Chosen by Grade 7 (12-13 year-old) girls from St Stithians Girls’ Preparatory School, Randburg, South Africa.
Thanks to Marilynn Berrington, Teacher Librarian.
The Ask and the Answer
Patrick Ness, Walker, 978 1 4063 2247 7, £7.99 pbk
Todd Hewitt and Viola Eade are back in this amazing and gripping sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. In The Ask and the Answer, Todd and a grievously injured Viola are captured by their enemy, Mayor Prentiss (of New Prentisstown), who wants to turn Todd into a killer.
The Mayor keeps Todd and Viola apart to control them. Todd is forced to work for Mayor Prentiss, cruelly managing the Spackle, the native species on The New World. Viola is sent to the Healing House to be cured.
Meanwhile, the healers at the Healing House are forming a rebel group called The Answer. The Answer is fighting against the Mayor and his men (The Ask), to achieve freedom for New Prentisstown. Once Viola is healed, she runs away to join the freedom fighters
Todd, who has been brainwashed by Mayor Prentiss’ ‘Noise’ (his special manipulating thoughts) stays at Prentiss’ side. Will the two friends be reunited? Can Todd forgive Viola for leaving him with The Ask? Who will prevail, The Ask or The Answer? Find out in the gloriously paced The Ask and the Answer, a book full of non-stop action which is impossible to put down.
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak, Definitions, 978 1 86230 291 4, £7.99 pbk
Imagine that you have wanted something so much that you’d do anything to get it. Imagine that in doing so you could risk losing your freedom forever; that is exactly what the book thief did.
The story is set during World War 2 and begins with Liesel Meminger finding a mysterious object by her brother’s graveside. The object? A book, ‘The Gravedigger’s Handbook’. Abruptly Liesel is taken into foster care and with the help of her foster father, Liesel learns how to read. Soon begins her love affair with books and as we all know love affairs can be very, very dangerous. Soon Liesel’s stealing books from wherever she can find them. No place is too secure or risky. But that becomes the least of her worries because Liesel’s family has taken in a Jew and we all know what happens when you help a Jew…
This book somehow captures how words and literature can help liberate even the most chained up souls. It is truly a work of art that will stand the test of time. I recommend this to anyone with a passion for reading and even those who haven’t because, after this I can assure you that you will be an avid reader.
Fly By Night
Frances Hardinge, Macmillan, 978 0 330 41826 3, £5.99 pbk
Fly By Night is a powerful, humorous story. It tells of a world where, much like our own, words are more powerful than actions, where sometimes knowledge is stifled, feared, and despised. However, Mosca, a 12-year-old girl with huge black eyes, and the determination of a clever person whom no one likes, has a hunger for words and intelligence. Driven to the end of her tether, the orphan girl burns down her narrow-minded uncle’s mill and goes on the run, with the notorious con-artist Eponymous Clent… and a goose. Born in a world filled with conspiracies, suspicion and logic, they start on their journey. I loved the slicing remarks, and the fact that although farfetched, the book depicts some of the ideas (however illogical) that are formed in our own lives and societies. I couldn’t put the book down after the first chapter, and tried to get myself to slow down near the end so I wouldn’t have to finish it. You should read Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge tooif you just want to laugh and be entertained.
The Thirteen Treasures
Michelle Harrison, Simon & Schuster, 978 1 84738 449 2, £6.99 pbk
Tanya is an ordinary 13-year-old girl, except for one thing: she can see fairies. They have tormented her for as long as she can remember, but when she is sent away to her grandmother things get a lot worse.
When she finds out about a girl who went missing over 50 years ago, she starts to investigate. When her grandmother is reluctant to talk about her, Tanya knows that something happened between them. Fabian has been tormented by her disappearance all his life. His grandfather Amos was the last person to see her and he has lived under suspicion ever since. Together they try to find out what really happened to Morwenna Bloom all those many years ago. Tanya thought she knew how evil a fairy could be, but she has no idea…
I really enjoyed this book as it was a page-turner from the first page right through to the last page. If you enjoy reading fantasy/mystery books, this is a must read.