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Upcoming reads I can’t wait to get my hands on!

This is (as my nearest and dearest will confirm) a very rare picture of me but one of my New Year’s resolutions (again) was to be braver so here I am!

This is a list of those books that I’m eagerly anticipating. Some are sequels to ones I’ve really enjoyed while others are reads that have sparked my interest. I’ve tried to keep them in order of publication, but apologies if one or two are out of sequence.

Hell Breaks Loose by Derek Landy

I’ve been a huge fan of the Skulduggery Pleasant series since my then Year 5 age son introduced me to the skeleton detective’s first adventure. nI this prequel, author Derek Landy takes us back to the Italy of 1703 where The Dead Men are charged with saving Lord of the Dark Sorcerers Mevolent in order to save the world and Skulduggery is on a personal mission to exact revenge on the man who murdered him 13 years earlier. Anticipated 30th March.

The Mona Lisa Mystery (The Butterfly Club 3) by M. A. Bennett

The first title in this series was a book that completely took me by surprise. Having picked up a copy after a few recommendations on Twitter, I quickly found I could not put it down and immediately after finishing it read Book 2 on Net Galley – something I very rarely do. Blending time travel, brilliantly researched historical details and exciting adventure, I cannot wait to read this when it is published on 13th April.

Finding My Voice by Aoife Dooley

Cover illustration by Aoife Dooley

I think it’s fair to say that graphic novels have hugely increased in popularity over the past year and the author’s Frankie’s World is a title which has been enormously popular in school. Here, in Frankie’s latest adventure, she starts at high school – a time which all children find tricky but which has additional challenges when you are autistic. An absolute must-have in my opinion, I can’t wait to read this fabulous own voices story. Publishing 13th April

The First Shadowdragon by Lee Newbery, illustrated by Laura Catalán

Cover illustration by Laura Catalán

I know I’m not the only one who has been hoping for a sequel to Lee’s debut title, The Last Firefox. Here, following on from defeating the evil Grendilock and saving Cadno, the last firefox, hero Charlie is looking forward to a well-earned rest. But when a familiar face appears from the realm of Fargone, Charlie’s family is once again swept up into adventure when together with Lippy, Roo and new magical friend Blodyn, he must travel to Fargone to face the dreaded Draig, the shadowy monster that is slowly draining the life from the land – and uncover the lost secret that links Draig’s history to Charlie’s own. Publishing 27th April, this is going to be another cracker for LKS2 readers.

Emba Oak and the Beckoning Bones

Cover illustration by David Dean

Book 1 in this series is one that didn’t get as much fuss made about it as it should have, in my opinion. A brilliant magical adventure, with some wonderful word play, it left Ember still searching for answers about her origins which may or may not be answered here. On sale 28th April.

Son of the Sea by Richard Pickard

Telling the story of Casper who has water in his blood, his spirit, and especially in his giant webbed toes this standalone follow-up title to the brilliantly quirky The Peculiar Tale of the Tentacle Boy is a title I am waiting for with bated breath. Expected May 11th.

Serpent of the Sands by Vashti Hardy

Cover illustration © George Ermos

The first in the spin-off series from the Brightstorm trilogy, this promises an exciting adventure for Princess Gan from Firesong, as she searches for a cure said to be guarded by the Serpent of the Sands for her seriously ill uncle. I know I’m in the company of many other fans of Vashti’s writing who cannot wait to get their sticky mitts on a copy. Publishing May 11th.

Finn Jones Was Here by Simon James Green, illustrated by Jennifer Jameson

Cover illustration by Jennifer Jameson

I shared both of Simon’s previous middle grade titles, the Blue peter Prize-nominated Life of Riley: Beginner’s Luck and Sleepover Takeover, when I taught in Year 5 and they were enormously popular with their audiences. Described as a heartbreaking story of friendship, endings and new beginnings we are told that Eric’s best friend, Finn Jones, was the world’s biggest prankster. Now Eric can’t believe Finn’s not here anymore. …Or is he? Eric seems to be getting messages from beyond the grave, and as he follows Finn’s wild, cryptic instructions, his hope grows that he’ll find Finn laughing at the end.  Publishing May 11th, I cannot wait to find out more.

Just Like Everyone Else by Sarah Hagger-Holt

With the sad news that a petition to ban LGBTQ+ books in schools is gathering huge numbers of signatures, it seems more important than ever to get books like this new title from Sarah Hagger-Holt into the hands of our young people. This, her third middle grade title, tells the story of 13-year-old Aidan whose mum announces she’s having another baby – not for her but for gay couple Justin and Atif. Aidan is hugely annoyed but more than that, he’s also scared. Aidan thinks he might be gay, and he’s really struggling to accept this possibility. He’s definitely not ready to come out, but what if being around Justin and Atif exposes him as gay? Expected June 8th

Interdimensional Explorers by Lorraine Gregory, illustrated by Jo Lindley

Cover illustration by Jo Lindley

The author’s The Maker of Monsters is a wonderful story that I discovered after a recommendation from a friend on Twitter and one that has not been as widely read as it deserves. In this, the first in a new series, we are told we will meet 11 yr-old Danny, a giant squid and evil aliens, which sounds like a winning combination to me! Publishing June 8th.

Bumble & Snug and the Shy Ghost (Bumble & Snug 3) by Mark Bradley

Cover art © Mark Bradley

This full-colour graphic novel series for young readers has proved equally popular with my current Year 3s and last year’s Year 5s. Full of humour and gloriously illustrated, this is a book that I know won’t sit for long on my class bookshelf once it is published on June 22nd.

Deadly Deep (Dread Wood 4) by Jennifer Killick

Cover art by Tom Clohosy Cole

A huge treat for fans of Jennifer’s writing – this is the second 2023 release of a title in this series and it looks to be another terrifying adventure for Angelo and his friends from Dread Wood High, this time out at sea. Expected 31st August.

Read, Scream, Repeat – Various authors, curated by Jennifer Killick

There have been some fantastic compilations of short stories over the past year or two but there will definitely be a space on my shelf for this collection of scary tales from writers  Kirsty Applebaum, Jasbinder Bilan, Aisha Bushby, Joseph Coelho, Rachel Delahaye, Kat Ellis, Phil Hickes, Polly Ho-Yen, Sharna Jackson, Jennifer Killick, Elle McNicoll, Dan Smith and
J.T.Williams. Definitely one to pre-order ahead of its release on August 31st.

Silverborn by Jessica Townsend (Morrigan Crow 4)

The Nevermoor series just gets better and better and with Morrigan’s destiny taking an unexpected turn in Hollowpox, I know there will be many readers desperate to find out what happens in his title due October 2023.

Mermedusa by Thomas Taylor

With the first chapter of the concluding title of the Eerie-on-Sea Mysteries series included at the back of Festergrimm to whet the reader’s appetite, this is the 2023 title I am most excited about. Appealing to both adult and child readers like no other series, there are many of us who will be counting down to read this final adventure for Herbie and Vi. Set once more in Midwinter, a group of cryptozoologists descend on the town of Eerie-on-Sea to investigate the mystery of the malamander’s long-lost mate. Herbie and Vi don’t see what harm they can do, but as the monster-hunters make new discoveries, the pair become uneasy. Then the fury of the malamander is roused, and the two friends experience a terrifying encounter deep beneath the earth. One that may lead them to finally discover the Deepest Secret of the small seaside town… Expected 7th September 2023.

The Trip to the Moon (The Butterfly Club 4) by M. A, Bennett.

Combining the very best science fiction with history, mystery and adventure, this will be the fourth title in this brilliant series and one that I simply cannot wait to read. Set at the time of the first moon landing, can our young protagonists travel forward to 1969 and prevent a tragedy that will set back space travel in the most horrible way? Publishing 12th October.

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