June 5

‘Elsewhere’ by Gabrielle Zevin

‘Sorry, but nothing of much importance ever happened to me… I’m just a girl who forgot to look both ways before she crossed the street.’

Are you the kind of reader who enjoys drama, fantasy and a bit of romance? If so, then ‘Elsewhere’ is the book for you!

The novel is set in the afterlife, where a young girl named Elizabeth had been hit by a car while riding her bike to the mall. She wakes up and finds herself on a cruise ship thinking that it’s all a dream, but when she watches her own funeral, she is forced to realize the horrible truth. The ship takes her to Elsewhere, a place where the deceased age backwards until they become babies and return to Earth to be reborn. Liz meets her grandmother, Betty, who died months before she was born. She also meets Owen Welles, a boy who died from smoke asphyxiation many years ago, and the two quickly develop a friendship. Elizabeth continually struggles to accept the fact that she can no longer turn 16, or get her driver’s licence and go to college. She endeavours to find a way to get back to Earth, so she can finally be with her friends, family, and go back to her normal way of life.

I really enjoyed the story ‘Elsewhere’ because it had a fascinating and riveting plot, with hilarious characters. I especially enjoyed Gabrielle Zevin’s creative way of describing and expressing the character’s thoughts and emotions. After a confusing beginning, the story became very interesting and this developed further throughout the book. This was a whimsical, enthralling take on life and death, and made me really appreciate my life, family and love. This book consists of certain themes that teenagers struggle with on a daily basis, such as grief, family and relationships. It shows us that even when things seem terrible, there will always be people that care enough to help.

I would recommend this book to capable readers from the ages 13 upwards who take an interest in fantasy, science fiction, romantic and humorous novels. I truly enjoyed this story and it’s easy to see why it has won various awards.  I rate ‘Elsewhere’ by Gabrielle Zevin five out of five stars.

Skye M, Year 8



November 30

‘Before I Die’ by Jenny Downham

Before_I_dieTessa has just found out that she has a couple of months to live and there is only so much she can do in that very short time. Before I Die by Jenny Downham is an exceptional novel with a great plot and interesting characters.

Tessa is a sixteen year old student who has leukaemia. She writes a list of ten things she wants to accomplish before she dies. Tessa finds out that the little things matter the most, like holding your dad’s hand, talking to your brother and hugging your best friend. The characters in the novel go hand in hand with each other, creating a real life atmosphere making you feel like you’re involved in the story. Zoey, Tessa’s best friend, was a big part of the novel, showing bravery even though she has a few troubles herself, which you can see in the book. Another stand out character is her father, going through it all and trying to find a cure for his daughter’s troubles.

I loved this book because it made me stop and think of the little things. Even though the book showcases death and dying, it shows how important life really is. This is a life-affirming and uplifting novel which made me wanting to race to the finish. Jenny’s writing was so powerful and it created real atmosphere whilst reading the book. I would recommend this story to mature teenage girls and adults as it has scenes that young readers will perhaps not understand. This is a very moving book and very effective for readers.

Erica A. Year 9


“I wish I had a boyfriend. I wish he lived in the wardrobe on a coat hanger. Whenever I wanted, I could get him out and he’d look at me the way boys do in films, as if I’m beautiful.”

― Jenny Downham, Before I Die

Months before you die, would you make list of things you want to complete? A bucket list? This is the question facing Tessa in Jenny Downham’s novel Before I Die.

This book was set in a small house in Britain. Before I Die is a compelling novel which follows a teenager who has been diagnosed with cancer. She has created a list that she wants to finish before her time’s up.

Tessa, the main character, is a teenager who is struggling with cancer. Her most important thing in the world is love. On the journey Tessa takes, she explores new people and breaks the law; things a normal teenager would not do. Will Tessa complete the list in the couple of months before her time’s up? Does her time even come?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as it always kept me wanting to read and I ended up never putting this book down. The story line is really interesting for all audiences and would come across really enjoyable to most teenagers as this story can relate well to teenagers going through a lot.

Jenny Downham’s characters seem really easy to relate to and kept my full attention through the whole book. Before I Die is a fantastic movie I would recommend for ages between 13- 20, but really would suit any gender and any age.

BIANCA E., Year 9

November 13

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green

The fault in our stars“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”

John Green has written some of the best books that have been published. As well as this book he has also written books such as Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns. This particular book is mainly based around two main characters called Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. Hazel Grace has been diagnosed with lung cancer. When she starts going to a support group she meets a guy named Augustus Waters. At first they don’t see eye to eye on everything but as the book progresses, they begin to feel very fond of each other and begin to realise that they have similar interests and life goals.

‘“I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up,” he said. 
“And it is my privilege and my responsibility to ride all the way up with you,” I said.’

I found this a very intriguing book because when you start reading it, it’s incredibly difficult to put it down. Some of the scenes in this book very much relate to younger people and issues that they are faced with, which is a good way to get people’s attention. In my opinion, John Green is one of the best authors that you will come across because his books remind people that not everyone is as they first appear to be, and that if you look deeper and get to know them better, you may find yourself meeting a whole new person. I would highly recommend this book to young women from the ages of 12-20 and especially if you enjoy a good heart-filled, edgy novel. Even if you’re not a reader you should give this book a try. I rate this book five out of five stars and guarantee you will love it as much as I do.

~Emma H, Year 9


“I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly then all at once.”

Meet Hazel Grace Lancaster. She is 16 and affected by one of the worst diseases on the planet: cancer. Diagnosed with an untreatable form of thyroid cancer at the age of thirteen, which had since spread to her lungs causing them to occasionally flood with fluid, the condition has made breathing a problem without the assistance of her oxygen tank, which she called Phillip. Hazel described her condition as, “My lungs suck at being lungs.”

Hazel doesn’t attend school and is diagnosed with depression by her doctor, due to the fact that she barely leaves the house, eats little and reads the same books over and over. Her doctor also insists that she visits a cancer support group to make friends. This is where she meets Gus, who is also a 17-year-old cancer survivor with humour and a lot of love to give. After they meet, they fall hopelessly in love with one another and from then on is a mystery for you to discover.

This book is a fictional book full of romance and adventure of two love-struck cancer survivors living their lives to the fullest. I find this book a great read due to the fact it teaches you how precious life and love are. Also it shows that life is unfair in many ways and we need to push through even if you have no hope. I found it an incredibly hard book to put down and I am in love with John Green’s other books, including Looking for Alaska. I recommend it to mostly teenage girls, due to the fact that it is more of a romance novel. I rate The Fault in Our Stars 4 out of 5 stars.

Jess.R, Year 9


“ Some infinites are bigger than others”.

Cancer is such a dreadful disease and an emotionally draining experience. The fault in our stars is set in a small town in Indiana. This novel is about teens suffering from illnesses that meet at a support group each week. One week a new member joins the group and this is the start of when the two main characters fall in deep unconditional love.

This book is very well structured with realistic aspects, which create an engaging story line to follow. The Fault In Our Stars is about a Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old girl suffering from lung cancer, who has a love for a certain book named ‘Imperial affliction’. Hazel meets a cancer survivor named Augustus Walters at a local support group called ‘The Literal Heart of Jesus’. This support group is for teens suffering from an illness which prevents them from having a normal life. This book is about Hazel and August’s emotionally insightful journey together. John Green creates a story filled with romance, bravery, friendship, quirkiness, excitement and emotional conflict, bringing laughter and tears to the reader. The author uses a great range of dialogue as well as descriptive and poetic language. This makes the book full of depth and intensity, which comes as an easy read.

In conclusion I believe The Fault In Our Stars is perfect easy read for female teenagers who love a good romantic, heart-filled book with a pinch of adventure. This book is about the story of two cancer patients who go on a wonderful journey. This book will bring laughter and tears to the reader.

Tiana, Year 9


‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is a novel by author John Green. The story follows the main character, sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who battles with thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer develops when the cells of the thyroid gland grow and divide in a disorderly way. Not only is Hazel trying to live a normal life, but she is also struggling with the fact that her parents will have to live and learn to be without her after she passes away. While attending a church support group for cancer survivors, as her parents believe she is depressed because she has cancer, she meets a boy who is one year older than her, Augustus Waters. Augustus has a type of cancer that causes him to lose his leg and wear a prosthetic, called Osteosarcoma.

From the first day that Hazel meets Augustus the two are practically inseparable. Being diagnosed with cancer is the basis of their friendship and their love for books. Hazel shares her favourite book, ‘An Imperial Affliction’ with Augustus, and they bond over this book and have a burning desire to find out how the story ends because the author stops the book before providing the conclusion about what happens to each of the characters. Augustus joins Hazel’s pursuit of the book’s author, Peter Van Houten, to provide the answers that they need. Augustus uses a wish foundation to fly him and Hazel to Amsterdam, where the author lives, to talk with him in person to find out the end of the story. While experiencing each other’s hobbies and interests on the way, the two find a love for each other.

This novel is relatable to teenagers as teen issues are addressed in this book. I recommend this book to teenagers, young adults between the age of 12 and 25 who are interested in a heart-filled, romantic and exciting novel containing life lessons. I find this book an amazing read. I’d rate this novel ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ 4 out of 5 stars. Mia R, Year 9

November 20

‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green

The fault in our stars“You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

The Fault In Our Stars is the bestselling novel by John Green, which explores the humorous, exciting and heartbreaking story of being alive and in love.

Cancer when you’re young isn’t always “The Fault In Our Stars” but it is for these normal teenagers, who are stuck in the pain of dying, and even more unbearable pain of living. Hazel Grace says, “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?”

This is a story of two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, both cancer sufferers who fall in love. Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen year old cancer patient, believes that everything, including her cancer, is a side effect of dying. In fact it is, until she meets the love of her life, Augustus Waters.

As well as a beautiful love story, this novel tells us so much more about our lives. It tells us that in reality that “we can blame the stars, or tell ourselves it wasn’t meant to be, that it wasn’t destined to happen. But deep down we know that the stars were not at fault and it wasn’t “meant to be.” The fault was in ourselves.”

This is a novel that brings out so much emotion while reading, with so much happiness and so much sadness making you never want to put the book down. This book is a humorous yet sad story that will make you laugh and cry. I would definitely recommend this book to a female aged between 12-40 who likes to read a romantic, heartbreaking thriller. I’d rate the book ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ 4 out of 5 stars.

Kate, Year 9


“That’s the thing about pain… it demands to be felt.”

This novel, The Fault in our Stars, is all about romance and the love story between Hazel and Augustus. Unfortunately they both have cancer or have had cancer. It’s also about just having life the way you want to even though you know you can’t.

Hazel (Hazel Grace which is what Augustus likes to call her) is scared. She’s scared because she thinks of herself as a grenade and the only way she knows how to minimize the casualties is by shutting everyone she ever cared about or cares about out of her life forever. But what happens if one person is able to knock down her walls and finally get her to open up and not shut him out?

This story is set in Indianapolis, America but they do travel to Amsterdam in Europe to meet their favorite author. Hazel is a 16 year old girl who has been diagnosed with depression. She believes that it is not a side effect of the cancer treatment which the doctor’s keep telling her and her mum thinks it is. Instead, it is a side effect of dying, in her eyes, because she is never going to live her life like everyone else; I mean she already has an oxygen tank.

Augustus is the boy who fears oblivion. He’s 17 years old, has already lost one leg to cancer, loves Hazel and finally gets her to open up.

What happens when Augustus and Hazel first meet? Why do they meet? You can only answer these questions if you’ve read this heart-filled story. This a heart-filled story because it is not about cancer, it is about romance and the love between Hazel and Augustus. The Fault in our stars is such a great book because it is funny, loving, true, romantic, sad, and above all because the kids are in love and characters are funny and have personalities too but they just so happen to have cancer. The book doesn’t let the cancer describe them as a person, it lets them show their personalities which is what Augustus did to Hazel.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5 stars and, even though everyone all over the world loves this book, I recommend it to whoever is going through a rough time and for teenage girls and older. This book is so heart filled and romantic so that’s the only reason I’m recommending it to young females. Most girls are into romance and love stories. So what happens in this story and why? Only you can find out. Are you going to take the chance?  Remember “Some Infinities are bigger than other infinities, ……but I’m just glad I got my little infinity with you” and “maybe okay will be our always.”

Amelia B, Year 9

November 17

‘A Walk to Remember’ by Nicholas Sparks

A walk to rememberThey say ‘change is good’ but will it go Landon’s way when he realizes he can’t get the girl of his dreams by the way he is acting? Landon usually is the boy to go for the popular girls but will that all change when he falls for Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister?

‘A Walk to Remember’ is set in Beaufort, North Carolina. Landon is trying to live his last year at Beaufort High to the fullest. Landon Carter likes to be known as the troublemaker and likes to live life on the edge, unlike Jamie who is someone kind hearted, very religious and has many morals. Landon doesn’t have a very good relationship with his dad unlike Jamie who has a very good relationship with her dad. But Jamie’s mum passed away at childbirth. Therefore, she is very close with her dad, the town’s Baptist minister.

Landon has gone to school with Jaime since primary school but he would never picture himself with her, as they are complete two different people. Landon the troublemaker gets into trouble and faces the consequences. Landon is made to play the main part in the annual drama play along side Jaime. Jaime and Landon get to know each other but will popularity get in Landon’s way?

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘A Walk to Remember’ as it keeps your attention throughout the whole book instead of it being a boring book. ‘A Walk to Remember’ is a book that you will have trouble putting down as you want to know what happens. I also like this book, as it is a romantic book so therefore it has a lot of drama and the book has events in it that you would not expect.

I would highly recommend this book to teenage girls aged around 14-18 as it has a lot of drama and romance that girls would be drawn to. Another reason I would recommend this to teenage girls, is the characters in the book are relatable to them. Also, the problems in the book would relate to teens as the characters have to deal with popularity, bullying and relationship troubles.

Taylah D, Year 9.


“Halfway down, Jamie suddenly seemed to tire, and they stopped while she caught her breath…it was, I remembered thinking the most difficult walk anyone has had to make in every away, a walk to remember.”

This story is set in the 1950s with two completely opposite, equally loveable characters, Jamie and Landon. They have lived in the same boring town for their whole lives but couldn’t be more different. Jamie is friends with the popular kids that excel at school. Landon? Well, Landon doesn’t excel at anything. He’s average at sport and he gets average grades. There’s nothing special about him. But what Landon doesn’t know yet is that he’s going to be the co-star at this year’s school Christmas play with the help of an acquaintance Jamie. Jamie is a lonely sort of girl who carries a Bible everywhere she goes, even to school. Jamie excels at school. She cares about orphans, the homeless and also loves church. Jamie is also the preachers’ daughter, so of course all the adults love her in a town where everyone is ridiculously religious. You could say these two are complete opposites of each other and you would be right. Jamie’s sweetness could one day get her in trouble, and that’s exactly what happens when Landon asks her for a favour. Jamie accepts Landon’s favour, but in return asks for her own. When Landon has to pay back his favour, he almost wished he didn’t ask Jamie in the first place.

I love this book because there are many different plot twists. It’s unique and I haven’t read a book like this. I found this book enjoyable because the two characters pushed each other around and bicker at every step until the very end. This book also shows the pressures of modern high school life, such as peer pressure and intimidation of people that are different. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars, simply because sometimes the storyline could get a little confusing.

I would recommend this book for teenagers and young adults from the ages of 14-25 who loves romance and suspense.

Serenity, Year 9

November 10

‘BEFORE I DIE’ by Jenny Downham

Before_I_dieWhat would it be like to be sixteen and living with cancer?

Tessa Scott knows as she has been living with cancer for four years, going through chemotherapy and fighting back against hospital visits but she has now decided to stop the chemo and the doctors don’t give her long to live. Tessa and her best friend Zoe come up with a list of things Tessa wants to do before she dies. Some are very risky and some are ‘have to do’ things but Tessa will go through anything to get this list done. On the list there are the things that most teenagers are curious about doing. Zoe, Tessa’s best friend, is alongside her, doing the list with her. Number one is sex.

Tessa’s relationship with her father, brother, mother, her best friend and new boyfriend are all becoming precious as the weeks start closing in on her as time slowly runs out.

As always there will be struggles, meltdowns, tantrums and of course love is going find its way. I really enjoyed reading this book although it was a bit slow in some parts of the book because it kept you wanting to read more. I would recommend this story for (13-17) year old girls.

Aimee, Year 9

November 10

‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman

ifistay_GayleForman“I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.” ― Gayle Forman, If I Stay

What would you do if you had to make the hardest decision of your life? Seventeen-year-old Mia Hall from Gayle Forman’s book If I Stay, had to make that decision. It all began with Mia living a great life with her friends, family and boyfriend Adam. Mia would never have thought that her life would have come this choice.

Mia narrates the story. Throughout the entire book, she explains how she and her family live. Her father had once played in a band but is now a teacher and her mother was a groupie but was now a travel agent.

When Kat and Denny (her parents) first fell pregnant with Mia they were expecting her to be like them, to share their passion for music: punk rock. But as Mia grew older she grew to love the cello. So her parents hired a teacher to teach her how to play, seeing how passionate she was.

As she grew up her love for the cello did as well. Her family were happy, her friends were happy, she and her boyfriend were happy, until one day it all came crashing down in a freak accident.

Everything Mia had once loved and cared for had just disappeared. Not only was Mia left an orphan but also was induced into a dreadful coma. This is where she experienced flash backs of all the wonderful moments she and her family had together. Mia was able to view everything that was happening around her, but was unable to participate. Mia could not feel anything, not even the pain her own body was going through. She knew if she were to continue living her life, she would awaken without her parents and brother; but if she were to leave, she would be with them. On the other hand, if Mia were to stay, she would still have her Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and friends around her.

If YOU had the choice, would YOU stay?

This book was a beautiful story to read and the category, I believe, would fall under ‘heart filled’. I recommend this book to girls between the ages of 13-25 who also enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and or The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

I would rate this book If I Stay 4 out of 5 stars because the ending could have been a little more exciting.

Alexia, Year 9


“What if you got the choice to stay or to go?”

Gayle Forman’s ‘If I Stay’ explores the life of Mia, a 17-year-old talented cello player, the daughter of a travel agent and a schoolteacher. As a result of a tragic event, Mia is left without her parents and is placed into an induced coma. With nobody to help her, Mia has to make the biggest decision of her life – will she stay or will she go. While in this coma, Mia’s out-of-body experiences enable her to see everything that is happening around her. Essentially, she is a spirit walking on Earth. In addition to this, Mia has flashbacks of memories and events that happened in her childhood. Eventually, coming close to death, she is triggered to either pass on to the afterlife or awaken from her coma.

‘If I Stay’ draws on many themes that are relevant to young people, including love, loss and the importance of relationships and offers useful insight into human responses to tragedy.

I enjoyed this book because it was heart-filled with emotions, love and romance. A great variety of descriptive language was used throughout the novel and the flashbacks Mia had really made the story come together.

I would rate this book a 9/10 because of the relevance of the themes and language used throughout the text. Teenagers would be the best age group to read this book as it is about love, romance, and making one choice over another. It shows that choices are difficult to make in life and that you have to make your life count because it could be over sooner than you think.

By Taylah, Year 9  


Could you imagine having to choose whether to stay and live in a world without your beloved family or to leave altogether and leave your grandparents, boyfriend and your best friend behind?

In the novel ‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman there are adventures of love, heartache and loss.

The novel contains the main character, Mia, narrating on her life. She fell in love with her soul mate Adam. Their relationship was full of ups and downs as Mia was a kind-hearted cello player and Adam was a wilder band member. Mia was close with her grandpa and grandma and was always spending time with them. Her grandparents were a big part of her life and were always there for her. Mia’s parents and brother were all the punk rock type of people with her dad who was in a band, Mum who was always around concerts and music and her brother Teddy who played the drums. They all respected her with the choice of playing the cello instead of a guitar.

One-day Mia’s life was put on edge; the accident affected everyone who had known her family. This is where Mia faced the hard choice: whether to stay or to go. The story of the novel was enjoyable but the end of the book was a bit of a let down.

It is a love story that captures your attention and makes you not want to put it down. This novel shows us how precious family and friends are to everyone because you never know what could happen. I would recommend this novel to teenage girls between the ages of 13 to 18 and/or anyone who enjoys reading heart-filled novels. Overall, this novel was enjoyable to read as it captured your interest throughout the whole novel. I would rate this novel a 4 out of 5 stars.

By Abbie D, Year 9


What would you do if you had to choose? To live or to die. To stay or to go. How would it affect you? How would it affect your friends and family? For seventeen-year old Mia, these are the questions she has to face. Now she must make the heart aching decision to stay or to go.

For Mia, surrounded by family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, decisions seem tough. Her family all share a love and passion for music. She was working towards her acceptance to the prestigious Julliard school. Her future was full of hope. But life can change in an instant. One cold February morning on a snowy road, Mia’s future changes for the worst. With her mother and father killed at the scene of the car accident and little brother injured, she now must make the decision of a lifetime, to stay with what’s left of her family and with her friends, or leave the world forever, making everything easier for herself.

I loved this book because the story is emotional and every page leaves you wanting to read more. I would recommend this book to thirteen to eighteen-year-old girls, or to anyone who like heart filled novels. I rate this book 4/5 with very high recommendation.

“Everyone has to make choices. Some might break you.”  Hannah C, Year 9   


  Imagine if on one ordinary day, nothing different from any other day, your life was turned upside down and it would change everything. But instead of destiny doing its job, imagine if you had a choice to decide your fate. What if you could choose if you wanted to stay or go? This book, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman is a story about a girl named Mia, who had everything: a happy family, friends who cared for her and a beautiful boyfriend. Her life was perfect until one day her life took a horrific turn and it was changed forever. However, instead of having fate do its work she had a choice on how her ending was going to be. So the question is, will she stay? Or will she go? Will she make the right decision? And will it be a good one or a bad one?

In my opinion I really enjoyed this book since it was filled with drama and action, something perfect for teenage girls. It really showed me that we all have to make our own choices sometime in our lives and making that choice may or may not be easy. From this book I did not only get a good read but I also learned things about how life works. I recommend this story for teenage girls who enjoy dramatic and heart-filled books such as “The Fault In Our Stars” because this book is just the sort that will make you cry and take your breath away.

Tara B. Year 9


October 29

‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green

‘Joy and heartbreak skillfully interwoven’ could sum up this beautiful book from John Green. I’m a huge fan of Green’s writing: “Looking for Alaska”, “Paper Towns” and now “The Fault in our stars”, the latter being my favourite.

Superficially, this is a story of two teenagers (Hazel and Augustus or Gus), both cancer sufferers, who fall in love. But to tell that story is to sell the novel short, because it tells us so much more about our lives, why we live and how we should live.

Dedicated to Esther Earl, a teenage cancer sufferer who Green met as a chaplain in a children’s hospital, Green says: “She was an otherwise normal girl who was funny and smart and I wanted to capture those qualities in Hazel Lancaster.”

I GET these kids, painted so poignantly by Green, ordinary teenagers stuck in their pain of dying, and their even more excruciating pain of living! “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you,” Gus pens (p.313).

This novel almost feels to me like a still life – as though Hazel and Augustus are teenagers caught glaring into the spotlight as we examine their lives, their humane and vulnerable beauty exposed, questioning the platitudes thrown at them by adults, catching the nuances of meaning in each moment, the blackest humour in everyday existence, all beautifully rendered in Green’s prose like a piece of art.

It’s love that triumphs in the end – ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’. Even though we know from the beginning that due to ‘the fault in their stars’, their love will not last, that the painful reality is that ‘some infinities are bigger than other infinities’, we are caught up in their fight to make meaning of their lives. Esther herself reminds us: “…don’t forget to be awesome — love, Esther.” And they are truly awesome, as is Green’s writing! Highly recommended. Mrs O.


Student Reviews

When you have cancer, everything causes depression. This is what Hazel Grace Lancaster believed before she met the future love of her life, Augustus Waters.

Hazel has been diagnosed with lung cancer and was expected to make an appearance at a support group, however she is unsure whether to attend. She soon realises that it was a good idea to attend as she meets an inspiring young man. The teenagers, both being cancer sufferers, begin to spend a lot of time together. They travel to Amsterdam in order to meet a famous author, Peter Van Houten. Hazel and Augustus’ relationship begins to flourish and their emotions are running high.

Hazel and Augustus share a close bond together due to their similarities in life. They both face many challenges throughout the story, which will affect them both physically and emotionally.

This captivating story, written by the famous John Green, became outstandingly popular when it was published in early January 2012. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel as it was a very moving yet beautiful story. Whilst reading ‘The Fault In Our Stars‘, it was very difficult to put the book down because there were constantly twists and turns included.

As a teenager, I found the story to be very relatable and interesting. John Green has educated readers about diseases and created awareness. He has included descriptive language to engage the readers and keep them entertained.

I would positively recommend The Fault In Our stars to readers of all ages who are looking a novel in the romance category. This book was an emotional story and definitely brought a tear to the eye. I would undoubtedly rate The Fault In Our Stars 5 out of 5 stars.

Lindsay F, Year 9


For Hazel, every day was a countdown to that moment when she won’t have to suffer the pain of cancer and just let go. However when the teenage romance starts, she begins to know the enjoyment of life. Augustus, another sufferer from cancer, meets the girl of his life, which somehow reflects the images of his ex.

It all began at the support group, when they caught each other’s eye and then progressed through to giving each other their beloved books. ‘An Imperial Affliction’ was given to Augustus and this book led them to commence an unforgettable journey. During their journey to Amsterdam they find the author of ‘An Imperial Affliction’, and face unbelievable truths and heartbreaking realities. Soon, more unreal difficulties are faced in Hazel’s life. How will these two teenagers go through these problems?

Another creation by John Green, this book has enthralled readers throughout the world. ‘ The Fault In Our Stars’ has been placed on the New York Times’ Bestseller list and has turned into a spectacular movie. This book definitely shows the style of the author’s writing and humour; also the plot of the story truly engaged me and I never let the book out of my hand.

I would definitely recommend this book to teenage girls, who are ready to know the reality of romance and who are expecting to laugh and cry.

Grace P, Year 9

October 29

‘Before I Die’ by Jenny Downham

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. Released from the constraints of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time runs out.


The movie based on this novel is titled ‘Now is Good’.

August 6

‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman

       This book is an edgy, heartbreaking and gripping story.

      Seventeen-year-old Mia narrates the story. She explains in utter detail every memory of her life and family. Mia is surrounded by a peculiar but wonderful family, several friends and a beautiful boyfriend. Mia has everything a teenage girl would ever want. One February morning Mia and her family are driving on a snowy road. In a blink of an eye Mia’s life is changed forever. Will she decide to stay or go?

      This book would interest girls from ages 12-17 who are interested in novels that have a heart ache storyline or novels about teenage girls who have to make choices that could alter the whole story. This book would not suite teenage boys due to the feminine side of the story.     

     I would rate this book a four out of five due to the personality that the characters had and how Mia dealt with tough choices she had to make. This book can help change your perspective on the decisions you make.

      Olivia, Year 9


     “What would you do if you had to choose?”

     To choose whether to live or die? How would it affect your friends and family? How would it affect you? Would you regret the decision? These are only some of the questions running through Mia’s head, but now she must face the harsh reality and make the heart-wrenching decision to live or die.


     The life of 17-year old Mia changes in the blink of an eye. Mia loves to spend time with her family and boyfriend Adam. Her family shares a passion for music. Mia takes a special interest in the cello from a very young age and has been playing it ever since. She is working hard for her acceptance into Julliard School.


     It was a cold February morning like no other in Mia’s hometown, Oregon. A thin blanket of white snow covered the ground outside Mia’s house forcing her school to be cancelled for the day. So the family decided to visit a family friend’s house for the day and their grandparents for dinner. Before they know it whilst driving and listening to their favourite song their car was spinning out of control along the slippery snowy road and collided into a tree, leaving Mia’s Mother and father dead at the scene and Teddy, her brother injured. Mia is rushed to the hospital and into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) with a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, internal bleeding and damage to the brain. Mia is aware of the extensive damage to her body and must now choose whether she would like to stay and live or die.


I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommended it to both male and female teens and adults from the age of at least fourteen years due to the mild coarse language found throughout.  If I stay” is a heart-achingly painful, sophisticated and gripping book. I would rate it a 9/10 with very high recommendation.


-Rielly B Year 9

November 25

‘Before I Die’ by Jenny Downham

Before I dieI hopefully never have cancer because in Tessa Scott’s eyes it doesn’t seem fantastic. But you know what is fantastic? The book Before I Die by Jenny Downham. This book is about a 16-year-old girl named Tessa and her need to do something with her life before she dies of cancer. With that, she creates a list of things she wants to do with her best friend named Zoey.

The book starts out with a very lazy Tessa in desperate need for a boyfriend. This lazy teen, who doesn’t feel the need to do anything because she’s about to die, has her friend take her to a club where they meet two boys. The boys they meet take both girls back to their house where they attempt to achieve the first thing on Tessa’s list: sex. Other things on Tessa’s list include things like: saying yes to everything for a day and taking drugs.

Another main theme of the book that is mentioned many times throughout the book and is why Tessa is unmotivated to do anything is that she is going to die. Tessa has been diagnosed with a form of terminal cancer known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It doesn’t sound very good! This makes her tired and lazy and very apathetic.

Tessa would not have been able to achieve some of the things on her list if it weren’t for some of the amazing people in her life like: her best friend Zoey, her little brother Cal and her neighbour Adam. These three people, along with her dad, play major roles in Tessa’s life.

I would recommend this book to teenagers, particularly girls, because many people of that are group would be able to relate to many of the themes of the book and most themes would not be suitable for younger kids. I would give the book ‘Before I Die’ a 4 out 0f 5.
~ Laura, Year 9


What would it be like to be sixteen and dying?

Tessa is sixteen and dying of leukaemia. She only has a few months to live and wants to create a list of things to do before she dies. Some of these include sex and drugs. While trying to complete her list with her best friend Zoey, she meets Adam. Adam shows her the beauty of life and herself. While Tessa is busy fitting in her dates with Adam between going to hospital and having fun with Zoey, her mum, dad and brother are trying to cope with the news of her dying. Cal, Tessa’s brother, is extremely funny and loves to perform magic tricks, even though they almost never work out. Tessa has the time of her life as she goes motorbike riding with Adam, shoplifting with Zoey and shopping with Cal.


This is a superb book because it shows that happiness can be found in everyone, even in people who are expecting the worst. I really enjoyed the book, “Before I Die” because there were no boring moments. The story was always introducing something new and keeping the story up-beat! I recommend this book for mature young adults or older as it contains adult themes.

Makayla N, Year 9

May 30

‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

Skin     “She was dying to be thin, he was struggling to survive.”

     The novel Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos is a true and shocking experience of a young 16-year-old girl named Karen who unfortunately turns sick and anorexic, but is she able to survive the struggle and starving that she is giving herself?

     After Karen gets called ‘fat’ at school, nothing can stop her from losing weight. This is her choice, and what she wants to do. But the rest of her family can’t stand seeing their causing herself this much pain, especially when her parents have to run her to hospital several times.

     A new girl Karen’s age moved into their street one day named Amanda. Amanda becomes Karen’s new best friend who she can tell everything to, but Karen starts making up excuses saying that she has already eaten when it comes to any eating time in the LePlant’s household.        

     Karen’s younger brother Donnie, who is only in the eighth grade, can’t help but worry about his sister all day long every day. Donnie feels that he is disappearing in the process of trying to help his sister. Karen and Donnie’s parents are slowly separating from each other. Every night karen and Donnie sit outside on the front porch because they can’t stand seeing their parents fight like they do. To top all this off Donnie spreads a rumor around at his school about Amanda.

     I know what you are thinking: ‘How much more can this family take?’

     If you love edgy, true novels, then ‘Skin’ is the book for you! I recommend this book to teens from about the age of 12 (start of high school) to the end of Year 12.

Montana J., Year 8 


     Every minute, every second, every hour, every day goes by. She becomes skinnier and skinnier. The clear outline of her ribs can be seen through the thin layer of skin covering her bones. “I’m fat” are the words continuously playing over and over in her head.

     Donnie’s sister Karen is becoming very sick, his family is falling apart, and he starts a rumor that people find out isn’t true, and he becomes all alone. Donnie tries to fix things, and make things better, but does he make things better or worse?

     Do you like stories based on problems that happen in society today? Well, the book Skin by Maria Vrettos is definitely the book for you.

     On the outside she has a smile on her face but underneath her clothes she’s falling apart. She’s falling apart mentally and physically.

     Nothing, absolutely NOTHING will stop her from losing weight. It’s all she wants to do. The family is traumatized by the fact that she is doing this to herself. What can Karen’s best friend Amanda do to help? Amanda only just moved next door to Donnie and Karen and didn’t expect anything like this to happen. Amanda didn’t want too tell anyone, so she kept it all to herself, but was it the right thing to do by not telling anyone?

     I liked the book Skin by Maria Vrettos. I thought it was a great story as it related to anorexia, and anorexia is a common problem today in society. The story showed that a teenage girl doing simple things could affect a whole family and change the atmosphere of everything. As was shown in the story, Karen’s family did care for her. They wanted what was best for her. People need to realize that people out there do care, so you should always tell someone.

     Skin is a great book because some teenage girls can look up to this book and see what can really happen if you do suffer from anorexia. I think this book is aimed at teenage girls aged 11-18 because they are the main age group to suffer from anorexia. I was very engaged to this book, and never wanted to put it down. The book went into a lot of details and used many adjectives. It felt like I was in the book and was there when everything was happening! Jacinta, Year 8.

October 31

‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

“…she was dying to be thin. He was struggling to survive.” 

This is the blurb from the front cover of the novel Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos. It expresses how Donnie, Karen’s younger brother,  struggles with his sister’s illness and the alienation he feels within his family. The story starts off revealing the ending, and goes back to where all of the drama started: gossiping, bulling at school, parents fighting and Donnie’s sister Karen suffering from anorexia.  Donnie and Karen come from a suburban, middle class family in America. Through the story they go to many different places, such as school, home and on a camping holiday.

The story is told through Donnie’s eyes, even though it is based on Karen’s illness. Putting that aside, Donnie has many other problems in his life that contribute to how he feels alienated, and ignored. His friends at school make fun of him, and only stay around when they feel like it, his parents continuously fight, which also affects the relationships he has at home.  Karen has similar problems, but she is also a moody teenager, which can also affect the household. Karen has a best friend who is also a huge part of this novel.

Overall, Skin is an excellent book for teenage girls. It shows how anorexia can affect not only you, but everyone around you in a horrible way. The emotions shown through this book are just amazing and it really gets you thinking about how other people have problems, how people suffer from the actions of others, and most importantly… how there will always be help for you. You just need to learn how to accept it.

Michelle, Year 9


“These are the things you think of when you come home to find that your sister has starved herself to death:1. My sister is flat like a board.2. When I scream in my sister’s name in her face, I can hear my father’s voice in my own.3. Where is it you’re supposed to press? In the middle, on the side? Left or right?”

This story opens with a young boy called Donnie who comes home to find that his sister Karen has starved herself to death.  He goes back from the start of the story when Karen stops eating and tells the long painful journey he and his family went through to try and save her.  The beginning of the story is sad but intriguing. It shocks you so you will keep reading.  It is about a girl and her brother in a bad stage in life.  Their parents are fighting every day and all they can do is sit outside and wait for them to finish fighting.  As things get worse, so does Karen. She is now starving herself and doesn’t realize how bad she is getting even though she discusses it with her new neighbour Amanda.  Donnie tries his hardest to keep her at a normal weight. He does everything he can, but as time goes by things just get worse and worse.  One of the key scenes in this book is when Donnie finds Karen’s food journal.  This scene is important because it changes the way Donnie sees his sister.

This book can help you learn about yourself in the way that you don’t just take life for granted.  It gives you insight about human behaviour. Anorexia is a mental illness and by reading this book it will give you a perspective from how every character is feeling.  I think you would like this book if you were a teen because this is the most common age for people to go through this experience.  I rate this book 5 stars as it is a good book and gives you an insight into how bad anorexia is from somebody else’s perspective. Tia, year 9


Would you die to be thin?

I really loved Skin. It was one of the best books I have read. The main characters in this book are Donnie and Karen. Donnie is 14 and always worries about everything whereas Karen is 16 and is dying to be thin.

The plot of this story is mainly that Donnie’s life is unravelling. His parents’ marriage is falling apart, and his sister is slowing rejecting him due to her illness. But Donnie being Donnie does the only thing he know how to do: fix things up and return them to how they used to be, his parents loving each other, Karen always caring about herself and Donnie. This will be hard for Donnie because he will have to stop looking at the past and move forward to start his life again.

I liked this book because it relates to teenagers and how they would react to things in modern society. The story is set in a city and is based on the sister’s anorexia.

I would recommend this book to females aged 12-17 as it addresses anorexia and this generally concerns girls. This novel is a realistic fiction, meaning it can happen to anyone but it is not true.

Morgan Year 9.


October 29

‘Go ask Alice’ by Anonymous

‘Go ask Alice’ by Anonymous begins with a innocent 15-year-old girl who is enjoying life with her friends and family and has no worries. Her dad gets a new job in a new town and Alice’s life begins to go downhill. She finds it difficult to make friends and gets sucked into the world of drugs. She becomes addicted to LSD and starts experimenting with more types of drugs, Alice tries hard to stop the addiction which works for a while but she couldn’t handle it. Shortly after starting again she dies from a drug overdose.

The main character in the book is Alice. She is a 15 year-old-year girl who has a loving family and studies at school. She learns about drugs the hard way and has trouble keeping her addiction under control.

I would recommend this book to anyone of the age of 14 and up because I think this book is relevant to teenagers because it is about teenagers that struggle with drugs, peer pressure or trying to fit in. The book is very good for anyone who is having trouble with peer pressure or anything to do with drugs because it shows them the effects and consequences.

This book is interesting and a real eye opener to the harmful effects of drugs. I would definitely read this book again and recommend it to anyone that is interested in what I have written. Kellen, Year 9


“Go Ask Alice” by an anonymous author is based on a true story about a girl named Alice who is aged 15. She came from a loving family, attended a decent school, and had a roof over her head. One day she decided to buy a diary, so she could write everything she ever wanted to say and it would be all hers. But the beginning of Alice’s story changes when her dad got a promotion at a new town and the family had to move. She started at a new school and had trouble making friends.

When the school holidays came along she went to stay with her grandparents. It was there that her old school friends invited her to a party. Little did she know that attending that party was the biggest mistake of her life. Everything changed when they were playing an unsafe party game and someone rigged her drink with LSD and that was the start of Alice’s riveting adventure.

I recommend this book to any ages from 14 and up, because it is something teenagers should read to understand that drugs and peer pressure are dangerous and could destroy your life. Parents of young teens should read it so they can realize how tough a young teenager’s life can be. ‘Go Ask Alice’ is an inspirational book, filled with ups and downs and packed with life long lessons.

Alysha, Year 9


Go ask Alice is a book that many teenagers could relate to.  It’s set at parties, Alice’s grandparents’ house and different parts around the town.   Alice is a intelligent girl who experiments with drugs to help her ecsape her low self esteem. Her father was a professor at the university, and her mother was a homemaker.  Joel is a student at Alice’s father’s university.  The grandparents are loved members of the family. Alice spends her summer up with them.  Tim and Alexandria can make Alice jealous but eventually Tim will turn into a mature young man.

This story is about a girl that has to move to a new town  where she knows nobody and so one weekend they go back to their home town and she goes to a party, and gets exposed to drugs and her life turns for the worse.

I didn’t really like the book but if I had to like one thing about this book, it would be that it is set out different from every other book, because it is set out like a diary and not many books are written like this one was.

I would recommend this book to teenagers or anyone who might have a drug problem. Reason being is that this book can show the effects of doing drugs and how it can effect people around you.

By Dylan, Year 9


“Go Ask Alice” is a book anonymously written about drugs, sex and a runaway girl. This book takes place everywhere: parties, corner stores, school; even her grandparents’ place is an important place in the story.  Alice is a desperate girl begging to find love. She is an average teenage girl, but doesn’t know how to control her feelings; instead she decides to take drugs and runs away, trying to solve her problems. I enjoyed this book because of the problems with the drugs and the sex and all the other disasters in her life.

This book is about a girl that is forced to leave her school for her Dad’s job. She only has a few friends. She ends up going back to her original town, where she is invited to a party. That’s where she is introduced to drugs. This is when her life starts to become even worse, her parents become more nagging and everything else goes wrong. She can’t handle this, so she ends up running away, twice.

I believe that this book is mostly suitable for teenagers (preferably girls), because this is a dramatic book, which has love and parent crises. This book may always help influence teenagers about the effects of drugs and how it can change someone’s life exceedingly badly.

Dean, Grade 9  


Go Ask Alice is a book that is based on a trust story of a girl aged 15 called Alice. Many teenagers nowadays can relate to it very easily, because many of us are being peer pressured into doing drugs, losing our virginity and many other things that we should only be considering later on, in adulthood. Alice is a intelligent girl yet she chose to use drugs because she needed it to escape from her low self esteem life.

The storyline is about a teenager who has to move to a new town, where she knows absolutely no one. One weekend she goes back to visit her home town, where all her friends were. They were also holding a party. She chose to go to the party, and of course in teenager’s party there are lots of alcohol and drugs involved. She is peer pressured into doing drugs, but then is addicted and so her life has flipped upside down ever since that one night.

I really enjoyed this book because it is based on a true story, a teenage girl who is using drugs and her life has been bad ever since. Many of us can relate to this nowadays because many of us have low self-esteem and we all think that maybe taking drugs will make us ‘high’ and happy and help us forget about everything, when really it makes you go off your face and you will regret it. In the end of this book, Alice overdoses from using drugs and she was found already dead.

I recommend this book to teenage girls around the age of 14 and up. This is because this book uses a lot of coarse language and a lot of sexual references so I think it would be more appropriate for this age group. The moral of this entire book is that it shows the damaging effects of using drugs and how it can also hurt and affect the people around you, especially your family and friends.

By Emily, Year 9.


Go ask Alice’ by an anonymous author is about Alice, a 15-year-old girl who has been enjoying her life until her dad got a new job in town. That was when Alice’s life turned around. After a short time Alice returned to her home town to go to a party and her friends were all doing drugs. Alice was peer pressured into doing them, Alice became addicted, and she tried to stop the addiction many times but always seemed to go back to them when her life was down. In the end Alice’s life takes a turn for the end and Alice is found in her room dead from a drug overdose.

The point the author is trying to show in this book is that drugs are definitely a bad thing and there are terrible consequences for this and that you should never give into peer pressure because you could become addicted just like Alice did and you might suffer with the consequences – dying.  This book is also showing that if you do give in to peer pressure and you do get addicted to drugs it will not only hurt you, but it will affect the people around you as well.

I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 14 because this is the age when teenagers are most likely introduced to drugs. This book has detailed references and course language. I would definitely recommend this book to be read by all teenagers that are going through a rough time with or without drugs to help them see that drugs can take your life.

Rebecca, Year 9


New school, bad grades, misbehaving, drugs, sex and bad influences: the perfect combination for a troubled teen. In the book ‘Go ask Alice’, Alice didn’t start off to be a mischievous outcast. She was a normal teen, she had great friends, and she liked her school and a superior family. Her life was going as planned, until her father moved the family to a different town for his work, with new people, different schools and unfamiliar surroundings. This story is set in a little town. Alice loved where she lived and her school until she moved. The main character is Alice, of course, a 15-year-old teenager who turned to drugs to solve her problems.

I liked this story a lot because I think many teens could relate to it and the situation they may be put in. This book may give them information about the consequences that they may face if they decide to start using drugs. I would recommend this book for late teenage girls, 14 years and up, because it can relate to some teens more than other books. I would rate this book a 7 to an 8 out of 10, because I like the fact that is was written in a form of a diary but I was a little hard for me to follow sometimes.

Ebony – Year 9


October 29

‘Before I Die’ by Jenny Downham

Life. What would you do if you knew your life was to be cut short?

For Tessa Scott, time is ticking faster than most.

This is not how it’s supposed to be. Everyone dies… But not like this.

With only a few months left she wants to make the most of it but it’s hard when you know it’s ending.

She creates a bucket list of things she must complete before her time is up. It starts tonight! And no one is stopping her…

This novel was exciting from the first sentence, I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next and I couldn’t put it down. I would recommend this book for girls ages 13+ as it was written from a girl’s perspective. After reading this novel I had a new appreciation for life and now attempt to live every moment to the fullest. If you love reading books with drama and romance then this is the book for you!

Jazz, Year 9


What would you do if you only had a couple of months left to live?

What if you had been battling cancer for 5 years?

What if you had a list of things you wish you could do but worried that you would run out of time?

Before I Die was written by Jenny Downham and is the story of Tessa’s last months of her life. She has a list; a list of ten things she wants to do before she dies. Number one: Sex, the rest you’ll have to read to find out.

This book is a moving story that has it all: love, heartache, and suspense. It’s a book I couldn’t put down. I would recommend this book to mature girls aged 14+ as it does have some scenes that are quite intimate. Before I Die made me think about the things that I take for granted everyday.

Sophie, Year 9.


‘Before I Die’ By Jenny Downham:

‘But getting what you want isn’t easy. And getting what you want doesn’t always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important.’

Life is full of unexpected moments but does anything prepare you for getting told you only have a few months left?

London, a place where life is full of mysteries, is where the main character Tessa Scott lives her final months. Tessa is a sixteen year-old-girl who is suffering from leukaemia. Life is tough, as we all know, but for someone who has been told they only have a few months to live, it can be a little more confronting then your average break up story. Dealing with the monstrosity put in front of her can be a challenge, but Tessa has a way to set her mind apart from the pain.

A bucket list.

Tessa writes a list of all the things she wants to do before she dies, the top of the list starts tonight.

I thoroughly liked the book ‘Before I Die’, because the story describes the life of a girl who not only has to deal with teenage issues, but the dreading thought of CANCER. I know as a teenager we have many issues to deal with in our lives but Tessa is a girl that can push struggles out of the way and still show her brave side. I would recommend this book to an audience aged fourteen and above who prefers the genre that is very heart and mind orientated. This book is written in first person, and comes from a girl’s perspective of life with cancer. I rate this book 4 out of 5 as ‘Before I Die’ is a truly moving, and teary novel.  Brittany, Year 9.

August 21

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green

‘Joy and heartbreak skillfully interwoven’ could sum up this beautiful book from John Green. I’m a huge fan of Green’s writing: “Looking for Alaska”, “Paper Towns” and now “The Fault in our stars”, the latter being my favourite.

Superficially, this is a story of two teenagers (Hazel and Augustus or Gus), both cancer sufferers, who fall in love. But to tell that story is to sell the novel short, because it tells us so much more about our lives, why we live and how we should live.

Dedicated to Esther Earl, a teenage cancer sufferer who Green met as a chaplain in a children’s hospital, Green says: “She was an otherwise normal girl who was funny and smart and I wanted to capture those qualities in Hazel Lancaster.”

I GET these kids, painted so poignantly by Green, ordinary teenagers stuck in their pain of dying, and their even more excruciating pain of living! “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you,” Gus pens (p.313).

This novel almost feels to me like a still life – as though Hazel and Augustus are teenagers caught glaring into the spotlight as we examine their lives, their humane and vulnerable beauty exposed, questioning the platitudes thrown at them by adults, catching the nuances of meaning in each moment, the blackest humour in everyday existence, all beautifully rendered in Green’s prose like a piece of art.

It’s love that triumphs in the end – ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’. Even though we know from the beginning that due to ‘the fault in their stars’, their love will not last, that the painful reality is that ‘some infinities are bigger than other infinities’, we are caught up in their fight to make meaning of their lives and to survive. Esther herself reminds us: “…don’t forget to be awesome — love, Esther.” And they are truly awesome, as is Green’s writing! Highly recommended.

Mrs Osborne

October 24

‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman has written a book ‘If I stay’, which is about a young girl called Mia who is going on a road trip with her family to visit their friends and family. They have a car crash and her father, mother and brother die. She ends up in hospital and she is like a ghost out of her body. She can see and hear everything that goes on around her. I liked this book because it was very interesting and not like other books or movies. It really made me think about when death comes calling. The author writes in a simple uncomplicated way that is easily understood by 13-16 year olds. It’s very easy to read, but very interesting at the same time. This is a book that makes you stop and think about why horrible things happen to good people.  What would you do if you had to choose to leave or stay?  Catherine, Year 9


On a day that started like any other…
A young girl named Mia had everything.. a loving family, she is absolutely gorgeous, she had a loving boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and choices. Then, one day it was all almost taken from her. Caught between life and death, her whole family that was in a car crash with her died suddenly, but she didn’t. She was given a choice between a happy past and an unknowable future, so Mia spends one critical day trying to make the only decision she has left…  the most important decision she’ll ever make.
This book is really for readers between the ages of 13-16. It is easy to read and it keeps you interested in the book.
I rate this book about a 7/10. Anna, Year 9

October 19

‘Before I die’ by Jenny Downham

“Life is only what you make it.”

This certainly applies to Tessa, a young 16 year old girl who is tragically diagnosed with leukemia. Tessa only wants what normal teenagers tend to wish for, and in her case, a boyfriend. This leads to her list, a list of things to do before she dies, which takes you to Zoey, Tessa’s best friend, who assists her in fulfilling her list. But in Tessa’s case, it isn’t that easy. Along Tessa’s journey, there are struggles, meltdowns, tantrums and of course, love always finds its way.  I really enjoyed this book, although I must admit it was a little slow to begin with. I enjoyed reading it because I could relate to Tessa and her reactions towards her situations as I’m also close to her age, so I can understand the way she thinks about life.  I also liked the fact that it wasn’t predictable, and it kept you on your toes the whole entire book. I would recommend ‘Before I die’ to teenage girls (13-18) because they may understand the story and relate to the characters a bit easier than say a teenage boy. Definitely brought some tears to my eyes, but would definitely be a 10 out of 10 from me. Ashley, Year 9

“Life’s too short to be anything but happy.”

In Tessa’s world this certainly applies, as she was heartbreakingly diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 12. Now that she is 16, all she wants is a boyfriend, a normal teenage desire, which brings you to her list. Tessa’s best friend Zoey helps her to carry out her wishes and aspirations. And with only a few months of life left, this takes her on a journey of lifetime memories, struggles and romance. I feel attached to this book because it’s very deep and connecting; although I have not experienced anything like Tessa has before. The descriptive words used in this book made me feel as if I was there. I would recommend this story to a more mature age group, as there are adult concepts that younger people might not understand! This book has an unexpected ending and most defiantly be prepared for a cry.  Claire, Year 9

If you were told you only had months left to live, what would you do?

The book “Before I die” by Jenny Downham is a heart warming story about a teenage girl Tessa who is diagnosed with a terminal cancer known as leukemia, and told she only has a certain amount of time left. This inspires her to create a list of the top ten things she wants to do before she dies. As time goes by and you get to know more about Tessa and her life you see she adds things to the list, things like getting married to the guy that helps her through everything.

This book is a beautiful story about love, hate, relationships, and struggles that many people can relate to. I recommend it to teenage girls (13-18) as it is a truly touching story with hidden messages and morals.           By Georgia, Year 9

I really like that the author chose to write this particular story. It’s very moving emotionally and it deals with difficult issues. It really makes me think about the truth of the story and how terminally ill girls exist all over the world and that situations like this do happen to real people! The book talks about a young girl’s struggles and difficulties along with happy times through her voice, so you also read about her thoughts and opinions on the whole thing.

This story is also about true friendship between two girls, along with true love when she meets the man of her dreams. This book is aimed at girls around the ages of 12-18 and it really works. I was engrossed in this book and couldn’t put it down. One of the reasons I think it really stands out to me is that it isn’t written too formally. The characters are my age and talk just like I do.

I would recommend this book for a great read, with a bit of an emotional twist. You may need your tissues for this one but it definitely gave me a reality check of what really happens every day all over the world.

Tayla, Year 9

The book ” Before I die” is a very unpredictable book. The lead character Tessa has only a few more months of life so she has made a list of ten things she wants to do before she dies…… number one is sex. But when she gets it she realises that it should not have been first on her list.  This list makes her feel like she can do whatever she wants when she wants to, but she doesn’t realise what’s happening to the people around her. Is she ever going to realise what her close ones are feeling? She meets a guy next door who fancies her but her best friend Zoey doesn’t like him. Is she going to be satisfied with the choices she made before she died? This book is very unpredictable and has you wondering what’s going to happen next. Zia, Year 9