1. ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ by Trenton Lee Stewart
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about a group of children selected through a series of tests to infiltrate a mysterious institution. It was clever and full of puzzles, mysteries and surprises.
2. ‘Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism’ by Georgia Byng
I loved all the books in the Molly Moon series. The concept was simple, clever and original: an ordinary girl discovers a book of hypnotism which opens up a whole world of possibilities. Molly’s adventures captivated me; I feel like this book deserves more credit than it has been given.
3. ‘Permanent Rose’ by Hilary McKay
The Casson family who inhabit the world of ‘Permanent Rose’ are probably some of the most believable and loveable characters I’ve ever read about. This story of some of the problems the eccentric household faces was unputdownable.
4. ‘Journey to the River Sea’ by Eva Ibbotson
I was obsessed with this book for ages; I loved the unusual setting in Edwardian-era Brazil, the characters and the concept of a repressed boarding-school girl letting herself go and having an adventure.
5. ‘Fergus Crane’ by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell
This is a very sweet story about a boy who learns about his mysterious past and embarks on a great adventure by the means of an unusual organisation called the ‘Fateful Voyage Trading Co.’ It is full of quirky characters and the beautiful illustrations complement the text perfectly.
6. ‘Hurricane Gold’ by Charlie Higson
I enjoyed all the ‘Young Bond’ books but this was by far my favourite. There is action, romance, an exciting Mexican setting, truly evil villains and plenty of plot twists. The idea of captives being given a chance to escape their prison via a deadly rat run was ingenious.
7. ‘The 13 Treasures’ by Michelle Harrison
Tanya can see faeries and when she goes to stay at her grandmother’s rambling old house, she finds that she is not the only one…This is a captivating story full of intrigue and magic, with the air of a true classic. I loved the idea of a group of children working together to solve an old and dangerous mystery; it is something that inspires me even now.