Black Book of Secrets – F E Higgins

When Ludlow Fitch’s parents cruelly betray him, he steals away on the back of a carriage and leaves behind the stinking City. He arrives in the dead of night at a remote village, where he crosses paths with the tall and limping figure of Joe Zabbidou – a pawnbroker with a difference. For Joe trades secrets, not goods, for cash. Ludlow is employed to record the villagers’ fiendish confessions in “The Black Book of Secrets” – bodysnatching; thievery; and murder. The people of Pagus Parvus have much to hide. But is Ludlow Fitch ready to release his own skeletons? And will he ever learn to trust his mysterious master?

HIVE – Mark Walden

H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) is a top secret school of applied villainy where children with a precocious gift for wrongdoing are sent to develop their talents into criminal mastermind. After all, ‘villains have the best lines and wear the best costumes’. One small catch is that the children cannot leave until training is complete, six years later. With villainy comes a certain freedom of thought, and every year one student in particular will show exceptional talent – after all, it takes the best to produce the worst. This year there are two students: Otto Malpense and his new friend Wing Fanchu are both exceptionally bad, and they are definitely not keen on being held against their will for six long years …

Oranges In No-man’s Land – Elizabeth Laird

Since her father left Lebanon to find work and her mother tragically died in a shell attack, ten-year-old Ayesha has been living in the bomb-ravaged city of Beirut with her granny and her two younger brothers. The city has been torn in half by civil war and a desolate, dangerous no man’s land divides the two sides. Only militiamen and tanks dare enter this deadly zone, but when Granny falls desperately ill Ayesha sets off on a terrifying journey to reach a doctor living in enemy territory.

Urgum the Axeman – Kjartan Poskitt

With this book, you’ll laugh your head off. Urgum the Axeman is the fiercest barbarian the Lost Desert has ever known. But one fateful day Urgum returns home to find that not only has his wife redecorated his cave and installed a bathroom, but she’s also produced a ten-year-old daughter. And, as Urgum will find out, Little Molly is a barbarian babe with attitude…

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence. Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to cross such a fence.

Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

Stephanie’s uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn’t fiction. Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source — the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard. When all hell breaks loose, it’s lucky for Skulduggery that he’s already dead. Though he’s about to discover that being a skeleton doesn’t stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there’s anything Skulduggery hates, it’s torture! Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing’s for sure: evil won’t know what’s hit it.