Our Good Reads are chosen by pupils at Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire. Thanks to school librarian Jonathan Guy.
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline, Arrow, 978-0099560432, £8.99 pbk
Ready Player One is a pulsating and gripping sci-fi / dystopian novel about a time when everyone on Earth escapes life by living in a virtual world called Oasis. When the creator of the Oasis dies, he leaves behind a series of puzzles to solve. Whoever solves all the problems gets a key. Three keys equals the Golden Egg and ownership of Oasis.
At first everyone attempts to retrieve the keys by tackling the challenges but, after a while, frustration and lack of success results in a dwindling number of participants.
The story follows the reckless journey of Wade and his die-hard Gunter (egg hunter) friends, as they encounter enemies and face their fears along the way, and ultimately become a part of something bigger than they ever imagined. This book has a convincing plotline that works so well, with twists you never see coming. The characters astound you with their courage and a certain talent for gaming, which drags you into the quest. A little like the heroes themselves, this book is one you simply won’t (and can’t) give up on.
Nadia (UIII / year 7)
Stoneheart, Charlie Fletcher, Hodder Children’s Books, 978-0340911631, pbk
Stoneheart, the first book of an exciting and totally original trilogy, is set in a parallel universe, where London is the backdrop for an everlasting battle between flesh and stone. It tells the gripping story of George and Edie who are on the run from the statues and gargoyles of the city. As they battle to survive and stay one step ahead of their foes, they begin to meet some renegade statues who have good intentions; for example, Gunner who is a statue based on a World War I soldier. With his help Charlie and Edie find themselves gradually defying the odds as they attempt to end the ‘Cold War’.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a dose of pure escapism because inside these 484 pages both language and drama to keep the reader engaged at every twist and turn, and I defy you not to get caught up in the thrill of the chase.
Sasha (UIII / year 7)
House of Windows, Alexia Casale, Faber & Faber, 978-0571321537, £7.99 pbk
House of Windows focuses on a boy called Nick who is going to Cambridge University at the age of 15, which he says is because he “works hard”. His father spends all his time working and leaves his son with “replacements” as Nick describes them. He didn’t fit in at school but finds socialising and adjusting at Cambridge even harder. In a last throw of the dice he joins the rowing crew as a cox to try and make friends but, just as things begin to look up, an unexpected twist throws everything into a spiral of confusion … This book really shows what is possible if you work for it and also the problem of being younger than others whilst trying to make friends. House of Windows will make you more aware of the people around you and will help you contemplate life. It has had a massive impact on my life, it has really made me reflect about what friendship and family mean, and about the struggles involved in finding a sense of belonging.
Milly (UIII, year 7)
Not If I Save You First, Ally Carter, Orchard Books, 978-1408349090, £7.99 pbk
Not If I Save You First is an epic novel about a girl named Maddie whose best friend, Logan, just happens to be the president’s son. Maddie’s family move away to the middle of nowhere in Alaska right after her father survived taking a bullet saving the first lady. The plot follows the journeys of Maddie and Logan—six years later, after Logan is sent to Maddie’s cabin for his safety. They haven’t talked for all those six years; Maddie was heartbroken since Logan had never replied to any of her letters. Things turn sinister when a mysterious man suddenly shows up, kidnaps Logan and shoots Maddie. How far will they both go to keep each other safe?
This book takes you on a thrilling, rollercoaster ride and asks: what you would sacrifice to keep certain people safe? Heart-stopping, pulse-quickening and breath-taking fun.
Bella (UIII, year 7)
The 100, Kass Morgan, Hodder and Stoughton, 978-1444766882, £8.99 pbk
After a devastating nuclear war humanity has evacuated Earth and the remaining people are living on a spaceship. Now time is running out as the colony’s supplies are almost gone, so one hundred juvenile delinquents are sent down to Earth on what looks like a suicide mission. But will it be a second chance at life? I really enjoyed this book because it is fast paced and exciting. It is narrated by four very different protagonists, so you get a number of perspectives about such a complex situation. From the opening scene, anyone who loves thrillers will be hooked. How will the hundred survive? What threats will they face? With concerns about environmental catastrophe dominating the news headlines, a taut, tense and nail-biting novel which explores how humanity responds to an apocalyptic disaster could hardly be more relevant.
Felicity (UIII, year 7)