I am utterly delighted to be an ambassador for Reading Ahead, a project that is changing lives across Britain. I’m equally delighted to be able to present my six book choices, at entry, intermediate and “challenge yourself” level and hope that you’ll love them as much as I did. It was hard to narrow my list down to six – but in the end I chose books that I love myself. Five of the writers also have other books for you to discover once you try my suggestions. You don’t have to read their other books, of course, but I reckon you will!
My first choice is an entry-level book that I loved and have read more than once. It’s Kevin Brooks’ Johnny Delgado – Like Father, Like Son published by Barrington Stoke. Johnny is a brilliant character – authentic and honestly written – who seems to find danger wherever he goes. In this story, his estate is being torn apart by violent gangs fighting each other. He’s also got his own mystery to solve, too – who killed his dad and can he find them? The more he looks, the deeper his troubles get and even his mum is drawn in – until everything blows up in a gripping climax. It’s a simple but exciting read – hard as nails and gritty. Kevin Brooks is one of the best writers of young adult fiction in the UK, and if you like this, he has many more books for you to try.
My second choice is also entry-level and from Barrington Stoke. It’s The Fix by the brilliant Sophie McKenzie. Blake and his mum are skint – so skint that unless his mum finds some money fast, they won’t be able to pay the rent. The only hope in Blake’s life is his football – he’s brilliant and people are watching. The problem is that some of those people are criminals. When someone offers Blake loads of cash to fix a game, he has a big decision to make. Does he take the money and pay the rent, or does he refuse? And what happens if he says no? With trouble around every corner, Blake is trapped. Another fast, easy read from a great writer with plenty more awesome books to discover.
14 December 2015