Chosen by Year 9 (13/14 year olds) pupils at Selby High School, North Yorkshire.
Cynthia D. Grant, Mammoth, 0 7497 2953 8, £4.50 pbk
The book Mary Wolf is based around an American family that is not very well off, as the father of the family is not prepared to work for his family’s living. His sister Belle, Mary’s aunt, has offered Mr Wolf money, but even though he doesn’t want to work, he claims he wants to be an independent man and so does not accept the money from Belle. As a result of this Mr Wolf and the rest of the family have to live roughly in a mobile home, steal their meals and cope with many other unimaginable conditions we would never dream of coping with.
Mary is the sort of teenager that smokes but cares dearly for her sisters and new-born baby brother. She is left to do a lot of things like drive long distances, under age, day and night, look after her sisters and brother and many other things that ‘ordinary’ teenagers would never do. She is emotionally close to her mother but as for father, she hardly speaks to him, she hates him.
However, there is one close and caring moment Mary and her dad have together and that is when he shows her how to protect herself and use a gun. It is a special day for Mary but sadly the only one. After that everything gets worse. After the first few lines I was hooked and the ending really hit me in the heart. Well worth a read. Thank you Cynthia for showing me another side of life.
Simon Allatt, Year 9
Richie Tankersley Cusick, Scholastic ‘Point Horror’, 0 590 13274 1, £3.50 pbk
I chose Fatal Secrets to do a book review on because I think that it is the best Point Horror that I have ever read. I also chose this book because of the cover, it looked interesting, and the blurb, it made me want to read it as it said ‘Sometimes, knowing the truth can be like skating on thin ice, and when the ice breaks… no one can save you.’
The story is about a girl called Ryan whose sister Marissa had a tragic death, by falling through some ice. She blames herself as they had an argument just before her sister’s death. Then things start to happen to her. They all start to think that she is mad but eventually her best friend’s brother Jinx finds out she’s not.
I think this is a great book, it keeps you in suspense all the time. When you read it the murderer could have been anyone, but when you think that you have finally found the murderer, the book gives you another bit of information to make you think that it is someone else.
I would recommend this book to a male or a female teenager because the main character was a teenager, and she told the story from her point of view (a teenager’s way of thinking).
I think that Fatal Secrets is an excellent book, and I would read it over and over again if I could. I give it full marks.
Carla Heywood, Year 9
Anne Fine, Puffin, 0 14 036147 2, £4.99 pbk
Flour Babies, funnily enough, is a book about flour babies.
Its main character is Simon Martin, a young teenager who in his spare time chooses to be a hooligan and a well known one for that matter.
Every year a science fair is held at Simon’s school. Every class must complete a project given to them by their teacher which for them will be both exciting and invigorating as well as educational. Everyone, that is, except Simon’s class. Simon’s class is put through embarrassing, after embarrassing project and this year is just the icing on the cake.
This year Simon’s class have been specially chosen for the flour babies project. Simon doesn’t really take to the idea of carrying around a six-pound bag of flour until the project is due in at the science fair but he also has to keep it clean, feed it, groom it, dress it, love it and heal any wounds it may get and everywhere he goes the flour baby goes too.
Somehow though after a few weeks Simon grows fond of his little baby and starts to learn more about real life. But in the end it all comes down to three things: has he learnt the lesson he was supposed to, will he remember it and what is the lesson that is so important?
I enjoyed this book very much and found it hard to put down. It’s exciting, funny and helps young people to learn something about being a parent. I would recommend this book to children aged 12+ because it can be quite confusing in some places. All in all this book was a brilliant read and I would definitely recommend it. I give it full marks.
Nicola Spink, Year 9
Robert Swindells, Puffin, 0 14 036251 7, £4.99 pbk
The story starts when Link is forced out of his home by his cruel and brutish stepfather and forced to live in the streets of London. Totally alone and vulnerable Link is only helped by a street wise beggar called Ginger, but the story takes a horrible twist when Ginger disappears along with many other homeless people. Link eventually discovers that a man who calls himself Shelter is targeting homeless people, to murder. The Police don’t seem to care and there is no one else for him to turn to. Link was on his own. This is a really good book which I think everyone would enjoy especially people between 12 and 14 years. The book reads very well and is well written. Robert Swindells manages to get into the mind of all the characters very well because you really do end up feeling sorry for Link and it does end up making you want to read more and more. It is the sort of book you can pick up any time and read over and over again and still not get bored with it. Robert Swindells actually spent four days on the streets mixing with people like the character of Link which has definitely added to the book. My favourite part of the book is definitely when Link meets up with Ginger for the first time. It’s a brilliant scene where Link agrees with everything he says and makes up a story about how he got on the streets and it’s all made up. This book is brilliant. Full marks.
Richard Powell, Year 9
Thanks to Elisabeth Cratchley, Library Resource Manager.