Teen Novels

Chessboxer (October 2019)

Leah is a genius. She’s a few wins away from becoming a chess grandmaster and her life is on course to achieve everything her mom and coach want for her. But Leah is at stalemate, grieving for her father and feeling suffocated. She’s ready to quit chess completely – but chess isn’t ready to quit her. Leah Baxter is about to discover her new gambit: chessboxing, a fierce hybrid sport which will test body and mind to their limits. Can the pawn become the queen?

A rising, rousing bout fuelled by brains, brawn and belligerency — Kirkus STARRED review

Funny and fast, Chessboxer and its heroine bridge the gap between board games and the boxing ring in unexpected and fun ways. — Foreword magazine, March 2021

Original, brash, funny and poignant, Chessboxer will have readers rooting for tough, tenacious Leah throughout. — Metro

Passion, grief and the personal growth of an unforgettable chess-boxing heroine, this is a knockout novel in every way. — LoveReading4Kids full review

Gripping and surprising. I gulped it down — Sarah Crossan, author

Unbelievably well written — Matt ‘Crazy Arms’ Read, chessboxer

A fantastic, high-energy read — Eve, goodreads

Snarky, angry goodness — Trisha, goodreads

The world of YA needs more girls’ boxing and fierce girls with an unbreakable attitude — Addicted to Media

A fabulous fast paced novel written in a unique style — Bookaholic Ellie

I ended up loving it so much even when I don’t know chess…. imagine if you do?!⁠ — Jane Kelsey

I know nothing about chess or boxing BUT I LOVED THIS BOOK! — Natalie Perry, author

A funny and enlightening look into the world of chess — Just a British Bookworm

the grittiness of Robert Muchamore and the compassion of Sarah Crossan — Caroline Lawrence

‘This scintillating book pulses with energy. Chessboxer pounds with the punch of a boxer, and yet remains contemplative, with ideas behind the fast-paced plot as thoughtful as a chess player.’ — Minerva Reads

Blood & Ink

Blood&Ink2015coverTimbuktu, 2012. Ali, 16, is a mujahid, a holy warrior. His battalion is massing in the Sahara Desert, preparing to invade Timbuktu. Kadija, 15, is a daughter of Timbuktu and on the verge of becoming a Guardian, a keeper of the town’s mysterious ancient manuscripts. The two of them are now set on a collison course. Ali hates Kadija’s spirit and her outlawed passion for music. Kadija scorns Ali’s confident, ruthless fanaticism. So when they find themselves falling for each other, they try desperately to resist.

I think this book should be in every school library and even more, on every Key Stage 3 reading list. — Caroline Lawrence, author of the Roman Mysteries

Beautifully written — Nikki Sheehan, author of Goodnight, Boy.

Blood & Ink is just as good, probably better, than even I had imagined…a fascinating journey in religion and humanity and love — Bookwitch

A sterling job. An exciting combination of sweeping romance, adventure, danger and history, and it whizzes by at a galloping speed — Cethan Leahy, INIS magazine

An action-packed but historically significant novel that grips you from beginning to end — Ramblings of an Elfpire

It’s not just Ali and Kadija who leap off the page but their friends, family and neighbours too. The story is gripping, full of excitement, romance and heart-stopping moments — Books for Keeps

This book has everything to offer the reader; action-packed adventure, historical events and thrilling real-life danger pumped with emotions and feelings. A great infusion of religious culture will leave you thinking, even after the last page has been turned — Enchanted Books


OUTLAW cover*A Junior Library Guild Selection*
*Texas Lonestar Reading List 2013*
*Shortlisted for the Hampshire Book Award*

Fifteen-year-old Jake Knight is an explorer and adventurer at heart but this often gets him into trouble. When a stuffy English boarding school suspends him for rule-breaking, Jake flies out to Burkina Faso where his parents are living. He is expecting a long, adventure-filled vacation under a smiling African sun. But what awaits him there is kidnapping, terrorism and Yakuuba Sor – the most wanted outlaw in the Sahara desert.

A strong desert setting and a corkscrew of a plot make this a terrific page-turner — Julia Eccleshare, LoveReading4Kids

I have a dreadful urge to run around town waving a copy of Outlaw at every potential reader I can think of — Bookwitch

This is one of those books that 11+ boys who love action and adventure will love…Stephen Davies certainly deserves to become more widely known than he currently is — The Book Zone for Boys

Pure good-hearted fun for fans of Anthony Horowitz — Amanda Craig, The Times

A faintly old-fashioned tale of kidnap, complete with Robin Hood figure, double-dealing policemen and British spies running amok. Highly entertaining — Independent On Sunday

Hacking Timbuktu

hacking timbuktu coverLong ago in the ancient city of Timbuktu a student pulled off the most daring heist in African history, the theft of 100 million pounds worth of gold. The stolen treasure has remained hidden until now, when teenage hacker Danny Temple discovers a cryptic Arabic manuscript. It’s a good job that Danny is a keen traceur (free runner) because he has to run across rooftops and leap from buildings to stay one step ahead of his pursuers. The nightmarish and adrenalin-charged quest leads him all the way to sub-Saharan Africa, and the mysterious cliffs of Bandiagara.

This is an excellent, fast-paced adventure fusing past and present in a swift moving plot — Julia Eccleshare, LoveReading4Kids

This Dan Brownesque thriller will entice reluctant readers — Kirkus Review

Adventure fans seeking a quick, flashy, and unusual treasure hunting novel will find this one easily fills the bill — The Bulletin

Davies delivers a satisfying mix of history, exotic locales, computer hacking and parkour racing in this well-constructed adventure story — Booklist Review

I really enjoyed this book and I doubt there are many action movie loving boys out there who would disagree with me — Book Zone 4 Boys

The Yellowcake Conspiracy

The Yellowcake Conspiracy cover‘The threat of nuclear terrorism hangs over the world like the sword of Damocles.’

The director of a Saharan uranium mine has been mysteriously murdered. Fourteen year-old nomad Haroun abandons his peaceful cattle-herding life and embarks on a dangerous new role as a spy.

Potentially complex themes of nuclear war, terrorism and globalization are brilliantly handled here in an exciting thrill-a-page adventure — Everyone’s Reading

The Yellowcake Conspiracy is a work of exceptional talent — School Librarian Journal

8 thoughts on “Teen Novels”

  1. is there another book for outlaw? please tell me. you made it seem that way. it was an awesome book. make another one?

  2. Hi Anna, thanks for letting me know that you liked OUTLAW. There is no sequel at present, but maybe one day… In the meantime, have you read HACKING TIMBUKTU or THE YELLOWCAKE CONSPIRACY?

  3. I am a retired middle-school librarian in suburban Pennsylvania, and I just read Outlaw for a review group I belong to. What a great book! I hope lots of young people will read it. I loved the characterizations, and the fact that it will make people think before they throw around the common wisdom regarding “terrorism” and the political situation in the “third world”. It will also make some people stop and think about the role of western governments in African countries.

    1. I’m really glad you enjoyed it, Carol. Yes indeed, terrorism is in the eye of the beholder – and sometimes that eye is looking straight at us! Best wishes to you and your review group.

    1. Good question, Jane. I believe that DIACFA in the city centre has copies of the teen books (except for Outlaw). And SIM (opposite the International School of Ouagadougou in the Zogona district) definitely has copies of all the books for sale. Ebooks and audiobooks also available from Amazon etc.

  4. I really enjoyed reading “Outlaw” with my teen girls. We had some good laughs, the suspense kept us hooked and we discussed a lot of issues, from friendship and faithfulness, to weapons and technology. I hope you have a long and fruitful career as an author.

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