The Tennis Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby (illustrated by Lucy Truman)
One of my very favourite books in the Trebizon series - it's the last term for prefect Pippa Fellowes-Walker, a character I love, and we get to see Becky's progress at tennis really improve. In addition, there's an intriguing mystery, and the friendship between the Six is fabulous. Lucy Truman's illustrations - particularly the one of Pippa painting Becky, one of the series's best scenes - are great, as ever.
Summer Camp at Trebizon by Anne Digby (illustrated by Lucy Truman)
I remember really liking this one growing up, but it's not held up as well as the others so far in the series. I think this is partly because there's a flood of new characters, sidelining Tish and Sue, in particular. Having said that everything in the series is a fun, quick read, and Lucy Truman's illustrations definitely add to the book.
Wintersong by S Jae-Jones
Absolutely gorgeous writing here and the fantasy and world-building is so good in the first half that reading on Kindle, I ordered a paperback when just 20% or so of the way through. The second half becomes more of a romance than is personally to my taste; regardless it's an easy recommendation and S Jae-Jones's language is so lyrical that I'm extremely keen to read whatever she writes next.
Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
Oh wow! Such a gorgeously fun read, Sofia is an utterly wonderful MC and her relationship with her family had me in stitches for much of the book (it gets much more emotional late on.) The guys she meets are great characters and I was left desperately hoping I was shipping her with the right person. (I won't say if I was or not!) The most hilarious adult novel I've read for a long time; I'm already incredibly excited for the upcoming sequel.
Flying Lessons And Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh
Outstanding collection with so many amazing stories! Matt de la Pena and Walter Dean Myers bookend it with two of the best shorts I've read for ages, but there's not a weak link in this wonderful anthology - and such variety in characters and stories! Special mention to contest winner Kelly J Baptist, whose story absolutely holds up against the more experienced and better known authors here. A definite must read!
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Following her excellent debut Seven Ways We Lie, Riley Redgate gives us a story about a girl cross-dressing to try and make it as part of one of her school's all male a capella groups. This was a fun read but also tackled the issues with being a scholarship student at a school full of rich people when your parents are struggling financially, and looked at gender roles in an interesting way as well. Great chemistry between the lead and her love interest, well worth reading.
Editing Emma by Chloe Seager
I got a super early look at a bound MS so will talk more about it once I've read a proof or finished copy, but just a heads-up that it's a really hilarious read and perfect for fans of Candy Harper or Beth Garrod!
The Complete Adventures of Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr
I bought this - a childhood favourite - to pass on to a work colleague for her son but couldn't resist rereading it myself first. It's a really funny and wonderfully feminist fairy tale, as Polly constantly outwits the wolf. Their relationship is surprisingly sweet at times, with her having to rescue him at a few points - perhaps most hilariously when he kidnaps her ultra-demanding baby sister!
Trust Me I'm Trouble by Mary Elizabeth Summer
Julep is back in a book that, like her first appearance, is a fun read which kept me entertained. I have to admit I think overall I preferred the first - this one was too implausible even for me at times - but on the plus side the romance here, as she falls for a girl, is wonderful and I loved seeing them together. As in book 1, the main story is tied up but there's a huge twist for J at the end. If there's a 3rd, I'll definitely read.
Mama Can't Raise No Man by Robyn Travis
Breathtaking debut novel told in letters between a young Black man in prison and his friends and family (with a few court transcripts.) The voice of every character is stunning, while the book is an entertaining, sometimes heartbreaking, and always deeply thought-provoking story of Black masculinity, injustice, life in prison and on the streets, and of being the child of a single mother. It builds to an incredible climax - a truly superb read.
Book of the Month:
Less of a close call than last time around, with two which stood out as the best by far. Ayisha Malik's Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged was brilliant and I'm incredibly excited for more from her soon in The Other Half Of Happiness, but Robyn Travis's Mana Can't Raise No Man is definitely the best I've read so far this year!