The desperate desire to belong: England is Mine, by Nicolas Padamsee, reviewed

As Nicolas Padamsee’s thrilling debut novel England is Mine hurtles towards its climax, its principal character, David, readies himself for an important mission. A teenage victim of bullying, he has been slowly drawn into a world of online extremism. After making a purchase through the dark web, he is determined to become a hero in the underground network in which he is now enmeshed. In the same borough of East London, David’s one-time tormentor Hassan is about to leave the house. Having drifted away from his pot-smoking childhood friends, Hassan volunteers at his local mosque and is on the brink of signing an Esports contract that will turn his passion

Back from the beyond: The Book of Love, by Kelly Link, reviewed

Kelly Link’s short-story collections bewilder and delight with their sideways takes on fantasy tropes. People might turn into cats, but they do it while texting emojis (dancing lady, unicorn, happy face). In The Book of Love, Link’s debut novel, she revels in upholding and upturning the genre’s conventions. Mainlining Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and with a dose of recent teen Netflix fantasies such as Locke & Key, her setting is a small coastal town in Massachusetts to which three sarky adolescents have suddenly returned home – although not, as is generally supposed, from a short trip to Ireland, but from what they, alongside assorted supernatural beings, know to be Death

Our long, vulnerable childhoods may be the key to our success

The central question in Brenna Hassett’s book, put simply, is: why are our children so very useless for so very long? Or: ‘What is the possible adaptive value of teenagers?’ If we consider maturity, or adulthood, to be the point at which an animal can play its own role in the evolutionary process – i.e. have its own babies – why is it that we have evolved to mature so slowly; and, even when mature, to delay having children until many years after we’re first physically capable of doing so? The framework in which Hassett sets out to answer this is one to do with investment and return on investment.