Behind the Books, Book reviews and recommendations

Authors Cethan Leahy and Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s Teen Recommendations

As part of the Ireland Reads series of events with Kildare Libraries, Maynooth Library hosted a Young Adult panel on ‘Books Worth Living For’. The session hosted two wonderful Irish authors for teens, Cethan Leahy and Moïra Fowley-Doyle who shared some of the YA fiction they recommended for getting through lockdown and beyond. Ranging from futuristic worlds and real life settings to the Stephen King brand of atmospheric horror. There were picks for everyone, whether you enjoy simple stories of girls sending love out into the world to unknown airplane passengers flying overhead, or dystopian epics that lean into pandemic woes. 

Moïra Recommends

1. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

2. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

3. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

4. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

5. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Lyra Belacqua lives half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle – a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armoured bears.

As she hurtles towards danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, the biggest battle imaginable.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox here.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible: a recollection from his own childhood.
Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover – a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club, and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth.

When the labyrinth is threatened, Zachary must race with Mirabel, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, through its twisting tunnels and crowded ballrooms, searching for the end of his story.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox here.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again.

Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse. But then her newly hopeful world is threatened.

If civilization was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox here.

Cethan Recommends

1. Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

2.       Prim Improper by Deirdre Sullivan

3.       The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

4.       We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

5.       Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

Diary of a Nobody by Geore and Weedon Grossmith

Proud to be ensconced with his wife Carrie in the desirable London suburb of Holloway, bank clerk Charles Pooter decides to keep a diary. From the frequent visits by his dear friends Mr Cummings and Mr Gowing to the ups and downs of his feckless son Lupin, the self-regarding Mr Pooter considers, mistakenly, that all aspects of his life are worthy of note. The result is a hilarious spoof and a perfectly pitched satire on late Victorian society.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox here.

About The Authors

Moïra Fowley is half-French, half-Irish and made of equal parts feminism, whimsy and Doc Martens. She lives in Dublin where she writes magic realism, reads tarot cards and raises witch babies.

Moïra’s first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize & the North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal & won the inaugural School Library Association of Ireland Great Reads Award. It received two starred reviews & sold in ten territories. Her second novel, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards. Her third novel, All the Bad Apples, received a starred review from Booklist and was shortlisted for the 2019 Irish Book Awards and the Childrens Books Ireland awards 2020. Moïra is also one of the contributors to Stripes Books’ Proud anthology (2019), compiled by Juno Dawson.

You can borrow some of Moïra’s books on BorrowBox

The Accident Season

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox here.

All The Bad Apples

On Deena’s seventeenth birthday, the day she finally comes out to her family, her wild and mysterious sister Mandy is seen leaping from a cliff. The family is heartbroken, but not surprised. The women of the Rys family have always been troubled – ‘bad apples’, their father calls them – and Mandy is the baddest of them all.

But then Deena starts to receive the letters. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions, but a curse, handed down to the Rys women through the generations. 

Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must begin a desperate cross-country hunt for her sister, guided only by the letters that mysteriously appear in each new place. What Deena finds will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox here.

You can also borrow Cethan’s book on BorrowBox

Cethan Leahy is a writer working and living in Cork. His Young Adult book Tuesdays are Just as Bad was published by Mercier Press in 2018 and won the senior category in the Great Reads Awards 2020. His short stories are published in The Looking Glass, Wordlegs and Five Dials and he has written six Fiction Express eBooks for Middle Grade, including The Source, The Chosen One (and his mum and his dad and his sister) and Prince Charming and his Quest for a Wife. Cethan can also include filmmaker, editor, and illustrator in his list of accomplishments, contributing to comics, radio programmes, and animated films.

 Tuesdays Are Just As Bad

A ghost. Or perhaps it’s something else. This ‘ghost’ is as confused as Adam about the whole situation. Narrated from the point of view of this ‘ghost’, ‘Tuesdays are just as Bad’ follows Adam as he attempts to return to normal life – whatever that is. When Adam makes new friends via his counselling sessions, he ends up developing a relationship with one of the gang, Aoife. Surrounded by these friends, Adam starts to feel happy again. The ‘ghost’, however, becomes jealous. In the end, he decides that the only way he can be free of this feeling is to isolate Adam so he can have him all to himself, with catastrophic results. A mix of Louise O’Neill’s ‘Asking for It’ and ‘Nothing Tastes as Good’ by Claire Hennessy.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox here.

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