Thanks to Helen Cleaves, Librarian. Helen was one of three librarians on the 2014 honour list for the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award.
Kiss the Dust
Elizabeth Laird, Macmillan Children’s Books, 978-0230014312, £6.99
Kiss the Dust shows how the life of a child in Iran can go from perfect to complete hell. A 13 year old girl called Tara knows how that feels. She starts off with plenty of money with spare change jangling in her pocket. But it can take one tiny thing to turn your whole life upside down. Tara and her family are forced out of their house and have to flee because her father is helping people fighting for freedom. The authorities didn’t like this and were trying to eliminate those taking part. This book gives you an insight into a world so different to ours. It makes you appreciate what you have and realise that there are more important things in life than money – love and family and freedom. I really enjoyed this book. It is nothing like anything I have read before. Five stars.
The Considine Curse
Gareth P Jones, Bloomsbury, 978-1408811511, £6.99
Mariel is a normal teen living with her completely normal mother but her long-lost family is far from normal! When her un-known grandma dies, the pair fly to England for the funeral. The uncles seem normal, it’s just, the cousins are very different. When they move into gran’s old house, things go wrong and questions start filling Mariel’s head. Why did her cousins eat so much? Why did they creep out each night? Why did Elspeth smell so much? All of the answers were not easy to find, but as Mariel soon finds out, not every secret should be discovered.
I love the way Gareth P Jones wrote this, leaving many chapters on cliff-hangers and you couldn’t guess what the big secret was – it came as a complete surprise to me! He described the many characters in a brilliant way. They all sound so interesting and mysterious. 4/5 stars
Looking for JJ
Anne Cassidy, Scholastic, 978-1407138091, £6.99
Looking for JJ was an absolutely amazing book! When she was ten Jennifer Jones killed her best friend. The book is about how she changed her life when she was released from prison: she was now Alice Tully. I do not think the book had any weaknesses but it did have a lot of things I loved. One of these being that the book was split into three parts: the first and third parts were in the present about JJ’s new life, whereas the second was in the past about what JJ did. This is really good because you get to see how Jennifer changed and it made the book more interesting. Looking for JJ is one of the best books I’ve read and I will be recommending it to all my friends.
Marcus Sedgwick, Orion Children’s Books, 978-1444000054, £6.99
There is a cabin in the north of the Arctic Circle. It is lonely in the cold, the wind and the ever-coming snow. Sig sits alone in the cabin apart from a frozen corpse. There used to be a mum and a sister and a father. But they’re long gone. Sig does not know what to do. The cabin is soundless. The fire has burned out. Then there is a knock on the door!
Revolver tells the tale of Sig Anderson and his family: a tale of hidden hints and the lust for money and gold. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and you never know what’s behind the next corner. Sedgwick cleverly unwinds the tale with little clues but never enough to understand everything. I would recommend this book to anyone 11+ who wants a good tense thriller by the fire. Let’s just hope that fire doesn’t go out… knock knock!
Journey to the centre of the Earth
Jules Verne, Penguin Classics, 978-0141441979, £8.99
Journey to the Centre of the Earth, written in 1864, will take you into a mysterious and dangerous world where you will encounter secret tunnels, underground seas and a living past with pre-historic creatures. At times, as they descended deeper and deeper into the centre of the earth I felt I was actually there on the journey, drawn by the amazing scenery, the gigantic pre-historic creatures and the knife edge dangers.
The book is imaginative and thrilling, cleverly weaving in scientific information and transporting you to a pre-historic past that is still alive. The book will leave you in suspense right to the end… but be patient as the story is initially slow moving and be prepared for some tricky 19th century language. The writing style is challenging for a teenager but you will be rewarded and enjoy the suspense wanting to know what will happen next.
The Twelfth Day of July
Joan Lingard, Puffin, 978-0140371758, £6.99
The Twelfth Day of July by Joan Lingard is a book about two teenagers Sadie and Kevin, growing up in Belfast who have grown up hating each other’s communities. The novel gives an insight in to growing up in Belfast during the Troubles.
This book alternates between the lives of the Protestant children and the Catholic children. Sadie Jackson, feisty and courageous, encourages the children to raise money for the ‘Glorious Twelfth’. The other main protagonist, Kevin McCoy, looks for trouble and often lands up in it. This unlikely pair become friends when they meet up in hospital when a riot goes wrong. This modern-day Romeo and Juliet is a real page-turner. Lingard makes Northern Ireland at this period come alive. The novel ends on a real cliff hanger. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.