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Recommended Reads for October 2021

Lost, Ele Fountain

Lola and Amit live lives of luxury in an unnamed city, teeming with rickshaws, old market streets, haves and have nots. When their father travels out of the city for work, they patiently await his return. A week passes and he has not returned; in a dramatic turn of events they are evicted from their flat.

Forced to live on their wits, they seek shelter at the local railway station, living as street children ('street rats'), hiding in corners, berated by passersby, hungry, destitute and desperate. But, Lola is endlessly resourceful, optimistic and brave, even when she loses her brother. This is a deeply humane book about the importance of resilience and the universal right to kindness. 10+

Fireborn, Aisling Fowler

Intelligently written, well-structured and packed with thrilling adventure, bravery, determination and all sorts of darkly disgusting monsters. There's even a stone dog guardian that springs to life and carries the tenacious heroine off on her quest through the frozen prehistoric wilderness.

The language is impressive too - here's a storyteller who knows how to use adjectives.

The heroine, Twelve, brought to mind the feistiness and emotional intelligence of Lyra Belacqua. 10+.

The Dark Lady, Akala

Smart, sharply written story of Henry a dark-skinned thief living off his wits in the slums of London. What's different about him is the secret magic that runs through his veins which lets him decipher every text that is placed before him and his quite wonderful obsession with Shakespeare. This talent known only to Joan, a kindly witch, is exposed to a literary Duke who takes Henry captive as his translator.

Deception, greed, racial prejudice, class, lost identities and love, all converge with the grittiness of Elizabethan London providing the backdrop. Shot through with Shakespearean sonnets, the language of the streets, violence, darkly sinister goings on and the mystery that surrounds Henry's mother. Teen.

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