‘The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise’ – Dan Gemeinhart

Sometimes you come across a book that worms it’s way in…and this is one of those books. Heart-warming, feel good emotional rollercoaster…what a journey, and message.

Coyote Sunrise is unconventional in many ways. For the last five years she and her father, Rodeo, have been travelling round America in a converted school bus. While this might seem appealing, we soon learn this is a defence move after Coyote’s mum and sisters were killed in a road accident five years earlier.

When Coyote takes a call from her grandmother, she learns that the park near where they used to live is to be dug up. Having not visited since the accident, that could mean little…but Coyote is determined to return as she remembers burying a box of memories with her mother in the park. Hard though this will be, she feels that she can’t ignore this. Unfortunately, she has to find a way to get her dad to drive her across country, without telling him what they’re doing.

Our story focuses on the journey, where Coyote finds herself taking on board a ragtag bunch of runaways and misfits. Determined to show kindness, Coyote learns that many people have things they want to keep hidden and that sometimes you need to let people in to help you.

From start to finish this was a charming read, giving a beautiful message and showing how grief impacts us. I loved the goat, and couldn’t help but smile throughout!


‘Nightshade’ – Anthony Horowitz

With Alex Rider you come to expect the unexpected. Nightshade, the twelfth in the series, is a fast-paced explosive read that delivers in so many ways.

Although he’s trying to get back to normal life, nothing is ever going to be straightforward for Alex. He is, once again, contacted by the new head of MI6 when one of their agents is attacked. The person responsible for the attack was a fifteen year old boy…and Alex may well be the best hope they have of learning more about the boy known as Freddy who killed five of Brazil’s most dangerous police force.

Having already been mistaken for Julius Grief, Alex is shipped out to the facility from which he is thought to have escaped. The psychologist there is the only one who knows the truth about Alex, and it’s up to Alex himself to find a way in to befriend Freddy.

What follows is an adventure beyond your wildest imaginings.

Once again Alex finds himself relying on his wits and his very special set of skills. This time round he’s up against the mysterious Nightshade group who are planning a lethal attack on London. Alex has to learn the truth and find a way to stop what could, potentially, be the most dangerous event in British history. Business as usual – except this time MI6 have been shut down, Alex is on his own and there’s a leak from within.

An audacious scheme, plenty of opportunities for it to go wrong and – at its heart – young Alex being pushed to his limits. There’s a depth to this that hasn’t always been in the Alex Rider novels with the personal revelation about Mrs Jones…and the most ominous ending suggesting that things are not over.


The Cherub series – Robert Muchamore

As part of my Goodreads YA group challenge, November and December focuses on series reads. Sometimes this means persevering through books that you might prefer to leave – dare I say it Morganville Vampires series – but it can also act as a great means to an end…clearing up books lingering on the shelf that I keep meaning to get to, but never quite manage. Occasionally it makes me read something that I hadn’t considered.

The Cherub series is one of the latter.

Much loved by many of my reluctant – inevitably, boy – readers, the series takes the spy genre and modernises it a little. In this series, CHERUB is a secret Government organisation made up of children aged 10-17 years old. They are highly skilled, all highly intelligent and utterly lethal thanks to their intensive training. Unfortunately, they are still teenagers so their behaviour is often intensely frustrating.

Our main character is James, a young boy who ends up in trouble with the police after the death of his mother. Volatile and yet highly skilled in many ways, James is an ideal candidate for this organisation. We follow him through his training and each book focuses on a mission that the agents are sent on.

As an adult reading these – and particularly reading them back to back – the formula is readily apparent. You know what to expect and Muchamore delivers. James himself is in turns beguiling and irritating. Some of the ideas/references are starting to feel a little dated now, but I can certainly see the appeal for readers who like books full of action. It also doesn’t hurt that, deep down, I think many people would love the idea of being part of such a group.