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Posts tagged ‘Young Adult Fiction’

Sweet Honey

I received my copy from the publisher

sweet-honey

By: Cathy Cassidy

Part of the Chocolate Box Girls series.

Honey Tanberry has been in so much trouble back home that she is moving to the other side of the world to be with her father. She knows this is her chance to straighten out but at the same time she is thrilled to be moving in with her father. Things don’t start of quite how she expected when she finds it’s not just him, her dad has a girlfriend he hadn’t thought to mention. Still Honey isn’t put off. She loves the weather and the beaches. She is even looking forward in a way to the alternative school her parents agreed for her to try, until she discovers that her dad has gone behind her mother’s back and enrolled her in a boring private girls school.

She tries to change, but she struggles at the new school and her dad is often absent. She starts up a social media account so she can keep in touch with family, but soon she adds new friends and one of them isn’t what she thinks. Things start to appear on her account that she didn’t put up there, including hurtful things to family and about friends. Honey struggles to understand what is going on and her dad is not interested. Thousands of kilometres from home she feels she has no one to turn to. Who will believe her, especially with her past.

There are some dark themes in this book. Honey has always been the darkest of the Tanberry girls. The most rebellious. She is in Australia as a consequence of her own actions. She thinks things are going to be perfect because she always saw her dad as perfect. This story touches on hard truths of divorce and cheating, also the very serious nature of cyber stalking. It is a tight story and Honey’s journey takes you further down before it starts back up. Her story is one of fresh starts, comfortable behaviour even in bad choices because it is what you know, and the need to be very careful who you allow into your life on line. This story provides a good opportunity to talk about some of these topics. At its heart it is a coming of age and redemption story. I like this series, I always have, it is an easy read that doesn’t shy away from some incredibly relevant yet difficult to talk about topics, cyber stalking and eating disorders, and it deals with them in a real and heartfelt way.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Puffin BOoks

Published: 28 May 2014

Format: Paperback

Genre: Family, Friendship, Cyber Stalking

ISBN 13: 9780141341620

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

Half Bad

I received my copy from the publisherhalf-bad

By: Sally Green

Nathan Byrne is a witch, but he is a witch no-one really wants anything to do with. His mother was a white witch, a healer, his father a black witch, a killer and a very notorious one at that. The time is coming for Nathan to come into his powers but those who are in control, the council of white witches are not about to let that happen. Nathan is persecuted his whole life, he can’t even date the girl he wants because she is a white witch and therefore off limits. Then he is taken from everything he knows and cares about. He is tortured, trained and doesn’t know why.

It appears as though the rules are being changed just for him as the council pull out all stops to try and use Nathan presumably to catch his father. Nathan is desperate to meet his father and get his powers and he will make whatever deals are necessary for this to happen.

The premise of this story is fairly solid. What happens when you don’t fit in because you’re not one thing or another? The story itself though is very slow moving. I enjoyed the last perhaps third but it took a bit of perseverance for me to get there. I’m also not sure how I feel about Nathan himself. I can see how he is pushed into making some choices, but on the whole I don’t think strongly about him in one way or another. He is troubled and has potential but he feels, in some ways, quite bland.

I may give the second book a read purely because the premise has so much potential, where do you go when people are pushing you to be something you’re not sure you want to be. If it remains so bland I may not finish it. Having said that though, if you like your books to meander through the story telling and you want something interesting with witches at the core, give this a go, it was a popular book by all accounts in its country of origin and we can’t all like the same thing.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 27 March 2014

Format: Paperback 400 pages

Categories: Fantasy

 

ISBN 13: 9780141350868

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

Mockingjay – Trailer

I think we all know the plan is to split the third book into two movies, personally I’m not sure how that is going to work, I don’t know that there is enough substance to do this. However it’s not my decision to make.

This teaser trailer has been released and I’m not sure how I feel about it, the direction they appear to be taking and all, even though I love Donald Sutherland and he plays a smarmy dictator so well.

I guess only time will tell how people respond to this trend in movies to drag adaptations out.

Pandora Jones Admission

I received my copy from the publisher.

pandora-jones-admission

By: Barry Jonsberg

The day comes, the world falls apart, or at least the bits of it Pandora Jones can remember once she wakes in a hospital somewhere. She quickly finds out nearly everyone has become the victim of a terrible plague, a pandemic, and her family as well as most of humanity has gone. Pandora and a few others have been rescued and are now quarantined in a facility referred to as The School, by those who run it. Here they are being taught to start over and all that entails; limited food, power and no hot water. It is harsh but supposedly safe. Pandora can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right. She is one of a team but she doesn’t know who to trust and when she steps out, taking a risk to discover something, anything, things don’t go as she planned.

This is a dismal world Jonsberg has created. It’s dark undertones draw you in. The central characters all suffer nightmares of the things they remember of that final day, no one really wants to talk about them. Pandora is one of the students who believes it shouldn’t just be about survival of the fittest, she stands for her beliefs that art is important as are other things because they are what make us human. Pandora’s ethics are central to her character, her drive to discover what is really happening and to question the way things are done around her. Her gift is a strange one, Pandora can find things, and this isn’t necessarily a good thing because more than anyone else’s gift (which are in the more normal spectrum of things) her psychic ability sets her apart. There are interesting dynamics being developed between some of the charters who surround her, most noticeably Jen, who is the one who clashes with Pan the most.

It is a dark tale, set in a dark and hidden world. Hidden in as much as we only know what Pandora knows and there is so much that is kept from her. Pan’s strong moral centre and unique ability makes for an interesting character and I am curious to see where this series goes, where her character goes.

Publisher: Allen and Unwin Children’s Books

Published: 01 May 2014

Format: Paperback 312 pages

Categories: SciFi, Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic

ISBN 13: 9781743318119

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

Books to Check Out

Best-Of-2011-image-Horizontal

Different people look for vastly different things in the books they choose for their children. I try to read a wide variety of books but without question I am drawn more to the genres I love, this is why sometimes it’s a great idea to check out the best of lists. Now no-one is likely to agree with everything that makes these lists, but sometimes it is good to expand our horizons, you might be surprised. To be totally honest those Best of All Time lists, are filled with books I have absolutely no desire to read, but I still go through them and sometimes am reminded of books that I’ve been meaning to pick up.

So with that in mind here is a link to The Bank Street Centre for Children’s Literature list.

Some great titles here and a large number of ones I’ve never heard of. Oh if only I didn’t actually have a day job, but I have to pay for my book addiction somehow.

Mockingjay Part 1 – Pics and Casting

This series continues to draw great actors to fill rolls, truthfully I’m not sure about making it two films, it just seems to be the way they do things these days but we will see what happens.

Julianne Moore on the film and her character President Coin.

Here are some awesome pics from the upcoming Mockingjay film.

Not sure how much Phillip is going to be in it but here he is with the wonderful Julianne Moore as Coin.

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Some favourite characters.

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The poster.

mockingjay-part-1-poster-hunger-games

 

11

I received this from the publisher.

11

James Phelan

The Last 13 Bk 3

Sam reconnects with Xavier Dark and the two of them take the next part of the journey together to Berlin. Things are moving fast and having access to a private jet certainly helps when you have to journey all over the world. Through his dad Xavier has some good connections to information that will hopefully help. What happens though when some of those connections you thought were good turn out to be bad? The sides are becoming more and more blurred. Somehow they end up in an underground bunker at the Berlin Zoo and things get explosive.

The pace of these books remains fast, and tight. The historical aspects give it a greater dimension, reinforcing the idea that this the end play of a search that has been in place for generations. Sam is all action, there is not much else to him but it is action that drives the story. The dynamic between Alex and his mother is given a light brushing over, with them working on the same side. The story is fun escapism but there isn’t a lot of depth to it, which makes it great for more reluctant readers. The short length of both the chapters and the books is another thing that makes it a good choice for those people. Recommended for 10+.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 February 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831862

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Ghostheart

I received my copy from the publisher.

ghostheart

By: Ananda Braxton-Smith

Secrets of Carrick bk 3

Mally is different from the rest of her family. Her brothers and sisters are brave, fearless, they will do what ever they want, when ever they want. Nothing holds them back. Mally is just the opposite, she has so many fears, so many secrets. She can’t go near the water and in a place surrounded by water that is pretty limiting. Mally wishes things were different but they’re not. She has her pig though and her best friend Breesh. Breesh understands Mally, together they explore the Spindlestone caves, but even that isn’t what it used to be. Into the picture comes Dolyn Craig, a bully and a sneak, a horrible boy who can’t be trusted and now it looks as though there is something he wants from Mally.

Sometimes before you can move forward you need to acknowledge what has happened before.

Braxton-Smith has created a gritty world for her characters to inhabit. Carrick is salt-encrusted and full of secrets. It’s stories are passed from person to person, some lost or just rarely told. The isolation creates tension. Mally is a fragile character, her fears are combined with her strange ways of coping and often it isn’t quite what you think it is. As Mally deals with her fears some of the secrets of Carrick are also uncovered. Ghostheart is poignant  and eerie, a tale that ebbs and flows like the ocean Mally is so afraid of. If you like your stories stark, lyrical with a sadly, dark undertone then give this a try.

Publisher: Black Dog Books

Published: 01 May 2013

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: fiction, secrets

ISBN 13: 9781742032184

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

10

I received my copy from the publisher.

10

By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 4

Sam and Xavier are in dire straights. Sam is convinced this is the end – his at the hands of Solaris. Then rescue comes in a very unexpected way. He was sure Alex was dead but now it looks as though he is working with The Enterprise and Sam doesn’t know what to make of that. He can’t stop thought to find out, the next dreamer needs to be located and his search takes him to Paris. The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, over ground and underground, and it seems that there is no longer any way to tell who is on what side and exactly how many factions are involved.

The pace of this story doesn’t relent. The different perspectives are woven together well. The introduction of new characters works to bring them into the team, though it is nice that they don’t all believe immediately. Zara is a nice addition; smart and cautious. Her parents support what she is about to do even though they are affiliated with The Enterprise, and this is just one of the ways the boundaries between the sides is blurred. This uncertainty ups the ante as with the various factions there is no opportunity for the action to stop.

Eve also goes through a bit of a change in this instalment and it will be interesting to see how this is fleshed out or if it will just be ignored. Strangely Sam is probably the least well rounded of all the characters, in many ways he is a function of the action. It is Sam who keeps the story going. I wonder if that is going to be enough to keep him interesting or if he will benefit from a little depth of character writing. None of that takes from the fact that this series is a rip roaring read.

Worth a look if you want short instalments and plenty of action. Age 10+

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Action, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831879

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

Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover

don-t-judge-a-girl-by-her-coverBy: Ally Carter

Gallagher Girls Bk 3

Cammie Morgan’s holiday has just gotten fun, or so she thinks when she gets to join her friend Macey McHenry on her dad’s campaign trail. Fun takes on another meaning when she has to draw on all her skills to prevent her friend from being kidnapped off the roof of a building. Of course Cammie and Macey attend Gallagher Academy where they have learnt rather more interesting skills than those taught in an average high school.

This is just the start of the toughest period of Cammie’s young life because even though Secret Services have become more involved in Macey’s personal security, even when back at school, Cammie, Bex and Liz really can’t leave their friend out there essentially alone. The girls are determined to help keep her safe even if it means going against Cammie’s mother’s instructions. The more they uncover though the more surprising the truth appears to be.

This is a great addition to the series. This has a greater focus on friendship and it is wonderful to read the different character arcs particularly in this case, Macey’s. It is cool to delve into the different spy skills and how they can be utilised. These girls consider themselves family and this is how they treat the situation. When they try to do the right thing and get ignored they don’t give up, they do what they are trained to do. Smart, sassy, determined and more than a little stubborn these girls are not only entertaining they give examples of how girls are just as capable of achieving anything. They are also not invincible or infallible. Cammie’s weakness is her uncertainty of dealing with Zach, and this can unsteady her at the most inopportune tines, but when it comes down to it she will do what ever she has to to keep her friend safe.

Highly Recommended.

Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children

Published: 18 May 2010

Format: Paperback 263 pages

Categories: Family, Friends, Spy Stories

ISBN 13: 9781423116608

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

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