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Archive for the ‘Young Adult’ Category

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.

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.

The Hill of Memory by Peter Attwell.

December 23, 2018 Comments off

hill memoryThe Hill of Memory by Peter Attwell. Pub Mente Corde Manu Publishing, 2018

This novel about the 1913 Wellington Waterfront strike for Young Adults and Adults is possibly one of the most moving historical accounts I have ever read.

Johnnie Hargreaves and his mate Joe Halifax live through the bitterly contested waterfront strike and attend some of the demonstrations in which “specials” and farmers from the country on horse back, charged into strikers battering them with clubs.

The Waterfront Union wanted more surety of employment for their members and better conditions of work and the employers backed by the Massey Government wanted the status quo and went to brutal lengths to keep it that way.

The conflict broadened to be a battle of workers v bosses, townies v country and the haves v the have nots. The haves took the view that the strikers were trying to take away everything they possessed and held dear. The era of false news had begun long before Trump.

The story is simply told from the boys point of view and like the Springbok Tour of 1981 this strike divided families and communities and amidst it all came an incident involving Johnnie and Joe that neither of them was to forget for the whole of their lives. Read it and find out what it is.

This novel will have wide appeal for boys but girls shouldn’t hold back. There is a tragic story of romance involving Johnnie’s sister Hettie, a suffragette supporter and Ned the older socialist brother of Joe.

The novel continues into the outbreak of WW1 and the fate of the participants of the 1913 strike. Totally fascinating.

Contact for book information to mente.corde.manu@gmail.com

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas.

December 18, 2018 Comments off

come upOn The Come Up by Angie Thomas. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

Bri is a teenager whose father was a rapper killed in a gun fight in the Garden, a suburb commonly known as “the hood”. The area is dominated by two gangs – the GDs and the Crowns and the culture is Rap and gangsta hip hop.

Bri’s mother Jay an ex junkie now looks after her and her brother Trey in below a poverty line standard of living. They go to food banks and welfare shelters for their essentials. Bri has a dream to be a rapper and she has some talent at composing lyrics that reflect the life she leads and some lyrics of which she clearly has no understanding. But she is going to find out.

A struggle with two security guards at school that is filmed on various cell phones, makes her visible in school. Then she wins a  rap-off at the Ring, a local club that gives young artists an outlet for their works. Bri puts together a song about her struggle with the security guards called On The Come Up and it becomes an overnight sensation on the Net. But will it bring her fame and wealth that she so desperately seeks. Read it and find out.

Some tough themes here on life for Afro American kids whom white society judges harshly and unfairly. If one black kid messes up all are messed up. It doesn’t take much to give white society a reason to put them down.

Bri is to learn that it is one thing to wanna do something but quite another to think that it is possible. Bri is a likable girl who is struggling with the past of her mother and father as she blossoms into a woman. Her quest to be a rap star is a rocky road, she is talented but the odds are against her.

The most profound statement is this –  White kids in the suburbs like rap because listening to it scares the shit out of their parents. Something to think about.

Written clearly from experience it gives a family and community view of life as a Black in the city. This novel follows on months after her first novel The Hate You Give also reviewed on this blog. Powerful stuff.

Inheritance by Carole Wilkinson.

November 19, 2018 Comments off

inheritanceInheritance by Carole Wilkinson. Pub. black dog books, imprint Walker books, 2018.

Imagine you are able to travel back in time and on one of those journeys you meet your mother who you thought was dead. That fate befalls Nic, a 14 year old girl who goes to stay with her grandfather on the family estate of Yaratgil in the Australian countryside.

Nic is not aware of her family history but senses hostility to her family when she goes to the local school. People hate the Mitchells and Yaratgil but why?

While staying at the great house on Yaratgil, Nic discovers a locked room. While reading an old copy of Pride and Prejudice she finds a letter directing the reader to a dresser inside the locked room in which there is a secret draw. She finds 5 stones which when fitted together and tainted by blood allow the holder to travel back in time. Unbeknown to Nic, generations of women in her family have used the stones to time travel.

Nic is to discover a great tragedy about her family and the local Aborigines. A secret that should be told and which all Australians should be concerned about. Read it and find out what it is. The question that’s asked if given a chance would you or should you try to alter history? I would give it a shot.

Well written by Carole Wilkinson. She handles the time travel very well and prevents confusion with short chapters and hooks that carry the reader on. All high school and young adult readers in Australia in particular should confront themselves with this novel. An enjoyable but harrowing read.

I should mention the cover. It is superb. Read this novel and find out why.