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Archive for the ‘Intermediate Fiction’ Category

A Story of the Undead,the Unexpected and the Not Unfunny by Andrew Hansen illus. Jessica Roberts

April 16, 2018 Comments off

undeadA Story of the Undead,the Unexpected and the Not Unfunny by Andrew Hansen illus. Jessica Roberts. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

I love silly stories especially when they tamper with history and are clever about it. This one tells alternative facts about Ancient Egypt that will make junior and intermediate students laugh and adults to smile knowingly.

Bab is a clever boy, so clever that his teachers expel him from school because he is brighter than they are. His parents are delighted because they are professors of Egyptology and they can now go in search of a famous chin beard that has been worn by the Pharaohs and is now missing.

The beard has a dark magical power and when one Pharaoh dies it searches for the cleverest person around, attaches itself to his or her chin and that person becomes Pharaoh.

You’ve guessed it. When Bab’s parents are out searching for the beard, the beard finds Bab and attaches to his chin. An Ibis and a walking fish take Bab to the ancient city of Mumphis where Jackals are banned an becomes Pharaoh.

But a super bad Jackal named Cainus has a mission to steal the beard and resurrect his former master the Unpharaoh. But first he must get past Bab.

Very funny in a clever way with excellent pen and ink illustrations from Jessica Roberts.

Watch Me! by Jenni Francis.

April 7, 2018 Comments off

watch meWatch Me! by Jenni Francis. Pub. jennifrancis.comĀ  2018

The most recent short novel for intermediate and junior secondary girls from the Keri series about Keri and her friend Mereana who are now 13 years old.

The girls go to visit cousin Claire on a farm that runs horse trekking holidays as well as stocking sheep and cattle. Someone is stealing horses sheep and cattle from Claire’s farm and from surrounding farms and the girls are going to become involved.

It is not the only drama in the book as Claire has found lumps under her arm and has bad sweats in bed at night but this is not going to hold her back.

As usual this short novel is tightly written with realistic dialogue between the girls and other characters. It has great family values and is written at a pace that keeps you in the book.

Who would have thought that Morse Code would be still useful in these days of cell phones. Read it and find out why. Lots of horse talk.

Restoration Day by Deborah Makarios.

March 28, 2018 Comments off

restoration dayRestoration Day by Deborah Makarios. Pub. deborah.makarios.nz , 2018

Princess Lily of Arcelia is about to turn eighteen and due to inherit the throne of Arcelia so she can perform the rites of Restoration Day which renews the life of the land.

The trouble is her kingdom has been ruled by her wicked uncle Phelan who has abolished the monarchy and rules as Magister. After a civil war in which Lily’s parents were killed, Lily has been living in a castle that is protected by magic and kept hidden from the outside world by a great hedge.

Lily has been brought up by her aunt Hortensia who believes young ladies ought not to be enthusiastic and should never argue. Lily thus has an innocent jolly hockey sticks sort of manner and believes she is going to become queen as of right. She is about to change because she has to.

She escapes from her aunt, through the hedge and is soon picked up by her uncles Wolves and imprisoned with a dwarf named Malin. In a McGyver like episode Lily and Malin escape and search for the 3 Requisites needed to enact Restoration Day, renew the polluted land, and hopefully restore Lily to the throne of Arcelia. Sounds a little close to home.

Riveting stuff told with rich language and plenty of action and good values.The banterĀ  between Lily and the dwarf Malin is a highlight of the novel. A big surprise at the end.

Ideal for fantasy readers of intermediate and high school age. Contact the author direct to purchase copies.

Funny Kid: Stand Up by Matt Stanton.

March 21, 2018 Comments off

stand upFunny Kid: Stand Up by Matt Stanton. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

Another gem for reluctant readers in Middle School and up to junior secondary school. The sort of book that has a lot of craziness going on, a load of laughs and characters that we all want to be but are too scared.

Max is Funny kid, a stand up comedian, but things do not go well for him. This time he is laughed off the stage by a clown called Tumbles and he feels he has lost his mojo.

Then his grandpa goes missing from the nursing home, suspected to have been kidnapped. A ransom note shows up but it looks phony and Max and his temporary best friend Hugo, plus duck who thinks Max is his mother and Abbey Purcell who is Max’s nemesis, are on the case.

Abbey thinks Max and Hugo have lifted stupidity to a new level and nobody in the nursing home wants Grandpa back, they call him Cranky-pants. Will Max find his grandpa and get his mojo back. Read it and find out, it is a load of fun.

Lyla by Fleur Beale

March 20, 2018 Comments off

LylaLyla by Fleur Beale. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2018.

I read this novel about the Christchurch earthquake in one sitting and at the end I was grinding my teeth like I did during the real event waiting for the next aftershock, because this is the way it was.

Lyla is a thirteen year old Avonside Girls high student who was with her friends in Cashel Mall when the big one struck. She describes the horror and pandemonium of the event, loses touch with her friends and parents and walks through the wreckage and carnage of a destroyed city to her home in Dallington.

Her home is a wreck, her elderly and young neighbours are dazed and confused but she organises food and bedding for them and her home becomes a refuge in the liquifaction horror all around her.

She has to contend with young children and a boy her age who has proved difficult in the past. She toils through it all as the 14,000 or so aftershocks rip the heart out of the morale of the citizens of Christchurch.

You will not read a better book about the earthquake than this.

For everybody.

Kiwis at War: 1918, Broken Poppies by Des Hunt.

March 18, 2018 Comments off

broken poppiesKiwis at War: 1918, Broken Poppies by Des Hunt. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

The final part of the Kiwis at War series is as good as all the others with an emphasis on the final battles of the war including Passchendaele, the German push after the deal with the Russians and the Armistice.

Des Hunt has focused on some of the more humane aspects of the conflict that were so easily overshadowed by the horrors of battle, the incompetent decision making and lack of compassion shown by the masters and officers who directed the war. The ordinary soldier was treated like truck loads of sheep going to the slaughter house.

There is war horror in this novel too, the rain, the mud, the trench rot, the fear, the shell shock, the noise, the bombs, the mangled bodies and minds and the killing.

It is the fate of a little fox terrier named Poppy who was lost by a little French girl called Zoe as she and her family were retreating from a German advance that is at the crux of the novel. Found by Henry Hunt a relative of the author, Poppy’s adventures will send chills up your backbone and bring you to tears of happiness.

Narrated in chronological countdown till the end of the war from August 1917 to November 1918, there is also a few photographs in the back plus a timeline and glossary.

Don’t miss this one and read the whole series also reviewed on this blog. For readers from intermediate age through to young adults. Des hunt knows how to tell a story.

Dawn Raid by Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith.

March 13, 2018 Comments off

dawn raidDawn Raid by Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith. Pub. Scholastic, 2018

This most impressive novel is part of the My New Zealand Story series and concerns the Dawn Raids on Pacific Islanders during 1976 on the orders of the Muldoon Government. never has new Zealand got closer to being a police state than during these years of the seventies.

Thirteen year old Sofia Christina Savea keeps a diary from June till November 1976 and documents family life of the time plus the slow politicising of the Pacific Island community brought about by the racist acts of the police in chasing up overstayers in New Zealand.

The best part of the novel is Sofia’s home life, her life at school and her quest to earn money on a milk round to pay for some impressive go go, leather, knee high boots. The role of her mother father and siblings is superb.

Sofia has a talent at public speaking and has entered a competition. She is struggling for a topic until on a visit to Auckland for a family reunion they are dobbed in by a neighbour and the police dawn raid their property at 4.00am in the morning.

Lots of great writing and memories in this novel, in fact one of the best in this series.