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
I received my copy from the publisher
By: Patrick Ness
Life for a high school student is filled with stresses related to dating and exam scores and that is how it should be, not everyone can be a chosen one. Not everyone is the one who has to face the zombies, kill the vampires or defeat whatever the latest threat to a town might be. Stories are always told of those people but what of those who share the town with them. This is the story of those whose lives go on at the edges or outside all that action. To Mikey though that is as it should be. Mikey just wants to graduate, get the chance to go to prom before the high school gym gets blown up again and maybe kiss the girl. This is life.
This book is a wonderfully engaging story. As a counterpoint to Mikey’s life we do get hints as to what is happening in the extraordinary world, but so what? Mikey’s life is interesting, filled with stresses that we can all identify with. (Well apart from a mother who basks in the spotlight of fame.) Mikey has a close group of friends, is protective of his sisters and protective of his best friends secret, no small ask when that friend might be something pretty spectacular, such as a god. Then of course there is the girl he believes he should be with and the guy she seems to fancy.
Ness has taken the concept of a story about the spectacular or supernatural and turned it on its head. In the process he has given us a wonderful tale rooted in the mundane, it is a highly relatable tale dealing with depression, mental health issues and eating disorders. There are some serious topics packaged here and as always Ness deals with them in a manner that makes them seem less taboo. Once again Patrick Ness has proven what a masterful story teller he is.
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 27th August 2015
Format: hard cover 352 pages
Genre: fantasy, high school, growing up, friendship
I received my copy from the publisher.
By: Elsbeth Edgar
It is that time of year again, auditions have been posted for this years school play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ella Jamison would like nothing more than to be able to audition. She would love to be on stage, but Ella has a secret, she suffers from terrible stage fright. Standing in front of people to talk and she freezes up. She pretends she is happy watching her friends act and working in the backstage crew.
There are other things going on in her life too. Suddenly a grandfather she knows very little about is living with her family and he is somewhat eccentric. Ella just hopes he doesn’t do anything to embarrass her in from of her friends. Then there is the new boy at school, Ella thinks Sam is plain arrogant but then she gets to know him a bit better and sees something she didn’t expect.
This is a wonderfully told tale about fear, first impressions, friends and family. It is about facing up to things that scare you and embracing that which may embarrass you. Ella is a blend of strength and fragility. She tries to make the best of a situation she doesn’t see a way around, she doesn’t totally give up her dream. When shown another way she really tries to face up to her fears. Ella is strong enough to realise she could be wrong is willing to change her mind.
Sam is a good addition, he is a male character with hidden depths, not what he first appears, an arrogant and possibly bad, boy. Ella’s friend Gina brings another dimension to the story and shows Ella that sometimes it’s important to see outside of your own problems.
This book is a touching story that is delivered with a gentle touch. It draws you in and wraps around you. A lovely read. It fits in that strange category that is 10+ but is good for mature younger readers or younger YA readers.
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Published: 01 June 2013
Categories: Fiction, Modern, High School
ISBN 13: 9781922077325
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.
Hey lovely readers. I have a fun gift for you. I have a copy of the wonderful WILDLIFE by Fiona Wood to give away.
This is a beautiful tale of growing up and surviving high school.
So what do you need to do to win this?
Leave a comment stating the title of one of your favourite coming of age tales and why. The winner will be selected at random.
The competition closes June 2nd 2013.
I received this from the publisher.
By: Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is a shy freshman who is trying to figure out his way through the maze that is high school. Is is a place of first loves, first dates, friendships and family dramas. Charlie is good at sitting on the sidelines, he is good at watching. There comes a time though when you need to stop watching and start living. With the help of new friends Patrick and Sam, Charlie starts to experience what growing up is all about.
In it’s simplest form ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a coming of age story. There is very little about it that is simple though. Charlie is incredibly shy and highly emotional. You know there is stuff that has gone on in his life and that is never made very clear. Charlie is a troubled kid, on many levels. For me he wasn’t the strength of the book.Sam and Patrick were what held this story together for me. For all that it is supposed to be poignant, touching, I found Charlie to be a bit frustrating, especially his constant crying. Yes it is an interesting read, it is a different take on navigating what can be such a difficult time. It will definitely appeal to some, though I think it is going to be one of those books you get or you don’t really. For me it was something I can say I’ve read, but it didn’t leave much of a mark.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Published: 01 October 2012
Format: Paperback 240 pages
Categories: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN 13: 9781471100482
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.
I received this book from the publisher.By: Abby McDonald
Bliss Merino is set for the perfect prom, she has the dress, the boy, the friends. At least she thought she was going to have the perfect night, until she sees her boyfriend making out with her best friend. Then she hears that bad girl Jolene is at the prom and Bliss engages her help for a night of revenge. Meg, always thought she was invisible and somehow she gets swept up into Bliss’s need to get even. It turns out there is more than that on the books for in one night they rebel, party, experience romance, get revenge, and realise what they thought they wanted they didn’t. It was supposed to be one unforgettable night and it becomes one but not for the reasons they thought.
Bliss is not the sort of girl I would ordinarily read about but she was fun. She got to enjoy shining moments and some not so good moments and seeing all this made her more three dimensional, more than just a cheated on pretty girl. Jolene has her own problems, her bad girl reputation makes her the perfect person to turn to for help with nefarious deeds, but like Bliss Jolene has hidden corners. Meg is so reserved, she is pulled into this night reluctantly but through it she learns from both girls and has her own hidden strengths finally coming out of her shell. Sure there may be a few cliches in her but that totally doesn’t matter. McDonald has given us a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining story. The perfect thing for a light weekend read.
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Published: 03 May 2012
Categories: High School, Prom, Revenge, Romance
ISBN 13: 9781406337587
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page
This book was sent to me by the publisher.By: Elizabeth Miles
Emily Winters is really looking forward to the winter holidays because they are looking like they are going to be really good. The guy she is into has finally started to notice her, little looks and touches, The problem is he already has a girlfriend but she is going away, the bigger problem though is the girlfriend is Gabby, Emily’s best friend. If she starts down this path it won’t be something she can ever take back. Sometimes sorry is not enough. Someone has seen, someone knows and someone wants Emily to pay.
Chase comes from the other side of town. His home life is tense and his social life is beginning to unravel, not something he wants with the big Football Feast coming up. But Chase has a secret, he has done something really cruel, it is the sort of thing the perfect guy he’s trying to pretend to be, would never do. Now he thinks his actions have resulted in something terrible. He is convinced that it is only a matter of time before he is exposed. Hen he meets Ty and her cousins and becomes obsessed, but what is Ty’s agenda?
This novel has elements of paranormal and romance but with a twist. The paranormal element isn’t angels, werewolves or vampires. In this way it is a little refreshing. Miles evenly spreads the Fury’s rage between male and female targets which is also a good touch. This is a story of choices, seduction and consequences. It is about opening your eyes to what is around you. Emily isn’t a character you will always like or even always cheer on, her choices after all are what bring her to the Fury’s attention. Chase is also a character written in a way that makes you feel he has no real redeeming features.
The story is fairly tight and mildly intriguing. If you are an avid reader of YA paranormal stories and you can get past the characters who are often quite unlikeable, then you will probably like this, though remember it isn’t a normal paranormal romance – which for me is a good thing.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Published: 30 August 2011
Categories: Romance Paranormal
ISBN 13: 9780857074867
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page
By: Ryan Brown
The Jackrabbits are Killington High’s football team and they are one win away from playing in the district championship, where they will face off against their most vicious rivals, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. In Killington Texas football is a religion and the rivalry gets bloody before the players even take the field. Jackrabbits quarterback Cole Logon is brutally attacked by three masked assailants but instead of backing down he sets out to get payback where he believes it will hurt most, on the field. Then a second prank goes terribly wrong, threatening the lives of the team. The help Cole, and a reluctant Savannah, seek is unorthodox and plunges them into a desperate race to control the team and their newfound craving for flesh. Cole must lead them to gridiron victory in a game where the stakes aren’t just bragging rights but a matter of salvation or damnation.
Cole is an arrogant loner with a dodgy family life and a dodgy reputation. For him football is the way out and he won’t let the Badgers ruin that for him. He reluctantly teams up with the coach’s daughter, Savannah who has her own secrets. Cole isn’t the sort of character that grabs me but neither did he repulses me, I think he was interestingly developed and played well off Savannah who isn’t as tightly cliched as she may first appear.
I have to say I am not a sporty type of person and wasn’t sure what to think when this came into my hands. Somewhat to my surprise I really enjoyed it. Brown starts in a place you think you know then gives it a little twist sideways. He has done a good job of balancing the sport, supernatural and humour aspects of this story. It is a tight, fast paced, darkly funny and entertaining read. If you like zombies, football or even something just a little different give this a shot, it might surprise you.
Published: 09 June 2011
Format: Paperback 344 pages
Categories: Thrillers Horror
ISBN 13: 9781439171578
Purchase: here or click on logo to go to Booktopia site