Recommended age: 11+

Liquidator

by Andy Mulligan

When Vicky and her classmates embark on their work experience programme, they all have their own agendas. They already know what careers they'd like to pursue, but it seems their teacher is thwarting their ambition. Vicky wants to be a journalist but ends up making sandwiches in the catering department of a law firm. Ben wants to be a hotshot in computers and finds himself tidying the shopfloor of a florist. It turns out, though, that they are all perfectly placed for coming together and overturning an incident of corruption and exploitation of a massive scale.

The Liquidator is an addictive, sugary drink that has proved hugely commercial. All the young people are drinking it, and the big pop star's concert is sponsored by the company.

Vicky's law firm is representing the company which produces the Liquidator. Left alone in the board room after serving lunch, Vicky accidentally spills the drink over the lawyer's laptop. Instead of owning up, Vicky contacts her friend Ben to ask for his help. Together they discover files no one was meant to see.

Trials for the Liquidator have revealed that the drink has caused catastrophic health issues in a boy in Africa. Instead of remedying the situation, the company has decided to 'bury' the findings, and this will undoubtedly result in the boy's death.

It is up to the classmates to save him and to expose the company.

This is a brilliant idea and really well executed, in my opinion. It is hard-hitting and realistic, but still has the fantastical element of young people being given ridiculous responsibilities - one girl shadowing a surgeon is given the scalpel to make the incision in the patient's chest!

It's a true thriller - you feel the panic, fear and desperation as the children fight against time and the threats they face. There are funny moments too and ultimately you feel inspired and uplifted as the children work together as a team, get closer as friends, and bring about a positive outcome. I thought this was a great book!

Review date: October 2015
Liquidator by Andy Mulligan