BOOK REVIEW / Teenage fiction: Students from different schools around the country review a selection of the current crop of titles aimed at their age-group

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The Boy Who Wasn't There by K M Peyton, Doubleday pounds 8.99. When 13-year-old Arnold sees a body floating in a lake, he suddenly finds that his life is in danger. When his new-found friend Jodie suggests that he hide among the musicians on his school orchestra's tour of Scotland, it seems to be the perfect solution. But the killer is a ruthless man . . . A fast-moving plot, particularly enjoyable, and the friendship of the two main characters is touching and believable.

Rebecca Whitehead (14)

Stamford High School, Lincs

Brother Night by Victor Kelleher, Walker pounds 3.99. A powerful new fantasy which transports the reader into a world of adventure and make-believe. When Pilar, the ancient priestess of the twin cities, dies from a fever, Ramon, a carefree teenager, is drawn into a mysterious quest to discover the truth of his confusing birth. The story will engross the reader for hours at a time, and provide an insight into the depths of Kelleher's imagination. An exciting and thought-provoking novel for 14- to 16-year-olds.

Andrew Long (14)

St Peters Catholic School, Solihull

The Shadows of Owlsnap by Angela Bull, Dent pounds 8.99. Twelve-year-old Alastair, clever and scientific, doesn't know what to make of the family's new, supposedly haunted house - then he makes contact with 18th century Martha] A fairly typical opening to a children's ghost story? It doesn't finish typically. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and Alastair and Martha's deepening relationship is heartwarming. So well written I could almost feel myself there with them in 1761. For readers between 11 and 14.

Rosalind Luton (13)

Edgbaston High School, Birmingham

Smokestack Lightning by Lawrence Staig, Walker pounds 8.99. Set in the Sixties, this is an entertaining memoir of a boy growing up in the uncertainty and excitement of the world of the fun-fair. Staig is much influenced by the Rhythm and Blues music of that era. The book is written so that we can share the exuberance of youth, rather than see it from the point of view of an adult reflecting on his past. Sian Dronfield (15)

Stamford High School, Lincs

Monkey Island by Paula Fox, Orchard pounds 8.99. A very exciting book about a boy who is abandoned by his parents and left to live on the streets, in a park called 'Monkey Island'. The story definitely expressed what it is like living on your own and being homeless. It is set in New York where there is a lot of violence. At the end of the book the boy is found by his mother. This boy is lucky, but the book made me think about people who are still living on the streets today. For 12 to 14s. Lydia Williams (12)

Canford Heath Middle School, Dorset

Alessandra, Alex in Rome by Tessa Duder, Oxford pounds 7.95. Alex is the only girl in the New Zealand Olympic team for swimming - as those who have read the first two books in the series will already know. During the hot 10 days of Alex's stay in Rome, she feels desperately lonely and apprehensive. Her mother and father are dead, and her best friend is seriously ill in hospital. While she is doing her 100 metres free-style, she feels that someone is watching her. To find out who and why, read on. For 14-16s.

Michelle Staunton (14)

St Peters Catholic School, Solihull

Nightworld by William Bedford, Bodley Head pounds 8.99. Just as he enters a mid-teenage crisis, Daniel meets Kate, who is one of the protesters agitating against the dumping of nuclear waste next to a bird sanctuary. Together they embark on an epic voyage of self-discovery, adventure and drama. A powerful storyline is supported by the exploration of issues such as the nuclear debate and conservation - which inevitably affect the reader's emotions. For 14+. Paul Lyons (14)

St Peter's Catholic School, Solihull

No Tigers In Africa by Norman Silver, Faber pounds 4.99. A very good book with an eye-catching front cover. It is about a white boy who grows up in South Africa and then has to move to England. He has an Afrikaans accent, which causes him problems when he has to go to an English school because the other children treat him as though he comes from another planet. I think children aged 13 and above would enjoy it.

Caroline Brown (13)

Aston Comprehensive School, Sheffield

Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece, Pan pounds 3.50. Born in the same hospital, Morgan and Jinny are inseparable for 17 years. They share an exclusive and intense relationship until Jinny is killed in an accident. Morgan then has to face up to life without her friend. A story that made me laugh and cry, and think hard about overdependence in teenage relationships. A winner - the book is now going round the whole class]

Amy Hartshaw (14)

St Peter's Catholic School, Solihull

Thin Air by David Getz, Bodley Head pounds 7.99. Although Thin Air seems dull at first, it becomes a very interesting story with a surprising ending. Jacob, the main character, has asthma and wants everyone to stop worrying about him. His real problems start at his new school when his friend Cynthia turns his life upside down. All he wants is to be a 'regular' kid, but he is constantly under threat of being put in a special class. At times you really feel for Jacob and his problems. A very emotional story. Recommended for 12+. Natasha Barry (12)

Canford Heath Middle School, Dorset

The Long Way Home by Moya Roddy, Attic Press pounds 4.95. Jo is a girl who doesn't appreciate anything of her own - not even her father] She wishes she lived with her friend, Loretta, as everything of hers is bigger and better. The friends fall out and in her loneliness Jo begins to steal and smoke. Set in Dublin, this is a very enjoyable book for readers around 14. Lianne Jackson (13)

Aston Comprehensive School, Sheffield

Pigeon Summer by Ann Turnbull, Walker pounds 4.99. The story of an unlikely friendship between Mary and Arnold. Mary's unemployed father has left to find work, and Mary wants to help. She loves to train her father's pigeons, and hopes to race them: Mary knows that Speedwell, her father's favourite, can win. Then Mary could give the prize money to her mother. This is a wonderfully moving story and I would recommend it to anyone. Sarah Whitley (12)

Canford Heath Middle School, Dorset

A Little Space For Issie Brown by Anthony Simmons, Oxford pounds 8.95. If this book had been on a library shelf I would not have chosen it. It is, however, about a boy called Issie Brown who grows up in London at the outbreak of the Second World War. He falls in love, studies for his exams and helps his drunken Irish friend. The war changes everything forever; the market where the Jewish families spent their lives is bombed and the close-knit community drifts apart. A smashing book after all]

Sarah Hooton (13)

Aston Comprehensive School, Sheffield

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