a vendetta which hits too close to home.

Poor McKay. He never asked for trouble, but during one madcap night of adventure and danger, he will find out who his true friends are and what it means to stick with your family.

Nicky Raddon - September 2021