Chosen by Year 8 and Year 9 (12-14 year old) pupils of The King’s School, Worcester.
Thanks to Alison Scaiff, School Librarian.
Jenny Nimmo, Mammoth, 0 7497 0927 8, £3.99 pbk
This story is set on a beach in the 19th century. The children’s house is right on the beach, and they have always been near it. Nell is a shy little girl. She never leaves her brother for long, and adores him. I would say she is roughly 8 or 9. She is quite short with blonde hair. Ned, her brother, is fond of Nell. He is about 12, tall and has a mop of dark brown hair. The story is told in third person, and as the story progresses, you find yourself sharing the emotions felt by the characters. The story starts when Nell and Ned’s mother goes away for a short time. Their grandmother and aunt come to look after them. Then they meet a strange man on the beach. They take him home with them and let him stay. Then their past unfolds and the stranger has something to do with it. This story gives me a very tense atmosphere. I couldn’t wait for the next thing to happen. It also made me feel and think like the children. I really enjoyed this book.
Laura Hughes, age 12
Polgara the Sorceress
David and Leigh Eddings, Voyager, 0 586 21314 7, £7.99 pbk
This is an introductory book into the wonderful and mystical world of David Eddings, a world where old is getting into your late thousands and being turned into a toad is the least of your problems. In this book we are taken through a journey of Polgara the Sorceress’ life, which starts at her childhood when her sister was still alive. They lived with their uncle because their mother had faked her death and their father had left them and their mother. Polgara’s sister marries the king of a very powerful land just before she dies. It is many years before Polgara gets over it but, when she does, she is ready to learn magic. Her mother starts to talk to her and teach her how to do things, like metamorphosis, unknown to her returned father and her uncles. With her new skills she heads out to do good for the world she lives in.
This is a brilliant book which starts your thirst to read the rest in the series. There is a sister book to this (or, as it could be, ‘brother book’ ) which is written from the point of view of Polgara’s father, Belgarath, which is also a riveting read.
Ben Maxwell, age 12 (Year 8)
Close to the Wind
Pete Goss, Ulverscroft Large Print Books, 0 7089 9100 9, £17.99
Close to the Wind is written by Pete Goss. it is a true story about how he gave up his chance of winning the Vendee Globe and pulled the near-dead French sailor Raphael Dinelli from his life raft in hurricane force winds in the middle of the ocean.
The Vendee Globe is a single handed race around the world. Close to the Wind tells the story of Pete Goss’s remarkable voyage. Pete Goss began sailing in the marines and progressed to ocean sailing competitions. His dream was always to compete in the Vendee Globe.
It was a struggle but he finally collected enough sponsorship money to compete. However, everything didn’t go smoothly in the race. The winds strengthened and a lot of boats were in trouble including Raphael Dinelli’s. Thankfully Pete Goss turned back and saved him in a remarkable show of bravery.
Close to the Wind is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it even if you aren’t a keen sailor.
Melvin Burgess, Andersen, 0 86264 833 5, £14.99 hbk
London is in ruins, in the hands of two powerful, warring families of ganglords, the Volsons and the Conors. In a vain attempt to cement a truce between the two sides Val Volson offers Conor the hand of his only daughter, 14 year old Signy. The wedding feast is dramatically disrupted by a dead prisoner with one eye, who comes back to life and causes terror and distrust from both sides, each suspecting the other of a trick. Only after the prisoner has disappeared as mysteriously as he arrived are the people convinced that he is the God Odin, come to play a part in the affairs of men.
This newest tale by Melvin Burgess is a compelling tale of war, revenge, love and hate, intrigue, magic and destiny. It is, on one level, the story of warring families, deep rooted hatred and distrust, and one girl’s attempt to change war into peace, and on another it is a harrowing tale of revenge and treachery, a warning of what could happen if men try to change the patterns of destiny. In my opinion this is easily Melvin Burgess’s best and most ambitious book to date and it makes an amazing story. I would recommend this book to anyone above the age of 13, because although it is quite long, it’s so absorbing that you probably won’t want to put it down anyway. Anyone who wants a riveting and utterly believable book with excellent twists should run out and buy this right now.