November 1

‘The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp’ by Rick Yancey

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is a slow going and long book about a boy called Alfred Kropp who is a normal high school student. The trouble starts when his uncle talks him into a get rich quick scheme to steal the legendary sword of King Arthur, Excalibur. As the fight between good and evil begins, he falls in love with a girl, finds out who he really is and that the world is not what he thought it was.

At the beginning of the book the story line is slow and the plot goes nowhere until Chapter 3 where the story line speeds up and becomes less boring. Once the adventure begins it becomes an OK book because it goes over every day things that teenagers go through like bullying, fitting in and that little bit of love story in the book.

In my opinion the book is still boring and overall I still didn’t like the book. But it reminded me of the Da Vinci code: a little adventure, history and a little bit of conspiracy. I would recommend this book to people that like a bit of adventure, romance, history and some conspiracy elements. If you do, this book is for you. Dakota, Year 9


The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is an action/adventure book written by Rick Yancey.

The book’s plot is about the title character, the eponymous hero of the novel: Alfred Kropp. The plot involves Alfred retrieving the ancient sword, Excalibur, from the hands of his enemy, Mogat, who wishes to do evil with the sword.

Immediately, the book throws down most of their character’s personalities and the stereotypes that come with them. The book’s titular character echoes stereotypes from books such as Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, for example: Both Harry and Alfred are 11 year old boys with some “special” ability and both are orphans living with their uncle. The book uses these techniques to quickly and effectively identify with its target audience.

Alfred is called upon to retrieve a stolen item from his uncle’s Boss, where monks attack him. However, Alfred defend himself against them and manages to escape from the building, where his uncle is shot and killed by his employer Mogat and the sword is taken from him.

Alfred moves into the home of a foster family, where he is bored and spends a lot of his time in the city, often alone, dealing with common issues of kids and teenagers of not fitting in. Eventually, he is found and put on another quest to retrieve the sword from Mogat who wishes to do evil with it.

The pacing of the book is poor. The book begins excitedly, but then lowers down and is often a chore to read in the middle of the book, but it excitedly picks up again.

The book itself has a lot of laughs and a lot of action, but older readers will most likely not find the more simple humour and action of this book funny or exciting. It uses less descriptive language and is blunt and concise in its descriptions.

In conclusion, the book knows who its target audience is and writes solely to them. Despite the number of plot clichés and stereotypes as well as the poor prose and pacing of the book, the book could be a lot of fun for younger readers. I recommend the book only to kids from the age of 9-13 who will get the book’s humour and be able to overlook the many weaknesses of the book. Camilo, Year 9


If you have ever wondered what a modern day knight would look like, this book has the answers.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp starts off with a teenager named Alfred Kropp living with his Uncle Farrell, who works as a security guard. Alfred attends high school, just like any other teenager, but finds it difficult to fit in. Alfred and his Uncle Farrell live a normal life, but not for much longer. Suddenly, a man named Arthur Myers calls Uncle Farrell, offering him one million dollars for the return of a sword, which was stolen by Uncle Farrell’s boss. The quest is handed over to Alfred, meaning that it’s now his job to steal the sword back. The story is now set and from then involves many twists that will leave you not wanting to put the book down, with a teenage boy saving the world with characters like knights and monks.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is a fun, humorous fantasy book that I enjoyed but wouldn’t pick up to read again. I would recommend this book to a 12+ teenage boy who loves fantasy and enjoys reading a lot. Although the book has some great twists, the introduction was slow and should’ve started off with a bang. Lucky enough towards the end of the book it became more interesting and edgy. Overall I would rate the book a 7 out of 10, this is because I think the book should have started off as good as the end. The reason I recommend it to the age group of 12+ is because of the situations that wouldn’t be suitable for any age group below like the brutal deaths throughout the book. James, Year 9


This book is well written and includes several twists to keep you guessing what is going to happen next, however this isn’t necessarily a good thing. The length of the book means that by the end you are getting frustrated at how nothing seems to happen how you expect.

It has plenty of action and adventure, however people who like that sort of book usually enjoy a short easy to follow read. This book was anything but. I found myself forcing myself to read it to the end which is not enjoyable.

Despite its faults, I did enjoy when it replaced something stereotypical with something better such as when Alfred stole the sword he was attacked by monks instead of armed guards. I found it amusing as well as leaving me wanting to read on and find out why monks were guarding the sword.

Overall, this book would be enjoyable for people who like long, hard to follow actions, however most of this book did not appeal to me at all. Jake, Year 9

November 1

‘I Am Number Four’ by Pittacus Lore

This time in Literature Circles my group of friends and I decided to choose a book named I Am Number Four. This book is about an alien boy named Daniel Jones. He has to escape from his killers and fears, so Daniel and his bodyguard named Henri move to Earth. He has to keep a low profile and change his name to John Smith. He moves to Ohio and soon after decides to go to school. He then meets a girl named Sarah with whom he is deeply in love, but he doesn’t show it.

That was just a short summary of the first couple of chapters, but what amazes me is that it shows many genres in just a short amount of time: there’s romance, action and sc-fi and the list goes on.

This book is great for all ages to read, and suits almost every genre. Another good point about this book is that on one hand Daniel Jones is an alien killing machine and on the other hand John Smith is a kind, gentle, loving person. It’s hard for him to live two lives and have two personalities at the same time without anyone knowing who he really is. He has to hide his powers and only use them for dangerous encounters.

This book obviously has its low points, which are that the story is a bit cliché and you can sometimes predict what’s going to happen next, however there are a lot of great points that make up for those mistakes. My group and I loved this book and enjoyed working together. I hope to read another book like this one, and I would highly recommend that people read this book.

By Ryan year 9


Hunted down by the Mogadorians, nine escaped to earth.

“Number one was killed in Malaysia, number  two was murdered in England and number three was hunted down in Kenya.”(Book cover). Number Four is next. Taking the name John Smith, Four has to hide from the Mogadorians.

I Am Number Four” is a thrilling story about Four, an alien from Lorien on the run being hunted down by the Mogadorians. He takes the name John Smith and moves into Ohio to avoid the Mogadorians.

I really like this book because of the pace. The book did not have any slow paced parts. I kept on reading the book because we know that Four needs to be killed because he is next in order. This book will keep you wondering how it’s going to end. The book has a theme of bullying and romance. Four has a relationship with Sarah Haart. This relationship causes a rivalry with Mark James and creates a theme of bullying.

Overall, I liked the book. I would recommend this book to boys and girls between ages 12-18. This book would suit people who like aliens, school life and suspense. Over all I like the book and I would recommend this book to any one in the teenage age group. Markus, Year 9


There were nine of them, now six. They escaped from Lorien, their home planet, fled to earth, now being hunted. Interested yet? If not, go pick up this book. I guarante you will be hooked on this action packed science fiction/fantasy novel.

The storyline of this novel is a very broad, yet basic idea for a science fiction/fantasy novel. It is about a planet called Lorien, which is then invaded by the Mogadorians who are after Lorien’s resources. Only a few escape the planet and flee to earth; nine people who are supposed to defeat the Mogadorians and rebuild the planet of Lorien. The main characters consist of Number 4 and Henri. Number 4 comes from his number in the list of 9. He is Number 4, the hero, a blonde haired boy who is constantly on the move from the Mogadorians, a clique. He never knew his parents. He is supposed to hone his skills and learn about his abilities and powers and eventually meet the other 8 people with powers and defeat the Mogadorians.

On Number 4’s journey he meets friends who, after they figure out what he is capable of, help him to hone his skills. Henri is Number 4’s caretaker as you might call it. He is there to protect and look after Number 4. Henri is also to help teach Number 4 about his powers, and teach him about their planet’s history and what 4 is supposed to do.

This novel didn’t interest me at first mainly because I am not a big reader. But looks were deceiving and it had me hooked from the first page till the end. I liked this book because the story was extremely gripping and I didn’t want to put the book down because I just wanted to keep finding out what was going to happen.

I would recommend this book to a teenage audience because it has many things a teenager could relate to, such as high school relationships and bullying. But it also has other themes that could keep a teenager interested, such as the action from the fights. Overall I would rate this 4 out of 5 mainly because not every type of audience could relate to it.

Adam, Year 9.

November 1

‘Point Blanc’ by Anthony Horowitz

Point Blanc is a spy thriller set in London around 2008. It is a gripping thriller involving a young boy and his mission to find out what happened to his uncle. Alex is the young boy who faces many challenges which sees him develop into a skillful spy. The truth about his uncle’s death is what drives Alex, but frustration and confusion haunt him as he struggles to get the answers he is seeking.

The book starts off with an assassination attempt on a rich man. They make a 3D hologram of a lift’s floor so when he walks into the lift he will fall 200 meters to his death. Alex is immediately involved in solving the crime and fine tuning his skills as a spy. Alex is put on his first mission as MI6 found out about the death of a multi millionaire. What Alex doesn’t realise is that he faces this challenge alone. Alex must put all his knowledge and skills to the test as he must try to uncover the death of the millionaire and find out about his uncles death.

From dropping boats on police stations to facing life-threatening decisions in armed situations, the book reaches its climax when all of Alex’s investigations lead him closer than he has ever been to solving his uncle’s death. Answers arrive for Alex but at the same time more questions need to be asked. Jarrad, Year 9


     “Alex Rider, teenage superspy, is back!”(Point Blanc back of book cover)

Alex Rider is an agent in M16 (British Secret Service). Alex is called upon again by M16 because of two mysterious deaths and there is only one connection between them: Point Blanc.

Alex is only 14 so he is the perfect to infiltrate Point Blanc. Point Blanc is a school for troubled children with rich parents but Alex is not troubled nor does he have rich parents, so for him to get into the school he has to go under cover. Alex goes under cover in a rich family but their daughter takes an instant disliking to Alex and so do her friends.

I liked this book because of its constant action like hunting gone wrong and a near miss with a train. I would recommend this book to teenage boys or any one who likes a good action packed book. Kyle, year 9


Point Blanc is a spy thriller and action story set in London around 2000. It is an attention-grabbing thriller involving a boy and his operation to find out what happened to his uncle. Alex is the boy who is faced with many challenges which are teaching him to develop into a skillful spy. The truth about his uncle’s death is what drives Alex, but frustration and confusion haunt him as he struggles to get the answers he is seeking. 

The book starts off with a murder of a rich man. The person who killed him made a 3D hologram of a lift the exact same as his private lift so when he walks into the lift he will fall 200 meters to his death. Alex is immediately involved in solving the crime and modifying his skills as a spy. Alex is put on his first mission as MI6 found out about the death of a multi millionaire. What Alex doesn’t realise is that he faces this challenge alone. Alex must put all his knowledge and skills to the test, as he must try to uncover the death of the millionaire.

From driving cranes and committing crimes to facing life-threatening decisions in armed situations, the book reaches its climax when all of Alex’s investigations lead him closer than he has ever been to solving his uncle’s death.

Joel Year 9



He must be walking down the mountainside.” Anthony Horowitz

The story is set at Alex’s school. The main character is called Alex Rider and he works for the MI6. He is 14 and goes to school.

When Alex comes back from a mission for MI6 he sees a drug dealer selling drugs to kids. He decides to follow the drug dealer to see where he makes the drugs. Skoda, who is the drug dealer, gets to his place where he makes the drugs. The place where he makes them is on a little boat next to the police station and also next to a construction site. There’s a big crane in the site so Alex decides to climb up the ladder of the crane and picks the boat up and…

I liked the book because it’s full of action and it’s a really good adventure book. I also like the character Alex because he’s really smart when he tries not to be seen. I also like that he works for MI6, which is a secret agents’ place.

I would recommend this book to people aged from 13 to 16 for boys because it’s a really good action book and full of adventures.

 Jack, Year 9


November 1

‘Ice Station’ by Matthew Reilly

“Strap yourself in for the ride…what follows is action, action and more action” quotes a reporter from the Daily Telegraph and they couldn’t have given any better advice. Ice Station is the most fast-paced, mind-blowing and unputdownable book you will ever read.

Wilkes Ice station is a remote research facility on the coast of Antarctica occupied by a team of mild-mannered scientists hoping to one day make a major discovery under the hundred thousand year old ice shelf. When one of the drills hits something made of metal, a diving team is sent down to investigate. They were never heard from again. The last message that was sent back to the station was muffled screams of monsters and a ‘spaceship’. This is when the residents of Wilkes decide they will need more help.

Enter the USMC or United States Marine Core. A tough-as-nails crew led by the mysterious Lieutenant Commander Shane ‘Scarecrow’ Schofield. The marines enter the station thinking that this mission will be a piece of cake. Secure the residents of the station, secure the spaceship and wait for reinforcements to arrive. But their plans go awry when a hovercraft is found down in a deep crevice. Inside the hovercraft – bodies; dead bodies of the American scientists supposedly sent to a neighbouring station accompanied by the French scientists who are nowhere to be found. Which could only mean one thing. The French are actually a rival military team, the French Paratroopers. Armed with crossbows, they launch a full-scale attack and catch the marines off guard. From then onwards the research facility becomes a battlefield.

I really enjoyed the book, ‘Ice Station’ because it is all about trust and what people would risk to become famous. The book was absolutely full of action and I lay awake some nights just constantly reading and wondering what would happen next. Matthew Reilly has done a massive amount of research on the US marines and the type of weapons that they use along with the vehicles as well. The credibility gained from this research helps make the book so easy to understand; the reader can make sense of what’s happening.

I would recommend this book to mainly males aged between 13 and 30 who are interested in sci-fi action thrillers. Once again this book was unputdownable and I would stay up late at night, constantly intrigued about what would happen next. I rate it 4/5 stars because although it is a fantastic book it is sometimes a little too far fetched.

By Dan, aged 14


At a remote US ice station in Antarctica, Wilks Ice Station, the diving team was doing their job, diving. But they were all killed by mysterious activity. At the same time, the scientist of the station made a huge, blow your mind, amazing discovery. They found something buried underneath a layer of ice that was 400 million years old.

This thing was made out of metal. This thing should not be here; this thing is a discovery of a lifetime, something men will kill for. To secure the discovery of this thing for their nation, a team of US Marines led by the enigmatic Lieutenant Shane Schofield, or Scarecrow, rush to the ice station in Antarctica.

Other countries have found out about this discovery and would just about do anything to have this thing. Scarecrow’s men are all tough. All of them were set to follow their leader to the deepest pits of hell.

This book was about people trying to own this amazing thing. They would fight to the death for it. I like this book because of its breathtaking action scenes and the bonds that people have with one another. One thing I liked about this book was the main character, Shane Schofield or Scarecrow. This man is filled with mysteries and dark secrets. I like main characters that are interesting and have a dark background so this book was the perfect choice.

I recommend this book to people who like machinery, war and hardcore actions. I rate this book 4.5/5. The action and the story is the best thing that make this book good. So I recommend reading it ASAP!

Hanna, Year 9


Ice Station takes place on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. It begins when a group of American scientists working there discovers something deep in the ancient ice. The “something” is made of metal, which means it was created by an intelligent race millions of years before. Almost every country in the world is after the technology inside the spacecraft.

This is a nonstop, roller-coaster ride of a novel that I was eager to finish. It jumps from action scene to action scene and creating an elaborate story that kept me reading.

The whole thing is fast paced and interesting, with many plot twists and surprises on every page.

By Dante, Year 9

November 1

‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne

It was a time of change. It was time of anarchy, a time of war…

Nine year-old Bruno’s life changed the day he came home from school to find his maid packing his belongings into boxes, even the things he’d hidden at the back of his wardrobe that belonged to him and were nobody else’s business. Little did Bruno know that within those boxes were the remains of his life in Berlin. Bruno and his family have been required by the all powerful ‘Fury’ to leave their home, their friends and their life and move to a miserable place, where there are no other kids to play with and no secret crevices in their house to explore, to ‘Out-With’. But there is something going on at ‘Out-With’ that Bruno doesn’t know about. Why is there a fence? Who are those people in the striped pyjamas on the other side? What are they doing there? These are all questions that Bruno is faced with and one day he decides to explore and find out.

I really enjoyed this book ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ because it is a story that captivates your mind and keeps you guessing what is going to happen next. John Boyne’s writing technique and use of words takes you back in time and makes you feel like you are experiencing life in that period of time and puts you in the shoes of the people who lived back then.

I recommend this book to young teens of any gender between the ages of 11 and 15 who are interested in exciting and suspenseful novels. This book is truly a great book and I think everyone should give it a read. I rate the book ‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas’ 3 out of 5 stars. Ciara, Year 9.


The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne

Powerful, interesting, brutal and depressing are just some of the words that describe how this book impacted on me and I believe it is due to this mix of emotions which makes the reader so intrigued to read on.

The story is set in Berlin, Germany where the five characters live happily as a family.  The main character the book is centred on, Bruno, is a nine year old boy.  He has an older sister Gretel who Bruno thinks is a hopeless case, a Father who is one of the main Generals of the Nazi Army, his Mother and also the Housemaid who was brought into the family by the Father when she was three years old.

The story starts with Bruno arriving home from school one day to see his belongings packed away in large suitcases.  He later finds out he has to move to another location away from Berlin with his family, leaving his friends and school behind.   After arriving at his new destination he soon realises that it is quite remote and dull with no other children to play with.  Bruno spends many days before attending school looking out the window near his bedroom and watching the groups of children behind the barbed wire fence wondering who they were, what they were doing and whey they looked so miserable.

Then one day after living at his new house for a little while, he met one of the boys who was encaged behind the fence named Shmuel.  Shmuel was small, skinny, very pale and had a shaved head, and after meeting him, Bruno would visit him every day after school.  His new friend who would be sitting cross-legged waiting for him and they would then talk for ages about the past and present.  Over time he grew rather fond of staying at his new house mostly because of his new friend Shmuel, but he was happy in the end.

To his disappointment, he found out that in a couple of days they were going to move, so Bruno organised to go over to the other side of the fence with Schmuel to play with him and to try and find his missing Papa.  Not all goes well.

I liked this book because of its storyline. I was interested in what things were like back in those days, and the concepts of how life was.  I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults. Although it is an easy read, it takes a bit of knowledge to understand exactly what is going on.  I would highly recommend this book nevertheless.

Denny, Year 9

May 10

“First Light” by Rebecca Stead

First Light is written by award winning author Rebecca Stead. First light follows a journey of mystery and adventure that was captivating and memorable. I am not much of a reader but I loved this book because it grabbed my attention.
Set in the present day in Greenland under a glacier, Peter and Thea, the main characters form a friendship and work through their issues. While it is delving into Peter’s life, he gets the opportunity to travel to Greenland with his family as his dad studies climate change. First Light is an interesting story that engages the audience and is convincing.  Rebecca Stead writes from the perspective of both Peter and Thea giving the story more depth.
I loved the story because it grabbed my attention when Peter and Thea met which made me want to keep reading.  The highlight of this story is where Peter had to work out his headache problem and Thea working out how her mother died.  I personally would recommend this book to 10-14 years old because it is a book not only for girls but for boys too and it would be something both genders would be interested in.  First Light, captivating and memorable.
I would rate this book a 4½ out of 5.  Grace, Year 8


Imagine living in a glacier under the surface all your life and have never seen the sun. Thea, a sixteen-year-old girl, is exactly that person, who has never experienced anything beyond the secret passageway that lies inside the walls of Gracehope. I had discovered the mystery novel, First Light written by Rebecca Stead, in my English classes. The novel isn’t under the category that I would usually read, but once I picked the book up I couldn’t stop reading.
Throughout the beginning of the book I was a little lost, but quickly picked up what was happening. As soon as I started reading all the action, I was excited and couldn’t wait to reach the end of the novel.
Set in the middle of Greenland where a sixteen-year-old boy named Peter and his family traveled for his father’s job, once again. Once finding a strange looking ice archway with the same drawing of his mother’s artwork on it but enlarged, Peter started getting very curious. Was there a reason why his family kept traveling to Greenland, almost every year? Thea, the girl who has lived in a glacier all her life, ended up on the surface, behind a clear ice wall with the same drawing of her bracelets, from the first line on it. Then it all started. Peter and Thea had met. Both were curious to why the drawing on the ice wall and Thea’s bracelet were important to the both of them. The question is now; will Peter finally discover the truth? Will Thea find out the real reason why her people lived deep down in a glacier for hundreds of years?

First Light caught my attention very quickly and I loved the novel very much. All my friends who have read the novel and myself have concluded one thing; we loved it! I would say it would be in my top 10’s for best books. The novel would suit both teenage boys and girls, as it is full of wonder and mystery. Hollie, Year 8


If you enjoy mystery, then this is the book for you. This is a mysterious book, two different lands, two different lives; This Book is about two different children Peter and Thea. It is a very good book. It is written by Rebecca Stead. This book is a very mysterious book. It grabs your attention, and encourages you to keep reading.

This book is set in two different places. In New York and in Grace Hope, Thea lives in Grace Hope, and Peter lives in New York. But Peter is moving to Greenland so that his dad can do more studies for his job. The setting makes the story interesting because grace hope is underground and it is a different land whereas Greenland is above Grace Hope.

Peter is moving to Greenland, he recently lives in New York, he is moving to Greenland because his dad can do more research there. He is only living there for 6 months; he is a little upset because he has to leave his friend. Thea lives in Grace Hope, she tried to convince the council to let her and her family to move up on the mainland but they said no.

There aren’t any illustrations in this book. I think that there should be because illustrations add life to the story. It actually shows how the story goes and how they do everything. If a character is upset then it shows their face and how they feel.

This book was quite good. It had mystery and it had excitement. I recommend this book to over 13s, younger  children won’t really understand the concept of this story. This is a great book.  Briahna, Grade 8


May 9

‘Conspiracy 365: January’ by Gabrielle Lord

 “They killed your father. They’ll kill you! You must survive the next 365 days!”

I’m not a big reader. I don’t like reading a lot but when I’m reading a good book that hooks me I want to read until I’m at the end of the book and Conspiracy 365: January is one of these books. Conspiracy 365 is a series, with a new book every month. This review is about the first book “January”.

Callum Ormond is the main character in this book and he is a 15 year old boy with a normal life…. so far. The story starts off with a random man running up to Callum saying “Stay low until midnight December 31st of next year!” Straight away you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. It’s all got to do with the Ormond Singularity and the sketches that his dad had drawn just before he died of an unknown disease! After this there is action, action, action as Callum is chased by gangsters and police and you don’t know why. The book ends in an exciting way making you want to read the next book.

The book is pretty creative how the page numbers count down to the end of the month and the chapters tell you how many days to go until he is safe at the end of the year. I recommend this book for boys ONLY, aged around 12-14 and looking for something with lots of action and thrills.

This review is by Aidan V, Year 8


May 9

‘Specky Magee’ by Felice Arena and Garry Lyon

This book is a very sporty book because it is about a boy how loves his footy and is really talented. This is my first book I have read that was from this author and I would say it is a fantastic book because of the way they have set it out and what happens in the book.

This book is based in Melbourne, Australia. This book is about AFl and were they set it is the right place because Melbourne is the biggest AFL city in Australia. The main character “Specky” is a person who seems real because he is a normal boy who plays footy and has friends like any normal boy will have.

During this story some amazing experiences happen to Specky, like in the beginning Specky was at a footy match, which he tries to kick the winning goal but someone puts him off.  Specky’s father has been late to all of Specky’s footy games and Specky is mad about that. Specky’s father works at an Art Centre. That morning, Specky was having an argument with his dad because he didn’t go to his footy match. Specky finds out that he is adopted and he tries and finds his real dad.

I would have to say this is my favorite book I have ever read because it has action and is a sporty book, has characters which are sometimes fun and is overall pleasant to read. My favorite part in the book was when Specky kicks thirteen goals in one game. I would recommend this book to people who are passionate about their AFL and those who love reading books. Overall I would rate this book an 7/10 because it is very good but not as good as The Hunger Games.

Taylor, Year 8

May 9

‘The Cockroach War’ by Jonathan Harlen

I’m not a person who likes to read but this book, The Cockroach War, is a really great book to read. There’s some really funny characters and there’s some bad and selfish ones. When I started to read this book I thought it was going to be really boring and not enjoyable but as I read more I started to think that this book is not that bad. It is a great book to read and once you start you don’t want to stop.
This book has no pictures but while you’re reading, the pictures will appear in your mind.

There are five characters in this book: Emma, Toby, Beverly, Dick and Judge.
Emma is my favourite character because she is creative and sweet. Except for Dick, he is the worst one, after winning the lotto with his family and becoming rich he changed and became really bad. They call Dick and his family the Cadwalladers. They are the worst neighbours in the whole neighbourhood.

I would recommend this book 11 and up and give it 4 stars.

Nadia, Year 8


The Cockroach War was written by Jonathan Harlen. The Cockroach War is one of my favourite comedy books because it is so funny. The story is set in Dagenham London, England. My favourite character is Dick Cadwallder because he is hilarious, and he always does funny things.

The story is about neighbours the Judges and the Cadwallders. They are friendly neighbours until the day the Cadwallders win the lotto, and turn into a mean family because they become rich. I liked this book so much because it is a comedy and I love comedies.

I would recommend this book to everyone over the age of twelve, because I think it would be too hard to read for kids under that age. The words would be hard for them to understand. I would rate this book an 8 out of 10.

By Stellan, Year 8       

May 8

‘Alex Jackson: GROMMET’ by Pat Flynn

Alex had the best evidence that there was a god since he had been at St Joseph’s: there is a god because he and Becky Tonella were assigned to sit next to each other. I would admit that Alex Jackson: Grommet was one of the optimal books I have ever read, and I do not particularly enjoy reading but when I started reading this book I could not stop!

The story is set between St Josephs and the Skate Bowl. The main characters are Alex, Jimmy and Becky. Billy and Jimmy are best friends and they both met in Grade 3 in Primary school. It’s about Alex, who is one of the kids at St Joseph’s and he is finding it hard to become popular. But eventually he does one of his best skateboard tricks in class for a speech and successfully pulls it off. He became more popular later when he fought one of the toughest and largest kid in the grade, Billy Johnston. He came off first, so everyone in his class was trying to be best friends with him.

I loved this book because it wasn’t just one of those books where you have to just read it for school with no choice whatsoever but because it had something to the book which made me not want to stop reading it and gave me giggle or laugh every now and then.

I highly recommend this book for people (mainly boys) between the ages of 12-15.  Some boys go through the same trouble as Alex Jackson goes through.

By Reece B, year 8.


I am not the type of person that likes to read. If someone asked me to read a book, I would try and not read it as much as possible. I had never found a book that I have enjoyed, but then I found this book with love and thrills. The book is called Alex Jackson Grommet, which is a fiction book.

I think that this book made me feel like it was a really good book and so when I read the first couple of pages I thought it was a great book and that it was an amazing book. The feelings the book made me feel was love and thrill.

The book would be for people about 12 to 18 because this book has lots of thrill and love that everyone likes and so I would recommend this book for children cause it a funny book and a really good book so that’s why you should read this book.

Tyrone, Year 8


The book I am reviewing is Alex Jackson: Grommet, by Pat Flynn.

The book is about a boy in high school who loves to skate but has a crush on a girl at school.

My reactions to the start of the book were that it was a relaxed type of book, then once Alex started skating the tempo of the book picked right up. I thought that the start could be more like for example Alex at the skate park attempting a really hard trick on his board.

The part of the book that was key to me was when Alex and Jimmy created a fake email just so they could talk to Becky. The thing about the book I enjoyed most was the style of the book and also the characters because of the different types. I would rate the book 5 stars because you never know what’s going to happen next.

Ryan. K Year 8.

May 8

‘Don’t call me Ishmael’ by Michael Gerard Bauer

I don’t really like to read much. If I get asked to read I moan and try to get out of it. But I have never enjoyed a book as much as Don’t call me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer. It is a good book and it is a good book to read.

 The book is about a boy that had the same name as his disability and he got bullied at school. The bully’s name was Barry Bagsley. Barry had friends that help him bully  Ishmael Leseur. They would call him names like ‘fish tail’, ‘le sewer’ and ‘le spewer’. I found this book sad and a bit funny.

I highly recommend this book for boys and girls aged between 10-14, because the book is really good and I think it teaches us not to bully and to accept people for who they are. This book is also tempting to keep reading because you don’t know what will happen next. I really liked this book and I hope if you read it you will like it as much as I did .

By Ben F, Year 8


“The ‘thing’ slid lower down my thigh. It was hard and cigar-shaped. I twisted my leg further around till I was balancing on one foot. Whatever was down there was dropping…….dropping……              

At the last moment I made a desperate lunge and clamped my hands on my shorts.
But it was too late. A blurred object shot from my pants, bounced off the toe of my shoe and skidded across the tiles.
I held my breath. My heart stopped.
I abandoned what I was about to say.
One of the Beatles had just fallen from my pants.
I was pretty sure it was Ringo.”

Hmmmm…. Feeling interested yet? Cause I sure was! If you read this book you will travel through many of Ishmael’s crazy experiences with him. You can really relate to Ishmael’s problems, and Ishmael certainly has a lot.

This book is targeted at young teenagers, and has possibly some of the most important lessons to learn at that age.
Ishmael is just going into his second year at high school and doesn’t really have much confidence. As you read this book you learn about Ishmael’s life and how he hates it. As the book travels on Ishmael finds new friends and maybe even the confidence he’s missing!
Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer is certainly a great book and if you are looking for a quick read and a few laughs this is the book you should read.

By Octavia G., Year 8


I’m not usually one for books, as I don’t like reading, and “Don’t call me Ishmael” by Michael Gerard Bauer wasn’t an exception. I felt the book didn’t relate to girls, so that is why it didn’t appeal to me.

Although Michael Gerard Bauer’s writing skills are exceptional, the book in my opinion was not exciting.

The book follows Ishmael Leseur, a boy in year 9 who has Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome. The novel takes place in St. Daniel’s All Boys High School. He is trying to fit in but is finding it hard to as his personality is very shy. He also get picked on for his name. Then Ishmael fears the new boy James Scobie, as he looks like a target to the school bullies. Barry realizes that “Scobie” has no fear so he doesn’t mess with him. To get Ishmael’s confidence boosted James decided to sign Ishmael up for debating and that’s how he meets Kelly. Ishmael realized that his life isn’t as bad now as it once was.

The book covers such topics as bullying, friendship, love and fitting in. So the book’s general audience would be boys around the age of 12-14, as the writing of the novel is complex.

As a group we read the book, and the majority of my group enjoyed the book as the topics were relevant. We rated the book ★★★ (Three Stars). The book was quite funny in places and those were the bits that we enjoyed the most.

My overall opinion was the book would have been better if read by a  12-14, but all in all it was a nice book with a good story line, but it just wasn’t enjoyable to read.

Gemma T, Year 8.


This book is a great book and a fabulous story about a fourteen-year-old boy who doesn’t have the best school life. I love the language in this book. It made me laugh quite a few times and also it was very clever.
I think the best part of this book was that it focuses on one of the main problems in schools today: bullying. In this book it explains how Barry Bagsley and his mates like to pick on other student but mostly Ishmael Leseur. This name comes from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, a book about a whale. Their teacher at school (Miss Tarango) points this story out as she thought she was standing up for Ishmael but it only provided Barry with more names to call Ishmael, as he had a way with words. Ishmael became:




And not to mention his poor last name, Leseur, (actually pronounced Le-sir) became
Le sewer

Le spewer
Le pooer
& manure
So he didn’t have the best time at St Daniel’s all boys College.

He soon realised he had to avoid Barry but it was hard to do considering he had a lot of classes with him.
I would recommend this for older readers as it would be harder to read for young ones. Also it is more of a boys’ book than a girls’ because it would be more understandable for boys, behaviour and language wise.

Overall I would rate this book 3 stars as it was funny and a great story but personally I got a bit bored in parts, but other than that I liked this book.

Britney, Year 8

May 8

‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen

“In the roaring plane with no pilot alone”.

That was one of my favourite descriptions in ‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen. The survival skills in this book are so realistic I reckon it could help in real life. ‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen is the ultimate story of survival in a life-threatening situation.

The first part of the story is set in a bush plane where Brian Robeson is going to visit his father who works in Canada. Brian has came from the city and isn’t used to being alone. The pilot has a heart attack and Brian attempts to land the plane in the middle of the Canadian wilderness miles away from civilisation. The plane crashes and Brian is stranded. Brian is the main character and this book is targeted at teenagers trying to tell them to get outdoors more because the number of teenagers spending their afternoon inside is increasing rapidly and a camp will be good fun for them.

I loved the book. The book reminded me of an episode of Man Vs. Wild when he is in Alaska. I recommend this book to teenagers from the age of 14-17 because they can learn lessons from this such as to go outdoors more. I thought this book was great for me. I encourage others to read this excellent book and enjoy it.

Fraser Year 8


My Hatchet review 

Hatchet is a great adventure survival book where Brian, a 13 year old kid, was in a plane which crashed in the Canadian wilderness. He was all alone with only a hatchet.

He had to learn how to survive on his own and learn how to live off the land. He had to learn how to keep on going even though he thought there was no hope of being found.

His first priority was to make a shelter and keep warm.  He kept warm by banging his hatchet on a rock, which created sparks, which caused a fire.  He made his shelter from cutting down trees with his hatchet.  His second priority was to get food.  He did this by making a bow and arrow, which helped him catch fish and also a bird.

After many days in the forest he heard a buzzing in the air and saw a plane flying above him.  He climbed to his signal fire, lit it and started yelling for help.  The plane turned around and he knew he was saved.  The plane landed, rescued him and took him home.

Tex, Year 8


Survival, being all alone, not knowing when or if a rescue party is coming: Hatchet is a very exciting and adventurous story about a boy named Brian who was flying to visit his dad. When something went wrong, the plane starting dropping altitude drastically. Brian looked and saw the pilot unconscious. Brian was yelling to wake the pilot, but he didn’t wake up. Brian was scared. He had never expected this. The only thing that could be used to survive was his hatchet. He looked ahead and saw the plane plummeting towards an‘L’ shaped lake. When he tried to steer it was too late.

Underwater, mind blank, still in shock, then seconds later he starts to panic, bashing the glass thinking how to get out while starting to drown. Then Brian thought that the pressure would have equalized by now, so he thought he could open the door, so he tries and it works. Soon he is out and up to the surface breathing heavily, then he swims to shore. Soon he is finding berries and making objects like weapons and spears to catch fish in the lake. Soon he’s made fire and felt comfort for once.

Later when he was sad he found a survival kit packed with a .22 survival rifle, first aid kit, fishing kit, knife with a compass on the handle and some food. He picked up the rifle and he felt safe like nothing could hurt him and that it would all be a lot easier killing animals to cook so he put the gun down and thought that he could deal with it later. Then he heard a noise and then he knew someone was coming for him. And then a plane landed in the lake and the motor stopped and the pilot stepped out and asked if it was Brian and Brian said yes. And Brian asked how long he had been stranded.The pilot said two months.

Chandler, Year 8

May 8

‘Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan

Imagine a world where you could breathe underwater and control any underwater animal. Well, this is the life of Percy Jackson from the book Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief written by Rick Riordan.

When I started reading I couldn’t stop. All I could think of is was what was going to happen next.

Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old demigod (half human-half god) but he doesn’t know this. He only knows he is having problems in school dealing with dyslexia and ADHD. He attends a school for troubled kids. However Percy has bigger problems. He is about to discover that he is the son of Poseidon, that his uncle Zeus believes Percy has stolen his lightning bolt, and that a war between the gods will erupt if Percy does not make it to Mount Olympus to talk to Zeus.

In one day Percy not only discovers all of this, but also that his best friend Grover is really his protector. Grover is a satyr – half man and half goat, his teacher Mr. Brunner is really a centaur – half horse and half human. However Aries (God of war) wants to kill Percy and retrieve the lightning bolt so that the gods will start a war again.

If you want to find out more, read the book and experience the adventure I experienced. I recommend this book for teenagers and overall I rate this book 4 star.

Samson B, Year 8


If you enjoy a Sci-fi story then Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief is the book for you. Percy Jackson finds out that he is the son of a god and it flips his world upside down.

Percy Jackson goes on a journey to the underworld but finds difficulties along the way. While in the underworld Percy, has to face one major problem that could change everything.

This book will always keep you guessing and you will never want to put it down. It is full of adventure and drama which makes it great for teenagers.

Jai, Year 8


If you want a book with action, out of this world adventure and outrageous fantasy, READ THIS BOOK! Percy Jackson is a demi-god trying to find Zeus’s powerful lightning bolt before a mass war of the gods breaks out threatening to destroy the world. You must read ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ to find out if Percy saves the world.

The story starts with Percy and his best friend Grover being normal 6th graders going to a school for troubled children. Then Percy finds out his best friend’s a satur and he is the most powerful demi-gods alive. They have to reach a camp for half bloods before he gets killed. They both reached safety except Percy’s mother.

I enjoyed this book by Rick Riordan because it is full of action and hard to put down because you want to know what’s going to happen next. I recommend this story to teen readers of science fiction. If you enjoy the Harry Potter series, read this book because it’s even better and it’s filled with more action. Rion, Year 8


I have recently read the book ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ and this is the book to read this winter. If you love fantasy sci-fi then you will love this book. It was written by Rick Riordan in 2005, but still delivers an action packed punch. This book is all about finding a special something inside you that everyone has no matter what.

Percy Jackson is a 12 year old who has moved to his 6th school in just six years because he is troubled, has dyslexia and ADHD. He hasn’t had many friends until he met Grover, also a troubled student at Yancy High who has been Percy’s only friend. They are mischievous young boys on the verge of being expelled.

Suddenly in one day he figures out his whole life, like why his father left him and why he doesn’t fit in anywhere. He is almost killed when he goes to his childhood holiday destination. They run to a camp he has no idea about and on the way his mother is crushed into sand and sent to the underworld by a Minotaur but luckily Percy makes it to the camp.

He goes on a trip around the country to find three pearls that let him return from the underworld once he enters if he doesn’t find them before the gates close to enter the underworld. But when he is about to leave he finds out his ‘friend’ at camp half-blood put Zeus’s lightning bolt in the shield in which he received from him. This creates arguments between the gods and Percy needs to find the Gods to hand Zeus his lightning bolt before there is a war in Mount Olympus. Will he be able to?

In conclusion I give this book a rating of 9/10 and recommend it to any people over the age of 10 and of any gender. This book inspired me to live life and to expect anything. This is a great book and if you get the chance you should definitely read this book.

Brogan, Year 8

May 4

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

The book No Safe Place is a great book full of action, adventure and sadness. This is a good book for teenagers of both genders who prefer adventure, action or a sad book. It really made me realize how cruel and racist people can be as the nationalities of people in this book are widespread. It is a sad book but it is slightly funny at some parts in the book. The characters have great back stories and personalities because they are so different.

This book was really hard for me to put down once I started reading. It was really a shame once I reached the last page. This book is based on true stories and it makes me shocked as to how people actually did all the things the characters did. I was also amazed by how well thought out the characters are that I thought the author must have been thinking for years about their personalties. I enjoyed this book so much that once the book ended I wanted more.
Cory, Year 8


No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

I am not really a person who would read a book if someone asked me to, but when I saw this book No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis what caught my eye was the first line and it read ‘He was woken by the sound of someone urinating.’

I would recommend this book to teenage boys and girls because it appeals to that age level. My friends and I all agree that this book is fantastic because now we know how lucky we are to live in this safe country and how grateful we should be for having a good life.

This book is set in a small town called Calais. The main characters in this book are teenage refugees named Abdul, Rosallia, Cheslav and Jonah.They can all relate to each other because of the abuse they cop. It is terrible that people live like this.They all want to get to England to live a good life and earn money. They end up getting there after all.

Some teenagers around the world can relate to this book because they are poor and abused like the poor 15 year old boy Abdul. This book is fantastic. I highly recommend that you read this book.

Bradley S.,  Year 8


The book No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis is quite a good book to read because it is an exhilarating story. It has lots of doubtful scenes that most of the time turn out to be accomplished by Abdul and his friends. I recommend this book to young teenagers and young adults. The book is based on the life of a young teenager who is alone in a country all by himself. He is trying to get to England to find work and get paid. He has tried lots of way to try and get to England including the Channel and the asylum seeker boat. Both haven’t worked but now he has found other people like him he is gradually making his way to England. I would definitely recommend this book as I was not a big reader before this book but now I’m hooked.

Declan, Year 8


‘No safe place’ by Deborah Ellis is an exiting realistic fiction book about a fifteen-year-old refugee, Abdul, who has made his way from his home in Bagdad to Calais and is willing to go to extreme measures to get to England.

Abdul gets on a people smuggler’s boat with Jonah, the English nephew of the smuggler, Rosalia, a gypsy Roma girl, and Cheslav, a Russian who doesn’t want to be controlled by the Russian government. They try and cross the English Channel and the smuggler falls off the boat. They steal a yacht from two Americans.

I recommend this book for teenage boys or girls that enjoy books about refugees and books such as ‘In the sea there are crocodiles’.

What will happen? Will the police catch them? Or will they be lost at sea? Will they be happy if they get to England? Find out in the fantastic book by Deborah Ellis, ‘No safe place’.

Anthony, Year 8


No Safe Place grabbed my attention in the first few pages. This book is full of thrills, drama and action; the first line “The sound of pissing woke him up” made me want to read more. The whole story is exciting. It’s one of those books where you just can’t put it down no matter how tired or stressed you are.

The main character Abdul is an orphan from a war torn home who needs to get to England to start a new life. With some trouble from a smuggler he meets two friends who help him on his journey. Their names are Rosalia and Cheslav.

This book is recommended to those who like trills and action. If you have read Three Wishes or Diego Run you will definitely love this book. This book is excellent for people between the ages of 12 – 15.  In conclusion, this is a great book for the people who love to read and I personally loved this book. It is maybe the best book I have ever read.

From Luca, Year 8.

May 4

‘Mac Slater, Cool Hunter: The Rules of Cool’ by Tristan Bancks

Unfortunately I’ve never liked reading books. When people ask me to read, I always have a thought in my mind saying, ‘No thank you.’ But I have never read a book like Mac Slater, Cool Hunter. This novel is out of this world.

This book grabs your attention as soon as you start to read, as it’s full of excitement. The story is about two boys Mac and Paul who are best friends. They love inventing things such as a flying bike out of rubbish and other weird things.

One day they were testing one of their inventions when a man asked them to spot cool things, so he can put it on a website called ‘Cool Hunters.’ It’s a website where kids can find new, cool and interesting things. This is a great book, and I would recommend it to anyone between the ages 10 to 12.
3 out of 5 stars.

By Kobi P, Year 8


The book Mac Slater, Cool Hunter by Tristan Bancks is a really great book that you just can’t stop reading.

This book is aimed for boys aged eleven to thirteen who are sporty and imaginative. I really like this book because the two main characters Mac and Paul want to do something completely out of the ordinary. I also enjoyed this book because you could relate to it, such as I like making things with my imagination and this book was all about getting something like a bike and making it into something ‘cool’ like a flying bike.

My favourite character in the book was Mac, who gets asked by these two ‘Cool Hunters’ to hunt ‘cool’ for the next week and upload it on the cool hunting website every night and then whoever gets the most votes out of the competitors on the videos wins for that day. Paul gets jealous of the opportunity that Mac has to go to New York but when Paul finds out that Mac’s competition is the mean girl at school, Cat, he tells Mac to go ahead with it. Mac and Paul eventually win the competition and in the end they both get to go to New York.

This is a great book that eleven to thirteen year old boys would really enjoy and it gives them lots of ideas to make inventions one day.

By Molly R, Year 8.