This is such a gorgeous book, great fun middle-grade gothic, that's not too scary for kids. I love all the little references to Frankenstein in the teThis is such a gorgeous book, great fun middle-grade gothic, that's not too scary for kids. I love all the little references to Frankenstein in the text. And I really love the way it uses a Victorian framing structure: with narrative bookends where the characters are telling tales to each other and then one of them tells the main story. This is also the structure of Frankenstein and countless other Victorian Gothic novels like The Turn Of The Screw, and so is a natural shoe in here. It's similar to Darkling Wood in the fact that it has two separate but intertwined stories, which is quite sophisticated for a book for this age group, but Emma Caroll pulls it off really well once again... I have come to the conclusion that she is the queen of sophisticated structure in Middle Grade fiction!...more
I really loved this book, an important story for young teens about the damage a toxic relationship can do. It was a dark and an unnerving read. I hateI really loved this book, an important story for young teens about the damage a toxic relationship can do. It was a dark and an unnerving read. I hated Will almost from the very first page, and hoped that Anna would see sense by the end....more
Pearl is a naive and dreamy girl who has lived all her life in the cult of SEED. SEED is a commune and farm made up of a few families, who are cut offPearl is a naive and dreamy girl who has lived all her life in the cult of SEED. SEED is a commune and farm made up of a few families, who are cut off from technology and the outside world. It is run by the the enigmatic and sinister Papa S. When newcomers arrive – in the form of Linda and her teenage son Ellis and daughter Sophie – Pearls feelings for Ellis, and the things he tells her about the outside world, plus all the secrets that she gradually discovers about the cult, start to make her question everything she has believed in, and her whole way of life...
SEED reminded me of so many other great cult stories, both cinematic and written. Drop City, Sons of Perdition, Louis Theroux and his visits to the Fred Phelps Cult. I find cults are a fascinating subject, because they are a microcosm of the worst human behaviour. They are the most extreme example of the fearful and delusional stories that societies and families and religions create to control people, and they can be startling in the way people buy into them in order to survive, or perhaps because they know no different. This book takes all that cult craziness and builds it to a thrilling crescendo as Pearl and Ellis and the other youngsters of SEED struggle to free first their minds and then themselves.
Lisa's writing is so beautiful and elegiac, and locates us so strongly with Pearl and her joyful, upbeat unquestioning character voice, and yet she still manages to make clear to the reader that there are dark motivations behind everything going on at SEED. It's a fine balancing act and it works to add an extra layer of fear and revulsion to what it already a strange and engrossing story. ...more
I loved this book and its beautiful poetic writing. It's a fantastic island setting, where you can practically feel the muggy tropical heat, and whereI loved this book and its beautiful poetic writing. It's a fantastic island setting, where you can practically feel the muggy tropical heat, and where local folk tales and superstitions are bubbling to the surface once more. I loved the central friendship between the narrator Isabelle and her friend Lupe both come across as strong hearted individuals. I loved how they work together in so many scenes and in their own way both become the rescuers and heroes of the story. The book made me think of the Earthsea quartet in some parts but has a strong flavour of South American magic realist literature also and a classic fairytale feel. Overall an exciting and lyrical adventure with two strong girls at its centre....more
I loved the opening with Mouse sitting in the bath - it reminded me of the opening of I Capture The Castle - 'I write this sitting in the kitchen sinkI loved the opening with Mouse sitting in the bath - it reminded me of the opening of I Capture The Castle - 'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink'. Lucy and Tom's books feel like modern updates of those classic romantic comedy stories, both literary and filmic.
There's a such a good depiction of the bitchiness of girl gangs, and lots of stewing animosity between Mouse and her ex-best friend Lauren, who are both after the same guy, the clueless, somewhat dorky Jack. He and the boys gang of Max and Flynn, get up to a lot of gross-out or stupid inbetweeners antics, but it's clear that Jack is the one with the good heart. Jack and Mouse meet the effortlessly cool French popstar and Bieber-alike Roland, will he be a possible love-rival to Jack or a new found friend to them both? I love the way all the character's attempts to get it on - i.e. get a snog - end in disaster and all their social interactions come off as disjointed. None of them can read situations at all and everything requires a lot of thought and second guessing. The boys are especially clueless and are constantly putting their feet in their mouths.
This is a hilarious book for young teenagers, full of great gags and real relatable characters. It didn't quite reach the heights of Lobsters for me, I think because the mystery of whether Jack and Mouse will kiss in the end doesn't quite have the tension of the older storyline that Hannah and Sam have in Lobsters - navigating your first time, and what may be a deeper connection. So it felt like a lighter book, for a younger crowd, which it most definitely is, but still a lot of fun to read, with many more of Lucy and Tom's trademark laugh-out-loud moments....more
This is the second book in the Murder Most Unladylike series I have read. I read the second book, Arsenic For Tea, first, and the first book second -This is the second book in the Murder Most Unladylike series I have read. I read the second book, Arsenic For Tea, first, and the first book second - because I like to be contrary like that!
There is something deliciously subversive about boarding school murder stories, IF is one of my favourite movies for that reason and I remember reading Unman Wittering and Zygo at school and loving it anarchic quality.
Murder Most Unladylike is more subtly subversive than anarchic, and it's not about the killer but about the detectives. In between the bun-breaks, jolly-japes and detection, it still delicately questions everything about the world it depicts: there's subtle suggestions of classism, bullying, casual racism and then there's the delicious idea that all the suspects are teachers - i.e. the people who are supposed to be the solid trustworthy ones.
The other endearing thing about this book is the way the relationship of Daisy and Hazel develops, Robin creates a great character dynamic between them. The girl-crush Hazel has on Daisy, the alienation she feels at the school, and the way Daisy and her friends are cold at first and subject Hazel to hazing and dares in the dorm. The murder mystery is exciting of course, but for me it's the shifting relationship between Daisy and Hazel that makes the books so interesting.
More Of Me revolves around the newest of many clones, Teva. Teva is sixteen and trying to lead a normal life, and yet time is running out for her…
TeeMore Of Me revolves around the newest of many clones, Teva. Teva is sixteen and trying to lead a normal life, and yet time is running out for her…
Teeva’s mother, and various past-versions of herself, have been hiding out for years behind a high wire fence and a locked coded gate. Meanwhile, inside their suburban home, an insane reality is playing out. Once a year Teva splits like an ameoba into an identical other – a replacement for her older (yet younger) self. In six months, it’s due to happen again. To Teva Sixteen.
This weird premise feels fantastically unique, yet Kathryn Evans treats in such a matter of fact and human way that you totally buy into it. All the differently aged Teva clones are vividly drawn and it is a brilliant metaphor for the idea that our personalities are constantly growing and in flux. As the story moves on, Teva tries to solve the mystery around her being, but she must still go to school, cope with the interest of two different boys, one of whom is still in love with a previous clone - Teva Fifteen, and keep the secrets of her home life from her best friend Maddy.
Like each clone before her, Teva colludes with her mother to hide the rest of her selves, which creates strong feelings of guilt. More of Me is also about how alien you feel as a teen, and how frightened you are of your peers finding out you’re not what might be considered normal. This comes across very strongly in Kathryn's writing, especially with the bittersweet quality of the ending. The set up also made me think of stories where paranoid parents lock their children up - like the movie The Wolfpack -but perhaps that link is a little more tangential!
Overall I really enjoyed More of Me, its beautifully written and I would categorize it as a mix of teen-drama and uniquely original science fiction....more
Danni is a caring, thoughtful and empathic girl going through the usual teenage problems, when her mother suddenly goes missing and turns up on a locaDanni is a caring, thoughtful and empathic girl going through the usual teenage problems, when her mother suddenly goes missing and turns up on a local beach with memory loss. Investigating the mysteries surrounding all this, Danni discovers a deep secret all the women in her family hold. Something that will change her life, and bring her into the orbit of dangerous and superstitious people.
Beautifully written and very evocative of Cornwall, Deep Water is a story full of heart and soul. With a pretty unique mystery at its core that is gradually revealed throughout the book, it's a great contemporary British YA fantasy, mixing teenage reality and magical elements in a very Susan Cooper-ish way....more
A lovely story about two young boys coping with the loss of their mum. The voice of Beckett Rumsey the narrator and POV character of the book is so clA lovely story about two young boys coping with the loss of their mum. The voice of Beckett Rumsey the narrator and POV character of the book is so clear and quirky, and the tone is sad an humorous at the same time. I particularly love Lara Williamson's unique and funny similies which are so individual to her characters and add so much to the voice. Billy, Becket's little brother, is a fun character too, and the way Beckett cares and looks out for him throughout the story is so endearing. They both come across so strong and clear in all their spiky stubornness, crazy plans and schemes, and their love for one another and their dad The story is quite similar in tone to A Boy Called Hope, Lara's first book, with the loss of a parent storyline, but I think the world of grownups that Beckett and Billy have to deal with is a little bit muddier and difficult for them to understand. There's even a pet snail called Brian. Over all, it's a great middle grade story about coping with losing someone, and the ending is just beautiful....more