Kids

What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume

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What I Like About Me is an utterly charming YA novel from debut author Jenna Guillaume.

It follows the exploits of lovably awkward Maisie Martin as she holidays with her family on an Australian beach for the summer. Maisie is funny, smart, fat and beautiful. That's right. Fat AND beautiful. Her whole life, Maisie thought that the two terms were mutually exclusive, but over the course of this particular summer, she discovers that beauty comes in more shapes and sizes than she realised.

This book is heartwarming, body-affirming and uplifting. It reclaims the word 'fat' from body-shamers, and encourages readers to view their bodies with joy and self-love. It's also jam-packed with humour, romance and diversity. It's the ultimate holiday read, perfect for fans of Dumplin'‘ and Mean Girls alike.

- Bec

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

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Peter is a 12-year-old boy with a pet fox, Pax. Peter found Pax as an orphaned cub shortly after Peter's mother died and the two have been inseperable ever since. But when war breaks out in his country and his father must leave to fight, Peter is forced to abandon Pax in the woods. 

The chapters alternate between Peter and Pax and we follow each of them as they face their fears and try their hardest to find one another again. A tender, enchanting read (and perfectly illustrated by Jon Klassen) for animal-lovers aged 9+.

- Kate

George and the Blue Moon by Stephen Hawking and Lucy Hawking

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George and his friend Annie are no strangers to out of this world adventures. They have been into space four times before, breaking supposedly unbreakable codes and blowing up a mad man in a spaceship. 

But when they are selected for a junior astronaut program they discover things are not always as they seem. Will George and Annie’s dream of going into space become a reality? Or will their dream become a cosmic nightmare? 

Find out in this thrilling story and up to the minute scientific facts from the geniuses Stephen and Lucy Hawking.

This book is an exciting, suspenseful, edge of your seat, out of this world read and is recommended for ages nine and up. 

-Jack MacKenzie

The Family With Two Doors by Anna Ciddor

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f you would like to know more about the way Orthodox Jews lived before the Holocaust then read this delightful historical novel by Anna Ciddor. Based on the stories told to her by her grandmother, the novel is set in Lublin, Poland in the 1920s where the large and loving Rabinovitch family live a traditional and rich cultural life determined by the teachings of the Torah.

Extensive research informs the backbone of the novel which describes daily rituals including meal preparation, the beauty of the Sabbath and special celebrations such as the betrothal and wedding of the oldest daughter Adina to a man she has never met as was the tradition.  
But this is also a real live family full of mischievous younger children, serious older ones and the in-betweeners who are learning their place in the Jewish world. Father is a warm-hearted devout Rabbi and Mother is a bustling busy wife and mother overseeing a boisterous household. 

nna has enhanced the story with her charming tiny  black ink illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and a portrait of the whole family at the beginning. Although the novel is nominally for children 8-12 it is really for anyone aged “8 to 108”. 

- Rita

The Flywheel by Erin Gough

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Far more than a love story this is a classic coming of age novel, which is honest and enthralling and filled with ‘just-one-more’ chapters. 

Delilah is familiar with the consequences of misplaced crushes. After falling for the classic popular girl she has become the punch line in an array of homophobic jokes. Not only that but she is barley able to keep her family café afloat now that the manager took off and her dad went international. 

And now she has fallen again, this time for a stunning flamenco dancer across the road- Rosa. Her best friend Charlie understands, he is always off doing outrageous acts to win the hearts of women. 

But now Charlie’s in jail, she might have to break the law and Rosa is full of mixed signals. How can you tell another girl you love her without it ending in heartbreak and humiliation? And even more, when everything is falling into chaos is it possible to keep the beat? 

The true triumph of this novel is that it addresses the love felt by LGBT teens with equal importance, messiness and passion as any other. It is captivating, uplifting, real and funny and filled with authentic voices and interesting dynamics. 

It is not a book people should just want to read. It's a book people need to. 

Ages: 12+
Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Katie McGregor

The Paradise Trap by Catherine Jinks

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The Paradise Trap is an exciting book full of twists and turns; you never know what’s going to happen next. It’s a light read and doesn’t have much depth. If your looking for a fun, stimulating ride this is the book for you! This book teaches the reader that a true paradise world is one where not everything is perfect and makes you question whether you are strong enough to escape a fake paradise. So will you escape or fall for the paradise trap? 

7/10

- Katie McGregor