Top Texts for May

Carol Carter maintains her passion for building reading communities and finding the right book to make every child a reader​

Potkin abd Stubbs

By Sophie Green

Potkin and Stubbs is a wonderful noir mystery thriller, complete with down-and-out private investigators, corrupt government officials, neon-soaked alleyways and, of course, a crime to solve.

Lil is ‘a wiry 12-year-old with cup handle ears and a belly full of ambition’ who dreams of being an investigative journalist. How can you not warm to a girl like that?

There are supernatural elements and fast-paced twists and turns aplenty as Lil becomes drawn into investigating a series of unexplained fires and suspicious deaths. Along the way, we meet a host of fascinating characters including Nedly, a mysterious boy who struggles to be seen, and jaded private investigator, Abe Mandrel. The excitement builds to a tense and genuinely scary crescendo, before tying up most (but, tantalisingly, not all) of the loose ends with a satisfying conclusion.

Jack from Earth

By Chris Wooding

Jack’s family is not like anyone else’s. After a hard day at school, there’s no TV or games for him – it’s straight into pop quizzes on chemical elements, target shooting, assault courses and surprise attacks. Making friends is also hard when you move house every year, and the school nerd, Thomas, has decided you are his new best friend.

But soon Jack and Thomas find a secret room in the attic and find themselves being chased by killer aliens, kidnapped through a hole in the sky and caught up in an epic quest to save the universe. Along the way, the unlikely pair meet brilliantly inventive alien lifeforms, a bickering team of inter-galactic bounty hunters and hyper-intelligent space craft, Epsilon.

Like a mash-up of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who and Red Dwarf, Jack from Earth is a hilarious and exciting rollercoaster, perfect for fans of Alex Rider and Skulduggery Pleasant who are looking for a fantastic plot but also plenty of humour and surprises.


By Danny Rurlander

Spylark is a thoroughly modern adventure story. Mixing drone technology with stunning Lake District scenery, it will be devoured by Year 5 and 6 children with a thirst for adventure and escape from daily life.

Tom Hopkins is 13 years old and not much has gone right in his life in the last few years – his much-loved father is MIA, presumed dead; he walks with a stick since a freak school trip accident, and he also has to contend with a new school, bullies and living with his great aunt.

But soon, using his self-built drone, Tom witnesses a suspicious boat explosion on the lake and is drawn into a terror plot involving military helicopters, underground aqueducts, VIP assassinations and high-speed digger chases. But who will believe a teenager with no hard evidence? Tom is going to have to foil the plot himself!

Spylark is remarkably well-written debut novel. Danny Rurlander deftly juggles sketching realistic, multi-faceted personalities in the main child characters, wonderful landscape descriptions of the Lake District and a plot that never lets up.


About this month's reviewer

Carol Carter works as Library Co-ordinator at Headlands Primary School in Northampton, part of NPAT Multi-Academy Trust. Her passion is building reading communities and finding the right book to make every child a reader. She has presented workshops on “Diverse Texts for Diverse Readers” and has developed a Trust-wide reading challenge across 11 schools. She tweets as @HPSLibrary.