October Book Club by Camilla Leask


Camilla Leask, our brilliant Book Club guru, gives us her top picks for October!

Freelance books publicist and mum of two, Camilla has worked predominantly with children’s authors for 14 years. There’s nothing she doesn’t know about books, hot off the press new releases and what our members and their families will enjoy reading.


FOR ADULTS:

GHOSTS (Fig Tree, HB £14.99) by Dolly Alderton, podcaster and queen of modern romance.

Nina George Dean has a career she loves, her own flat and a group of good friends. On her 32nd birthday, she signs up to a dating app, not expecting much having seen how it’s played out for her best friend Lola. But her first date with Max exceeds every expectation.  After three blissful months as a couple and the day after he tells her he loves her, Max vanishes without trace. Nina soon realises she has been ghosted and suffers the emotional impact of silent rejection, exaggerated by the disruptive behaviour of her noisy neighbour Angelo.

Meanwhile, Nina is facing additional trauma and loss – her beloved dad has dementia, which takes its toll on her mum, who’s searching for a new identity. Nina’s ex-boyfriend and close friend is getting married and she feels as though she is losing her oldest friend Katherine to married life and kids.

Alderton’s whipsmart turn of phrase provides enough levity to prevent Ghosts from becoming self-indulgent. Instead, this is a page-turning, honest portrayal of the highs and lows of life in your early thirties.

 

ONE BY ONE by Ruth Ware, publishes on 12th November (Vintage Publishing / Harvill Secker £12.99)

A tense and gripping psychological thriller from the modern-day Agatha Christie.

The stakeholders and directors of hot new music app Snoop gather in a remote luxury chalet, above the fictional resort of Saint Antoine to decide the company’s future. A buyout is set to make millionaires of some, but not all. Tensions are already high among a group divided by history and relationships and when an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, the body count starts to rise. First a board member goes missing, then one by one Snoop execs are murdered. . .  It’s up to the remaining guests and chalet staff to work out why someone would resort to murder. And who that someone is.  Expect a chilling page-turner.

 


TEENS:

DEEPLIGHT by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s, PB £4.99)

Costa Award-winner Frances Hardinge brings readers a rich, otherworldly story about 14-year old orphan Hark and his wayward best friend Jelt, who live on an island in the Myriad archipelago, where the hideous, bloated gods recently dominated before their cataclysmic self-destruction.

Hark and Jelt will go to any length to scavenge items of worth, even if it means diving into the dangerous undersea, where the remains of the gods are believed to be stirring. When Hark is arrested and sent to a neighbouring island, Jelt dives into the Undersea where he starts to transform.

Hark and his new ‘sea-kissed’ friend Selphin – deaf from too much time spent underwater – must travel to the undersea to rescue Jelt and ultimately save the islands from a catastrophic fate.
This is a complex, multi-layered book that requires a degree of patience and faith in Hardinge’s astounding prose and world-building.

 

HERE I STAND: STORIES THAT SPEAK FOR FREEDOM, Walker PB £7.99

Edited by Amnesty International UK

First published in 2017 but as relevant three years on, 25 leading authors and illustrators explore the major human rights issues facing young people, through this collection of short stories and poems ‘for teens with a conscience.’

Contributors including Tony Birch, John Boyne, Sita Brahmachari, Sarah Crossan, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, Matt Haig, Frances Hardinge, Elizabeth Laird, Sabrina Mahfouz, Chelsea Manning, Chibundu Onuzo, Bali Rai, Chris Riddell, and Tim Wynne-Jones tackle abuse, trafficking, asylum-seeking, FGM, religious extremism, women’s suffrage, indigenous people and pollution. Awareness is power.


FOR KIDS:

THE WIZARD IN MY SHED by Simon Farnaby (Hodder Children’s HB £12.99)

Best known for his wonderfully silly roles in Horrible Histories and the Paddington movies, Simon Farnaby’s first foray into children’s books is a time-defying romp packed with a cast of entertaining characters. Rose lives in a small house in a small town with her self-absorbed older brother and her mum, who’s in the grip of depression brought on by the sudden death of Rose’s beloved dad four years earlier. Her only friend is her guinea pig called Bubbles so when Rose bumps into Merdyn, a powerful warlock cast out of the Dark Ages, she thinks he could be just what she needs. In exchange for a spell to enhance her life, Rose agrees to help Merdyn navigate modern life, housing him in the garden shed.  Hell bent on finding Merdyn’s magic staff to help him return to the Dark Ages, this unlikely pair’s journey of mishaps and destruction will change both of their lives forever.

 

THE BOOK OF HOPES, Bloomsbury Children’s Books (HB £12.99)

The brainchild of award-winning author Katherine Rundell, The Book of Hopes was born out of the early days of lockdown, and is dedicated to ‘everyone currently working in hospitals: you are the stuff that wild, heroic tales are made of.’  The book is designed to ‘comfort, inspire and entertain’, which it does in spades with its collection of short stories, musings, poems, memories, jokes and anecdotes from over 100 writers and illustrators.  Contributors include Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Onjali Q. Rauf, David Almond, Sita Brahmachari, Alex T. Smith, Jasbinder Bilan, Joseph Coelho and other writing royalty. Pages are peppered with the beautiful illustrations of Axel Scheffler, Lauren Child, Polly Dunbar, Emily Gravett, Melissa Castrillón to name a few.Proceeds from book sales support NHS Charities Together.

‘It’s so much easier to cope / If you decide to live in Hope’
Anthony Horowitz 

 

 


Camilla Leask has worked with literary giants including Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate 2019-2022 Cressida Cowell, the late Michael Bond and Paddington Bear, Enid Blyton Entertainment and the Narnia Estate among many others.



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