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Archive for the ‘Senior Fiction’ Category

Expelled by James Patterson & Emily Raymond.

October 23, 2017 Comments off

expelledExpelled by James Patterson & Emily Raymond. Pub. Penguin Random House, Imprint Young Arrow, 2017

This novel for teens had me laughing from start to finish. It is clever, it is witty and the dialogue between characters is buzzing. If you are a reluctant reader get your eyeballs into this novel, I guarantee you won’t put it down.

The brief plot is – someone has put a revealing photograph using the IP address of 16 year old Theo’s Twitter account. For this he is expelled from school along with those that featured in the photograph. He is innocent.He is aggrieved and wants justice and has to convince the others that they must pursue the truth. They decide to do it by making a film about the incident and the outcome is superb.

Theo is unhappy and doesn’t want to be known as the kid with the dead father who was expelled. He has a crush on Sasha in a way that is a cross between like and lust.

Sasha is an intelligent and aloof beauty. When she says anything the boys sit up and notice. When the movie is suggested by Theo the boys take it seriously because of Sasha who herself has been expelled for alleged theft. There is also some thought that she is the girl with the impressive boobs in the photo on Theo’s Twitter page.

Jude is Theo’s best friend and is assumed to be in the photograph too. He describes himself as a 16 year old bisexual virgin in a Hello Kitty T shirt and plans to paint himself to success and happiness with his art.

Parker is a 200 pound football player with the intelligence and language skills of an ox, who was also a subject on the photograph. He was swigging from a whisky bottle with a hand on the afore mentioned boobs.

Felix is the film maker moved by the fact that the film Tangerine was  shot on iPhone 5’s. Can he do it with this story and get to Sundance film festival?

Great cover. You see this cover and you want to pick the book up. It’s a rivetting story get into it.

 

 

 

Night of the Riot by Matt Elliott.

October 11, 2017 Comments off

night riotNight of the Riot by Matt Elliott. Pub. Salisbury Books Birkenhead, 2017.

A well written novel about a true event in Whanganui just after the outbreak of World War 1, the catastrophe of Gallipoli and the sinking of the Lusitania. Told from the point of view of a 12 year old farm boy Snow Goodison who was working for a German immigrant named Konrad Schmidt during these events.

New Zealanders often say with confidence after an overseas tragedy that “it couldn’t happen here”. The people of Whanganui thought the same and young Snow thought the same. A riot in the main street in which several businesses where wrecked and looted including that NZ icon Hallensteins, destroyed all that.

Told in three parts in which Part 1 is a fascinating outline of life in small town New Zealand before and during WW1 when cars were rare, transport was on horseback or Shank’s pony and domestic life was physically hard work.

Snow is an admirable character, brave, loyal, hard working and most of all honest. He faces bullying behaviour with courage, but will everybody see it that way?

Read it and find out. For primary, intermediate and junior secondary students.

I Hate Everyone but You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin.

September 30, 2017 Comments off

I hate everyoneI Hate Everyone but You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin. pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

I guess this is the sort of novel that had to happen. It is written in texts and emails between two girlfriends, Gen and Ava, who text each other at all times of the day and before during and after every event in their lives. It’s the modern relationship.

Gen and Ava were friends at High School in California but now Ava has gone to film school in Boston and Gen has stayed home and goes to a journalism school. I liked and would like to know both of them.

Ava fantasizes about accepting an Oscar and thanking her parents after falling on the steps to the podium. Gen wants to write things that change the world and walk into rooms full of people who fear her. Ava is flirting with bisexuality but Gen thinks she is skating on thin ice. Gen believes men’s infrastructure is designed for failure. Each has many relationships to test their beliefs. The dialogue between them is sharp, witty, perceptive, honest with a fair dose of crying for help.

The action takes place over the first semester of College and it tests their friendship to the limit. Will it survive? In between times there is first sex both hetero and gay and the full gambit of emotions are exposed. Whats more it is enormously funny.

Some will say this novel is for teenage and young adult girls and women, but a guy would be a fool not to tune into all this feminist  wisdom. I loved it.

The authors are close friends as you will imagine and their dialogue is heart felt and real albeit at times tongue in cheek. They started comedy on the YouTube channel Just between us and as far as I am concerned they can write for as long as they want.

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson.

September 27, 2017 Comments off

landscape invisibleLandscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson. Pub. Candlewick press, imprint Walker Books, 2017.

Life reflects art and art reflects life. That is one of the messages of this extraordinary novel that is written and structured like a catalogue of paintings.

It is set in a world that has been overtaken by an alien culture called Vuvv. They came to this world and convinced humans that their technology and way of life would solve all our problems. They clinically took over using the tools and techniques of capitalism while they themselves lived in the sky. Now human culture and commerce have been destroyed by Vuvv culture, millions have gone broke and struggle from day to day to exist. The changes are not unlike those caused by the computer revolution and economic shifts in today’s world.

Adam is 17 years old and his parents have separated, gone broke, looking for work and barely existing. Adam is an artist he paints the world he sees in spite of suffering from a gastronomic disease that threatens to overwhelm him. It is said that an artist does his best work when he suffers and this applies to Adam.

To make money to exist Adam and his girlfriend Chloe, with the heart shaped face and gorgeous body, make money by acting out their romance for the benefit of Vuvv viewers who love human romance and 50,s doo wop songs such as Take good care of my baby, and One eyed one horned flying purple people eater, because it is nothing like Vuvv life. When the romance goes pear shaped they are in trouble.

I am not going to tell you any more you can find out for yourself but it is just brilliant. I will tell you that when the relationship between Adam and Chloe falls apart the Vuvv are nonplused -“human love lasts until the end of time. If it does not, then it is not love”.

Wow this novel will blow your mind. For senior high school and young adults but here’s a warning. Once you start this novel you won’t put it down. Go get it.

 

Annual 2. A New Zealand Miscellany edited by Kate De Goldi & Susan Paris.

September 18, 2017 Comments off

annual 2Annual 2. A New Zealand Miscellany edited by Kate De Goldi & Susan Paris. Imprint Annual Ink. Distributed, Potton & Burton, 2017.

Reading this book made me very happy. I smiled all the way through it and in parts laughed out loud. What’s more it is totally New Zealand and although aimed at the 9-13 year olds, it really is for everybody.

It is loosely based on the annual type compilations that appeared through the 50’s and 60’s but it is better than that, there is a bit of depth about the subject matter and the means of delivery.

It has stories, essays, interviews, poems, comics, a song by Bic Runga, a recipe, a game and art works. Wait there is more, it is full of ideas for any young writer to get inspiration from and it is totally brilliant.

To give you an example one article looks at a community notice board that you will find in a supermarket or library. Folk offering services or requesting help. It then creates communication between the different players whether by design or accident, via email or texting by cell phone. The results are hilarious.

The article that really tickled me was titled Never say Goodbye: The Art of taxidermy. Tongue is firmly placed in the cheek.

Just loved it. You will too. Look at the part story of an old NZ classic, Barry Faville’s The Keeper – just superb.

 

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok.

September 11, 2017 Comments off

WonderlingThe Wonderling by Mira Bartok. Pub. Walker books, 2017.

Every now and then  there is published a book that raises the bar in Children and Young adult literature. This is such a book.

There is nothing new in  characters going through total misery in their quest to find out who they are or in the fact that the strong will dominate the weak. What is unique about this novel is in the superb way in which the story is told and in the richness of the language used.

The character who we learn later as the Wonderling was not always called this. He was abandoned at a young age with the number 13 on a metal disc around his neck which becomes his first name. He is a fox like creature with one ear and only 3 feet tall who is put in The Home for abandoned creatures run by a Dahlesque character Miss Clementine Carbunkle who feels hard done by.

The Home is a Dickensian type establishment where ill treatment of inmates is a daily occurrence. Number 13 barely survives until he saves a kiwi type bird creature named Trinket who masterminds his escape into the wild world to find out his identity.

His task is fraught with danger as he makes his way to Lumentown where danger lurks in every corner. He is driven by a love of music and knows that in music there is the answer to where he comes from. He is determined even when he is forced to hide in the underground city of Gloomintown from which there is no escape. See how he gets on.

Superbly written in three parts with maps and excellent sketches of all the characters. You will feel every emotion as you read this novel, you cannot help but become involved.

For fantasy/adventure readers from primary through to secondary. You will love it.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart.

September 3, 2017 Comments off

genuine fraudGenuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

This thriller/suspense novel for young adults is one of the best I have read. It is seriously good. It is about two girls who like each other but each has a different agenda that is going to cause conflict.

Imogen is a lucky girl. She was an orphan who was adopted by a rich couple who have been good parents to her, but she wants more. She feels that “being orphaned is a precondition for the making of a hero”. She is manipulative, a cheat and has superficial relationships that are damaging to those connected with her. She lives a life that mere mortals can only dream about.

Jule is from the other side of the tracks but born with a determination to better herself by what ever means is open to her. She is Machiavellian in her approach to life and people are going to get hurt on the way. She is fit, clever, violent a chameleon and has more accents than Mick Jagger. In Imogen she sees a pathway to a better life.

The two girls like each other but it is genuine fraud. The action is lively and takes the reader to London, New York, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Los Angeles and it shows you a life that is beyond most of us. Yet it is brutal.

The narrative technique is unique and makes for tension in the novel. It starts at chapter 18 near the end of the story then works backwards so that the action happens then you go backwards to see how and why. The ending is superb.

If you miss this one you will kick yourself