This year’s Carnegie winner and some of the shortlisted titles reviewed by Year 7-9 (11-14 year old) pupils from Fernwood Comprehensive School, Wollaton, Nottingham.
Thanks to Carol Williams, School Librarian.
The Other Side of Truth
Beverley Naidoo, Puffin, 0 14 130476 6, £4.99
The Other Side of Truth is set in Nigeria. The main characters are Sade, Femi, Papa, Mama, Mrs Bankole, Aunt Gracie, Uncle Tunde, Uncle Roy and Uncle Dele. In the book Papa is a journalist that always writes the truth, and he writes about some people and they come after him. They try to kill him but instead they kill his wife. Papa is afraid and sends his children to England where they will meet their uncle and live with him. They are smuggled into England with Mrs Bankole; they each have a small bag and a rucksack. In England they do not meet their uncle but they are left wandering the streets because Mrs Bankole leaves them. Later they are wrongly accused of theft in a video shop and are caught by the police, They are then fostered by Uncle Roy and Aunt Gracie. They are sent to school in England and are bullied. Later they get news that their father is in the country. The immigration office allow them to stay in the country and Uncle Roy and Aunt Gracie look after them until they find somewhere to stay.
I think that the book was good because it was realistic where the kids (Sade and Femi) were roaming the streets in London and the bullies at the school, although I think that there was too much referring to past things that happened in Nigeria. The Other Side of Truth overall was a good but very emotional book for anyone to read.
Qasim Bharmal, Year 9
David Almond, Hodder Signature, 0 340 74368 9, £4.99
Being one of the few people in our reading club who actually enjoyed Almond’s last book, Skellig, I had high expectations of Heaven Eyes. Luckily, Almond’s unique love it or hate it style of writing is still here in this excellent book.
The story tells the tale of ‘damaged’ child Erin and her friends January Carr and Mouse Gullane who leave a children’s home in search of adventure. January is very annoyed when their escape raft is washed up in the black muddy middens. Erin, January and Mouse then discover the child Heaven Eyes, with her webbed hands and odd voice, along with her overprotective grandpa. As the story unfolds, Heaven learns that Grandpa found her after a boating accident which killed her real family. The Black middens and all of its deserted and derelict houses become ready for demolition, so Grandpa asks January, Erin and Mouse to take Heaven back to the children’s home where she will be safe.
The whole story is full of suspense and Almond tells it wonderfully, with excellent descriptions painting a vivid picture in your head. If you loved Skellig, you’ll love this. If you didn’t, give it a try anyway.
Verdict: Not for everyone, but wonderfully written all the same. Rating: 4/5.
Matt Foster, Year 7
Adèle Geras, Scholastic, 0 439 99220 6, £5.99
The brief story outline of the book – Sisters Marpessa and Xanthe are both hit by an arrow fired by a son of the gods. The Trojan War against the Greeks hurls them into love by the form of a Trojan warrior called Alastor. This story is full of hidden desires, frustration and death …
The good points about the book – the author is not afraid to include mentions of sex and swearing, to bring the book to life. The bad points about the book – the sad, sad, ending! Although the book wouldn’t be the same without it.
My final thoughts about the book – I loved this book – but the ending made me cry! I’d only recommend this book to anyone who can stomach it!
Helen Symonds, Year 9
The Ghost Behind the Wall
Melvin Burgess, Andersen, 0 86264 492 5, £9.99
I thought that this book was very good. A school kid discovers the air-vents in his flat lead into a broken down air-conditioning system, and he discovers what people get up to in their flats. He is soon to get into trouble though, as he discovers a ghost inside, and can’t help but vandalize an old man’s flat. I thought this book was very entertaining but I felt that in some instances it could be very distressing, especially the parts where he was callously ripping apart the old man’s place. Otherwise the character descriptions, along with details of his social life outside the vents were superb, and I really enjoyed it.
Gavin Wilkinson, Year 9
Shadow of the Minotaur
Alan Gibbons, Orion Dolphin, 1 85881 721 8, £4.99
This book was about a boy called Phoenix, who loved Greek myths and was teased at school because of this. His Dad is working on a virtual reality game called ‘The Legendeer’, which is based on defeating Greek monsters. Phoenix, who goes on the game a lot, only worries when he comes out of the game with a bruise that he should not have been able to get. His Dad then disappears into the game, and Phoenix, who decides that the only way to get him back is to finish the game, sets off into ‘The Legendeer’.
I thought this book combined Greek myths with a modern day story line, and had an excellent intriguing plot. The book was slightly mysterious, and you didn’t find the answer to the mystery until the end. The book was extremely well written, and you couldn’t close the book until you finished it. I give this book 10 out of 10, mainly for its amazing plot.
Jenny Hunter, Year 7
Sharon Creech, Macmillan, 0 330 39292 1, £4.99
This is my review of the Carnegie shortlisted book, The Wanderer. What happens – Sophie is adopted by a couple when her parents die. She goes sailing in a yacht, from America to England, to see ‘Bompie’, her ‘step’-grandpa. She goes with her three ‘step’-uncles, and 2 ‘step’-cousins, Cody and Brian. My favourite character – Sophie. She sticks up for herself, and is very sensible.
I like this book because – it is filled with adventure and mystery, and you wonder ‘how come Sophie knows Bompie’s stories when she’s never even met him?’ It also has nice short chapters.
I give this book 9 out of 10 – excellent.
Alison Woodward, Year 7