Reader Reviews

Reader Reviews

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Pirate Boy of Sydney Town

By Jackie French

Reviewed by Leila, aged 14

At the age of 12, Ben Huntsmore can’t imagine life any different to the friends and rolling golden fields of Badger’s Hill. But when his distant, greedy father loses the manor through gambling, Ben is forced to join him in the dangerous business of pirating. Now, he will have to dodge swords, trust only a convict and Indigenous sailor and survive the rough seas.

This book showed the true colours of early Australian colonies and the English ‘privateers’ roaming the seas. It was educational as well as exciting, and a great read overall. My rating: 3.5/5

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Malamander

By Thomas Taylor

Reviewed by Leila, aged 14

Herbert Lemon is the young Lost and Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel. He lives a quiet life and stays away from trouble until he meets the mysterious Violet Parma! Then, everything turns upside down. Now, the girl is set on finding her parents, dangerous men follow them through the shadows and an elusive creature is surfacing from the water.

Could the mysterious Malamander actually be real? This eerie book was hard to put down, I couldn’t wait to discover the secret of the Malamander! My rating: 4/5

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A Map Of Days

By Ransom Riggs

Reviewed by Izzy, aged 15

This novel is another successful and spectacular addition to the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series.

In this novel, Jacob Portman and Miss Peregrine’s wards formulate new plans and routines in order to rebuild Peculiardom. Along the way, Jacob discovers a secret of his grandfather’s and follows the clues he left behind. More mysteries, secrets and shocking truths are revealed, leaving the children in double the danger and conflicted as to whether an authority should be brought in to assist. New obstacles and risks stand in the way of the children as they embark on their latest adventure.

Highly recommended for readers of all ages and will not disappoint the many fans of this series! My rating: 4/5

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My Brother’s Name is Jessica

By John Boyne

Reviewed by Izzy, aged 15

My Brother’s Name is Jessica,is a marvellous story of a young boy’s struggles, as he tries to understand and cope with his older brother’s ‘coming out’.

Sam is practically invisible to his parents and idolises his older brother Jason, but when Jason shares a secret that threatens to tear their family apart, Sam must learn to accept the change, and his parents must progress from denial.

John Boyne has highlighted some of the key problems faced during the ‘coming out’ phase of a transgender teen and has successfully united fact with fiction, engaging the reader from the beginning. The author uses the style of diary/journal entries to share each character’s views and beliefs as the family members navigate their way through this emotionally-charged story.

My Brother’s Name is Jessica, is sure to win the hearts of all readers, as this highly-acclaimed author has yet again succeeded spreading his love of literature through inspiring stories.

Recommended for readers who enjoy realistic fiction. My rating: 3/5

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Hive: The Vault Book 1

By A.J. Betts

Reviewed by Izzy, aged 15

A.J. Betts has produced a masterpiece!

Hayley is young and naïve, suitable for someone whose life is controlled from birth to death. Knowing nothing but her world – the confinement of society’s walls; six hexagonal houses connected to a common room by corridors – Hayley tends to her bees and follows the rules while keeping secrets of her own. But when strange occurrences take place, and there are suddenly too many questions posed and left unanswered, Hayley begins to contemplate possibilities that threaten her position in her community.

Hive is the first novel in a two-book series about a society who live and only know what is in their world. With mysteries unravelling and old secrets coming to light, Hayley takes the reader on a journey to uncover what lies beneath the façade of the world she knows, whilst establishing that indeed, “God works in mysterious ways”, as reiterated throughout the novel by the elders.

Any readers who decide to embrace their interest in the novel’s visual appeal or storyline …. beware! You will be holding your breath the entire duration of the novel and be on tenterhooks to read the sequel, Rogue.

Highly recommended for readers aged 13+ who enjoy dystopian novels and science fiction. My rating: 4/5

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The List

By Patricia Forde

Reviewed by Izzy, aged 15

An intriguing novel based in a possible future, where the city of Ark is one of the only safe places known to have survived the Melting. Young Letta is the Wordsmith’s apprentice, but when strange happenings occur in Ark, Letta finds herself in trouble and faced with many difficult decisions.

Patricia Forde has twisted and exaggerated some global issues faced today and has produced a novel riddled with mystery, secrets and the continuous strain of tested loyalty and friendship.

This novel is an easy read and would suit young readers aged 10 – 14. Recommended for those who enjoy fiction. My rating: 3/5

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Ottilie Colter and the Narroway Hunt

By Rhiannon Williams

Reviewed by Leila, aged 14

When her brother mysteriously disappears, Ottilie discovers a mysterious organisation which is kidnapping young boys. To find her brother, Ottilie must disguise herself as a boy and travel to the Narroway, a place no one has ever heard of. She soon learns just how much danger she’s gotten herself into, as she discovers the true reason the boys have been taken. They are being trained to hunt monsters.

Now, keeping her true identity hidden isn’t her only problem. Ottilie needs to learn to hunt the monstrous dredretches and prepare for her trials. Meanwhile, will she ever be able to find a way home?

An adventurous tale of bravery and friendship, I really enjoyed this book!

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What I Like About Me

By Jenna Guillaume

Reviewed by Matisse, aged 12

This a fabulously detailed and empowering story of a plus-sized girl who struggles through living in the shadow of her sister and finding her true love over her summer holidays.

This story sends an empowering and inspirational message about body image and normalising plus size women. Around the world, thousands of women are objectified and judged for being plus size, and having a book which encourages young women to be confident with their body is stepping in the right direction towards an equal society.

The plots are intriguing and relatable for young girls who are struggling to find love over their summer holidays. When Maisie meets new friends and has difficulties keeping bonds with her old friends she is unsure of what to do. This is a perfect example of what many people, especially teenagers, face every day. This type of writing can create a relation between the reader and the book, which results in the reader becoming interested in the book and encouraged to read more.

The romantic spectrum of the book, whilst remaining prevalent, doesn’t overshadow the main events in a similar way that other books might. It is common for authors to be swept away making the book all romantic and all about love, but Jenna has maintained the perfect ratio of main plots to romance. In doing this, she has created a second theme for the book while also not veering too far away from the main events.

This book is a fascinating read which would be suitable for a myriad of avid young readers. I would recommend this book to children aged 13+, as there is the use of some coarse language.

My overall rating for this book is 4.5/5. I hope that you choose to read this book and share your thoughts as well.

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Children of Blood and Bone

By Tom Adeyemi

Reviewed by Izzy, aged 15

Astounding. Tomi Adeyemi has created a masterpiece!

Zélia is the daughter of one of the most powerful Maji Reapers. But Zélia’s mother died with the magic of the Maji 11 years ago. Now Zélia must fight to save magic before it’s too late. Alongside Zélia, fights her brother Tzain and the noble-blood Princess Amari, but many of the obstacles ahead are dangerous and  death-defying. Allies and strangers are called upon to help Zélia succeed in saving Orïsha and new lands are travelled, but will their efforts be in vain or with the end grant victory?

A heart-stopping novel filled with adventure, mystery, romance and magic. Tomi has lured the readers from the first page and by the end left them hungry for more. No detail spared nor opportunity to engross the readers put aside. All readers will marvel after having read this novel. Highly recommended for all readers.

Rating: 4.5/5

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52 Mondays

By Anna Ciddor

Reviewed by Leila, aged 14

From cigarette lollies to hand-delivered milk, this book focuses on 1960’s Australia from the perspective of Anna, a Jewish child. It shows her experiences at school, on outings and visiting relatives. Anna and her siblings celebrate the Jewish festivals and follow the customs, all the while living a normal childhood.

An interesting book about a child’s perspective of the 1960s, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sweet story and wants to know more about life 50 years ago.

My Rating: 4/5