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Posts tagged ‘Family’

All Fall Down

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By: Ally Carter

An Embassy Row Novel

Grace Blakely is back in Adria, where her Grandfather is US Ambassador and her mother grew up. Her mother is why she is back, and there are so many memories. And memories are a big part of the problem, because Grace knows three things with certainty; that she isn’t crazy, that her mother was murdered and she is determined to find the killer and make them pay. No-one else believes her. Her issues mean she has no-one to trust.

Into this comes Noah, her new self-proclaimed best friend, he simply won’t take no for an answer when he pushes his way into her life. To complicate matters, Alexei the Russian, has promised to keep an eye on her because her brother has asked him to. Then she sees the man she swears killed her mother. Who can she get to help to prove it? It’s all more complicated because everyone on Embassy Row has to constantly be aware of scandal and international implications of what happens between them. Every move, every little action can have big ramifications, even going through the wrong door can cause an international incident. How will she convince people she is not losing it?

Carter has created a city with a story centred on the complexities of growing up in a truly international street. The gravitas provided by the knowledge everything that happens could have impact outside of the small contained world these characters live in, gives the story a whole other dimension. Grace is a damaged character and whilst it is good to see things such as anxiety and the like represented I find the extremes a little too intense. The brief moments of relief somehow don’t seem long enough, even though it does make sense eventually. Even though I did have a few niggles with Grace herself the story was entertaining and I went straight onto the second book.

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 1st February 2015

Key Words: Politics, Family, Conspiracy, Thriller

ISBN: 9781743628942

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

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

Stuff Happens : 3 Books for You

ETHAN

stuff-happens-ethanBy: Oliver Phommavanh

Ethan doesn’t really fit in. He likes to read more than play sports. Somehow he finds a friend who likes DinoRiders books as much as he does. Then something happens and Trent stops wanting to hang with Ethan and talk about books. Ethan is devastated, he’s lost his only friend. Then a school project means he has to work with others in his class and somehow Ethan learns that friendship comes in different forms and sometimes needs to be worked at.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 28th January 2015

Format: Paperback, 91 pages

Key Words: School, Friends

ISBN: 9780143308171

FADI

stuff-happens-fadiBy: Scot Gardener

Fadi is the biggest kid in his class, being big isn’t easy, especially when you can be a little clumsy with it. Fadi also plays rugby, but when tackling is banned at school, Fadi breaks the rules and breaks someone’s arm. His family rally around him though and Fadi learns another skill that hopefully will help him fit in better and maybe he will surprise not only himself but others too.

Publisher:  Puffin

Published: 28th January 2015

Format: Paperback, 86 pages

Key Words: School, Dance, Sport

ISBN: 9780143308126

HARRY

stuff-happens-harryBy: Alex Mc Diarmid

Harry has his comfort zone, he likes things just the way they are. Harry has decided he doesn’t want to be good at anything simply because when you are you draw the attention of teachers and other kids. Harry doesn’t want any sort of  attention. His plan was working until he painted all over another students drawing. Stupid art class project, getting him into so much trouble.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 29th July 2015

Format: Paperback, 90 pages

Key Words: School, Imagination, Art

ISBN: 9780143308959

This series is a great series written about characters who are easily relatable, with school problems any student can have. Even just life issues that have to be dealt with as you face growing up. Each author has their own approach and together it presents the reader with an easily readable series full of simply life experience lessons and fun.

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