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Archive for the ‘Young Adult Fiction’ Category

Gap Year in Ghost Town

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By: Michael Pryor

Anton Marin has ghost-sight, it runs in his family, even though his father doesn’t have it. It is their job to send the ghosts out of this world. Their’s is a gentler approach to many of the others who pursue the same calling. Into his uncertain world crashes Rani Cross, her method involves a lot more slashing and sword work, needless to say they don’t see eye to eye. This is a moot point however when it becomes clear something is going on causing a massive spike in ghostly manifestations. In order to get the the bottom of things they need to find a way to work together. As things become more violent and crazy Anton needs to somehow find the time in this his gap year, to decide if this is the career he really wants.

In this book it is the girl who is more physical and this makes for a delightful extra dimension in the buddy hunting theme. Anton is a torn character, he knows ghost hunting is a family thing, and if he has the gift he should probably use it, however it is so not really what he wants to do with his life. He also doesn’t want to disappoint his dad. This story is not only intriguing and entertaining, it delves into some real family issues that people feel growing up and that makes Anton easy to identify with, even if his choices are beyond the bounds of what us normal folk experience. Anton and Rani balance each other well and keep the story moving at a good pace. A fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Published: 26th July 2017

Key Words: Ghosts, Ghost Hunting, Family, Intrigue

ISBN: 9781760292768

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The Traitor and the Thief

the-traitor-and-the-thief.jpgBy: Gareth Ward

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

Sin is a street rat. A kid from a gang who survives by stealing. That is until the day he tries to steal from the wrong person. Cornered the strangest thing happens, Sin is offered a way out of his street life. He is offered the chance to join the Covert Operations Group and train to be a spy. This is a very different world for Sin, the people he is dealing with and learning with are very different from the world he knows, however some of the skills learnt on the street that helped him survive there are the very ones that help him now. Befriending the eccentric Zonda Chubb he starts to navigate his way through this new world, before discovering there is a traitor in their midst. Now he has to ally with the school bully to uncover the traitor, is there anyway he’ll get out of this alive.

Steampunk is fun. This world is one that is both familiar and yet not. There are elements that ring true in amongst a whole heap of things that are fresh, fun and just plain different. Ward’s world is intriguing, the differences draw you in deeper. Sin is a fun character, a classic diamond in the rough type, who is perfectly offset by the not so fit, and slightly left of centre Zonda. This is a story that is full of intrigue and action. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Publisher: Walker Books

Published: 1st August 2017

Key Words: Steampunk, War, Spies, Intrigue

ISBN: 9781925381504

 

More Than One Way to be a Girl

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By: Dyan Sheldon

This book was sent to me by the publisher

Loretta Reynolds and Giselle Abruzzio somehow became best friends. Somehow because the two girls could not have been more opposite in everything. This difference though drives them towards what seems like a silly bet but quickly becomes something far more. Who knew one bet could be so life changing. Loretta has to embrace the feminine side of herself, that part that she has kept hidden because she believes there is more to a girl than what she looks like. Giselle has to give up the make up and fashion, dress down and act smarter. The girls learn so much over the course of the summer.

This isn’t a book I would automatically be drawn to, having said that I was curious to see how it would play out, who would be the victor in this battle of gender stereotypes. I was wonderfully engaged and totally drawn into this social experiment. Witty, fun and achingly real, Sheldon’s telling of this story from both points of view was a great decision. Seeing things from both sides gives equal weight and emphasises the the fact of the title, there is ‘more than one way to be a girl’. This is the sort of book that will hopefully encourage people to see things from more than their own limited perspective. This for me was a delightful surprise. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of spoiling the fun.

Recommended.

Publisher: Walker Books

Published: 1st September 2017

Key Words: Friends, Family, Relationships, Gender Stereotypes

ISBN: 9781406363036

Throne of Glass

 

throne-of-glass.jpgBy: Sarah J Maas

Throne Of Glass Series Bk 1

Celaena Sardothien is pulled from her imprisonment in the bleak salt mines of Endovier to enter a competition. She is offered a deal, represent the Prince (the son of a man she despises) in a to the death tournament, with the prize becoming the King’s Champion, if she wins she gains freedom if she doesn’t… death or the mines it’s all the same really. Celaena isn’t just anyone though, before she was sentenced to life in the mines, she was an assassin, the best of the best. There is more going on than just this competition though, once she steps into the palace walls she is drawn into a deadly game of politics. She will make friends, find enemies and start to understand her destiny.

Celaena draws you in, her past is murky, her drive not so much. She is strong, determined and far from perfect. She is what I like in a central character, layered. The world Maas has drawn for us is comes to life off the page. The central action is all that you’d expect, filled with hidden agendas and dirty fighting. The friendships Celaena developed tentatively bring a lovely dimension to the story. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and am keen to read the rest of the series.

Recommended.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 1st Aug 2012

Key Words: Fantasy, Action, Politics

ISBN: 9781408832332

A Monster Calls – Movie Review

a-monster-calls.jpgMovies of books, don’t always go so well and I firmly fit into the category of person who believes mostly books do it better. I like the way I create a movie in my head as I read and sometimes the films, for the sake of action and time, change things up that are, to a reader, just wrong.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this movie. Patrick Ness, the writer of the source material, had a hand in the film and I think that showed, not just in the storytelling but also in the tone.

As a book it was moving, intense as you would expect from the subject matter; broken family, mother critically ill, bullying. The whole tale is about some of the dark places life can take us and ways to cope through them. The film echoed that.

It is not a faced paced film, it is slow as it weaves a story in several parts; Conor’s real life, the interactions with the monster (voiced with gravitas that only Liam Neeson can bring), and the stories the Monster tells. It is an emotional tale, filled with painful truths, bought to life in a touching and very real way.

The cast did an amazing job. Lewis MacDougall (Conor) is vulnerable, defiant, broken and ultimately finds strength though the journey the ancient tree monster takes him on in the search of truth, Conor’s truth. Felicity Jones does a great job of playing a mother who knows she is ill but struggles to hide it from her son, whilst giving him the love he needs. Conor’s Grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) is stern, distanced from him but tries as she understands they are all each other has, she delicately plays that balance of love, sadness and frustration.

It is a film that pulls at the heartstrings. As a mother I identified on many levels. As someone who has intimate knowledge of bullying, it strums a note. As a reader who loved the source material it is a film that doesn’t disappoint.

If you get the chance go see the film, even if you don’t pick up a copy of the book, I highly recommend it.

 

in the Dark, in the Woods

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By: Eliza Wass

Castley Cresswell is sixteen and has five siblings. Castley wants to fit in better, she wants to be like other teenagers. Her father has a very different idea of what his children should be like and what they should do with their time. Castley’s Father says they are going to always be together, in heaven, not just here on earth. He believes the sooner they get their the better. He doesn’t want outside involvement in their lives, and if he didn’t have to send them to school he wouldn’t. Life inside their house is complicated, outsiders wouldn’t understand, and they must certainly never find out about their secrets.

This is a dark book, structured around a dark and difficult topic. What happens when the adults around you aren’t well, and control every little thing you do, down to telling you exactly what you should think. For all it’s darkness it is a fascinating read and you desperately keep going along because you want to know what happens to the Cresswell’s. Well worth a read.

Publisher: Hachette                                                                                                              Published: 14 June 2016                                                                                                                     Key Words: Cult, Isolation, Teenager, Fitting In                                                                   ISBN: 9781784299910

Freeks

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By: Amanda Hocking
A travelling carnival is a strange place to grow up in but it is the only home Mars Besnick knows. The carnival though is a place of mysteries and secrets, filled with people with hidden, or not so hidden powers. Mara doesn’t think she has any powers but she gets along. In this last stop though she meets a boy, Gabe Alvarado and chemistry happens. He’s not the first boy she’s been drawn to but he is the first to reach her so deeply. The more time they spend together the more Mara realises she isn’t the only one with secrets and Gabie’s family legacy could destroy her world. As carnival folk go missing, get attacked or even wind up dead Mara is determined to figure out exactly what is going on.
Set in 1982 this world is close to the one we live in, making characters and settings familiar. The mystery of the carnival draws us in, the many characters add wonderful colour to a tale that could be much bleaker without them. Mara is likeable and her hesitation about getting involved with Gabe is believable. Her determination draws you along as the darkness expands and the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed the blend of mystery and supernatural.
Recommended if you like those genres.

Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Published: 31st January 2017
Key Words: Supernatural, Mystery
ISBN: 9781509807659

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