Older readers — Holiday Reading 2013

Holly Black Cover of Doll BonesDoll bones
Twelve-year-old Zach is too old to play with toys. Or at least, that’s what his father thinks. But even though he stops hanging out with Poppy and Alice and stops playing with his action figures, it’s no good. There’s one toy that still wants to play with him. A doll that’s made from the bones of a dead girl and the only way to end the game is to lay the doll to rest forever.
Sage Blackwood Jinx
A young boy named Jinx encounters magic and danger as he grows up in the deep, dark forest known as the Urwald and discovers that the world beyond and within the Urwald is more complex than he could imagine.
Deborah Burnside Rebecca and the Queen of Nations (New Zealand)
When ten-year-old Rebecca Kelly is sent to the dreary Derry workhouse she decides that this is not the life for her. So she runs away, Rebecca is determined that she will join her brother, who is a sailor on the Queen of Nations, a ship bound for New Zealand, but this will be difficult for a young girl without a penny to her name. The first book in the New Zealand Girl series.
Ken Catran Cover of Dead HarryDead Harry (New Zealand)
Sam’s best friend Harry is working on a school assignment about refugees from the Balkans, and comes across a photo of the school caretaker as a war criminal. The next thing he knows, Harry is dead and has returned as a ghost to help Sam solve the mystery of his murder.
Eoin Colfer The reluctant assassin
The reluctant assassin is Riley, a Victorian boy who is suddenly plucked from his own time and whisked into the twenty-first century, accused of murder and on the run. Riley has been pulled into the FBI’s covert W.A.R.P. operation (Witness Anonymous Relocation Program). He and young FBI Agent Chevie Savano are forced to flee terrifying assassin-for-hire Albert Garrick, who pursues Riley through time and will not stop until he has hunted him down. Book one in the W.A.R.P. series.
Joy Cowley Dunger (New Zealand)
William and Melissa have been roped into helping their old hippie grandparents fix up their holiday home in the middle of the Sounds. They’ll have no electricity, no cellphone reception, and only each other for company. As far as they’re concerned, this is not a holiday.
Sharon Creech Cover of The Boy on The PorchThe boy on the porch
When a young couple finds a boy asleep on their porch, their lives take a surprising turn. Unable to speak, the boy Jacob can’t explain his history. All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for him. And, as their connection and friendship with Jacob grow, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family and begin to see the world in brand-new ways.
Joseph Delaney Alice
Over the years, Alice has fought evil side by side with the Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward. But now Alice is alone in the realm of the dark. And the creatures she has helped to banish there, now have the chance to take their revenge. The penultimate instalment of the Wardstone Chronicles.
Kate DiCamillo Flora & Ulysses
Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived.
Neil Gaiman Cover of The Silver DreamThe silver dream
After mastering the ability to walk between dimensions, sixteen-year-old Joey Harker and his fellow InterWorld freedom fighters embark on a mission to maintain peace between the rival powers of magic and science who seek to control all worlds. An Interworld novel.
Jessica Day George Wednesdays in the tower
After discovering a giant egg in the magical Castle Glower, Princess Celie agrees to care for the egg and the creature that hatches. The sequel to Tuesdays at the castle.
Morris Gleitzman Extra time
When 13-year-old Matt is discovered impressing the livestock in an Aussie country town with his remarkable soccer skills, he’s offered the chance of a lifetime – a try-out at one of Europe’s biggest and most glamorous soccer clubs.
David Hill Brave Company (New Zealand)
Boy Seaman Russell Purchas is stationed on HMNZS Taupo. It’s 1952, and the frigate has just entered hostile waters off the coast of Korea. Russell is determined to prove he is a hero, to shake off the shadow of his spineless uncle who died in the WWII. Russell doesn’t have to wait long to be tested. Never far from enemy fire, the waters are swarming not only with battleships and mines, but also with fleeing Korean refugees.
Paul Jennings Cover of Don't Look NowDon’t look now: Book One
Ricky is an ordinary boy, who dreams of being famous. And he has a secret that might just help him realise this dream. Because Ricky can fly. Truly. He can really fly. But there’s a hitch. He can only fly when absolutely no one is looking. The first book in a new easy reading series.
Cynthia Kadohata The thing about luck
Just when twelve-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong in a year of bad luck, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving Summer to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers.
Jeff Kinney Hard luck
Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Book Eight in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
Suzanne M. LaFleur Listening for Lucca
Siena sees what isn’t there; collects what’s left behind. Her brother Lucca is three and hasn’t spoken for over a year. The doctors think he needs a fresh start, that’s why her family left Brooklyn.
Hope Larson Cover Of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in TimeMadeleine L’Engle’s A wrinkle in time: A graphic novel
A graphic novel adaptation of the classic tale in which Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.
Joke van Leeuwen The day my father became a bush
Fighting breaks out in the south and Toda’s father has to go there to defend his country. Luckily he has a manual called “What every soldier needs to know”. This tells him how to hide from the enemy by using branches and leaves to disguise himself as a bush. Toda remains in the city with her grandmother, but even there it’s no longer safe.
Michelle Lovric The Fate in the Box
Fogfinger rules Venice. The Venetians fear him and obey him. Every year one of their children is lost in a grisly Lambing ceremony. The child must climb the bell tower and let the Fate in the Box decide their destiny. Most end their days in the jaws of the primeval Crocodile that lurks in the lagoon. Or so Fogfinger tells them. But a chance meeting by a green apricot tree may be the beginning of the end for Fogfinger.
Geraldine McCaughrean Cover of The Positively Last PerformanceThe positively last performance
The performances at The Royal Theatre are extraordinary. You’d have to see them to believe them! But that’s the problem. Nobody can see them. Except Gracie, that is. But the old theatre is under threat. Will Gracie and the residents be able to save their home, or is the curtain set to fall on their very last performance?
Hilary McKay Binny for short
Binny’s life has been difficult since her father died and her dreadful old Aunt Violet disposed of her beloved dog, Max. Her world changed then, to a city flat with not enough space. Then one day Aunt Violet dies, leaving a small cottage in Cornwall to Binny and her family. Binny finds herself in a new world once more, full of sunshine and freedom. But Max is still lost in the past, and it seems impossible that she’ll ever find him again…
Ann M. Martin Better to wish
In 1930 Abby Nichols is an eight-year-old girl growing up in Maine, but as the Depression deepens, and her mother dies, the responsibility of taking care of her family falls to her, and she has to put her dreams of going to college and becoming a writer on hold.
Paula Morris Cover of Hene and the Burning HarbourHene and the burning harbour (New Zealand)
Northland, 1845. When Hene’s twin brother falls dangerously ill, her parents fear she will also catch the sickness, so they send her away from her home at the pa to the Paihia mission station. Life with the missionaries is difficult. Meanwhile, across the water in Russell, the world is in turmoil. Hone Heke has cut down the flagpole again and has attacked Korororeka. A book in the New Zealand Girl series.
James Norcliffe Felix and the red rats (New Zealand)
When David’s uncle comes to visit he sets off a bizarre series of events. David’s pet rats change colour and David senses that somehow the red rats are connected to the story he is reading. The parallel story sees Felix and his friend Bella inadvertently shifted into a strange land where they must solve a riddle. But this puts them into great danger. How will they escape and find their way home?
Stephen Pastis Mistakes were made
Meet Timmy Failure, founder of the “best” detective agency in town Total Failure, Inc. Timmy may only be eleven, but with the help of his polar bear, Total, he already has plans for world domination. Plans that will make his mother rich and unpaid bills a thing of the past. The first book in the Timmy Failure series.
Michelle Paver Cover of The burning ShadowThe burning shadow
Hylas is captured by slavers. Set to work in the terrible underground mines of Thalakrea, he learns to his horror that he’s now closer than ever to his murderous enemies, the Crows. He has to escape before they find out he’s here. Pirra, the daughter of the High Priestess, is also on the run. When Fate reunites her with Hylas, their survival depends on ancient magic and an orphaned lion cub. Book Two in the Gods and Warriors series.
Richard Peck The mouse with the question mark tail
The smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a little mystery that he hasn’t even a name. And who were his parents? His Aunt Marigold, Head Needlemouse, sews him a uniform and sends him off to be educated at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. Maybe Queen Victoria can help?
Simon Scarrow Son of Spartacus
Free from slavery, Marcus is determined to find and save his kidnapped mother. Meanwhile, his master Julius Caesar wants Marcus to help destroy the bands of rebel slaves and their leader Brixus, who plans to unite a slave army and resurrect the cause of Spartacus. But Marcus and Brixus are old allies who share a life-threatening secret. A book in the Gladiator series.
Ruth Starke Cover of An ANZAC TaleAn ANZAC tale
When Australia pledges its support to Great Britain at the outbreak of WWI, mates Roy and Cardwell are among the first to enlist. But what the friends first thought would be an adventure soon turns to disaster. The day after the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, more than 2000 of their fellow Anzacs are dead. As the campaign drags on, life for Wally and Roy and their new friend, Tom, becomes a battle of endurance against a plucky enemy, a hostile landscape, flies, fleas, cold and disease. A graphic novel.
Jonathan Stroud The screaming staircase
There is an epidemic of ghosts in Britain. Their touch brings death, and only children have the power to fight them. Lucy Carlyle, a young psychic investigator, joins London’s smallest agency, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When a case goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have a last chance of redemption. Unfortunately, this involves spending the night in the most haunted house in England, and trying to escape alive.
Melinda Szymanik A winter’s day in 1939 (New Zealand)
Taken from his home in Poland and forced to leave his country, 12-year-old Adam and his family are transported to work in a labour camp in Russia. Ill-fed and poorly treated, Adam doubts they will make it out alive. Even if they do get away, they might freeze to death or starve.
Doug TenNapel Cover of CardboardCardboard
When cardboard creatures come magically to life, a boy must save his town from disaster. A graphic novel.
Vivian Vande Velde Frogged
When Princess Imogene is turned into a frog, she puts into practice lessons from the book, The Art of Being a Princess, as she tries to become her less-than-perfect self again.
David Walliams Demon dentist
Darkness had come to the town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find… a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil was at work. But who or what was behind it…?
Jacqueline Wilson Queenie
1953, England. Elizabeth is to be crowned Queen of England, but Elsie Kettle and her grandmother both fall ill with tuberculosis. Elsie is whisked away to a hospital where she is confined to bed for months and misses her beloved Nan desperately. However, in the hospital she makes friends, including Queenie, the hospital’s majestic white cat.
Jacqueline Wilson Diamond
Diamond wasn’t always a star. Born to penniless parents who longed for a strong, healthy son, she was a dainty, delicate daughter - and a bitter disappointment. Discovering she has an extraordinary natural gift for acrobatics, Diamond tries to use her talent to earn a few pennies, but simply brings shame on her family.