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Friday Barnes Girl Detective

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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

ISBN: 978014378095

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

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

New Guard

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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.

Recommended.

Publisher: Hodder Children’s

Published: 31st May 2016

Key Words: Action, Crime

ISBN: 9781444932157

Kizmet and the Case of the Smashed Violin

I received my copy from the publisher.

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By: Frank Woodley

Part of the Kizmet Papancillo series

Kizmet and Gretchen are assisting Kizmet’s father Detective Spencer with another case. This time they are in Hugelstein and the job at hand is to protect a couple of priceless Stradivarius violins. Something disastrous happens and one of the violins is destroyed. The more they pursue the case, the more complicated things seem and the more dangerous the case becomes.

I have to admit that this series is quite a lot of fun. Silly moments, with the parental figure being somewhat of the bumbling detective and Kizmet being the brains of the operation. Kizmet follows the train of evidence with skill and learns a new trick along the way. Woodley has put together interesting stories and a strong character in Kizmet and used his experience in comedy to good effect.

Remains on the recommended list.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 29th July 2015

Format: Paperback, 112 pages

Genre: Detective, Fun, Adventure

ISBN: 9780143308553

Kizmet and the Case of the Tassie Tiger

I received my copy from the publisher.

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By: Frank Woodley
Livestock are being attacked by a strange creature in the Tasmanian bush. Sightings are claiming it is the, supposedly extinct, Tasmanian tiger. Kizmet, Gretchen and Detective Spencer are called to investigate.
This is a fun little story, part of a new series written by comedian Frank Woodley. Kizmet is the daughter of Detective Spencer, a somewhat bumbling investigator from IMPACT – International Mysteries Puzzles and Crime Taskforce. She is the brains of the operation and is ably assisted by her pet currawong. The story itself moves at a good pace and is entertaining, written with a tone of humour.
Recommended.
Publisher: Puffin
Published: 29th July 2015
Format: Paperback 112 pages
Genre: Adventure, Fun
ISBN: 9780143308546

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