Getting lost isn’t always a bad thing

book coverTitle:  Let’s Get Lost

Author: Adi Alsaid

Interest level:  Year 7 +

This really is a book to get lost in. Leila’s journey across America and Canada to witness the Northern Lights is told from five different characters’ perspectives. As Leila travels North she meets, befriends and ultimately changes for the better the lives of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia. It is not until the conclusion that we learn that Leila’s journey is one in which she ultimately finds herself.

It is difficult not to be deeply distrustful of publishers who promise that a book is “…for readers of JOHN GREEN…”, yet, this is definitely a book for those of us who have enjoyed stories where adolescents face and meet real life challenges. Whilst there are a couple of situations in this book that are less convincing (Leila’s challenge may be medically “questionable, for example), Let’s Get Lost is still a very good read for people who are looking for happy resolutions. A feel good book of the first order.

Recommended (ipe): ***

A heartbreakingly beautiful romance

TITLE = DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE

AUTHOR =LAINI TAYLOR

GENRE = FANTASY, ANGELS, DEMONS, ROMANCE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 +

 

Intense, dramatic, romantic and compelling – this is how best to describe this new book!

There are many angel romance stories around at the minute but this one is definitely in a class of its own. Laini Taylor writes beautifully – whether it be descriptions of Prague (a beautiful character in the story) or descriptions of characters. Dialogue is sparkling and very real. So initially, the novel doesn’t feel like a fantasy story at all – in fact, it feels very grounded in the real world, except that the main character, art student Karou, works for a strange creature and slips between portals to other countries. And midway through the novel …we meet a strikingly beautiful angel, Akiva … then we learn about the ongoing war between the “monsters” and the angels… but can an angel soldier who kills be called angelic – despite his heavenly beauty?

And is the monstrous looking Brimstone, who trades in life and death, truly a monster?? More importantly, what happens if an angel and a monster fall in love?? This novel truly tugs on the heart and the mind – and the good news is – there are two more books to come!!

Read more about the author and her upcoming books on her fantastic blog.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

 

A ghostly romance

TITLE = Love Notes from VINEGAR HOUSE

AUTHOR = KAREN TAYLEUR

GENRE = MYSTERY, GHOSTS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

This novel presents a great blend of ghostly mystery, family rivalries, friendships lost and won … and just the right touch of romance. And it is all narrated by a very credible character who shows great resilience when the world around her seems to be against her every move. Check out the booktrailer below:

  

(Music “Again” by Secrets in Stereo sourced from the Animoto site as were all the images. Text created by dma)

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

On loss .. and life … and love .. from a teenage boy

TITLE = JARVIS 24
AUTHOR = DAVID METZENTHEN
GENRE = IDENTITY, GROWING UP

When Marc Jarvis (No 24 on his school footy team) goes on work experience at a nearby used-car yard, he gets more than he bargained for. He not only learns new sales skills he also meets new friends. Most importantly, he falls head over heels in love, with the amazingly talented, Electra. Marc is a self-confessed worrier and he constantly loses things – including the people he loves. Is he destined to lose Electra, too?? One of the charming aspects about this novel is the light touch with which it is written – despite several deaths and broken hearts, there is lots and lots to laugh about in this wonderful book. From Marc’s amusing commentary about his life to his crazy best mate (and footy buddy) – even the fight scenes are funny!. Another delightful feature of this book is the sensitive way in which a central gay character, Mikey, is treated; he has fled unhappy circumstances at home but is he prepared to be helped by those around him? Both Marc and the reader learn a lot from Mikey about the hardships and the joy of being gay.David Metzenthen has created yet another truly entertaining novel. Don’t read this book on the train or the bus if you don’t want to lol in public! But do read it if you are at all interested in footy, friendship, love and loss …in other words, life as a teenage boy.
Read an interview with the author and find out his inspiration for this story.

NOTE: this book was a deserving winner of the 2010 CBCA Book of the Year (Older Readers)

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

TWILIGHT

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Genre: Supernatural

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)

The War story with a twist!!!

Title: On the Jellicoe Road                                                                                                                           Author: Melina Marchetta                                                                                                                        

Genre: mYSTERY

Interest Level: Yr9/10 up.

This is the war story with a twist. Taylor Markham was dumped by her mother on the jellicoe road when she was 11/12 years old. She was then picked up by her new mentor Hannah. 5 years later Taylor is trusted with leading her school in the territory wars against the cadets and townies. As Taylor tells her story another story is being told about 5 kids who lived in Jellicoe years earlier. Taylor and her new/old friends start to go on an adventure of a life time to disscover who the 5 kids were, why the territory wars started and who they are themselves. This was a fantastic story and one that will stay with you long after you have read it.

by Kippy25.

The ghost child – an award winning read

GENRE: FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, IDENTITY, FANTASY
INTEREST LEVEL: Year 12 and older
This novel is quite captivating but probably moreso for older readers, as the story unfolds in an unusual manner and includes some fantastical elements. The story looks back at the life of an elderly woman, exploring the influence of her father, how she has dealt with love and loss and how her experiences have shaped her identity. The lyrical quality of the writing and the mysterious and ghostly scenes in the mid section of the novel make this novel a gentle, if sad story for the reader; one that is sure to linger for days after the last page has been turned.
For an interesting student perspective on this novel you might like to check out this Voicethread.
Highly recommended (dma) *****

Wow! A new Marchetta novel – with a twist!

FINNIKIN of the ROCK
by Melina Marchetta (MAR)
At first this fantasy may seem like a change of pace and genre for Marchetta; but at its heart is the story of a young person searching for his place in the world – a theme which dominates Marchetta’s other novels. Whilst “Finnikin of the Rock” is set in an imaginary world of knights, sword fighting and magic, there are many parallels with our modern world of displaced people searching for their homeland, of ethnic cleansing and of inhumanity towards our fellow man. The role played in society by leaders (political and religious), guides, warriors and kings is cleverly interwoven into the central story of Finnikin learning to trust himself and the love he develops for Evanjalin. Partnership between men & women – the role each can play in society and in marriage is also explored whilst the truth behind the prophecy that begins the novel, is gradually revealed. The central characters are strongly drawn; their dialogue, their actions (often unexpected) and their moral conflicts are believable. The imaginary world is well crafted and credible; it may take the reader some time to fully understand this world but the extra effort required is worth it. Dare I say it, the love story that gradually takes pre-eminence in this tale, is just as intense and perhaps more credibly realised, than that evoked over the four books in the “Twilight” series. The combination of a cohesively created imaginary world, strong principal characters and the central themes of identity and love should appeal to both boys and girls, fantasy and non-fantasy buffs alike.
Highly Recommended

(dma) *****