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. Book Review – Activist 

    Book Review – Activist   

    by Louisa Reid Published by Guppy Books Cassandra, narrator of this powerful verse novel, is a reluctant sixth former in a prestigious mixed school, formerly all boys, where toxic culture simmers. Driven by her own experience, and by nature a feisty “shouter” she campaigns forcibly for acknowledgement that some of the boys at school treat […]

  2. Book Review – Leila and the Blue Fox 

    Book Review – Leila and the Blue Fox   

    by Kiran Millwood Hargreaves Published by Orion Children’s Books Leila is a Syrian refugee living in Croydon with two female relatives. They love her and she loves them and they’re pretty settled although she has many frightening memories of war-torn Syria before their arrival in London. Leila hasn’t seen her high-flying mother for six years. […]

  3. Book Review – A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers: Reorienting Classroom Literacy Practice

    Book Review – A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers: Reorienting Classroom Literacy Practice  

    by Maya Pindyck and Ruth Vinz, with Diana Liu and Ashlynn Wittchow The thrust of this detailed, well-researched, quite academic book about the poetry in classrooms is that we shouldn’t teach students to search for meaning so that “the poem becomes a specimen for examination under the microscope of interpretative practices”. Instead we should experience […]

  4. Book Review – When the World was Ours

    Book Review – When the World was Ours  

    By Liz Kessler Published by Simon & Schuster Set initially in 1936 Vienna, this gripping tale, inspired by a true story, follows the lives of three young friends as war gradually engulfs their lives, pulling them in directions none of them could have imagined or anticipated. A chance encounter proves to be a lifeline and […]

  5. Book Review – Rockstar Detectives

    Book Review  – Rockstar Detectives  

    By Adam HillsPublished by Puffin  Adam Hills is yet another comedian who has turned to fiction for the 9-13 age group. And he’s done it rather engagingly.  Charley is only 12 but she’s already got a lively career as an international singer. George is her best friend and he’s brilliant at social media, photography and […]

  6. Book Review – Undercurrent

    Book Review  – Undercurrent  

    By Barney Norris Published by Doubleday  The “undercurrent” of Barney Norris’s title is both actual and metaphorical. The novel opens at a wedding where Ed meets Amy, who claims that he rescued her from drowning when they were both children. Moreover, it’s a novel about the “secret currents which align our lives” as Ed gradually […]

  7. Book Review – The Flames

    Book Review – The Flames  

    by Sophie HaydockPublished by Doubleday Anyone who’s ever visited art galleries in Vienna will have “met” Egon Schiele (1890-1918) and been stopped dead in their tracks by the visceral, raw sexuality and truth of his paintings and drawings.  So who were the women who inspired and modelled for him and enabled the creation of those […]

  8. Book Review – The Crucible / Death of a Salesman / A View from the Bridge

    Book Review –  The Crucible / Death of a Salesman / A View from the Bridge  

    The Crucibleedited by Soyica Diggs Colbert Death of a Salesmanedited by Claire Conceison A View from the Bridgeedited by Julie Vatain-Corfdir Badged as “student texts” these three new Methuen Drama editions of Arthur Miller plays include extensive fore-notes. Each is effectively a study guide and play text combined. They are, however, without all that banal […]

  9. Theatre Review – Legally Blonde – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre


    Legally Blonde is the story of a young woman with frothy interests driven to apply to Harvard Law School in pursuit of the man who has just jilted her. Finding talent and brains she didn’t know she had, she excels at Harvard while remaining true to herself. And then there’s a happy ending – on […]

  10. The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse 

    The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse   

    by Mark Dawson Published by Welbeck Flame Mark Dawson (who has co-written this with Allan Boroughs) lives in Southwold which is where he sets the first in his children’s adventure series. It’s clever stuff. Overtly inspired by the Famous Five the protagonists are four gloriously modern children and a feisty dog named Sherlock. Lucy is […]