Jenna's Truth is such an important story to tell, and as a teacher I am so glad that the author took the time to tell it with so much empathy and compJenna's Truth is such an important story to tell, and as a teacher I am so glad that the author took the time to tell it with so much empathy and compassion.
The story follows Jenna, a school girl who is lured into a false sense of friendship with the popular girls, only to discover that things are not always what they seem.
I feel that this story is so vital for so many reasons. It informs teenagers of the avenue they can take if they are the victim of cyber bullying. So often the young people of today feel there is no where to turn, when in reality there are so many directions they can take against this illegal activity.
Jenna's Truth is actually a story that is all too common, and social media users don't always know where they can turn if they are the focus of attacks from internet trolls. Jenna's Truth shows teens that they have basic rights to safety, even on the internet.
The villain of Jenna's Truth is the popular Tina, who tricks Jenna into believing they have a friendship. However, Tina is not the only person in this story who is doing the wrong thing - every student who participated on social media were as much cyber bullies as Tina was for starting everything in the first place. This is something I have tried to teach to my students again and again, and I love that this story portrays that so clearly.
Lastly, the internet is an every-changing beast, and parents need to understand just what their children are up against. Jenna's Truth, I believe, is as much of an eye-opener for parents and teachers as it is for the social media users themselves.
Jenna's Truth is written with compassion, but at the same time the author doesn't pull her punches. What happens to Jenna is truly awful, and I felt sick to the stomach as I read the events unfold. The main character and her vulnerability felt real, and I was transported back to my uncomfortable teenager days while I read. Jenna's Truth is a short story, and at no point did I ever feel the narrative was dragging on. I feel it is perfect for use in the classroom to open up discussions with students about where they should turn if ever they find themselves as victims of cyber bullying - as well as a gentle reminder of why they should not be perpetrators of cyber bullying themselves....more
This story was so amazing I finished it in one day. I couldn't put it down - I forgot to eat lunch, I ignored my husband when he came home from work,This story was so amazing I finished it in one day. I couldn't put it down - I forgot to eat lunch, I ignored my husband when he came home from work, and I did not put the book down until I had read the very last sentence. I thought I would finally be able to sleep, then, but the story was still so vivid in my mind that I was kept awake half the night, sorting through all the details of Gabriel Davenport. I just did not see the ending coming, and days later I am still thinking about it.
The Making of Gabriel Davenport starts how it means to continue, with immediate tension setting the reader up for a wild ride. A loving husband and wife buy an ancient box at an antique store whilst on holiday with their infant son. From there their lives are torn apart. Fifteen years later their son, Gabriel Davenport, decides to delve into the mystery of what really happened to his parents, only to discover that some secrets can be dangerous.
This story contains magic and suspense and realistic characters who you really want to see survive the story, but who make you think there is a really good chance that they won't. I can usually predict the ending of a story right from the beginning, but The Making of Gabriel Davenport kept me guessing the entire way through. More important to me, this story contains paranormal creatures that are realistic, horrifying and intriguing all at the same time.
I absolutely cannot wait for more stories about Gabriel Davenport and his friends....more
I have read other works by Dean Mayes, and I have to say this is his best one yet. The Recipient follows the story of Casey Shillinge, a heart transplI have read other works by Dean Mayes, and I have to say this is his best one yet. The Recipient follows the story of Casey Shillinge, a heart transplant recipient. Since her heart transplant she has suffered from agoraphobia and nightmares. She also happens to be a real bad-ass, so when life turns into one big nightmare she is able to battle her way through. I think this is my favourite aspect to this story - the strength of the main character. That is not to say she is not flawed, because she is. She is just so real, so life-like. I love, love, love stories like this that are about strong, capable women who can be the hero of their own story.
The language of this story is beautiful and nuanced, as can be expected from the author. The story is gripping, the support characters gritty and relatable, and the mystery kept me reading avidly until the very last page. I can highly recommend this book. ...more
I am conflicted about this story. I got up to page 300 and was still struggling to get into the tale. I didn't start enjoying it until the last 10 orI am conflicted about this story. I got up to page 300 and was still struggling to get into the tale. I didn't start enjoying it until the last 10 or so chapters. Those chapters make me want to read book 2. The book is very story driven, as opposed to character driven, and I think that is what made me struggle with the story. Now that the characters are more developed and I can see that I can't see where they're headed, I am far more interested....more
This is a good, practical guide to writing without the bells and whistles normally ascribed to this sort of book. I highly recommend it for aspiring wThis is a good, practical guide to writing without the bells and whistles normally ascribed to this sort of book. I highly recommend it for aspiring writers....more
This book was absolutely amazing. Strong female characters, an interesting world, wonderful, amazing dragons. It's no wonder Anne McCaffrey was hailedThis book was absolutely amazing. Strong female characters, an interesting world, wonderful, amazing dragons. It's no wonder Anne McCaffrey was hailed as the queen of Science Fiction. I can't wait to start on book 2!...more
Barry Fairbrother was an integral part of life in the small village of Pagford in the west of England. Father, friend and church councillor, Barry dedBarry Fairbrother was an integral part of life in the small village of Pagford in the west of England. Father, friend and church councillor, Barry dedicated his life to helping others. Upon his death the sleepy town awakes, bringing jealousies, rivalries and old grievances to the surface. The idyllic country town is not as peaceful as it seems, and author J.K.Rowling gradually reveals secrets and scandals that the villagers had hoped to bury forever. ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is a gripping tale of human greed, class distinction and secret whisperings of the human heart.
Upon the death of Barry Fairbrother an opportunity opens up for the more snobbish of the Pagfordians. A nearby council estate, The Fields, had been foisted upon Pagford some fifty years ago, and the villagers had been smarting ever since. Dilapidated, riddled with illicit drugs and crime infested, Pagford does not want to be associated with the concerns of The Fields. Only Councillor Barry Fairbrother stood in the way of The Fields being cut adrift. Before Barry’s body is even cold the other Councillors are rubbing their hands together with glee. If they can fill the casual vacancy with a person sympathetic to their cause they may well fulfil their life-long dream of being rid of the desolation that is The Fields forever.
Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is author Rowling’s refusal to sugar coat the realities of life. Life in the council estate, called The Fields, is gritty, violent, desperate and heart rending. The perspective of The Fields is given through the eyes of sixteen year old Krystal Weedon — courageous, strong and rough as guts — as well as her junky mother, Terri. Your first glimpse of the Weedon household is through the eyes of a new social worker, and what she sees is devastating. Filth lines the house, smells of rotting meat and worse seep out from the walls, and a toddler is running around with a three-day-old nappy, his bottom crusty and sore, whilst his mother, Terri, is out of her skull on drugs. Rowling holds nothing back because she herself once lived in a council estate. When asked in an interview how she was able to write such a raw and informed view of people such as the Weedons, Rowling responded that she had known people just like them. It’s just so very real. This is very evident as you read Krystal’s story. Her view on life is skewed by her terrible experiences, the lines between right and wrong are blurred, and Krystal is as tough as nails. Don’t get me wrong, Krystal is no hero. She is violent, a bully, crass and uneducated. But she has guts and does the best that she can with the hand that she is dealt.
In contrast to the Weedons are the Mollisons. They are wealthy, educated and live in comfortable, warm homes. And yet, their lives are no less tumultuous than the Weedons. The only difference is that the Mollison’s hide it better. Rowling tells the story from the perspective of many different characters. You get to catch a glimpse of each character’s thoughts, their hidden agendas, and their deepest secrets. Rowling is such a talented writer, and is truly skilled at showing rather than telling the intricacies of the interactions and relationships between all of the Pagfordians.
‘The Casual Vacancy’ can be frustrating at times. Because you are glimpsing the characters’ thoughts, they will often reveal that they have a secret, but you have to piece together that secret bit by bit as you read. If you are one of those people who have to know now, this may become a bit annoying because it happens again and again throughout the book. Personally, I liked this aspect of the story because it prevented me from being able to put the book down. I had to know what the character had just alluded to, and I could not stop reading until I had pieced together each of the characters’ little secrets. Nothing is as it first seems when you start reading ‘The Casual Vacancy’, and you will need to set aside a chunk of time so that you can finish the book in as few sittings as possible. This is no fairytale. There is not guarantee of a happy ending. Just like real life, the characters have to make changes in their own lives of remain unhappy. No handsome prince is there to save them. What is more, this story will leave you thinking about the issues it raises for hours on end. In particular, the character of Krystal Weedon is embedded in my memory and will stick with me for life.
‘The Casual Vacancy’, by J.K. Rowling, is a deeply moving, memorable tale woven by one of the best authors of the age. It is confronting, stark, passionate and raw. It is brilliant and well worth taking the time to read....more
I have managed to go through my life without knowing anything about this book, so I went into it without any preconceptions. Although the prose was veI have managed to go through my life without knowing anything about this book, so I went into it without any preconceptions. Although the prose was very endearing and absorbing I found it very difficult to like any of the characters. This is a short book, but it took me a while to finish because I simply couldn't bring myself to care about Gatsby (even the narrator didn't particularly seem to like him).
That being said, the moral of the story is a powerful one, and I was left thinking about the story for a long time after I had finished it. There are strong themes of: the selfishness of the rich, the repercussions for every action, and 'what goes around, comes around'.
The parties, the wealth and the splendour really come to life from the pages, as does the hot, arid, unpleasant climate of the era. Through reading 'The Great Gatsby' I feel I have been given an interesting glimpse into the past, warts and all, and I really enjoyed that aspect of this story.
This is not a book that should be read just because it is a classic, because it will probably leave you disappointed. I would recommend this book to you if you are after something short to read that gives you a glimpse into history. ...more
The Regenesis Cluster is a beautifully woven tale that leaves the reader with feelings of hope and wonder. The imagery is absolutely stunning. AuthorThe Regenesis Cluster is a beautifully woven tale that leaves the reader with feelings of hope and wonder. The imagery is absolutely stunning. Author Dean Mayes has a wonderful talent for painting a vivid picture, and he has used this skill to great effect in this story. This is a great read for anyone who may not have the time to read a full length novel, but wants a story that will leave them thinking for a long time afterwards. ...more
History has not been kind to her people, but with a prodigious talent for the violin, deep passion and a strong work ethic, Ruby Delfey has the opportHistory has not been kind to her people, but with a prodigious talent for the violin, deep passion and a strong work ethic, Ruby Delfey has the opportunity to carve out her own brighter future. ‘The Gifts of the Peramangk: A Novel,’ by Dean Mayes, is a heartwarming tale that follows Virginia Crammond, an aboriginal woman who, as a child, was taken from her loving, caring family during Australia’s controversial ‘White Australia’ policy. She was ruthlessly placed into servitude on a remote farmstead. Treated as less than human by a violent master, Virginia’s only escape from reality was through the violin, taught to her in secret by her master’s gentle and compassionate wife. The violin could not save Virginia from her fate, but she is able to give the gift of music to her orphaned granddaughter, Ruby. Ruby is gutsy, hard working and fiercely loyal child who has seen her own fair share of grief.
However, ‘The Gifts of the Peramangk’ is not just Ruby and Virginia’s story. This novel is full of vibrant, 3-Dimensional characters who seem to leap off the page. There is Jeremy, Ruby’s loyal, protective cousin who tries to shelter the female members of his family despite being only sixteen. Jeremy is flawed and in danger of falling in with the wrong crowd, but he is willing to fight for those he loves no matter what. Then there is Rex, Ruby’s alcoholic uncle, who daily damages his family further and further through his violent rages when under the influence of the bottle. There is his wife, Belle, who works her fingers to the bone to try to keep it all together. And there is gentle, sweet Asher, whose faith in her cousin Ruby is unwavering and heartwarming.
When he is not writing, author Dean Mayes is an ICU nurse who resides in Adelaide, Australia. His compassion for human suffering shines through the pages of ‘The Gifts of the Peramangk’, and it is his voice, his heart, that makes this story the brilliant novel that it is. I have previously read Mayes’ first novel, ‘The Hambledown Dream’, which made me cry on the very first page. I said then that Mayes is an author whose skill will take him far, and this follow up novel did not disappoint. My one beef with Dean is that his books keep making me cry in public. I guess that’s a compliment to the author, though, rather than a criticism.
This is not just a story about the aboriginal people and how tough their lives are. It is so much more than that. Author Dean Mayes carefully and skilfully examines the racism the aboriginal people encounter on a regular basis. But in saying that, not all white people are bad, and not all of the aboriginal people are in the depths of despair. The story is more grey than that, and it is to Mayes’ credit that I never felt I was being lectured to. I was presented with the facts and left to interpret them as I chose. This story is unapologetic. Mayes does not brush over the violence Rex inflicts upon his family, nor does he ever excuse it. The violence Virginia experienced as a little girl is recounted sensitively and skilfully without going into any gratuitous detail. I could not help but admire Mayes’ talent and the improvements he has made as an author.
Now, I know what many of you are probably thinking: “This book seems a little heavy”. But I can assure you, it is not. There were many times when this book made me laugh at the sheer joy of it. Ruby is very cheeky and funny, and Dean Mayes very cleverly and sensitively interspersed humour in with the serious or violent scenes. There are times when Virginia’s story brought a lump to my throat. There is no denying that she had an extremely tough life, more so than anyone should ever have to suffer through. And what is more, there are hundreds of Virginia’s throughout Australia. But, knowing that her future held a loving husband and beautiful grandchildren made the bitter pill slightly easier to swallow. More importantly, the story was buoyed up by the hope that the future may just become a little brighter for the Delfeys through Ruby’s unselfish sharing of her very special gift.
‘The Gifts of the Peramangk,’ by Dean Mayes is a beautiful story that will make you laugh out loud and choke up with tears. and you will certainly want to read it again. I have no hesitations in highly recommending this book. I even bought a second copy of this book to gift to my grandmother-in-law. That’s how beautiful I think this story is. ...more