Archive

Archive for the ‘Young Adult’ 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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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

South Sea Vagabonds by J.W. Wray.

August 24, 2017 Comments off

south sea vagabondsSouth Sea Vagabonds by J.W. Wray. Pub. HarperCollins, 2014.

This remarkable story is a New Zealand classic that was first published in 1939. Every sailor worth his weight in salt water would have read this story and I guess every Aucklander with a boat will have heard of the yacht Ngataki and the legends that went with it.

Johnny Wray lost his job in the Depression because he was a day dreamer. He dreamt of palm-clad atolls with white sand and sailing in the warm trade winds.

He decided to pursue his dream and scrounged around the beaches in the Auckland area for logs of kauri to build a yacht. How he does this in his own backyard with little money and no training in boat building, makes fascinating reading. He does it somehow with friends and an insight possessed by few people. The result was the very sturdy Ngataki a 35 ft sloop with a 12 ft beam. The launch is hilarious.

The first voyage with a dunger of an engine called Methuselah, a chronometer and compass that didn’t work, and a sextant that took some working out, is astonishing, but they found Sunday Island where the best oranges in the world grow. A race across the Tasman to Melbourne followed and Johnny Wray was hooked for life.

Told in laconic style, with a good deal of understatement and self deprecation and the number 8 fencing wire theory as a guide, Johnny Wray travels the South Sea Islands from Tonga to Tahiti. The environment is pristine, you could see the bottom of the ocean from 20 fathoms and there were fish galore. It’s all gone now of course as man has plundered the planet.

You can read about the ship board rat Herbert, hear told of a fight between a giant squid and a whale and first hand account of sailing through a hurricane. You will be spellbound.

Johnny Wray trusted the Ngataki he built and approached sailing with this philosophy -“there is something exhilarating in a clean fight with the elements – as long as you win”

I would have trusted the man with my life. I hope you can still get a copy.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James.

August 16, 2017 Comments off

loneliest girlThe Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. Pub. Walker Books, 2017.

This sci/fi, futurist, adventure romance for high school students and young adults is without doubt one of the books of the year. I was spellbound from beginning to end and you will be too.

Romy is 16 years old and is alone on a space ship called Infinity taking a 50 year journey at a tenth of the speed of light, to colonise a planet in another galaxy called Earth 2.

Romy was born on the space ship against NASA instructions. The Infinity is filled with thousands of frozen embryos and astronauts in a stasis condition until the journey is over. Things have not gone well on the Infinity and Romy now runs the whole ship on her own with communication back to Earth to a person called Molly. Messages take 2 years to reach Earth and back to Infinity.

Then Romy is told that a faster ship called The Eternity captained by J a 22 year old boy with the two ships programmed to dock in a year. They correspond and a relationship develops between them that provides the romance to the story. Then J tells Romy that war on Earth has destroyed NASA and a new government called UPR is in control and that all future communications are to go through him on the Eternity.

Is this all true? Is J who he says he is? has Earth really had a war? Why is Romy all alone?

Things become rivetting as Eternity catches up to Infinity. The ending is stunning and will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will not forget this novel in a hurry.

Beautifully written, totally believable and some of the cleverest plot lines I have ever read. If you miss this one you will kick yourself.

The Traitor and the Thief by Gareth Ward

August 1, 2017 Comments off

traitor thiefThe Traitor and the Thief by Gareth Ward. Pub. Walker Books, 2017.

Many words could be used to describe this novel for readers of a wide age range from 12-18 years. Steam punk should be a couple of them but also ingenious, thrilling and enormously clever would be others.

The central character is teenager Sin who was left at an orphanage with a teddy bear, grew up tough and ended up working the streets as a thief for Fixer, a Fagan like character. He learns that rules mean nothing when you have money, power and privilege. The poor have no chance. Some things never change.

He is caught by the mysterious Eldritch Moons and pressured to join a COVERT OPERATIONS GROUP (COG) and train to be a spy. His fellow trainees include the ruthless Velvet, the delicious Zonda and a host of villainous reprobates but his talents as a liar, a cheat and thief are just the talents needed.

COG is headed by a genius inventor named Nimrod whose inventions form the steam punk part of the novel and he has the moral high ground by using his organisation to prevent war. Nimrod makes many enemies and COG has more leaks and conflicts than the West Wing of the White House.

Will Sin survive? and who are his parents? Is there a link between his abandonment at birth and COG? Read it and enjoy this thriller as much as I did. The ending will have you gasping for breath.

The plot bears a close similarity to the military, industrial and political rivalry that precipitated World war 1, and the city of Coxford where the novel is set, is remarkably like London.

Winner of the Storylines Tessa Duder Award. Splendidly paced and written. Great cover.