Chosen by year 7 and 8 (11-13 year-old) members of the Junior Readers Group, Truro School, Cornwall.
Thanks to Sue Spence, Head of English.
A Great and Terrible Beauty
Libba Bray, Simon & Schuster, 978 0 689 87535 9, £6.99 pbk
A Great and Terrible Beauty is about a girl called Gemma Doyle who arrives at Spence Boarding School in England from India. As the story unfolds, Gemma has to battle against her emotions, friends and a supernatural power that begins to be unleashed, all the while under the watchful eye of a mysterious shadowy stranger. As she discovers secrets from her mother’s past that have been hidden from her, she has to quickly gain control of her new power, with the help of her friends, before her destiny in the Order can really begin. You soon begin to feel for Gemma as she struggles against the obstacles before her, while still trying to keep up appearances before her peers and teachers. I really enjoyed this book because it is very interesting, thought-provoking, and there is something new and exciting on every page, making it impossible to put down. This is a brilliant beginning to a series of mystery, passion, terror and magic.
Becca Fitzpatrick, Simon & Schuster, 978 1 84738 696 0, £6.99 pbk
When told to move seats in biology, Nora sits next to Patch, a boy she knows nothing about, yet who seems to know everything about her! He‘s everywhere she goes, refusing to tell her anything about himself. Immediately Nora’s life is turned upside down.
Whilst wearing her clothes, her best friend Vee is attacked by a man in a black ski mask who pounces whenever Nora’s alone. Is it coincidence that he appeared the day after she first met Patch? When investigating, Nora comes across the story of a girl who hanged herself not far from her house and is plunged into yet another mystery. Will her life ever be the same again? Then Nora finds out what Patch really is… but I’m not going to give it away, you’ll have to read it yourself!
I really enjoyed Hush, Hush. It is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve read and although it’s a bit dark, it’s really gripping and I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of romance, a bit of fantasy, mystery and a healthy dollop of surprises.
The Thirty-nine Steps
John Buchan, Pocket Penguin Classics, 978 0 14 103126 2, £7.99 pbk
The Thirty-nine Steps is a wonderful book I couldn’t put down. It’s about a man called Richard Hannay, who invites a stranger into his home after he starts talking about the possible outbreak of war with Germany, and the assassination of the only man who could prevent it. But the stranger is murdered at Richard’s home and then Richard is plunged into a world of spies and death. Soon he realises that it’s not just the villains who are pursuing him but the long arm of the law as well.
I rather liked it, as it is beautifully written. Richard Hannay is really well described. He is very knowledgeable, always knows the best way to do things, and his great knowledge of lentonite ends with explosive results. It grips you all the way through keeping you on tenterhooks about what will happen next.
Secret of the Sirens
Julia Golding, Oxford, 978 0 19 275460 8, £5.99 pbk
Connie Lionheart is sent to live with her aunt in England. She makes friends with a local boy, Col. Unknown to her, Col and her Aunt Evelyn belong to a secret society, set on saving the remaining mythical creatures that mankind has no idea exist, by hiding them and fighting the evil shape shifter, Kullervo. Although Connie does not know the society’s secret, she wants to join, but they are too caught up with helping some neighbouring sirens. They let her take the test to see if she should become a member, but all the signs seem wrong. Only later do they realise that Connie has a dangerous and rare gift. As I read this book I wondered whether it was too late for them to help harness her power and destroy Kullervo, or whether mankind would die out, killed by the shape shifter. You will have to read it to find out!
It is a wonderful book. I could not put it down!
Noel Streatfeild, HarperCollins, 978 0 00 727002 6, £6.99 pbk
Having read Ballet Shoes, which I greatly enjoyed, I decided to read another book by the same author. White Boots is about a girl called Harriet who has just recovered from a long illness. She is not allowed to go to school and is very bored. Her legs are very ‘cotton-woolish’ so she is sent for long walks by the canal which she hates. Her doctor then prescribes ice skating.
At the ice rink Harriet is introduced to Lalla Moore who is a very talented local skater. Harriet is terrified but Lalla eventually coaxes her onto the ice. They spend the afternoon together becoming firm friends. Thanks to her pushy aunt, Lalla starts to skate in shows and becomes conceited, while Harriet slowly passes her medals. But Lalla fails and threatens that if Harriet takes hers, she won’t skate with her any more. Harriet’s difficult dilemma is eventually solved and it all ends happily.
This book may not be for the action lover, but it’s a beautiful, heart-warming story and is a perfect read for a winter afternoon.