Book Of The Month: January

by Emma Sewell
by Emma Sewell


Happy New Year to all you avid readers out there! We’re starting January off with our Book of the Month feature, and as usual you’ll be able to find seven top picks from this month’s publishing.

Hopefully Santa brought you lots of lovely new books in your stocking this year. If you’ve got any recommendations let us know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

Book of the Month Life in a Fishbowl Len VlahosBook of the Month

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

(Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 9781408870631)


Jackie’s life wasn’t perfect, but at least it was normal. That is, until her dad received a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Then he went and did what anyone faced with mountains of medical bills and a family to support would do: he sold his life to the highest bidder. Which turned out to be a TV station.

Suddenly everyone from psychotic millionaires to cyber-savvy nuns wants a piece of Jackie’s family as they become a reality TV sensation. Jackie’s life spirals out of control just as her dad’s starts to run out, and meanwhile the whole world is tuning in to watch her family fall apart.

Six of the Best

Here are six of our close contenders for book of the month. Find yourself some more gems for your shelves.

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Orion Children’s Books 9781510101555)

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he’s at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie.

Carrying a notebook that she’s unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck – both talismans of her family’s past and the mother she’s lost – Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence. As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie’s family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

Generation Next by Oli White (Hodder Paperbacks 9781473634404)

Things haven’t been easy for Jack recently – life as a teenager has its ups and downs. But when he meets a new group of friends, who are every bit as geek as they are chic, his luck seems to be changing.

Each of the group is talented and when they pool together to create Generation Next, an incredible new kind of social media platform, it’s clear that they’re on to something special.

What if your Instagram account grew by hundreds of thousands of followers overnight, and big companies were fighting each other to offer you photoshoots? When GenNext suddenly goes viral, Jack and his friends are thrust into a crazy world of fame which is as terrifying as it is awesome. Because someone out there is determined to trip Jack up at every step. If he doesn’t stop them, soon everyone he cares about – his friends, his family, and the girl he’s falling for – will be in danger.

The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 9781408855768)

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark: no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town.

When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes for ever. Sometimes, to keep the people you love safe, you have to do bad things.

As Little Town’s rules crumble, Charlie is sucked into a dangerous game. There’s a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy. Charlie Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will …Perfect for readers of Patrick Ness, John Boyne and Malorie Blackman.

Book of the Month Bone Sparrow Zana Fraillon Book of the Month Generation Next Oli White Book of the Month Bombs That Brought Us Together Brian Conaghan

The Icarus Show by Sally Christie (David Fickling Books 9781910200919)

A deeply insightful novel that poignantly deals with bullying, friendship and loneliness. Sally Christie has created a beautifully simple and engaging story that will touch your heart.

Alex has worked out a foolproof way to avoid being picked on. Don’t React. It’s so simple, it’s brilliant! David does react and becomes an outcast, nicknamed Bogsy. He’s branded a weirdo, and Alex is determined to avoid the same fate. But one day, Alex gets a note in his bag that forces him out of his safe little world. Who sent the note? And is it true – will a boy really fly? A powerful story about friendship, loneliness and a strange kind of genius.

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (Pushkin Children’s Books 9781782690924)

Maresi came to the Red Abbey in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren’t allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. But now Maresi is here, and she knows it is real. She is safe.

Then one day Jai – tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back – arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her. Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears. A story of friendship and survival, magic and wonder, beauty and terror, Maresi will grip you and hold you spellbound.

Margot and Me by Juno Dawson (Hot Key Books 9781471406089)

How can you hate someone in the present and love them in the past?

Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back. But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery… and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart.

Book of the Month Icarus Show Sally Christie Book of the Month Maresi Maria Turtschaninoff Book of the Month Margot and Me Juno Dawson

We hope you’ll find some firm favourites in January’s Book of the Month. Remember to check back in February for our next seven picks.

Have you seen this month’s author interview with Sam Gayton yet? Why not read it now?


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