TITLE = WHEN WE WAKE
AUTHOR = KAREN HEALEY
GENRE = SCIENCE FICTION
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8, 9
Tegan Oglietti is having the best day of her life, in Melbourne, in 2027, a few years in our future. But the next thing she knows, she wakes up in a hospital – in 2128, having been asleep for over 100 years. She is the first patient who has ever woken up from stasis, and immediately becomes a celebrity, followed at the supermarket and at school. She manages to make some friends (and introduce her music class to the Beatles) but as she discovers more about the world she has woken in, she finds out that not all the changes between the Melbourne she grew up in and this new Melbourne are good, or for good reasons.
This adventure shows us what our future might be; how our decisions can change the world, even if we are sixteen year old girls who have been asleep for a century.
The author, Karen Healey, is from New Zealand but lived in Melbourne for a few years. On her website she has some extras for When We Wake: you can have a look at what the characters are wearing, listen to the book’s soundtrack, or read her essays on the Sleeping Beauty archetype that inspired the story!
This book has been Longlisted for the 2014 Silver Inky awards.
Highly recommended (emc) *****
Title = losing it
Author = Julia Lawrinson
Genre = Growing up, School, Relationships, Friendship, Homosexuality
Interest Level = Years 11, 12
Four girlfriends set themselves a challenge in the final year of school: to lose their virginity before schoolies week. Each girl takes it in turns to tell the story of her attempt to meet this challenge. Some stories are outrageously funny, some are tender, some are eye opening. And whilst not all the girls meet the challenge they all learn important lessons: about intimacy, about their own sexuality and about respecting themselves and others.
Due to the explicit focus on sexual themes, this book is more appropriate for more mature readers.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****
TITLE = IN OR OUT
AUTHOR = CLAUDIA GABEL
GENRE = FRIENDSHIP, SCHOOL LIFE, GROWING UP
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9
Marnie and Nola have been best friends since they first met at kindergarten despite being very different people. Marnie is outgoing and keen to live life to the fullest; Nola is quiet and shy. As they both start Middle school not only are they in separate classes but also they seem to be growing apart: as Marnie makes friends with one of the most popular girls in the school, Nola seems to be always doing or saying the wrong thing. The only bright star on the horizon is a burgeoning friendship with Matt.
One of the strengths of this book is its even-handed approach to both main characters – Marnie may seem slightly shallow at times but then Nola does seem overly clingy at others … in other words, both girls have their flaws … both girls are simply trying to grow up.
An entertaining look at friendship, girls and growing up. It is also the first book in a series of four by Claudia Gabel.
Recommended (dma) ****
TITLE : LUCKY STAR
AUTHOR: CATHY CASSIDY
GENRE: FRIENDSHIP & IDENTITY.
INTEREST LEVEL: YEARS 7 AND 8
Lucky Star is one of Cathy Cassidy‘s most popular novels and features one of her favourite characters, wild boy “Mouse” (from her earlier novel, “Dizzy“. Whilst Mouse is on extended leave from school (enduring school suspension after he tagged a wall at his school) he meets Cat, a confident girl from the wealthy side of town. But can their friendship develop when both are keeping secrets from each other? Mouse has had a disrupted life (his dad left him long ago, but the pai still lingers) and now lives with his Mum on a housing estate where drug addiction and crime prosper. By contrast, Cat seems to have it all, a nice home and garden, two loving parents … so why is she so bent on breaking the rules?? Should Mouse and his Mum (Magi) stand up to the local crims or is the risk too great? And should Cat and Mouse try to take revenge into their own hands?? This is a novel about the true meaning of friendship and community, about doing right (even if it hurts) and about standing up for yourself.
And if you enjoy reading this novel, there are plenty more from Cathy Cassidy as she is a most prolific author. If you like reading about friendship and standing true to yourself then why not give “Gingersnaps” a go?
TITLE: BOOKMARK DAYS
AUTHOR: SCOT GARDNER
Avril Stanton has grown up believing in the family feud with her neighbours, the Carringtons, that is, until she meets their youngest son, hot looking Nathaniel. Now hating the youngest Carrington is going to be very, very hard. As Avril finds herself falling in love for the first time she also has to deal with her cousin, Katie. It is very much the confident, boy crazy city cousin versus the shy, never been kissed country cousin. This summer, for the first time, Avril struggles to cope with her family, let alone her growing feelings for Nate. Will this country Romeo & Juliet have a happy ending? An entertaining addition to the Girlfriend fiction series, from a renowned author, Scot Gardner. All true romance lovers are sure to enjoy this novel.
Read another review from Aussie Reviews.
Recommended (dma) ****
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Interest Level: Yr 8 and up
The book is about a boy (Edward) and he is a vampire and he likes this girl (Bella).
I enjoyed the bit where the girl gets attacked by the vampire.
It could have been improved by more special effects.
I would recommend this novel to Year 8 students and up to 15 year olds.
I’d rate this novel 8 out of 10. **** (live)
EVERNIGHT by Claudia Gray
Interest Level: Years 9 and up
This is a great vampire book for anyone who enjoyed the “Twilight” series. Lucas and Bianca are attracted to each other after their first meeting but are also a bit wary of taking their relationship further. Bianca is shy and Lucas seems a tad too violent for her liking. Neither seem to be really enjoying life at their boarding school, the Evernight Academy. Just as it seems true love is going to take over… vampires and vampire hunters make an unexpected appearance and life is turned on its head for the young lovers. Will their relationship survive the horrors surrounding them? Are they a modern day Romeo and Juliet – torn apart by their families? This book contains some unexpected twists and turn; it also offers a wonderful romance that seems doomed from the start … despite the obvious attraction of the two teen lead characters. Lucas and Bianca just may rival Bella and Edward in their passion for each other and their frustration at being kept apart. The good news is that the sequel is already being written by Claudia Gray!
Highly Recommended (dma) *****