Book club suggested titles
After your book club has been established by a coordinator and registered with our Book Club Ambassador, your club can choose three of the following titles in your age category. Your coordinator will advise us which titles have been chosen and we will send copies of the books to you directly.
For Junior book clubs (aged approximately 8-11)
FloodWorld by Tom Huddleston (2019) Nosy Crow (action)
FloodWorld is a gripping, action-packed story for 9yrs+ readers. Kara and Joe spend their days navigating the perilous waterways of a sunken city, scratching out a living in the ruins. But when they come into possession of a mysterious map, they find themselves in a world of trouble. Suddenly everyone’s after them: gangsters, cops and ruthless Mariner pirates in their hi-tech submarines. The two children must find a way to fight back before FloodWorld’s walls come tumbling down.
The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius (2018) Pushkin Children’s Books (confident readers)
Sally Jones is an extraordinary gorilla and a brilliant ship’s engineer who sails the high seas on The Hudson Queen with her loyal friend the Chief. One day the shipmates are offered a mysterious job that promises to pay big bucks, but then disaster strikes, the job goes wrong and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder. For Sally Jones this is the start of a grand adventure and a desperate quest to clear her friend’s name. By freighter, steam train and bi-plane the intrepid ape journeys from Lisbon to Bombay and beyond in search of the truth. But powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their own secrets…
Ingo by Helen Dunmore (2012) Harper Collins (magical adventure)
This is a spellbinding magical adventure. Once there was a man who fell in love with a mermaid. He swam down into the sea to be with her, and was never seen again… Sapphire’s father told her that story when she was little. When he is lost at sea she can’t help but think of that old myth and she is convinced he’s still alive. Then, the following summer, Sapphy meets Faro, an enigmatic and intriguing Mer boy. Diving down into Ingo, she and her brother Conor discover a world she never knew existed, where she must let go of all her air thoughts and embrace the sea. Not only is Sapphy intoxicated by the Mer world, she longs to see her father once more. And she’s sure she can hear him singing across the water!
Amari and the Night Brothers by BB Alston (2021) Egmont (magical fantasy)
Amari Peters knows three things. Her big brother Quinton has gone missing. No one will talk about it. His mysterious job holds the secret … So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon. Amari must compete against kids who have known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous. With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton…
Secrets of the Sun King by Emma Carroll (2018) Faber & Faber (confident readers)
A discovery from ancient Egypt…
A cursed package…
The untold story of a young pharaoh…
When Lilian Kaye finds a parcel on her grandad’s doorstep, she is shocked to see who sent it: a famous Egyptologist, found dead that very morning, according to every newspaper in England! The mysterious package holds the key to a story… about a king whose tomb archaeologists are desperately hunting for. Lil and her friends must embark on an incredible journey – to return the package to its resting place, to protect those they love, and to break the deadly pharaoh’s curse…
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver (2011) Orion Children’s Books (Middle Stone Age adventure)
Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world. Only one boy can stop it – twelve year old Torak. With his dying breath, Torak’s father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit’s help to overcome it. Torak is an unwilling hero. He is scared and trusts no one. His only companion is a wolf cub only three moons old, whom he seems to understand better than any human. Theirs is a terrifying quest in a world of wolves, tree spirits and Hidden People, a world in which trusting a friend means risking your life.
Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace (2015) Simon and Schuster Children’s Books (funny)
What would YOU do…if the whole world just stopped? Yes the WHOLE WORLD. Birds in the air. Planes in the sky. And every single person on the planet – except you! Because that’s what keeps happening to ten-year-old Hamish Ellerby. And it’s being caused by The WorldStoppers and their terrifying friends The Terribles! They have a PLAN! They want to take our world for their own…Oh, and they hate children. Especially if you’re a child who knows about them. Hang on – You know now, don’t you? Oh dear. Can Hamish save us from the WorldStoppers? Only time will tell!
Varjak Paw by S F Said (2014) Corgi (feline adventure and martial arts)
Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue kitten. He lives high up in an old house on a hill. He’s never left home, but then his grandfather tells him about the Way – a secret martial art for cats. Now Varjak must use the Way to survive in a city full of dangerous dogs, cat gangs and, strangest of all the mysterious Vanishings.
The Breakfast Club Adventures by Marcus Rashford (2022) Macmillan Children’s Books (adventure)
There’s something fishy going on at school . . .
When twelve-year-old Marcus kicks his favourite football over the school fence, he knows he’s never getting it back. Nothing that goes over that wall ever comes back. But when Marcus gets a mysterious note inviting him to join the Breakfast Club Investigators, he is soon pulled into an exciting adventure with his new mates Stacey, Lise and Asim to solve the mystery and get his football back!
Packed full of friendship, adventure, community and fun, you won’t want to miss The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Beast Beyond the Fence, Marcus Rashford’s first fiction book for children.
For Senior book clubs (aged approximately 12-16)
Barakah Beats by Maleeha Siddiqui (2021) Scholastic (contemporary fiction)
A story about finding your voice and fitting in. 12-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but is about to embark on middle school and is feeling nervous. Nimra is desperate to fit in but finds the popular kids avoid her because of her hijab, and her best-friend Jenna isn’t at the same school. So when she is invited to join the school’s popular band, Nimra is unsure what to do. She has been taught that music isn’t allowed in Islam, but it is an opportunity to make new friends and win back the graces of her best-friend Jenna. What will Nimra do?
Lionheart Girl by Yaba Badoe (2022) Zephyr (magical realist)
African myth and magic beat in the dark heart of this fable about witchcraft, superstition, the bonds we choose and those we cannot. Born into a family of West African witches, Sheba’s terrified of her mother who is deadly dangerous. But like mother, like daughter – magic runs through her blood and Sheba discovers powers of her own. Her touch can unravel people’s innermost thoughts; their hopes, their fears – their secrets. Sheba too can shape-shift. Through the communion of ancient magic, blood and friendship, she slowly uncovers the murderous truth about her stolen childhood and steels herself for the future.
The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros (2022) Firefly Press (heart-warming post-apocalyptic)
Dylan was six when The End came, back in 2018; when the electricity went off for good, and the ‘normal’ 21st-century world he knew disappeared. Now he’s 14 and he and his mam have survived in their isolated hilltop house above the village of Nebo in north-west Wales, learning new skills, and returning to old ways of living. Despite their close understanding, the relationship between mother and son changes subtly as Dylan must take on adult responsibilities. And they each have their own secrets, which emerge as, in turn, they jot down their thoughts and memories win a found notebook – the Blue Book of Nebo.
Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle (2022) Usborne (music and romance)
Prince Jones is passionate about music and romance, dishing out relationship advice on his Love Radio show. But his own love life is looking kind of quiet… Until he meets Dani Ford. Dani isn’t looking for anybody. She’s focused on her plan to move to New York City to become a famous author, and avoiding dealing with what happened at that party a few months ago. When the two meet, sparks fly – but Dani’s not looking to get derailed. So she gives Prince just three dates to convince her that he’s worth falling for…
Sometimes the best love story is the one you write yourself.
The Infinity Files by S M Wilson (2021) Usborne (action/adventure)
Escape into space with the action-packed new series from the author of The Extinction Trials, perfect for fans of Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Aurora Cycle.
Ash Yang dreamed of being a starfighter pilot. But when she crashes out of her final test – literally – she somehow lands the most powerful job in the universe. As Guardian of the Infinity Files she must secretly planet-hop through the galaxies, stealing or returning treasures that have the power to stop wars…or start them. But when her home planet is the one at war, can she use her new skills to save it.
Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman (2014) Corgi (dystopian novel)
Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony. But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy. When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realises he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really fighting for.
Deep Light by Frances Hardinge (2020) Macmillan (confident readers)
The gods of the Myriad were as real as the coastlines and currents, and as merciless as the winds and whirlpools. Now the gods are dead, but their remains are stirring beneath the waves…
On the streets of the Island of Lady’s Crave live 14-year-old urchins Hark and his best friend Jelt. They are scavengers: diving for relics of the gods, desperate for anything they can sell. But there is something dangerous in the deep waters of the undersea, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it. When the waves try to claim Jelt, Hark will do anything to save him. Even if it means compromising not just who Jelt is, but what he is…
Holes by Louis Sachar (2015) Bloomsbury (good for both reluctant and keen readers)
Stanley Yelnats’ family has a history of bad luck, so when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre (which isn’t green and doesn’t have a lake) he is not surprised.
Every day he and the other inmates are told to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, reporting anything they find. The evil warden claims that it is character building, but this is a lie and Stanley must dig up the truth.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (2004) Vintage (funny, sad, and heart-warming)
A murder mystery like no other, this novel features Christopher Boone, a 15 year-old who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. Every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get.
When he finds a neighbour’s dog killed with a garden fork, he sets out on a journey to find out what has happened and his whole world is turned upside down as a lot of secrets unravel messily.
*Please note that this book contains some swearing.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (2011) Chicken House (dystopian action)
When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they came to be there – or what’s happened to the world outside.
All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything – even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrol its corridors, to try and find out.
For Adult book clubs
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This book offers a tempting mixture. The underpinning story is both slow-boiling and intriguing. But the book also offers a coming-of-age tale about a vulnerable girl, abandoned by those who should be looking after her; the sketching of a community, with all its tensions, rivalries – and kindnesses, and the evocation of a beautiful landscape and it’s wildlife – in this case the remote coast of the North Carolina. The book has been really enjoyed by a wide variety of readers.
You will find there are lots of themes for book clubs to enjoy and discuss.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This book has intrigued many people – and become an international bestseller – perhaps because it’s so different. The main character is at times infuriating and yet also invites our sympathy. One wills her on to understand what went wrong – and learn to make better choices in future. The wider cast of characters lead to a range of situations that surprise – and we can all learn from. Above all, it’s really funny – and stays in your mind long after you’ve finished.
Readers have been longing for a sequel ever since. To date they’ve been disappointed. What do you think happened next?
The Island by Victoria Hislop (2006) Headline
On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more. Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (2020) Viking
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes (2020) Penguin
They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much… Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets. In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?
Tall Tales and Wee Stories: The Best of Billy Connolly by Billy Connolly (2020) Two Roads
Tall Tales and Wee Stories brings together the very best of Billy’s storytelling for the first time and includes his most famous routines including, The Last Supper, Jojoba Shampoo, Incontinence Pants and Shouting at Wildebeest. With an introduction and original illustrations by Billy throughout, it is an inspirational, energetic and riotously funny read, and a fitting celebration of our greatest ever comedian.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
Our most popular RF book-club title so far has been a murder mystery. So here’s another one; the first in a series. So if the characters appeal to you (and we’re sure they will) you can keep reading about their adventures. We particularly like Poppy, the Inspector’s wife.
Inspector Ashwin Chopra has huge integrity. So when he learns of the murder of a young boy on the day of his retirement, he gets involved. With the help of an inherited baby elephant, he travels around Mumbai to find the killer. This novel will fill your senses with its rich descriptions.
Capital by John Lanchester, (2013) Faber (contemporary fiction)
The residents of Pepys Road, London – an English banker and his shopaholic wife, an elderly woman dying of a brain tumour, the Pakistani family who run the local shop, the young football star from Senegal and his minder – all receive anonymous postcards with a simple message: We Want What You Have. Who is behind it? What do they want?
As the mystery of the postcards deepens, the world around Pepys Road is turned upside down by the financial crash and all of its residents’ lives change beyond recognition over the course of the next year.
Skios by Michael Frayn (2013) Faber (contemporary fiction, humour)
On the sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be surprisingly young and charming – not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting. The Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. So, even sooner, is Nikki, the attractive and efficient organiser.
Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island, Nikki’s old school-friend Georgie waits for the notorious chancer she has rashly agreed to go on holiday with, and who has only too characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped in the villa with her, by an unfortunate chain of misadventure, is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper and increasingly all normal sense of reality …