A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a YA Picnic Party with Troika Books; an independent children and young adult publisher that launched in the Spring of 2013. The event was intimate, with a handful of bloggers meeting the crew behind Troika and a selection of their writers over a drink and a slice of banana bread. At the end of it, we were each sent away with pockets filled with business cards and arms filled with latest publications. To say the selection was incredible is an understatement. Historical fiction, children’s comedy, young adult drama – we were given it all!

So, to help you choose what books to add to your summer reading list, I thought I’d introduce you to the Troika Book Haul:

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The Girl in the Broken Mirror by Savita Kalhan

Jay’s creative writing exercise is to write a fairy tale, to end with ‘they lived happily ever after’. But the way life is panning out she’s not sure it will ever reach that stage. She and her mother are moving in with distant relatives, and they have super strict rules for girls. Jay is expected to have only Indian friends, if she has any at all. How can she see her school friends, Chloe and Matt? But this is only the beginning of a nightmare for Jay. When her life implodes, how can she hide the shame – and how will she find a way to keep going?

The Girl in the Broken Mirroris ultimately about hope and understanding, and where help can be found – even in the darkest situation.

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Forgotten Footprints by Rosemary Hayes

It is August 1711 and Annie boards the East Indian ship, Zuytdorp, to sail to a new life in Java with her parents and their servant, May. Annie’s hope for the future quickly dissolves as disease, death and intrigue plague the ship. In the face of tragedy Annie shows grit and heroism and finds her only solace in a growing friendship with the one person she can trust – a young midshipman. One afternoon a violent storm appears on the horizon and it is then that their struggle really begins.

A fast paced story of resilience against impossible odds, of courage and of love.

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Hidden by Miriam Halahmy

Alix lives near the beach on Hayling Island. It is a quiet backwater, far removed from world events. One cold day in winter while they are walking on the beach, Alix and his school mate Samir pull a drowning man out of the freezing sea. He turns out to be an illegal immigrant, and he’s desperate not to be found and deported. Faced with the most difficult decision of their lives, what will Alix and Samir do and who can they trust?

Hiddendeals with prejudice, judgement, courage and the difficulty of sorting right from wrong in a complex world.

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HELP! I’m an Alien by Jo Franklin

Daniel Kendall is different – different to the other Kendalls anyway. After all, he’s the only one with brown hair and brown eyes, and what’s more, he’s taller than his family, his friends and probably everyone else in the entire world.

Big sister Jessie has made it clear just how different Daniel is, by explaining that he is in fact, an alien, kindly adopted by her parents. Confused, Daniel turns to his two friends, Freddo and Gordon the Geek, for help to return to his home planet. But when things don’t go according to plan Daniel has to decide whether he is an alien or a human after all.

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HELP! I’m a Genius by Jo Franklin

Daniel Kendall has the smallest brain in his family and the smallest brain in the world. He knows absolutely nothing about anything.

Everyone is shocked, when he is mistaken for a genius and selected to compete in the National Brainiac Championships. What can a peabrain like Daniel do to avoid making a fool of himself? And will his friends Freddo and Gordon the Geek help him?

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The Uncracked Code by Tamara MacFarlane

When your world needs a hero but you don’t have superpowers, where do you start? The COSMIC comic shop and Café are about to close down. The only thing that could save them is a rare first edition, hand-drawn comic, that’s worth tons of money. But it has been stolen from its display case. Inspired by their favourite comic super hero, Komodo Jones, and a lifetime of comic book knowledge, can the two friends, Zac and Coco, pick up some much-needed sleuthing skills in time to save COSMIC? The race is on. Every hero has a life changing moment: a discovery, followed by a challenge. If you ask Coco about hers, she might say it was the day of the theft. But for Zac it came later.

A gripping adventure with graphic novel style illustrations by Eugene Ramirez Mapondera which take this exciting new series into the realm of comic books.

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A Berlin Love Song by Sarah Matthias

Max is a German schoolboy, when he first meets Lili, a trapeze artist from a travelling circus that performs every year in Berlin. Lili is a Romani and her life and customs are very different from those of Max and his family. Their friendship turn into love, but love between a German and a Romani is definitely forbidden. As Max is conscripted into the SS and war tears them apart, can their love survive?

Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, A Berlin Love Storyis a love story of passion, unexpected friendship, despair, loss and hope.

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Now I just have to figure out which book to start reading first…