Young Adult Books

Max Farrier wanted to follow in the family footsteps and join the Navy once, but he’s better off focusing on just surviving his last year of school and going to work in Aunt Donna’s shop once it’s over.

 

After an incident at school puts Max in the hospital, Aunt Donna’s had enough. She signs him up for private lessons at a Muay Thai gym. Boxing—she says—will change everything.

But it’s not boxing that starts to poke holes in Max’s stupor—it’s his sparring partner. Cian is fifty percent mouth, fifty percent attitude, and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a bully in the street. Cian takes what he wants, and doesn’t let anyone stand in his way—not even himself.

Spending every summer with his grandmother in the south of England isn't Ryan's idea of a good time, and when he finds someone his own age to hang out with, he doesn't much care who that is. Alex might not say much, but company is company when there's nobody else to choose from, and Ryan will simply have to make do. It isn't, after all, like he really needs a friend.

But Alex is more than just a kid with a thing for smashing up greenhouses, and Ryan finds himself dragged further and further into a dark, uncertain world of alcohol, bruises, a mother's madness, and a father's anger. Worst of all, Alex is dragging Ryan into a world of lust, attraction, and midnight kisses that Ryan is struggling to keep confined to southern summers. This thing with Alex can't go further than summer -- but Alex, and the shadows that surround him, are not so easily forgotten.

Ryan can't forget Alex, but the longer he hangs on, the more he discovers ... not just about Alex, but about himself, his future, and the things that really matter.

But eventually, summer must come to an end.

Sixteen-year-old Shane has finally settled into life in the country, with university ambitions, a steady relationship, and a grudging tolerance for dance that is entirely the fault of his boyfriend, Luke.

Then Shane’s father gets his marching orders, and Shane’s time in this new life is put on a countdown. At sixteen, Shane could legally leave but has nowhere to go. And leaving the first real home he’s had in nearly twelve years doesn’t feel any better whether it’s for the wilds of Cornwall or the local housing association.

But in order to stay, Shane is going to have to tell his very conservative, very military family his biggest secrets ... all three of them.

Adam's got a secret, and nobody knows.

 

He's promised himself never to get into relationships and risk revealing it, but Charlie Fielding has a way of getting under one's skin. One party, one kiss, and Adam is faced with a horrible choice: tell Charlie the truth, or keep quiet. And either way, lose the only friends he's had in years.

 

But Charlie might have a secret too—and everybody knows but Adam.

Anton never thought anyone would ever want to date him. Everyone knows nobody wants a transgender boyfriend, right? So he's as shocked as anyone when seemingly-straight Jude Kalinowski asks him out, and doesn't appear to be joking.

The only problem is ... well, Jude doesn't actually know.

Anton can see how this will play out: Jude is a nice guy, and nice guys finish last. And Anton is transgender, and transgender people don't get happy endings. If he tells Jude, it might destroy everything.

And if Jude tells anyone else ... it will.

It’s no secret Tav and Luca are going out. After the accident, it’s also no secret that new kid Jack Collins has a raging case of homophobia, and is not best pleased about having given the kiss of life to a gay guy. Either Luca quits swimming, or Jack is going to make him.

Tav favours the tried-and-true method of knocking Jack’s teeth down his neck, only he can’t really afford another school suspension. Luca favours just ignoring him, only ignoring a penknife being held to your throat at New Year’s Eve is downright stupid.

Thing is, Luca suspects Jack is a victim of something himself. And time is running out for Luca to get through to Jack, before Jack gets rid of him.

Life's not easy when your mum's nuts, your uncle is becoming your aunt, and one of your crushes could -- and probably would -- break your face if he found out how you felt about him.

That's Tab's life, though, malevolent gods and all. His text-flirting with Demi, the brother of his best friend, is going nowhere: Demi already has a boyfriend and anyway, who dates their best friend's twin? But then, the pining after Nick is going nowhere either, because Nick probably likes gay-bashing on Friday nights for fun. He's gorgeous, but he's dangerous, and Tab knows better than that.

So what's a bit of harmless flirting, when one is taken and the other is straight? It's just a bit of fun.

That is until Demi is suddenly single, and Nick is not looking as straight and scary as he was before.

Out-and-regretting-it comprehensive attendee Jayden Phillips turns his cast-iron plans for life upside-down by falling in love with private-school violinist Darren Peace, a sardonic boy with the craziest hair Jayden's ever seen.

But all is not what it seems, and Jayden's bullying problem becomes meaningless when he is confronted with what the music does to Darren. How do you stop a dangerous depression rooted in the same thing that makes someone what they are? Dark moods, blank apathy, and the undertow of self-loathing all simmer beneath Darren's dry and beautiful veneer, and Jayden feels powerless to stop them.

Then a mugging gone wrong takes the music forcibly away, and Jayden is finally given the chance to change Darren's life -- and, quite literally, his mind.

Three years after that first meeting in a theatre storeroom, Jayden Phillips and Darren Peace are separating for the first time, trading in school for the trappings of adult life. Jayden has achieved his dream of a place at Cambridge University; Darren has achieved his own of escaping the Cold War of home and tasting true independence for the first time.

A hundred miles apart and embarking on two very different paths, Jayden feels it is inevitable that time and distance will slowly pull them apart. School relationships, after all, don't last. Darren disagrees -- at first. Love is all they need, and they have weathered harder storms than chasing dreams.

That is until the separation, and the encroaching influence of Jayden's new friends, begins to take its toll on Darren's mental state. Alone, he descends in a rapid downward spiral that is finally arrested by one night and a drastic course of action. In the wake of a single unanswered phone call, Jayden learns that time and distance have the power to do much more than break a relationship.

The dream is over -- and the reality is far, far worse.

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