Review - Hetty and the Battle of the Books by Anna James

Review - Hetty and the Battle of the Books by Anna James 

The library is Hetty’s very favourite place in school, and since falling out with her best friends Ali, Mei and Rocket she’s been spending even more time there. So she’s absolutely horrified when she learns that her head teacher is planning to close it down, claiming there aren’t enough funds to keep the library going.

There’s no way Hetty’s going to sit back and let this happen. But can she repair her broken friendships and build support for her library campaign?

Let the Battle of the Books commence!

Hetty and the Battle of the Books by is a lovely little story about the importance of school libraries, falling out with your best friends by not talking to them and Dungeons and Dragons. I really enjoyed it!

For a relatively short book, so much of this had an impact on me while I was reading it. My daughter helps out in her school library, so I know how important that space is to her and the impact it would have on her school and social life if it was taken away from her.

As a keen Dungeons and Dragons player I really loved how it was handled in this book. Not only was it one of the many activities depending upon the library space, but it was also a memory of a group of friends before things had gone wrong with their friendship, and used as an example of how to approach a problem by working together and having people use their own strengths in harmony. There was a lot of complexity to it, but presented in a really fun and accessible manner, as befits a Barrington Stoke book.

The friendship breakdown was beautifully handled too. It really captured that feeling of being betrayed by the people you are closest to, and the hurt and anger it causes, especially when you keep seeing them around. It can be such a powerful and difficult thing, and I thought it came across really well here.

I also loved spotting little cameos hidden in the book. I'm pretty sure I recognised at least two of the teachers' names, and the author herself.

All in all, a fantastic little story about stories, friendship and the importance of libraries.


Hetty and the Battle of the Books by Anna James is out on 7th July 2022, published by Barrington Stoke.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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