Chosen by pupils from Lanesborough School, Guildford, Surrey.
Thanks for Stephen Loubser, Head of English.
A N Wilson, Walker, 0 7445 9062 0, £4.99 pbk
An autobiography with a difference! Stray is the autobiography of an alley cat called Pufftail. But don’t let that put you off – this is a great book for cat-haters and cat-lovers alike.
I like this book because you get to see through the eyes of a moggy (cat) that is put through lots of different experiences, some of which are good but some are bad like when his wife is run over by an engine of murder (car).
Pufftail is given human characteristics and emotions by the author. These include sorrow, joy and anger but most of the time he is confused.
The book moves you as it makes you feel sad and angry about the way some people treat cats. It is also funny and adventurous because he has to go through tough times such as when he is separated from his family and when his brother is killed.
All in all this is an excellent book and I would recommend it to readers of eleven years old and above.
Richard Longdon, Year 6
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Mark Haddon, Red Fox, 0 09 945676 1, £6.99 pbk
‘What’s going on here, young man?’
‘The dog’s dead.’
‘I got that far.’
‘I think someone killed the dog.’
‘How old are you?’
‘Fifteen years, three months and two days.’
‘Why were you holding the dog?’
‘I like dogs.’
‘Did you kill the dog?’
‘I did not kill the dog.’
Christopher Boone has Asperger’s syndrome. This means he does not know when someone is showing emotion unless they are shouting or crying. Seeing certain colour cars on his way to school determines a good day or a BLACK day and he takes anything anyone says literally. This is his book.
I found this book highly entertaining and enthralling though it was a little bit sad at times. Because this was Christopher’s book he does not edit out all the rude language so at times I found myself reading some rather colourful words.
This book starts with a mystery but it is not solved till the very last few chapters and even more mysteries are added during the course of the book.
At first I found the chapter numbering confusing: two, three, five, seven, eleven till I was told that the book was going up in Prime numbers because it made Christopher feel safe.
I found Christopher’s character very amusing but very realistic, taking one thing at a time and not thinking what his actions may cause. He is very up-front and makes his feelings of people clear.
This to me was one of the greatest books I have read. I advise you to buy two copies because you will not want to lend yours out.
Oliver Neville, Year 8
The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina
Caroline Lawrence, Dolphin, 1 84255 025 X, £4.99 pbk
This is a book that teaches the lessons of love, loss, passion, and trust. The time the story is set in is perfect for these lessons, the early Roman period.
In the port town of Ostia, the Gemina family live a wealthy, happy, life… apparently. The family is in financial trouble and on top of that, a Roman widow has started to take a liking to the father. Flavia Gemina and her three friends must solve a mystery that could make their fears a reality.
I found the book well paced, not too complicated, and a glossary for all the Latin phrases definitely helped. I was a little frustrated with the ending, and it sometimes went off in unusual directions; but these two little complaints do not compare to the good points that make this a wonderful historical novel.
If you wish to read this book it is best to have some knowledge of the period and genre, but I recommend it for people who enjoy this sort of story no matter what age.
William Davies, Year 8
David Clement-Davies, Macmillan, 0 330 48385 4, £6.99 pbk
The Sight is a very moving, insightful novel which within it holds truths that reflect human life and the way we treat each other. I see the length of the book, 503 pages, not as a daunting challenge to claw one’s way through it but a compliment to the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the points the author puts into the themes of the book.
The author structures the plot to great effect as this adds suspense to the book. The author immediately sets the scene in the first sentence with a pack of wolves fleeing across harsh tundra. However, as throughout the book, the characters know something you don’t, in this case why they are fleeing, and this compulsively draws the reader in.
The grim, icy settings emphasise the fear and destruction their world faces as their pack is broken apart, one by one. For example: ‘all around the sky was draining of colour, the air growing pale and bloodless.’
The characters in this book are well developed and unpredictable. One does not see them as black and white but some undergo significant changes to their personality as they endure through an unforgiving time.
This book holds more than the cover suggests and once discovering the inner meanings of the book one must surely acknowledge it as a classic. I recommend this book to those who want to venture away from the stereotypical aspects of some books and I guarantee you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Ross Vinten, Year 8