July 11

‘Starfish Sisters’ by J.C. Burke

Starfish sistersGeorgia, Ace, Micki and Kia are all passionate surfers and are good at what they do. Although have the same interests they are not particularly close to begin with. After being thrown together at surf camp, this group of girls deal with jealously, secrets and lies. Their lives are then filled with nothing more than drama. If you like juicy, action filled books, Starfish Sisters is the book for you!

Georgie loves surfing but over the past months she doesn’t have the same enthusiasm anymore. She’s a great surfer but over time the pressure of being great at something starts to get to her.

Ace is an excellent surfer and was thrilled to be selected into the elite surfing competition but that’s not what’s she focused on. Her main concern is her relationship with her boyfriend Tim. Kia is Georgie’s best friend and once the drama begins it hits her the hardest. These four girls are put together in a starfish cabin and form an uneasy friendship. This book is filled with drama and questions and is a great read. The main focus is about surfing but anyone could have easily connected with the book with any sport as it was written in a way that the targeted audience could relate to.

Chanelle G., Year 8

June 21

‘Pig Heart Boy’ by Malorie Blackman

pig heart boyThe book ‘Pig Heart Boy’ by Malorie Blackman provides a story of a great life struggle. Would you take the chance to live a normal life but go through an operation that has never been performed before? This book shows how far a person will go just to keep on living. That is the case for Cameron Kelsey, a boy with a dying heart and the only one way to change it by getting a pig’s heart. If a heart-throbbing story with twists and turns is your ideal book, then ‘Pig Heart Boy’ is the book for you.

Cameron Kelsey is a 13 year old boy who lives in London wishing to have a normal life, but with his dying heart he can never enjoy time with his friends. His friend Marlon is constantly making sure Cameron is OK but that makes Cameron ticked off. Being the friend that always has to be careful about what he does and being the one everyone is worrying about is annoying and stressful. Cameron wishes to touch the bottom of the deep end at the swimming pool, to run and to play football with his friends. Cameron longs to play and enjoy life to the fullest with his friends, but he can’t, so when he is offered that opportunity to live life, he takes the chance with open arms. But this opportunity will be a 50/50 chance against life or death for this opportunity has never been preformed before. He needs to live, he wants to live to see a new piece of joy coming into his life.

I really enjoyed this book because it shows that anyone can have a bright future even when you think that future is slim. This book showed me what is important about a person and what isn’t. This book also showed new creative ways of modern medecine and how it can truly save lives yet take them away. This book made feel involved with the tough decisions made within the book and the exciting surprises.

I recommend this book to 12-18 year olds for this story can provide help to those needing a bit of light and hope for their future. This book can show others what other people have to deal within their own lives.

This blog was written by Mary B in grade 8.

June 21

‘The forever whale’ By Sarah Lean

Forever WhaleSarah Lean is the author of “The forever whale”. She grew up in Wales, but now lives in Dorset with her husband, son and dog. Sarah has written all kinds of different books including “A dog called homeless”. “A dog called homeless” is her best-selling book. Sarah has won awards for this book like the Hazelgrove Book Award and the prestigious Schneider Family Middle School Book Award in the US.

“The forever whale” is a wonderful book. The main character is Hannah. Hannah is a young girl who lives near the water. When her grandma died, Hannah and her mum and dad moved in with her grandpa. Hannah didn’t get to meet her grandma, though she really wanted to. Hannah is named after her grandma.

“She is Hannah Jenkins and you’re Hannah Grey,” Grandpa says. “You are like her in many ways.”

Hannah and her grandpa go out on a beautiful brown boat with oars sometimes. When Hannah goes out with her grandpa he tells stories about his childhood. But grandpa hasn’t told Hannah the most important story of all. When grandpa forgets everything, Hannah has to work out by herself what is his most important memory. Can Hannah put together this amazing story that connects her childhood to her grandfather’s?

By Emma Hill, Year 8

June 20

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

mac slater 1He soars through the sky like a bird and then all of a sudden “crack”, “bang” the wings start to malfunction. Mac is falling to his own certain death. This is one of the many things that happen in Mac Slater Cool Hunter. This book is good as it takes you on an adventure and it shows how anyone in life can face very challenging things and that you should never give up on something you truly want.

The story is about a boy named Mac Slater and he is an inventor who gets invited to a group of people that are called “Cool Hunter” and he has to choose to either ditch his friend and go into Cool Hunter or deny the invite and stay with his friend. Later on he faces many challenges that he has to overcome. Mac Slater is a very exciting book and if you liked books that take you on an adventure then this book is for you. If you have read other books such as Lockie Leonard and you liked them, then you should definitely get this book.

In the book Mac Slater the main character is Mac Slater and he is a 13 year old boy with scruffy hair. He has a friend who also likes to invent as well. During this book Mac Slater and his friend get invited to go to a club and he has to invent one of his greatest inventions of all time to get in.

I liked this book a lot because it was very intriguing and it took me on a great adventure and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure books or they are either 12-15 years of age as it is a bit childish but not that serious at times. This book is very good and I rate it 4/5 stars.

By Dallas B., Year 8


Let me ask you a question. Do you like FLYING bikes and good comedy? Well, look no further, because “Mac Slater Cool Hunter” is the book for you, with its flying bikes, amazing ideas and comedy that is appropriate for all ages. So why not read Tristan Bancks’ “MAC SLATER COOL HUNTER”? I guarantee that you won’t regret it.

This is one of the best books for the ages of 5 to 14 years old and older. This novel is powerful in ideas, imagination and a creative mind from the main characters Mac and Paul. Mac and Paul have an idea which involves a bike that can fly. A bike that can fly is their invention that they want to go viral. Mac and Paul have been working on their flying bike for weeks. When it is finally finished, they test out the crazy invention at a cliff face in a small town in Australia where there were a lot of people such as school friends and students and a girl that Mac liked. This was a tough crowd for Mac and Paul. They didn’t expect this type of crowd, so It was going to be tough for Mac and Paul to pull off this stunt.

This book is one of the best books I’ve read so far. It is the best book that shows that when you put your head to things you want to achieve anything is possible. This novel has one of the most inspiring characters if you enjoy fantasy and humour, this novel is appropriate for the ages of 5-14 years old. I would recommend you to read this book for your enjoyment. Trust me you won’t regret it. Mac Slater Cool Hunter.

Thomas F, Year 8


Have you ever wanted to invent a flying bike.?

Well, these kids have and they tested it by being normal kids and riding off a cliff face and almost killing themselves because they’re just normal kids. But one of the kids who was actually riding the bike after landing/crashing suddenly fell in love with one of the girls who came to watch the travesty. I’m sorry to say, though, that she’s one of those weird mean girls who will smile at bad things that have happened.

Honestly I think that this book is a 4 out of six stars because its a good book but it is not my style. I recommend this book to people who like the normal lifestyle kind of books. All in all that is only my opinion and I know that other people will like it. I hope that you boys and girls will like it because the writer has worked really hard on this book and many others so I hope you all like it.

Matthew C., Year 8

June 16

‘Six Impossible Things’ by Fiona Wood

Six impossible thingsIn ‘Six impossible things’ by Fiona Wood, courage is the main emotion that fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill ( the main character ) expresses. He is the biggest sweet heart who has six things that he has to do to set himself right for life.

The story is mainly set at home with Dan, his mum and Estelle, but it is also set at school. Dan is a smiley boy and not much seems to make him annoyed or worries him except the girl of his dreams, Estelle. He makes her out to be one of the most beautiful things on earth. He is going through a tough time in his life finding out that his dad is gay and that is tough on a teenager or anyone. Estelle? Well, she lives next door to Dan . She usually fights with her mum, and is trying not to believe that Dan has the biggest crush on her in the whole world. Dan’s mum doesn’t really seem to be coping with the whole ‘husband is now gay’ thing and keeps telling Dan stories about when times were good.

Dan’s mum decides to move away to try and hide the pain. They end up finding a house that an old lady they knew passed away in. Dan is being constantly bullied by this group of teenagers at school whilst he is falling madly in love with Estelle, of which Estelle has no idea of at all.

I liked this book a lot because it was interesting and very appealing to me and it is something that I would read. It was a bit romantic and all about Dan and what he wanted for his life which made me want to keep reading. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school, boy or girl. It is a very good book that mainly girls would enjoy.

Madison M.

June 10

‘Megan’, by Mary Hooper

Megan-by-Mary-HooperThe book I have read is Megan, written by Mary Hooper.

Megan is only fifteen. One day she finds out in the worst possible way some terrible news – that she is pregnant.

What will she do?

How will her friends react?

How will the father of the baby react?

But worst of all, how will her mother react?

Will Megan keep the baby?

In this readable story, Megan tries to make sense of something that whichever way she turns will change her life forever.

This book is a good read for teens preferably for 13 years girl and up. Boys could also read this book to teach them a lesson but this book it recommended mainly for girls.

I thought Megan was a great and easy read. It was very interesting and it didn’t have easy answers to the problems she encountered.  The book was difficult to put down and the ending leaves you wondering what will happen next. This book is first of the trilogy and once you finish it you just have to read the next one. I give this book a 5 star rating.

Ashleigh. L, Year 8


“Was one of those things really inside me? I put my hand on my tummy again. Could I feel something in there or was I imagining it? Was that just a bit of wobbly fat or something else? (Megan, p.18).

The novel that was read was ‘Megan’ by Mary Hooper. This book is a faction novel. Faction novels have information about possible events but it not true. The Megan Series are the other novels written by the author. They are about how Megan deals with her life and with her child. ‘Megan’ was simple and predictable but at the same time it was compelling and readers described it as though they needed to know what would happen next.

The novel was set in the 21st century in England. The characters in this book are legitimate. A character that stands out is the mother. The mother is a character that puts a lot of pressure on Megan as she wants her to have a good life and have a baby later in her life.

In Megan’s world, there are many dangers to her and her child. Some of these dangers include harassment, short teenage-hood, and the danger of never finding a partner.  Harassment is a danger to Megan as in high school she was harassed by some boys. After that Megan was extremely careful, as when she was harassed Megan felt terrible! Megan’s mother believes that she will only have a short teenage-hood as she will need to mature way too quickly. Not finding a partner is a huge danger for Megan as she has no one to rely on. Megan does not overcome these dangers but she is careful and tries to enjoy life with friends.

This story is engaging and powerful. At the end of the book it was extremely satisfying. Although satisfying it was almost expected that she would keep her child.

In conclusion, the book was interesting. The highlight of this book is extremely hard to decide. This book is recommended to be for young girls/women aged 13 years plus. This age group would most likely find it interesting and educational. This book could be rated 5/5 stars.

Rachel V, Year 8


“Everything in life is a reflection of a choice you had made. If you want a different result, then make a different choice.”

Megan was only 15 when she discovers during class that she is 5 months pregnant. Megan has to go through the troubles of being pregnant at a young age.

Megan goes through many challenges, from her close friend hanging out with others to her mum telling her what to do.

I recommend this story to a girl 13 years and up to read this book. The story taught you a good lesson to stay safe and that your choices may affect yourself and others.

Megan’s actions have changed how she thinks and acts. Megan’s mum transports Megan to her aunt’s. Megan’s aunt tells her what happened when she was pregnant around the same age and how her choices still come to her today. Megan meets many nice friends were her aunt lives and goes to a motherhood class to help her with the future.

Slowly Megan grows from her mistake and learns how to handle a baby with care and nurture. Megan’s mum starts to tell little white lies to her neighbours as to why Megan is missing, while Megan’s friend stars to drop hints while Megan is away. Megan writes to her father in Australia saying she might live with him with the baby because her mum wants the baby adopted. The book “Megan” has a great example that “Everything in life is a reflection of a choice you had made. If you want a different result, then make a different choice.” And that “The past can hurt but you can either run from it or learn from your mistakes.”

The book is quite a good book but not my style of reading. If you read and love the first book of “Megan” then you can read “Megan 2” and “Megan 3″ that will complete the whole story. I’d rate this book ” Megan” a 2.5 stars.

Sofia N, Year 8.


She was rambling on and I wasn’t taking all of it in and then she said, ‘Of course, it is possible to be pregnant and still have periods.’ I didn’t hear what she went on to after that, I was just stuck on that: of course, it is possible to be pregnant and still have periods (Megan Novel page number 8).

This novel was about a girl named Megan. The novel ‘Megan’ is a faction book written by Mary Hooper. Megan is a simple and predictable book, yet this story strikes reality first. ‘Megan’ was compelling because throughout the story you always wanted to know what would happen next.

The setting and characters in the book are based on reality. The story is set in the 21st century in Great Britain. The story brings excitement and danger at every corner. Megan is a book that involved doing research for all the characters. Writing this book, Mary Hooper made the characters pop out. The story line followed one character after another and this is what connected me to the characters.

“Without thinking, my hand moved on to my stomach. It didn’t feel any different. But was that because I didn’t want to? Was it just a bit bigger? Rounder?” Using this quote, Megan gives the character a feeling. Using this feeling, the book engages the reader.

Following Megan’s life, the story was powerful, heart-filling and overwhelming. The end of the story involved characters in an unthinkable decision. The story outline was interesting and truthful. The writer’s style gave me inspiration and this is because the theme of the story was about surviving and never giving up hope. The theme of the story changed every now and again.

‘Megan’ is a book that involves having bravery and courage. The highlight of the story was when Megan kept her child Jack. I recommend the story to pre-teens because the story was easy to read  and it was quite interesting. The theme changed every now and again and I rate the book about a 3.5 out of 5.

By Courtney D, Yr 8

June 9

‘Trash’ by Andy Mulligan

trashMountainous piles of trash looming down at you, ready to fall at any second. This is the reality for the people of Bahala dumpsite. Living in ramshackle shacks made out of anything and everything they can find and picking through the rubbish and stupp to make a living. Andy Mulligan describes the living conditions in some parts of the world in this adventurous book ‘Trash’.

This story of adventure is set in the rubbish dumps of Bahala where the three main characters Rat, Raphael and Gardo, hiding their secrets, use each other’s strengths to scrummage through the city and piles of rubbish to unlock clues to the mystery of Jose Angelico. Living day by day, they are being hunted by police, protecting the treasure they found in the trash: the wallet full of clues. They decode the mystery with help from friends along the way, and end up fulfilling their true dreams.

This book is very exciting following the twists and turns of the plot filled with adventure and mystery. The story progresses with subtle suspense and leaves you wanting more. The plot is very engaging in the way Andy Mulligan describes the characters and scenes throughout the book. The description and clear imagery help me to see vivid scenes in my head as though I was there. I really liked this book because it links to real world problems, and gives me an insight into the way people live in these bad conditions.

I would recommend this book to 10-20 year olds as it is very thrilling and captivating and leaves me sitting on the edge of my seat wanting more. This book deals with real world problems in a thrilling dramatic way. I rate ‘Trash’ 4 out of 5 stars because it has a very good storyline packed with action and adventure.

Darby W, Year 8


“You’ll never know what you’ll find…”

Have you ever thought of living on less than the bare minimum? Trash is based on this one phrase. If you are looking for an excellent read with great and mysterious adventures Trash is the book for you. The beginning of the novel makes you jump straight into the life of three friends: Raphael, Gardo and Rat.

These three friends are dumpsite boys who don’t live the cleanest life. Raphael, being 14 years old, is the same age as his friend Gardo, whereas Rat is 10. Although they are kids, they don’t live the typical life of normal children.

These dumpsite friends are being hunted and tracked down by the local police department, living on less than the bare minimum and hiding the biggest and deepest secrets they have ever kept. They leave everything behind with the youngest, Rat, letting him guard the three boys’ dignity and lives all over one simple wallet of answers. How will the story end? Can the three boys end up living the lives they have always wanted and are never on the run?

I really enjoyed this book because of the storyline that Andy Mulligan has written in this book, and all the characters behind it. Trash is a very captivating story full of life long lessons, whilst the book takes the reader on several rollercoaster adventures through the dumpsite of Bahala and the lives of Raphael, Gardo and Rat.

I would recommend Trash to keen readers of ages 10-15 as it has extreme adventure and journeys.

Trash also leaves the readers wanting to know more and keen to read on. Trash is a great read and it has life long lessons through the the book.

Georgia C-G, Year 8


” My name is Raphael Fernández and I am a dumpsite boy.”

Three friends, Raphael, Gardo and Rat, live in Behala, a filthy dumpsite on mountain piles of never ending trash. Breathing filthy, unhealthy air, and eating rotten food, living life with the bare minimum trying to survive by finding anything valuable to keep them alive. They sit around all day and sort through the the sifting rubbish.

“…you’ll never know what you’ll find.” One day they find something, something extraordinary, but from that day forward they are hunted without any mercy. With danger chasing at their heels, the three boys are chased from Behala’s gutters to its wealthy avenues. But these boys can’t run forever. They are in need of a miracle.

The story Trash is set in a little town named Behala, where the main characters, Raphael Gardo and Rat ( Jun- jun ) live. Yet these boys don’t live in clean luxurious homes with everything their heart desires. These boys live in a dumpsite with their families, yet every day these boys are sifting through rubbish trying to find anything valuable to help them alive. Ever since Raphael Fernández found the leather bag with all the clues to uncover the mystery of Jośe Angelico, he and his friends are then being chased day by day by the police, trying to protect the leather bag, but these boys can’t run forever. They are in need of a miracle.

This book was very interesting and eye catching because of all the clues and the mysteries and the twisty plots that the main characters come up against. The process of the story flowed with the suspense and kept leaving me wanting to know more about the upcoming events. The events throughout the book eg. plots was very engaging how Andy Mulligan set the scene, and had me in the edge of my seat leaving me wanting to know what was going to happen next to the characters.

I believed that this book was very engaging, thrilling and adventurous. I would recommend this book for teenagers age 13-16 because it was very action packed and was full of adventure. I rate Trash 4 out of 5 stars.

Sophia H, Year 8


Just image you work and lived in a dump site from morning to night just because you don’t have enough money to stay anywhere else. This is the daily life in Belhala. Belhala is a huge junk yard where people of all ages live and work. But out of the thousands of people in Behala there are three kids who are about to set out on an adventure to solve a mystery.

The three main characters are Gardo, Raphael and Rat. Gardo and Raphael are just like brothers. Their bonds are strong between them.

The main plot of the story is that Gardo has found a bag that has caused a lot of commotion. The police are after the bag that contains an ID card, 11 hundred pesos (dollars), a map and a key. The police are giving the one person that finds the bag money. The police will torture Gardo for that bag. They will even kill for it, but what do they want with it? You will have to read the book to find out.

Trash is a wonderful book to read. It’s a mystery and a thriller that will make you want to keep reading. I would recommend that this book to 12-20 year olds.

Dominic B., 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 26

‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman

ifistay_GayleForman“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”

This is a quote that is used in the book If I Stay. The story is set on a snowy day when Mia and her family decide to go for a drive and are in a car accident, which leaves Mia in a critical condition. The main characters in this book are Mia, who is 17 year old and has her whole life to plan for, and then there is Adam who is 18 years old and is dating Mia and has a band that is travelling the world.

Set in Oregon, Mia and her family were one day driving to see their grandparents when a truck came around the corner and spun out of control and hit their car. Mia wakes up and soon after realises that she is in a comer and she doesn’t know what has happened to her family. She then later has to decide whether she wants to stay or leave life, which is one of the hardest decisions she will ever have to make. Mia plays the cello and before the accident had happened she auditioned for Julliard, a prestigious music school. On the day of the accident she was going to find out if she had got in or not and Adam, Mia’s boyfriend, finds an envelope from Julliard which gives the answer to that question.

I enjoyed this book because it left you thinking and wanting to know more about what will happen if she woke up or not. I would recommend for teens and young adults to read this book because I believe that it suits them the most.

Rhiannon.S Year 9


If I Stay is about Mia and her brother (Teddy) and her mum and dad. One day in their lovely home state in America, it snows, and they are in a car crash. Mia’s Mum and Dad die at the scene, and both Mia and Teddy are in a critical condition. What happens next is incredibly difficult to explain, so this is what I made of it.

Mia enters a state of ‘non-death’ and watches over as her body is operated on and transported from ward to ward until it ends up in the ICU. She watches as people come and go, watching her body. The rest of the book is based upon Mia reflecting over her life and what she’s accomplished and achieved and answering the ultimate question: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This book was actually surprisingly short, or compact would be a better word, and that’s my first positive. Short, but definitely sweet as well. This is a really interesting book to read as it tackles a sense of achievement and also overcomes that stereotype against musicians that they can’t have boyfriends who are into modern stuff (Adam) or they have no friends or they can’t achieve anything in day to day life because it’s a dying art. I like that. I also like the fact that this wasn’t a complete chick flick! This book doesn’t start with ‘Stephanie knew the boy next door. And he was the worst thing that ever happened…’ because I find that stuff boring. Don’t get me wrong, it was borderline, but it wasn’t romance. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, but I also fail to see how this can be sensibly adapted into a feature length film.

Lilly, Year 9


“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”

If I Stay is a heart-felt drama about the young love and drama of a new couple, Adam (18) and Mia (17) and the hurdles they have to face testing their relationship. Their fate has been drastically changed when Mia’s family of four decide to take a drive on a frosty snowy day in Oregon only to discover a life-changing moment is around the corner.

Mia, 17, an aspiring cello player wanting to make it big in the music world, has to face something no seventeen-year-old should: a life changing accident that leaves her hospitalized and in a critical condition where all she can do is fight for her life in the hope she will make it through.

Adam, 18, lead singer of his band, The Willamette Stone, finds his heart lies with Mia. Adam and his band are finally starting to make it big and have been travelling around with his band working on his music career. When he hears the tragic news of Mia’s accident, he rushes to her bedside in the hope of seeing her and giving the support she needs to make it through.

Mia and Adam have to find the strength they desperately need to go on and make it through the tough time. This book is about the young love of a couple constantly tested on their strength and love to make it through. Mia’s dream is to get into a prestigious college and pursue her dream to be in one of the world’s most sort after orchestra playing the cello but Adam’s dream is to play with his band and receive the attention needed for a recording contract. Mia then has to decide between going to her dream college or following Adam as he chases his dreams.

This is a romantic drama that many would enjoy but I firmly believe the ages that would this enjoy this novel ranges from ages 12-18 onwards. I believe this age group is appropriate because many of the scenes are quite dramatic and upsetting due to the accident and the family and friends’ comments regarding Mia’s condition and state.

This novel is one of great use of emotion and connection. As you continue to read you find yourself connecting on a deep and emotional level as you start to feel as if you know the characters, understand their place in the story and feel connected with the characters. You understand the life-changing decisions they are made to make.

Ellie.M, Year 9


“Please Mia,” he implores. “Don’t make me write a song,” Adam whispers to Mia, as she lays peacefully. Mia has a difficult choice to make. Does she go or does she stay?

A lovely home in America holds a family with a passion for music. But the daughter’s taste is a little different, with a cello in her hand instead of a Fender Stratocaster. A cold snowy day decision will show the fate of this family.

The story is about Mia and her younger brother Teddy and her parents. Mia is a teenage girl who, unlike her family who like rock music, likes classical music and plays the cello. Mia is the main character of the story and the story is told from her perspective.

The story begins with school being cancelled due to the snow and the family deciding to go on a road trip. The story is written with events told in the past and the future so that we only get the full story at the end of the book. In the car accident due to the weather and icy roads, the car swerves and hits another car. Mia’s brother is instantly killed and Mia experiences an out of body experience when her body is put into an ambulance. She tries to get help but cannot, as she is not conscious.

I really enjoyed this novel as one of the main characters Adam, Mia’s love interest, is a lead singer of a rock band. I have an interest in rock music therefore I relate to him more than Mia. The book was an easy read and I found it difficult to put down, as I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

I would recommend this book to people aged 14+ with an interest in “chick flicks”.

Darcy M Year 9

November 26

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella“If you had not been born, Mama would still be alive. She died because of you. You are bad luck.”

Yen Jun-ling was born into the life of an unwanted, unloved child. Her mother died giving birth to her, and her siblings constantly blame her for this. Her father barely even knows her name, and her new stepmother Niang dislikes her stepchildren from the second she enters their lives. Yet, there is hope for Yen Jun-ling in the form of her academic prowess.

In a struggle to gain her father’s attention, and please the family members who still dearly love her, Yen strives for utmost perfection in her work and constantly works on her homework. Despite the cruel tricks of her brothers and sisters, and the harsh favouritism Niang gives to her own children, Yen pulls through the struggles and continues to excel in her work. Yet, her friends at school never know what she hides behind her cheerful smiles. They know nothing of the uncaring family she visits at home every day, who force her to walk home during typhoon-like weather without a second thought. Her hope in life, being strong in front of others and being untouched by the cruelties of life is soon displayed in her hobby – writing.

This true story tells of a girl who was once portrayed as a demonic witch of bad luck, who strives to her limits to prove that she is more than just a waste of space. Her willpower and hope is ever inspiring and astounding to read. The reader will smile when she smiles, cry when she cries, and feel the same emotions of pain, anger and discomfort when she does. Just when everything seems to be fine, another tormenting turmoil crashes into her life, yet she lives to tell the tale.

Chinese Cinderella is perhaps the best book I’ve read that retells a true story. The losses and victories of a small girl born with many burdens shows how anyone can pull through in the toughest of times. A motivating story like this is recommended for teenagers and adults alike, but females would perhaps relate to the story more than males.

Demetra P., Year 9

November 25

‘Tall Story’ by Candy Gourlay

Tallstory“What you want isn’t always what you get. Even when your wishes come true.”

Gather together in the blistering hot country of the Philippines and the freezing cold city of London, as you follow Bernardo, an eight-foot tall boy with size 22 feet. He dreams of leaving his Filipino village San Andres and heading to London for the first time to join in with his mother’s, half-sister’s, and step-father’s lives. Though how can he leave his village when the townspeople believe that he is the power that is keeping the earthquakes away from destroying San Andres? How will he fit into his new life and the lives of others in London? Will San Andres be destroyed if Bernardo leaves? All of these griping and thrilling questions, and many others, are answered within this book ‘Tall Story’.

This book surprised and surpassed my expectations and assumptions. I believed that this book was a little too easy and uninteresting for my entertainment. I was terribly wrong. Although the language level of the book is designed for younger readers who have just begun reading novels, I was actually really intrigued and entertained by the storyline and the main characters, to the point of finding it hard to put the book down because I just wanted to know how everything was going to work out. The fact that the book, the storyline, the characters, and the settings are highly engaging, realistic, convincing, suspenseful, and emotional, this is really what makes it such a great book for readers to enjoy and be entertained. The characters and their journeys are also really easy to become involved with and connected to, even from the start. Overall, ‘Tall Story’ is just a great read for people to enjoy and be a part of for the journey of the entire book.

I recommend this book to children between the ages of 8 and 12 who are interested in taking a heart-filled adventure about a young boy’s life. Readers will enjoy this book if they like books that are full of emotions, intriguing characters, and descriptive settings. This book is a little bit of an easier read, though it’s still interesting and suspenseful enough to keep readers entertained. I’d rate this book ‘Tall Story’ 3½ out of 5 stars.

Zachary Q. Year 9


‘The bigger they are the harder they fall.’

This story is set in a busy city in England and a small village in the Philippines. Both places differ from each other by a lot so it is almost assured that the reader is in for quite a ride.

The two main characters are almost complete opposites at first glance, but as the story goes on their connections start to shine. Andi has grown up in England and since she was a little girl she has had the ambition to play professional basketball. Bernardo is a giant 8ft boy, a legend in his village. The only relation they have in common is their mother.

The story explains the journey from the perspectives of both Andi and Bernardo as they have to deal with the many emotions of life as Bernardo moves to England, dealing with his monstrous height.

I loved this story because of its drama and short bits of humour and the fact that I can relate to the story such as the mothers actions and reactions as I am Filipino myself and my mum is exactly like her. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone because this is no comic book or detailed novel. It is a story which should be shared with everyone.

Wilfredo Jr V, Year 9

November 25

‘Go Ask Alice’ by Anonymous

Go ask AliceGo Ask Alice is a 1971 novel about the life of a troubled teenage girl. It is written by Beatrice Sparks in the form of the diary of an anonymous teenage girl who becomes addicted to drugs. (Wikipedia)

Alice is 15 years old and she is sadly suffering from depression. She records her thoughts and concerns about issues like crushes, weight loss, sexuality, social status and the troubles she is having with her parents.

This book is an amazing book for beginners to read and it is also a really good choice for teenagers as it can impact on the problems that are going on around them. This book truly has made me more aware of the people that I shouldn’t be around. I give this book a rating of 10/10.

Holly R., Year 9


Parties. Drugs. Sex. Secrets. Boys. A troubled teenage girl. Interested? Then the novel ‘Go Ask Alice’ is for you.

In ‘Go ask Alice’ you get a glance at the spine-chilling life and struggles of this 15 year old drug user. This novel is about an anonymous girl who moves to a new town and writes in a secret diary about her troubled life and her struggles. One single decision at a party changes her whole life dramatically. Throughout these diary entries, this innocent girl’s life turns upside after that party. ‘Alice’ drops out of school, becomes homeless, hitchhikes with a friend to San Francisco, delves into prostitution, parties regularly, uses drugs frequently, sells drugs to children and is sent to a mental hospital.

‘Alice’ cannot live without drugs now. Her mood alters depending on drugs. Her attitude depends on drugs and her actions also depend on drugs. Her new life revolves around drugs and there’s no going back to reality. I personally found this diary very remarkable and emotive that a girl my age went through all of this pain and the end result of her struggle was very clear, together with what was going to happen. This captivating realistic diary has edgy yet thrilling plot twists and decisions that make every page exciting, I would recommend this novel to teenagers, students my age and adults. I rate this inspiring eye-opening book 4 out of five stars because it’s a real wake up call to what happens when drugs take over your life.

By Lilli, Year 9

November 24

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

No safe placeThe novel titled “No Safe Place” is about a teenager named Abdul. He grew up in a country filled with war. At a young age Abdul lost both of his parents in war in his home country of Iraq. As Abdul attempts to travel to a new country he meets new friends along the way. He also meets people that are not so good. His goal is to get to England. As he travels to England he goes through a lot of difficult situations, such as trying to keep an ill child alive as his uncle attempted to kill him.

This story has messages that are relatable to the real world, such as the struggle of leaving war torn countries to be able to start a new life in a country that doesn’t have such issues. The story is also relatable to people that are in their teen years, because it shows people with characteristics such as having bravery and also having the courage to lead others to a safer place. These characteristics are important and appealing to people in their teenage years because as they grow older they might be called upon to be a school leader.

I would recommend this book to people who are teenagers or people who are in their early twenties because this book contains helpful insights to life and teaches these people about important characteristics that might come into play later in their lives. I would rate this book a 3/5. It was not a book that I personally enjoyed, however you may enjoy the book yourself so try it out for yourself.

Harrison H, Year 9


No Safe Place is a book written by Deborah Ellis. A 15-year-old boy Abdul goes on a long and dangerous journey to England in hope of a new place where he hopes to find a job and live. However he must take many risks in the process.

Does this sound like the kind of book you love to read? If you like action and adventure then this is the book for you.

Abdul is from a small war-torn town near Baghdad. If he can get to England things will change for him. He sets out on a smuggler’s boat in hope of reaching a nice new city of Liverpool where he can then restart his life.

On his way to England Abdul meets new people at first who he does not trust or like. However gets stuck at sea with them so he has to work and trust them in order to succeed.

Abdul is a 15-year-old boy who is confident and has a lot of hope. Abdul has very little trust in people and takes a lot of risks. Cheslav is a 16-year-old Russian boy and is the more heroic leader kind of guy. He too is in hope of reaching England to restart over. Rosalia is a 16-year-old girl. She is the wisest one out of them all. She does not trust or care about any of the others. Jonah is an 8-year-old boy. He is the youngest. He is the smuggler’s nephew, who is afraid and uncertain about things.

I liked this book so much because it ticks all the boxes. I loved the plot of the story and how interesting it all was and how it never bored me. I recommend this book for both teenager and adults and anyone who enjoys an adventurous story.

Michael. B   Year 9


Have you ever felt stranded and isolated? How would you cope? This is the story of Abdul, a young man given a task: to survive. Deborah Ellis perfectly describes each detail of this captivating novel. She emphases on the small but intense question… “What is it like to be a refugee?”

The events that occur within this novel are certainly shape your outlook towards the character and it certainly creates a unique bond between you and the numerous main characters that are fighting for a chance for survival.

The situations he is placed in by the author immerse you in the action and make you feel as if you are within the same situation as the main characters. Near the beginning of the narrative the story starts to give a moral to the story. Through controversy comes friendship.

The book in itself is a very easy read, aimed at ages 12-16 plus. It uses basic and easily understandable vocabulary, and describes scenes in a very complex but easy manner by the addition of some bigger words. In addition to the creative narrative writing the way the story is interpreted through the reader was clearly a key focus to the author so that a sense of immersion could be established.

Overall the story is definitely worth a read. It has a great story that will instantly draw you into the narrative and it is also a relatable read for most ages. In my opinion the book does drag on a bit but right towards the end of the novel the story is resolved and it turns out that through all of the hardship and work by the main characters, and all the stress, the characters finally pull through all the controversy and all of their work finally pays off.

Hunter S: Year 9


Have you ever wanted to know what type of hardship and struggle a refugee goes through to get to a foreign country? Have you ever wondered how much one person can lose in a lifetime? No Safe Place, a short novel by Deborah Ellis published in 2011, illustrated this superbly. This novel has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster causing me to never want to put it down.

This is the life story of the true events of Abdul, Rosalia, Cheslav and Jonah, all originating from completely different backgrounds who converge together as refugees on a boat bound for England. ­­­­But in the end it becomes a lot more than just that. The characters go on a journey of a lifetime together.

This book has all of the intense challenges that life can throw at it. These events entice the reader to create a bond with these real people, in real life situations. Ellis has such a simple and easy vocabulary, her books are appealing to teenage readers, but this ability doesn’t lessen the story or the mental images that she can create in the environment of an immigrant. An example of this is how she describes a brutal storm.

This is a survival story with adventure and struggle, following the life of four teenagers who have gone through it all to get to their ‘promised land’.

I would recommend this book to lovers of The Hunger Games series as it has many similarities and there isn’t too much genre difference. The link between these two books is through the survival aspect of the story and how they have to overcome insurmountable odds to survive.

In a supposedly harmonious world that we know, this book demonstrates that not everyone is living such a peaceful life and that elsewhere people experience extreme hardships and struggle to survive on a daily basis. The way that Deborah Ellis has described and designed the story line, in my opinion she has made this a written masterpiece.

I can assure you that I will miss these characters.

Jaiden, Year 9

November 24

‘Six Impossible Things’ by Fiona Wood

Six impossible thingsHave you ever liked a girl so much that you thought it was impossible to ever talk to her and even be in a relationship with her? Dan Cereill has to deal with moving houses, new school hell, a mother with a wedding cake business that is failing, a dad that is gay, and a crush on the girl next door. At the moment his life is a mess, but he forgets about all his problems, and just narrows it down to just six impossible things.

I really liked this book because of the main character Dan Cereill. He dealt with his problems well, and wasn’t too dramatic about it all. I like how he thought it was impossible to do the Six Impossible Things but he was determined to do them and make things right.

I recommend this book to teens and young adults between the age of 12-20 who are interested in love stories. This book is a great example of love and is truly enjoyable for everyone. I would rate the book ‘Six Impossible Things’ 4 out of 5 stars.

Julius D, Year 9.


Meet fourteen year old nerd boy, Dan Cereill. He seems like he is not quite coping as his mother has a failing wedding cake business, a straight out gay dad and did I mention his impossible crush on the hot girl next door, Estelle. Does this excellent novel sound like a read to you? I’d say that if you’re a teenager and into comedy and romance this is just perfect read for you!

The novel is set in Adelaide, Australia where Dan must adjust to moving houses and new school hell. As you can see, Dan has a lot of stress on his hands so he decides to make a list of six impossible things to do:

  1. Kiss Estelle
  2. Get a job
  3. Cheer my mother up
  4. I don’t want to be a complete loser at my new school
  5. Should talk to my father when he calls
  6. Figure out how to be cool

For most people, doing these things would be quite simple but not for Dan Cereill. The main characters in this novel are Estelle, Dan and Dan’s mother. Estelle is a funky and smart girl that Dan can’t get over. Dan is lovable and funny and is crushing hard on the girl next door. Dan’s mum is a charming and loving parent who is struggling at the moment.

I was really engaged with this novel as it was action packed, amusing, crazy and romantic. I couldn’t put it down. Overall I would rate this book “Six Impossible Things” an 8/10, as it truly is one of my favourite reads. To any young readers out there I would strongly suggest this novel.

Kai, Year 9

November 20

‘Back on Track’ by Margaret Clark

BACK on trackThis is a true story about a girl living a tougher life than most of you reading this now. Her name is Simone. She lives in a violent home and she is only 15 years old. Simone met a boy who promised her a new life, a good life. He wants to take her with him to the city to get away from her sister and her sister’s violent boyfriend, both of whom are drug addicts.

Simone is a very tough young girl who won’t let anyone treat her wrongly and is determined to turn her life around with the help of a boy that she has met and had ‘love at first sight’ with.

This is a beautiful story full of many emotions such as surprise, happiness, sadness and it even involves fear with unexpected events within her personal life and friends that she comes across throughout her journey.

Back on track will really make you think about what you have that makes your life easier and what you may take for granted that many people like Simone and her family might actually need more than you.

Be warned – if you pick this book up you will not be able to put it back down until you’ve finished because it is so interesting and I found this true story about a girl and her life more intriguing than any fiction book about wizards or secret agents.

This story had an effective use of realism to really put the reader in Simone’s shoes. It may not be as relatable as possible, but it still makes you feel sympathy and empathy. When Simone talked about her life with her family it makes you feel more grateful for the family that you have.

Arjun, Year 9

November 20

‘You Against Me’ by Jenny Downham

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Zara, Year 9


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

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

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

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

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

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

Mikayla S, Year 9

November 19

‘Chained’ by Lynne Kelly

CHAINEDIn the thick canopy of the North Indian jungle, we meet a young boy of 10 years old named Hastin. Hastin is from a little village. As his sister gets very sick, Hastin’s family borrows some money to pay the hospital. To pay off the debt, Hastin becomes an elephant keeper for a circus owner with a cruel heart. The elephant named Nandita is not just any ordinary elephant as she can balance milk bottles on its trunk and play soccer. Hastin quickly becomes attached to the elephant as he spends a lot of his time with the great animal and they soon become friends. But when the elephant under-performs, the cruel owner has the elephant chained up and hurt with a great, big hook until she finds it in her to learn the new trick. Hastin tries to protect Nandita, which creates conflict between him and the cruel circus owner and they both have to try and escape. Hastin is a hard working young kid who only wants the best for his family so he works for his sister’s hospital bill. The elephant Nandita is described through the book as a sweet little elephant and finds a way to get into the reader’s heart and makes the reader feel nice.

I enjoyed the book ‘Chained’ because the book I think is designed from ages 12 and up and the author paints a brilliant picture of the landscape and the feelings and shows the pain of Hastin when Nandita is chained and hurt with the hook. The story moves along throughout the novel so well that anyone of close to any reading capability can understand it and it perfectly conveys the stress of Hastin, although in my personal opinion I would have liked to have known more of the background of each character being introduced into the story and I have liked to have known a bit more about the North Indian village.

I recommend this book to most teens and most adults between the ages of 12 and 60 who likes a book based on a true story with sad moments which gives a heart warming aspect to the book. It’s also great for readers who are interested in Indian culture and history of the circus. I would rate ‘Chained’ by Lynne Kelly 4 and a half stars out of five.

Daniele, Year 9


“A young elephant that is chained will try hard to free itself but once it gives up, it gives up forever. Even when it is strong enough to break its chains, it will not. So it is that the smallest chain can hold the largest elephant.”

Chained by Lynne Kelly is set in villages and camps situated in a forested area such as Cambodia. The main character is a young boy named Hastin, whose young sister Chanda has fallen so ill she has been rushed to hospital. However there’s one problem: Hastin’s family doesn’t have the money to pay for the hospital bills. Because of this Hastin sets out to find a job and eventually ends up working as a caretaker for an elephant named Nandita for a circus owned by a horrible man by the name of Timir. There are also two other men that work for Timir: Ne Min the cook and Sharad the trainer. Timir treats everyone badly including Nandita. Nandita was meant to be trained by Sharad, but Sharad was lazy and never did any work. He orders everyone around and takes credit for their work. When Hastin sees the opportunity to free Nandita, does he succeed or does the story go in another direction?

I enjoyed reading this book, as it was filled with emotions that kept me reading more. It was filled with mystery, it had many twists and unexpected turns. It showed realistic scenarios that occur today, families not having enough money to pay for medical help, child labour and animal cruelty. I would recommend this book to readers of all ages that enjoy an emotional mysterious story. Overall this was a good read that I would recommend to most people.

Liam, Year 9


“A foolish man believes he can trick an elephant.”

The story is based in the villages of North India where Hastin lives. After the home setting it quickly moves into a circus set where a lot more of the story is based.

The main character Hastin has an extreme drive to help his sister with her medical bills and to set his elephant, Nadita, free. This makes Hastin a very likeable character because of his determination. He is only 10 years old and is younger than his sister and pretty sneaky to be able to try and help Nadita who is getting very messed treated as an elephant.

Chained by Lynne Kelly, is set in villages in North India. The main character is a boy named Hastin whose older sister Chanda has fallen so ill she has been sent to hospital. However, Hastin’s family is extremely poor and cannot afford to pay for the hospital bills. Because of this Hastin sets out to find a job and eventually ends up working as a caretaker for an elephant named Nandita for a circus owned by a horrible man by the name of Timir. There are also two other men that work for Timir, Ne Min the cook and Sharad the trainer. Timir treats everyone badly including Nandita. Nandita was originally meant to be tamed by Sharad, but Sharad was lazy and never did any work. He orders everyone around and takes credit for his or her work. When Hastin sees the opportunity to free Nandita, does he succeed or not?

The reason I liked the book is because it goes through multiple emotions and makes you think about how much poverty people are living in and the conditions they are under.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read emotional books and like a good story line. It also has a touch of adventure from Hastin trying to escape with the elephant Nadita from the circus they both are in.

Eric B., Year 9.7

November 19

‘Loyal Creatures’ By Morris Gleitzman

loyal creaturesHave you ever wanted to hear a story about a boy who went to WW1 with the Light horse? Me too! Time to hop right into the report.

Frank Ballantyne is keen to join the Light Horse and do his bit in the war effort. So Frank fakes his age and volunteers with his horse Daisy … and his dad. In the deserts of Egypt and Palestine he experiences all the adventure he ever wanted to know about the exciting war, and a few things he wasn’t expecting. Sad moments, love and the chance to make the most important choice of his life. From being at Gallipoli to the famous charge at Beersheba, through to the end of the war and its unforgettable aftermath, Frank’s story tells a lot about WW1 and grows out of some key moments in Australia’s history.

The main character is called Frank who is a fifteen-year-old boy who had his mum pass away and has a crush on the girl who works at the pharmacy.

The other main character is named “Dad” and he is mostly known for not wanting for his son to go to war, and later on meeting up with his son in war.

He also has a horse named Daisy who goes to war with him. As the story develops, so does their friendship and their bond as a boy and his horse.

I enjoyed reading this book because of the emotional roller coaster that it takes you on while reading this book; they can make you feel a range of different emotions, which is why I found this book very enjoyable.

I would recommend this book to an age demographic of 12 and above because of its disturbing scenes when going to war. It is also a good read for anyone who fancies a book about true friendship and bonding.

-Robbie W, Year 9


November 12

‘Butterflies’ by Susanne Gervay

butterflies‘Butterflies’ written by Susanne Gervay is a book of beauty and hope. Katharine, the girl with burns, dreams of being a normal girl, not having scars on her face. She is 17, has a caring family and friends but missing something in her heart. Even with all the regrets and self-pity passing through her brain she still looks for the one.

The story is based around a girl called Katharine. When she was 3 she accidentally fell in a pit of fire and suffered severe third degree burns all around her body. Now, at almost 18 the burns are still there and troubling her. She hates being the girl with the scars and wants to be a normal girl:

‘I know there are miracles. The professor said there are miracles. I’ll have soft skin and pretty hair one day, I’ll wear my hair up. I’ll be like everyone else. One day.’

This book is enjoyable because the author described Katharine’s emotion very evocatively making the reader relate to her. Every chapter constructs and develops her emotions more deeply, and at times takes a very depressing tone. Due to the dark atmosphere and themes throughout the novel it leads it to being a difficult and confronting read, suited for a more mature audience of ages between 14 and 18. I rate this book 3 out of 5 because it’s a very touching story but could have been described from another character’s point of view, as it made the protagonist seem very self-centered and self-indulged.

– Paulette I Year 9


Like butterflies, those who survive burns defy their fragility to migrate large distances and find warm climates. Butterflies was written for all those heroes who survive burns for all those special people who help them on their great journey.”

Everything was kind of average for Katherine in her daily life. Katherine was severely burnt at the age of three, but once she started to believe in miracles, she started to become more comfortable with her appearance and what people would say. “I know there are miracles. The professor said there are miracles. I’ll have soft skin and pretty hair one day. One day, I’ll wear my hair up. I’ll be like everyone else. One day.”

The book “butterflies” was written with her inner-monologues italicized, contrasting with the present tense and third-person narration, gradually changing from self-pitying and anger towards a more mature self-acceptance. Through this book, Katherine has many humorous, fun and anxious events alongside her friends facing first dates, exams and arguments with parents.

Whilst everything is still occurring, Katherine refuses to let herself, along with other people, see her as a victim as she struggles with her identity and independence.

Challenges that are faced during ‘Butterflies” can be fiction to some and a reality to others. It can also be a realisation of some people’s difficulties in life and show what Katherine’s and many others’ reality can be like.

This story has shown the ups and the downs, dramas, anxious yet exciting events and many more occasions of Katherine’s day-to-day life as a senior in high school. A suggested audience for the book “Butterflies” would be for teenagers, as most people around these ages can easily comprehend the relevancy, language level and dialogue. This book can be relevant to teenagers as the events that occur throughout the storyline can also be realistic and what other people may go though as well.

I would recommend reading this book for an individual who likes reading about other’s daily lives and the realistic events they encounter. I would rate “Butterflies” a 3 out of 5 stars. Gen P, Year 9.

July 17

‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palaccio

wonder“Never judge a book by its cover and never judge a boy by his face.”

In an ordinary suburb lives an ordinary family and an ordinary boy named August. August does normal everyday things that any 10 year old boy would do. He rides his bike and eats ice cream and plays in the playground. But, unlike other 10 year old boys, August was born with a terrible deformity on his face that makes him stand out in the crowd.

August has been home schooled all his life but now it is time for him to face the fears of school. After meeting his funny new principal, Mr Tushman, August is not reassured as he knows what he will encounter at school will not be pleasant. He faces many difficulties fitting in and others find it difficult to accept him as a normal boy.

On the other hand, his older sister Olivia struggles with her own challenges. It’s tough when everyone knows you’re the girl with the strange little brother, but now Olivia gets to start fresh in High School.

I really liked the book Wonder because it gave a detailed insight on everyone’s point of view. There are even chapters from the eyes of August’s new classmates! I also enjoyed the way the author captured just what it would be like to be August with all of his difficulties and challenges. I would recommend the book Wonder to people who like soft and heart felt stories that make you cry and laugh all at the same time. The book suits kids and teens, boy or girl, from the age of 11-14. I have rated this book 4 out of 5 stars because the story line was magnificent, funny and sad with a hint of adventure in it too.

Leila A T, Year 8