June 21

‘Liar’ by Justine Larbalestier

liarMicah Wilkins is a liar, a good liar too. She can’t stop lying, covering up from the secrets, or is she lying to you now? No one is certain, until her secret boyfriend Zachary (Zach) dies from unknown conditions.  Micah’s lies begin to overwhelm her. Classmates snickering saying she’s the brutal killer, though she says she didn’t do it. She’s a liar and everybody knows it. She told the teachers she was a boy. That lie lasted two days. Micah then said she was born a hermaphrodite. That was a lie too.

Micah Wilkins is an abnormal girl living in New York with her parents and younger brother. The story is told switching from ‘before’ to ‘after’ the death of Zach. Throughout the story Micah can’t help but lie to the reader referring to these lies as corrections.  Whatever she says don’t entirely believe her. Micah’s an unreliable narrator, never telling the truth, covering up what she really knows. Maybe she did kill Zach? Maybe she knows who killed him? Zach had a beautiful and popular girlfriend at school. Would Micah be jealous?

‘Liar’ is a thriller mystery that grabs the reader in right from the beginning. With the twisted main character, mysterious death and secrets beneath your bones, ‘Liar’ will surely have you questioning the truth. Micah’s mixed up storytelling definitely has theories flying. If you enjoyed ‘Life of Pi’ or ‘Flipped’ you must read this book. I recommend ‘Liar’ to anybody from 14-30.

Jessica V., Year 8

June 21

‘Rat Catcher’ by Chris Ryan

Rat catcherDo you like a book that ignites and excites you? If so, I think that the book ‘Rat Catcher’ by Chris Ryan is the book for you. This book is set in South America in the city of Quito. Poverty is a big problem in this city and many kids are roaming on the streets. These kids have to deal with even worse problems because there is a very evil, bad man named Rat Catcher and this man thinks that these streets kids are worth nothing.   Team Alpha are a bunch of the most intelligent kids in the world who protect kids on the street from the Rat Catcher.

This book was thrilling and exiting because it made you sit on the edge of your seat. I got glued to the book when the kids were in danger because it was entertaining, such as when Paulo, one of the members of the Alpha team, goes undercover as a homeless child and she meets a girl named Eliza who get abducted and she then decides to go with her. This part of the novel was very exiting because the team has to stop the rat as well as save Paulo.

I really liked this book because it was full of action and thrills and if you like that you would definitely love this book. Chris Ryan does a great job in this book to keep the reader entertained. When more books are released I think that they will be very entertaining and fun to read.

By Nash A., Year 8

June 20

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ by Derek Landy

“With his sunglasses gone there was no denying the fact that he had no face. All he had was a skull for a head.”

skulduggerySkulduggery Pleasant is a fantasy/mystery tale set in the modern day where a half-Millenia old magical war is kept secret from the world. The story focuses on the adventures of Skulduggery Pleasant, a 400 year old undead magician who lives today as a detective, keeping his identity and skeletal body secret, and Stephanie Edgley, a teenage girl who has an absence of friends and believes her normal life is somewhat boring.

The story begins with the death of Gordon Edgley, Stephanie’s uncle, who has made his wealth as an author of best-selling books. At the reading of Gordon’s will, a mysterious man, who would be revealed as Skulduggery, arrives covering all parts of his body showing no signs of abnormality from the rest of the attendees. When Stephanie is left home alone, she encounters a dangerous and threatening man who, after a revolving argument, breaks into the house attempting to harm Stephanie. He is stopped by a fireball cast by Skulduggery. The scene develops into a brawl resulting in the reveal of Skulduggery’s face to Stephanie. After explaining the occurring events, Skulduggery exits the house, only to be stopped by Stephanie who then convinces him into letting her come with him on what will become their greatest adventure yet. The discovery of a villain plotting for world domination and a weapon of immense power will lead the pair on a thrilling and exhilarating quest for the greater good.

I enjoyed the book as I thoroughly enjoy the genre of book that this title portrays and how well the story is written. The way suspense builds through the book to the climax provides an exciting tale of a magical, secret world having a great effect on the world we live in today. I would recommend this book to adolescent people who are lovers of fantasy/mystical novels and who feel as if they can relate to one or more of the characters of the book as the story is also a moral lesson on finding your true self and showing bravery and ambition. I would rate this an 8.5/10

Deacon B., Year 8

……..

“Skulduggery Pleasant at your service.” This is a quote from the book Skulduggery Pleasant.

The main characters in the book are Skulduggery Pleasant and Stephanie Edgley. Skulduggery Pleasant is an undead immortal man, cursed for an immortal life of pain as a skeleton, however he does have magic to battle the evil in the world. Stephanie Edgley, also known as Valkyrie Cain, is a normal teenager in a normal life. After facing the death of her uncle, her world turns upside down as she is introduced to Skulduggery Pleasant after a man broke into her uncle’s house with her in it.

Skulduggery Pleasant is set in the modern day era, however there are wizards and witches secretly living a normal life. Stephanie Edgley, a normal teenager, claims her uncle’s house after his death, with her uncle’s permission. Whilst her parents were stuck in a storm, Stephanie stayed in her uncle’s house but was later on broken into by a deranged man, threatening to kill Stephanie. Skulduggery busted into the house saving Stephanie life by shooting fire balls and bullets at the man. Skulduggery later on revealed himself as a skeleton with magical powers. Skulduggery revealed that there was a secret war happening in the war with wizards against wizards, witches against witches. The story continues as Stephanie and Skulduggery battle against an evil sorcerer named Nefarian Serpine to stop him from releasing a weapon on the world.

I liked this book because it drives you into the book. It makes you lean into the book. It isn’t boring and it’s full of suspense and action. I would recommend this book to teenagers of ages 13 to 16 who like books with mystery, fantasy and action.

Dominick C., Year 8

June 20

‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ by Peter Abrahams

DownRabbitHole“My all-time favourite. Astonishing!” says Stephen King.

Down the Rabbit Hole is a book about a murder that 13 year-old Ingrid is blamed for. The author Peter Abrahams has written many other books that are very popular for example Into the Dark. That was also a very good book.

The story is set in a city near a soccer stadium where people, including Ingrid, train. That’s why she gets blamed for the murder, because she was home alone and Katy got murdered by food poisoning. Ingrid was the only one there and they found her soccer shoes near the murder. The main character Ingrid is a girl who has just had her 13th birthday and plays soccer and really enjoys it. She lost her bag where the murder took place and so she was blamed for what happened.

This book is about somebody who gets murdered and the police can’t find out who murdered them. They have a couple of pieces of evidence leading them to think that the murderer was13 year-old Ingrid. She knew it wasn’t her because she was minding her own business, so she decided to solve the mystery on her own. The question is, does she find out who is the murderer?

I thought that this was an entertaining book because I am interested into criminal investigations, for example criminal minds, and when it comes to solving a mystery, that’s when I’m really interested because I like to solve mysteries and try and find out who did the crime. I also liked the way that Ingrid was solving the murder because she was blamed for it. She was not happy about that if that had been me I wouldn’t be too happy either. I would suggest people around the age of 12-14 to read this book because it’s not really for adults and it’s more for young teens but not too young either. It would suit people who like mysteries and investigations to do with crime.

To sum it all up, Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams is about a young girl who is blamed for a crime that she didn’t commit and so she solves the murder instead. If you are reading this I recommend that you read Down the Rabbit Hole as well as its sequel. I’m sure that you will enjoy it. Trust me, I did!

By Maddison D., Year 8

…….

Ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Ingrid definitely has, well at least her soccer boots have. Everyone in Echo Falls has a secret, and this is the story of Ingrid’s.

Ingrid is a 13 year old girl who has a love for acting and Sherlock Holmes. After ending up in Crazy Katie’s house after her soccer game she accidentally leaves her bright red soccer boots there, which finally puts her love for Sherlock Holmes to good use.

The owner of the soccer boots is alleged to be the person who murdered Crazy Katie. To avoid being a murder suspect, Ingrid does what Sherlock Holmes would have done and decides to investigate and solve the mystery herself and prove herself not guilty.

To top it all off, not only does she has to solve the mystery by herself but also she must learn the lead part of the play and put up with her evil Maths teacher, Mrs Groome.

Down the Rabbit Hole, by Peter Abrahams, is definitely full of suspense and officially one of my favourite books. It’s also Stephen King’s favourite. Stephen King quoted:

“My all time favourite. Astonishing.”

He also said it was so good he couldn’t put it down, which I completely agree with. Although I really enjoyed this book, I was a bit disappointed about the lack of Alice in Wonderland references. I think with the title, Down the Rabbit Hole, you would expect the storyline to be like Alice in Wonderland or at least have a few more references than just the school play.

I would recommend this book to anyone between the ages of 10-14 who loves a good mystery and books they can’t put down. In conclusion, I would rate this book 4 stars and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery full of suspense.

By Madilyn O., Year 8

……..

Welcome to Echo Falls, home of a thousand secrets. Thirteen year-old Ingrid Levin Hill had a secret too; one that could land her in jail for a crime she didn’t commit. Ingrid was an average girl who loved acting, soccer and Sherlock Holmes mysteries until one day she misplaces her soccer boots which lands her in the middle of a real murder mystery.

Someone in the town, known as Crazy Katie, was murdered and because Ingrid left her soccer boots at Crazy Katie’s house, if anyone finds out that the red boots belong to her she could definitely become a suspect. To prove herself not guilty Ingrid resorts to solving the mystery herself whilst also keeping up with her average teenage life which includes school plays, hanging out with friends, homework, mean girls, parents, an older brother and her stubborn grandfather. Ingrid must also keep the fact that she is investigating Crazy Katie’s murder a secret from everyone she knows as well as the police, who happen to be closer to her than she would like them to be. Ingrid’s big investigation leads her all over Echo Falls and she does everything she can to solve the mystery before it’s too late.

Down The Rabbit Hole is a well written story with an intriguing plot line. I loved the suspense and mystery in this story and the fact that the heroine was just an ordinary girl. Although there are many things I enjoyed about the story there were also a few ends that I would have liked if they were made a bit clearer, for example what happened to the person who murdered Crazy Katie?

This book has has many great reviews including one from world famous author Stephen King, he said, “My all-time favourite. Astonishing.” He also quoted, “One walloping good suspense yarn…I couldn’t put it down.”  I agree completely with Stephen King’s rave reviews because this story was full of suspense all the way to the very last sentence. I recommend this book to people of all ages who love a good mystery but because of the main character’s age I believe people between the ages of 10-15 will be able to relate very closely to the main character’s point of view throughout the book. I will definitely add this book to my list of favourites because it it one that will not be easily forgotten.

Chelsea M., Year 8 

June 17

‘The Girl Who Knew’ by Sandra Glover

girl who knewThe gift of levitating objects and reading the future has been classified as a myth for a long time. After a life changing hit and run accident with her friend Lisa, Kits has been left paralysed and unable to do the things she used to be able to do before the hit and run accident. Lisa escaped the accident unharmed but can’t remember any evidence to help the police solve this mystery – who caused the accident?

“Kits finds herself in the situation of being unable to walk yet able to dream future events and sense her friends’ and family’s emotions. Kits gradually comes to realise that Lisa is unwittingly holding back important information about the accident. Could she have known the driver of the car?”

Even though Kits has been paralysed nothing will stop her from achieving what she wants to achieve. Kits finally realises her best friend Lisa might be in trouble, so Kits ventures out to find Lisa and check how she is going.

Does Lisa know more than she is telling? Can she help the police?

‘The girl who knew’ is a wonderful book which grabs the reader’s attention as soon as they start to read. I believe this book would be perfect for young teenagers who love to read books with mystery and paranormal aspects. Do you like supernatural books? Would you like to learn more about Kits and her best friend Lisa? Does Lisa know more than she is telling? If you want to find out what Lisa knows or what happens go read the book “The Girl who Knew” written by Sandra Glover.

Charlotte J, Year 8

……

The story Sandra Glover has written is exceptional. Kits used to be a normal girl with no problems, but while walking home one day Kits had an accident. Not only is she not able to walk, but she is able to pick things up with her mind and to see the future. This is a gripping book about a girl whose life has been turned upside down in one split second. This book is a combination of three brilliant genres: thriller, the supernatural and the everyday.

After the accident, both girls are different. Being unable to walk, “Kits is able to dream future events and sense her friend’s and family’s emotions”. Lisa is frustrated by her amnesia and haunted by her home life, past and present.

This book has enough suspense to keep my full attention. ‘The girl who knew’ is a book with peculiar situations on every page. It is engaging how amazing Kits figures out the problems, especially with trying to help Lisa when she hears her scream.

I really enjoyed this novel. This book has descriptive language which made it very easy for me to imagine the scenes in my head. I recommend this book to teen readers who are interested in paranormal, mysterious and thrilling novels. ‘The girl who knew’ explores teenagers’ emotions. Sandra Glover has combined the tension of the story with her strong characters to ensure the real and unreal is satisfying. I’d rate the book ‘the girl who knew’ 4 out of 5 stars. Cassidy B, year 8

June 14

‘Stormbreaker’ by Anthony Horowitz

Stormbreaker“You’re never too young to die.”

Alex Rider is a strong obedient young spy. His fierce attitude shows that, as a young boy, life without challenge is no life at all. Jack is Alex’s babysitter in the story. After Alex’s dad passes away, Jack is all that Alex has anymore. She’s always there for Alex, although some of his ideas are not always the best, but throughout their friendship Jack helps Alex with anything he needs to become a young man.

Herod Sayle, “the bad guy” is eager to get revenge on schools in the UK. He had been bullied throughout his childhood. He is mysteriously rude to all people and will not tolerate any slight error. If you do mess up, you might find yourself not breathing. The story is set in London, England.

The movie is about Alex Rider when his uncle dies on a secret spy mission. Alex then has a new job as after his uncle dies he’s the only spy left so he was the one chosen to complete the mission his uncle failed to complete. He then was recruited to M16, a training camp, to train for his upcoming mission. He then sets off to Cornwall to shut down the computer system before Herod Sayle discovers his true identity.

I would recommend this book for young students in Year six to eight because it’s an exciting, thrilling adventure, which fits into this age category perfectly. Boy or girl, you will love reading this book. I liked this book because it was just so thrilling I wanted to just keep reading it because it got me so attached to the mystery and excitement of Alex Rider. Stormbreaker is an exciting book. Its sense of action and adventure tops it all off.

Cohen G., Year 8

June 14

‘Point Blanc’ by Anthony Horowitz

Point blancAlex Rider, teenage superspy, is back! One of the many famous books from Anthony Horowitz’s series of Alex Rider books is the novel ‘Point Blanc’.

The story is set out in the modern day and is based on the protagonist Alex Rider. At the beginning of the novel, you would think that Alex is just an average 14 year old boy who attends school, however Alex is secretly an undercover spy working for the agency MI6. In this book he’s assigned to a task where he is put in an academy high in the mountains with a false ID and disguised gadgets. When he attends Point Blanc Academy which is set in the French Alps, he must discover the truth about what the principal Dr Grief is really doing behind the doors.

From the very start of the novel, the story is captivating as you are put straight into the action with an assassin attempting to murder Michael J. Roscoe. From then on it always keeps you wanting to know what will happen next. The book is highly entertaining as the main character is only my age but is completing missions that to me seem impossible. The book really drew me in by the way Anthony Horowitz wrote. He described every setting and character very precisely which helped to easily depict an image in my head. The novel developed from scene to scene perfectly with thrills and suspense on every page to keep you on the edge of your seat. The book ended with many questions left in my head such as whether the real or fake Alex survived. This question made me want to read the rest of the novels in the Alex Rider series.

This book is recommended to young readers who are passionate about reading a book filled of adventure, thrills and a bit of mystery. Along with this, anyone who has read other novels in the Alex Rider series would most likely enjoy Point Blanc. I rate the book Point Blanc 3.5/5 stars.  Kyra V., Year 8.

——–

Meet Alex Rider. He seems to be a normal teenager but underneath he is an agent working for MI6. The story is set in the modern day and is based on the protagonist Alex Rider.  Alex is assigned a secret mission in the French alps at a school named Point Blanc.  While he is there, there are two deaths of billionaires whose children attend the school Point Blanc.  Alex must discover the truth about what the principal Dr Grief is really doing.

Alex is the main character of the story. He is a 14 year old boy who wants to live a normal life. Unfortunately, the MI6 doesn’t think that.  They want him to be a superspy.  Dr. Hugo Grief is the principal of Point Blanc. He is the antagonist during the novel and if his plan succeeds he will be the richest man alive and in turn the King of the world.

I enjoyed the story because the plot was very deep and interesting.  It kept me reading for hours and I was addicted.  The series of novels are all great reads according to other websites and reviews.  The way that Anthony Horowitz crafted the characters and plot kept my interest and I was never bored.  I really enjoyed the novel especially because the main character, Alex, was my age therefore relevant to my likings.  The ending was very different and has kept me thinking all this time after finishing the novel.

I would recommend book to teens and adults and anyone in between who are interested in adventure and thrilling books.  This book is great for most readers and I would rate this book a 3 out of 5.  Kai B., Year 8

June 9

‘All this Could End’ by Steph Bowe

All this could endBang, bang stay down everyone!’ is basically the story of Nina’s life.

After being born into a family of bank robbers, Nina doesn’t have a choice but to follow the tradition. Nina and her family are almost always on the run, moving to new locations every six months across the north-east coast of Australia. Her parents Sophia and Paul have an extremely different idea of a career to her, after dragging her to yet another temporary home.

While starting at a new school with her brother Tom, Nina connects with a boy, Spencer, in a way she never really has before. But before Nina knows it, she is on the run again and must leave Spencer behind.

When Spencer finds that his soulmate has mysteriously disappeared, right at the time of a family crisis, it can’t get much worst; that is if there isn’t a gun held to your head. And who must be holding this gun? Nina. This puts Nina in a very difficult situation, where she must pluck up the courage and ‘spill-the-beans’. Suddenly Nina and Spencer’s friendship has been taken to a whole another level. But what show-stopper situation will come next?

The storyline is captivating, leaving you in a state of ‘wanting more’. With the relatable emotions and feelings that Nina and Spencer express, the reader identifies with the characters in the text. The excitement and wild-ride adventure shows situations of bravery, love, trust and adventure. The way the author blends the perfect amount of suspense and plot twists, makes me want to read more.

I would recommend not just this novel, but also this author to a young audience, because Steph shows an understanding of the emotions and feelings a young audience may be experiencing.

Brodee T., Year 8

November 20

‘You Against Me’ by Jenny Downham

You against meWould you seek revenge if another guy hurt your sister? Right? You wouldn’t just sit back and let him get away with it, would you? Would you come to your brother’s defense for committing the assault?

This captivating book is set in a small town two hours out from London, Norfolk in England. Mikey McKenzie is an 18-year-old boy who tries desperately to keep his family intact. He is crazy about the protection of his younger siblings, Holly, 8, and Karyn, 15. He cooks, cleans, and takes care of his sisters as well as having another life outside of the house. Their mother spends most of the time in her bedroom recovering from a hangover. So, when Ellie comes home claiming that Tom Parker raped her, he’s not a happy man. Instantly, he seeks revenge.

Mikey’s mission is to bring down Tom Parker. Just when he thought nothing would stop him, love got in the way…

This book really appealed to me as the author, Jenny Downham, wrote it with such passion. She described the characters, settings and what was happening in the scenes so clearly that I could visually paint a picture of what was happening in my head. You could say the storyline grabs you like a hook and pulls you deep into the story, keeping you wondering what’s going to happen next. The progression of the story was perfect, with new twists and problems making sure I had my full attention on the book. I was crazily engaged and glued to this novel. Just how the author wrote the story switching between the two perspectives of Mikey’s and Ellie’s life made the story captivating. If you liked reading the book, ‘Before I Die’ by Jenny Downham, you will most probably enjoy this book.

I would have to recommend this book to people of various ages who are interested in reading heart-filled and romantic novels. This would be a great read for anyone aged fourteen and upwards. I’d rate this book ‘ You Against Me’ 4 out of 5 stars.

‘JIORDANA P. YEAR 9’

……..

“Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.”

This is true for Mike, who was dreaming of revenge because Tom assaulted his sister. The mission of Mike McKenzie is to bring down Tom Parker for ruining his sister’s childhood. But he didn’t know that something would get in the way of his plan and change his vengeful mission.

The main characters in the book are Mike McKenzie, Tom Parker, Ellie Parker. Tom is a teenager who loves parties, drinking and smoking. Mike McKenzie is an overprotective brother to his sister and family, trying to fix his family problems. Tom’s sister, Ellie, believes that she knows a lot about her brother but doesn’t know he is keeping secrets.

There are many reasons why I liked You Against Me, including the fact that it was dramatic and always kept me on the edge wanting to read more.

I would recommend this book You Against Me to young adult female readers who enjoy confronting issues about family and teenagers falling in love.

Zara, Year 9

……

Would you seek revenge if another guy assaulted your sister? Would you come to your brother’s defense if he were convicted of an assault he said he didn’t make? This is the dilemma Mickey Mackenzie and Ellie Parker face in their attempt to seek justice for their siblings.

Mikey Mackenzie is an 18-year-old guy desperately trying to keep his family together. With his father nowhere to be seen and his 15 year old sister Karyn claiming she has been raped, he has to step up, provide the family with an income, keep his mother sane, take care of his younger sisters, and be the man of the family.

Ellie Parker is a 15-year-old girl desperately trying to live a normal life even after her brother was accused of sexual assault. Coming from a well-known wealthy family, her brother Tom’s accusation is the talk of the town. Ellie is trying her best to stick by her family and make sure her brother doesn’t go to jail, but after she finds out Karyn is no longer attending school Ellie becomes uncertain. Does she know Tom as well as she thought?

When Ellie and Tom meet, an undeniable and completely unexpected chemistry forms between the two. Mickey and Ellie are complete opposites but seem to find many similarities in each other, the main being that both of their families are falling apart because of the others, and that they are both falling for one another. But what will happen if anyone finds out? Will their love be strong enough to keep them together throughout the toughest times? Or will it all be too much?

The book ‘You Against Me’ is very well written and captivates the reader from the very start. Set in Britain, the book focuses on many issues relevant to teenagers today. It keeps you wondering from start to finish about the common but unrecognised crime of rape, endless drama, and the constant surprises. ‘You Against Me’ captures your attention and is the kind of book you could sit down and read for hours on end. I enjoyed how the book told the story from two different points of view and I loved the mystery the book created. I would recommend this book to any teenager or young adult, as it is very relevant and appealing to this age category.

If this sounds like the kind of book you would enjoy reading, I would definitely recommend it. I rate this novel 4 out of 5 stars.

Mikayla S, Year 9

November 20

‘A Pocketful of Eyes” by Lili Wilkinson

A pocketful of eyes“How could this have happened? Who did this?

These questions kept repeating in my mind after I had heard those three words. ‘Gus is dead’.”

Beatrice… known as Bee, who is 17 years old, has an interest in mysteries but she doesn’t realise she is in a mystery herself. Bee works at a taxidermy lab in the Melbourne Museum of Natural History as a summer job with her co-workers Gus and Toby. Bee and Toby stayed later one night resulting in a 1am kissing session, when suddenly they heard a noise in another room. Thinking nothing of it they went home. The next day Bee got to work but something seemed off. There was no one at the museum. Toby then confronted Bee and what she heard next changed her life!

“Gus is dead.”

I loved this mystery love story to the point where I was reading it everywhere I went. Bee and Toby’s interest in mystery and solving who killed Gus intrigued me. They both had such different personalities. Toby knows a suspicious amount of animal mating facts and Bee is a peculiar 17 year old. She loves mysteries. That is all she did when she was young. A pocketful of eyes is a great book for teenagers who love a bit of romance and a mysterious plot. I rate this book 4 out of 5 because each page had new information. My mind didn’t drift off and think about other stuff. I stayed and enjoyed reading about Bee and Toby’s dramatic, action-filled, romantic mysterious journey to find out if Gus really killed himself.

Beth H. Year 9

November 20

‘Stormbreaker’ by Anthony Horowitz

Stormbreaker“You’re never too young to die.”

The novel Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz has won many awards, and has sold more than nine million copies worldwide. From this, it has become very successful since its publication in 2000. Now there is a series that contains 10 books, but Stormbreaker being the first has become very popular with teens.

The story takes place in London, England. It is about a fourteen year-old teenager, Alex Rider, whose parents were killed in a plane crash when he was an infant. Since then Alex has lived with his uncle, who has just died. As Alex tries to figure out who killed his uncle, he realizes there was more to his uncle than what he thought. Alex’s world gets turned upside down as he goes from a schoolboy to superspy within days. He was recruited into MI6, and now the government wants Alex to take over his uncle’s mission.

Stormbreaker is easy to read and hard to put down. I would recommend it to ages 12+. Both girls and boys would enjoy this novel as it is filled with lots of twists and turns. It has a thrilling and adventurous storyline. Many people can relate and look up to the character Alex plays, as he comes across as brave and courageous.

Stormbreaker was an enjoyable book because it really kept you wanting to continue to read and find out what happens next. But what I didn’t like about it is that it seemed unrealistic and I prefer books with realism. If you love spy books then Stormbreaker is the one for you. I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Michaela P, year 9

November 13

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ by Derek Landy

Skulduggery“There’s no such thing as winning or losing. There is won and there is lost, there is victory and defeat. There are absolutes. Everything in between is still left to fight for.” Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant is the first in a series of nine books, with two extra books positioned outside the main story. It’s a tale about a wise cracking detective who wields the powers of elemental magic, those being Water, Fire, Air and Earth. Along with his partner, Valkyrie Cain, these two have to save the world from a madman attempting to bring back a race of ancient gods. To accomplish this they must attain the help of a master swordswoman, a tailor who is also a boxer, and an information broker nobody can trust. Along the way, Skulduggery and Valkyrie must solve the murder of Valkyrie’s uncle, author Gordon Edgely, who was killed for something he owns, a weapon powerful enough to kill a god.

The book Skulduggery Pleasant is categorised in action, mystery and thriller genres, and themes included are fantasy and horror. It can be a challenging read for younger audiences especially as later in the series the books have over 500 pages, but if you like lengthy books, then the series by Derek Landy, including his other works, will be a great read for anyone enjoying other novels in the same genres. Many of the stories end in cliffhangers that keep you asking questions, only to be revealed in the later books in the series. The books contain many twists in the plot and then when you expect something to happen, the books throw in a series of unforeseeable events.

This novel was published in 2007, but is still a great book to read. I would recommend this book as a more advanced read for an audience ranging from 12 to 16 years of age. Once you finish this book I would advise you to continue on with the series, as the other books are just as great as this one. I would rate this book an 8.5/10 as it is a fairly long book, but leaves so many questions about the characters.

Lachlann, Year 9

……

“Doors are for people with no imagination.” Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant.

Skulduggery Pleasant is a thrilling tale of adventure, mystery and foreshadowed events, developing relatable characters and well placed witty humour. This book is suitable for most young adults who like action, mystery and thriller novels.

Derek Landy weaves the tale of a twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie Edgely, who lives with her mother and father in Haggard, a small coastal town near Dublin in Ireland. She live a relatively ordinary life as an only child until she meets a strange man at her uncle’s will reading. His name is Skulduggery Pleasant. No one know what he looks like underneath his large hat, dark over-sized sunglasses, heavy trench coat and long scarf, but the secrets that lie beneath are much bigger than his appearance. After this, Stephanie’s life becomes a little more adventurous, now that she knows magic exists and that the end of the world is fast approaching, and the only people who can prevent it are Stephanie and her new friends.

This story is a thrilling ride of twists and turns and unforeseeable events that jump out at you with no warning. The way Derek Landy describes and develops his characters, it makes you feel like you are standing right there with them experiencing and feeling what they are through the book. As soon as I finished this novel I craved more because I didn’t want the story to end and the characters to fade while there were still so many questions to be answered.

To conclude, Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy is without a doubt an amazing book. It has everything – witty humour and all. But this novel is only the first in a series of nine marvellous tales each with another problem to solve, bigger and more dangerous than the last. I rate this book a 9/10.

“Every solution to every problem is simple. It’s the distance between the two where the mystery lies.” Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant

Jack Year 9

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Did you ever think that someone could live while being dead? Well…Meet Skulduggery Pleasant, a wise cracking detective, powerful magician, and sworn enemy of evil. Oh, I almost forgot, he’s a skeleton. Stephanie Edgley is a 12-year-old girl who is sick of living a boring normal life. This ends one day with the sudden death of Stephanie’s uncle, Gordon Edgley. Skulduggery and Stephanie must partner up and uncover the secrets that lie beneath the so-called ‘accident’. Stephanie is introduced to the world of magic and realises that what she got into is a lot bigger than she thought.

One night after Stephanie inherited the house from Gordon’s will, a man tries to kill her. Skulduggery came to the rescue and saved her. This is when Stephanie finds out that her uncle was living a more powerful and dangerous life owning a weapon that could kill a god. With the help of a tailor, a librarian and a swordswoman, Skulduggery and Stephanie must defeat the evil Serpine.

I really like this book, as it is a book that I didn’t want to put down. I wanted to know what happened next as Stephanie and Skulduggery continue to solve the mystery. It has a fantastic plot and every page keeps you one the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book for teenagers around 12-17 years of age. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Jemma D, Year 9

June 17

‘Point Blanc’ by Anthony Horowitz

Point blanc“Very soon, we’ll have Alex here at the academy. And then, at last, the Gemini project will be complete.” (In British accent)

One of the protagonists, Mr Blunt, has discovered a young spy in London. His mission is to go under cover in a school for troubled schoolboys who have very rich parents. Mr Blunt and MI6 have a feeling that there is something going on in there. The kids’ parents are being killed and whoever is doing it makes it look like an accident. MI6 thinks it may have something to do with the headmaster Mr Grief (Antagonist). The spy will have a new identity with the name of Alex Friend, son of Mr Friend, a rich business man, very well known to one of the characters. This boy recently undertook a last mission (Stormbreaker) with good results. He is highly trained in mountain climbing, he has a black belt in martial arts and he is a good guns man. He is the nephew of Ian Rider (deceased uncle and old spy). You may know him as ALEX RIDER!!!!! (protagonist). Is this the type for story for you? Then it is the type of book for you!! Bam!

The book Point Blanc is a really good book for all ages. It has many qualities for different audiences. The reason why I liked it is because the main character is a young schoolboy such as myself so I had some connections. I recommend this book for young audiences such as thirteen to seventeen as it is a good strong read. For example the book might be good for an older audience because of the drugs and the murders, but it is not suited for readers under the age of twelve because it is a big book with over two hundred pages. Also it has murders, drug use and gore, so watch out! This is an ‘in your face’ book. It will keep you up till midnight. I know it did for me.

Kiefer L., Year 8

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The novel Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz starts off with millionaire Michael J. Roscoe’s death. Alex Rider gets in trouble with the police for damaging the new police headquarters. Alex is assigned by M16 to investigate the death of Michael J. Roscoe. Alex’s cover is as the son of a supermarket magnate. Alex has to spend a week as a member of a friend’s family and has to remember as much detail as he can. He arrives in Paris and he has to take his clothes off to be photographed and examined. Michael J. Roscoe starts off as the main character. Continuing on, Alex is introduced and as the story goes on he meets Dr Grief, Paul and James. Arriving at Point Blanc, Alex meets Dr Grief and a student whose name is James Sprints. Alex thinks something’s wrong with the academy because of the other boys. James reveals to Alex his plan to escape the academy after sneaking out of his room.

I liked this story because it had a lot of action and it taught me to take more challenges and be more confident. I’d recommend this book to boys ages 12-16 although some girls that are looking for a good adventurous book to read will also enjoy it.

Paul J, Year 8

May 18

‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar

HolesStanley Yelnats’ family has a history of bad luck, so he isn’t too surprised when something bad happens to him.

Stanley Yelnats, the main character, is an innocent boy who is very nice to all his family and friends. He was framed of stealing and was sent to Camp Green Lake for 18 months aka detention camp.

The story is set somewhere in the desert where no one will find them. It’s a place called Camp Green Lake. It’s supposed to be called this because of the lake, but there’s nothing there now except for a dried up hole with a few buildings and trees surrounding the town. At Camp Green Lake the boys must dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the dried up lake bed.

Stanley’s friend Zero is very quiet. He never speaks and doesn’t know how to read but Stanley helped him and taught him how to read. Mr Pandanski, co-owner of Camp Green Lake sometimes can be nice but is also sometimes really mean. The Warden is really strict and doesn’t like kids. With big nails, she likes to scratch people.

HolesI really enjoyed this book for many reasons. The text and the language is simple but descriptive enough for you to get an idea of what Camp Green Lake looks like. The book isn’t really long so it’s good for a younger reader to read. It doesn’t just skip to the point, it takes you through the book and explains the story to you. There are plot twists so you don’t always know when a surprise is going to come up. Holes wasn’t just about digging holes all day. It really made me happy because there was a whole lot of friendship in the movie when Stanley’s guardians adopted Zero because they were such close friends. Holes was also very exciting when they would find treasure after digging holes.

So to sum up my review, I think that Holes would really catch your attention and get you sucked into the book like it got me. It’s just an all-rounder book and I would never regret reading it.

Cooper, Year 9

May 18

‘Liar’ by Justine Larbalestier

liarMicah Wilkins is addicted to everything she can never have. With calculated dark eyes, and a seemingly indecisive mind she’s an oddly compelling and complex character. She tries on personas and identities like they’re outfits. The effects of her lies have altered her perspective on the world and her relationships with others, and when you add in her overly intricate life, she’s a protagonist you’ll never forget.

Walk into the life of Micah, a self-proclaimed compulsive (or possibly pathological) liar, whose world is crumbling around her after the death of her ‘afterhours boyfriend’, Zach. Micah and Zach have kept their relationship a secret due to conflicting social status, but as Zach’s death comes to be concluded as a murder the truth about Micah and Zach’s relationship is revealed and she quickly becomes a suspect.

Zach’s death causes a butterfly effect of events that Micah could have never imagined happening. Suddenly, the almost invisible, renowned liar and outcast becomes the talk of the school. It isn’t long before she finds herself at the centre of a malicious circle of gossip, rumours and lies. No one wants to know what happened to Zach more than Micah, but unfortunately for her the truth is hard to come by and it just might involve admitting to some of the lies she’s told about herself. Although this search for truth does more than enthrall the reader, along with the lies, it defines Micah as a character through more than just words.

It’s a quintessential mystery that more or less forces you to take part in the story. This book truly belongs to every person; it all comes down to what you interpret as truth and as lies, whether you become more cynical compared to whether you’re trusting. There is no definite reason as to why Micah lies, although she implies that it’s because the world is better the way she tells it, but can you trust her word?

Filled with doppelganger qualities between characters and double meanings to words it creates a deeply layered plot and, all in all, the truth is what you make it.

But, no matter which way you interpret Liar, there are repeating themes, mainly regarding loss and power: loss of control of your body, environment and entire life; the struggle to regain control is also highlighted, as well as struggling for freedom/to escape from power that others seek to gain over her.

Liar is a chilling physiological thriller that will keep you up until the early hours of the morning, unable to put down this suspenseful page-turner. Suitable for anyone 13 or older, it’s written with elegance and direct but misleading purpose. With flawless description you’ll be engrossed in Micah’s mysterious life, theorising about the book long after you’ve finished. Justine Larbalestier is a talented author who has disregarded all stereotypes and clichés to create this gripping masterpiece. The concept of an unreliable narrator is rather insidious and with the stunning writing style of Justine it’s a beautifully woven web of lies that will take you on the wildest, most beautiful journey and leave you with a lack of finality and endless questions.

If there’s one thing you know for sure, it’s that Micah is lying, it’s her second nature; but what exactly is she lying about? Well, that’s for you to work out.

Ashleigh D, Year 9.

November 17

‘Tick Tock’ ~by James Patterson~

ticktockLooking for a gun-in-hand, action-packed thriller with a deep plot and shocking story? Then James Patterson’s Tick Tock is the book for you. Michael Benet is an accomplished and well known detective from New York, but when an out of control terrorist starts detonating bombs in crowded areas, Michael is forced to abandon the satisfaction and bonding he was hoping to achieve with his family on their vacation, and pursue an investigation into what seems like a random string of bombings.

As time continues to run out, Michael starts to conclude that an ‘Evil Mastermind’ who is hoping to recreate the events of a long forgotten bombing spree is conducting these acts of terrorism. As the terrorist continues to toy with Benet, hundreds of people are dying, and it is up to him and the rest of the detective agency to stop this terrorist before he ends his spree. While Benet is occupied with leading the main investigation into these bombing sprees, he is forced to cope with their own neighborhood ‘terrorist’, a nearby ex-mafia family who are beating down on Michael’s kids and vandalizing their property.

If you enjoy a storyline in which character development and story line are clearly evident and very fulfilling, and a plot that is ever changing due to dynamic, action packed scenes, then Tick Tock is without a doubt the book for you. To conclude, I would give this book an 8 out of 10, as it is able to stay strong to the Patterson franchise, and clearly does not disappoint, nor does it stray from the original flow of his detective novels.

Jessy, Year 9

…..

Action, murder and a whole lot of romance! Sound like your kind of book? Then Tick Tock by James Patterson is for you.

Tick Tock is a fast paced mystery murder, action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Once you get caught, there’s no escape. The only thing you can do is read on in anticipation. James Patterson has really outdone himself with this novel.

The story is set in the big apple, New York City. Just as renowned detective Michael Bennett starts his holiday with his family, he is called back to work when a crazy serial killer named Berger starts terrorising the city. This villain gives new meaning to the name Copycat as he recreates the crimes of notorious New York criminals. NYPD goes into panic mode as the Berger starts to grow bolder with every attack.

If Michael doesn’t have enough on his hands already, his family has now become the target of the Flaherty gang, a band of rough ex criminals with a knack for harassing people. In the chaos of it all, he still has to juggle his prosperous love life. Does Michael have what it takes to protect his family and save the people of New York from the crazy Copycat? You should find out!

I personally liked this book. It had all the qualities a great book should have: action, crime and romance. It was very hard to put the book down. Every chapter left you hanging and wanting to read more. The suspense was amazing.

I would recommend this book to you if you enjoyed Bel-Air Dead by Stuart Woods, Afraid of the dark by James Grippando or A heartbeat away by Michael Palmer.

Get Tick Tock! Be quick though because time is running out…

Levi, Year 9

November 17

‘Thieves Like Us’ by Stephen Cole

Thieves like us           Meet weird teenager Jonah Wish, a genius computer hacker, caught, thrown and sentenced for one year into juvenile hall. And only into the start of his second month he is broken out by a couple of unknown criminal gang members for some apparent reason, changing Jonah’s life for good.

He was brought to an unknown criminal hideout where he found out that the gang members that snuck him out of custody were under the command of a man called ‘Nathaniel Coldhart’ who recruits teenagers with unique talents like Jonah, who has special cyber hacking abilities.

Jonah does not realize what sort of a life he was getting into due to the distractions from all the materials provided by Nathaniel. All he knows is that once he is in the gang, there is no getting out.

As Jonah was recruited into the gang, Patch, Con, Motti and Tye would soon be sent onto a risky and secret mission assigned by Nathaniel Coldhart.

I really enjoyed this book because it was about criminal teenagers, and I felt that I could relate to what they were feeling throughout the book. I could not put this book down sometimes because I was completely engaged with the story and its interesting lines and wanted to know what would happen next. The descriptive language, engaging storyline of the book and traits of the characters, which Steven Cole assigned to the book, made it easy to make up scenarios within my head as to what was happening in the book.

 Angelo, Year 9

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      Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to be a computer hacker in your teenage years and then thrown into a juvenile centre?  If so, then Thieves like us by Stephen Cole will let you know what it’s like.

A teenage boy by the name of Jonah Wish is sentenced to one year in a juvenile detention centre where, in only his second month, he is busted out by an unknown pair of criminal gang members and Jonah’s world will never be the same again.

Jonah is taken to a criminal hideout where he and five other teens are under the command of Nathaniel Coldhart, who recruits teenagers with special talents like cyber hacking. Jonah doesn’t know what type of life he has been plucked into. All he knows is that he is in a teen gang and there is no getting out. Jonah and the others, Patch, Con, Motti and Tye, are about to be sent on Coldhart’s most important assignment yet.

I really enjoyed this book because it was about teenagers, and I felt that I could relate to what they were feeling throughout. I could not put this book down because I was completely engaged with the story and wanted to know what would happen next. The descriptive language, engaging storyline and traits of the characters, which Steven Cole assigned to the book, made it easy to make up scenarios in my head as to what was happening in the book.

I would recommend this book for teenage boys from around 14 to 18 years old who enjoy reading a thrilling, adventurous book with an intriguing creative plot with plenty of great cliffhangers; one you’ll be unable to put down.

Louis H, Year 9

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Nathaniel Coldhardt is a rich, master criminal who recruits teenagers with special talents to undertake his deeply planned out crimes. These crimes take place in remote places all around the world, from Egypt to France. So far he has recruited four teens and has taken them in and given them a home. Although Coldhardt has put together a very special group, he needs another employee for his next crime. This employee is stuck in an institution. Jonah is his name and he has an immense interest in computers and solving puzzles.

Jonah Wish was an orphan who had a massive curiosity about computers. His gift was a vast knowledge of the electronic world and hacking. Jonah once tried to help one of the families he most loved with his talent, but ended up angering them and getting sent to the Young Offenders Institution. He was sentenced to the institution for a numerous number of years, until he was broken out by a group of teenagers. These teenagers weren’t normal though. They each had a special talent that had to do with solving puzzles and robbery. Even though they used their talents for immoral reasons, they’re all competent, nice teens that had a story as to why they do this for a living. These teenagers are Con, Tye, Patch and Motti. Jonah was welcomed into the group and met their boss, Coldhardt. He agreed to the offer to join the group. After this they were assigned a mission. They didn’t know this mission was the start to a huge operation. They travel the world to steal and figure out an ancient artifact.

This book was an action packed, mysterious, suspenseful and overall a different type of book. I liked the fact that the characters were a mystery until the middle of the book. Also the story line kept me on my heels. The plot made me want to know what happened next and made wanting to read more. This book was meant for people between the ages of 13 and 19 because of its language, setting and storyline. I recommend this book highly to read. I rate the book 4 out of 5 stars.  Jason, Year 9

November 14

‘Roxy’s Baby’ by Catherine Macphail

Roxy's_baby“Roxy was shaking with fear. She drew in a deep breath. She would not let her fear take over. She couldn’t. She had too much to lose. She had to be strong. To be brave. For once in her life she needed to think of someone other than herself.”

Much of the story of ‘Roxy’s baby’ is set in London, in a little house a drive away but in the middle of nowhere.

Roxy is a 14 year old that has had too much fun at a party and is afraid to tell her mother about her pregnancy. She turns to the Dyces who take in girls just like her, girls who are pregnant and have nowhere to go. What could possibly be bad about them? Roxy finds them suspicious. No newspapers or contact with the outside world, no TV except for movies, no visits from former housemates and no babies. In the house she makes best friends with a fellow future mother Anne-Marie, who thinks of the Dyces as saints. This makes Roxy dismiss her concerns for a while, but deep down she knows that the Dyces are definitely not how they seem to be.

The storyline of this book grasped me from the very beginning. It jumps straight into the action and then traces back to where it all began. I believe this is one of the best ways of starting off a book. As well as this, the storyline is very interesting. It’s suspenseful and shows many different common attitudes of teenagers. The scariest part of it is the fact that it is based on a true story. It is very unbelievable and no one could ever imagine of the cruelty shown by the Dyces.

I recommend this story for girls or women, as it is a cruel story about a girl that I believe boys would just not enjoy. Girls and women can partially relate to how Roxy has trouble telling her parents about her pregnancy; they might sometimes even run away and not having anywhere to go. It would suit girls, of 13- 14 years as a novel or for a quick, exciting read for a lady of older age.

Erin T, Year 9

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“Roxy could hear her heart beating in her ears. The floorboards creaked and doors slammed below her. She could hear the angry death threats from the demons that ran the Dragon House.”

If you love reading books with bone chilling thrills balanced with heroism and love, then ‘Roxy’s Baby’ is just for you.

Roxy is a wild 14 year old who never listens to her parents. When Roxy falls pregnant, she runs away thinking her family doesn’t love her anymore. She runs to London where she finds a care home for girls in her position but she is turned away as she is under aged. She meets a mysterious couple in a café who claim that they are in a business that helps girls and their unborn children. Roxy observes them as nice but are they really? The couple takes Roxy to a mansion outback called the Dragon House where Roxy uncovers horrifying secrets. Read ‘Roxy’s Baby’ and find out.

I thought this book was exciting, thrilling and relatable to teenage struggles. I rate this book 4/5. I recommend this book to 14-18 year old teenagers.

Victoria, Year 9

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-Roxy’s Baby – Catherine McPhail

“Go home. I’m telling you. That’s all I’m going to say. More than my life’s worth to even say that.”

Roxy is an immature fifteen year old whose relationship with her parents is strained because of her constant defiance. One party, one kiss and more is all it took for Roxy’s life to turn upside down. She soon finds herself out in the cold searching for a safe haven for herself along with her unborn child. Then arrives the Dyces, who sweep Roxy away to a place for girls like her, away from the searching eyes of the police and the public. The Dyces are accommodating and kind, providing all the girls with whatever they require. Roxy soon meets Anne Marie and a close friendship forms, the girls relying on each other to get through the struggles of pregnancy. The days are carefree and joyful, but is it all too good to be true?

When the truth is unleashed, for once in her life, Roxy will have to think about someone other then herself.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Roxy’s Baby’ because it was a heartrending story of trust, friendship and lies. The book is based on a true story; this element creates an even more suspense filled plot. The one fault that let this book down is the lack of educated language as the writing is too simple. This book could have been improved by more descriptive language however it was still a very enjoyable read. This was a suspense filled story that left me wanting to always know more, however the story finished with a terrific ending.

I would recommend this book to teenage girls between the ages 13-18 who enjoy reading about the themes of teen pregnancy as well as family troubles. If you enjoy books that you cannot put down, then ‘Roxy’s Baby’ should definitely be on your ‘To Read’ list. I would rate ‘Roxy’s Baby’ 3 out of 5 stars. Kian, Year 9

November 11

‘Son of the Mob’ by Gordon Korman

Son of the mobVince Luca lives the life of an average teenage boy: school, sport and work; but he is being held back by what you would think would be the most influential people in your life, his family. Does this book have the right theme for you? Then Son of the Mob is definitely for you.

The author, Gordon Korman, has written Son of Mob as a great thrill story. With the turn of every page, a surprise arises and it always keeps you intrigued and wanting to read more. The story is set in the city of New York, where the love lost Vince Luca is struggling to keep his girlfriend, Kendra Brightly, from finding out about his family business (crime). It doesn’t help that Kendra’s father is a FBI agent. Vince’s infamous family business is holding him back from doing the things he wants and he finds himself juggling his secret life from reality, and this turns out to be very difficult for Vince.

The story line creates a great atmosphere whilst reading this book and I enjoyed this book due to its creative and intriguing storyline. It is constantly changing and this is why Gordon Korman has made such a successful book. I would recommend this book to 14 to 15 year old males, as it is suited more to a male’s taste in reading. As it is also about a teenage male, this allows 14 to 15 year old boys to relate to this book more than what females could. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars as it kept you very inclined to reading it, but in some cases I think a little bit more action could be put into the story, therefore making an even better book to read.

Overall, Gordon Korman has created a fascinating book that is always changing and every turn of page keeps you inclined to read more and more, therefore making this book a good read. Daniel, Year 9.

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Imagine your family are mobsters and you found the girl you love but you can’t let her find out about your family’s life because her dad is the FBI agent trying to take down your father! Pretty hard to imagine ,right? Well for Vince Luca this is a reality. He wants nothing to do with the family business but it somehow always manages to screw things up for him. Author Gordon Korman has created a book that is intriguing to say the least! Once you start reading you just can’t stop because it takes you on an adventure through Vince Luca’s fascinating life.

Vince, was struggling with his secret life before he met Kendra. Now he has to juggle keeping himself away from his family’s business and dating the daughter of the man who has bugged his house and his phone listening to every conversation he has. He has been mildly successful in distancing himself from the family business but little was he to know that one delivery of money to his father could turn his life upside down. It gets too much for Vince, Kendra finds out about his true identity and dumps him, then he finds out a secret that has baffled his father for years and Vince finds himself at the end of a barrel of a gun.  Could it be the end of Vince or will he get himself out of it? All will be revealed in Son of the Mob!

The novel Son of the Mob was remarkable to read. If you like books that are thrillers, adventurous and leaving you intrigued to read the next page then Son of the Mob is the book for you. This story leaves no stone unturned so you’re never confused. I would recommend this book to teenagers of the ages 14 to 17 years old. This book definitely is a page-turner I would read again. I would rate this novel 4 out of 5 stars because it did get a bit boring in the middle of the book.   Mitchell, Year 9

November 10

‘DIEGO, RUN!’ by Deborah Ellis

diego run‘Madre de Dio,’ she prayed, ‘how will we survive?’

Meet twelve year old, Diego, a hardworking Bolivian boy doomed to live in the cold cells of a Bolivian Women’s prison.  Placed there for a crime they didn’t commit, the members of Diego’s family were wrenched away from each other, his father destined to live out the rest of his days in a men’s prison, whilst his little sister doesn’t even know what home looks like. Diego works now as a human taxi running errands and selling things, but when his little sister wanders off on his watch, his mother is set to receive a hefty fine. Diego is offered a job he can’t afford to miss.  Leaving his family behind, Diego leaves with his trusted friend Mando to face an unknown path that could lead to either complete fortune or death. What will he choose?

Diego is an adventurous character who enjoys discovering new information and new strategies to aid both himself and what’s left of his family. For his young age, Diego is quite clever when it comes to accomplishing goals, collecting new information in his photographic mind to change new tactics of getting through the daily struggles and to him, every piece of information counts. His mother tries to cope with the days, always worried that one night they will end up sleeping on the dirty, cold floor. Diego’s sister, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Crawling around and creating mischief is her key goal according to Diego. But as for his father, living in the men’s prison with Diego’s best friend Mando, all he would love to do is be with his family once again.

I think this book is for individuals from the age twelve to eighteen. It has real, worldwide problems in its pages and wouldn’t be understood or even appropriate for anyone under the age of twelve. But to compete with this, this book is also extremely easy to read and so may not exactly appeal to adults due to its limited vocabulary.

I loved this book. It’s been written exceedingly well and really gets you addicted to the story line, especially when it reveals its plot twist. The characters and culture are unique and the situation is realistic and can even appear to be educational. This novel really makes you appreciate what a lovely and lucky country we live in.

Reviewed by Scarlett, Year 9

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“The first breath made his lungs and throat burn, and he wanted to punch the men who had given him this horrible thing.”

Working as a young child, taking multiple drugs so you don’t fall asleep on the job that depends whether you’re going to live your life outside or inside the jail walls…

Inside a jail in Cochabamba, Bolivia, lives Diego, his mother and sister Corina. When Diego went out to work as a taxi one day, he didn’t realise that day was going to change his life. Mando, his best friend who lives outside the jail, asked him if he wanted to work in the jungle under the control of many men. Given very brief information he chose to go the next morning with just a satchel and a water bottle and take the chance of making loads of money or never coming back home to his family.

This novel was great and I was intrigued because it is an actual problem in Bolivia that people have to do as a job. It was tremendous to read, as it was easy to visualise, giving that it had immense detail about the feelings of Diego and how he was being treated with disgust from the men. This would be a great book for kids above the age of 12 as they would really understand the problem in detail and be more aware of drugs and what happens throughout the book. They would also take it more seriously.

Nicole C., Year 9

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How would you feel if your parents were just taken away from you? Your life suddenly changes, and what you know of life doesn’t exist for you. Diego is a child that has been brought up in a third world country. His parents have been put into a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. With his family being ripped away from society, only the children can leave through the gates.

To be able to have a living within the prison, Diego’s mother knits and Diego sells the goods and does taxi jobs for people. When life can’t seem to get any worse for Diego a dreadful event occurs. A hefty cost comes out from it and Diego is forced to pay it back. He feels great shame for what he has done and it doesn’t help the fact that his mother is now ignoring him.

Diego’s friend Mando pressures him to come on a job that will have a reward of lots of money. It is Deigo’s choice to come or not, to come on an adventure, to save his family, have great fortune or will it just be a great failure? He only has a few days to decide. Does he pick the right choice? Will his brilliant mind of judgment and knowledge help him? Will his family ever be together and happy again?

Diego Run is a well-written novel reaching out to younger teens around the age of 12 – 14. The author’s use of language is suited for around people around this age. Having easier use of language also makes the novel appealing to readers who aren’t very strong in this area allowing them to have an easy read. Misfortune is greatly showed in the novel with the poverty in third world countries. What makes the novel a great read is the mix between real world issues, adventure and uncalled events that you would have never expected to happen to always keep you on your edge.

Jeremy, Year 9