Felix Knutsson is nearly thirteen, lives with his mother and pet gerbil Horatio, and is brilliant at memorising facts and trivia. So far, pretty normal. But Felix and his mom Astrid have a secret: they are living in a van. Astrid promises it’s only for a while until she finds a new job, and begs Felix not to breathe a word about it. So when Felix starts at a new school, he does his very best to hide the fact that most of his clothes are in storage, he only showers weekly at the community centre, and that he doesn’t have enough to eat. When his friends Dylan and Winnie ask to visit, Felix always has an excuse.
But Felix has a plan to turn his and Astrid’s lives around: he’s going to go on his favourite game show Who, What, Where, When and win the cash prize. All he needs is a little luck and a lot of brain power . . .
Susin Nielsen deftly combines humour, heartbreak, and hope in this moving story about people who slip through the cracks in society, and about the power of friendship and community to make all the difference.
Violet is not impressed with her TV director dad: he’s decided to abandon his family in Vancouver to start over with a new younger wife in LA. To Violet, it’s like he’s traded his old life for a better one – complete with new and improved children. To make matters worse, her mom has taken up with a dorky new man called Dudley Wiener.
Violet decides to take control. She needs a new stepfather who is perfect, charming and will show Dad what he’s missing: she needs George Clooney, Hollywood superstar.
Ever since tragedy struck her family, Petula has learned to see danger everywhere – whether it’s crossing the road or eating a poached egg. Petula’s determined not to let her guard down, even if this means allowing herself to be ruled by anxiety and grief, and losing her best friend.
Then Jacob walks into her therapy group. Strikingly tall and confident, he’s survived a different kind of disaster and still come out smiling. At first Petula is repelled by his optimism, yet even she can’t deny their chemistry together.
But optimism is blind – and so is love. What will happen if Petula gives in to both?
Ambrose Bukowski is a twelve-year-old with a talent for mismatching his clothes, for saying the wrong thing at the worst possible time, and for words. In short, he’s a self-described nerd. Making friends is especially hard because he and his overprotective mother, Irene, have had to move so often. And when bullies at his latest school almost kill him by deliberately slipping a peanut into his sandwich to set off his allergy, it's his mother who has the extreme reaction. From now on, Ambrose has to be home-schooled.
Then Ambrose strikes up an unlikely friendship with the landlord's son, Cosmo, an ex-con who's been in prison. They have nothing in common except for Scrabble. But a small deception grows out of control when Ambrose convinces a reluctant Cosmo to take him to a Scrabble club. Could this spell disaster for Ambrose?
Meet Stewart. He’s geeky, gifted and sees things a bit differently to most people. His mum has died and he misses her all the more now he and Dad have moved in with Ashley and her mum.
Meet Ashley. She’s popular, cool and sees things very differently to her new family. Her dad has come out and moved out – but not far enough. And now she has to live with a freakazoid step-brother.
Stewart can’t quite fit in at his new school, and Ashley can’t quite get used to her totally awkward home, which is now filled with some rather questionable decor. And things are about to get a whole lot more mixed up when these two very different people attract the attention of school hunk Jared. . .
Thirteen-year-old wrestling fanatic Henry used to have a normal life. Now, his therapist wants him to keep a journal so he can express his feelings about what happened.
Henry has moved with his dad to a new city, where nobody knows their name. He lives off a diet of pizza, whilst hiding from the comically overbearing neighbours and avoiding being an obvious target for bullies at his new school. But then he meets Farley and Alberta, social misfits who refuse to let him be alone. And bit by bit, the past begins to come out.
Heartbreaking, surprising and laugh-out-loud funny, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen is about the things that remain after your life has fallen to pieces.
Susin Nielsen got her start writing for popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. Since then, she’s written for many Canadian TV shows and her young adult novels have received considerable critical acclaim. Word Nerd and My Messed-Up Life won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen won the UKLA Award, the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year and many Young Readers’ Choice Awards, while We Are All Made of Molecules was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Susin lives in Vancouver with her family and two extremely destructive cats.