Chosen by Year 7 (11/12 year old) pupils from De La Salle College, St Saviour, Jersey.
Thanks to Jane Moretta of the English Department and Denis Le Breuilly, Library & Resources Manager.
Rachel Anderson, Oxford, 0 19 275128 X, £3.99
Rachel Anderson has put forward an explicit and gripping novel based on the orphans of the Vietnamese war. The book has incorporated what it was like, into several stories being told by a Grandmother to a child called Amy about her uncle. The story describes a boy named Ho, a Vietnamese war child who was eventually transported to England after being abandoned by his mother amongst the rubbish of the streets of Vietnam. After years of neglect and ‘no-love’ in the Vietnamese orphanage he was yet to discover the English just as frightening, and his future looked bleak because he had become retarded and no one wanted to adopt him, that was until Amy’s grandparents rescued him.
The book also follows a boy called Dingo, a war photographer, who followed the orphans but felt no pity or compassion because he too had suffered the same inner pain as Ho, for Dingo was also adopted, his mother had left him naked wrapped in newspaper outside the Town Hall. So to him, it was just another story. No one really knew the true story of Ho except himself, and when asked about this delicate matter, he would scream with the horrific memories of his early years. So Amy’s grandmother tells the same stories she has told Ho because as Granny says: ‘Everyone needs to know the story of their life, even if it has to be invented.’
Blood, Bones and Body Bits
Nick Arnold, Scholastic, 0 590 55807 2, £3.99
Blood, Bones and Body Bits is an extremely good book. Nick Arnold describes science in a humorous way. His books are excellent because they aren’t boring science books, they contain all the scientific parts but he puts it into jokes and makes it funny. Also I noticed that he includes a bit of scientific history in his books. This particular book describes what people discovered, who discovered it and how people discovered it. I think for a Year 5-7 biologist this book is brilliant. Nick Arnold put a lot of effort into writing his books. He researched, encountered several deadly diseases and inspected sick in his efforts to complete his ‘Horrible Science’ series. At the end of some sections of all of his books, he includes a mini quiz which is extremely useful.
Overall I think that all of Nick Arnold’s books in the ‘Horrible Science’ series are excellent books.
Lord of the Flies
William Golding, Faber, 0 571 05686 5, £5.99
Lord of the Flies is about a group of early teenage boys who, while being evacuated from the second World War, become stranded on an island. They are already in groups, some of them are total strangers, others are members of the choir (their leader is called Jack) and some are young boys called littluns. The boys find a conch, like a large shell, and the person who holds it can speak. Ralph, a big strong boy, is elected leader. He believes in fairness throughout the group but Jack enjoys play and destruction, whatever the consequences. The choir then turn into savages and leave the group by themselves.
This book has many hidden depths about human nature and the world around us. I found this story so addictive that I read it in a week! I give this story 9 out of 10 because it’s very interesting.
Anthony Horowitz, Orchard, 1 84121 455 8, £4.99
I decided to write about Horowitz Horror by Anthony Horowitz. All of the short stories are scary and exciting but my favourite is ‘Bath Night’. ‘Bath Night’ is about a girl called Isabel whose parents buy all their furniture from second hand shops. Her parents have just bought a bath. While Isabel is lying in the water she sees a strange person walking towards her in the mirror. She tries to get out of the bath but she can’t. What happens next?
My two favourite characters are Isabel’s Mum and Dad because they seem as if they are trapped back in time. They keep buying old furniture from sales and this is funny because it annoys Isabel and they do not seem to realise what they are doing.
I recommend this book to children between 11-14 because there are some quite difficult words making it unsuitable for younger readers. It will appeal to older children because it is scary.