Book Review

Ink Pellet’s book review section covers an eclectic selection of new fiction, teachers’ guides, audio books and classics.

Many of our reviews are written by teachers, so we have an expert eye on how texts will work in the classroom. We hope to create a useful archive of reviews so that you can use this as a reference.

If you would like to join our panel of reviewers, please join in or email the editor

We hope the section inspires you to share new fiction with your pupils or to revisit old favorites yourself.

  1. Plays for Young People

    Plays for Young People  

    Published by Methuen Drama Want more drama diversity? Four plays to consider. We now live in diverse, multicultural communities and need plays which reflect that to use in drama and English lessons. That is why Pearson Edexel, the UK’s largest examining body, has spent five years committedly looking for ways of expanding the list of […]

  2. The Key in the Lock

    The Key in the Lock  

    by Beth Underdown Published by Penguin Random House This novel has been widely dubbed a homage to Daphne du Maurier. Yes, there are fires and houses and we’re in Cornwall. Beyond that I didn’t find too much similarity although it would be a good wider reading recommendation for A level students who are studying Rebecca. […]

  3. Nina: A Story of Nina Simone

    Nina: A Story of Nina Simone  

    by Traci N. Todd Published by Scribble Nina Simone was born in North Carolina and showed musical promise from babyhood, encouraged by both parents although her preacher mother did not approve of secular music. This account – which is evocatively illustrated by Christian Robinson – traces her life through classical piano lessons and the Juilliard […]

  4. Tripwrecked


    by Ross Montgomery Illustrated by Mark Beech Published by Barrington Stoke This neat, entertaining “chapter book” for Key Stage 2 is, effectively, a commentary on The Tempest. A class of children have been working on the play with a view to performing it at a festival in Italy. They’re full of both The Tempest and […]

  5. The Island of Missing Trees 

    The Island of Missing Trees   

    by Elif Shafak Published by Viking/Penguin We’re in Cyprus – or at least thinking back to how it has been there – from the point of view of a teenager in a London school in the late 2010s. Her parents had married across the Greek/Turkish divide which led to their arrival in England. Ada’s mother […]

  6. Book Review: Living the Confidence Code

    Book Review: Living the Confidence Code  

    By Katty Kay, Claire Shipman & JillEllyn Riley Published by Harper Collins This is an original and rather good idea for an affirmative, inspirational book celebrating the achievements of young girls as a way of showing what can be done by “ordinary” people once they are fired up by determination and confidence. Its 30 very […]

  7. Book Review: Hide and Secrets

    Book Review: Hide and Secrets  

    by Sophie McKenzie Published by Simon and Schuster Sophie McKenzie is very good at fast paced page turners. And although this is about one of the most implausible stories (think Enid Blyton, spliced with Peter James and seasoned with Line of Duty) I’ve ever read, that is unlikely to bother the 12+ readership at which […]

  8. Book Review: The Runaway Girls

    Book Review: The Runaway Girls  

    by Jacqueline Wilson Published by Doubleday Childrens My third granddaughter, aged 10, recently mentioned The Runaway Girls, a new Wilson title she wanted to read, but her mum had said she had to wait for the paperback. So of course Granny bought it in hardback for GD3’s birthday. She also purchased a download and read […]

  9. Book Review: The Lamplighters

    Book Review: The Lamplighters  

    By Emma Stonex Published by Pan Macmillan In 1900 three lighthouse keepers disappeared from a lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides. And that mystery is the inspiration for Emma Stonex’s oddly compelling and highly original novel set in 1972 and later. Three men, Arthur Black, principal keeper, William “Bill” Walker, assistant keeper, and the much younger […]

  10. Book Review: House of Music: Raising The Kanneh-Masons

    Book Review: House of Music: Raising The Kanneh-Masons  

    by Kadiatu Kanneh-MasonPublished by Oneworld Publications When I interviewed Sheku Kanneh-Mason for Ink Pellet in 2016 he rather disingenuously told me that his parents weren’t musicians, His mother’s memoir makes the truth clear. She and her husband Stuart both played instruments to a reasonable standard and are competent amateurs. This was why they were so […]