Books by Nicola Morgan

POSITIVELY TEEN by Nicola Morgan
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 16, 2019

"An upbeat, reassuring tool kit for tweens and young teens. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
A wide-ranging guide to harnessing the brain's awesome powers on the journey through adolescence. Read full book review >
THE HIGHWAYMAN’S FOOTSTEPS by Nicola Morgan
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

The runaway son of a wealthy English gentleman and the orphan daughter of a notorious highwayman meet at gunpoint on a deserted moor one dark night in 1761 and form an unlikely alliance. Branded a coward by his father for refusing to enter the King's army, 14-year-old William de Lacey flees his home after stealing his father's purse. Will himself becomes the victim of a robber who turns out to be Bess, love child of a highwayman and an innkeeper's daughter murdered by redcoats years ago. Bess is seriously injured, and Will makes the critical decision to help her even though she's a felon. He soon realizes that feisty Bess operates by her own strict moral code, which includes hating all redcoats and helping the poor. Soon, Will questions his privileged upbringing while his courage and honor are tested repeatedly as he and Bess try to right the wrongs they encounter. With Alfred Noyes's poem "The Highwayman" as background, Morgan spins an 18th-century tale of suspense and danger starring a sympathetic hero and heroine whose adventures keep the pages turning. (Historical fiction. 12-16)Read full book review >
CHICKEN FRIEND by Nicola Morgan
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2005

A confiding first-person narrative details the events of the last ten days, since Becca's family left London for the country. Unfortunately, neither the worthy message nor Becca's amusingly quirky parents can compensate for a predictable plot. Eleven-year-old Becca finds her family embarrassing. Dad is a writer, Mom's an inventor, and Becca's four-year-old twin brothers are decidedly rambunctious. Incensed by the rigidity of the system, Becca's father pulls the kids out of school and the family heads off to a more pastoral life. Problems ensue when Becca, desperate to find new friends and conceal her diabetes, falls in with the wrong crowd. Her birthday party turns into a near tragedy, but Becca's hard-won lessons in self-esteem and taking responsibility for her actions don't quite ring true, and the revelation that her best friend back in London uses a wheelchair seems tacked on to drive home the message. Becca's self-absorption, on the other hand, is utterly convincing but it may serve to alienate rather than enthrall the intended audience. Too much problem, not enough novel. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
FLESHMARKET by Nicola Morgan
FICTION
Released: Aug. 10, 2004

A psychological study made stomach-churningly intense by its squalid 19th-century setting and gruesome historical milieu. Having watched his mother die in agony from infection following a mastectomy performed without anesthesia, Robbie conceives a violent hatred for the surgeon, Robert Knox. After further misfortunes leave him and his little sister Essie fending for themselves, one step from Edinburgh's filth-laden streets, Robbie's obsession grows—particularly after he witnesses Knox dissecting human corpses. Morgan mirrors her riveting account of Robbie's internal maelstrom with a plot that includes primitive surgery, vicious poverty, drunkenness, and imprisonment, all graphically described. In language that sometimes spins toward the poetic—Robbie's hatred "was sleet-cold, and shaking, and full of darkness"—she casts her tormented teenager into the company of Knox's psychopathic "suppliers," drags him through a period of alcohol-hazed despair, then guides him past hard, life-changing choices that ultimately allow him to put aside his consuming rage. Here's harrowing reading—made all the more so by the closing revelation that Knox and his practices are drawn from life. (historical note) (Fiction. 12-15)Read full book review >
MONDAYS ARE RED by Nicola Morgan
FICTION
Released: Oct. 14, 2003

When 14-year-old Luke wakes up from a life-threatening bout of meningitis, he finds that his perception of the world has changed radically: once ordinary words and concepts are now inextricably associated with colors, sounds, and scents. In addition to synesthesia, however, Luke has gained an interior tenant, a creepy creature named Dreeg who appears to be bent on using Luke to achieve total world domination. This goal seems within reach, given that Luke's new wordsmithing abilities can manipulate reality. Newcomer Morgan vividly exploits the psychedelic possibilities of language made possible by Luke's synesthesia, but finding a plot to hang on all her magnificent imagery proves to be more of a problem. Dreeg uses Luke's fairly ordinary feelings as a scaffold for his ambitions, but just how exactly he happens to be in Luke's head and what the connection is to synesthesia are never made clear to either the reader or Luke. Like a story Luke writes for school, this narrative is more a cool concept than finished plot. A more successful exploration of synesthesia can be found in this year's A Mango-Shaped Space (p. 392). (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >