By: RA Spratt
Book One Friday Barnes
Friday Barnes is eleven and incredibly smart. Her parents were incredibly smart but distant parents and Friday basically raised herself. There is one person she enjoys spending time with, Uncle Bernie, who is a private investigator, which is how Friday finds herself solving a bank robbery. With the reward she sends herself to an incredibly exclusive boarding school.
She thought she would just be going to school, somewhere away from her family. There though she finds the school is filled with crime and she finds she has a taste for investigating it. Then there is the boy who hates Friday for some reason and really likes playing nasty pranks. High school isn’t turning out to be what exactly Friday thought it would be.
This was a thoroughly entertaining book. Friday is possibly the kind of girl I’d have loved to have been. Mysteries make more sense than people and keep things interesting. The pace Spratt sets is brisk and the variety of things happening are enough to keep you turning the pages.
A fun mystery read that I would recommend without hesitation.
Published: 1st July 2014
Publisher: Random House
Key Words: Mystery, Crime, High School
By: Oliver Jeffers
Something is happening in the woods. Something is happening to the trees. Something must be done so the animals get together to investigate. At first they find nothing, no clues, then they catch a break. Bear hasn’t meant to cause trouble, he’s just trying to practice for the great paper plane race. He really wants to win. Will bear achieve what he wants, and will he stop taking the trees?
A fun mystery story, with easy to read text. Jeffers stylised illustrations are always wonderful and tell the story more completely than just the text can. An enjoyable read.
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 1st Nov 2009
Key Words: Crime, Mystery, Paper Planes
By Robert Muchamore
A CHERUB story
James Adams has come a long way since his first days as a CHERUB agent, he is now a mission controller and handling a team of boys sent out to look into a potential new recruit. That mission turns out to be a bust but in the process a larger mission is uncovered. Now he has to assemble a team of ex agents to rescue two kidnapping victims. Things have changed though, not least being James’s office lifestyle is far removed from the brutal physical regime the young agents are put through. Intense training aside the old team is back together, it is going to be one heck of a ride.
This story does a good job of blending both the old and new guard and in no way will disappoint fans of the series, in fact many may enjoy the chance to catch up with some old favourites. The banter and action are still there. The brashness of the teenagers shines out from the page to the point where they can just frustrate you like any teenager can, this adds to the reality and relatability of the characters. The world they tend to live in is gritty and dirty, the action fast when it needs to be. The scenes between the old and new guard are fun, giving the story a welcome lightness. This was an enjoyable read.
Publisher: Hodder Children’s
Published: 31st May 2016
Key Words: Action, Crime
I received this from the publisher
By: Tom Hoyle
George Fleet makes a decision that changes his life, he runs into a burning building. For his actions he gets what many think is the opportunity of a life time. He gets to go on an Ultimate Bushcraft Adventure Holiday. Sounds like fun, maybe. Then strange things start to happen and people start to die. Sure one death could be accidental but then… The ultimate adventure holiday becomes a nightmare of survival.
This story is dark. The concept, survival in the bush is bleak enough but with the thriller twist of murder thrown in? It is an interesting read,e ven if it takes a little to get into, which is mostly due I think to the writing style, alternate chapters are written by, or taken from, different character perspectives. Persevere though for the story itself is interesting enough to hold the attention, especially once it gets going.
If you like the darker stories or ones filled with action then check this out.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Published: 13th August 2015
Format: Paperback,255 pages
Genre: Action, Thriller
I received this book from the publisher
By: Ryan Graudin
There are three rules of survival in the Walled City: run fast, trust no one and always carry your knife.
These rules are always to be remembered. Living on the streets of the Walled City isn’t the safest place to be, but for some it is the only place they can be.
Jin Ling is doing everything she can to hide the fact she is a girl, being a girl in the Walled City is a death sentence but she can’t die because she has a job, a task, a mission. She has come her to find her sister. That is all that matters, that and surviving.
Dai has his own secrets. He survives by trafficking drugs for the most dangerous man within the Walled City, but to rise in ranks he needs the help of someone who can be invisible, he needs to find a partner.
Mei Yee is trapped. She hasn’t come to the city by choice, she was taken here and now is trapped in a brothel doing what she has to to survive. When she can, she dreams of escape no matter how futile that dream seems.
Together these three can pull off something that can see all of them move away from their past and have something more for the future, but how do you find trust in a city built on everything but?
This is a dark and murky tale. A tale of survival, of doing what you need to, of owning up to the mistakes of your past. These three characters work very well together, balancing each other out. They each have secrets, they each have issues and the only way they can truly survive is to try as part of a team. The city itself is drenched in dark tones that make you grasp at any sign of light. You are desperate for the underdog to win, to just get away. Each character has their own arc, there own journey and to reveal too much would be to detract from the story itself.
If you like or are looking for something gritty, intriguing, with characters you can’t help but invest in give this a go.
Published: 11th November 2014
Format: Paperback 424 pgs
Key Words: Crime, Survival, Family, Courage
I received my copy from the publisher.
Frankie Fox Girl Spy: Book 1
Frankie Fox knows her Dad does secret work, she understands but misses him. Instead she is trying to teach herself to develop spy skills, she really wants to be a spy. Then the worst happens and her father is kidnapped by an evil group called the Alliance. This is when Frankie learns that she has been secretly trained to be a spy (all the prompts her father gave her were for a reason). It is up to her and her friend JJ to rescue him.
This is a fun adventure centred around a feisty heroine. Frankie is smart, observant and willing to learn. The story moves at a brisk pace and spy stories often do well with kids. They encourage them to push at boundaries and learn outside the normal skills (even just encourage them to work at their normal classes). Also they are simply fun reads. It is suitable for ages 7+ so is at the top end of 4-9 category and low end of middle grade fiction.
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: 27th January 2015
Key Words: Spy Stories, Adventure
Number Of Pages: 128
I received my copy from the publisher
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.
Published: 28th October 2014
Number Of Pages: 320
I received my copy from the publisher.
On the way to David’s house Andrea sees some strange men hanging around in the back lane. This freaks Andrea out, she thinks there is something very wrong with what she has seen but she has no evidence to back up her feelings. She tries to forget about. Then a few days later David has gone. He is just not to be found. David’s grandfather tells her not to worry but she can’t help it, something about this whole whinge feels very wrong. She ropes in Martin and Kitty to help. The first thing they need to do is find out some information about the new boy Skender, he is hiding something and his family speak the same language as the men Andrea saw in the alley. The friends are determined to find out what is going on and rescue their missing mate.
This is a tightly written mystery that wraps its fingers around you and before you know it, you too know something is wrong and you have to find out what it is. Each of the characters has strengths and weaknesses and they balance each other out. The addition of Sam, who comes across as very self obsessed, brings a strange kind of lightness to the tale. The underlying story has dark edges that can actually be a springboard to interesting conversations with your kids about what is going on in the world. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Publisher: Allen and Unwin Children’s Books
Published: 01 May 2014
Format: Paperback 216 pages
ISBN 13: 9781743316931
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page
I was sent this book by the publisher
By: Fletcher Moss
Dalton Fly has a job, it’s not one that guarantees a long life but for an orphan it is better than nothing. Dalton is a food taster for the rich. He has the unenviable job of testing to ensure food and drink on the tables of the wealthy is not poisoned. Dalton has had a narrow escape, his mate wasn’t so lucky. This though thrusts Dalton into a world he has only ever been part of on the fringes. Along with his best mate and Scarlet Dropmore, one of the rich and privileged, he sets out to find who killed his friend only to discover he has wandered into something far bigger and way more unexpected than his wildest dreams could ever have come up with.
From the first blood filled moments this book takes the reader on quite a ride. The world Moss has created is gritty, grotty as you would expect when the characters come from the poorer parts of the world. It is contrast to the the parties and lifestyle of the wealthy whose lives they end up meddling in. Dalton and his best mate Sal are a great team, Dalton’s courage and Sal’s smarts are a good balance. I like their loyalty, it is a thread that runs through the story and gives Dalton a more rounded character which he needs as the story progresses. The plot is tight and action packed. If you are looking for a mystery dashed in blood and back handed goings on, this is well worth a look.
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Published: 04 April 2013
Format: Paperback 352 pages
Categories: Adventure, Mystery, Crime, Fantasy
ISBN 13: 9781908435446
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page
By: Jude Watson
39 Clues Unstoppable series bk 1
Dan and Amy Cahill finally think it’s over and they can go back to having a normal kind of life, or at least as normal as can be. Then strange things start to happen, men attack them out of nowhere and suddenly their whole lives are under attack. A tiny mistake has lead them to a terrible catastrophe that could endanger the whole world. At first they think there is no way what they think has happened could possibly have happened, but when they put everything together, there is no way around it. Someone has stolen the serum and that someone will stop at nothing to rule the world and if that means getting rid of Dan and Amy permanently then thats what they will do. The Cahill’s find themselves on the run, just to survive before they can go on the offensive.
It is possible that you could think the 39 Clues franchise has run it’s course, but this takes it to a whole other place. The thing they spent so long fighting against is actually happening, from an unexpected direction. It will be interesting to see how this new enemy effects the group dynamic. Amy has relationships to work through as well as the responsibility of being the head of the family and she wants to protect as many people as she can, but that isn’t really possible. Dan has to decide if he really wants in this still. Loads of favourite characters are here, both good and bad ones as well as a new and powerful enemy. This enemy fights differently though, this enemy throws the media under his control at the problem meaning the Cahill’s have to fight this battle on two fronts, the one that paints them as tearaway, wealthy brats and the real fight.
It will be interesting to see where this goes.
Publisher: Scholastic US
Published: 03 October 2013
Format: Paperback 192 pages
Categories: Adventure, Family, Crime
ISBN 13: 9780545521376
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page