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Tag: Reviews

Some reviews written by you

WingsWings, by Aprilynne Pike (Young Adult Fiction)

I thought it was a really interesting book with lots of different genres like romance, fantasy, adventure and more. it changes your whole view on fantasy creatures and makes you wonder what could be out there. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait the rest of the series.

4 stars

Reviewed by Nadya from Brooklyn, 11 years old


FirelightFirelight, by Sophie Jordan (Young Adult Fiction)

It is a well written book, but I found that not much really happens. The conflict is not really resolved, which I was slightly disappointed at. Apart from that flaw, it has its fair share of suspense and action.

3 stars

Reviewed by Julia from Brooklyn, 11 years old

Valkyries and Liars: Book Reviews

There are some good books around at the moment! Here’s a couple I’ve enjoyed recently:

The Strange Maid, Tessa Gratton

If you haven’t read the United States of Asgard books yet then you should! This is a companion novel to The Lost Sun – it’s not really a sequel because it starts before The Lost Sun, then catches up and passes it. You could read this one first; it might be a bit spoilery but you wouldn’t be confused.

The United States of Asgard are an alternative United States where the Norse gods are real and preside over the running of the country, where there are Beserkers, Valkyries and trolls – it’s a bit dystopian (the trolls help here), but also not at the same time. The Strange Maid introduces Signy Valborn, a Valkyrie-in-waiting who has received a prophetic riddle from Odin she must solve (and, in doing so, fulfill her destiny). Signy is a tough customer with a troubled past, and she’s not going to be outdone by the riddle or other people’s disappointment in her. When a strange man tells her he knows the answer she jumps at the opportunity to crack it, even if the solution is dangerous to the point of impossibility.

This is a great read, particularly if you like strong female characters (too busy being kick-ass to be nice sometimes), a lot of action, and a bit of poetry mixed in here and there. It’s also a good introduction to Beowulf. Really recommend it!

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart

E. Lockhart strikes again! We loved Frankie Landau-Banks, and have waited ages for this one.

An old, privileged East-Coast American family owns an island off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, and every summer they stay there, each branch of the family in their own house. Cadence, a couple of her cousins and a close friend make up the Liars, and they’re inseparable.

That’s as far as I go because I don’t want to spoil things, because the book has big secrets! It might not have important things to say like Frankie does, but, wow, that ending will catch you unawares (unless you go snooping for clues on the internet – but we definitely don’t recommend doing that!).

~ Grimm

A Disappearance, A Woodpecker and A Missionary

Where Things Come Back, John Corey Whaley

I can’t remember the last time I got so much enjoyment out of a book!

Where Things Come Back is made up of two separate narratives which eventually come together in a way I never expected. The first narrative is that of 17 year old Cullen Witter, whose widely-liked younger brother suddenly disappears. While his brother’s disappearance is in the forefront of his mind, the people of the small town he lives in are obsessed with the alleged sighting of a Lazarus Woodpecker, a bird not seen in the area for more than 50 years. The other narrative follows Benton Sage, a young university student who takes up a position as a missionary in Africa but loses his faith and any sense of meaning in his life along the way. It’s very well written and the multiple storylines are interwoven carefully. One issue I had was the narrative perspective change towards the end which came out of the blue. It took me four pages to click to what was going on before I realised it was something clever. There are a lot of smart, witty and heartfelt observations throughout the book as well as a lot of elements to the story, so I look forward to reading it over again.

I really can’t recommend this book enough!

~ Rachel

An unbecoming review!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

How is it that Mara escaped the totally destroyed building with a sore head and all her friends died? Who bashed in the head of that dog-beating hulk of a man near her school? What strange things are happening to the wildlife in their new home town? So many alligators dead all at once! Could these incidents be related? And why does she have to be attracted to the best looking guy at school who can only mean trouble!

A strange and haunting tale of life with amnesia and self discovery.

~ Raewyn

Reader Review: The Fault in our Stars

We all know the feeling of having very high expectations for something, and then being disappointed with an unfavourable outcome. It seemed quite likely that this would happen with The Fault in Our Stars. I’m a big fan of John Green (whether it be his books, video blogs, or general being), I’d had this book pre-ordered for six months, and I’d listened to the pre-released first and second chapters many times. But, even with my sky-high expectations, this novel exceeded them beyond what I could have imagined.

The Fault in Our Stars is amazing. The blurbs from authors on the back and reviews from critics say much the same thing: That TFiOS is both extremely funny, extremely sad, and extremely thought-provoking. This is so true. The transition between quotes and scenes that have you in stitches, tears, or pondering the meaning of life seem so unexpected, yet never misplaced, and keep the wonderful pacing I’ve always found Green’s books to have.

The two main characters, Hazel and Augustus, are both very witty and very intelligent cancer survivors. Even though their conversations are deliciously interesting and entertaining, it is continually stressed that suffering from cancer does not make them hold all knowledge and the secrets of the universe, a cliche that is far too embraced in the world of ‘cancer stories’. But even with the too-good-to-be-true aspects of their personalities many fictional characters possess, these characters also have flaws and shortcomings that make them real. I felt myself relating to them, even though the only thing I really have in common with Hazel is being a teenage girl.

A great way to sum up my thoughts and feelings on this book is said by Hazel herself:

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all humans read the book.”

In short, I love this book insane amounts and everyone– teens and adults– should read it.

~ Lucy

[If you’ve read something good lately, then tell us about it! It’s easy! Plus we like hearing from you. Ed.]

Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Cross the TV epic Lost, with a reality TV show, mix in a bit of spoof and a dab of not-to-be-taken-seriously and you have Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

50 contestants for the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant crash land on a remote island while flying to the pageant. The survivors, convinced that they will soon be rescued, set about working on their tans, losing weight (due to the lack of food) and perfecting their pageant routines. But survival becomes more important as time passes with no rescue, forcing the girls to put down their pom-poms and eyeliner and combine their surprisingly vast and useful knowledge and experiences to ensure they survive until their rescuers arrive.

But strange things are happening on the island… there are lights flashing from the top of the volcano, mysterious men in suits with machine guns and a cave full of hair removal cream. And that’s before the pirates and film crew turn up.

Each survivor’s back-story and their own reasons for entering the pageant are revealed throughout the course of the book. The characters are diverse and each person develops in spirit, skill and self-awareness as they struggle to survive. At the conclusion of the story the girls are hardly recognisable from the first few chapters. The message for readers: know yourself and don’t be afraid to be yourself.

This is a humorous read that begs not to be taken seriously (especially when they start launching bottles of foundation out of catapults at their attackers) and will be a new favourite for many of us.

Reader Review from Miria

City of Bones, Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments series is a very good series and not to long as many series are. Yes it does have some lovey dovey things in it, and let me tell you I don’t really go for this sort of thing but the tension that’s wrapped into this book will wake you up. Clary and Jace (the main characters) are very likely characters and the story line is amazing. At the start it seems like a normal teenage life when suddenly you are hurled into a world you’ve never known before, never even contemplated! A very good series. 5 stars

~ Miria of Wadestown

Hungry for more

Having read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I must admit that I was a bit dubious about reading the sequel. I mean- how could the sequel be as captivating as the first book, which caused me to be late back to work from my lunch breaks every day?

But Catching Fire is surprisingly good! Better yet… I’m now looking forward to the third book in the series (rumoured to be released in late 2010). Catching Fire throws the reader straight back into the suspenseful drama and action as Katniss and Peeta (plus their families and Gale) find themselves teetering on the edge of a rebellion, which they are blamed for causing. The games also makes a reappearance as a bunch of people are thrown back into the arena to fight to the death.

Don’t try to predict the ending; you’ll never guess it – it arrives quickly, from above, and leaves us with more questions then answers.

Stephanie Meyer had this to say: “Catching Fire not only lived up to my high expectations, it surpassed them. It’s just as exciting as The Hunger Games, but even more gut wrenching, because you already know these characters, you’ve already suffered with them.”

John Green’s New Moon Review

John Green, author of Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines, recently went to see New Moon and had some opinions about it, some of them good, some bad, and some quite amusing (with a nice mention of Taylor Lautner at the end, we noticed. V.). Here’s the clip:


Here it is in its natural habitat, and you can read more of his opinions on Stephenie Meyer at his blog, here. Both Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska are being made into movies (incidentally).

Book Reviews

Two reviews from Raewyn!

Juno of Taris, by Fleur Beale – On an isolated, storm-buffeted island in the Southern Ocean lives Juno and 499 other survivors of the 21st Century world. Their island is covered by a dome which protects them from any outside influences, including disease and war. But Juno begins to question the authority of the council and so becomes a target herself. Is what they have always believed really just a lie? When her friend Vima finds 2 cellphones and Juno teaches her to read, they begin a secret mission to find out what is behind the troubles on Taris.

Good read.

The Last Free Cat, by Jon Blake – ALL FREE CATS CARRY DISEASE! This is what the population have been told and so only the Corporation’s specially bred cats are allowed to be owned by those who can afford them. So when Jade sees a cat walking across her back garden she is not sure what to do. The cat, Feela, doesn’t look dangerous and it feels so nice to stroke her, and amazing when she rubs around her legs. Her mum told her not to encourage it but in the end she too is won over by this furry bundle of fun.

But what will happen if the authorities find out that they have a cat? They soon find out when their house is invaded and it is disastrous for Jade’s mother’s health. Jade finds herself on the run with Kris, a street kid from her school. The chase is on! Will they escape to Ireland where the law regarding cats is different or will they be caught and thrown into prison, knowing that Feela will be put down?

A good adventure in a futuristic world.