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The 100 Society

I received my copy from the publisher
the-100-society
By: Carla Spradbery

Grace Becker attends Clifton School, a school with a not so secret, secret. There is something that is part of the school’s history called the 100 Society and being part of it is something Grace is absolutely determined to do. The 100 Society isn’t just a game to Grace, the objective is to graffiti tag 100 specific locations around the city, each location has a risk often greater than the one before it. She has managed to convince some friends to help her achieve this goal even though it could result in suspension. The problem is what started as a sort of game has become something much more, someone is watching them, playing them, targeting them. Her friends are in the cross-hairs and Grace won’t stop. Will she be able to figure out who is behind it all before it costs her everything?
This is a tight, tensely woven story. One moment you think you know who it might be, then you’re not so sure. I must admit to getting a little frustrated with Grace at some point, her drive to do something better than her brother clouds her vision but this is her flaw and ultimately I prefer characters with flaws to the perfect ones. The characters all stand alone on their own merits and the darkness isn’t so overwhelming that it becomes detrimental to the plot.
An enjoyable read.
Publisher: Hachette
Published: 28th October 2014
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781444920086

Sean

I received my copy from the publisher.
stuff-happens-sean
By: William Kostakis
Part of the Stuff Happens series

Sean has been hauled across the country by his parents and now he had to figure out how to make new friends and survive school without the friends he has had forever. His parents finally relent and allow him a phone to contact his buddies, but he blows it and has it confiscated. How is he going to prove he is responsible enough to get the phone back. Fortunately he has managed to make a couple of friends who are willing to help him out.
Another bite sized real life instalment of this series. Starting at a new school is something many can relate to and is a situation fraught with all sorts of things to navigate. It can be hard making new friends and you need to make sure you don’t do the things that will turn you into an immediate outcast. It doesn’t shy away from the awkward bits but shows that it isn’t all bad and life after moving away form old friends does actually exist and can be good.
As a concept this series shows a lot of promise, relatable short stories make for reads that fit into a lifestyle that is filled with other activities, also the brevity of the books means they don’t look intimidating or time consuming.

Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: 27th August 2014
Format: Paperback 92 pages
Key Words: Friends, Family, School, Moving
ISBN: 9780143308119

The Year My Life Broke

I received my copy from the publisher.

9781742613352

By: John Marsden

Tarrawagga is a hole. It simply is not a place anyone, with any choice in the matter, would move to. Yet this is where Josh finds himself. He is not happy with the turn his life has taken, and he isn’t all that interested in getting involved and making friends like his parents want. Somehow, without really meaning to, he becomes someone he barely knows. He doesn’t get involved in sport and works at being unpopular. His athletic prowess catches up to him and he starts playing cricket for a team that isn’t his school and this proves to be his downfall, because in a place as small as Tarrawagga secrets don’t stay that way for long.

Then there is the house next door. At first he thought no one lived there. Then he meets the kid from over there. Then bullets start flying. This sort of excitement is totally not what Josh expected from a dump like this place.

This comes across as a real slice of life kind of book. The town is totally believable to me (maybe because I’ve lived there only it was called something different, in fact I’ve lived in several theres). Josh is as real as they get, the heartbreak of leaving a life you know and are comfortable with, the difficulty of starting a new school, the suckiness of not being popular at school. The simplicity of Josh’s life is what makes the whole thing so very tangible. This story is at times funny, frustrating and enthralling, in short it is life. Marsden shows a masterful touch in bringing Josh off the page. His family, friends and even the town add a texture that you can so easily visualise. Life can throw you poop sometimes and really it’s all about what you do with it.

Publisher: Pan Australia

Published: 01 December 2013

Format: Paperback 180 pages

Categories: Life, School, Moving

ISBN 13: 9781742613352

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

The Andy Flegg Survival Guide…

9780143306771By: Mark Pardoe

Andy Flegg wants an X-box, to get one his mother has told him he has to write in a journal everyday. Andy is not impressed. Some entries are really short and then things start happening. A cute girl starts in his class, his parents are fighting and his dog gets sick. Then his dog gets a bit better, his parents get back to normal briefly and the cute girl is texting him. Things are just not meant to be that way. The day the motorbike his dad has borrowed is vandalised is the day things go from bad to worse for Andy. Just when he thinks it can’t get any worse he finds out just how wrong he can be.

Andy is an everyday 11 year old who loves computer games and isn’t fond of school. His biggest problem is that he doesn’t have an X-box. As Andy writes in his journal bits of his life seem to unravel. It is a fun, somewhat quirky look at being a preteen boy who has to deal with the obvious things such as the next best computer game and the other unexpected things such as his ‘thingie’ suddenly taking on a life of it’s own, particularly when he thinks about Amber. It is an angsty time and Pardoe takes you through it with humour and ease. Andy could be any boy, he is believable and his responses to the curveballs life throws at him are made all the more real by the fact that there are consequences.

This is a wonderful read, the fun balances out the pathos and there is no total happy ending, which is good because that would totally have negated the power of the story-telling. Also as a funny little bonus each entry has an obscure word defined and used, I think I can safely say a large number are words I will never come across again but it is a great device. Suitable for 10+.

Recommended.

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Published: 24 July 2013

Format: Paperback 240 pages

Categories: Life, School, Friends, 

ISBN 13: 9780143306771

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster

I received my copy from the publisher.

9781742755434

By: Jacqueline Harvey

Clementine is about to start school. She couldn’t be more excited, in fact she is so excited that she gets up way too early. She is going to have a lovely teacher named Miss Critchley and be in a class with her best friends. When she gets there though things aren’t what she was hoping for. Firstly her teacher is not Miss Critchley but the meaner, shoutier and way more boring Mrs Bottomley. Then there a horrible boy called Angus, he keeps doing mean things to Clementine but the teacher doesn’t believe her. It doesn’t take long for Clementine to think school isn’t going to be any fun. Things look up though when there is an announcement of a Pet Day. Clementine thinks at least this will be a good thing. She plans to take her teacup pig called Lavender with her and she is sure she will win a prize.

This is a fun book for young readers. It is easy to be swept into Clementine’s initial excitement then her disappointment as things don’t go as she hoped.  Harvey has given us something a little outside the realm of what we expect, what with Queens and Ladies, but still at it’s core it is a story about starting school, being bullied and having a positive outlook. I found this a joy to read. The text is easy to understand and it has some black and white, quite stylised illustrations which help the story jump of the page.

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s Books

Published: 02 January 2013

Format: Paperback 160 pages

Categories: School Stories, Animals

ISBN 13: 9781742755434

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Strike a Pose Daizy Star

By: Cathy Cassidy

Daizy Star series book 3

Daizy Star is still searching for her star quality. This time she thinks she may have finally found it – modeling. She seats out to make herself into a top pre-teen supermodel for the class recycled fashion show. She is hoping to be discovered by a model scout. The problem is her dad’s crazy new scheme is threatening not only her modeling career but also the very foundation of her life. This time he wants the family to move to a Scottish island and farm nettles. Daizy will be away from all her friends. The worst thing is that this time it appears her mother is enthusiastic about this plan. Daizy isn’t the only one with problems this time, something is wrong with one of her best friends and Daizy wants to help fix it.

Daizy is just as quirky as ever and still determined to find her star quality. On of the changes in this book is her mother supporting her father, which gives the story a slightly different dynamic to the previous two. Also her big plan this time around comes from her desire to help someone else, something which adds a nice depth to the friendships, (the others are usually supporting and doing things for Daizy). It doesn’t loose any of its humour or wackiness though and I still really like the unique Daizy Star.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 02 June 2011

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Humour, School, Friendship

ISBN 13: 9780141335971

Purchase: here or use the Booktopia logo on the side of the page

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

By:  John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson #1 has two rules a) don’t care too much, b) shut up. The things that have gone wrong in his life have stemmed from the times he hasn’t stuck to these rules, like the time he wrote a letter sticking up for his best friend Tiny Cooper the best, and very gay, offensive linebacker in the schools football team. Will and Tiny go way back and at this time in Will’s life this is causing him a few problems.

Will Grayson #2 is in a dark place trying to help his mother, and get through school all while trying to figure out life and his own sexuality. He cuts himself off from as many people as he can. Then one night things go mildly wrong for Will Grayson #1 and terribly wrong for Will Grayson #2 and their worlds collide.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot, except to say writing a musical about your own life is brave or ridiculous at any age, good thing Tiny is…well Tiny.

Will Grayson and Will Grayson have vast differences yet at the same time both struggle with relationships and school. Tiny, who is so much larger than life is what joins them together. Tiny Cooper is a fantastic character who is bound to stay with you long after the last page has been cheered over. The two Will’s provide a wonderful grounding for this story whilst Tiny gives it it’s pizazz. Levithan and Green have come together to give us one hell of a lough out loud, life affirming book. it is a great story, with great characters. It will possibly be the most romantic book you will read all year, but there is nothing schmaltzy about it. There are crushing moments, moments of high hilarity and moments that will resonate with you.

Definitely pick this up. Highly recommended.

Publisher: The Text Publishing Company

Published: 03 May 2010

Format: Paperback 320 pages

Categories: Humour, School, Sexuality

ISBN 13: 9781921656231

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

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