As a young adult book I found this read quite well. Tells the story of a young servant who wishes to become a Nightingale Nurse and serve in the CrimeAs a young adult book I found this read quite well. Tells the story of a young servant who wishes to become a Nightingale Nurse and serve in the Crimean War. Totally unbelievable, but made a good effort to report historical facts. For YA I'd give it a 3-4 stars, as an adult reader only 2-3....more
1 1/2 stars. Aimed at YA but really would be better for a younger audience. Couldn't connect with the characters. There's much better YA fiction out the1 1/2 stars. Aimed at YA but really would be better for a younger audience. Couldn't connect with the characters. There's much better YA fiction out there....more
Set after global warming, Sydney has been divided into the 'haves' and 'have nots' courtesy of The Wall which separates the two population groups. ThoSet after global warming, Sydney has been divided into the 'haves' and 'have nots' courtesy of The Wall which separates the two population groups. Those protected by The Wall, although appearing to live the better life, are terrorised by Blacktroopers, ruled by The Committee, and are forced to stay inside and take various tablets without knowing why. The reason behind many of The Committee's decisions are revealed early on. We then follow what happens as people try to escape this society.
Aimed at Young Adult, this makes for a good read for adults as well. Society's lessons are learned harshly, and finally compassion and understanding rule the day....more
**spoiler alert** Not my usual style of reading material but I was willing to give it a go based on the favourable review I had read.
Story goes that K**spoiler alert** Not my usual style of reading material but I was willing to give it a go based on the favourable review I had read.
Story goes that Kate Elliott, young 15 yr old Goth, is sent to boarding school after an "incident" involving her mother, with whom Kate is having ongoing issues. Super cool stay at home surfer dad cares for the younger sib. Kate initially has no friends at the school she has attended for years as a day girl, but manages to make friends with 'bad-girl' country-lass Maddy, and ends up in a relationship with Maddy's brother Lachlan. Kate also develops a friendship with Louise, a shy eager to please boarder.
Kate has two older Goth friends, Annie and Nate, neither of whom have any connection with the school. Initially Kate is attracted to Nate but he rejects her advances. The association with these characters gives Kate the chance to rebel.
Whilst I appreciate the idea of the story (Goth outsider wants to be accepted for who she is) the story had too many holes in it for me to really engage with. For example, Kate's whole reason behind the switch to Goth seems to be based on how good the clothes suited her; she makes friends with the boarders easily but hasnt made any friends at the school in the previous years; Nate's role other than an early love interest??
I felt the author could have expanded the characters a little more; they appeared to be almost stereotypes and none of them, including Kate, were fleshed out enough. I liked the inclusion of a few ideas which could have been developed further - the hint of violence from an older school boy who wanted sex and appeared not to be taking no for an answer; the grief Maddy and Lachlan felt regarding their mother's death and their father's slide into alcohol.
All in all this book needed work to be anything other than a B grade YA novel....more
Quite a good version of the Titanic story, especially for younger people who are not familiar with the history (although after the film I guess most pQuite a good version of the Titanic story, especially for younger people who are not familiar with the history (although after the film I guess most people know it). However the book contains nothing new or startling; not necessarily a bad thing, but for those of us well familiar with the tale it makes for fairly stock standard reading. However I did enjoy the writer's style of alternating chapters, relating the tale by brother and sister, with the sister's version in first person and brother's in third person. For me, as an adult, 3 stars. For a younger YA, probably 4 stars....more
Excellent book for YA (and adults) regarding the thinking behind self harm/cutting. The author clearly shows the main character's thoughts, revealingExcellent book for YA (and adults) regarding the thinking behind self harm/cutting. The author clearly shows the main character's thoughts, revealing her pain and how the cutting soothes this for her. The book follows her experiences following the traumatic death of her parents, the issues she encounters with her brother, and the newly developing relationship with Guy. ...more
It deals with the effects on a high school community of the suicide of one of their number. Hannah BakBrilliant - get a copy of this book and read it.
It deals with the effects on a high school community of the suicide of one of their number. Hannah Baker has killed herself but we, the reader, don't know why. Her reasons are revealed in a series of tapes she leaves to be heard by certain members of her high school community. Each event that lead up to her death is described by Hannah, and a picture of her life is created very effectively.
This is not a gruesome read, nor does it glorify suicide. In fact it is stated a number of times that Hannah had choices. It shows clearly the effect a random comment or act can have on another person, and the repercussions that follow.
**spoiler alert** Couldn't say I enjoyed this book although I suspect it was well written. I found the characters and the subject matter unpleasant -a**spoiler alert** Couldn't say I enjoyed this book although I suspect it was well written. I found the characters and the subject matter unpleasant -a 16 yr old falling prey to a manipulative older man with a wife who either was complicit or chose to ignore the obvious. Did she 'allow' the relationship to develop in order to keep her husband happy, maybe in exchange for a child of their own? Or was she so drunk most of the time that she didn't care - I refuse to believe she was unaware of the relationship.
And "Mr Booker" - we never hear his first name - he clearly worked towards establishing a sexual relationship with the girl. Did he plan for it to continue or did he fall into a habit of liaisons with a more than willing girl, who was herself bored by life, lead astray by the adults in her life, the product of her parents. And I notice that other men in the book also made sexual approaches to her - did she have an air about her that suggested their advances would be welcome, or was she a victim of her circumstances, were they as predatory as Mr Booker, taking advantage of her naivety?
As I said I did not enjoy this book, I felt both saddened by it and angered by the stupidity of the characters, yet appreciated the possibility that they saw no other options....more
Very disappointed with this book. It reads like a YA novel, lots of vampires and what I felt was a simplistic storyline. I'm being very generous by giVery disappointed with this book. It reads like a YA novel, lots of vampires and what I felt was a simplistic storyline. I'm being very generous by giving it a second star, only because one star felt too little, and if you like the YA vampire genre then I guess this one might be for you. Definitely not my cup of tea....more
**spoiler alert** 4 stars for YA readers, 3 stars for adult readers. A bit like Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes for YA readers.
Valerie's boyfriend Nic**spoiler alert** 4 stars for YA readers, 3 stars for adult readers. A bit like Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes for YA readers.
Valerie's boyfriend Nick carries out a school shooting based on a hate list they had compiled. Valerie is completely unaware of Nick's intentions, and stops the shootings by throwing herself in front of the gun. The book covers what happens next, to Valerie, her family and the school community. The book points out the dangers of bullying; the wrong person bullied could become unstable, and either cause themselves harm or harms others.
Much is written about Valerie's role - guilt vs heroism - although she wasn't aware of Nick's plans to shoot she did compile a hate list, and have what she referred to as "not serious" conversations with him about killing people. However she stopped the shooting going further. So was she a perpetrator or a victim? Hero or villain? "..Nick and I weren't the victims...we were the ultimate bullies".
I found the school graduation ending to be a bit schmaltzy, but was saved by Valerie leaving town with no set plans in mind.
Some of the characters were too flat, not fleshed out enough, or too coincidentally amazingly helpful, like the art teacher who helped Valerie enormously by accurately interpreting what Valerie was feeling every single time. But it is a YA book, and I think one worth reading by that age group.
The story of the 36 adopted babies on a plane continues. It turns into an instant English 15th century history lesson which actually made for entertaiThe story of the 36 adopted babies on a plane continues. It turns into an instant English 15th century history lesson which actually made for entertaining reading, despite sounding a little dry. I think children readers would enjoy this telling of Richard the Third's tale. The baddies are bad without being nasty, and good triumphs over evil. However the book ends with a new challenge for the characters to solve, clearly setting the way for book 3 in this series. Once again recommended for older children or younger YA readers....more
**spoiler alert** So hard to give this book a star rating, I've opted for 2 1/2. I can't classify which age group this book is suited too either. It t**spoiler alert** So hard to give this book a star rating, I've opted for 2 1/2. I can't classify which age group this book is suited too either. It tells the tale of Coraline, a young girl who finds herself in a mirror world where 'other mother' is not quite as loving as she seems. In fact, all the usual people in her world are not quite who they seem, nor are they happy. She resolves things, saves the day, returns to her own world and learns to appreciate what she has. A simple tale yet quite dark - I cant imagine reading this to a young child and yet the storyline appears to suit that age best. I have seen the film of this book and found it less disturbing than the book. Maybe my imagination is too vivid?...more
This book was so much more fun than Gaiman's Coraline which I found surprisingly disappointing.
Whereas I couldn't be sure which age group "Coraline" wThis book was so much more fun than Gaiman's Coraline which I found surprisingly disappointing.
Whereas I couldn't be sure which age group "Coraline" was pitched at, this book could be read and enjoyed by a wide age range. It tells the tale of Bod Owens, a living boy who resides with the dead in a graveyard.
Not a spooky or scary story so ok for younger readers, and interesting enough to hold the attention of young adults and older....more
Loves this. Read it in a couple of sessions because the story grabbed me right from the start. It tells the tale of Richard who literally 'falls throuLoves this. Read it in a couple of sessions because the story grabbed me right from the start. It tells the tale of Richard who literally 'falls through the cracks' of London into a subterranean other London. Here he encounters the various groups who inhabit this dark, magical and mystical world. And of course there is a quest. Highly recommended - a unique look at the possible other world which may exist beneath our very feet....more
**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this YA book and it held my interest throughout. I notice my copy says it is book one of a trilogy, and I look forward to**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this YA book and it held my interest throughout. I notice my copy says it is book one of a trilogy, and I look forward to the next book if that is the case.
Although I enjoyed the book I did feel that the male characters came off second best. I noticed that the sister wives embodied the roles of the triple goddess - mother (Cecily) whore (Jenna) and Maiden (Rhine). This made me wonder about the three male characters, and I wondered if they represented hero / saviour / warrior (Gabriel), villain / destroyer (Vaughn), and creator (Linden). Then I wondered about Rose - what did she represent (if anything?). Any ideas? Or am I completely off track?
Oh so disappointing. In fact so disappointing, so many things left unexplained, and characters that defy humankind. It has**spoiler alert** 1.5 stars
Oh so disappointing. In fact so disappointing, so many things left unexplained, and characters that defy humankind. It has so little depth that I was able to read this book (just shy of 500 pages) in one afternoon, after a night shift, when I was tired, and I didnt miss a thing.
***MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT***The story revolves around a city divided into 5 distinctly different factions each with a ridiculous name IMO - Candour (who always tell the truth), Amity (who are always best friends friendly), Erudite (most learned), Abnegation (who forgo everything in the service of others, including climbing stairs rather than use the elevator in some form of quasi Amish-ness) and Dauntless (who are daredevils extraordinaire). We dont know what brought about the need for the division of the city along these lines. At age 16 each person must choose which faction they will join (assuming they can pronounce them and have an understanding of what each means 'cos I'm sure most YA readers, and a few adults, would have been reaching for google dictionary).
Our 'heroine' Tris, having been raised an Abnegator, joins Dauntless, and undergoes an intense and incredibly rapid training schedule, without seeming to miss her family all that much. Dont worry about her though, because she's fantastic at every new thing she tries - knife throwing, fighting, recovering from wounds, getting over her parents deaths', jumping onto and off moving trains, climbing ferris wheels and so on and so on and so on...... She is also incredibly annoying, a character who it seems is written to be the 'hero' but when you think about it, she isnt very admirable. She not so surprisingly comes top of her class, even ahead of others who have trained in Dauntless ways for 16 years.
Of course while the wonderful Dauntless trainer falls head over heels in love with her, she battles with the nasties who plot to overthrow the Abnegator Faction, all whilst concealing with the fact that she is secretly a Divergent (ie doesnt really belong to any one faction, and can override many of the tests that are set). She also deals with both her parents dying in violent manners all within a few minutes of each other by barely shedding a tear, shooting a friend, and getting on with the romantic trainer. By the way, the romance is very school girl-ly. They go from lingering looks to brushing lips to declaring undying love in rapid succession.
Now I know this book is aimed at the YA market, but honestly it is too too much. Especially when compared with much better books that are available for this group, who are not fools and can tolerate and enjoy much more complicated storylines. They at least would expect to have certain aspects of the story explained to them - like why is there a train constantly circling the city which it seems only the Dauntless ride - where does it travel to and from? Why are the 'naughty' Dauntless people made to guard a fence? What lies beyond the fence? What really happens to those not accepted into any faction? What caused the division in the first place?
I kept reading hoping for some explanations, but none were forthcoming. Having panned this book I have actually given it 2 stars (based on a score of 1 and a half, sometimes only a 1 depending on what mood I'm in) because the idea behind this society could have been developed into something interesting. And maybe I'm feeling generous. But really there are times when I feel the author has failed her readers by dumbing down the potentially interesting storyline for reasons I can't fathom.
And sadly there is a sequel to follow, possibly even a trilogy, to mimic the ever popular The Hunger Games, a much better dystopian YA novel. I fear with the success of said Hunger Games the publishing world has now turned its attention to producing anything which vaguely resembles Hunger Games just as we have been swamped with ridiculous numbers of YA vampire-esque books al la Twilight. What has happened to originality? Must we be repeatedly bombarded with multiple versions of any successful story? Poor poor YA - they deserve better than this....more
Quick read - given that this is a children's book that's no surprise.
The story concerns what happens to 36 babies found on board a plane, no adults acQuick read - given that this is a children's book that's no surprise.
The story concerns what happens to 36 babies found on board a plane, no adults accompanying them, no explanations given. It jumps 13 years ahead in time to tell "what happens next....". An interesting tale involving as usual (but always an appealing hook for child readers) children who are able to solve everything without the help of adults. It reads early on like positive propaganda for adoption, but that soon passes. Recommended for older children or younger YA readers, it is book 1 of a 4 part series. ...more
Say, 3 or 4 stars. A quick read, need to get past the first couple of chapters when they introduce a few too many characters all at once, all 'out theSay, 3 or 4 stars. A quick read, need to get past the first couple of chapters when they introduce a few too many characters all at once, all 'out there' - you wonder what the book is going to be about? But then it quickly settles into a coming of age, light romance. ...more
Surprisingly I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Put simply it is the story of how high schoolers can be cruel to each other, excluding pSurprisingly I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Put simply it is the story of how high schoolers can be cruel to each other, excluding people from their cliques. It also explores the development of a true friendship, in contrast to the clicque-y ones. Well told, more enjoyable than similar ones I've read. ...more