‘My heart feels like it’s been sliced down the middle and every painful thing that’s ever happened is oozing from it.’ Olive is standing on the edge of a cliff, screaming up at the sky. Screaming because she feels scared and worthless and wants that feeling to end. The outstretched hand of a policeman coaxes her away from oblivion, and Olive finds herself agreeing to a month’s trial treatment at a teenage mental health facility. We join her at Camp Reset, as she struggles with therapy, relationships, and the biggest dilemma of all, how to make this crazy world a kinder place. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne is the latest from one of our most popular YA authors.
So let’s take a towering classic of Russian literature, re-imagine it with lashings of adolescent angst, and then offer it up in its original verse form to a contemporary teen readership. You’d be forgiven for having your doubts, but I’m happily applauding In Paris With You by Clémentine Beauvais for the vision and audacity in this unique take on Eugene Onegin.
So how does it feel to be ‘eighteen and internationally reviled,’ the prime casualty of a slut-shaming scandal? Izzy O’Neill tells us straight in this sparky YA debut by Laura Steven. When photos emerge of Izzy, a senator’s son and a frisky episode on a garden bench, she is propelled into a scandal of epic proportions, one in which she is hounded by a society that simultaneously objectifies and shames sexually active young women.
What happens to the child survivors of a brainwashing cult? How do they begin to process the horrors they have seen? Loosely based on the Waco siege of 1993, After the Fire by Will Hill is a stunning depiction of the lead-up to and aftermath of an armed siege on a Texan cult compound. This highly original novel has scooped the YA Book Prize 2018, and is undoubtedly the best book I’ve reviewed so far this year. Events unfold through the eyes of Moonbeam, a teenage girl at the heart of the drama. Moonbeam knows no life outside The Holy Church of The Lord’s Legion and its formidable leader, Father John.
First published in 1971, Go Ask Alice was the YA phenomenon of its day, and features prominently on America’s Most Banned Books List. It’s the cautionary tale of a vulnerable teenager, lured into the heady world of the 1960’s counter culture. Even the squarest parents know what that means. Drugs, sex and general depravity must surely follow. Originally purporting to be the most sensational of real-life diaries, these days Go Ask Alice is viewed as a fictional and somewhat hysterical piece of anti-drugs propaganda.
Here in the UK, the month of May brings Mental Health Awareness Week, a brilliant opportunity for Bookstoker to explore the literary side of the subject. Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson is a book we feel no teenager should be without. Packed with information and strategies on how to cope with a range of issues, this practical guide will become a personal counsellor residing on your bookshelf.
‘In order for the higher orders of species to thrive…the lower orders must be curbed.’ A line to chill the spine of the most seasoned thriller fan. Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018, the deliciously dark S.T.A.G.S is the perfect lazy weekend read.
One day magic breathed. The next, it died.
Orïsha was once a land blessed with ‘maji’, sacred clans people with divine powers over the land. When their magic abruptly vanishes, Orïsha bows to the tyranny of a bloodthirsty king, a despot who wishes to wipe the magic arts from the face of his kingdom. But the children of the fallen maji remain, cowed and silent.One day they will rise.
‘If you was my wife, I’d take a stick to you.’ When 17-year-old Evelyn witnesses a suffragette being jeered at and pelted with missiles, it sparks a pledge of solidarity with the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Her contemporaries, Nell and May, have different stories to tell but all three girls are raging at the confines of their metaphorical cages. Set in Edwardian London, where women’s lives revolved around home and hearth, Things a Bright Girl Can Do follows their personal quests to live by the motto Deeds not Words.
‘The monster is the real hero of the novel. Discuss.’ One of the many thorny essay questions set to this perennial school syllabus favourite. Written at the dawn of science fiction, crackling with horror, and strikingly ‘fettered to grief,’ 2018 marks 200 years since Frankenstein’s publication, an ideal moment to review this illuminating young students edition. Read full Review