An amusing school story about new schools, new friends …and Shakespeare!

stagefright walker versionTITLE = STAGEFRIGHT

AUTHOR = CAROLE WILKINSON

GENRE = SCHOOL, RELATIONSHIPS, THEATRE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 +

Velvet S Pye’s life has turned upside down.  Her family is no longer wealthy so Velvet has been forced to move from her cosy private school and her comfy friends to the local government school. Oh No!! How will she survive?? Especially when this school is absolutely sports mad and Velvet’s main passions are music and theatre.

Thrust into a class of misfits, who are ordered to put on a play (preferably by Shakespeare) as a fundraising effort, Velvet suddenly sees her chance to shine. But what hope of success do they have when her cast includes the school delinquent (who can’t read Shakespeare), a guitar player (who detests music by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Velvet’s hero), a soccer player (who demands a fight scene), a computer geek and 2 girls who are more interested in their next boyfriend than in Shakespeare. Will Velvet be too bossy for her own good…or could she just learn a thing or two from her classmates? And is she ready to fall in love?

Carole Wilkinson has written a truly entertaining story about dealing with change, taking chances and growing up; with plenty of humour and witty dialogue and just a dash of Shakespearean theatre thrown in for good measure.  

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Action packed adventure with links to Percy Jackson

heroes-of-olympus-the-lost-heroTITLE = HEROES OF OLYMPUS: The Lost Hero (Book 1)

AUTHOR = RICK RIORDAN

GENRE = ADVENTURE, FAMILY, ANCIENT ROME, ANCIENT GREECE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

Another great adventure with ties to Ancient Myths and Legends, from the very popular author of the “Percy Jackson” series. This is the first book in what could be considered a spin-off from the original series. AT the beginning we meet 3 new characters (Jason, Piper and Leo) who are suddenly propelled into a battle with mythic beings from which they barely escape with their lives before finding refuge at Camp Half-Blood. Jason discovers that all his memories have been stolen by a god, as a lure to sending him on a dangerous quest. And so the 3 teens set off together to try and save a goddess and maybe the world. Whilst Jason is struggling with his lack of memory Leo and Piper are tsruddling weith memories thaht they would prefer to forget. Each of them is harbouring a secret, afraid that if they reveal the truth it could spell the end of their friendship.

With death hovering at the edge of every adventure, this is a compelling and fast-paced story, as could be expected from Rick Riordan. Fans of the original series are sure to enjoy this excursion into territory which is both familiar yet slightly different. Rather than being focussed on the Greek gods (as happened in the Percy Jackson series) this book looks at the comparison between the Greek and Roman myths.  

You don’t need to have read a Percy Jackson story to enjoy this new series … and don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with Ancient Roman mythology, Rick Riordan will take you on an exciting and whirlwind introduction to some very famous myths and characters. These being may now be residing in Canada and the USA but with clever (and often humorous) echoes with their Ancient past. A truly entertaining read which is sure to be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

An unusual and amusing tale of adventure, myth and mayhem

houndedTITLE = THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES #1: Hounded

AUTHOR = KEVIN HEARNE

GENRE = FANTASY, HUMOUR, MYTHS & LEGENDS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 – 12

 Atticus O’Sullivan is the last of the Druids. He runs an occult bookshop in Arizona and is happily minding his own business when life is turned upside down for him. Atticus has in his possession a famous sword (Fragarach – the Answerer) but the Celtic god who previously owned this sword wants it back and will use any means to achieve this end. Atticus has always been careful (some would say he is paranoid about safety) but it seems even harder than usual for him to know who to trust – are the local witches on his side? Will his werewolf friends help out? Will the local cops believe him … and what of that pesky neighbour??

Perhaps the only one he can truly trust is his beloved wolfhound, Oberon with whom he communicates in thought ..

Life is certainly never boring for Atticus and readers will be cheering him on as he faces one danger after another. Action packed and very,  very funny – a most entertaining read with a new take on magic and the supernatural. Thankfully this is not a stand alone novel but the first in an engaging new series.

Highly Recommended (dma) ***** For more mature readers

The First Third

 

 

TITLE = THE FIRST THIRD

AUTHOR = WILL KOSTAKIS

GENRE = FAMILY, HUMOUR, FRIENDSHIP  

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 +

Family is very important to Bill, and his Greek grandmother is his lynch pin. When she becomes ill and gives him a “bucket list” of things to do before she dies, Bill is desperate to succeed even if the 3 tasks seem impossible:

  1. Find your mummy a husband (how does a 17 yo fix his mother up for a date??)
  2. Get Simon a girlfriend in Sydney (Bill’s older brother lives in Brisbane and is gay … he can hardly ungay him!)
  3. Fix Peter (Bill’s younger brother hasn’t spoken to him for some time and Bill doesn’t know why … how can you fix something when you don’t know what broke it in the first place?)

Fortunately, Bill has some help on his quest from his best mate, Sticks (his real name is Lucas but he has cerebral palsy and needs crutches to get around – hence the nickname). Sticks offers lots of practical (and not so practical) help – and sometimes the results are quite funny. And in the midst of all this, Bill is wondering about his own (non-existent) love life – why do the girls he kisses keep running away?

Bill learns a lot about friendship and family on his journey – there are plenty of laughs and warm moments in this book, but make sure the tissue box is at hand too – especially in the last few chapters.

The praise for this book is clear: it has been Shortlisted for the 2014 CBCA Book of the Year (Older Readers) and Longlisted for the 2014 Gold Inky award.  

Highly Recommended for both girls and boys (DMA)