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Archive for the ‘Fiction 8-12’ Category

The Peculiars

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By: Stefan Bachmann

Bartholomew Kettle and his sister are different. They are Peculiars, that is they are half human, half faery. They live by the words, ‘Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged’. Bartholomew wants more, he doesn’t always listen to his mother, he tries to summon a house faery just to start. It gets worse though because Bartholomew sees a strange lady mysteriously disappear with the boy across they way, that is when he forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

This tale takes the idea of the the fae, the not always nice creatures who have, in this world taken a place in it and in it’s politics. The world is complex with a very Victorian feel about it. Bartholomew is likeable enough and loyal beyond measure when something happens to his sister. The world is gritty and layered, nice little touches like mechanical creatures make for nice accents. The fae are as varied as humans can be so their is the element of the familiar mixed in with the different.

A good choice for those who like grittier tales and old mixed with new.

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 1st October 2012

Key Words: Faery, Steampunk, Family, Loyalty

ISBN: 9780007498857

 

Figgy in the World

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By: Tamsin Janu

Figgy is a determined young girl who has two very big problems. The first is her name, there is no one else in the whole country that has Figgy for a name, unfortunately that is a problem she can do nothing about. The second problem and the worst one is that her Grandmother is very sick and needs special medicine. Figgy thinks there might be something she can do about that. In America they have the medicine that will help her Grandma, so she sets out to get herself and her goat to America. She doesn’t really know how to go about it but that isn’t going to stop her. It turns out getting to America isn’t so easy and many things happen along the way.

Figgy is a wonderful, determined and loyal girl. She sets her mind to something and goes about trying to do it the best way she can. Life though is something that happens whilst you are doing things and for Figgy it becomes the most incredible adventure filled with loss and gain. Nana comes into her life and fills it in a way Figgy hadn’t expected, he opens his life to her and his actions tug at her loyalty strings. Figgy’s bravery speaks to those who come in contact with her and you cannot help but champion her along her way. A wonderful read set in a world of poverty and lack that many will have limited understanding of, this though gives the chance to open dialogue about things that really matter, or you can just read and be swept up into Figgy’s world.

Recommended

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 1st June 2014

Key Words: Life, Adventure, Friendship, Family, Hardship, Ghana

ISBN: 9781742990453

 

Nightbird

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By: Alice Hoffman

Twig is isolated, she doesn’t really have friends. It’s not that she isn’t loved it’s just her family has a secret. Twig’s mother is the most beautiful woman in their town and is famous for her apple pies and honey butter, that doesn’t stop the talk and that doesn’t stop the mystery. Everything changes though when Julia and Agate move in next door. Twig has never had friends before and their influence brings her out of her shell. These girls are bound together even more so as the secrets reach the surface and lives will be changed forever.

Hoffman has created a twisting and enchanting tale. Twig pulls at the emotions as you want her to embrace these new friends but as you are drawn into the family story and it’s secret heart. It is a story that whilst removed from the familiar and the possible parallels in our world where difference is at the heart of so many problems. This is a story that can simply be read and enjoyed as it comes to its emotional and uplifting crescendo or you can look deeper into its themes and use it to springboard some solid discussion of weightier matters.

An enchanting read and recommended.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Published: 1st March 2015

Key Words: Family, Mystery

ISBN:  9781471124211

The Hidden Oracle

xthe-hidden-oracle.jpg.pagespeed.ic.eQ1MXlIOfDBy: Rick Riordan

The Trials of Apollo Bk 1

Apollo is in a whole world of hurt, he is used to being a god but now he is a 16 year old boy stuck in the mortal world because Zeus has cast him down. He now has to find what it is he has to do in order to regain his godhood. To add to his mortification he is rescued from his first beating by twelve year old Meg. He persuades Percy Jackson to take them both to Camp Half-Blood hoping that whilst there he can find some answers but the Camp is in chaos, things are not as they should be, campers are missing and the oracle is not working. How can you go on a quest when the being who issues the quests is unable to do so? Somehow Apollo needs to confront his fears, overcome the limitations of his now teenage, human body and deal with betrayal such as he has never felt before.

This is a fun entry into the world of demigods. Apollo is a funny and at times irritating character with his self-importance and egotistic ways. The blending of a teenagers imperfections with the mind of an ancient god makes for some very amusing moments. Twelve year old Meg is the perfect foil for the fallen god, her street smarts and ultimately damaged personality contrast beautifully with his grandiosity. It is going to be interesting to see where the character of Meg is taken, all the demigods have issues and most have parental issues but it seems that Meg’s issues have the potential to touch on some darker territory. The pace as always with these stories is fast, the action at times quite nasty. Riordan has given us a horrible yet interesting villain (an no I won’t tell you who it is – no spoilers). It is always nice to go back to the camp and see what has changed and what hasn’t, new campers who come to the fore. I look forward to the next instalment of this series.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 3rd May 2016

Key Words: Action, Adventure, Humour, Mythology

ISBN: 9780141363936

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth

I was sent this by the publisher

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By: Frank Cottrell Boyce

Prez is a Temporary, a kid who doesn’t live at home, he can’t he doesn’t have parents and his Granddad can no longer look after him. During the summer though Temporary kids are sent to stay with families. Prez’s family live on a farm, it’s not where he wants to be but it is better than nothing. He is at the farm when Sputnik comes into his life. Sputnik is a small, loud alien that wears a kilt, the thing is though everyone else just sees a dog. Sputnik tells Prez he is there to look after him and that the Earth is going to be destroyed unless they can find ten things worth doing or seeing. So a normal summer turns into a ridiculous time of learning to see things through another creatures eyes and hopefully saving the planet. Of course all Prez really wants is to see his Granddad again.

This is a fun and somewhat ridiculous story that turns some very familiar things on their head. Believe me some of the things Sputnik discovers will make you wish it really was that way. Prez is so relatable his ordinariness and Sputnik is a great counterbalance to that. The pace is cracking and the adventures they go on are so much fun, despite their bland kind of beginnings.A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Publisher: Pan MacMillan

Published: 7th April 2016

Key Words: Fun, Adventure, Space

Age: 8-12

ISBN: 9781509819973

 

Bridesmaid in Training

I received this book from the publisher

bridesmaid-in-training.jpgBy: Meg Cabot

Notebooks of a Middle School Princess Bk 2

Olivia Grace is now in residence at the palace in Genovia where she is doing all she can to help out with her half sister’s upcoming wedding. There is so much to learn being a new princess, with all those table settings which one is for what or whom? Then to make matters worse she has to start school, during the last week, not something she wants to do at all. Starting a new school is hard enough, let alone if everyone at your school is a noble of some sort, and your distant cousin is doing all she can to make you feel uncomfortable. Let’s hope that everything for the wedding goes smoothly.

This is a fun story. Even being set in the world of princesses it remains very relatable, Olivia’s issues are ones that most kids can identify with; friends, new schools, learning new skills and an beginning interest in the opposite sex. (Not that Olivia is, really.) The story moves at a good pace, the text is broken up by occasional simple illustrations. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Recommended.

Publisher : Pan MacMillan

Published : 21st April 2016

Key Words : Fun, Humour, Family, School, Friends

Age : 8+

ISBN : 9781447292487

Zakora: The Fyrelit Tragedy

I received this book from the publisher

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Fyrelit Bk 1

By: Alison & Nicholas Lochel

Neleik, Ervine and Skye Fyrelit are orphans, but they have each other and their farm. Together they will survive. One day Neleik and Ervine are witness to their sister being kidnapped. They leave everything behind in order to find her, they will not stop till they are a family once again. This journey will not be an easy one, it takes them to halls of power and on unexpected quests. Along their way they meet a princess who wants more from her life, a half-giant, a damaged dragon and a strange sword master who knows something of a secret that will change their lives forever. First though they must survive.

A detailed world with some fun little touches provides the backdrop to this story of family. The brothers brave but naive, they are driven to find their sister no matter what obstacle appears in their path. They are ill equipped for much of what they face and their allies balance out their party well. When I first picked this book up I struggled a little, maybe because I was tired because when I went back to it, feeling fresh and really wanting to read and escape, this story swept me along. There are some funny little modern touches, that have been adjusted for the world that gave me cause to laugh and in no way took me out of the world these siblings have created. It was a good read and truthfully, I hope to get around to finishing the series one day.

Publisher: Hachette

Published: 30th June 2015

Key Words: Fantasy, Family, Adventure

ISBN: 9780734416421

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