Gorgeously illustrated! A lovely picture-book about how being an only child can be a pretty awesome thing. I'm an only child and I'd have loved a bookGorgeously illustrated! A lovely picture-book about how being an only child can be a pretty awesome thing. I'm an only child and I'd have loved a book like this when I was little, instead I got my fill of the "older sibling prepares for the new baby" stories! Which of course I loved, but they made ME want a sibling. I like how this book shows the main character's friend with a big family as well as his own only child-ness, and how there's good and not-so-good in both....more
I really liked this, it was a lot of fun :) I have to admit I wasn't too sure at first, but when Dave and the fake card reader came along that was wheI really liked this, it was a lot of fun :) I have to admit I wasn't too sure at first, but when Dave and the fake card reader came along that was when I felt it took an awesome turn away from just a generic romance.
Val was a scary boss omg, I would not want to work for her! But I loved the Gaslight theatre and bar, what a fabulous place. And Fatima was hilarious! As were Patricia an Eunice. Great cast of characters, clever ideas, although Jem annoyed me when he just assumed the worst about Delilah and the card reader and never let her explain, argh!...more
I found this to be a fast and compelling read. At first I wasn't all that sure what the point of the "now" chapters were - every so often we'd get a fI found this to be a fast and compelling read. At first I wasn't all that sure what the point of the "now" chapters were - every so often we'd get a few pages set a few years after the rape and they just seemed kind of irrelevant. (view spoiler)[But then I loved the Alex/Elijah little twist - I mean in the future she's married to a guy called Elijah so what happens with her and Alex, why do they split up? And then AHA Elijah IS Alex! That was pretty neat, because Alex just seemed so perfect so it was sad to think they weren't destined to be and she'd end up with this Elijah guy instead.
Also why the hell did Addison have to die? Ugh. That was another little mystery that slowly unraveled, as we're given a few hints in the future that they're no longer friends, they had a fight, Addison can't dance anymore.
I was a bit annoyed at May for placing a lot of blame on Danika when it was Tyler's fault, but Danika wasn't always the most likable of girls either, at least not at first. I also wish Addison had stood by May and been a better friend - and how sad that if she HAD gone with May to the clinic, she would have escaped being in her fatal car accident.
I didn't like Grace, May's younger sister either. The way she spoke just seemed really off, it was too proper!
Tyler's a jerk. May should have reported his ass. And, dammit, told her parents how she'd gotten pregnant instead of letting them think she'd had a drunken one-night stand!
Sounds like I'm picking this apart a lot, but I did enjoy reading it and didn't really want to put it down. (hide spoiler)]
The story of books and writing and paper and the alphabet, as narrated by a book - very cute and fun to read, and informative as well! It also brushesThe story of books and writing and paper and the alphabet, as narrated by a book - very cute and fun to read, and informative as well! It also brushes upon book burnings, as well as the good.
I did like the point at the end about regular books not needing charging, unlike e-book readers! You can't deny that....more
So I'm a giant nerd and I found this totally fascinating. I've seen and loved the film Union Pacific so I already knew a little of the story, but oh mSo I'm a giant nerd and I found this totally fascinating. I've seen and loved the film Union Pacific so I already knew a little of the story, but oh my the detail here is amazing! Fascinating and educational - I had NO idea about the vast numbers of Chinese men working on the railroad, for one thing!
It's also a bit of a bittersweet tale, I thought. It's of the same period as the Little House books, but it's signalling the end of those pioneering days. The building of the railroad, connecting east to west, means that the days of heading west into unexplored territory by covered wagon are numbered... it's fabulous progress, but a little sad at the same time, if that makes sense.
I do however love the idea of the "race" by the two railroad companies, seeing who can lay the most track and who can reach the eventual meeting point first....more
I wasn't sure at first, but this book really grew on me and I ended up loving it. Maybe because I too had a bit of a crush on Brett ;) Sometimes thougI wasn't sure at first, but this book really grew on me and I ended up loving it. Maybe because I too had a bit of a crush on Brett ;) Sometimes though, Alexis drove me mental with her ice queen act - would it REALLY hurt to be seen with Brett, to admit she likes him? Just because she's the "mean girl" and he's the jock quarterback and their types shouldn't mix or whatever... that girl was way too focused on appearances!
(view spoiler)[I have to say, I think Brett was being a bit too nice towards Adam - the guy who planted a video camera in the girls' locker room and streamed naked cheerleaders onto youtube. SERIOUSLY. Brett had accidentally seen the guy's file and knew he had some kind of "issues", and they both knew he'd been bullied in the past, but dude, no excuse! That's worth a naming and shaming and a bit of arresting and time in juvie, omg. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
I was sad that I didn't enjoy this more! Not quite sure what it was... the writing itself was good, and I am interested in and have read other fictionI was sad that I didn't enjoy this more! Not quite sure what it was... the writing itself was good, and I am interested in and have read other fiction set at that time... but for some reason I just couldn't get into this. Boo.
Also the bloody battle near the end was horrifying - too overly descriptive for me!...more
Fascinating book! A naked picture of Polarity is posted on the internet and her world turns upside down... but the thing is, she has no idea how the pFascinating book! A naked picture of Polarity is posted on the internet and her world turns upside down... but the thing is, she has no idea how the picture - which is definitely of her - was ever taken. (view spoiler)[This is finally revealed right at the end, when she comes across a video of herself from one of her first days at her new school, where the mean girls pulled aside the shower curtain while she was inside. The picture is a still frame from the video, catching her when she's flailing and alarmed - but it looks like dancing and laughing in that split second. The video was taken by Tracey, who had heard about the plot against Polarity and planned to use it to help her. But then Polarity mishears the mean girls' nickname for Tracey, RV, and thinks her name is actually "Arvey" and calls her that... and out of spite Tracey instead turns and uses the still shot against Polarity.
She's taken from her parents, who the police think must be behind it all, and placed into a safe house where she only stays for one night before going to live with her grandmother for two or three months. I LOVED the slow timeline here, how it isn't all rushed through in a week. It actually takes months to start to clear her parents' names, and then when she returns to school she spends a month in an alternative school for "bad kids" before going back to her original school. It's here, as well as in the safe house, that she really starts to notice how in the minority she is by being white and from a more priveliged background.
It's a really gripping mystery, wondering how on earth that photo came into existence! I figured out that Arvey was actually RV pretty early on - they live in a trailer park - but had no idea that that mistake was going to be of any significance. I didn't at all suspect Tracey, like AT ALL. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I don't think I've read a book written in "free verse" before. So I wasn't sure if I'd like this one or not, but it only took like three pages for meI don't think I've read a book written in "free verse" before. So I wasn't sure if I'd like this one or not, but it only took like three pages for me to get totally into it, so all good!
Tippi and Grace are conjoined twins, the story is told by Grace as the girls reach 16 and attend school for the first time. There's a little romance for Grace too. It's really interesting how the two girls would be carrying on two entirely different conversations with their friends at the same time: how easy it was for them to tune out the other one talking. I can't remember the context now but there was one bit where Tippi startled Grace and she wryly asked "did you forget I was there?" and yes, for a split second she did.
It's also scary to realise that if one falls, the other goes down with her. And how annoying it would be if you're sound asleep and then your twin needs to get up and pee!
Money becomes tight so the girls cave and do what they said they never would: allow a film-maker into their lives to school a documentary. I like how they managed to get their sister ("Dragon") away from the cameras by using some of their advance on letting her go on a trip to Russia with her ballet company!
(view spoiler)[Things take a bad turn when Grace becomes really ill... and separation is recommended. Her nails are painted red, to distinguish them, to let the doctors know which one has the weak heart... or as Grace points out, which one is the weaker link, which to let die if only one can be saved. It's an interesting thought too that between them while they have four arms and two chest cavities, they only have two legs.
I guess you kind of know Grace can't die as she's the on narrating the story. So it comes as an enormous shock when Tippi does actually die, leaving Grace wholly alone... ugh, heartbreaking. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Wonderfully nostalgic for those who grew up watching the TV show! It's been updated a teeny bit, with mentions of selfies and mobiles and DVDs, but thWonderfully nostalgic for those who grew up watching the TV show! It's been updated a teeny bit, with mentions of selfies and mobiles and DVDs, but that's pretty much it and the rest is just as it was in the 80s. Great fun to revisit the story, and to jog my memory a bit because I didn't really have that much recollection of how it all began! I think I was just too young to really get it fully, I just liked the spunky little girl with her dog and her funky fashion sense ;) My only really resounding memory of the show in fact is the episode where they're playing hide and seek outside, and Cherie hides in an abandoned fridge which she then can't get out of and it takes ages for them to find her and she almost DIES and seriously, best cautionary tale EVER!
I don't read comics, but I enjoyed this :) ...more
This is seriously one of the best books I have ever read. I idly started it last night at about 9:30, and I just couldn't put it down - until like halThis is seriously one of the best books I have ever read. I idly started it last night at about 9:30, and I just couldn't put it down - until like half-past 12 when I just had to stop mid-page and sleep! And then I finished the other half in one sitting today. It's so compelling and amazing and heartbreaking and awesome. The writing itself is sheer perfection, and even though there's not an abundance of slang, you can just tell it's Australian. The story itself is so modern and fresh - and inherently creepy and horrifying.
I usually delete books from my kindle after reading, to save space (I can always go through the rigmarole of using my Amazon account to re-add them if the need arises) but this one I just straight off the bat moved to my "awesome keepers" collection because, well, WOW.
(view spoiler)[Sierra is banned from using the net at home, after an incident where she sent some boys a boob-shot and her mum found out and rightly cracked the shits. So she goes online at Taylor's house instead, and whilst there she meets a guy in a chatroom, Jacob. He's 18, she's 15 (but says 16), he's in year 12 and cute and friendly. Because of the whole internet-ban thing, she gives him Taylor's email address instead of her own.
Taylor's a bit pissed when she finds this out (when Jacob emails her) and sends him a snippy reply, to which he nicely responds... and they get talking... and Taylor starts falling for him too. She's all but ready to meet the guy and is bursting to tell Sierra at school on Monday, but then Sierra gets in first with her own news - over the weekend she managed to sneak onto her sister's laptop, spent the whole time chatting to Jacob, and they're meeting up this Friday!
Naturally Taylor's a bit pissed and doesn't send Jacob any more emails.
On Friday, Sierra gets Taylor and their other friends to cover for her. She's done this before - gone out with a guy while telling her mum she was at their friend Riley's place. That time she ended up spending the night with the guy, sending Riley into a panic until she finally rocked up the next morning. So when Sierra calls to say her date is going great and she'll be back in the morning, the group all just sigh that she's doing it again, without any regard for them who are keeping her secret and liable to get into trouble.
(Can I just mention again - she's 15! And spending the night with this guy? I just can't imagine that from any of my friends at 15.)
Anyway, Saturday morning comes and no Sierra. The day passes. Sunday comes, and still no Sierra. Her mother, Rachel, who thought Sierra was just staying with Taylor starts to get worried - and Taylor comes clean about Sierra's plan.
A few days later, her body is found - strangled - in a shallow grave just outside Ballarat.
Holy crap. Talk about a terrifying cautionary tale! I honestly was not expecting that and it certainly packs and enormous punch. Her death also causes a huge rift between Taylor and Rachel, who had been like a second mother to her after Taylor's father died. And what was heartbreaking to me was the potential of Taylor's mother and Rachel's friendship breaking up, because of what Taylor didn't do or say. Don't ask me why THAT idea got to me so much!
This book is just so bloody sad. And is the second I've read in a short space of time that deals with "survivor guilt" - the other being Skinniness is Next to Goddessness where Ash and Lacey go on a super diet together, and Ash dies (partly because of it, but more because of a pre-existing heart condition she had) and Lacey is left with the guilt.
In order to try and do something, Taylor starts up a website in memory of Sierra, which she also hopes to use to keep other girls safe. Her IT teacher Mr. Samalot (I read Spamalot every single time) helps her out and it, in the words of Callum's mum, "goes viral". It's such a great idea too. I loved Taylor's blog posts and discussion leads, they really get you thinking.
When I was 16, I remember a friend and I going in a chatroom at school one day during lunch and meeting this guy in the UK, Chris. We actually exchanged addresses and wrote a couple of letters back and forth before it fizzled out because we were 16 and fickle and he was kind of ugly, haha. But it just goes to show how easy it is to NOT think about online safety when you're just a high-schooler and you meet a guy in a chatroom who's about the same age. Yes most of the time who you're chatting to is who they say they are, but not always - I mean Catfish is in its fourth season now! And when you're 16 and silly you don't even think before exchanging personal details. We met a guy in the UK, but what if he'd been in Melbourne? Who knows!
Well in the end "Jacob" is caught, with thanks to Taylor's website. Lots of girls send her photos of guys they think might not be who they say they are, but one girl, Fliss, sends her a photo of a guy who's going to be her success story, who she's meeting that Friday in St. Kilda. It's not "Jacob" and no alarm bells ring for Taylor... but she has a feeling the beach in the photo looks familiar.
And on Friday she realises - the fake photo "Jacob" had sent her had been photoshopped using a certain photographer's picture. Taylor had looked at the photographer's other pictures, just out of interest... and the photo Fliss had sent her WAS ONE OF THOSE PICTURES WITH A FAKE GUY SHOPPED IN!!!!
Frustratingly, she can't get ahold of her detective (argh!) and the lady on 000 doesn't take her as seriously as she should (which is frustrating but it makes sense - a crazy teen yelling about a girl she doesn't know about to be abducted by a guy she also doesn't know somewhere around St. Kilda marina), so Taylor makes her own daring race to St. Kilda... where she JUST misses Fliss driving off in a black car, that she luckily gets the numberplate of.
Fortunately, something goes wrong for "Jacob" somewhere and Fliss is found safe and well, but it's still a few more days before "Jacob" is caught. I really liked the pace of that. It wasn't all stupidly fast and dramatic and unrealistic, nor was it a frustratingly slow and impossible task.
"Jacob" is charged with several counts of statutory rape, and one count of murder. It does make you wonder what happened with Sierra for her alone to have met such a grisly end - but of course there's no way to ever find out.
Amazing and gripping from start to finish, with a definite message for all ages about safety - meet online people offline by all means, but take a friend and have the meeting in public! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Hi Amanda McKelt, do you live in Melbourne and if so do you want to hang out and be friends? /fangirl
This book was adorable! Seriously, so much love.Hi Amanda McKelt, do you live in Melbourne and if so do you want to hang out and be friends? /fangirl
This book was adorable! Seriously, so much love. After being mortified in front of her crush (think mean girls, swimming pools, and My Little Pony undies) April and her friend Sofia create a fake online profile for the "perfect" girl, Layla Hart... then the next morning, ala Freaky Friday, April wakes up and suddenly she IS Layla Hart! Madness and hijinks ensue.
(view spoiler)[You have to suspend your disbelief a touch - April calls her mother from school, pretending she's been accepted last minute into an exchange programme, she's at the airport NOW and an American exchange student (Layla, the perfect girl, is from California so not only does April not look like herself anymore, she has an American accent!) is going to show up at her house that afternoon. And when April/Layla does get home, her mother and brother are throwing Layla a welcome to Australia party, and her mother hasn't like called the school or anything AT ALL. And yes this is the part I'm querying, not the body-swap magic ;)
Not that I'm rating it down at all for that, I just tend to overthink things and want it all to be logical. (Time-travel stories are sometimes the worst for that.)
I seriously gasped out loud when Sofia made the update about Layla getting a parcel from ASOS - and a minute later the postie arrives WITH A PARCEL FROM ASOS!!!! Sofia then makes an update about Layla being her own personal cheersquad and it's like she's been hypnotised, Layla/April can't help but start cheering. That was a clever idea, that made me wonder when they were over it all if an update about April being home wouldn't have worked?
AND THEN WHEN MRS. HART AKA LAYLA'S MOM SHOWED UP, WHAT?! I seriously want more explanation here - where did she come from? IS there really a Layla and that girl had written a fake online profile for a plain jane girl called April, and then SHE woke up in April's body?! Because that would make for a rocking sequel/side-by-side novel. I mean I'm getting a little Amy Amaryllis vibe here and if so it'd be neat to see the other side, especially since Layla's mom is in on it too, and April's clearly wasn't. God I'm seriously overthinking this book.
Also I liked how while there was crush-object Zach, it wasn't just another boy-meets-girl type story. Zach ignores daggy April but goes after hot (yet still daggy) Layla, but it's all really a ploy to make his on-again, off-again mean-girl girlfriend Megan jealous. So he's not just shallow, he's kind of a douche as well.
I made a big rambling comment about Layla/April missing Sofia's dance concert. From personal experience: bitch!
I want more now please. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more