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Archive for the ‘Senior Fiction’ Category

The Telegram by Philippa Werry

February 10, 2019 Comments off

telegramThe Telegram by Philippa Werry. Pub. Pipi Press, 2019. .

During WW1 the last thing the people at home wanted to see was a telegram boy or girl coming to their door. If you had a son, a brother a father or a husband at war then a telegram meant missing in action, dead in battle or taken prisoner.

Beaty is a 14 year old girl who lives with her younger sister Tilly and their mother who works every hour to keep the family going. When mother loses hours at work Beaty, in spite of academic abilities, is pulled out of school and gets a job as a telegram girl.

She faces all sorts of bullying for being a girl doing a boys job but proves them all wrong and even learns some skills that the boys struggle with.

When the boy next door, Caleb, goes to war, he asks Beaty to write to him and she does. Their letters describe life back here in NZ and heavily censored impressions of life in the trenches in the last year of WW1 after Passchendaele. It also continues into the Flu Epidemic that followed the soldiers home. Excellent historical fiction.

Beaty is a treasure and good role model. Philippa Werry describes life at home with knowledge and accuracy in this very readible novel for primary, secondary and high school student.

books@nationwidebooks.co.nz

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

February 3, 2019 Comments off

TuckTuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2016.

First published in 1975 and a classic in Childrens’ Literature this novel is one of the most satisfying reads I have had for a while. I first read it in the 1980’s and my reread gave me great satisfaction.

It was a stifling hot day when Winnie Foster met  Jesse in the woods drinking from a spring. He rapidly covers up his movements before Winnie has a drink and kidnaps her and takes her back to his house.

She meets the Tuck family and learns from them that the spring water gives them eternal life. The Tuck family will never die. Winnie likes their company and they tell her the story of the spring and of their life. They are all well over a 100 years old and still look the same as they did when they first drunk from the spring.

In a classic technique of British literature the conversation with the Tucks is overheard by a devious man in a yellow suit who connives to deprive the Tucks of their secret and of the woods which holds the spring. You will have to read the book to find out what happens and it is brilliant.

All school libraries should have this book and if you miss this novel you will kick yourself.

Splendidly written in old style descriptive prose that is so comforting you could fall asleep in it. The plot is very clever and the ending superb.

Children of the Furnace Bk2 Crosstrees by Brin Murray.

January 29, 2019 Comments off

crosstreesChildren of the Furnace Bk2 Crosstrees by Brin Murray. Pub. Lighthouse Press, 2019.

Sequel to Children of the Furnace it is just as thrilling and brutal as the first book which is also reviewed on this blog.

The action is centered on three main characters- Wil  is a Heater with a tattoo between his eyes under which is a chip that holds evidence of the truth about what has happened to Sekkerland and the Revelayshun that has turned the Sekkerlanders into slaves.

Leah is from the Southem a country that has been through a holocaust like situation that the Revalayshun has blamed on the Heaters. Leah is on the run from the Revouts who lead the Revelayshun and leads a group of children and medical staff away from the interment camp of Ferule where most of the first book was set.

Jace is a former henchman of the Revelayshun who has seen  the light after inflicting much cruel punishment on the Sekkerlanders but now has joined their fight against the Revouts. He is traveling with Leah.

Wil is searching for the Midwife who lives in the eastern part of Sekkerland known as Terra Nullius. The Midwife knows of the existence of Wil’s sister who also has a chip inside her facial tattoo and the two parts have proof of who is responsible for the atrocitiy that has changed the World.

Can Wil find the Midwife and his sister and join with leah to overthrow the revelayshun? read it and find out.

Great action writing in this Dystopian fiction classic but be warned the cruelty is agonisingly painful. The positive side is that the underdog is going to get through and the treat of it all is the description  of Sekkerland. It is stunning like a warmed up Greenland.

I loved it. It is like understanding what ISIS are doing in the Middle East. The tactics of the Revouts are identical to ISIS.

For senior students and Young adults. You won’t put this down once you start. Part 3 Heartsblood is due later this year

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M McManus.

January 22, 2019 Comments off

9780141375656Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M McManus. Pub. PenguinRandom House, 2019.

This is a murder mystery for teens par excellence.

It is set in a small East coast American town called Echo Ridge, a town that is obsessed with it’s tragic past. Twenty odd years ago Sadie and her twin sister Sarah went to the Homecoming Ball at Echo Ridge High where Sadie was homecoming Queen. Shortly after Sarah disappeared and has never been found. Why?

Now Sadie’s twin daughter Ellery and brother Ezra have returned to Echo Ridge to live with their grandmother and go to Echo Ridge high school as Sadie has gone into rehab for drug addiction. Five years earlier another homecoming Queen, Lacey who was Sadie’s favourite babysitter, was murdered in a horror theme park called Fright Farm. Her murderer has not been found

On their return to Echo Ridge on a rainy night, Ellery and Ezra find a teacher dead on the road and lots of ominous things are happening around the town. It is the eve of another homecoming Queen Ball at Echo Ridge High and startling as it seems Ellery has been named as one of the finalists for Homecoming Queen. She suspects a fit up and her investigative nature causes her to look into the deeds of the past.

Then one of the other candidates for homecoming Queen goes missing in the company of Malcolm the brother of Declan who has top candidate for the murder of Lacey. What the heavens is going on? Read it and find out, it is outstanding drama.

Brilliantly written in short chapters with lots of things going on. There are mean girls, football players who think they are wonderful, gay boys and girls and the whole American high school scene. The ending is thrilling. You won’t put this down once you start.

The Dog Who Saved The World by Ross Welford.

January 17, 2019 Comments off

dog saved worldThe Dog Who Saved The World by Ross Welford. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

Ross Welford is one of the best childrens’ authors around, so if you haven’t read any of his books, two others are reviewed on this blog, this is a good one to start on.

Georgie is early teens and has a friend called Ramzy. Georgie works at a dog rest home in an old church they call St Woofs, looking after unwanted dogs. She tries to adopt a mongrel she calls Mr Mash but her stepmom has allergies and that is the end of that.

When Mr Mash jumps all over an old woman named Dr Pretorius, to prevent any further action Georgie and Ramzy agree to help her in an experiment using a virtual reality device.

On the day called The Big Experiment Day Georgie puts on the VR helmet and goes into a world where she is attacked by a huge scorpion. The experiment is cut short as this shouldn’t happen and when Dr Pretorius reviews images of what happened, it appears that Georgie was sent into the future, AND the winning numbers of Lotto can be seen in the shop window.

Then catastrophe, a disease has broken out in the dog shelter that is akin to Ebola and it is feared all dogs are going to die. Worse still the disease is transferable to humans. The World is threatened with major disaster.

How can a dog save the World? and does Dr Pretorius’s Virtual Reality device hold the key? Thrilling stuff, read it and find out.

Primary, intermediate and junior secondary students with a scientific bent or animal lovers, will love this. The story of the policeman and the dog poo is hilarious.

It is a very clever story with plenty of laughs and drama. Written in short sharp chapters it will keep the reader going long after they planned to stop. A great start to this years reading.

Whispers by Greg Howard.

January 11, 2019 Comments off

9780241367087-1-edition.default.original-1 webWhispers by Greg Howard. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

This novel for gifted intermediate readers and secondary school students, is a slow burner. It takes a while to get into it, but once it takes off, you will be hooked.

Eleven year old Riley James lives with his father and older brother in a deeply religious country community in South Carolina. There is no room to be different in this community and Riley knows that he is. He has the same feeling for boys that most boys have for girls. He is by his own admission a mummy’s boy and he clashes with his gun-toting elder brother Danny and with his father.

Crisis comes when his mother disappears and the police are constantly questioning Riley about it. He says he can remember nothing but events in this story, particularly a Stand By Me type camping trip into the woods with some other boys, jog his memory.

At the beginning of the novel is a story about Whispers told to Riley by his mother. When she disappears he retreats into his imagination and creates a bizarre fantasy explanation about things in life based on the whispers story, but reality is close at hand.

Where has his mother gone? Is she still alive? and what about his awakening sexuality? Read this intense novel and find out.

Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes

January 7, 2019 Comments off

outsideOutside by Sarah Ann Juckes. Pub. PenguinRandom House, 2019.

I have never read a novel like this before and the thoughts I had when reading it, you will have too. Some will be right and some will be wrong but you will be compelled to keep reading and the ending will give you satisfaction.

It is senior fiction and YA and is written in a style that you need to get used to because Ele the main character, a girl in early teens, has had a background that you would wish on nobody. She narrates the story and has been brought up in a room with her brother Zeb and doesn’t know there is an outside.

Something happens to Zeb and alone in the room Ele creates a fantasy world based on a book of nursery stories such as Rapunzel and Jack and the Bean Stalk. Ele makes up a fictional world and fictional characters to explain the world she lives in, that help her survive. But why is she there? Who is the Him that feeds her and visits her from time to time carrying a gun?

Then she escapes and finds Willow and his dad Ezra and the whole mystery unravels.

A gripping read, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. You will ask yourself many questions the most important of which will be ‘how can humans act like this towards each other? To quote from the novel “Truths are like people. They don’t like being shut up tight. They shrivel slowly and then rot with lies….when those truths get out, they get rubbed clean by people. nice people”.

Thank heaven it had a positive ending.