These are just my initial thoughts on the shortlist, the thoughts I put down on my judging grid last October.
There will be more indepth reviews/thoughts to come on those I haven’t reviewed already.
- Feargal is Fuming – loved the effect on the cover, pulls you into the book, about dealing with anger and how we all do it differently, nice illustrations with minimal text
- I Really Want The Cake – nice retro style cover – active and fun, fun story, nice consistent rhyming style for reading out loud, lovely interior illustrations
- Leaf – gorgeous front cover, interior illustrations bright but not too busy, good story about the fear of the new/different and helping others, good environmental message, really well done
- The Night Box – love the front cover (fox, cat, mole, duck), lots of interest without being too busy, lovely illustrations throughout, a nice rhythm to the book, enough to pull you through at a good pace, a lovely story about nighttime and would be really good for helping children over their fears
- The Secret of Black Rock – very Tin-Tin feel on the front cover, girl, small dog and a captain haddock liner, wonderful interior illistrations with a lovely old fashioned wood-block feel to them, another strong environmental story regarding human interaction
- Superbatbig and bright cover and interior illustrations, nice little story, not too complex perfect for reading out to little kids
Books for Younger Readers
- The Goldfish Boy – solid story about OCD and anxieties, explained both without sensationalism, a nice little mystery
- Kid Normal – fun idea, HP and X-Men all rolled into one, good story with solid fun illustrations
- The Legend of Podkin One-Ear – loved this book, a one-sitting read, fast-paced, thrilling and funny at times, good use of ancient evil/quests, great illustrations by David Wyatt, and as all good fantasy books should have, it had a map 🙂 nice that the origin of the world is unclear, future or other planet?
- Nevermoor – brilliant artwork in the Hardback edition, Morrigan is a well-written character and the story has good pace and some nice twists, great start to a new fantasy series
- A Place Called Perfect – another one-sitting read, loved the Archers, funny and mysterious at the right times, Violet is a great strong character
- Who Let The Gods Out? – another one-night read, really funny take on boy meets god story, well-written and fast paced, excellent baddie
Books for Older Readers
- The Disappearances – strange but compelling novel, great characters with lots of depth, there was something wonderfully different about this book
- The Hate U Give – such a well-written, powerful story, cracks along at a good pace, had me in tears at times
- INK – loved the cover, Leora’s character is well written, the tattoo concept is wonderful and really helps pull the story together, engrossing from the first page
- This Mortal Coil – gene-hacking should be a far more common factor in books, the society works well, concept and execution is really good
- Thornhill – love the format of the book, great cover, mix of visual/text storytelling really worked, diary form is compelling, strong story – ending is sad, loved the Susan Hill poster in Ella’s bedroom
- Troublemakers – Alena felt like a realistic 15yr old, felt like a good exploration of family life