July 13

‘The Secret Hour’ by Scott Westerfeld

the-secret-hour-midnighters-book-1‘The Secret Hour’ is the first book in Scott Westerfeld’s intriguing Sci-fi trilogy, ‘Midnighters’. ‘The Secret Hour‘ follows the adventures of four high school students, Rex, Dess, Melissa and Jonathan, as they encounter the new girl to the town of Bixby, Jessica Day. Though appearing to be a little less-than-average during the day, the Midnighters each hold a secret power, and have the ability to be awake during one hour of every night, when their world is plunged into a dark and mysterious state known as the ‘blue time’.

Throughout the book, the ‘Midnighters’, as they call themselves, must discover more about Jessica’s power in an attempt to defend the town against perilous creatures, ‘darklings’ and ‘slithers’ that live in the blue time. Jessica discovers more about herself during the time she spends in Bixby than any other time in her life. The characters also learn more about true friendship, trust, and Jessica discovers what it truly means to be a Midnighter.

We enjoyed reading ‘The Secret Hour’, as its story line was interesting, unusual and unique. There were a few unexpected twists, which added to the story and greatly influenced the effect of the book.

Scott Westerfeld uses impeccable descriptive language in ‘The Secret Hour’, which helps the scenes of the book really come to life in the imaginations of readers. The characters of the book are also well-developed and have distinctive personality traits.

The book is overall an enjoyable read and a very descriptive novel. It definitely kept us on edge whilst reading it. The book was certainly action-packed and well thought out, which appeals to many types of people. We would recommend this book to teens aged 12 – 18, and rate the book 3½ out of 5 stars as a group.

Lily P, Peter A, Jade T, Year 8

July 11

‘Nine Letters Long’ by J.C. Burke

Nine letters longThe novel “Nine letters long” is the sequel to “The red cardigan” by J.C. Burke, which I personally have not read. In my opinion I strongly believe that you should definitely read The red cardigan first because in the the second book, it doesn’t really refer back to the first book. It also brings minor characters back into the story, but talking as though they are the main characters, which confuses me a lot. The novel is a paranormal thriller based on the story of a girl named Evie, who has “developing psychic abilities.”  Evie’s last paranormal experiences leaves her fearful (from The Red Cardigan. ) Evie is contacted by a spirit named Caz and Evie and her friends try to understand some coded messages from “the other side.”

I really enjoyed this paranormal thriller as I’m sure I would have done to the first. It has a great plot throughout most of the book and I would recommend it to young adults.

Antonia D., Year 8

June 20

‘Ship Breaker’ by Paulo Bacigalupi

Do you like dystopian novels?

Ship breakerDo you like intense action?

Do you like adventure?

If the answer is yes to all of these questions, then Ship Breaker is the book for you. In this dystopian novel the world is a cruel place. The rich are born to ride through the seas in massive ships, while the poor are left to break down ships and sell their findings. The two crews that operate on these ships are light crew and heavy crew. The heavy crew are the big, strong people that remove iron panels off the ships and pretty much anything too big and heavy for the light crew. The light crew are the smaller people who are usually young. The light crew search the inside of the ship to try to find things such as wire. But both crews are looking for one thing: oil.

In this world if you find oil, and a lot of it, say goodbye to ship breaking, and welcome to the life of the rich.

Nailer, the hero of our story, is a light crew worker breaking ships with his crew: Pima, Sloth, Moon Girl and Tick Tock. Nailer’s father, Richard Lopez, is an angry drunk who is abusive and deadbeat.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story had enough twists and awesome breakthroughs to keep anyone glued to this book. Paulo Bacigalupi wrote this book very well, with amazing descriptions. The characters were diverse and colourful, the scenes and places were described perfectly and the plot was structured very well.

I would recommend this book to young adults and teenagers who enjoy action packed, survival, dystopian style novels. This book is definitely a worth the read. I’d rate the book 5 out of 5 stars.

Kai B, 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 17

‘Ship kings: The coming of the whirlpool’ by Andrew McGahan

The coming of the whirlpool“If you go to the sea, you will come to the attention of the ship kings. And if they find out who you are they will kill you”.

These words spark the beginning of a perilous journey to the sea. Dow Amber became a traitor to his family and town by rejecting the simple timber-cutting life that they have set out for him. Instead he went on a perilous journey simply because of his love of the sea.

This story, being a seafaring story, has vast amount of different locations in it, such as the town Dow grew up in and the sea. Dow Amber is a strange and unusual boy. After seeing the sea just once he then wanted to throw away his life at Yellowbank, the town he grew up in, to go and live near and on the sea. A big shock had awaited him at the winter council; a secret. It was a family secret that had haunted his mother’s family for  generations; a secret that changed all their lives forever.

Do you want to know what the secret is and how it affects the rest of the books, events and the characters? If so, then you had better read this book and you won’t regret it. This book is such a great read for those mystery, action and adventure type readers. It also helps if you like books about times before the modern age, especially when set in an imaginary world. This book is set in various locations, with suspenseful and exciting situations. This book is especially good for people 11-25 years of age. This book is better for males because the main character is male, making it easier for them to relate to and understands the some of the situations he goes through.

Jonathan D., Year 8

……

“If you go to sea, you will come to the attention of the Ship Kings. And if they discover who you are, they will kill you.”

This book is about a boy named Dow. He wants to be a sailor but his parents don’t want him to be a sailor but instead a wood worker. They convince him to be a wood worker but he betrays his father and becomes a sailor.

The book is set in the medieval age.

I liked it because it gave a lot of information when it came to the hard times and the confusing time. I also like it because it relates to me, when I wanted to go trick or treating my parents did not want me going so they convinced me to stay because we are going to have a good dinner and watch a movie.

I would recommend it to boys and/or girls in Year 8 and 9 who are interested in action, sailing and adventure.

Hunter C., Year 8.

June 17

‘World Shaker’ by Richard Harland

World ShakerHave you ever thought the world is unfair? Well our world is nothing compared to the world of the Juggernauts. Do you like a book about character development, action and adventure in a steampunk setting? Then World Shaker is the book for you!

Meet Colbert Porpentine, grandson of the leader of the Juggernaut known as “World Shaker”. He wakes up in the middle of the night to a noise outside his room and some guards inform him that a “Filthy” (primitive humans living at the bottom of the ship) has escaped to the upper decks. He then looks under his bed and surprise! Two eyes are staring back at him. The Filthy girl, Riff, refutes everything Col has ever known about the people at the bottom of the ship, that they can talk, make civilisations and most importantly, that they are just poor humans who had been exiled so they do not mix with the rich people. The main characters in this story are Col, the grandson of the leader of the ship and Riff, the Filthy girl who escapes to the upper decks.

I really enjoyed World Shaker despite its slow start due to the captivating writing and setting of the book, as well as the likeable characters who change a lot over the course of the story. I also really like the alternate timeline it was set in, with major countries creating movable cities and the smaller villages being crushed underneath because it created a sense luck inside me. I personally would hate it if I was stuck inside a city for the rest of my life with basically no way to leave safely. It wouldn’t be any better if I lived inside one of the villages as the juggernauts would pay no attention to our area and chances are I would be crushed. The character arcs in the story really helped me to understand the characters, from Col learning how to fight and basically becoming a Filthy himself, to Riff accepting that not all rich people are horrible and unkind. World Shaker ended with the story being tied up, but also leaving room for a sequel.

Overall, I recommend this book to anybody who has an interest in dystopian, steampunk books and enjoys reading about a lot of action and adventure. I would rate “World Shaker” by Richard Harland a 4 out of 5. Will. B., Year 8

……..

Picture a world where mechanical mountains ruled over land and sea, travelling at crazy speeds and also being a home for many wealthy families. This is the setting for the bestselling book ‘World shaker’. The story of the book follows Colbert, a teenage boy around 17, who is just about to be made the successor to the Supreme Commander of the juggernaut. But something goes terribly wrong…

‘World shaker’ is a story set in the Victorian era and the characters we meet live on a giant metal juggernaut that goes across land and ocean called ‘World shaker’. The only time that the juggernaut stops is to refuel every 18 months in ports around the world. The main characters in this story are Colbert Porpentine and Riff. These two characters are complete polar opposites of each other. Col is a prestigious young man living with his wealthy family in the upper floors of the ‘World shaker’ and Riff is a filthy that escaped captivity living on the lowest floor of the juggernaut down the food chute. Col was always taught that filthies were savages, didn’t know how to speak and they were not smart like the propers. These teachings were all wiped away when he finds that Riff is really smart and not a savage like he was told.

During the book Col is destined to be the successor to his grandfather and be Supreme Commander of the ‘World shaker’. He was informed of this at a family gathering in the Porpentine hall room. Some events during this book make this choice a very hard one for Col. Col’s family is an extremely wealthy family and their surname is Porpentine. Col has one older sister who does not like him one bit. She thinks that he is a spoiled brat who always gets his own way. Her name is Gillabeth, but to be fair she does have a point… Colbert has indeed led a very nurtured life. He does not know many things about the outside world nor does he have any real curiosity. He is told things about the filthies and menials that aren’t true to make them appear as objects for them to use. But the moment that he meets Riff, everything was about to change…

I really enjoyed ‘World shaker’ because it has many qualities about it that not many other books have. I like that kind of uniqueness to the book, as you would never expect those genres to go together but Richard Harland pulled it off extremely well. However, the start of the book was very slow and made me quite bored during the first few chapters but after that, things are happening left and right and all becomes very entertaining. But the reason I enjoyed it so much is because you really felt for the characters. You really wanted Col to make the right decision and you also want Riff to show him what filthies really are and how menials are ‘made’ and treated. I would recommend this book to people looking for something new, that hasn’t been done before and that are between the ages of 13-17 and most likely boys would enjoy this book but I’m sure there are many features of this book that girls would enjoy as well.

Ronan O. Year 8

June 16

‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson“Half Boy, Half God, All Hero. That’s Percy Jackson.”

Imagine you are the son or daughter of a Greek God. How adventurous would that be?  Percy Jackson is just about to find out just how adventurous it is.  Percy is the son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea. Wow! Isn’t that a big name to live up to.

‘Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief’ is an adventure filled fantasy book. It was written by Rick Riordan and was published in 2005 in the USA by the Publisher Puffin. The novel begins in upstate New York where Percy attends boarding school. After that the novel is set in lots of places across America, Long Island where Camp Half-Blood is, the Underworld and Mount Olympus.

The main characters are Percy Jackson, his friends Annabeth and Grover. This interesting adventure novel has many deep, dark secrets to be revealed throughout the story and Percy’s best friend Grover has been there since the start.

Every year Percy moves school to escape danger. We won’t tell you what that danger is, you need to find out for yourself. But we can tell you that Percy’s mum has to tell him the biggest, deepest secret of all. His dad is Poseidon, the Sea God. Percy is a demi God.

This novel follows the adventures of Percy, Annabeth and Grover as they try to save Percy’s mum, find the Lightning Thief, return the lightning bolt to the Gods and maybe even meet his dad, Poseidon.

‘Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief’ is a great read as it is full of adventures, danger and action-filled events. There are many secrets to be revealed, so you have to keep on reading. The novel keeps your interest right to the end. This novel is suited for ages 8 – 18 years, both male and female.  Read this book if you love mysteries or fantasy novels.

Renae B, Year 8

……

‘There was a blinding flash, a jaw-rattling boom! and our car exploded.’

Percy Jackson is your average troubled, blue food loving twelve year old boy with one small quirk: he is a half-blood son of a god with monsters attacking him left and right. The Lightning thief follows Percy as he begins to discover the world of the Greek gods, centaurs and other mythical creatures. But early on in his stay at Camp Half-blood, a camp for half-bloods as the name implies, he and his half goat half man best friend Grover Underwood, as well as  fellow half-blood Annabeth Chase must set out on a quest to retrieve Zeus’s master lighting bolt.

I found The Lightning Thief to be a great read as it is full action and adventure. There is a wide variety of characters for everyone to relate to.  This book is great for boys and girls in their preteens and early teens. I loved every page of Percy Jackson: The Lightning thief as it was very well written and there was never a dull moment.

Gracie B, 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.

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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 14

‘Incarceron’ by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron-1a4o3ju“What can be wrong in a perfect world?” -Claudia, Incarceron.

Do you want to see how a ‘perfect’ world can be something totally different from what it seems?

This book is set in Incarceron, where there is a prison and an outside world. There are many different groups in the prison and everybody will do anything to survive even if that involves risking their own life or killing others. Meanwhile, outside of the prison, the warden is the person who rules. There are also royals who live in a palace.

There are two main characters in this story: Finn and Claudia. Finn lives his life in the prison with his friends and group. Claudia, the daughter of the warden, lives outside the prison, but she likes to do things that are more challenging especially when her father doesn’t want her to do those particular things. Where Claudia lives, she is stuck in the 17th century and she’s not free to do things that she wants.

Claudia and Finn have a crystal key which lets them communicate with each other. Finn wants to get out of Incarceron but it is a problem because the prison has many areas that contain corridors, cells, forests and more. Claudia is a help to Finn but many different events occur in Incarceron and things get tricky for the two of them.

This book is interesting because it is an original story in its structure. Some of the chapters change narrator from Finn to Claudia. This is good because it gives a different point of view from different areas, places and personal view. By reading the beginning of the book, you need to keep on reading to see what happens next. It makes you keep reading and reading until it gets to the most interesting part. There is lots of descriptive language which makes it easier to see a picture of the scenes in your head. Even though the story wasn’t interesting in the beginning, it got more interesting towards the end of the book. This book would be recommended for teens and young adults ages between 11 to 18 who enjoy an adventure, fantasy and sci-fi novel. The rating I would give Incarceron would be 3 out of 5 starts.

Jazmin. P, Year 8

……

‘Incarceron’ is an exiting young adult, fantasy, dystopian novel jam packed with mystery and adventure.

In the beginning the novel seemed slow yet filled with a lot of important information, and I found it difficult to enjoy it. This was until I continued reading and got captivated. Firstly I would like to say Catherine Fisher’s writing style is beautiful, in my opinion. It has elegance and shows an experience of the past within her writing.

‘Incarceron’ is about a futuristic prison and an artificial world. It follows two main protagonists, Claudia and Finn. Finn is a prisoner inside Incarceron. He has a tattoo of an eagle on his wrist. Claudia is a teenage girl living in the realm. Her father is the warden of Incarceron. She sneaks into his office and finds a key with a holographic eagle on it. This key has direct communication to the key inside Incarceron, which then allows Finn and Claudia to communicate and devise an escape plan for Finn.

Throughout the book I was enticed. It was an absolute page turner, however when I reached the end I just stared wide eyed and mouth opened. It was an incredible finish to an incredible book. This book had flare and personality. I’ve never read anything like it. It’s different, it’s original and the book itself is simply breathtaking. I loved how the characters are all so different and they all have unique personalities. The whole plot and concept of the book is magnificent.

I really loved this book and I would rate it 4.5 stars. The one thing stopping me from giving it at full 5 stars is that some of the twists in this book were quite predictable, however the plot itself made up for that. I would recommend this book to readers 14+.

Tuscany F., Year 8

……..

Incarceron is a story that takes you into the 18th century that is locked in the past.

“Imagine a living prison so vast that it contains corridors and forests, cities and seas… Imagine Incarceron.”

Incarceron is an amazing story about a world where time and technology have been forbidden even though their science in so advanced. This is a classic story of a utopia turned dystopia. When the prisons of the land became overcrowded, the King decided to make one gigantic prison that could easily house all the prisoners. To make a prison as large as the world would be perfect, as it would leave to prisoners no choice but to live in peace and harmony as everything anyone could ever need would be provided, he thought.

Finn is a boy who woke up one day inside the prison with no memory and no one to help him. He wandered the prison until he found a pack of thieves who became his cheating allies. Claudia was a girl raised in the care of the Warden of the prison. Raised in luxury and tutored by a Sapient, she grew defiant of her Father and wanted anything but what was forced upon her.

Incarceron is a story about how a girl named Claudia sneaks into her father’s study and steals a crystal key. Claudia is doomed to an arranged marriage and her only way out of it is to prove that Finn, a boy who lives in the prison, is in fact the long dead prince. Finn has always known he is not from the prison, always known he came from outside, but his only evidence of that are moments when he experiences dream-like hallucinations and the eagle print on his wrist. But when he finds a key that bears the same mark as the one on his wrist, he is more sure than ever. He sets off with his oath brother Keiro and a sapient by the name of Gildas to find the way out of the prison. With the crystal keys the two are able to communicate and work together to find the way out.

This was a great book because of the different spin on the future. It was a lot different to the sort of future story most are used to because of the laws that have been set out in this make-believe world. The story was intricate, detailed and there were many twists and turns in the plot. The only flaw was maybe the lack of animation in the characters. This was an amazing book.

I recommend this book to teens and above because of the complicated story line. Younger children will definitely have a hard time understanding what’s going on.

Daniel P., Year 8

June 13

‘Icefall’ by Matthew J. Kirby

Icefall“Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Princess Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors awaits news of her father’s victory at battle.”

This book creates a whole different world created by Matthew J. Kirby. The characters in the book faced many challenges, for example surviving off the food that was left. In the book there was a traitor amongst them and I couldn’t figure out who it was.

This book is a simple book maybe recommended for older primary schoolers to young high schoolers. When I say simple I don’t mean boring without an interesting plot, but it seems these days that many different books have magical and mysterious plots in these sort of books.

At the end of the book you’ll feel clueless and be like ‘Oh I See Now!!!!’ I rate this book 3 out of 4 because of its juvenile mystery.

Brooke M., Year 8

……..

Berserkers, skalds, princesses, princes and warriors all trapped in a frozen fortress. Solveig, the youngest daughter, saves the loyal members of her family. If you’re into this kind of scene, then Icefall is for you.

Facing a war with rival warlord Gunnlaug, the king sends his children Asa, Solveig, and Harald, to a remote fjord with a group of the king’s most trusted warriors. Solveig begins to realise how big of a mistake that was. Unsure of what she is worth, she deals with everybody else’s problems while facing the isolation with berserkers and along the way she discovers who she is. This is a well-written story about Vikings and the struggles they had to endure; the cold, harsh winters and what they’d do to survive.

Icefall is a well written book although it is very slow. I found Icefall not keeping up with my pace and energy of reading. The main character’s development was too slow with her depressive thoughts dragging her down. Honestly, it was well written and had a well thought out plot. The story began to flow quite nicely after the basic character developed. There isn’t a lot of romance, at least not with Solveig, but her relationships with the men in her life are the most interesting relationships in the entire book: Alric, the skald (a storyteller and keeper of legends) who helps Solveig find her calling; Raudi, the childhood friend with whom Solveig fumbles uncertainly toward possible romantic feelings later in life; and Hake…oh goodness, Hake. The leader of the fearsome berserker warriors, Hake’s relationship with Solveig was my favorite of the entire book.

Overall the book Icefall was enjoyable to read but had some flaws. A nice book to read on a rainy day. Out of 5, I would give Icefall a 3/5 rating due to the slow beginning. Great for teenage girls, from grade 4-7 who like a strong female protagonist. Other books that readers who are into books like these would be Coraline, The Golden Compass and A Wrinkle in Time. MacKenna F., Year 8.

June 13

‘A Single Stone’ by Meg McKinlay

asinglestone_hires

‘The Mothers’ words echoed in Jena’s mind as she eased into the crevice, flattening herself against the rock. When she was through, she paused, waiting for the next girl. They were deep now, in the heart of the mountain. Around her, the earth pressed so tightly it was hard to tell where her body ended and the stone began.’

The story of ‘A Single Stone’ is set in a village next to a mountain that holds mica, a mineral which the village uses for energy. Jena is a strong leader who comes to question her own determination to do the work she was raised to do. It’s every girl’s dream of being part of the line of seven young girls chosen to crawl deep into the mountain to collect the precious mica which will ensure the village’s survival.

Jena is the leader of the line, and believes passionately in all that her mother tells her. She doesn’t question and doesn’t doubt. A Single Stone is a thoughtful middle fiction novel. The isolation of the village and the process of mining the mica creates a fascinating background for an engaging story. Meg McKinlay’s writing is thoughtful, deliberate and breathtaking. It is the underlying themes and ideas and the questions they provoke, however, that will remain with readers after the book ends.

‘A Single Stone’ is a beautiful and delicate novel that tackles some big questions about gender and power in an interesting manner, entertaining the reader but in my opinion the story wasn’t easy to understand and wasn’t suitable for my age. However people who like to read about adventures would really enjoy this book. I would recommend this book for teenagers and over.

Ella C., Year 8

June 9

‘Brotherband: The Outcasts’ by John Flanagan

brotherband-1-the-outcastsWelcome to the brotherband. They’re outcasts, but with ingenuity and courage on their side they might just surprise everyone. If you like the sound of that and you like ‘Rangers Apprentice’, ‘Brotherband’ is the book for you.

To become a warrior in Skandia you must go through brotherband training. When Hal Mikellson finds himself the leader of a brotherband he must use his brains to help them win. He must overcome bullies, be challenged and tested to the limit, undergoing team rivalries, all so that these unwilling teenagers can come out with the title of the winning brotherband. He meets a mentor, Thorn, who teaches him how to overcome mental challenges and physical challenges. The main characters in this book are Hal, Stig, Thorn and Tursgud.

I enjoyed the book ‘Brotherband’ because it was relevant in ways to today’s society. With the theme of overcoming mental challenges, it had a lot of action in warrior fighting and combat. I was glued to it because even in the less action-packed parts of the book, the author John Flanagan still made it interesting and the descriptive language made it easier to imagine the setting and the appearance of the characters which made it much more enjoyable. The ending was easy to understand and linked well with the next book in the Brotherband series “The Invaders”

I recommend this book to young teens and and adults between 12 and 25 who are interested in warriors and combat and enjoy tactics and action. This book is a very satisfying read. I’d rate the book 4 out of 5.

Thomas H., Year 8

June 9

‘First Light’ by Rebecca Stead

First LightThea has never seen the sun. Her world lies deep within a glacier. Peter, a city boy, has arrived at Greenland with his parents. There he is troubled with strange visions that lead him to a crevice in the glacier. What happens when these people from two very different worlds meet? If you enjoy adventure and fantasy books then First Light is the book for you!

First Light is about Thea, a girl who lives deep within a glacier, and Peter, a boy who goes to Greenland with his parents while they study climate change. Thea has always wondered what it would be like above the ice, and her curiosity takes over her as she and her friend Mattias explore a tunnel, leading them to the unknown. Peter is no stranger to adventure, so one day he goes exploring in the snow and soon discovers a red light. The red light turns out to be a glowing ring, but before he can find out anything else about the ring, he becomes temporarily blinded. When he finally regains his vision, he knows his life will never be the same.

I really enjoyed the book First Light by Rebecca Stead because of its marvellous storyline about a boy and a girl from two very different worlds that eventually meet. This particular plot really intrigues me because it is like nothing I have ever read before, making it very unique. I was drawn to the way Stead wrote because it was very descriptive and made me picture the characters and scenes throughout the book. The descriptive language made it very easy for me to imagine the scenes in my head. The story progressed perfectly with just enough suspense and plot twists to keep my full attention. I just kept wanting to read more and more. I couldn’t put the book down!

I would recommend this book to girls and boys aged between 10 and 15 who enjoy adventure and fantasy books. This book is medium difficulty and suitable for both genders. This book is truly a great read. I would rate the novel First Light 3 out of 5 stars.

Ashley R., Year 8

……

First Light by Rebecca Stead

Thea has never seen the sun. Her whole entire life she has been living deep down within icy glaciers. Peter, a 12 year old boy, is about to leave New York City on a journey to assist his father in studying Greenland climate change.

Shortly before they leave for Greenland, Peter experiences irritating headaches that lead him to seeing scary visions. At the same time, Thea dreams of a path to the Earth’s surface. She hopes that one day Grace-Hope will return above the ice and she will find out the truth behind her mother’s death. Peter’s search for answers brings him even closer to Thea’s hidden home. Does this sound like a book that you would like to read? Then First Light is the book for you!

First Light by Rebecca Stead has to be one of the most gripping stories I have ever read. Stead has described the amazing adventures that Thea and Peter embark on during the novel in an intriguing way. Once I had picked the novel up I couldn’t put it back down. Each page led you deeper into the story unravelling the secrets of Grace-Hope. Each scene was detailed and made me feel as if I was there myself. Stead kept the excitement running through the entire book and made me want to read her other novels, which I did and they were just as amazing as First Light.

I do recommend this novel for anyone with a great imagination who enjoys adventure fantasy books. This novel is versatile for both genders and is a great read but not too difficult to understand either. I would rate this novel a 4 out of 5 stars. Trust me, once you read the first line of the novel you won’t be able to put it down.

Holly. M // Year 8

November 30

‘The Adoration of Jenna Fox’ by Mary E. Person

Jenna Fox“I used to be someone…

Someone named Jenna Fox

Well that’s what they tell me.”

If you are into futuristic novels, The Adoration of Jenna Fox written by Mary E. Person is one of the best books to read. Jenna Fox was just a normal teenage girl until the accident. After being in a coma for a year, Jenna is about to discover who she really is, gradually putting the pieces together. With Jenna’s family having to hide secrets and move far away due to the use of illegal medical research and sources to keep Jenna alive, Jenna slowly discovers that she may not be a normal teenage girl after all. With that knowledge her life will change forever. Memories documented on video from nearly every day of her life help her try to remember what life was before the accident.

This book makes you question everything like: Why does Jenna’s Grandmother Lily have so much hatred towards Jenna? What is her family keeping from her that could be so bad? Why does Jenna’s neighbour know so much about her? Will he inform Jenna how and what he knows about what happened to her?

I enjoyed this book very much, because the plot was amazing with its intriguing twists and perfect amount of suspense. It just made you continue turning the page wanting to know more and more about the life of Jenna Fox. I like how we are thrown into the story right away, knowing as much as Jenna, the story not being dragged on and boring. You follow her story right until the end, knowing her fears, what she learns and experiencing what she experiences. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good read associated with fantasy/Sci-Fi and a hint of romance thrown into the mix.

Arabella G, Year 9

November 27

‘Legend’ by Marie Lu

legend_coverSet in the future when plague spreads the land, war is ongoing between the republic and colonies and the government is corrupt, an unlikely story occurs.

Day is a most wanted criminal, raised in the poor suburbs. His mother thinks he is dead, nonetheless he does all he can to protect his family. But when his youngest brother, Eden, falls ill with the plague, Day has to do whatever he can to raise enough money to buy expensive plague cures.

June is the highest ranking in her class scoring the only perfect score on the trial (test). Her beloved brother, Metias, who is the captain of the republic’s army, raises her. When Metias dies, all the evidence points to Day. June sets out to avenge her brother’s death. When June and Day meet by chance, they both end up falling for each other and once June discovers the truth about the government and what really happened to her brother and parents, June risks everything to save Day.

This novel is one of an exciting trilogy. Legend is a book that’s impossible to put down, incorporating romance, adventure and lots of twists. The book is perfectly written to suit teenagers between the ages of 12 and 16.

Madison, Year 9

……..

Day is the most wanted criminal, providing for his family on the streets; June is a student at the university, training to become an agent for the Republic. Day murdered June’s brother and she has sworn to avenge his death.

Set in the future, two colonies are at war: the Patriots and the Republic. This book is mainly set in the Republic of America, where a fatal plague is spreading throughout the communities.

June Iparis is an intelligent young girl who doesn’t follow the rules. She is most famous for her perfect trial (test) score, which no one has ever achieved. Her older brother Metias, who is a military officer for the Republic, raised her as her parents died when she was young. June and Metias have an unbreakable bond, and if anything were to happen to either of them, they wouldn’t be able to live without each other. June is the smartest person in the entire republic, and shows her skills when she is appointed to a new job: going undercover for the Republic to locate the Republic’s most wanted criminal.

Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. At the age of fifteen he steals and manipulates people to provide for his family who live in the slums of the Republic. Day has two brothers: one older – John, and one younger – Eden, who has been diagnosed with the fatal plague that has been spreading among the slums of the Republic. The plague has a cure, with a cost of wealth, something that Day and his family do not have. The only way to save Eden is by stealing a vial of the cure from the guarded science labs in the hospital.

Metias is at the hospital on one fatal night guarding the cure, but Day manages to convince other guard to let him into the labs. When Day steals the vial of medicine, he ends up on the streets being chased by Metias. When Metias pulls out his gun to shoot Day, he throws a knife at Metias’s shoulder that should have only injured him, but ends up killing him. Day manages to escape, but June has sworn to avenge Metias’ death, and was given the task to hunt down and kill Day.

This book is amazing and it really captures your attention and makes you not want to put the book down. It is filled with plot twists and it is the ultimate game of cat and mouse. This book captivates the audience with a perfect balance of action, adventure, mystery and a little bit of romance. I would recommend this book for teenagers of both genders between 12 and 16. If you liked the Hunger Games Trilogy, then you will love this epic book.

Sienna K., Year 9

……..

“Brave thoughts, but am I ready to follow through on them?”

In the future country we now know as The United States of America, government has divided the population into two groups according to their wealth. People’s statuses define who they are in society and where they stand. Fifteen-year-old June Iparis, born into one of the richest sectors in the country, is known as the first ever Republic Military Prodigy. They worship her and her abilities even though her attitude can get in the way of the goal they would like to reach. They would never risk losing such a talented being, especially in their society. She lives with her older brother Metias and can sometimes push his patience as he constantly finds himself being pulled from his work to save her from troubles. But on the day of her brother’s murder, June finds herself looking for vengeance against the city’s most wanted criminal – Day.

Day was born into the poorest sector. He lives for his family and if anything gets between them, he goes so far as to risk his life for them. He does not live at home and instead provides for them at a distance. His unlawful status was achieved by many different crimes, none of which included murder, until the night of an attempted hospital break in.

June is put in charge of her brother’s murder investigation due to her hunger for justice against the killer, who is suspected to be Day. She is so determined to find Day that when she does, she is forced to rethink what she wants compared to what she needs.

The story progression in this book was very intriguing and grabbed your attention at every turn of the page. It had a unique feature and that was that it was written from the perspectives of both of the main characters, June and Day. This really gave the book more facts and details compared to other novels. The dual points of view also mean that you don’t have to necessarily assume what happened between the other characters or even what they were thinking. The transitions between the two characters were very smooth. When switching narrators, the story either repeated the event from another totally different perspective or it carried on from where it had left off. There was never a part where it jumped to another different scene. Overall the book was amazing and filled with high suspense, energy and even some romance.

Other book series that are very close to this trilogy are the ‘Hunger Games Trilogy’ and the ‘Divergent’ series. If you found you liked these two very much then I would highly advise you to read Legend, along with Prodigy and Champion. These are the other novels in the series, and both continue the story very well.

Jade J., Year 9

November 26

‘The Young Elites’ by Marie Lu

17984141Malfettos are survivors of the plague known as the blood fever, cast aside by everyone, even their loved ones, hunted down by inquisitors, all because they are marked, but some of these malfettos have manifested powers. They are called the young Elites.

The Young Elites is set in a medieval fantasy world at a time after a tragic plague has struck the land and follows one of the survivors named Adelina Amouteru on her journey. Adelina grew up with an abusive father a mother and a little sister, Violetta, in a wealthy home. When she was young, her mum, her sister and she were all infected with the blood fever. Only she and her sister survived costing Adelina an eye. Because her little sister and she were marked, her father’s business suffered, which would lead to her father constantly hurting and teasing her.

The story starts off showing Adelina eavesdropping on her father having a conversation, were he bargains her off to a man. This was the last straw for her. She ran off starting the adventure that is The Young Elites. Without spoiling too much of the story, Adelina is captured by the Inquisitors and the leader of the Young Elites saves her life. He reveals himself to be the son of the king, Enzo, who was banished from the kingdom for being a malfetto. He reveals to her his plans to overthrow the new king who has ruined the kingdom. From this point Adelina is trained by the Young Elites to use her powers of creating illusions as part of Enzo’s master plan.

The story of The Young Elites was different and more entertaining than my usual reads, and although it is set in a fantasy world, the characters’ interactions and emotions were very grounded. Everything they did had an affect on the main plot. The main character also made this story very interesting. Instead of having a cliché protagonist they have a realistic and dark hero with a tragic past. I would recommend this book to people who like good character interaction, a little edginess from their books, fantasy and action.

Gil T., Year 9

November 26

‘Through the Zombie Glass’ by Gena Showalter

51Qmec1oHoL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Alice Bell, also known as Ali in the book, has lost everything: her family, friends and her home.

Ali’s family was killed in a car crash and she is now left to live with her nan and Mr Ankh. Mr Ankh was a doctor that Ali and her nan lived with. He offered to have them after they could not afford to live anywhere else.

Ali is not an everyday teenage girl. She can go into spirit form to hunt zombies and she can see her dead sister in spirit form. Ali’s sister gives everyone warning when there is a zombie attack coming by putting a rabbit cloud in the sky. All the zombie slayers can see the zombies and can go into spirit form to fight the zombies and save the town.

After a new zombie attack, strange things began to happen to Ali. Mirrors started coming alive, whispers of the dead assaulted her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things and she has very sudden urges of hunger. What is happening to Ali? No one knows but how long can she stay like this?

I really enjoyed this story as it was full of action and there were no dull moment in the book. The book was very well written to keep the audience entertained the whole time. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fiction read. This book would be aimed at teenagers rather than young adults. I would rate this book a 7 out of 10.

Madison, Year 9

November 26

‘Ship Breaker’ by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship breakerWelcome to a world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer. Nailer lives on Bright Sands Beach in America and earns a living or quota by stripping copper from old rusty ships. He lives with his dad who is always sliding high and killing people.

Nailer comes close to death after being involved in an accident whilst stripping copper, after his co-worker betrays him and leaves him to die. Nailer is then faced with a massive decision that could change his life forever: go back to normal life or hit a ‘lucky strike’ and meet the most beautiful and wealthy girl ever, after everything he has known changes in the blink of an eye. But his dad has already found out about this and is coming to take it for his own and Nailer must get out before his dad finds out. He chooses to flee his home and enter a dangerous war between swanks. Nailer begins hunting for what he thinks is the right thing to do but at the same time he is being hunted. He then finds himself boarding a sinking clipper and having to fight for his life.

Personally I don’t do much reading anymore and when I was told to read the book Ship Breaker I was quite surprised to find myself reading it in my own time because of how well it kept me interested. There is a lot going on and even I felt a bit scared at times because of how well it was written. I highly recommend this book for people who like a bit of thrill, gore, suspense and action. This book is good for people in their young teens. It is a reasonably short book and none of the scenes are slow and boring; they’re full of action and depth. Also if you don’t mind a bit of creativity the novel will suit you, because there are a few cool characters.

Jake S, Year 9

 

November 25

‘I am Number Four’ by Pittacus Lore

I AM NUMBER FOURThree are dead. Six remain. John Smith is number four, therefore he will be the next to be hunted down by the vicious Mogadorians.

The story is set in Ohio, one of the many places John has lived with his guardian Henri. Since John and Henri are always on the run hiding from the Mogadorians, they need to change identities and live in completely different states or cities.

John is also known on Lorien as a Garde, which means he develops powers which can help him defeat the Mogadorians but it’s taking time for him to get them. He isn’t meant to stay attached to people but that was until he got himself a girlfriend.

Henri is John’s Cepan (guardian). He stays with John for the rest of his life helping him control his powers and keeping him out of trouble and harm.

Sarah is John’s new girlfriend from the rural town John now lives in. She is the daughter of the real-estate agent that sold John and Henri their new house. Sarah also loves photography.

Sam is obsessed with aliens. This was because of his dad also liking them but then disappearing without a trace. Sam is bullied at school and is lonely until he becomes John’s best friend.

Mark is the school bully and Sarah’s ex-boyfriend. He loves football and his two dogs. He hates John for liking Sarah because even though they broke up he still wants to be with her.

There were nine Lorien kids. Three are dead and John Smith is number four. There is a charm where the alien children must die in a certain number sequence. John has been training so that he can fight the Mogadorians with his new found legacies (powers) in order to save their planet and go home. John wants to learn everything about his past, about when his planet was invaded and his parents died, but everything comes and goes in bits and pieces from dreams and when he’s training to get his legacies (powers), John was told not to get too attached to places or people because he needs to be able to leave at any moment but instead he gets a girlfriend, a best friend and a very strange dog.

There is romance, suspense and drama to enjoy in this great book therefore I would recommend this story for boys but mainly girls in their teen years because the book is long and has violence and science fiction themes.

Lachlan P. Year 9

……

Number Four isn’t from here. He’s a Garde from a planet called Lorien, a planet that was destroyed by a wicked alien race called the Mogdorians, who ruined their own planet through their ignorance and lack of care. Nine children and nine guardians escaped the planet during the destruction, Number Four being one of them, in the hope that they will eventually be able to return to their planet and fight the Mogdorians.

I must admit that normally I don’t read alien-themed books. However, I Am Number Four had me hooked from the blurb, which is really rather impressive, as I tend not to like judging books by their covers. What I really loved, though, was the alien races and what we learnt about them. The Mogdorians were horrible, obviously, but the Loriens were awesome: from the way they cared for their planet and all on it, to the way they love – one partner forever, one true soul mate. Amazing world building!

I saw some of the twists coming, but there were lots I couldn’t predict. If I’d had the time, I would have been more than happy to just sit and devour the three-hundred-and-sixty-odd paged book all in one go. I think this is a must-read for anyone who loves to be hooked from the word go, even if you aren’t necessarily a sci-fi fan, like myself. The movie was amazing and really lived up to the novel, if you ask me. I am hoping more than anything that The Power of Six will be made into a film too, because it will be even better!

Patrick C., Year 9

——

Are you bored and want a book that you just can’t get enough of? Something with adventure, romance and action? I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, (the pseudonym  of James Frey and Jobie Hughes), is the right book for you!

This novel for teens draws readers into a high-paced adventure story, written in first person by a literally ‘out of this world’ boy, Number Four or John, and his guardian Henri who, with eighteen others, has escaped their home planet after it was devastated by another alien race, the Mongadorians , and escaped to earth. However the Mongadorians followed, but luckily nine of the children have been blessed with a charm where they can only die in order (1,2,3 etc.) which is foretold by the scars placed on their ankles. As Number Four has now turned sixteen, he has been given a new and third scar, meaning that he is next to die.

Personally, when I was reading this book, I just couldn’t stop, as much of this language was suited to my taste. The suspense and thrilling action made me sit on the edge of my seat.

I would recommend this novel to an audience of 12 to16-year-olds of both genders as the plot would be too advanced for young children to understand., and too simple for adults. However, it is perfect for teens, as it engages us with the characters and story.

So, for many teens like myself, this is a ‘must read’ novel, especially for those who enjoy adventure and action, so I would give this book a rating of 4¾ out of 5 stars.

Kim, Year 9

November 25

‘Shiver’ by Maggie Stiefvater

ShiverTo be honest with you, I haven’t really ever read any of Maggie Stiefvater’s work, not until now!

We were all given books to read and fortunately I was given ‘Shiver’ and I think it was one of the best books I have ever read. In this wonderful, amazing book there are two main characters, who pretty much made up of the book, Grace Brisbane and Sam Roth. Sam for six years has been watching and waiting for this one special girl Grace but not as you would expect. Sam when he was seven years of age was violently bitten by wolves and the toxic venom caused him to change into a werewolf as well. After Grace was dragged off her swing set and attacked by wolves he has been waiting for her to change so he can help her settle in but she never did. On the seventh year of waiting for Grace to change, they finally meet in person after Sam got shot in the neck and out of adrenaline changed into a human. Ever since they met they have fallen deeper in love but time is running out for Sam and they need to find a cure before it is too late.

For me, once you start reading this book it would be very difficult to put it down. I don’t think much young people could relate turning into a werewolf in the winter but young people can relate to the love and life problems that occur in the book. I would recommend this book to any teenage girls, who love heart-filled spectacular books. I can guarantee that this book will be one of your favourites books of all time.

Riley K, Year 9

……..

I read this book and almost cried because it is beautifully written.

A little town called Mercy Falls is on the edge of a forest where the wolves live, including Grace’s favourite wolf. They normally hang out in Grace’s house or in the parking lot at Grace’s high school. She sees them when Sam drops her off to school and when picks her up as school finishes.

Grace is your everyday teenage girl. From my point of view, I don’t find anything special about her. She has the teenage sense of humour and an obsession with coffee. And then there is Sam; he is Grace’s ‘True Love’ and ‘her wolf’. At first, he is charming and then witty, then shy. He keeps on being shy for too long and then at the end of the book he starts to let Grace in and he really became Sam.

Sam doesn’t let anything go lightly and thinks about everything thoroughly, not to mention the flow of music lyrics forming in his brain at every situation.

My favourite character would probably be Isobel. She is the rich girl you would think was not a nice person, which is true at the start of the story, or at least that’s how the author lets her seem to be. But at the end of the book she helps Grace and Sam, biting her tongue the whole time. She is sassy and puts a kick into the story.

They mainly mention Beck in memories but he appears in person during the middle of the novel. Beck is the closest thing Sam has to a father. He is responsible and takes care of every wolf in the pack.

Lastly, Jack Culpeper is Isobel’s brother and is known to be dead at the start of the book but actually is going through the transition of a werewolf. He is cocky, arrogant and has no control over his temper and wolf form.

Grace never felt like she fitted in: quiet, sweet, obedient Grace.

What she did feel, it was when she felt the pull to the woods next to her house, but most of all, the lure and longing of ‘her wolf.’ Her life and love life changes when a shooting occurs in the forest. The love that blossoms when this boy enters her life is too much to let him turn back into a wolf so she tries to find a cure for his wolf side.

This book is beautifully written in the way that the characters are explained. You always know what’s going on in both of the main characters’ heads because the author frequently tells the story from two points of view.

I also love the plot. It has so many questions that get tied in at the end and it made me want to read the other books in the series.

I would recommend this to all teenage girls who love a good old romance fantasy. It will make your heart stop. It has a bit of humour, mystery, fantasy and a lot of love.

Emma J, Year 9