By Anna Robinson, Annie Ku, Georgia Wells and Steph Carroll
Seventeen: A Coming-of-Age Story by Joe Gibson
20 July 2023, Simon & Schuster
Trigger Warning: Abuse, coercive control
Joe Gibson’s engaging, troubling and unforgettable novel charts the life of seventeen-year-old Joe in 1992. Whilst focusing on his A-levels, he is also interested in his social life which consists of smoking, Britpop and girls.
He is looking forward to his gap year of travelling before university when his teacher, who is in her mid-thirties, takes an interest in him.
For many teenage boys, this is a dream come true.
During his adolescent years at sixth form, Joe is bound to a woman twice his age in a complicated web of sex, lies and coercive control. The affair is the result of great abuse of authority, power and a scheme of grooming. The backdrop is the corridors and rooms of one of Britain’s major private schools. Those around them said nothing and Joe was left vulnerable and under attack.
Thirty years since the affair, Joe Gibson reveals the details of the relationship that dominated his teenage years and sculpted the course of his life. With a mix of ‘90s nostalgia and the atmosphere that grips the final months of a school life, Joe details the effects of the relationship and the decisions he made at seventeen.
Highlighting the often-hidden experiences of male victims of abuse, Gibson’s story reveals the long-lasting effects of coercion and abuse and the shocking truth of exploitation of young people by those with a duty of care.
Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto
25 July 2023, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Wren is a Bonesmith, a fighter who protects the city of Dominion from the volatile and violent dead. The dead don’t go peacefully and Bonesmiths fight to sever the ghosts from their physical bodies, but when Wren’s trial to become a Valkyr warrior is sabotaged, she is banished to serve at The Border Wall.
This is the last defence between civilisation and the outside Wasteland, which is a dire place where the violent dead are left unchecked. She is desperate to prove her worth to her hostile family, when the opportunity arises to save a kidnapped House of Gold Prince from across the wall. However, she must team up with Julian, an Ironsmith from the exiled House and cross the Breach together.
Their houses are sworn enemies and knowing that Julian is from the House of Iron who was responsible for creating the Breach, makes their alliance even more uneasy. On their journey, Wren and Julian fight each other as much as they fight the undead, and they learn that there is more to this kidnapping than they first expected. It seems a sinister alliance is forming between the dead and the living…
Make sure to keep your eye out for the first book in the new House of Dead series.
Her Little Flowers by Shannon Morgan
25 July 2023, Kensington Books
Francine Thwaite has lived in her ancestral home, an Elizabethan manor tucked away in the Lake District, all fifty-five years of her life. She lives almost alone, sharing the space with friendly spirits. Among them is Bree, a mischievous ghost girl who has been Francine’s companion since childhood.
The peace at Thwaite Manor is disrupted when Francine’s estranged sister, Madeleine, returns after a prolonged absence. Madeleine brings a disturbing account that challenges Francine’s long-held beliefs. It is a tale of cruelty, desperation, terror and overwhelming heartache as Francine delves deeper into her family’s dark past. Upon reflecting on her own possible involvement, she realises that facing the truth may result in losing what she cherishes most.
Her Little Flowers is a hauntingly beautiful tale that evokes both deep emotions and shivers down the spine. It explores themes of grief, enduring love and the lingering remorse that only forgiveness can alleviate.
One of Us is Back by Karen McManus
27 July 2023, Penguin
The third and final instalment of the thrilling ‘One of Us is Lying’ series lands this summer, taking us back to Bayview one last time.
Life for the Bayview crew has been far from easy. They thought it was all over, but it’s all about to begin again. The original Bayview Four had to prove they weren’t killers and the next generation had to fend off a vengeful copycat. However, it’s time for another game – and no one understands the rules. It gets serious when one member of the group disappears and they soon realise the mysterious billboard which said “Time for a new game, Bayview” was no joke.
No one is safe from being a target and when someone unexpected makes a return to Bayview, things go from bad to deadly. If Simon was right about one thing, it’s that secrets don’t stay hidden for long and will always come out in the end.
From the perspectives of fan favourites, Addy, Phoebe and Nate, One of Us is Back will provide us with the long-awaited conclusion to the events of Bayview. So, buckle up for another gripping and explosive trip to Bayview with one last dangerous game to play.