June 15

‘After Earth’ by Peter David

After Earth is a thrilling novel of action-packed bravery. Written by Peter David, the book is based on a story by Will Smith.

The story is set on another planet because we destroyed ours and made it uninhabitable. We populated and destroyed our planet, but we fled and made our home on another planet.

The main characters are Kitai and his father. Kitai is a determined boy who strives to be like his father and never gives up. But he is scared and panics when he is in danger. His father, on the other hand, is a strong and fearless man. He is a solider on this new planet and is away most of the time, but he loves his family.

The story is mainly about Kitai finding his courage. He and his dad have decided to go on one of the missions his father was assigned but they crashed and found our lost world. Kitai and his dad are the only two that survive the crash. But to get home they need a beacon to send for help, but the beacon was broken the only other working one is in the tail of the ship, but the ship’s tail was detached and is miles away. This is how the epic story of Kitai begins.

I really enjoyed this novel because it grips you and keeps you wanting to know more and more but you can’t take your eyes off it. I love how Kitai and his dad fight through dangerous tasks. I love how you can kind of connect to the story. You see Kitai grow slowly into a more courageous and intelligent man.

I would recommend this story for any age of reader.

Reviewed by Reuben B., Year 8

June 5

‘Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment’ by James Patterson

Have you ever felt the urge to just fly, to escape all your worries, doubts and problems and feel the wind rush through your hair?  For some, it would be a dream come true. For the Flock, it is all they have ever known.

The Angel Experiment is the first novel of the Intriguing Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, a series jam-packed with life-threatening adventures and a whole lot of saving the world. The main focus of this series is Maximum Ride and her flock, featuring Angel, Iggy, The Gasman and Nudge. Iggy is blind, although he still manages to keep up with the remaining members of the Flock. The Gasman and Angel are siblings.

The themes explored in this novel include good and evil, monsters, genetic engineering and superpowers. These apply to teenagers, as they excite and encourage teenagers with a good imagination.  The themes also make them aware of the less than honorable people in the world and the caution teenagers need to take when dealing with people of the said description.

The Flock has been assigned one task, to save the world, which in theory seems simple enough.  However, there is one particular group that makes the task much more complicated: the Erasers, blood thirsty hounds eager to track down the Flock and stop them in their tracks. Whilst saving the world, Maximum Ride acts as a motherly figure to the children aged six to fourteen. She is currently trying to locate the biological parents of each member of the Flock, rescue Angel from a bunch of crazy scientists in lab coats, protect her Flock and discover who she is in the process.

This novel is set in the future in various locations across the United States, including New York City and California. It was very enjoyable because it has the characteristics that all brilliant novels should have: adventure, intrigue, fascination and action.

Another reason I enjoyed it is because it appealed to my interests and made me think what living in an alternate universe would be like. I loved the characters, particularly Maximum Ride, as she portrays the image of fearlessness and knowing when it is the right time to be emotional and to be brave. This is a story that requires your full attention therefore you begin to deeply engage with the characters.

I would definitely recommend this novel to both boys and girls interested in Science Fiction and action packed books between the ages of ten and later teenage years.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and hope to see what the future will hold for the remainder of this series. This first novel is truly deserving of a five out of five-star rating.

Charlize O, Year 8.


With no home, no family, they are running for their lives. This is the incredible story of six kids, the oldest only being 13, running for their lives when captured by Erasers, (human werewolves) the  fastest predators around.

Does this captivate you? Are you the type of reader that would read the rest of this to see what’s about to happen?

The style is an action is a science fiction novel. I love this book because of the story it tells the reader. James Patterson, the author, has used such loving imaginative words to create the perfect scene in the reader’s mind.

What’s wrong with these kids? Why did they meet at a ‘school’? These very special six kids have angel wings; they were all normal kids just growing up in a ‘school’. Were these special kids designed to save the world? Or are they going to destroy the world we all live in.

James Patterson is the author of ‘Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment.’ This books is about a girl, Max, who is trying to keep her family safe. This book is an amazing piece of work.  James Patterson captures the attention of those wanting to know what being a teenager is really like without a family.

The scaffold of this book is a little confusing as in one chapter Angel gets taken by the evil side (I then thought the book was going to stay with her missing) but a couple of chapters after Angel comes back because Max saved her.

The recommended age for reading this book is 13.

May 19

‘Gone’ by Michael Grant

gone‘We didn’t make this world; we’re just the poor fools who are living in it.

In ‘Gone’, kids over the age of 15 disappear from Perdido Beach and kids under that are left alone without adults. What is left in this situation is fear and chaos. The area has a sphere barrier around it and is nicknamed the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone).

The three main characters of this novel are Sam Temple, Astrid Ellison and Quinn Gaither, all 14 years old turning 15. Sam, also known as ‘School Bus Sam’, is seen as a hero by the little kids in town and there is an expectation that he will take charge of the FAYZ. Astrid is a genius who knows a lot of things. She often and helps Sam out, and Quinn is a surfer and Sam’s best friend.

Briefly, the book goes through deaths and major injuries and things that you can’t scientifically prove. Kids in the FAYZ start to be able to use supernatural powers and some bullies try to use it for fighting and killing. During the story, Sam and his friends run away from the bullies so they take charge of the FAYZ. But while running away they realise the secret of the FAYZ and choose to fight the bullies before their fifteenth birthday. But he needs to hurry, as he has only 13 days left.

I liked this book because it showed clearly what would happen if adults in this world disappear. It showed how kids could go mentally crazy and out of touch. I believe it also shows true leadership and bravery from Sam as he chooses to fight the bullies in town to stop deaths and killings happening. I recommend this book to teenager boys or girls because the characters’ ages are pretty close to the reader and could have some things that you could relate to. I rate this novel 4 out of 5 because it changes characters sometimes and it’s hard to recognise that.

Paulette I, Year 9

May 18

‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins

“Here’s some advice, Stay alive.”

Hunger Games - may the odds be ever in your favor.The Hunger Games were set in a place of confinement. Between the thirteen districts, people died of hunger, thirst and sickness yet the games engulfed all. There was no mercy of the Capitol’s rage and torturous ways against them. The ones who survived were the soldiers.

Before the Hunger Games began there had been a rebellion by the districts against the Capitol, however it failed and the final district, District 13, was destroyed. The Capitol won and to terminate all chances of another rebellion they developed a game to terrify all districts, The Hunger Games.

Two tributes’ names were pulled out of a bowl during a celebration called the reaping in each district, one boy and one girl, from the ages of twelve to eighteen each year.

hunger gamesKatniss, a loving, strong willed girl, was left alone with her mother and sister Prim after her father’s unexpected passing, which left her dazed and fending for her sister and mother. Before her father died he taught her how to hunt with homemade weapons, which were hidden in the woods, away from the gamekeepers and Capitol’s grasp. She used these skills after his death to kill and trade for food and other much needed goods. Katniss’ mother on the other hand had zoned out, unable to cope without Katniss and Prim’s father. As a result, Katniss looked after nearly the entire household, and Prim managed milking and caring for her goat.

Peeta, the quiet baker’s boy, was kind and caring, never thinking of himself. He helped Katniss when she lay in the rain, cold, starving and tired, by donating a small amount of bread. Peeta also supposedly had had a crush on Katniss since the first time he had laid eyes on her. He was, however, too loving for the Hunger Games and even for District 12.

When Prim (Katniss’ sister) was selected to be tribute at their district’s reaping, Katniss was definitely in shock.

She jumped at the opportunity to save her sister, immediately volunteering, which surprised the districts as well as the Capitol!

When Peeta Mellark’s name was pulled out, without even looking Katniss recognised his name. Peeta on the other hand had bad luck in a whole other concept, a way that’s hard to explain and hard to come by in the District of 12.

When Peeta and Katniss are to be thrown into an arena for the 74th hunger games, to kill one another, all for the entertainment of the Capitol and to scare the people of the districts, you would definitely ask, what would they even say to one another? Would you even talk to the other tributes at all? Would you try to attract or become friends with the other tributes, so in the games you might have a higher chance of surviving?

When they become crowd favourites, everyone either wants to kill them or to be them.

Although Peeta and Katniss knew that they had to survive, they had to show the Capitol that they did not own them and if they were going to die it would be as themselves and no one else.

The story of the Hunger Games, I believe is bewildering, breathtaking and a definite hair-raiser. The book itself leaves you in a daze which you can’t break out of; it’s as though you just can’t stop reading. It is a great read and I recommend it to anyone in his or her teenage years onward.

Jessica R., Year 9.

November 11

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

No safe placeThe novel “No safe place” is about a group of young teenagers escaping war and poverty and trying to get to a better place. Both of 15-year-old Abdul’s parents were killed in the war at his home in Iraq, so Abdul travels halfway across the world to try and find a safer place to live. He meets many friends and enemies and acquires many new life skills along the way as he tries to get to England.

This story shows real life events and stories from real life asylum seekers as it is based on a true story. It is relevant to teenagers because it has bravery and leadership, which are great skills to learn at young ages. As this book progresses you can see the problems that occur and how the characters can solve them.

I would recommend this book to older teenagers as it is based around their ages and it would be much harder to understand by younger children. This book is a good read and I would rate it a 4/5. If you enjoyed this book then you would like other books by Deborah Ellis such as “Diego Run” or “Children of war”.

Cameron, Year 9

June 11

‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen

Meet Brian the 13 year old warrior…

 “Things seemed to go back and forth between reality and imagination–except that it was all reality.” – Gary Paulsen.

Hatchet      I am reading an amazing book for Literature Circles at school. It is called ‘Hatchet’, written by Gary Paulsen. Brian is armed with nothing but the clothes he is wearing, the hatchet his mother had given him as a present and a tattered windbreaker. Brian finds himself completely deserted and stuck.

      In the novel a 13 year old boy named Brian is flying to Canada in a Cessna 406 bush plane to visit his dad when the pilot flying his plane has a heart attack and dies at the stick of the plane. Brian then has to crash land the plane and swim to an island in the Canadian wilderness where he has to learn how to fend for himself and fight for his life.  While he was on the island he made a shelter.

     In the book you are always wondering what is going to happen next. The thing that I most liked about the book was that once you started reading you really didn’t want to stop. It always had you wondering what was going to happen to Brian next! The one down side that I saw in the book was his parents were divorced.

      I enjoyed the book because it was about a boy my age and it was based in the wilderness. I would recommend this book for mainly boy readers aged 11 – 14 and would recommend more books from Gary Paulsen such as, Brian’s Return, Brian’s Winter and Brian’s Hunt. This is a great book and a good read if you love the outdoors and excitement. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

      Do you think Brian will get rescued?

      Ethan, Year 8


June 6

‘Mission: Survival’ by Chris Ryan

Survival     Are you ready to sink into an action–packed adventure story about five teenagers Alex, Li, Paulo, Hex and Amber who are on a sailing boat which gets taken out to sea? The five teenagers get stranded on a deserted island and while they’re there they become friends, find out what each other can do and how creative each one is. They also have to face their fears and in doing so become stronger and survive wonderful adventures such as fighting great white sharks, komodo dragons and pirates. It is only by combing their knowledge and skills they realise that they have the ability and strength to stay alive.

     I liked this book because it was full of action and adventure and it made me want to keep reading. I recommend this book to children aged 13 and up but no younger readers because some parts are scary and not really suitable for younger children to read.

     By Olivia, Year 8


June 5

‘Catching Fire’ (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

 Catching fire“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now and live in it forever.”

     District 12 is celebrating the return of brave Katniss Everdeen and fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark, victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games. But, the celebration rings dead for Katniss who knows her last act of rebellion in the field has made her a target of the Capitol. Conflict is stirring within the districts, relationships are shifting, tension is mounting, and vengeance is threatening.

     If you enjoy a book filled with constant suspense and thrilling adventure, ‘Catching fire’, the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, is the prefect book for you. It will keep you reading all night on the edge of your seat.

     President Snow has captured Peeta and is torturing him to try to get through to Katniss. She is now underground in District 13, which was destroyed by the Capitol on the surface. Nobody knew it even existed. If Katniss wants to succeed she has to keep her feelings concealed, stay strong and lead the rebellion to victory.

    To sum it up, I think that it was a great read and I recommend it to kids at the age of 10 and over. I thought it deserved 4 out of 5 stars.

Julia, Year 8


May 30

‘On Two Feet and Wings’ by Abbas Kazerooni

On Two feet and wings     Imagine living in a life where domination and violence ruled, having to escape from your country during one of Iraq and Iran’s most notorious and bloodthirsty wars, leaving your country, your home, your friends and your family all behind.

This book tells the story of a remarkable young boy, Abbas, who fled his country to make it to his dream location in England. He faces many difficult challenges, witnesses many disturbing scenes and survives many demanding moments.

This book is suitable for children and adults from the age of eight upwards, and gives you a ‘behind the book’ experience of living in a non-democratic, cruel and scary country. It will teach you many life lessons and morals and teach children to never take for granted what they have! I rate this book 9/10 and could read it over and over again. This heartfelt true story of a young boy, whose bravery and courage is tested to the limits, is a breathtaking book which I recommend to all young adults and school based reading activities – an amazing book overall!
Emer, Year 8


Abbas is beaten around, yelled at, hit, mugged, attacked and nearly killed ,all while he is countries away from his family. But he must fight on.


Abbas is an average teenage Persian boy from Tehran when, suddenly, he must travel the world or be forcibly recruited into the Persian army. Abbas is to travel to Istanbul to get a visa for England to escape his inevitable sign up in the army if he stays. At the airport, when Abbas is about to leave with his family, tragically, he is separated from them and is forced to face Istanbul with the clothes on his back (and the couple of thousand US dollars given to him by his father).


He meets a range of people along the way that he befriends quickly, but this isn’t how all his encounters with people unfold. Murat is the receptionist and manager of a hotel Abbas chooses to stay in and Abbas partners with him instantly. Murat is a rather important character who helps Abbas out a lot yet takes advantage of him once he finds out that Abbas is extremely talented in a game called backgammon. Abbas is faced with many challenges in Istanbul, like finding the right people to trust, knowing when he is in a sticky situation and surviving in third world conditions. He is greeted by many dangers including a drunken man who mugs Abbas and nearly kills him.


Nevertheless Abbas is pushed to survive in Istanbul and he does it with…out grace (he wets his pants). Now he must conquer England but I’m not going to tell you any more. If you’re curious, get the book!


On Two Feet and Wings is a great story full of action and emotion. I would strongly recommend this book to you (yes, you reading this) because this book is really gripping. I would rate this book 9 out of 10 stars. I know you’ve heard this a million times from other blogs by now but I couldn’t put it down!

Wesley, Year 8

November 2

‘Ship Breaker’ by Paolo Bacigulupi

“Nailer’s time is running out. He’s getting too big for his work [stripping copper wire from old oil tankers and once he is off the crew he is on his own, stuck in a shack on the beach with no food, money or earning his keep. He has one last change. The thing all crew members dream about, a lucky strike, has hit the shape of a clipper ship beached during the last freak storm. If he could hold off the scavengers long enough for him to get the oil out, he might be rich. But wait! He finds something else in there which could possibly change his life forever.” ‘Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigulupi (Blurb)

The book Ship Breaker is based in an unreal world where young kids break apart old oil tankers pulling out copper wire and sheets of metal to earn money to survive. They live on the edge of society. The main characters are Nailer, Nita and Pima. Nailer finds a clipper ship after a massive storm and what he finds in there changes his life forever.

Ship Breaker is a thrilling fantasy novel for young teenagers aged around 13 – 16. Boys and girls can read this book but boys would like it more. It is hard to understand at the start of the book but once you start reading you just get sucked into the book and you can’t put it down.  Paolo Bacigalupi describes these characters and the story in such a way that it feels like you are there with them. This novel was very different to any other novel I have read and this is why I enjoyed it. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars because it was a great read but I think the author could have made it from the main character’s point of view.

By Joel, Year 9


Meet Nailer, a young boy stuck in a different world, in which he must strip copper wires from old oil tankers located and beached on land. He must meet the requirements of copper each day to gain enough money to barely stay alive. But what will happen when Nailer’s luck increases and his decisions will mean the most for his future? If you are intrigued about this story, like I was, than the story ‘Ship Breaker’ is for you!

Ship Breaker, a book by Paolo Bacigalupi, tells the story of a small boy named Nailer. He lives on a beach with the ‘light crew’ and other various groups, yet has nothing but a small shack with enough water and food to stay alive. But what will Nailer find after the tremendous storm, which will change his life forever? What will happen when Nailer gets too big for the ‘light crew’ and he must compete for the heavy crew? How will Nailer react in a near-death experience? Will Nailer’s luck and fortune be incomprehensible like the famous ‘Lucky Strike?’

Ship Breaker was a fantastic story with many decisions and choice making that a teenager could relate to. It includes many adventures and discoveries that a young adult would enjoy. I was fascinated by the way the writer had described each situation and section in a different way. I was also captivated by the way that Paolo Bacigalupi had kept the scenes suspenseful but not dragged out in any particular way.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel ‘Ship Breaker’ because of its relation to real life circumstances and events. I recommend this book for people interested in the adventure genre, aged from 12 onwards.

Jack, Year 9


Nailer and his crew are part of a business that involves stripping ships for copper and other valuables. Nailer is always dreaming of getting a lucky strike until one day a wild storm hits. What will the storm wash up that could change Nailer’s life forever?

The story is set on the edge of civilisation cut off from the outside world. Nailer and all the other crews live out there doing the same old thing every day. The ships are set on a abandoned beach where they are left for the crews to strip them down to the bare metal. In this story the main character is Nailer. The events are related through his eyes and what he sees. There is also Pima who is the leader of Nailer’s crew. She is friends with Nailer and always sticks up for him. The story is about Nailer and the crew’s adventures in and out of the ships. Nailer has always wondered what it would be like to have a lucky strike, but when he gets stuck in an oil tank that’s the last thing that comes to mind. The reason why I liked the story is because it has a well planned out plot and there is always something going on.

Jackson, Year 9


Why why why why oh why does Nailer have to be put in this situation with the choice of wealth or the death of a girl! Nailer is a small teenager living out amongst a group of wrecked ships. He is part of a crew that goes searching for and collecting items in ships, extracting valuable resources. Nailer’s job is extracting copper wiring. Once Nailer gets too big he won’t be able to fit in the small ducts of the ship anymore so he is afraid. If he can’t fit through small ducts on the ship he has to find other work, or starve. Besides his job, he is mainly scared of his abusive, alcoholic father.

After a large storm, Nailer works on one of these large vessels, sailing the oceans. It has been beached and Nailer and Pima go out to scavenge it before everyone else gets there and takes the good stuff. The book would be really depressing if Nailer left the girl to die and got rich off the salvage. I thought it was pretty obvious he’s going to try and save the girl. But this is when Ship Breaker was really good. That decision; at the point in the story where Nailer is making that choice and is fighting in his head about what he should do. The actions and motivations were quite and tough. It was those choices that the characters made and consequences that really helped this book shine. This book was so different compared to our present lives at the moment.

The book was set in a fantasy world and it plunged readers into a foreign and bewildering culture. Bacigulupi has come closer to home for Ship Breaker, setting the novel along the Gulf Coast, in a tiny village dedicated to salvaging ancient shipwrecks. Ship Breaker follows three main characters, all of them teenagers.

The main characters are Nailer, Pima and Richard Lopez. Nailer and Pima are trapped in an existence of unimaginable poverty. But the strongest must be the abusive, alcoholic Richard Lopez, a scary person who stretches over the entire novel.

I recommend this book would best suit teenagers from 11 years to 16 years of age because I believe that that age group will find this book the most enjoyable, adventurous and edgy to read. This book is probably best for boys cause it contains a bit of violence.

The book was a long book to read but it was enjoyable to read for a group assignment, with characters and situations that made the characters so different that it’s hard to identify the good from the bad.

Adam, Year 9

October 29

‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games, a way to punish the nation. Life was normal in District 12, until the reaping came. That’s when something drastic happened. If you enjoy survival books, then you should try to read The Hunger Games.

In Panem, formerly known as North America, all was quiet and peaceful, then something they haven’t thought of comes. Out of nowhere 16 year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to go into the deadliest game ever, instead of her sister who was chosen as a tribute. During her time before the games, she and another ‘tribute’, Peeta Mellark, must train and improve their physical and social skills, to help improve their chances at winning in these games. Peeta and Katniss know that the competition is strong and much more powerful than them. They have to use their skills and abilities to overpower the strong and clever competition. The main characters in this book are, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Haymitch and Effie Trinket.

I was really entertained by ‘The Hunger Games‘ because it is a story about two 16 year olds having to go out and fight for their own survival. When they enter this fight for survival, they soon find out about themselves and each other a lot more. Suzanne Collins had used descriptive language and good use of words, so when I was reading the book, I could easily imagine what was happening in my head. The story escalated so quickly I felt the tension the writer was trying to get across.

I recommend this book to teenagers between the ages of 13-18, if they are into books about survival and war themes. If they love suspense packed, tense and ‘out there’ books. This book is a good read. I rate the book ‘The Hunger Games‘ 3 1/2 out of 5.

William, Year 9


Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games is an exciting, attention-grabbing book. It is set in the dark future where people are forced to fight each other to the death on a live national TV reality show known as the Hunger Games. When Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s spot in the Games, she realises that this was going to be a lot harder than she thought. Going up against a boy named Peter, does Katniss have what it takes to win the Games and save herself?

The main reason that I liked this story was due to the suspense, action and great description of what was going on throughout the book. This really helps the reader get a mental picture of what is happening and really made reading the book a fun and gripping experience. I would recommend this book to anyone between 12-80 year old. It is really a great read and I would definitely recommend reading the rest of the trilogy.

Julian, Year 9


 “Here’s some advice. Stay alive.”

A dark vision of the near future sees the ruins of North America give birth to the new continent of Panem. In this newly founded continent, twelve male and twelve females, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are forced to compete in a televised fight to the death known as The Hunger Games.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in place of her sister in this gruesome contest. To accompany her in this living nightmare is a similar aged boy that works at the local bakery known as Peeta Mellark. Both are mentored and trained by Haymitch Abernathy, a much older man who formerly competed in the Hunger Games. In the weeks leading up to the games it is found that Peeta is in love with Katniss. What will this mean in the games? Will he refuse to kill Katniss inside the Hunger Games arena?

The Hunger Games is an extremely enjoyable novel to read. I was so enthralled by this book that I couldn’t put it down. I was in constant suspense waiting for the next twist or surprise to occur. The book was well written. The author gave a lot of detail in her descriptions giving me very clear images in my head and allowed me to imagine and ‘see’ what was happening. This book was incredible and it was enough to encourage me to read the rest of the trilogy.

This book is suited to teenagers and maybe young adults between the ages of 12 to 20 who are interested in survival and action and enjoy reading suspense-filled, love driven, action packed book. I give The Hunger Games 5 stars out of 5 because it is an amazing book and by far my favourite read.

George, Year 9

May 10

“First Light” by Rebecca Stead

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


May 10

“Wilderness” by Roddy Doyle

 “Wasn’t really my cup of tea”. I have just finished reading the book the wilderness by Roddy Doyle and to be honest it didn’t capture my attention very much at all like the epic novels by say “J.K Rowling” or “Suzanne Collins”

The story takes places in Ireland where Sandra and her boys go on a trip to Sweden and Finland, but they encounter some difficulties whilst on vacation. I am a very enthusiastic reader and I love to sit down and get sucked into a fantastic book, but when it comes to books like these I don’t really get the vibe going that makes me want to sit and read for hours on end with novels like these.

On the other hand I do have to give him some credit. The story is very original – has great story structure and very illusive and very comparable characters to keep you entertained for a while. The story starts to kick off half way through the book, but you first have to go far too deep into what its all about before you can actually read it with some anticipation.

Over all I’d rate this book 3 STARS out of five and I’d recommend it for children aged 9- 14 yrs. I didn’t enjoy it very much, and I hope he can lift his game before he releases another novel onto the shelves. – Jordan, Year 8

May 9

‘Shark Attack’ by Anthony Masters

Shark Attack is a very adventurous book at the start but then falls down and get boring.

The novel has a very good start but it gets more interesting the more you get into the book. There are four main characters: Tom, Mum, Dave and Carnie. What would you be thinking if your boat capsized, the skipper gets eaten alive in front of you and you also have no sense of direction. They have no food or water. After nearly three days at days at sea, they find a deserted island and Tom gets a severe cut to the foot and needs urgent medical help and they all have no idea if they will get out alive.

At the end, the novel makes you read more and more. It is suited for adolescent readers and you have to be persistent and keep reading it. I give it a 6/10.

Jordan, Year 8


Shark Attack by Anthony Masters


I really don’t like books in fact there have been a times when my mum had to bribe me. Shark attack by Anthony Masters had a good story line and I did read it


Shark Attack begins with a family on a holiday taking a day trip out at sea in the hope of seeing a few whales. However, when the weather deteriorates all hell brakes loose. As the story continues the family finds itself lost at sea experiencing a number of life threating events before being rescued. Finally this broken family is coming together.


For people between the age of 9 and 15 years who enjoys reading novels I would recommend this book although it was a good story I would like to see this in a movie.


What would you do if a shark attacked you?  Don’t know? Then read Shark Attack by Anthony Masters.

Manuel, Jack and Carrie go on a whale-watching trip and while they’re on it a giant storm comes and everyone starts panicking. The boat starts to tip over and Manuel falls out. Manuel can’t do anything and gets eaten by a 3-metre great white shark.

I think this book would suit young 11 – 15 year old males. I give this book a rating 8 out of 10.  I really enjoyed this book.  I enjoy learning about sharks so this book was really interesting.

Brodie  Year 8


Shark Attack by Anthony Masters

I really don’t like books in fact there have been a times when my mum had to bribe me. Shark attack by Anthony Masters had a good story line and I did read it

Shark Attack begins with a family on a holiday taking a day trip out at sea in the hope of seeing a few whales. However, when the weather deteriorates, all hell breaks loose. As the story continues the family finds itself lost at sea experiencing a number of life threating events before being rescued. Finally this broken family is coming together.

For people between the ages of 9 and 15 years who enjoys reading novels I would recommend this book. Although it was a good story I would like to see this in a movie.

Dominic, Year 8


How would you like to be stuck in the middle of the ocean on a little dinghy with no food or water? Your stepfather is crazy and drinks all your water and doesn’t share. Could you survive? Can they get back to Ensenada? Who will get eaten by a shark?

In the novel, ‘Shark Attack’ a family boat called the Mexican eagle has capsized in a storm and they are stranded in a little dinghy that has no food or water. There are four main characters: Tom, Mum, Dave and Carnie. What would you be thinking if your boat capsized? The skipper gets eaten alive in front of you and you also have no sense of direction. After three days they eventually find a deserted island. Tom gets a bad cut and needs medical attention. Will they get out alive?

I’m not a big reader but this book really wanted me to keep reading it. I really want there to be a part 2. I recommend this book to teenagers and young adults.

Liam, Year 8

May 8

‘The White Fox Chronicles’, by Gary Paulsen

‘Cody waited fearing the rapid beating of his heart or his loud breathing would give him away’. (page 51)

The story takes place in 2057, in war-torn America under the control of the evil CCR. There are prison camps, which Cody is held captive in. He breaks free and wanders across the desert looking for the rebel camp.

The main characters throughout the book are Cody Pierce, Major Toni McLaughlin, Sidoron and Rachel. Cody is the main character. He is a fourteen-year-old boy also known as the White Fox, who is in a CCR prison camp. Major Toni was captured by the CCR and escaped with Cody to the rebel camp. Sidoron is the leader of the CCR prison camp that Cody escaped from. Rachel is Cody’s friend and she saved his life when they were out in the desert.

There are three parts to this book. Each story follows the journey of Cody from his time in prison and his adventures in returning back to the prison to free the children.

I loved reading this book because it is action packed. It gave me thrills and I couldn’t put it down. The twists and turns of the plot are awesome. It amazes me that a fourteen- year- old boy could show such strength and courage. I never used to read books other than sporting stories but this book has changed my mind, heaps!

I would recommend the book to boys aged thirteen to fourteen, who like action and adventure and like a good thrilling story.

By Riley, Year 8



May 8

‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen

“In the roaring plane with no pilot alone”.

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

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

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

Fraser Year 8


My Hatchet review 

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

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

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

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

Tex, Year 8


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

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

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

Chandler, Year 8

May 4

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

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

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


No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

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

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

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

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

Bradley S.,  Year 8


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

Declan, Year 8


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

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

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

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

Anthony, Year 8


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

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

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

From Luca, Year 8.

May 4

‘Incarceron’ by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher is an amazing book that intrigues the reader. Imagine an infinitely big prison with no end, no beginning and riddled with war. People live there, never ever having any inspiration to find a job or have a family. This book details the solitary and brutal life the prisoners had to live through every day in Incarceron. Mostly, though, the book focuses on the two main characters Claudia and Finn. These two characters are trapped in two different worlds that are closer than they think.

Throughout the start of the book it takes a while to adjust to what’s happening, but if you stick with it you will not regret it. The book switched between the two different people’s lives every chapter. I quite liked this idea because it made me feel like I was reading two different books. Finn is trapped in the prison and trying to find his way out, while Claudia lives on the outside as a princess and the Warden of the prison’s daughter. I like both of the characters but Finn just seems a little more interesting. Claudia and Finn travel through worlds to find each other, while at the same time trying to stay alive. I loved this book for every second I was reading it.

I really liked this book for two main reasons: firstly, you never know what is going to happen next, for the book is full of twists and turns; secondly, the book itself is just so interesting. I recommend this book for boys and girls of a higher reading level for the book is quite advanced. This book is the perfect balance of mystery, drama and adventure. I give it 5/5. By Brent Year 8


The book Incarceron written by Catherine Fisher is a fantastic and thrilling book. It is a story about two worlds. One world is a massive prison with two types of people. One type is called Scum. As you can probably tell from the name this is the more scavenger and evil type of people, with a brute named Jormanric the wing lord as their leader.

The other type is called Civicry. They are the better and the richer of the two. The main character in this world is a boy named Finn and his blood brother Keiro. In this world there only one thing to be concerned about: trying to stay alive.

The other world is a world with kings and queens based in the 17th century but run by computers. The main character in this world is a girl named Claudia. Her Father, the Warden of Incarceron, is in charge of running Incarceron.

The main part of the story is about how the main characters from these two worlds meet and what they learn about themselves and who they are.

Both worlds very interesting and the end of this story is very exciting but I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t read it yet. It is truly one of the best books I have read so far and I encourage anyone that like thrilling and exciting books to give it a go! Mitchell, Year 8


I love reading, but the book has to be amazing, so nothing could prepare me for Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. From start to finish you will be completely and utterly hooked. This book has it all and is a totally enthralling experience.

This book is definitely targeted at more experienced readers for a couple of reasons. It can be quite confusing and hard to understand at times but if you think about it, it begins to make sense. The main other reason this book is better for more experienced readers is you have to go into it all or nothing. It is most enjoyable when you put yourself in the story. This book is easy enough to relate to if you multiply your own experiences by 100.

This book is based around Finn and Claudia. Finn is trapped in Incarceron (a prison) and is going on a journey to escape, whereas Claudia is in the free world, but even there she is imprisoned in the sense that she is being forced into a marriage.

I recommend this book for boys and girls aged 14-18 because it uses some more advanced language and people within that age group would get the most enjoyment from it. I highly recommend this book for lovers of fiction, fantasy and sci-fi. It is a great book and one you should read.

By Hugh M yr8


This very interesting mystery and fantasy book by Catherine Fisher will make your imagination run wild. From the beginning of the story until the end, this suspenseful novel creates a clear picture of what you are reading. Its clever plot and subtle characters keep your mind engaged in the book.

The story is set up in two worlds in which both the main characters, Claudia and Finn are trapped in their own situation. Finn who lives in the prison ‘Incarceron’ is dying to escape, and Claudia who lives in the outside world is doomed to an arranged marriage.

I thought this book was very creative and futuristic and I would definitely recommend this book to people aged 12-14 or even older. Hearing the story from someone else is fun but reading the book yourself is an entirely different experience.

By Vrinda, Grade 8


When it comes to reading books I’m very picky because I like a book and its author or I hate it. Incarceron is a very exciting book and you just can’t put it down. The book is very interesting, from where the story is set in a prison, to where the prison was built, to the characters that evolve and change, to the plot that leaves the reader in suspense. This amazing book is targeted at boys and girls 14 and up, because the text is a bit complex and the language difficult for younger aged people.

Incarceron is a prison like no other. The prison has been sealed for years. Legend says only one man has ever escaped. The prisoner’s believe there is nothing outside Incarceron, but one. Finn has blurred memories showing a place outside where there is green grass and dark night skies filled with stars. Claudia is an important part of the story too. Claudia is the daughter of the warden of Incarceron. Finn takes Claudia hostage at the start of the book. Over time, Claudia and Finn work together and gain each other’s trust, and find a crystal key with the same eagle symbol that Finn has a tattoo of on his arm. They believe that’s the way out of Incarceron. My favorite character is the powerful, cold, but manipulative warden Lord John.

The novel has an exceptional plot with science fiction themes with lessons on friendship and finding courage. It teaches us about our instincts and overcoming the feeling of not fitting in. I recommend this book to anyone who likes twists and suspense.

By Mitchell, Year 8

May 4

‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’ by John Marsden

Tomorrow When the War Began is an action packed, very exciting book. The author is John Marsden. He is a brilliant writer for writing this serries. He has also written other books. Tomorrow when the war began is about six teenagers who went to a place by the name of Hell to go camping but after they go camping they end up in a war fighting for survival. They realise that other people used to be less fortunate than them, just like they are now. Read this book please! It will knock your brains out. By Sam Year 8     


Tomorrow, When the War Began is an action packed thriller with a small amount of romance and it is great for all ages above 10. This book is about seven teenagers: Ellie, Homer, Fi, Lee, Robyn, Corrie and Kelvin. When they got home after a week out camping there was no sign of their families, no people, no nothing, the place was completely deserted! But there is a festival on for no apparent reason that has been going on for too long. Then they start to realise the true danger they’re in.

You could cut the tension with a knife. I will also guarantee you that it will make chills run down your spine and curiosity will take over you!

I enjoyed every bit of this book. I have recommended this book to all of my friends and their friends and most of them have finished it and have been inspired to read the whole series! John Marsden has nailed this book and has made me amazed at his ability to express the characters’ emotion on pages of a book.

My usual routine is to read half a book, put it down and leave it on a dusty old shelf for years but the curiosity really did take over me so I just had to keep reading. I couldn’t put it down. My suggestion to you is to go straight to your local library and borrow it out, then get the rest of the series.

Kahnie, Year 8

May 1

‘Parvana’ by Deborah Ellis

What would you do if your dad were taken away? What if your country was under invasion? And what if you had to turn into a boy? In the novel Parvana, this is exactly what Parvana has to go through. The author, Deborah Ellis, has written several other stories, some of them are about the war.

If you like true and/or sensitive stories then this would be a good book for you. If you are not keen on reading than I do not recommended this book as it takes some time to become interesting.

Sarah Year 8


Sad …… ,but a page-turner, the book Parvana written by Deborah Ellis is about a family that sticks together through thick and thin.

The story is set in Afghanistan where the main character, Parvana, lives with her family. Her Dad gets taken away and to survive, Parvana has to dress up as a boy. She has no contact with her Dad and times are tough.

I did like this book but it started really slowly and I became bored, but overall it is a good book. Deborah Ellis has written several other books so if you like books about war and poverty then this is the book for you!

Pia Year 8


Imagine living in Afghanistan and not being able to go outside of your own house. Deborah Ellis portrays a young girl named Parvana living a tough life in Afghanistan and not being allowed to go outside without being caught.

Parvana is a young girl living in the rough times in Afghanistan. Everyday she goes to the market with her dad and tries to keep away from the soldiers that hang out around the markets. One day when her father is taken to jail, Parvana needed to do something to help out her family. She decided to dress up as a boy and help get the family money without being caught.

For people who like drama and suspense, this will be the book for you. Because of the interesting story line, even people that don’t read as much will be able to enjoy this type of book.

Bridget, Year 8


“Parvana” by Deborah Ellis

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I can definitely see why “Parvana” is known as the international bestseller or “The Breadwinner”. The writer, Deborah Ellis, has told the story of young Afghan girl, Parvana, with incredible enthusiasm. Deborah Ellis writes this novel so that you feel as if you are the character and are put in their shoes.

Almosta quarter of the way through the book Ellis strikes the reader with depression and emotion when Taliban soldiers take Parvana’s father. This happens repetitively through the book, which makes the storyline just ten times better than it already was.

Deborah Ellis has used quirky language and interesting situations to get her final point across to the reader. She pulls you right into the story right before the end of the chapter and you are forced to keep reading. I found this book totally addictive and could not put it down.

I would particularly recommend this novel to young girls aged 12 – 16, any younger and some readers may find events in the book disturbing or even frightening. I believe this novel isn’t suitable for boys as it discusses issues that girls go through and wouldn’t be relevant to boys. Deborah Ellis has written a clever and adventurous novel and I would highly recommend this novel to others.

The Final Rating


Anna, Year 8