Posts tagged ‘books’
Having read Wake, the first in a trilogy by Lisa McMann, I was excited by the prospect of her next novel after the trilogy, a stand-alone entitled Cryer’s Cross. Kendall Fletcher is the only girl in senior year at her school in a tiny farming community in Montana. When her best friend, Nico, is the second of two students in the town to disappear into thin air, Kendall’s world falls apart. She loses her one confidante; the person she grew up with and shared her ambitions with, her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder becomes harder to manage and her school soccer team simply doesn’t have enough members to play so she loses her greatest outlet for stress relief. The disappearances are timed with the arrival of Jacian and his sister Marlena and rumours abound as to how much of a coincidence the two events are. The repellent and moody Jacian’s volatility puts Kendall on edge, but his grandfather, a close family friend of the Fletcher’s, slowly brings the reluctant two together.
McMann’s mix of teen drama and supernatural is a surprisingly effective mix – she walks the right side of the fine line between intrigue and the ridiculous and, while I had an ‘oh no’ moment of dread halfway through the book that the ending might be a let down, the tale held its own. While it may not be quite creepy enough for some readers, Cryer’s Cross, essentially a ghost story, is sustained by its great characters through to a satisfying conclusion.
The book raises some interesting themes (without a heavy hand) about the ups and downs of living in a small community, coping with a psychological disorder and overcoming loss. Kendall is a fabulous girl – a balance of flaws and admirable qualities. McMann’s ability to build a story around a strong female character continues to be her strongest asset.
‘Not another vampire book!’ we all lamented. It is, but never fear, there are very few moody, brooding, tragedy-bound lovers. Instead, you get a dark and portentous introduction to the real life history of the vampire. Come close and let me fill you in on the saga. See, Bram Stoker’s Dracula wasn’t a novel. It was fact. And Van Helsing was real. Yes indeed. He was one of the founders of Department 19, the British arm of the top-secret agency that keeps us all safe from the sharp-fanged ones.
Our story begins in the modern day when Jamie Carpenter’s world is shaken by the sudden, startling death of his father in a mystifying incident. When his mother goes missing two years later, Jamie is faced with uncovering the secrets of his father’s true occupation and lineage. Jamie is joined by Frankenstein, yes, THAT Frankenstein, in the fight for his life, his mother’s life and the very future existence of all humanity!
In a series of flashbacks (my favourite parts of the book), we join Van Helsing, Bram Stoker and characters (like Jonathan Harker and John Seward) featured in his aforementioned ’novel’ as they form Department 19 in the late 1800s.
This is a fast-paced action thriller with multiple plots, solid descriptions of imagined technology and artillery and a wee little romance. The book has a satisfying ending, but also an enormous setup for a sequel – I won’t tell you too much, but it’s rather audacious. I do hope that Mr Hill follows up his debut with something equally as exciting and continues to cherry-pick characters from literary classics!
Parents and teachers would probably like to know that there’s a decent amount of violence and gore, but no more or less than most action novels aimed at thirteen year old boys (and girls – this is not just one for the blokes). The historical storyline is a great device to draw readers to classic gothic horrors and thrillers.
When we first meet Gil Goodson, he’s rushing for a ticket of entry into the annual Golly Toy & Game Company’s Gollywhopper Games. Gil wants to win the prize money so his family can move away from the corporate scandal in which his father was embroiled and then exonerated. Gil battles the clock, his team mates and his arch-nemesis, Rocky – can he win the glory and the fortune? Full of word puzzles, code-breakers and riddles, you’ll be a part of the race too! The Gollywhopper Games is fast, brain bending fun.
Things parents and teachers might want to know: The content is suitable for anyone able to read it. Black and white sketches illustrate the story sporadically. Problem-solving features, both superficial and personal; Gil’s Dad is found innocent of his white-collar crime, but that doesn’t stop his peers bullying him about it or tarring him with guilt. Gil gains resilience and courage by focusing on the contest, befriending his teammates and avoiding retaliation. With its televised contest setting, you’ll feel like you’re reading a G-rated version of The Hunger Games, complete with a soft landing.
Historical fiction is really world building for a lot of young readers. What do they know about Zimbabwe and Mugabe? This is exactly what Jason Wallace does with his Costa awarding winning book for 2010.
Strong adventure and tension plus great characters carry this story along. The moral dilemma of who owns the land and how it could be taken back. The issues of racism, colonialism and violence are all part of the story. You know you are in for a great story with the first lines.
‘ Go ahead shoot, I thought, because I am thirteen and desperate and anything, was better that the fate to which my parents were leading me.’
The interest has been set right from the beginning. Zimbabwe and Mugabe become the backdrop to a boy growing up.
Mystery: A pocketful of what? Eyes?
Thriller: A murder in the museum
Detective: Two work experience students
try to work it out.
Romance: Those two work experience
students again. Very handsome
boy, very pretty smart girl.
Humour: Koala skins and pulleys.
You have to read it!
Trivia about unusual animal mating: Snails etc
You really will have to read the book,
You will learn heaps.
What else? Lots of twists, a kissing scene on a stuffed tiger..
Described as a rom-crime novel. Laugh out loud and brilliant.
The first books in this series are: Meet Grace by Sofie Laguna, Meet Letty by Alison Lloyd, Meet Poppy by Gabrielle Wang and Meet Rose by Sherryl Clark.
These four chapter books form the beginning of the Our Australian Girl series by introducing four girls growing up in colonial Australia. In 1808, Grace, homeless and hungry on the streets of London, steals a horse and finds herself on a prison ship bound for the colony. In 1841, under very different circumstances, Letty mistakenly joins her sister on migration to Australia. In 1864, we follow Poppy, a girl of Aboriginal and Chinese parentage who sets out after her brother when he escapes from their rural institutional home. And lastly, there’s Rose, a privileged Melbournian who upsets her mother by idolising her thoroughly modern, suffragette Aunt Alice.
Each slip of a book includes a bundle of extra information to colour the central plot, including a map, a teaser of the next book (there are 16 in all), an autobiographical blurb from the author on ‘How I became an Australian girl’, a website and a page of historical facts. While some of this extra content feels heavily ingratiating to the readership, the writing is of such quality, the plots fast-paced, the themes well handled and the girls so engaging that the package works. This is a great series with which to introduce eight- to twelve-year-olds who aren’t quite ready for the My Australian Story series (published by Scholastic) to Australian history.
A brilliant mix of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mysterious Benedict Society and Junior Masterchef! At the Life Is Sweet factory, four 12-year-olds gather to create the tastiest, most inventive and entertaining sweet for the annual Confectionery Association Conference. Logan, the thoughtful Candymaker’s son; Miles, the quiet boy with a plethora of strange allergies; Daisey, incredibly inquisitive and suspiciously strong for a girl her age or Philip, the unfriendly, imperious boy in the three-piece suit? The book is divided into 4 parts with each child getting the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Secrets are kept and conspiracies revealed, making for a thoroughly enjoyable, engrossing and utterly unputdownable read. This is a gripping mystery dipped in sweet candy-making details including conveyor belts, chocolate jungles, and beehives! Delicious!
Very very funny! Lara is the school friendship matchmaker. She has lists and really wants to help. She even finds a friend for someone who likes to sniff stationery, especially rulers! You see how good she is? That is until a new girl starts school who doesn’t care about lists and friends. As well as being hilarious it really does raise plenty of issues about school.
Very powerful novel about loyalty and choices. A young girl accuses a boy of sexually assualting her. Her brother vows to get revenge. The only person who knows the truth is the accused sister. Two young women and their brothers all coming to terms with their sexuality and now loyalty to family and the truth. Jenny Downham is a brave author, she does not skirt around the edges which makes for a very powerful novel. A sort of modern-day Romeo and Juliet. Before I Die, by the same author was another unflinching and powerful novel you just have to talk about.
Rome 61 BC. Centurion’s son Marcus finds himself enslaved and in training to be a gladiator. Fans of historical adventure will be thrilled with this plot-driven, sometimes gory tale. Brutal training, despicable bad enemies and an intriguing family mystery all make this a sensational read.