Top Texts for November 2022

Marilyn Brocklehurst has chosen some superb top texts for November

Sally Jones and the False Rose

by Jakob Wegelius

Our favourite ape, Sally Jones, is back with another thrilling adventure that leads her into the dark underbelly of Glasgow. After finding a mysterious necklace hidden on their boat “The Hudson Queen”, Sally and the Chief sail to Glasgow where they become entangled with a gruesome gang of nefarious types led by a smuggler queen. The atmosphere is dark and murky and the tone of the story is more grown-up, with the threat of violence around every corner and poor Sally becoming enslaved by the gang. The mystery at the heart of the story holds the reader in its grip throughout, and even when the outlook is bleak, we still have hope for Sally Jones. Sally’s burgeoning kinship with the unfortunate Bernie gives the story an emotional pull and sheds light on the mystery towards the conclusion of the book. A very satisfying and intriguing sequel to The Murderer’s Ape which can also be enjoyed as a standalone. I can’t wait for the next adventure!

Tsunami Girl

by Julian Sedgwick and illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada

Tsunami Girl is a beautiful, heart-wrenching and powerful coming-of-age story which is set during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Yuki is visiting her Grandpa in Japan when the tsunami strikes, and the narrative is split between the events of the tsunami, where Yuki loses her Grandpa, and the aftermath of trauma and Yuki’s desperation to go back and find out what happened to her Grandpa. The prose is interspersed with Chie Kutsuwada’s manga panels that bring to life the events of the tsunami and Yuki’s inner world and childhood imaginary friend Half Wave. I loved the ghostly atmosphere of the story and the sense of empty space where people once lived now populated by ghosts. The book explores what home is and how difficult it can be to reconcile where you belong as a person of dual heritage. It is also about how important it is to gain closure on a traumatic event and the lengths to which you must go to say goodbye. A must-read for all older readers.

The Memory Thieves

by Darren Simpson

This gripping science-fiction mystery follows Cyan, a resident of the faintly sinister Elsewhere Sanctuary, on his quest to discover what the words etched into the bones of a marooned whale skeleton really mean. Stranded in a world of sand dunes, long since abandoned by the sea, Cyan and his friends spend their days exploring wrecks of ancient cruise ships, with little regard to why they are there or what the pills they imbibe are doing to them. They only know that they all came here to forget something traumatic from their past. As new resident Jonquil begins to resist her treatment and then disappears altogether, Cyan suspects that something isn’t quite right. This is a thrilling and thought-provoking adventure story from Darren Simpson, an intriguing storyteller for older readers – his debut novel, Scavengers, was also an excellent mystery and coming-of-age book.

NCBC Owner Marilyn Brocklehurst

About this month's reviewer

Marilyn Brocklehurst is a librarian at heart. She worked her way up through the Library Service before leaving to set up her ideal bookshop – the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre. Through the Centre she freely dispenses her unquenchable enthusiasm for books and reading. With over 50,000 personally selected books on display at the Centre and with her huge knowledge base she is called on to help in many ways e.g., with school library improvement, National conference support, the judging of National book awards and with book reviews for The Bookseller, The Guardian and others. To find out more about her bookshop visit