To round-off the year, here is the final part of my Festive Fifteen top reads of 2010. (You can read Parts One and Two here, if you missed them.)
Rowan The Strange by Julie Hearn.It's September 1939 and war has just been declared. Rowan can hear his sister in the house, playing the piano. That's when the voices start – telling him a bomb will fall on them if she doesn't stop. When Laurel refuses to listen to his warning, Rowan slams the lid down in desperation, breaking three of her fingers in the process. This isn't the first time that Rowan has done something strange, so while other children are being evacuated to the country, Rowan is sent to a psychiatric hospital where the latest treatments are available – but nobody predicts the effect they will have on him …
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay.
Basketball-mad Andi hopes her long lost half-brother, Bernardo, will turn out tall and just as mad on basketball as she is. Sixteen-year-old Nardo isn't just tall – he's a giant. He lives in a village in the Philippines and is desperate to go to England, but there is a problem. Everybody in the village believes that he is the legendary Bernardo The Giant, and local superstition states that his presence is the only reason the town has not been destroyed by an earthquake.
When I Was Joe by Keren David.
When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he identifies, so he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty is given a new name, a new look and a cool new image. Life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can’t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them out of hiding.
Witchfinder by William Hussey.
When a violent storm rages around the little village of Hobarron's Hollow, a young boy is sacrificed to prevent an apocalyptic disaster known as the Demontide. Twenty-five years later, another boy, Jake Harker, finds himself drawn into the nightmare of the Demontide. Witches and demon familiars stalk his every move, while his dreams are plagued by visions of a 17th Century Witchfinder. When his father is abducted, Jake must face the terrible secrets kept by those closest to him and a shocking truth that will change his life forever . . .
Wolf by Gillian Cross.
He came in the early morning, at about half past two. His feet padded along the balcony, slinking silently past the closed doors of the other flats. No one glimpsed the shadow flickering across the curtain or noticed the uneven rhythm of his steps, except Cassy. The following morning, Cassy is packed off with no explanation, to stay with her mother. But Cassy knows something is wrong – she's being followed. And the wolf who stalks her through her dreams, is much more dangerous – and real – than she realises.
I hope my Festive Fifteen has been of interest, and that there are a couple of titles you've not read, but might try out as a result. Thanks to everyone who left comments and suggestions of their own.
For more book recommendations, check out Candy Gourlay's blog and the comments that follow it.