Love Dad ¦ Finders Keepers ¦ Wrong Number ¦ Bloodline
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Here are four up-to-the-minute teen titles that should have a huge appeal for reluctant page turners. They are quick reads with a strong contemporary feel, a few quirky bits and plenty of engaging characters and humour. They remind me of the Topliners that were the 'next big thing' when I started out as an English teacher.
Love Dad looks wryly at celebrity and just how some people crave it whatever the cost to themselves or anyone else. Martin Smith is such a one, but he's a novice compared to a faded pop idol out there who still wants the limelight. Ironically Martin's fame rests solely on blubbing in a TV talent show!
Finders Keepers really does have the prize for eccentricity and originality. Val lives a very comfortable lifestyle, thanks to her mum, not her treasure-seeking dad. Finding a spooky statue brings out the best and worst in everyone and leads to a comic-book-style adventure with loan sharks as the villains.
Wrong Number is a heart-warming romance. Mark works for a taxi firm, gets Marie on a misplaced call and so begins a 'will they-won't they meet?' plot that fairly zips along. She's out of boyfriends at present and he spends all his spare time working to support his mum, so really they were meant for each other anyway.
Bloodline has its dark, comic side. Four generations of males in the Black family meet on the last Saturday of every month. The youngest, Finbar, hates it and is well aware how these blokes really have little regard for each other. When a fugitive girl crashes into their world and tries to hold them hostage, their selfish traits consume them, and it's every man (and a girl) for himself as they attempt to secure the bank cash Alice has brought with her.