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Archive for the ‘Young Adult’ Category

Five Go Gluten Free by Enid Blyton, Text by Bruno Vincent

August 20, 2019 Comments off

glutinFive Go Gluten Free by Enid Blyton, Text by Bruno Vincent. Pub. Quercus, 2016.

Satire can be wonderfully entertaining especially when applying modern day ethics and habits to the Famous Five. The Five are now in their 20’s with University degrees and careers ahead of them.

Anne, George, Julian and Dick plus dog Timmy are housemates and on Anne’s birthday she gets a book by a woman called Portia who opens her eyes to the toxic nature of the modern western diet.

Turns out Portia is a friend of Cousin Rupert whom he met at a party by Silvio Berlusconi and Rupert convinces Anne to go on a wellness gluten free diet.

Anne in turn convinces the others to go on the diet and calls it their new adventure. They are extremely reluctant and fight it all the way until Anne decides they should go back to Dorset to consolidate the new diet which will make them energised and happy.

No more cakes and lashings of ginger beer. It does not go down well even with Timmy whose whatsits once could be collected in a bag but would now need a hoover to mop them all up.

Will the Dorset trip /come adventure help with the diet? Read it and find out.

Very funny and totally true to the original stories. For everybody. The front cover is perfect with original drawings throughout the text.

Cross Fire. A Noughts & Crosses Novel by Malorie Blackman

August 15, 2019 Comments off

cross fireCross Fire. A Noughts & Crosses Novel by Malorie Blackman. Pub. Penguin/Random House, 2019.                    RELEASED 20 AUGUST

If there is a better novel this year for High School students and Young Adults then I would love to read it. The 4th novel in the Noughts & Crosses series from the legendary Malorie Blackman is superb and the good news is, it is not over yet, there will be another.

Albion is a country divided by severe racial problems. The dark skinned Crosses are the elite and home people, the Noughts are a fair skinned people from the north and throughout this series have slowly progressed to a state of near equality but only on the surface. Both sides have fanatics.

The first novel in the series featured Sephy a Cross and Callum a Nought who was the son of a servant in Sephy’s home. They got on very well and caused havoc in their racially torn world.

Now  a Nought,  Tobias Durbridge, has climbed the ranks with the help of a rich gangster Dan Jeavons, and become Prime Minister. Cross fanatics cannot stomach it and plot to bring him down.

Caught in the cross fire are teenagers Troy who is a Cross and the son of Sephy, and Libby, a Nought who is the daughter of Tobias. Central to the fortunes of all is Callie a cross breed and a lawyer of some repute but considered a Cross.

With the election of Tobias as PM fanatics from both sides get busy. Tobias is falsely charged with murder and Libby and Troy are kidnapped to pressure both sides.

The action and intrigue is thrilling. Malorie Blackman brings you up to date with the family histories so you needn’t worry about having to have read the earlier novels although you would be mad not to.

Outstanding writing from a writer at the top of her game. A modern story with fake news, cell phones and forbidden love. excellent cover.

The Runaways by Ulf stark, illus Kitty Crowther.

July 25, 2019 Comments off

runawaysThe Runaways by Ulf stark, illus Kitty Crowther. Pub. Gecko Press, 2019.

A superb novel for everybody about fathers, sons, grandfathers and the end of life written by master Swedish children’s writer Ulf Stark. Oh to be able to write simply, with power, about some of the big issues in life.

Grandpa is in a rest home that he hates. He swears, he doesn’t eat his food and he is grumpy with everyone. He has a weak heart and knows he is near the end of life but he has things that he must do before shedding this mortal coil.

Gottfried Junior his grandson must help him out and against his father’s permission he does so but in the doing he must tell a stack of lies. He asks his grandpa if telling lies is ok and his grandpa replies ” sometimes lying is the only way to be completely truthful”

Go on this wonderful journey with grandpa and Gottfried Junior as they runaway to fulfill grandpa’s last task on planet earth. Truely wonderful. Love is a many splendid thing.

Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan.

July 11, 2019 Comments off

winter fireWinter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

First published in 1994 this reprint was made because the themes it has are so relevent to today’s world and because it is damn good literature. I am so glad it was reprinted because I missed it first time around.

Sixteen year old Elsha is the main character and her story is totally inspiring. Her guts and determination lead to a wisdom that is unquestionable and you will be with her the whole way.

The world she lives in is in total winter. The climate of the world has changed and heating is the only game in town. The World is kept warm by mining firestone and the top banana in this world is the Firelord who has the power to divine firestone.

Society has two groups equivalent to the haves and the have nots. The Chosen are in command and the Quelled are their slaves, are branded and are forced to mine firestone in appalling conditions. The Chosen live in mansions, the Quelled in tents and squalor. Elsha is one of the Quelled and she is rebellious.

Ingrained in Chosen thought is the opinion that the Quelled have no intelligence, no rights and no soul. Their women are not women but harsha. Elsha becomes handmaid to the Firelord and has to live in the Chosen world that despises her.

Elsha swears to use her position with the Firelord to improve the life of the Quelled and open the eyes of the Chosen. Will she succeed? Read it and find out.

Superbly structured and written by one of New Zealand’s great writers. If you miss this second time around you are mad. The more I read the deeper I became attached to Elsha’s plight and quest. Magic!!

Skulduggery Pleasant Bk12. Bedlam by Derek Landy

June 15, 2019 Comments off

skulduggerySkulduggery Pleasant Bk12. Bedlam by Derek Landy. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are Arbiters who are not answerable to anybody. It is their purpose in life to walk the wire in several worlds of mortals and magic.

There are bad girls and guys out their jockeying for power such as Abyssinia who sees herself as princess of the Darklands and China who wants the Magical world under her control.

When Bertram Wilkes an adviser to Martin Flanery, a Trump like President of the mortal world, goes missing, the Arbiters are called in to find out why.

This is a complicated plot but totally thrilling with the banter between the characters a highlight. For me the most fascinating part was a visit by Skulduggery and Valkyrie to the airbourne asylum of Greymire. Valkyrie is sorely tested but Skulduggery is in his element. As he says “my mind is in a permanent state of finely tuned chaos”

Fans of this series will be happy for this new part and new fans will be bemused at first but it will grab you once you are into it.

First class adventure/ action/ fantasy. Brilliant cover.

I, Claudia by Mary McCoy

May 11, 2019 Comments off

I ClaudiaI, Claudia by Mary McCoy. Pub. carolehoda Lab, 2019. Imprint Walker Books.

Sometimes there comes a novel that you don’t want to ever finish and this political thriller about a student council in a Los Angeles high school is one of them.

I savoured this novel over 10 days and was not disappointed by a thing. Yes I was. I was disappointed that the Head and Board of Governors of the school did not step in earlier in spite of ample evidence to do so, but then that would have ruined the story

The Imperial Day Academy is a prestigious school that is run by a student body titled the Honour Council which is structured somewhat like the Roman Senate with representatives from each class level and a President and vice President. The candidates are elected annually and have as many qualities as everyday American politics – liars, cheats, bullies, power freaks and idealists. . The aim is to destroy your opponents character and intentions and make you seem like the only wise choice. Whether it is true or not.

The novel is told by Claudia McCarthy in the form of a testimony and you the reader will find out why this is when you finish the book. The aim is to work out who are the bad guys and who are the good guys and it is not easy. Claudia’s approach is this “I make a habit of identifying the psychopaths in my environment as quickly as possible”. But is she right? Claudia’s character is charismatic. She appears to be a nobody and describes herself as an historian and is ultimately totally brave.

The characters are stunningly conceived from the ruthless, manipulative Livia, to the power crazy Cal and the heroic Claudia. There are deaths, there are inhuman episodes, there is corruption, there is sexual violation and there is love albeit misused.

The tactics used by Nixon during the Watergate scandal are a blueprint for the political drama at Imperial Day school and there is a lot of Trump’s America in there too.

This is a novel of today’s America and if you miss this one you will kick yourself. The ending provides all the answers but leaving some doubt as well. In politics do we ever learn the truth?

For High school students and Young Adults. Just superb. Stunning cover.

A Place of Stone and Darkness by Chris Mousdale.

May 1, 2019 Comments off

stone & DarknessA Place of Stone and Darkness by Chris Mousdale. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

Released 7 May

At last a fantasy novel with some depth. Deep not because it is set almost totally underground but because it has a lot of significant observations about the Human condition, and it is a very good tale.

Thousands of years ago Humans hounded the Strigg people out of the forests and into underground caves where their culture survived and thrived out of Human knowledge. The Striggs are a bird like creature that has lost it’s ability to fly as their wings have evolved into arm like structures with claws.

Striggworld is now under threat from polluted water from the earth above and from lack of drinking water as wells dry up. Their food supply which is a mushroom like product, morra, has also begun to be scarce and the Elders of the Striggs are contemplating a move North. They would love to go back to the surface but it is too dangerous.

On the eve of a spangletime ceremony which celebrates the move from childhood to adulthood, a young Strigg, Ellee, discovers a human boy called Blue who has fallen down a well into the underground. She saves him and with the help of her academic brother, Sidfred, brings him back to home.

When Blue is discovered by the Strigg Elders panic hits the small community. Some including Kass a fierce warrior type want to kill him to avoid other Humans finding a way underground but the Elders view is that is not our way and never will be our way.

They decide to return Blue to to Uptop or the surface, where all the Toppas live. The action begins and it will have you spellbound. Read it and find out what happens.

If there is a catchphrase that describes this novel it is “It is amazing what eventually ends up underground”. We should take heed of that. It says a lot about the Human condition of treating the Planet and every other creature on it as if it is ours alone to use. The Striggs know all about us and our destructive ways.

Excellent story, descriptively written and with a message for all Humankind.

Chris Mousdale creates an imaginative World that is totally believable, the Striggs are believable The Strigg way contrasts with that of Humans and puts us to shame. And his illustrations are superb. One of the best of the year.

Suitable for Intermediate and High school readers.