An Introduction to:

An Introduction to: Dead Ed in My Head by Barbara Catchpole

Ed expected beautiful blond angels when he died. But instead he got stuck…
inside Tod’s head.

As if teenage life isn’t hard enough, Tod’s in serious trouble at school, home is a bit of a muddle, his Saturday job sucks, and he needs to find a way to get talking with That Fit Girl Down The Road.

They say age brings wisdom, but for Guns N’ Roses fan (and grumpy ex-wrinkly) dead Ed, being in Tod’s head offers a second chance to smoke, fight and party.

For Tod, having an old dead guy in his head is occasionally very useful, but Ed’s past is starting to catch up with Tod’s present.
Will Ed ever leave?

Because in one head, two’s a crowd.

At 70, Ed was dead. At 15 Tod was sharing his head with Ed. Great. Barbara Catchpole’s Dead Ed in my Head is a hilarious story unlike anything you will have ever read. Living through Tod’s most embarrassing moments, coupled with Ed’s funny, snide (and sometimes perverted) comments, this story will keep you laughing. While amusing, the novel also involves a thought provoking narrative about life-long regret, love and loss. You will find yourself encountering emotional highs and lows on this rollercoaster of a story. A tale of teenage angst and friendship, with a healthy dose of hilarity, Barbara Catchpole’s latest novel invites you to question what comes after death, and welcomes you into Tod’s jumbled head.

5 Reasons to read Dead Ed in My Head

  • Ed’s heartbreaking and foolhardy past is a sobering reminder that you should live life to the full. Live, love and rock!
  • This book is as far away from dull as Alton Towers is! Every single page will keep you laughing.
  • Barbara Catchpole’s subtle commentary on grief is both amusing and wise.
  • Dead Ed in my Head raises some wonderfully complex questions moral questions on the afterlife and on second chances.
  • This book smashes together lots of different genres and styles in a wonderfully chaotic way. You won’t want it to end!


An Introduction to:

An Introduction to: Connor’s Brain by Malcolm Rose

Connor began his second life at the age of fifteen. He started it with a thirty-mile-an-hour brain.

Connor’s first life ended when a virus in his brain stripped him of almost everything – his memory, language and a sense of time.

Now Connor lives in a permanent present that he doesn’t understand.
The ‘new’ Connor doesn’t recognise or remember his parents, his brother, his friends – or his girlfriend Hattie.

New-Connor can’t remember the old Connor, but there are people who can.
People who have reasons to keep him quiet – or to hurt him.

Because old-Connor had a dark past.

At fifteen, Connor’s Brain was attacked by a devastating illness which stripped him of his memory. Malcolm Rose’s Connor’s Brain is absolutely thrilling, but is also a tragic tale centred on memory. The unfolding dark past of old-Connor keeps you engaged throughout, while also making you to feel sorry for the innocent new-Connor. This thought provoking text sheds new light on what it means to be you and ensures you are with the characters every step of the way as they face heartbreaking dilemmas. You will encounter a range of emotions, from anger to shock, laughter to tears, as the extent of Connor’s old, dark past is revealed.  A tale of love, loss, friendship and crime, Malcolm Rose’s latest novel invites you to discover if memory really is the only thing that defines who you are.

5 Reasons to read Connor’s Brain

  • Connor’s dark past unfolds rapidly, a shocking past that truly defies belief.

  • The dilemma faced by Hattie, Connor’s girlfriend, is heartbreaking and does lead you to wonder what you would do.

  • As Connor has to relearn language, you will laugh out loud at some of his replacements, you could probably count the laughs on your ‘eels’…

  • Connor’s Brain raises some wonderfully complex questions on memory and what it means to be you. Really poignant discussion points that will make you stop and think.

  • There is laughter, tears, anger and tragedy – this novel really does have it all.


An Introduction to:

An Introduction to: A Brightness Out of the Blue by Jill Atkins

When you’re at rock bottom… life can’t get any worse… you don’t see the point of carrying on… someone walks into your world and makes all the difference.

Ella is mourning her dead mother and suffering the cruelty of a new step-mother. But when Martha, an old lady, falls in the street and Ella helps her get home, she feels Martha’s strange magical power. Soon her life begins to change for the better.

A Brightness Out of the Blue is a beautiful modern-day fairytale with a twist in the tale.

Ella Sharma is 16 years old and life is pretty bleak. Having left home because of her volatile stepmother, she is currently living with three students (two of which she calls the Snob sisters), and working an underpaid job as a cleaner for which she isn’t appreciated. However, things begin to change when she meets Martha, a mysterious and enigmatic old woman who has a magical quality about her. As Ella spends time with Martha, and finds herself becoming increasingly infatuated with local rugby player Finn, we are caught up in a charming tale about love, hope and family. Brightness is one of those reads which is uncomplicated and enjoyable, weaving its way into your heart until you’re left smiling.

5 reasons to read A Brightness Out of the Blue

  • The protagonist is a Person of Colour! When mainstream literature is scarily white, to have a main character who isn’t, is so refreshing, especially when it doesn’t define her (as is the case here). Ella Sharma is a protagonist that young Asian girls can see themselves in.
  • The magical elements will have you utterly charmed.
  • The author uses flashbacks and letters in the novel, creating interest for the reader.
  • It’s a well-translated modernisation of the original story of Cinderella, updating it so that it’s relevant for the times.
  • The ending isn’t your typical fairytale ending (but it’s still happy) and this makes the text much better than if it was that predictable.


An Introduction to:

An Introduction to: The Stone Balancer by John Townsend

There’s no body and there’s no evidence.

But Fin is convinced it was murder.

Fin’s fourteenth summer, at home by the sea in August, should be fantastic…but it isn’t. He’s a keen stone balancer, spending hours alone on the beach building stone towers. That’s where he is the only witness to an apparent murder on the cliff.

There’s no body and there’s no evidence of murder, but Fin is convinced that somebody has been killed. With his mother seriously ill and a nasty uncle now in charge, Fin is pursued and forced into hiding.

He and his new (and only) friend Sophie must take drastic action to solve a sinister and complex mystery – before the murderer kills again.

Fin, on the eve of his fourteenth birthday, discovers something ghastly. A human hand sticking up from the sand is seen in the background of his photo. John Townsend’s The Stone Balancer truly is the definition of a page turner. The mystery surrounding the missing woman, a purse empty apart from a poem, and a lost earring keeps you in suspense until the very last page. Written in an engaging style, clues about the main characters, as well as the murder, spring up unexpectedly. Townsend crafts the story so the reader also becomes a detective, and they are just as shocked about what comes to light as our hero Fin. With a rescued kitten, a raging uncle to escape from, several near death experiences and a mother in hospital, Fin’s story catapults you into the centre of a gripping murder mystery.
It’s a hell of a ride, so best you strap in.

5 reasons to read The Stone Balancer

  • The clues are so subtly placed you will find yourself flummoxed when they are finally put together and thinking “I did NOT see that coming”.
  • Fin and Sophie are rounded, three dimensional characters who both have such intriguing backstories. Their lives are riveting to follow.
  • Kittens, beaches and murder. What more could you need?
  • The asides from Fin, especially those concerning his mother feel genuine and are touching to read. The use of newspaper articles and blog posts within the narrative create a realistic and exciting text.
  • Finally: it’s time for the eternal question, whodunnit? Surely you want to find out…


An Introduction to:

An Introduction to: Taken by Rosemary Hayes

Four years ago, Kelly’s dad disappeared, apparently having taken his own life. His family are left devastated and are only just beginning to move on. Then, one day, Kelly thinks she sees him again. It is only a glimpse – and it can’t have been him – but it is enough to bring back all the painful memories. 

Why did he kill himself? What was so terrible that he couldn’t go on?

The thoughts won’t leave her alone. Kelly confides in her friend Jack, and as they try to find out more about Dad’s past they unearth a confusing mass of inconsistencies and unanswered questions. Gradually they are sucked into a murky world where nothing is as it seems. They are out of their depth; someone is trying to stop them finding out more and they are in real danger. 

Who is following them? Who can they trust? And why does Gran refuse to talk about Dad?

Rosemary Hayes’ latest novel, Taken, follows 15 year old Kelly Wilson as she tries to uncover the truth about her Dad. It’s a gripping drama, the mystery about Steve Wilson drawing you in further and further as you read on. Written in a realistic way that has the reader captivated not only by the case itself, but by the characters, Taken is one of those books that once you start, it’s rather difficult to put down. Despite the fact that the main narrative is not a situation that many of us would find ourselves in, Hayes has a way of crafting the story so that it’s relatable. Maybe this is just through the little sub-plots she introduces and the relationships she describes; but it does the job effectively. Kelly’s curiosity incites our own – the book is written in a way that you really are only learning as the protagonist does.  And you want to keep reading; you want to keep learning.

5 reasons to read Taken

  • The main mystery will leave you guessing the whole way through. When the truth is revealed, even then you’ll be waiting to learn more.
  • Kelly is extremely likeable. She’s an everyday, ordinary protagonist, who you can easily love and relate to.
  • Kelly and Jack’s dynamic is mega cute, and progresses at the perfect pace.
  • It tackles tough topics that aren’t covered that much in YA Lit.
  • It’s not your typical contemporary drama, and has elements that will appeal to all readers.