Books for Children: Teenage fiction - One

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Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett, Doubleday pounds 9.99. Johnny and Co are in a battle to stop the local council from building office blocks on the graveyard. My favourite character was the Alderman. This was because he was always cracking jokes. 'Call me anytime you like,' said the Alderman. 'I'm always in. That's something you learn to be good at, when you're dead . . .' An exciting story that will have you laughing your head off. For age 10 and above. Philip Parton (13)

Kezzie by Theresa Breslin, Methuen pounds 9.99. 'A journey, a long journey, across the water.' That was all the woman told Lucy. After a terrible accident to do with her father's death, things seem to go from bad to worse for Kezzie, Lucy and their grandad. This book really makes you understand how lucky we are not to be living in the poverty-stricken 1930s. We get a vivid picture of what it must be like to have little money or food. It also shows how much families mean to each other and how they should stick together. For 12-17s. Sarah Jones (14)

Quest by David Skipper, Walker Books pounds 4.99. A boy called Tom Summerville bought a pocket watch from an old tinker the day his parents were killed in a boating tragedy. The watch starts going backwards and strange things begin to happen. His remote-controlled tank disappears through the bedroom wall. The evil Prince Aldred comes looking for Tom in his home town of Greenville. Tom and his friend, Doug, try to walk through the wall, and find themselves in a world called the Farposts - and the start of their quest. David Corbett (14)

Head and Tales by Susan Price, Faber pounds 9.99. This is a gory tale of a story-teller who leaves his head to his children. What an inheritance] First Born and Little Un are sent on their way with no money and only their father's head wrapped in cloth. On their journey they encounter strange events and are bewitched by their father's stories. The novel is set in the past and has a fairy-tale appeal. The stories might make it seem childish, but the dialogue is certainly not. Jenny Shaw (13)

Missy by Catherine Robinson, Bodley Head pounds 8.99. A true- to-life tale about a London family, the Chacewaters, who visit their relatives in Lanelyan, Cornwall. As soon as Melissa Chacewater (Missy) arrives she is up to her tricks - shoplifting, faking asthma attacks and breaking up friendships. An excellent read for 12-14s. Nicola Brundell (14)

The Wheatstone Pond by Robert Westall, Viking pounds 8.99. When the seventh slime-covered body in five years is pulled out of the Wheatstone Pond, the police treat it as another suicide. There is a rumour that large model yachts are also under the slime, and some people are prepared to risk life and limb to find them. The boat they find contains more surprises than they imagined. When Mr Morgan discovers evidence that this wasn't just another suicide, he decides not to give it to the police. Written with 12-14s in mind. David Bloor (13)

Kristi by Merrilee Moss, Penguin pounds 3.99. It always happens when she is home alone. The creepy phone calls, the water overflowing in the sink, her things rearranged, yet no one believes her - except dark, handsome Max. This is the second in a series of romantic thrillers about four teenagers growing up in Melbourne, Australia. Kristi lives alone with her younger brother, Josh, and her unemployed dad. The creepy happenings are sure to make you paranoid as soon as you put the book down. A spine-chilling tale for up to 14s. Emily Lamont (14)

Hands in Contrary Motion by Sue Mayfield, Scholastic pounds 4.99. A book that is guaranteed to grab the emotions. It describes a year in the life of Michelle Murgatroyd, a harassed and unattractive teenager who is constantly being picked on, moaned at and put in awkward situations. She finds refuge from annoying brothers and rowing parents in the home of her piano teacher. Highly enjoyable for 13-16s. Hannah Crossland (13)



Every Step You Take by Celia Rees, Pan pounds 3.50. A murderer decides to go home as the police are after him. But home has changed. There are some teenagers there on an activity weekend. I found the plot quite complicated because the chapters alternated between the murderer and the teenagers. The book was sometimes scary, but there was never the climax that I expected. For 14-16s. Gemma Soames (13)

The Working Class by Rachel Anderson, OUP pounds 9.99. With no main characters or continuous plot, this is instead a collection of children's vastly different experiences in the workplace. Although set in the present, two of the accounts are from previous times, which allows the reader to compare modern jobs with those of the past. The author makes a few valuable and perceptive observations about work experience in an animated and humorous way. Imogen Dunipace (16)