Robin Stevens's Favourite Reads of 2020
Robin Stevens is the author of the phenomenally popular Murder Most Unladylike Mystery series, recently brought to a maginicent conclusion with Death Sets Sail. We are delighted to have Stevens share with us the top five of the books for young readers that she's enjoyed most this year.
Anisha, Accidental Detective by Serena Patel
It’s been really exciting to see so many excellent young detective series launched this year, and for me this is one of the best. Anisha’s Aunty Bindi is about to get married – until her groom mysteriously disappears. Anisha finds the ransom note, and realises that it’s up to her to solve the clues and save the day. This book is hilarious, charming and has an extremely satisfying ending – perfect for budding detectives aged 6+.
Mickey and the Animal Spies by Anne Miller
If you’re shopping for a young reader who loves puzzles, you can’t go wrong with this book. Anne Miller is a QI Elf, and so unsurprisingly her debut novel is packed with facts, codes and exciting clues. It’s the story of Mickey, a girl who discovers a secret spy agency run by animals. She’s plunged into a world of jewel thieves, dognapping and adorable furry detectives. Delightfully illustrated by Becka Moor, this will be a hit with 6+ aspiring spies.
Mic Drop by Sharna Jackson
Last year’s High Rise Mystery was a stand-out of the children’s crime fiction genre, winning the younger fiction category of the Waterstones Prize. This year’s follow-up is just as fresh, funny and sharp, following sibling detective duo Nik and Norva as they investigate another murder on their London estate, the death of rising star TrojKat. This series is my go-to recommendation for any 8+ fan of my books – the characters leap off the page and the mystery is twisty enough to puzzle even the smartest detective.
The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by LD Lapinski
We all need a bit of escapism this year, and the first book in LD Lapinski’s new fantasy adventure series fits the bill perfectly. The story of Flick, who stumbles on a mysterious, magical travel agency that can send you to other worlds, it’s brilliantly inventive and extremely enjoyable. There’s a central mystery to solve – a missing father and a threat to the magic of the universe – but it’s also just fun to follow Flick and her new friend Jonathan to a series of fascinating worlds. The second book in the series is coming next spring. 8+
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
The Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for October, I’m so glad to see this book getting the attention and praise it deserves. 11 year old Addie is horrified to learn that her Scottish hometown was the location of historic witch trials. She sees a connection between the murdered women’s difference and her own autism, and embarks on a quest to get a memorial for them that also becomes a way of proving her own worth and brilliance. A beautifully written and deeply moving book that’s hard to put down, readers 8+ will be swept up by Addie’s story.
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