This issue’s Good Reads were chosen by young people at Farnley Academy, Leeds. Thanks to Rebecca Bate, Librarian, for her help.
First Term at Malory Towers
Enid Blyton, Hodder Children’s Books, 978-1444929874, £7.99 pbk
Malory Towers by Enid Blyton is a fantastic book about a group of girls who are at boarding school in Cornwall. In the first book we are introduced to the main characters, Darrell Rivers, Sally Hope and Gwendoline Mary Lacey and teachers, Miss Grayling and Miss Potts. A fantastic book full of fun, midnight feasts, friendship and mischief. A must read.
Ella (Year 8)
Defender of the Realm
Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, Scholastic, 978-1407180465, £6.99 pbk
This book is about a young boy. At the age of 14 he finds out that he is the heir to the throne, while still trying to manage school life. He finds out being a king is not all about power but protecting his people. I enjoyed the book because it was so different from something that would happen in the real world. I liked the way the characters were described; it was full of adventures and most importantly it was fun. I would give Defender of the Realm 5/5.
Casey-Leigh (Year 8)
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Hostile Hospital
Lemony Snicket, Farshore, 978-1405266130, £7.99 pbk
My personal review on this book from a scale on 1 to 5 it would be 5/5. It was absolutely amazing. The plot, the growth, the cliff hangers. What is it about? Well, The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket tells the story of a young girl, her brother and her baby sister, trying to escape from a man who is trying to steal their family fortune. They go to a nearby hospital to hide, just to learn the evil man is still there and after them. He’s got their sister, will he get them too? Will they finally be safe or will they always be tormented by the evil man and his minions? I would definitely recommend this, as it is amazing. It has beautiful plots and is so good for when you are bored, with twists every second, wondering what will happen and then you turn the page and you shout at the characters ‘No don’t do that!’.
Kitty (Year 8)
Cinderella is Dead
Kalynn Bayron, Bloomsbury, 978-1526621979, £8.99 pbk
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron is a refreshing and inventive retelling of the classic Cinderella fairytale. Bayron skilfully weaves together elements of fantasy and dystopia to create a world that is both familiar and entirely new.
The novel is set in a society where the Cinderella story is not just a fairytale, but a rigid tradition, that dictates the lives of young girls. One of those young girls, the protagonist, Sophia rebels against the oppressive system, refusing to conform to the expectations placed upon her. Her journey is not just one of self-discovery, but also a quest for justice and equality.
What sets Sophia apart is her complexity as a character. Bayron beautifully explores her sexuality, presenting it as a natural and integral aspect of her identity. Sophia’s queerness is not a mere plot point, but a nuanced exploration of love and self-acceptance.
The world building in Cinderella is Dead is equally impressive, with Bayron creating a dystopian kingdom that feels both magical and oppressive. The atmosphere is rich with detail and the author effectively uses the fairytale framework to critique societal expectations, gender roles and the consequences of blindly adhering to tradition. The supporting characters are well developed and the narrative is fast paced, keeping readings engaged, with unexpected twists and turns.
In conclusion Cinderella is Dead is a compelling and socially relevant novel that breathes new life into a familiar fairytale.
Elizabeth (Year 8)
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Judith Kerr, HarperCollins Children’s Books, 978-0007274772, £7.99 hbk
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit tells the story of Anna, a young girl living in Berlin, in the 1930s and how she and her family escape from Germany just before the Nazis come to power. No doubt this saved their lives. On the journey they have to move around from Switzerland to France, but finally they settle in the safety of the UK.
The part on the train was the most enjoyable part of the book for me. The family were hiding from the Nazis and the train was about the cross the border. The descriptive language used, really created the tense atmosphere. I was so worried that they were going to be caught.
People who are interested in the Second World War would enjoy this. It was very exciting and I would describe it as a historical thriller.
Oakley (Year 7)
Franz Kafka, Penguin Classics, 978-0241372555, £8.99 pbk
A haunting but beautifully written analysis of Gregor and the Samsa family. Metamorphosis tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a huge insect. Kafka’s level of detail and sympathetic tone ties off perfectly at the end into a woeful, yet thought provoking finale.
Milo (Year 11)