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Learners will certainly end up knowing words like: ‘alibi’, ‘lie’, ‘wound’ and ‘clue’. They will appreciate the helpful notes on the (many) characters and the diagram of the railway carriage showing the passengers’ compartments. Useful too are the history and culture notes, and the glossary of difficult words. This B1-level book contains 1,300 headwords. Originally published in 1934, the story still has the power to grip. Recommended.

reading and writing for first

Helen Chilton and Lynda Edwards
Scholastic  ISBN: 978-1-910-17373-2

THIS exam-preparation book for young adults contains twelve units. The reading texts are short and accessible, with engaging topics such as binge-watching TV shows (like Friends). The writing tasks cover several genres including film reviews, essays and compiling a report. The 104-page book contains a complete practice test for both reading and writing. Some topics need sensitive handling – such as cyber-bullying and stereotypes. The actual language used in the strategy tips and describing the exam is quite stretching: ‘catchy title’, ‘cloze exercise’ and ‘discursive essay’, for instance. The approach is upbeat, proving that exam preparation can be fun. Worth investigation.

Reviews by Pete Sharma for Bournemouth English Book Centre: www.bebc.co.uk