The Book of You: Jodie, by Randa Abdel-Fattah

‘Jodie…?’ Deyana said in a hushed tone.
‘What’s going…?’ Rania couldn’t bring herself to continue.
There was a message on the page.
On what had been a blank page only moments ago.
A message addressed to me.
The three of us screamed and ran out of the room.

Friends Jodie, Rania and Deyana are surprised to find an old book hidden behind a brick in the wall of the library storeroom. They are more surprised to find that the book is empty of words. But when they discover that the book writes itself, directly to Jodie, they are disbelieving. How does the book know what is happening in Jodie’s life, and is the cryptic advice the book gives useful or just plain confusing?

Jodie is the first book in a new series, The Book of You and so sets up the premise of the series – a book with a connection an orphan previously resident in the school, which mysteriously communicates with the reader. At the same time, this is also a story about the issues of a blended family and marital breakdown, as Jodie struggles to deal with the breakdown of her parents’ marriage and the new stepsister her father’s new relationship affords.

Tween readers will enjoy the novelty of the premise and the book’s role in events, and will look forward to further instalments in the series.


Jodie (Book of You)

Jodie , by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Omnibus, 2013
ISBN 9781742990101

Available from good bookstores and online.

In The Wings, by Elsbeth Edgar

Ella dropped her bag and stared at the poster pinned to the noticeboard. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania. Oberon. Puck. Ella saw a cloud of fairies. A moonlit forest. Filmy dresses with butterfly wings. She sighed. Would she have the courage to audition? Probably not. Her heart pounded at the very thought of it.
Ella dreams of being an actor, but when auditions for the school play are advertised, she knows she won’t try out.. It’s impossible to be on stage when you suffer stage fright. Instead, she’ll be part of the stage crew, like she was last year. Still, she wishes it could be different.
When the grandfather she’s never met comes back from England and moves in, things start to change. Grandpa is a retired actor, and is keen to encourage Lucy to follow her dreams. Lucy assures him that she doesn’t want to act, but Grandpa seems to see through her. Grandpa is the only change in Lucy’s life. Her best friend Gina seems no longer interested in the same things and there’s a new boy at school who seems conceited, but still seems to be everywhere Ella goes.
In the Wings is a moving story of self-discovery, friendship and family. There are several issues explored, but the issues don’t overshadow the story, which will appeal to tween readers.

In the Wings, by Elsbeth Edgar
Walker Books, 2013
ISBN 9781922077325

Available from good bookstores or online .

The Romance Diaries: Ruby, by Jenna Austen

And that’s when it hits me like a thunderbolt. The REAL reason people make mistakes in romance is that they imagine they’re in one kind of story but actually they’re in another!

Ruby believes that real life romances, like romantic stories, fall into two categories – the Jane Austen-esque romantic comedy, or the Jayne Eyre gothic romance. The problem, though, is that people think they’re in one kind of romance when really they’re in the other – and so they fail. But because she knows so much, Ruby has the solution a Romantic Action Plan (RAP) to help her best friend Bella, her sister Jo, and even her mum find true love. What could possibly go wrong?

The Romance Diaries: Ruby is a sweetly romantic diary format offering with a Jane Austen-esque mix of comedy, cads and drama. The first in a new series from ABC Books and Jenna Austen (a pseudonym of award winning author Sophie Masson), the story is told over three months of narrator Ruby’s life as she navigates the challenges of friendship, family and first love.

Aimed squarely at tween readers looking for gentle romance novels, the series is sure to be a hit.

The Romance Diaries - Ruby

The Romance Diaries: Ruby, by Jenna Austen
ABC Books, 2013
ISBN 9780733331527

Available from good bookstores or