Rat Heaven

Freddie is a pet rat. He belongs to a girl who’s growing up – and growing away from the babyish things of childhood. She’s already swapped her teddy bears and family days out for trendy gear and a brilliant new best friend. But what about Freddie? He used to be her best friend. How could she break her promise? And where will a little lonely rat fit into this cool new life?

Young Novellas

Dumb Creatures

This is the flawlessly written story of Tom, who can't talk, although he can hear and is perfectly intelligent. Tom's disability leaves people - not his mum or his speech therapist, but others - thinking he's not dumb only in the sense of being silent, but also stupid.

Tom spends a lot of time at the zoo, where his signing skills allow him to hold conversations with Zanzi the gorilla, mother of a baby whom she and Tom call Beautiful. But Beautiful disappears and Tom protests in the only way he can; silently, but dramatically. He risks several lives, both human and gorilla, until his stand-off is beautifully resolved. This short novel is simply but compellingly written and utterly believable, a lovely book about the power of trust and the importance of not underestimating those we cannot always understand.

Mark Two

"Mark Burgess has hit puberty with gusto - surly, smelly but somehow gorgeous, he is the epitome of cool at school. Then disaster strikes! An apparition appears behind him in the mirror - it's Mark Two, his perfectly groomed, goody-goody Doppelganger! Somehow, he has to get rid of him before he destroys Mark's reputation forever."

The Beast of Crowsfoot Cottage

Something's afoot in the area near Crowsfoot Cottage. A strange beast has been spotted in the night, a peculiar print found in the mud. Then Sophie Ellis and her stepfather go missing from their cottage. The police find bloodstains in the cottage shed - human and animal! Sophie and her father are presumed dead, feared eaten. The army is called in to capture the Beast but it seems to have vanished. What is going on? Is there an easy explanation or is something more sinister sneaking near Crowsfoot...?

Shamanka

"'What is Magic? What is Illusion? What is Real?' These are the three questions that Sam Khaan must find the answers to on her quest to locate her missing parents and unravel the mystery of why she was abandoned with her cruel aunt. A pet orang-utan, a ringmaster's hat and a mysterious notebook supposedly written by her witch-doctor grandfather are the only weapons Sam has in her possession when she sets off on a journey which will take her around the world and deep into her past.

This book was an absolutely enthralling read; the story draws a reader in with a combination of reader participation and embroiling narrative. The narrative is innovative; the narrator addresses the reader as an integral part of the story, and the format of the book in part echoes the notebook Sam is supposed to be carrying.

I would recommend it wholeheartedly to young and old readers alike."

"Shamanka is my favourite book of all time and the copy that I own has a puzzle on the inside of the cover. I am stuck on one of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, it looks like a knife and means e, i or j however I am not sure which letter to use...Do you know if there is an answer to this puzzle? Or is it just an illusion?" - Max (student)

Jimmy Scar

Jeanne Willis portrays the grim day-to-day existance of Gemma Diamond and her over-protective father Jim. Having been made homeless by an unscrupulous landlord, Jim is arrested trying to break into their flat to rescue Gemma's dog, Duke. Gemma takes off with Duke and reinvents herself as a boy, Jimmy Scar. When she is taken in by an eccentric older woman, Monti, who leads an alternative lifestyle in the woods, Gemma learns survival skills and discovers much about herself and real values.

"Jeanne Willis writes superbly, creating credible characters and an intricate plot. After twists and turns, the various strands come together. The story is ultimately satisfying for children aged 10 and above." - T.E.S.

Rocket Science

"When a book refuses to be pigeonholed for a particular age group, it is often the mark of genius. Jeanne Willis's 'Rocket Science' is one such; it sets her firmly up alongside Anne Fine as a supreme mistress of the interface between children's reality and that of the adult, 'real' world... the story is told with a hard-edged wit." - The Times.

Useful Links