Welcome to School Notices
Get the inside track about your school,
school life, exclusive rewards, and
buy and sell to other independent
school parents Learn more.

September Book Club by Camilla Leask

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

Dropped the kids at school – got your cup of coffee – now breathe! That long awaited ‘me time‘ is here and what better way to relax than with a book…

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.


Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers (W&N, HB £14.99)

This exquisite word-of-mouth hit has ‘book club classic’ written all over it. Jean Swinney is a features writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and – nudging 40 – living a limited, lonely existence with her tricky mum.  When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, Jean takes it upon herself to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud.

This is a beautifully crafted tale of duty, desire and of finding happiness in a perfectly-realised 1950s. The cast of gentle characters, including the loveliest of narrators, conceal sorrow and angst, and every page is a masterclass in compassion, humour, humanity and perception.  Chambers is a genius and delivers a devastating outcome.


THINGS THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW by Ben Brooks (Quercus, £14.99)

A field guide for parents of 21st-century teenagers covering relationships to self-harm, drugs to sexting and everything in between.
28-year old author Ben Brooks has spoken to many teenagers, decoded endless research and statistics and drawn on his own relatively recent turbulent experiences to help parents navigate the teenage years. Through 11 short-ish, readable chapters, Brooks offers stark anecdotal insight, first-hand knowledge and salutary advice to help parents empathise with and better understand their teenagers.

Never claiming to be an expert, a psychologist ‘or even a particularly good person’, Brooks does understand the unique troubles of trying to grow up in the current climate. Brooks calmly addresses self-harming, body piercings, gender confusion, drugs and social media angst so that parents are more equipped to support their teenagers who ‘won’t thank you, but they might hate you less.’


After The Silence by Louise O’Neill (Riverrun, £12.99)

Louise O’Neill’s latest thriller is her ‘best book to date’ according to Marian Keyes.

After a wild party at Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s pile on the island of Inisrun, Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden. The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, which was cut off by a storm, but no-one was charged with the murder and the mystery of Nessa’s death remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for a crime that changed them forever.  Fast forward ten years to the arrival of a documentary crew, there to expose the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

Caroline Corcoran’s 
The Baby Group (£7.99, Avon, publishes 17 September)

This is a gripper about motherhood, secrets and lies. Scarlett’s golden life unravels overnight when someone sends a shocking video of her to everyone she knows. Only the friends in her new mothers’ group claim not to have seen it. But are they as innocent as them seem? Scarlett is forced to delve into her past to discover who is out to get her.





Richard Osman is delighting readers with this new book, which has become the UK’s fastest-selling debut crime novel.  A group of octogenarian sleuths, who meet regularly to investigate unsolved murders, find themselves in the middle of their first live case, the suspicious demise of a local property developer.  Packed with one-liners, stylish twists and an unorthodox cast.


Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (£7.99, HarperCollins)

This powerful novel of racial injustice is about wrongly imprisoned teenager, Amal, who finds hope through poetry and art. Punching The Air is co-written in spellbinding verse by acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Dr Yusef Salaam, one of the men known as the Central Park Five, who was wrongfully incarcerated as a teenager.

An altercation in a gentrified neighbourhood escalates into tragedy. Suddenly, 16-year old Amal Shahid’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage threaten to sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? A moving and profound story about how one boy maintains his humanity and fights for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.


Love, Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday, £12.99)

Dame Jacqueline Wilson returns to writing for teens with Love, Frankie, her first love story with a gay narrator. Frankie, who is nearly 14, is the non-conformist middle daughter of three bickering girls, whose mum is seriously ill with MS and whose dad has upped and left for a new wife who doesn’t like the girls. School life is as complicated, no thanks to beautiful Sally and her gang of bullies.  Against the odds, Sally strikes up a friendship with Frankie, at the same time as Frankie’s gorgeous, kind childhood buddie Sam is falling for her. Are Frankie’s feelings for Sally reciprocated?

You’ll be rooting for everyone in this book, a Wilson trademark, much like the ending…


THE TINDIMS OF RUBBISH ISLAND (Zephyr £6.99) by Sally Gardner with Lydia Corry’s illustrations

A welcome addition to that tricky early reader stage, THE TINDIMS is the fun new series from award-winner Sally Gardner and her illustrator daughter Lydia Corry.  The tiny Tindims are champion recyclers and have lived in secret on an island made of rubbish for centuries.  When plastic threatens to overwhelm their island, they are compelled to make contact with humans for the first time, hoping to inspire conservation and sustainability. Gardner’s storytelling skills and Lydia’s lovely illustrations make this a fun (rather than didactic) series. Sally and Lydia are both dyslexic and THE TINDIMS is printed in dyslexia-friendly font with pictures on every page making the series ideal for reluctant 5-8 year olds.


Cressida Cowell’s WIZARDS OF ONCE Never and Forever: (HB £12.99 Hodder Children’s publishes 17th September)

Readers will love this fourth and final book in Cowell’s high octane WIZARDS OF ONCE series, and will finally discover the narrator’s identity. Cowell is one of our greatest living story-tellers and readers will be left on the edge of their seats / beds, wondering right to the end whether Xar, Wish and their bonkers cohort of creatures and accessories (enchanted spoons, flying doors) will triumph over the vile witches once and for all.

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.

Other similar posts

Logged out | Log in