Chosen by Class 8 (14-year-olds) from York Steiner School. Thanks to Teachers Jonathan Tapp and Annabel Gibb.
Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony
Eoin Colfer, Puffin, 978 0 14 132079 3, £6.99 pbk
This is the fifth book in the Artemis Fowl series. Artemis discovers that there is a second juvenile genius, a girl, who is determined to capture a demon for scientific research. If the spell separating demons from mankind unravels, the demons will relaunch their quest to wipe out the hated humans. Artemis needs the help of the captured demon.
I liked this book because it is fast-paced and exciting. It is also quite funny and the story-line is very imaginative while at the same time you could connect quite well with the characters. If I was to rate this book out of ten, I’d give it a nine. An excellent book for 10-14 year-olds.
The Vampire’s Assistant
Darren Shan, HarperCollins, 978 0 00 675513 5, £4.99 pbk
‘My name’s Darren Shan. I’m a half-vampire.’ The first two lines really give you a good feel as to where the book’s going. This book is the second about Darren Shan. In the first book you get to see Darren’s transformation into a half-vampire – a vampire that can still go outside in the day but who is also much stronger, faster and more alert. In the second you get to see him make some friends, but you also get to see how he deals with loss.
Darren undergoes adventures under the watchful eye of Mr Crepsley, a full vampire, and the one responsible for Darren’s unwilling transformation. He has hard times and good, but all in all it makes for a very interesting read. I would rate it 8/10.
Noughts and Crosses
Malorie Blackman, Corgi, 978 0 552 55570 8, £6.99 pbk
This is the first book of three. It is a modern Romeo and Juliet story. There are two main characters, Callum who is a second class citizen or Nought and Sephy who is one of the most well known Crosses. This is a story of the highs and lows of a friendship.
The story gives you a very good representation of what life is like for two different classes trying to be together but not knowing how. Sephy is under pressure to do well and go far but all she wants to do is talk to Callum. Callum wants to prove that the lower class can go far. With bombs, rape and suicide, this modern love story has everything. It is one of the best stories I’ve ever read and you never know what is going to happen next.
A Gathering Light
Jennifer Donnelly, Bloomsbury, 978 0 7475 8996 9, £6.99 pbk
Mattie Gockey lives in the north woods with her father and three sisters. Her mother is dead so she is expected to keep house. When she receives an acceptance letter to college she doesn’t know what to do. It is made all the more complicated when a young woman, Grace, gives her some letters. When Grace is found dead in the lake near the hotel Mattie ends up reading not just one letter (as she intended) but all of them and they reveal a riveting back story to Grace’s life.
This novel is an outstanding read. Mattie is very much like an older Laura Ingalls Wilder. I really enjoyed reading this book and found myself shouting ‘Oh my god what are you doing!’ at the pages. I say give it a go.
The Broken Bridge
Philip Pullman, Macmillan, 978 0 330 39797 1, £5.99 pbk
16 year-old Ginny is turning out to be a brilliant artist just like her mother, who died when she was only a baby. Best of all her best friend Andy has come back home for the summer and she is having the time of her life. But everything is about to change.
Her father has kept a terrible secret from her all her life. Piece by piece, she discovers that everything he has told her about herself is a lie. So who is she? In order to find out, Ginny must take a difficult look at her tragic past. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I give it 8/10 and recommend it for 12-16 year-olds.
The Otori Trilogy
1. Across the Nightingale Floor, 978 0 330 41528 6
2. Grass for His Pillow, 978 0 330 44701 7
3. Brilliance of the Moon, 978 0 330 41350 3
Lian Hearn, Macmillan, £6.99 each pbk
The story is set in ancient Japan. Takeo grows up among the Hidden. After a massacre he meets the mysterious Otori Shigeru and realises that he has mixed blood. The Tribe, a thieving and assassinating clan, believe that he belongs to them. This is a time when love doesn’t seem to fit, but he will never be able to give up the beautiful Kaede. Kaede, the heir to Shirakawa, is being used as a political pawn. With a reputation of killing every man who desires her beauty, she is set on ruling alone, but when she meets Takeo her destiny is clear.
This is a story of magic, blood, love, sex and suspense. The way it is written, moving between two characters, means you are constantly seeing two sides of the story and are never bored. I would not recommend it for very young readers; however I would give it four stars.