A book that lives up to its funny title!

TITLE = DADS, GEEKS & BLUE HAIRED FREAKS!

AUTHOR = ELLIE PHILLIPS

GENRE = FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, SCHOOL

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9

On her 15th birthday, Sadie dies her hair blue (well it is actually purple streaks but everyone seems to think it is blue). She also receives a birthday card from her dad which throws her into a tizz because Sadie doesn’t know who her father is and she didn’t think he knew about her either! Sadie’s Mum used a sperm donor bank to conceive her daughter so all that Sadie has ever known about her dad is a photo of him as a baby and a letter he wrote when he donated his sperm.

Rather than ask her Mum about finding her dad, Sadie enlists the help of her geek cousin, Billy and his rather cute friend, Tony Cruz. But has she bitten off more than she can chew.. and what will  Mum say if Sadie actually does unearth her biological father? Meanwhile, how can she survive at school if her best friend has become her worst nightmare? And she ever develop a relationship with Tony if her uncle is acting like an over-possessive father and refusing to allow her to see boys??

Life is pretty full for blue-haired Sadie and her geek friends … how is it all going to end? This is a very entertaining book and an unusual take on family life and getting to know your parents.

Highly Recommended (dma) ***** 

An amusing step back in time

TITLE = SLAVE GIRL

AUTHOR = ALEXA MOSES

GENRE = TIME SLIP, HUMOUR, HISTORICAL FICTION, IDENTITY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEAR 7

Jenna is a rather self-centred Australian 13 yo girl on a student trip to New York. She has no desire to spend her days learning about the past in NY’s wonderful museums, she has come here for the shopping and the fashion; she wants to be an active part of “the city that never sleeps”. So imagine her horror when one minute she is sulking in the Egyptian wing of the Met Museum in New York, the next minute she has slipped back into Ancient Egyptian times … as a slave! Jenna is in for a history lesson of a very personal kind, learning the reality of life as a slave in the royal palace with no mobile phone connection and no knowledge of the country of her birth: “Oss-trawl-ya”. At first Jenna flounders to make sense of this strange turn of events until she realises that she needs to rely on her own bravery and determination if she ever plans to get back to HER world. There are some very amusing moments in store as Jenna comes face to face with angry hippos, angry pharaohs and jealous slave girls. Sadly, some of her blunders have serious consequences for those around her but Jenna eventually stumbles into greater understanding of both herself and of the world around her.

All in all, this is an amusing journey into the past, for both Jenna and the reader.

A good read (dma) ***  

A very funny Hollywood novel

TITLE = MESSY

AUTHOR = HEATHER COCKS & JESSICA MORGAN

GENRE= GROWING UP, FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY, SCHOOL LIFE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEAR 10, 11

This is a surprisingly funny and entertaining novel. At the opening of the story, Max (the narrator) is a self-confessed misfit at her Mum’s prestigious school: she is scornful of most of her wealthy classmates who she judges to be superficial and self-absorbed. None moreso than pretty blonde Brooke Berlin, daughter of action hero (and diet obsessed) Brick Berlin. So it is somewhat surprising that Max should lower her standards and agree to ghostwrite Brooke’s new blog, which is intended to raise Brooke’s celebrity profile. However, Max loves to write and she has a dream of attending NYU over summer to participate in a writing course. Such a dream requires money and unfortunately for Max, Brooke is offering plenty.  Max allows herself to write sharply and perceptively about the world of celebrities and showbusiness and the results are highly amusing and entertaining. Although this is the second book featuring some of these characters, the reader does not need to have read “Spoiled” in order to enjoy this one. As is to be expected in a teen novel about Hollywood there are plenty of pop references to TV shows, films, celebrities and modern music.  All in all a fun read.

Recommended (dma) ****

Loads of fun and plenty of action

TITLE = PLAYING WITH FIRE

AUTHOR = DEREK LANDY

GENRE =MYSTERY, HUMOUR, FANTASY

INTEREST LEVEL – YEARS 7-12

 

Book 2 in the “Skulduggery Pleasant” series – another joyous ride with lots of laughter and a thrill a minute action.

Check out the book trailer below to find out more about this terrific book:

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

 

Music “Ghouls on the loose” by Dave Rudolf. most images from the Animoto site. All text and some photos from dma.

And if you liked this book and booktrailer, why not look at a student created booktrailer on Book 1 in the series here.

A Prom Night that will change everything!!

TITLE = AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK

AUTHOR =  JOE SHREIBER

GENRE = THRILLER, HUMOUR, ADVENTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 -12

This is a fabulous book: part thriller, part murder-mystery and part rite of passage. All built on a structure that it very, very funny and very, very clever. Perry is in his final year of high school so uppermost in his mind (or his parents’ minds at any rate) are college applications. It is therefore quite apt that each chapter in this book begins with a college application essay topic. The humour of the book partly lies in the contrast between what would be expected in an essay reply and the intriguing and unexpected responses that Perry provides as he tells his story. The fact that a series of essay responses can actually become a narrative structure at all is a testament to some clever plotting from author, Joe Shreiber.

Perry quickly learns that his foreign exchange student, Gobi, is not what she had seemed. And over the course of the story he also learns much about himself and his father, about integrity and love and honour. He re-evaluates his relationship with his family and reassesses himself. Yet all this is done as he and Gobi dash across New York involved in a vengeful killing spree (on Gobi’s part) and just trying to dodge a bullet (on Perry’s part). The whole mix is wonderfully entertaining and a fresh take on the teenage experience of growing up!!

Not to be missed (dma) *****

A school story like no other

TITLE =THE WHOLE BUSINESS OF KIFFO AND THE PITBULL

AUTHOR =BARRY JONSBERG

GENRE = MYSTERY, ADVENTURE, COMEDY

INTEREST LEVEL = YERAS 9, 10

As the opening chapter of this book shows all too well, Calma is a very clever girl and an A+ English student. Kiffo on the other hand, prefers to sit up the back of the class and threaten teachers. So why are they be friends? And more importantly, why are they stalking the new English teacher, who they have nicknamed “the Pitbull”? Could she really be a drug dealer and are they assisting the police by breaking into her home??

There are many laugh out loud scenes in this book as the two unlikely friends set about tracking down the truth about the Pitbull. Yet amidst the humour there will be pathos too, as we learn the back story to Calma and Kiffo’s friendship. There are some unexpected twists and turns in the plot that will no doubt surprise the reader. Be warned – a tissue box may even be needed at times!

Learn more about the author here.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

A new student booktrailer on a popular book

TITLE =SKULDUGERRY PLEASANT

AUTHOR = DEREK LANDY

GENRE =FANTASY, MYSTERY, ADVENTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

 

 

 

Highly Recommended by claire & lauren – check out their book trailer below:

Music (“Bandroid ” by Cracknation) sourced from the Animoto site as are the images. Text created by claire & lauren.

And if you like the sound of this book why not check out the booktrailer on Book 2 in the series here.

A hilariously funny series of books about friendship & growing up

TITLE =DON’T CALL ME ISHMAEL!

AUTHOR =MICHAEL GERARD BAUER

GENRE =HUMOUR, GROWING UP, SCHOOL LIFE, BULLYING, RELATIONSHIPS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 AND UP

Check out the booktrailer below to find out more about the first book in this great series… then do yourself a favour and read it (but not on public transport because you are sure to laugh out loud …)

No wonder this book was shortlisted in 2007 for the CBCA Book of the Year. And it is great to see that the series is ending on a high too: “Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel” (the 3rd and final book) has been shortlisted in 2012 for the same award (Older Readers).

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Music “Coquetry” by McKenzie Stubbert (taken from the Animoto site). All text created by dma.

The joy of life in the midst of death

TITLE = THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

AUTHOR = JOHN GREEN

GENRE = DEATH & DYING, FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, LOSS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 – 12

A brilliant, brilliant book from a master story teller. The three main characters in this novel are all teenagers and all have cancer: one has lost an eye (and looks set to lose his other eye), one has lost part of a leg (after a “touch” of osteosarcoma) and one has to wheel an oxygen tank with her wherever she goes. They share not only an insider’s knowledge of cancer and its treatment but also a sardonic response to their situation. Their conversations about life, death and dying are sprinkled with witty, humorous asides and observations.

And here lies the brilliance of the novel: the finely tuned balance between light and shade, between the humorous dialogue and the pain it hides, between the hope and the honesty with which these teens live their lives. For whilst the novel is about dying and how we face death, it is also very much about life and how one can live with joy despite the looming shadow of death. Augustus fears oblivion; he wants to leave his mark on the world. On the other hand, Hazel is more worried about the impact of her death on those loved ones she will leave behind. Neither of them plan to complicate their lives by falling in love and neither of them quite expect what is to follow.

Whilst Green does not shy away from the awful realities of treatment and the pain involved in a terminal illness, he nevertheless manages to imbue the story with a sense of warmth. Readers may occasionally need to reach for the tissues but this is just as likely to be so they can wipe away tears of joy as tears of sadness.

A book that will open readers’ eyes and hearts and provide a new regard for both the power and the pain of loving, of living and of dying.

Check our John Green’s website to learn more about this book. There is an interesting thread from teens and others about battling cancer on his Nerdfighter’s ning here.

You might also want to watch some of John Green’s vlogs on this book – here is one to sample (look for others on his website):

 

It is no surprise that this novel is the SILVER INKY winner for 2012!!

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

If you enjoyed this novel, you might also like to read “The Shiny Guys” by Doug MacLeod (reviewed here) or one of John Greens earlier novels: “Will Grayson WillGrayson” reviewed here, “Paper Towns” reviewed here, and Looking for Alaska reviewed here.


An angel and a vampire … sounds doomed, doesn’t it?

TITLE = ETERNAL

AUTHOR = CYNTHIA LEITICH SMITH

GENRE = SUPERNATURAL, FANTASY, ANGELS, VAMPIRES

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

Another delicious supernatural love story told in a deliciously sardonic way by Cynthia Leitich Smith. The two lead characters take turns telling their version of events: Zachary (once Miranda’s guardian angel, now fallen angel) and Miranda (once shy, withdrawn human now vampire princess… oops, that should be, “Eternal princess”). As Zachary is partly to blame for Miranda’s conversion, he seeks to reclaim his wings and Miranda’s soul … but life is never easy when dealing with rich vampires (ummm, eternals),  werecreatures and the angel code of practice. Be sure there will be a few obstacles in the path of these young lovers…. And a bit of blood splatter as well.

Read a review of the graphic novel version here.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

 Why not check out this book trailer, too

(Note: all images in the book trailer courtesy of the Animoto site, music also provided from Animoto – Artist: Secrets in Stereo. Song: Happy. Text created by dma)

 And if you enjoy this novel, why not read Cynthia Leitich Smith’s other books set in a similar supernatural world of vamps, wereanimals and wisecracking humans: “Tantalize” (reviewed here) and its companion graphic novel, “Tantalize: Kieran’s story” (reviewed here on the Graphic Shelf blog).