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Top Titles 2011

As I’m going to not be posting between now and the new year I thought I would put my top picks of this year down now.

These aren’t the only ones I loved and there is no order to them, they are simply some of the ones released this year as far as I know that stand out in my mind.

Picture Books

The Flying Orchestra – Clare McFadden

The Last Viking – Norman Jorgensen/James Foley

The Jewelfish of Karnak – Graeme Base

Fiction 4-9

Violet Mackeral’s Natural Habitat – Anna Branford

Mystery in Paris – Thea Stilton (As with the rest of the series)

The Amazing Voyage – Geronimo Stilton (really I love the whole series)

Fiction 8 – 12

Eight Keys – Suzanne LaFleur

The Medusa Plot – Gordon Korman

Wonderstruck – Brain Selznick

Young Adult Fiction

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

The Extraordinaires – Michael Pryor

Mastiff – Tamora Pierce

Love Aubrey

By: Suzanne LaFleur

Something heartbreaking has happened to 11 year old Aubrey. She is on her own. Nobody knows it and Aubrey is determined to look after herself so her mother won’t get into trouble. Being 11 though and looking after yourself is more difficult than she thought it would be. Then her grandmother turns up and Aubrey’s life goes through yet another upheaval. She has to do so many things she just doesn’t want to all the while wondering why she was left alone. It is hard for her to face the truth and it is hard for her when others know the truth. The love of her grandmother, the letters she writes and a growing new friendship slowly help Aubrey to see that even though it looks like she has lost everything, not everything is lost.

This is a stunning, beautiful book. Aubrey will touch your heart. She is a tough young girl who finds herself in the hardest of situations, [Spoiler Alert] she has lost her father and younger sister and one morning her mother just gets in the car and leaves. She literally is left alone. Then she is taken out of her familiar environment and transplanted to her grandmother’s house.

La Fleur has woven an incredibly heartbreaking story and filled it with hope. She deftly and delicately handles such a difficult topic. It is never morose and never unflinching in it’s honesty. This is a wonderfully written story. Great for readers who like real stories that are well crafted. It may be helpful for a reader who has lost someone, with all the stages of grief that Aubrey goes through, but then it also could be too close to home. Discretion is advised however it is an amazing read.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 07 January 2010

Format: Paperback 272 pages

Categories: Fiction, Family, Grief

ISBN 13: 9780141327044

Purchase: here or use logo on side of page to link to Booktopia


Eight Keys

This title is not due for release until October and I received my copy from Penguin Books
By: Suzanne LaFleur

Elise is eleven and has just started middle school and as far as she is concerned it’s horrible. She doesn’t want to be there. She has been assigned a locker-buddy who is mean, teases her, laughs at her and squashes her lunch every day. Her best friend Franklin is only making things worse, he doesn’t dee the need to change to fit in. The one day, while out in the barn, she finds a key with her name on it. She sets out to find what the key opens. She doesn’t know what she is hoping for, perhaps some clues to her past or even some help for the future. What she does find is a room and a note. Opening that door is the first step on a remarkable journey of self discovery.

Eight Keys is an incredibly wonderful story of growing up, discovering who you are and where you came from. Elise lives in a loving family but both her parents are gone, she loves with her Aunt and Uncle. She has a best friend and enjoys life, that is until she starts middle school and starts to feel pressure to leave the childish things of her past behind and grow up. Elise is a wonderfully and carefully written character. She doesn’t always do the right or nice thing, but learning that and setting her wrongs right is all part of this journey she goes on as she learns about her parents and begins to understand and apply the lessons her father left for her. LaFleur has crafted a beautifully moving story about growing up and choosing your life, it is a story to touch your heart. You feel with Elise as she experiences these things and like her you can take away something from the notes her Father left behind. Every one can take away something from the eight keys: Question; Believe; Choose to live, choose to love; Know what you come from; Seek to learn, understand those you love; Treasure your life; Decide for yourself. This is a book I can’t wait to share with my daughters when they are old enough. Recommended reading.

Publisher: Penguin UK


Format:Paperback, 272 pages

Categories: School, Life, Growing Up, Friendship, Family


Purchase: this title is not available yet

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