Cruel Heart Broken by Emma Haughton (Usborne, €8.40)
We get straight into the story when heroine Laurie tells us that she is a murderer.
From there, the story proceeds on two time levels, the then and the now, as we find out the tangled relationships around which the action circles.
Laurie seemed to have everything going for her, perfectly respectable parents, top class school and loads of ambition.
But nothing lasts. Laurie’s sister Katie is now hooked up with Laurie’s former boyfriend, Charlie.
Charlie’s mother is involved with a popular teacher, Mr Rochester, who he claims assaulted him at school.
His son, Tom Rochester, is devastated by Charlie’s accusations.
And so the plot twists and turns round the actions and reactions of the friends. Luckily for Laurie, she has a faithful ally in Maya who urges her to confide in her and do the right thing.
But what is the right thing?
This is an issue-laden book which successfully charts the pain of growing up, where wrong decisions, not necessarily by the youngsters, can have lasting and devastating consequences.
Suitable for age 16 and upwards.
What Do Grown-Ups Do All Day? By Virginia Morgand (Wide Eyed, €17.80)
This fine volume will help parents answer the myriad of questions asked by five and six year olds- and maybe at the same time inspire them to become teachers, farmers, hoteliers, or doctors.
It must be a continuous puzzle to the very young why so many adults leave home most mornings not to be seen again for eight hours or so. Now they know.
The book has a winning formula, 14 different workplaces, both indoor and outdoors, are featured on double-page spreads to be followed by short comments from eight different workers who explain their various functions.
In the newsroom, for instance, producer, news anchor, reporter, meteorologist, camera operator, editor and digital editor explain their roles.
A strong selling point will be the colourful array of characters from different races and genders without a hint of stereotyping. Suitable for age five and upwards.
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