Age recommendation: 13+
Why We Broke Up is a young adult book about the complicated nature of teenage relationships. With its quirky illustrations and thick glossy pages Daniel Handler's book is unconventional for many reasons. One is its telling by a male from a female's point of view, something done surprisingly well. In a letter from Min to Ed the book details why they broke up and all the complicated reasons that contributed. The characters of Why We Broke Up are unorthodox and for this reason the reader is drawn to both. Min and her mental rambling and movie references and Ed with his bravado and humour make for enticing reading. Their relationship and lives are filled with passion and flaws making this book very accessible to teenagers and anybody who has had to love and let go.
Age recommendation: 13+
It is always interesting to read a novel that has received so much hype and generated such wildly opposite responses. Readers fall into either the Lovers or Haters camp. After finishing "Imaginary Girls" I can safely place myself on the side of those who loved it. Fair warning, this book is not for everyone. It is confusing and riddled with many chilling and frightening elements. And while this might be a turn off for some people, Nova Ren Sum presents it in a way that mesmerizes and captures the audience all the way through. The intention of this book is not to tuck you in at night with a warm cup of milk bidding you sleep. It is to shock you and it is to scare you. Told from the perspective of Chloe the novel focuses on the relationship between her and her older enigmatic and wild sister Ruby. It starts off one dark night at a party where, after a dare from Ruby, Chloe swims across a reservoir of water and, in its murky depths, comes across the cold body of a dead classmate. After this Chloe is sent from her home town - to the unhappiness of Ruby who will do anything to get her sister back. And when she returns home two years later things are certainly not as they were, the truth, an illusive object, now shrouded in death. Dark and twisted "Imaginary Girls" is a revolutionary book about the complicated and dangerous bonds of sisterhood.
Recommended: ages 15 and up - although depending on taste could be suitable for younger audiences.
The first thing that comes to mind about "Midwinterblood" is that reading it was a pleasant surprise. With a seemingly cardboard set up the author manages to innovate in strange and original ways, one being the use of a technological device called the ”OneDegree bumper”. This idea seriously impressed me even separated from the book. The main premise of "Midwinterblood" focuses on the boundaries of a love that lasts forever. It explores this through the main character of Eric Seven who has lived many lives and in each one has loved the same woman. In a twist of fate they are not always born as lovers but as mother and son or brother and sister. An original slant to the story line. Told in reverse from June 2073 until a “time unknown” slowly through the course of the novel you uncover the events that have plagued these two ‘immortal souls’. "Midwinterblood" is an eerie story, dark and full of sinister suspense. Brimming with tension this short novel devours you from the first page drawing you in with its unorthodox take on “love re-born”.
Recommended: ages 14 and up
The place known as Everneath is a limbo between hell and heaven. Time is different in the Everneath, six human months equaling a century there. And this is exactly the amount of time that teenager Niki Bennet has been caught there in sleep. Now, returning to the human world before the Everneath comes back to claim her, Niki has a limited amount of time to say goodbye to all the things she holds dear. Set in a paranormal world, “Everneath” is the story of Niki Bennet and her struggle with love, loss and immortality. Revolving around the protagonist's wish to reignite a romance with a past boyfriend this novel can be placed firmly in the paranormal romance section. Interwoven in an extremely original way, Greek and Egyptian mythology are the basis for the story line. Managing to avoid many of your usual paranormal romance pitfalls, "Everneath" gives a new take on school, bad boys and cat fights. Overall the backbone of this book is its innovative characters - a pioneering bad boy who, despite the name, fits into no stereotype and, one of >> the most important things in a modern novel, a strong heroine.
Recommended ages: 13 to 17
My Sister Lives on The Mantelpiece follows the life of Jamie, a 10 year old boy trying to piece together the tragedy that tore his family apart while living in the ruin it left behind. The main aspect of this story that stood out was the honest and seemingly innocent voice it is told from. His untainted view of the world around him afforded a fresh perspective. It encompasses everything from love, hate, eating disorders and terrorism but most importantly hope. A realistic hope that lives off the page and relates to our own lives where everything might not be perfect but we can see it getting there.
This novel will appeal to those who enjoyed Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Recommended Age: 11-18 years old
- Ruby (Age 14)
Life: An Exploded Diagram is a coming of age novel that employs sophisticated language, spanning across multiple generations to deliver an engrossing and empowering story. Based in Norfolk , England during the cold war it does a wonderful job transporting the reader back in time and providing a realistic setting for the story to take place.
The novel follows the life of country boy Clem and his romantic relationship with city girl Frankie. The historical accuracy of the story is rewarding while not overbearing you with unnecessary details about the era. It setting and characters are absorbing but it’s the author's wonderful descriptions and fine writing that lift it up to be a truly amazing book.
Recommended for ages 13 and up.
This collection of well known but twisted fairy tales is beautifully written with descriptive language that draws you in. Filled with short stories it includes well known tales such as “The Tinderbox”, “Rumpelstiltskin”, “The Snow Queen”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Babes in the Woods”, and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”. Adapted by some of Australia’s best known fantasy authors, the bewitching tales play on universal truths. Many of the writers seemed to be aiming to bring back the gritty horror originally present in fairy tales while still adding modern twists that people can relate to. The book however is not for the fainthearted and some of the stories could unsettle those who do not enjoy confronting or amoral scenes. Be prepared readers, the protagonist is not always a hero, do not expect all to have happy endings and be wary reading some of the stories in the dark.
Recommended for ages 15 and up.
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Overall this book is a great read. It has an original and addictive premise that continues to be engrossing the whole way through. Descendants of Greek gods, divided into groups known as Houses, are pitted against each other by the Furies in a bid for retribution for the blood bath of the Trojan War. The two main characters are from opposing houses and fall in love despite this. The use of the Greek gods and the Trojan War as an anchor point for the story line is interesting and creates a wonderful sense of taboo, as well as a struggle between duty and passion. I liked the main character, Helen, in particular because although she had wonderful qualities like physical and mental strength, she took no pleasure in killing or using her ability unfairly. This made her very refreshing. The secondary characters were also good, all of them well developed and attention grabbing. Mystery and suspense were maintained right up until the final chapter and the book finishes with a thrilling conclusion that leaves you excited for the sequel.
The book is suitable for anyone in the young adult age group anything from 13-17.
Flip This book is marvellous and suspenseful, stepping into a whole new branch of paranormal. The novel portrays a story about a boy who wakes up one morning in someone else’s body, forced to live someone else’s life. It uses fantasy elements to show just how distressing it is to be separated from the ones you love as well as depicting all the things we would do or are willing to sacrifice to get back. Alex is a realistic character whose personal growth is observed throughout the book. Written in the third person you are just as much living the book as the character. There is a saying, “You never judge a book by its cover”. Well this one you can, because the cover is very inventive and an accurate reflection of the book.
Recommended for both girls and boys in the 13-16 age group.
This book was an enjoyable easy read. Slow at the beginning, the book built up during the first half to deliver a more exciting second. The last quarter was quite riveting and drew you into the story line. The story is based around the main character, Lila, and her unusual ability to move objects with her mind. After a traumatic event forces her to run away to her brother and his best friend she then has to try and keep her secret hidden and stay alive against an unknown enemy. Lila as narrator could be a bit annoying at times. Throughout the book she switched between daydreaming about Alex, her love interest, running away and hiding her secret. Nevertheless, she was a good carrier of the story and re-gained my respect towards the end. The romance between the two main characters involved a lot of hidden feelings and will satisfy people who like plenty of tension and angst.
This book is recommended for girls aged 13-17.
Overall I would rate this book 7.5/10