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Friends in need

Two short novels will appeal to readers in Year 6 and above, particularly girls. Secrets (Doubleday pound;10.99) is about an unlikely friendship between privileged India, who goes to a posh private school, and Treasure, who lives in a council flat. Not so unlikely, though, in the capable hands of Jacqueline Wilson. Both girls keep diaries that show they have much in common. Treasure's stepfather is violent; India is neglected by busy parents. When Treasure needs somewhere to hide, India, inspired by her heroine Anne Frank, thinks of her parents' loft. Gradually the situation takes on a new seriousness, and a successful resolution is reached.

Simone's Website by Helena Pielichaty and illustrated by Sue Heap (Oxford University Press, pound;6.99) continues the story of Simone Wibberley, the engaging heroine of Simone's Letters and Simone's Diary. Now in Year 8, Simone starts an ICT project and exchanges a flurry of e-mails with Anthony, who is in hospital, Their relationship is sensitively built with pathos and humour.

Fiona Lafferty is librarian at St Swithun's junior school, Winchester

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