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January Book Club by Camilla Leask

Camilla Leask, our brilliant Book Club guru, gives us her top picks for January!

Freelance books publicist and mum of two, Camilla has worked predominantly with children’s authors for 14 years. There’s nothing she doesn’t know about books, hot off the press new releases and what our members and their families will enjoy reading.


PEOPLE LIKE HER by Ellery Lloyd (Pan Macmillan, Mantle HB £14.99), publishes on 21st January 2021

This thoroughly modern thriller reveals the trappings of social media fame, the lengths some will go to for ‘a like’ and the lengths others will go to for revenge.

To her 1 million adoring followers, top mumfluencer ‘mamabare’ is all about being honest. But is Emmy Jackson being honest to herself or her family?  And what price will she have to pay for online adoration and fame?

It’s hard to believe this is the first book from Ellery Lloyd, whose characters, story-telling and scene-setting are as assured as any. Continuously undecided about Emmy, this reader was gripped from the get-go.



SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury Circus, PB £8.99), out now

Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, SUCH A FUN AGE deserves every inch of praise it has received since publishing last year.

Emira Tucker works in Philadelphia as a babysitter for news anchor Peter and lifestyle guru Alix. When she is apprehended at an upmarket shop for ‘kidnapping’ the white toddler she’s actually babysitting, an explosive chain of events is set in motion. Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help.  When she meets someone from Alix’s past, the two women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.

SUCH A FUN AGE is a razor-sharp condemnation of humans, delivering home truths about racial blindness, virtue-signalling and white privilege with comic charm and blindsiding wisdom.


TALKING TO ALASKA by Anna Woltz (Rock the Boat, £6.99), publishes on 4th February 2021

Ideal for 11+ year olds, Talking To Alaska is the award-winning book by international Dutch bestseller Anna Woltz and is as heart-warming as it is thought-provoking.

As a new school year begins, Parker wants to be invisible to process a traumatic summer. But a new classmate Sven – equally vulnerable – won’t allow Parker the anonymity she craves.  Linked together by Alaska – Parker’s beloved dog who now belongs to Sven – this fractious relationship blossoms into friendship, respect and understanding.

Woltz plants the reader squarely in the characters’ shoes, making themes of understanding, hurt, friendship and privacy feel deeply personal.

Laura Watkinson’s translation into English deserves a special mention too.


THE SHARK CALLER by Zillah Bethell (Usborne PB £6.99), publishes on 4th February 2021

Zillah Bethell’s beautiful adventure will transport you to another world. Specifically to the palm-fringed shores of Papua New Guinea where the author grew up and spent a carefree, barefoot childhood.

Blue Wing is desperate to become a shark caller, but instead she must befriend infuriating newcomer Maple, an unexpected guest on Blue Wing’s island.
At first, the girls are too angry to share their secrets and become friends. But when the tide breathes the promise of treasure, they must journey together to the bottom of the ocean to brave a deadly shark.

THE SHARK CALLER is a spellbinding story of honour, grief, forgiveness and friendship. Bethell’s assured scene- setting, her use of Papua Pidgin English and cast of characters make the story leap off the page.


THE TINDIMS AND THE TURTLE TANGLE by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Lydia Corry (Zephyr, £6.99), publishes on 4th February 2021

Book two in Sally Gardner’s series for early readers continues the ripping adventures of champion recyclers The Tindims, a cast of miniature characters who have lived in secret on Rubbish Island for centuries.

In book two Broom and Captain Spoons find themselves stranded on a palm-fringed beach, where they come face to face with the ‘Long Legs’ for the first time.  Fortunately, these are decent Long Legs, who are helping turtles to lay their eggs safely, away from the debris that threatens to overwhelm this little idyll.

Written in dyslexia-friendly font and featuring heaps of illustrations to break up the text, this series should captivate even the most reluctant reader.  The story-telling charges along with gusto and is not overshadowed by the ecological message– if anything, it will inspire budding ecologists.

Camilla Leask has worked with literary giants including Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate 2019-2022 Cressida Cowell, the late Michael Bond and Paddington Bear, Enid Blyton Entertainment and the Narnia Estate among many others.

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