June 20

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

“One day, you’ll show the world what you’re made of.”

-Ye Ye, Chinese Cinderella.

 Chinese CinderellaDo you like crying?

Do you like actual true stories?

Then this is the story for you!


Chinese Cinderella is a true story by Adeline Yen Mah. This story is set in China, where we follow our main character Adeline Yen Mah and her horrible life with her family as they do horrible, horrible things to her, especially her Niang. As she tries to impress her father, her brothers and sister get jealous, beat her and hurt her.


My favourite character has to be Adeline and how she lives this horrible life, trying to be happy along the way. Turning her story into a book shows that Adeline has a lot of courage in her.


This story is full of sad and suspenseful moments and isn’t afraid of making you surprised. This book is perfect for people who like true stories and sad stories, though it should be for ages at least over 13. It’s an amazing book that you’ll surely enjoy! So next time you’re in the library make sure you look for this book. I promise you it’s not a disappointment.

Review by Analiese S., Year 8


Chinese Cinderella is a story about the author Adeline Yen Mah’s terrible childhood and how her parents and siblings treated her like she was a slave; as though she didn’t exist. In the first chapter the characters Aunt BaBa and Adeline were introduced. We also learn that Adeline’s mother had died from child birth. The Aunt had a shoe box full of memories of her mother after Adeline’s father forced everyone to get rid of photos.

Adeline’s family moved a lot but in chapter 1 the first place she lived was her birth place in Tianjin, China. Soon she moved away and lived in Shanghai with her new step mother Niang and two step siblings. Niang was a horrible French woman but the step siblings were nice and kind but sadly weren’t allowed to see the father’s side of the family. Soon Adeline had to go to boarding school for around two years and soon was rescued by Niang’s sister.

Niang is one of the main characters of the story and she is a cruel and rude woman who married Adeline’s father who was kind but now he is forced around by Niang. Adeline’s big sister was the prankster but sadly went under Niang’s spell and acted cruelly to her real family. Adeline’s three brothers are also cruel to her but Big Brother No.2 is the heartful one to Adeline and is technically the kindest one there.

I liked the story because I can just imagine how hard it could have been and how cruel the family was to them, My family is kind and playful to me showing that I have a lot.

If I were to recommend this novel to someone I would recommend it to my friend Tamara because she is very good at reading and I know she would understand the story. I would also recommend this to 12 and 13-year-old students because 10 and under wouldn’t quite understand and 14 and over might get bored of it quite easily.

Madeline W., Year 8

June 18

‘In the Sea There are Crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

In the sea there are crocodilesThe thing is, I really wasn’t expecting her to go.

If that sounds like the start of a book you would enjoy, then In The Sea There Are Crocodiles is the book for you.

I don’t want to spoil too much about this book. It starts with an 11-year-old boy who has to leave his home village with his mother to go to a whole different place. When he arrives he is thinking that this new place is going to be his new home. Then one night he goes to sleep and when he wakes up his mother has gone, only leaving a message saying that they won’t see each other again. He is left in a alien place where, in order to survive, he has to find a place to stay and a job, but challenges keep coming at him as he tries to find a place that truly feels safe and at home.

He isn’t the only young child looking for a home. Throughout his whole journey he encounters young boys just like him. He travels all over the Middle East and in the different places he goes his story shows how different races are rivals and how others believe that they are better off than the other just because of where they came from.

Once I started to read this book I just wanted to read more and know more about the story. Sometimes I would forget what time it was and found I had been reading for hours. It is a well-written book with descriptive language that gives you a clear picture of what is going on. It was translated well throughout most of the book but sometimes with words that couldn’t be translated I had a bit of trouble. The story was gripping and I found myself thinking that there is no way I would have been able to achieve what he did.

If you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, than life will be worth living.”

His bravery and his optimism really inspired me.

I would recommend this book to the ages 13-40 as this book is very interesting and the story would capture teen and adults. I would also recommend this to anyone looking for an autobiography with suspense, action, adventure and some parts that reach your heart. I rate this book 9 out of 10.

Xavier Year 8


One night before putting Enaiatollah to bed, his mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, and don’t steal. The next morning he wakes up to discover his mother has fled, which puts a bit of a twist on the book. When his mother leaves he really doesn’t know what to say. He is a little bit angry at first but does not know what to do. As he decides to go and skip countries and finds a place to live, Enaiatollah dangerously crosses the borders of Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen and tries to find a place to live.

In Enaiatollah’s story there is Emaiatollah and his mother. His journey starts in Afghanistan and ends in Italy. Enaiatollah’s mother was in fear of the Taliban, so she leads him across borders and countries to start a new life. It took him five years to cross all the way to get to Italy.

Here is a quote from the book: “If you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, then life will always be worth living.”

I would rate this book 7 out of 10. It was a good book and I would recommend it to people between the ages of 10-13. If you love adventures and good novels I would suggest this book to you. It has lots of surprises, whether he gets found out or not, but there are also has a lot of adventures in this story. I think it was a great book.

Jack H., Year:8


November 18

‘Second Star to the Right’ by Deborah Hautzig

Second star to the rightSecond Star to the Right is a fantastically moving book about 14 year old Leslie Hiller. Leslie is a fusspot who continually stresses over her mother being ashamed of her. To take control and to make herself joyful, she chooses to go on a diet. Yet things get out of control when Leslie can’t quit counting calories. She begins consuming less and less, believing that she’ll know when she’s thin enough. But she never feels thin enough. Before long Leslie is hurling whatever she eats, tossing food out of her window and is so depleted there is no way she can bring herself to school. Leslie is mindful that she’s gradually murdering herself and that she needs help, however thinks that it will be difficult to bring herself to eat.

Leslie is referred to medical help, where the medicines and responses to anorexia appear to be extremely dated. It disappointed me so much at whatever point somebody asked Leslie, ‘Would you be able to simply consume a little so you put on weight?’ not understanding there was more to her issue than that.

There is no conclusion to Leslie’s story at the end of the novel, which left me needing to know what happened to her. Generally, however, Second Star to the Right was a decent, and somewhat tragic read. I thought that it was extremely intriguing to see anorexia through the psyche of somebody experiencing it. I would recommend it to teenagers, both girls and boys. Anyone who can relate to it will love it, and will see the true beauty of the meaning of the words. Lily, Year 9

November 12

‘In the Sea There are Crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

In the sea there are crocodiles      Do you want to travel the world? See things you have always dreamt about?

      For Enaitollah Akbari, travelling around the world was not a treat, not something intended, but for this ten year boy, (well, he thinks he’s ten), it is a hard world out there as he is faced with a tragedy nobody wants: having to flee his country in search for freedom, dignity and self respect. He was born in a country where opinions and your own rights are wrong and forbidden.

      In the sea there are crocodiles by Fabio Geda is the true story full of adventure and mischief for an audience of fifteen years to adult.

      I thought this book was very interesting and it was very fascinating reading about a true story of a boy at a young age trying to make a difference for himself and his family. At the beginning of the book it was a bit confusing to figure out what was actually going on. I personally felt that the story was a bit over the place in the beginning but as I gradually read on it made more sense and became really interesting and enjoyable to read probably because some lines in the book that were said by Enaitollah really made me think. Here’s an example:

      “The facts are important. The story is important. It’s what happens to you that changes your life, not where or who you are with.” 

      This made me think of how emotional and hard it really is for people going through this situation or things similar to this. This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone wanting an adventure. I would rate this book a three out of ten.

Monique, Year 9

June 7

‘In the sea there are crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

 In the sea there are crocodiles    This international bestseller is the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari.

     Enaiatollah is the main character of ‘In The Sea There Are Crocodiles’. He lives in a small village in Afghanistan, which he calls ‘Nava’ which means ‘gutter’. In early 2000, Afghanistan falls into Taliban rule. This makes great changes in his life.

     Enaiatollah escapes from his family and home with his mother to the border of Pakistan. Then one night, while his mother is putting him to bed, she tells him three things that he must never do in life: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons and don’t steal.The next morning, the ten-year-old boy wakes up and finds out that his mother has disappeared. He knows that he is on the border of Pakistan and he is alone.

     Now, starts the remarkable adventure of the ten-year old boy from Afghanistan to Italy to gain political asylum. His five-year journey takes him through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Greece, border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days, and being stuffed into the bottom of a truck.  Going through all these unimaginable hardships and challenges, will he find a place that he will call home? Will he find happiness in the end? Will he find his family?

     His journey searching for a place called home has become the universal bestseller for teenagers. This story based on Enaiatollah Akbari’s actual life has been categorized fiction because in some parts of the story there are fictional details. But it is a really heart wrenching story that you will never forget. The best part of the book is the childlike perspective the author has written. It helps us teenagers to get more engaged with the book more easily. I truly recommend this book to anyone. You’ll never regret it.  

Ye Jin, Year 8

May 28

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella      Can I see my mum? No I can’t. She died three weeks after I was born. I just wanted to be a normal child who lived with her mum. Other than that, my other siblings hated me. They blamed me for our mum’s death and they have never forgiven me.

     ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a heart-warming story based on real life. Adeline Yen Mah was a kind, intelligent and caring young girl who loved her family very much even though they did not love her back. Reading this story you can go through the pain just like Adeline with her non-loving family. Adeline won many awards from topping the class in school. Adeline Yen Mah cared for her pet duck PLT as she knew he was the only one that loved her.

     If you are a 13 year old girl that loves to read real life and heart warming stories then this is the book for you. ‘Chinese Cinderella’ warmed my heart, how much Adeline believed in herself, especially in her goals in life. I also felt sad when her other siblings did not love her after her mum died. I think that this book is a great way to see how other people live in the world and to see how much they are going through with their family.  

Savana, Year 8


     “Do you have a picture of my dead mama?” Yen Jun-Ling asks her auntie, as she has never seen her mother before.

     The novel Chinese Cinderella By Adeline Yen Mah is a true story that I absolutely loved. It makes you appreciate everything that you have in life. The book is a terribly sad book that makes you want to go and hug your mum.

     The main character is a little Chinese girl named Yen Jun-Ling. Yen Jun-Ling’s mother dies giving birth to her, which leaves her aunt Baba to look after her with the rest of the family. All of her siblings blame her for her mother’s death. They say that she is “bad luck” to the family. When Yen Jun-Ling thinks to herself that she wants to make her family proud of her she comes home with a silver pin on her shirt, which makes her family proud.

     I believe that this book is suitable for females more than males between the ages of 13 years to 16 years as this novel has a lot of meaning behind it and shows a lot of emotion for a more mature age. I rate this novel an 8 out of 10 as I enjoyed reading this novel as the emotion made it a good novel. I also liked this book because you learn a lot from it about people’s lives. I recommend that you read this novel if you enjoy true, sad, emotional stories.


Abbie D, Year 8


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


     When Yen Jun Ling was only 3 days old, her mother died from a high fever. Her brothers and sisters never forgave her.

     “Do you have a photo of my dead mama?”

     Yen Jun Ling is a Chinese girl living with her beloved Aunt Baba, father, three brothers, one sister and her dreaded step-mother Niang and her two children.  She is under the demanding control of her sinful stepmother. The only real person that cares about her is her Aunt Baba.

     This is the story of Yen Jun Ling, and her life, filled with hatred, sadness and despair, a story of a Chinese girl living in China in the 1900s, through a civil war at the end of World War 2. 

     I thought that although the story was awfully sad it made me feel grateful to have such as a loving and caring family, unlike Yen Jun Ling. It just goes to show that we must be grateful for the simple things in life because people don’t get it as good as we do. The book was also inspiring to see that even though Yen Jun Ling had a dreadful life she still dragged herself through and tried to look on the positive side of life. I loved the book because Yen Jun Ling had such a hard childhood, but yet she still lives a great life now and she doesn’t let anything get her down.

     I think Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah would be a  story suitable for girls between the ages of 12 and 15. This is because they would understand the novel and would be able to relate the storyline and the life of Yen Jun Ling to their own lives if they are felling left out or unwanted. Even if you don’t feel unwanted this is an awe-inspiring book and a story that everyone should definitely read.

     Georgina F. Year 8


     Within three days of giving birth to me, Adeline Yen Mah, it was all over. My mother had died. Was I going to see her face again? Maybe, but I couldn’t worry about that right now. I had to worry about the rest of my life. Little did I know my life would be tortuous and cruel. My brothers and sisters blamed me for the death of our mama. Would they ever forgive me? My step mum had a sadistic attitude towards me, treating me with open disdain and exclusion. Why was this, you ask? I’m not even quite sure myself!

     Are you the type of person who LOVES to read and could stay up all night reading? Or do you just simply like to read in your spare time? Whichever one it is, I already know this is the novel for you!

     ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a true story written by Adeline Yen Mah. The book focuses on Adeline’s childhood and the way she was treated by her family. Just by reading this you can imagine what her life was like, but it wasn’t always bad. Adeline would walk to school most days daydreaming about things that were unimaginable; she loved to get the fresh air and to just be able to think. As soon as she arrived at school she blossomed through her academic achievements and her beautiful personality.

I recommend this book to young readers between the ages of 12 and 30 because you’re old enough to understand but still young enough to enjoy. I rate this book a 5/5 and I plead with you to read it because it’s an unforgettable story that will remain with you forever.

Eve, Year 8


Imagine feeling unloved, unwanted, and hated by your whole family. This is what Adeline Yen Mah feels every day. Hated by her step mum and siblings and never acknowledged by her own father, the book ‘Chinese Cinderella’ sounds like it is a fairytale but it is all too real. If you enjoyed ‘Falling Leaves’, ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is definitely the book for you.

When Adeline Yen Mah was born, a tragedy occurred. Her loving mother died and ever since then Adeline had been blamed for her mother’s death. Her father had ordered all photographs of her mother to be destroyed and Adeline was left wondering what her mother had looked like. Shortly after, her father remarried to a woman called Niang who then had two children who she spoiled and favored.


Adeline was treated as though she was worthless and unwanted. Multiple times her step-mother had told her she would never achieve anything but Adeline, against all odds, topped her class and consistently showed her full potential. ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a heart warming true story about a young girl who, against all chances, achieves her dreams. Adeline shows a great compassion for writing and after being sent away she discovers her true talents.


‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a story of mixed emotions as you receive a true insight into Adeline Yen Mah’s daily life. This book would be suitable for anyone who has ever felt neglected, hated or unwanted. Adeline was hated by her step mum and siblings and never acknowledged by her own father. ‘Chinese Cinderella’ may seem like a fairy tale but it is a true insight into the life of a young girl who is a unloved, unwanted, and hated by her own family. This is a true story about a young girl who was just an ordinary ‘Chinese Cinderella’.

Erin L., Year 8


“Can I see my mum?”


     In the words of Adeline Yen Mah this was just the beginning to a tragic story. Imagine feeling alone, unwanted and told that you were bad luck throughout your life. That is the life of Adeline Yen Mah.

     Adeline’s mother passed away giving birth to her. Because of this, Adeline’s family gave her a life of hardship. Chinese Cinderella is based on Adeline’s longing and battle for acknowledgment. The novel also tells how she overcame the odds to prove her worth. Being the youngest of six children, Adeline attempted to show how a young girl such as herself could be accepted into a world full of negativity and hatred. Being a straight A student without acknowledgement, Adeline’s story shows us how it feels to be neglected, not only as a child, but also as a student. Her father, on the other hand, is the same story, always failing to look after his own daughter.

     Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed Chinese Cinderella. I loved the plot and the photographs throughout the book. The main plot was full of emotional events. Chinese Cinderella taught me not to take things for granted. Some children in the world have families who put them through torture. I would recommend this book to young teens to show them why you shouldn’t take things for granted.

– Tayla G, Year 8

June 8

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella‘Tell me what my real mother looks like. I can’t picture her face.’

The story ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a book that makes you appreciate what you have. The main character, Adeline Yen Mah, is a young Chinese girl. Sadly her mother dies giving birth to her. So her family says that she is bad luck and she is made to feel unwelcome in her own home. But luckily when she starts school she feels she can get away from that and enjoy life. After a while Adeline finds out she is topping every class and even skipping a few but her parents are not convinced that she will ever be successful in life. This book is one of those that you feel like jumping inside it and helping out sometimes because Adeline’s stepmother, Niang, treats her like dirt. Even her own father has forgotten her name. The book kind of confused me because Adeline has lots of siblings and calls them big sister and third brother and so on, so I keep forgetting which one is which. I think the age group would be around year 7 to 10 because if you are any younger it won’t make sense and if you’re older than 15 then you might think it’s a bit boring. I rate it a 7/10, It’s a captivating, true story and you should definitely read it.
Kemi year 8

Adeline Yen Mah is the youngest of her family, and the least liked by her family. Her mother passed away shortly after she was born, so her father remarried and had two more kids with Niang, Adeline’s stepmother. Adeline is very close to her Aunt Baba, and is always asking if she could see photos of her late mother. Aunt Baba was very close to Adeline’s mother and was very upset when she passed away. When Adeline started school she always tried to feel accepted into her family, but her older brothers and sister would always take that away from her. Her dad never loved her as much as he loved his other children. When Adeline’s grandmother died everything changed and they had to move to Shanghai, where everything started to go even worse for Adeline, and her whole life turned upside down. Rebeccah, Year 8

May 17

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese CinderellaAdeline Yen Mah was the last born of her family. Unfortunately for Adeline, her family dislikes her very much. When Adeline Yen Mah was born her mother passed away. Her mother either had the choice to stay alive and give up Adeline’s life, or give birth to Adeline, let her have a life and give up her own. So she chose to let her daughter have a life, and she gave up hers. Poor little Adeline is only four years old and goes to preschool, and her closest relationship is with her Aunt Baba. Adeline and her Aunt Baba have a very close relationship. Her Aunt Baba looked after her, as the rest of her family hated her. Adeline was always asking her Aunt Baba for photographs of her mother. She just wanted to know what her real mother looked like. But Aunt Baba would always tell her that her father made sure all photos of her mother were destroyed. All Adeline wanted to do was feel accepted in her family, and feel like she was a part of her family. So she spends years just trying to prove to her family that she is worthy of being a part of her family. Samantha, Year 8

October 25

‘Go Ask Alice’ by Anonymous

See full size imageThis book gave me a view of the world where drugs are definitely there. You will feel sorry for Alice and grow to love her.  This book is old but it is still a book where you can learn from it.  After reading 1/2 of this book you know what will happen when you start to take drugs and the affect. I think everyone should read this book when they are growing up. Mitchell Year 9

‘Go ask Alice’ is the traumatic life story of a 15 year old girl tormented into a life of drugs and crime. It’s a ground shaking, mind blowing book. The level of emotion in Alice’s dairy is unbelievable; she shows us the harsh teenage life and gives us a glimpse into the world of drugs and abuse. This book does not hold any solutions, it targets a very specific life style. It is an insight into the youth of this ever growing dangerous world we live in today. Rachelle Year 9

‘Go Ask Alice’ is a diary about a 15-year-old girl, she starts to hang out with the wrong crowd and that’s when she turns to drugs like speed and LSD. At one point she thinks she is a pregnant. She runs away from home to go to San Fransico. Her life is a mess but she is hooked on drugs. She tries to stop but she is addicted. It is a crazy and full on book. It is for ages 13 and up because this book has drug use. Paige Year 9

Being based on a real story, I was astounded by some of the things that have gone on in the book so far with ‘Alice’. This book has so far taught me that even if you take the tiniest amount of drugs you can turn you into an addict, as shown when Alice writes: “I don’t know why I shouldn’t use drugs, as they’re wonderful, but I know I shouldn’t” (‘Go Ask Alice’ – Page 39). This book perfectly explains how drugs damage people’s lives, and lead to their ultimate downfall. This book really made me feel sorry for Alice as she was real. This book is fascinating, and should be read by all who are worried about drugs taking over their lives. Jack Year 9

‘Go Ask Alice’ shows the life of a 15 year-old drug addict. After being introduced to LSD, she ends up experiencing the highs and lows, from the loss of friends she once had to the gaining of new ones. Mikey Year 9

Written by an anonymous teenage girl, ‘Go Ask Alice’ is the journey of a 15-year-old girl who quickly becomes addicted to drugs. Her first experience was unwillingly; LSD was slipped into her drink and her drug  journey begins from there. She feels the need to try different drugs and experience new things. She goes off the rails, she runs away from home twice. Each time she tries to stay clean drugs always seem to slip back into her life. By Tayla, Year 9

The book ‘Go ask Alice’ is the anonymous diary of a 15-year-old girl who hangs out with the wrong crowd, and gets herself into a fantasy world of drugs. She is unwillingly introduced to drugs and easily gets addicted. This is based on a true story; it is a very informative book as she writes about all her experiences and the ups and downs in her life. I personally liked this book because it is bursting with emotions and I could relate to her and how she was feeling throughout the book. I would personally recommend this book to 14+ years, as it is quite graphic.
Amber, year 9.

May 18

‘POW’ by Martin Booth

POWI enjoyed this book. It is based in the 1st World War and is about a 14 year old boy named Ted Foley. He is enjoying his time on the battle cruiser when it all starts to go wrong. The ship sinks and Ted escapes and gets captured by the Germans and becomes a prisoner of war.  By Tyson, Year 8

POW is about a 14 year-old boy, Ted, who says he is 15 to get into the Navy. After his training he boards the HMS Nomad, a small but powerful gunship. After just six days the HMS Nomad goes into battle and is sunk. Ted is then taken prisoner of war in a German prisoner camp in Brandenburg. Life for Ted from then on is routine and boring, especially in the winter. Escape isn’t impossible, just very hard. I thought this book was very good. It was very descriptive and kept the action going even during the winter at the POW camp. Sam. Year 8

May 5

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese CinderellaAdeline Yen Mah ‘s mother died when she was born and her brothers and sisters blamed her for making their mum die. Adeline felt bad about herself and had bad luck and that made her feel unwanted all her life. Then she thought to herself, “I can make all of my family proud of me at school” and Adeline did make them proud. She came home with a silver medal pinned on her chest.  Jasmine, Year 8

I have not read the whole book but this is what I think of it so far. The book ‘Chinese Cinderella’ takes you into a young Chinese girl’s life. She lives with her family but without her mum, which is one thing she can’t get off her mind. Her brothers and sisters are jealous of her because she is top of her class, and her father is finally taking notice of her. I think this book is suitable for mainly teen girls and over and is a very interesting for me to read. This book is also a great way to learn more about what used to happen in China. Bailey, Year 8  http://adelineyenmah.com/