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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

Turtles all the Way Down by John Green.

October 27, 2017 Comments off

turtlesTurtles all the Way Down by John Green. Pub. Penguin Random House, Imprint Puffin, 2017

This latest novel by John Green will get inside your brain and shake it around. No-one writes about the teenage psyche and condition better than John Green. In parts it gets deeper and further out than you want it to,until life crashes in and puts you on an even keel again.

Holmsey is 17 years old and thinks she is a fiction. She cannot control the body she has and she has constant intrusive thoughts that she doesn’t want and cause her to behave in a destructive way towards her self. She is realistic about her condition and doesn’t know why people tolerate her.

Fortunately she has a caring mother and a best friend Daisy with whom she shares some remarkable conversations. The banter between the two of them is a highlight of the novel. Adolescent sanity is so 20th century.

All this sounds like a heavy plot, and it is, but it is lightened quite considerably by the disappearance of billionaire Russell Pickett the father of a once friend of Holmesy whose name is Davis. Daisy convinces Holmesy to look up her old friend when $100,000 is offered  for information that leads to the whereabouts of Russell Pickett.

This starts off a relationship between Holmesy and Davis that will lead to the unraveling of her problems.

Two things puzzled me about this book. Firstly the meaning of the title, but you will learn this towards the end of the novel and Secondly Holmesy. I read the first 40 or so pages not knowing if it was a male or female character. See if it happens to you. When I found out her name was Aza, I thought amazing. See if you can understand why.

Very deep, often disconcerting, superbly written and essential to read. I loved it from start to finish. Teenagers and young adults will love it. I will leave you with a thought from the book ‘When the weather is fine and ordinary you don’t notice it but when it is cold and you can see your breath, you can’t ignore it”. Check it out.

The Rogues: Accidental Heroes by Lian Tanner.

October 17, 2017 Comments off

rogues accidentalThe Rogues: Accidental Heroes by Lian Tanner. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

From the pen of the author who wrote The Keepers and The Hidden series comes book one in a new fantasy series The Rogues. It is very good and you must read it.

Duckling is a young girl who has been used by her grandfather lord Rump to pull off many a fraudulent scheme to survive. Now they are at the city of Berren which surrounds a huge castle called The Stronghold. It was built on a magical  rock called the Grimstone and is inhabited by the rulers the Margrarve and Margravine of Neuhalt.

The Stronghold is protected by magic created by the Bayam of the magical people the Saaf, no-one can leave the Stronghold although people can get in.

The people of Berren have made magic illegal although evidence of it is all around them which they refuse to believe. They call it witchery and to believe it is considered disloyal and punishable by death.

Into the story come Duckling, her Grandfather and an ordinary farm boy called Pummel. Grandfather has heard of a plot to kill the Heir to the Margrave of the Stronghold and involves Duckling and Pummel to assist in stopping it. Or is he?

Duckling is quite devious herself and Pummel is as innocent as the day is long. They both discover they have magic powers but can they work together and prevent the assassination of the heir by a cruel and powerful baddie called the Harshman.

Read the novel and find out. Excellent characterisation by Lian Tanner, Pummel and Duckling will identify with a lot of children of primary and intermediate age, and of course this is only part one.

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.

Some Eels by Amelia Harris.

September 5, 2017 Comments off

some eelsSome Eels by Amelia Harris. Pub. Index press, 2017.

If ever a picture book deserved a better cover it is this one.

It is a simple tale that has much to say about friendship and how we cope when things get a bit murky.

Three eels start on a journey, they are not racing but you don’t want to get left behind. They enter deeper, darker waters and confide in each other until there is nothing more to say, so they start to hum. When they emerge from the murk they keep humming.

Beautifully simplistic hand written text with illustrations that are simple yet powerful. Three wriggly lines for the eels and shades of blue for the water.

I loved it and you will too.

Those interested contact http://shop.index.org.nz/product/some-eels

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

Wolfy by Gregoire Solotareff. translated by Daniel Hahn.

August 25, 2017 Comments off

wolfyWolfy by Gregoire Solotareff. translated by Daniel Hahn. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

A multi level picture book by an Egyptian author who lives in France. It is about friendship but also delves into deeper concepts such as Can the lion lay down with the lamb?

Wolfy is a wolf who has never seen a rabbit and Tom is a rabbit who has never seen a wolf. The two meet and become friends oblivious of the traditional roles that they have in each others lives. They bury an old wolf and talk about wolves eating rabbits and rabbits having fears about wolves. But become friends anyway as wolf has never tasted rabbit and rabbit isn’t scared of wolf.

The friendship is blissful until they play a game of Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? read it and find out what happens.

Great read-a loud for juniors and something for older readers to muse over.

Illustrations feature bold primary colours with the wolf in black and the rabbit in blue. A great addition to the school library and in the home.

Middle School. Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein.

July 21, 2017 Comments off

stoopidMiddle School. Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2017.

It was a miserable wet day and I needed something easy to read that would make me laugh and think at the same time so I grabbed Pottymouth and Stoopid. I was not wrong.

I love these Middle School stories they deal with serious issues like bullying, poverty, inequality, snobbery and friendship and they turn them into heart warming stories.

Pottymouth (Michael) is a black boy who invents new words that sound like swearing but are not. His friend is Stoopid (David) and they met at nursery school and are still friends at middle school. They are not as they are described by their school mates and are ploys to the old statement of “give a dog a bad name”.

Michael is a foster child and Michael comes from a broken relationship. Both boys and their mutual friend Anna Britannica are terrific. They have fun together but they have many low points that make them angry.

David’s father is a frustrated writer and a penny pincher but when he takes David and Michael to lunch one day he listens to their stories and this is to change their lives.

I do like a happy ending and am always on the side of the underdog. These are great stories for the reluctant reader, easy to read superbly illustrated by Chris Grabenstein and essential in every school library.

Edgeland by Jake Halpen and PeterKujawinski.

July 10, 2017 Comments off

edgelandEdgeland by Jake Halpen and PeterKujawinski. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

It is said that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Make this book the exception because the cover introduces you to this novel in the best way possible. The sea surging through arches into a chasm. The people in this novel call it The Drain and it is 30 miles wide and 100 miles across.

Where is it going and what mysteries surround it? For the population in this novel the drain is at the core of their hopes and dreams particularly at death. Are they being deceived?

Wren is a lower caste urchin with a strong sense of survival and caring for others. Alec is from a rich family who needs to prove himself to his family. He works for a funeral parlour to assist the bodies of the dead and some of the living  over the edge of the Drain to the afterlife.

Alec and Wren are friends but they are going to find out things that they never thought possible. Their journey in the land of the dead is thought provoking and deep. Look out for the links to this pair of authors first title together the very impressive Nightfall also reviewed on this blog.

Drown the serpent of Fear is a mantra that characterises this novel for Intermediate and high school students. A very good read. The ending will have you on the edge of your seat.