A few pages into The Leaving I told my secretary to hold all my calls. Then I realised I didn't have a secretary and that I was talking to the toaster.
The point is, The Leaving is so engrossing, you won't want to have anyone or anything distract you from the end.
It's tense and dreamy with an air of mystery on every page. Six children, all five years old, vanish out of thin air. There are no witnesses, other than someone that says they saw a small bus parked behind the school the day they went missing.
Eleven years later, five of the six children return, dropped off on the side of the road. They have no memories of where they have been or who they're supposed to be.
Their parents and friends have been spending eleven years trying to move on, so it's an understatement to say that their sudden return is a shock.
The police are called, psychiatrists are called, the news hounds their every move. The teens remember nothing, not even each other. However, slowly but surely, little pieces of what happened to them starts to emerge.
It's difficult to write any more without spoiling the entire thing. I found this novel very easy and fun to read, it kept me guessing until the last few chapters and I enjoyed the characters. Dealing with a missing child is a parent's worst nightmare and I feel the reaction of the adults was well thought out. I'm not sure the teens would be more interested in who kissed who while they were missing but maybe they would, I don't know, I'm not a teenager. Overall I think this book will be very popular with the teens at my school.
I recommend The Leaving to Years 10 and up!
You had me at Nazi motorcycle race to the death.
It's the 1950s and the Nazis have defeated the Allies in WWII. To celebrate, Hitler holds a deadly motorcycle race for teenagers that spans the newly minted Axis continents. The winner meets Hitler on live television at a grand ball held in Tokyo.
Yael is a survivor.
In the camps, she was an experiment for sadistic Nazi doctors. Injected with toxins, she was given an amazing ability, one that ultimately helps her blend in to Nazi society without getting caught.
Now, she must impersonate the best Nazi motorcycle rider in the land. Why? Because she needs to win the race across the continents. She needs to get to that ball in Tokyo, she needs to meet Adolf Hitler so she can assassinate him.
This book is pretty amazing. It has a strong female lead that kicks some serious butt. It has intrigue, danger, history and love all wrapped up into a pedal to the metal motorcycle race that combines threats and dangers worthy of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I loved it, I read it in a day. You will fall in love with Yael and you will be there with her on the back of her bike, rooting her on, picking the dust out of your teeth and watching a darn good story unfold.
I recommend this book to Year 8 and up!
Stewart is thirteen but has a brain that can rival most adults that I know. - academically at least. Socially he's a nightmare and unable to connect on a meaningful basis with most people.
After his mother dies from cancer, he and his father move in with his father's new girlfriend and her fourteen year old daughter, Ashley.
Ashley is popular, trendy, has a gaggle of frenemies and doesn't care for school. Her father has recently come out as gay and moved out - to the guest house next door. She's ashamed at her father's identity and reeling from having a new family arrive.
Needless to say her and Stewart don't get along at all, making for some very uncomfortable nights at the dinner tables.
Even worse for her, because of Stewart's academic prowess. he's put in Ashley's classes. Stewart on the other hand, just wants to survive gym class, where he's tormented by the school jock, Jared. It doesn't help that Ashley has a massive crush on Jared and will do almost anything to get his attention.
I read this book in one setting, it's an easy, fun read with lots of humour and pleasant situations. That said, there are some very dark moments in the book as well which I won't spoil but would, in my opinion, make it a very interesting point of discussion for ages 14 and up.
There's a lot of life in this book, and I know a lot of students that will really enjoy reading it.
I recommend this book to ages 14 and up!
Queen Kelsea's about to take a walk on the wild side.
If you haven't read the first instalment of this series, "The Queen of the Tearling," this review might include spoilers or make absolutely no sense.
Kelsea's in charge of the Tearling, a society on the verge of collapse as the dreaded Red Queen and her army of Mort soldiers prepare their attack.
To make matters worse, Kelsea has been going into fugue states (did we know about fugue states before Breaking Bad?) that take her to a time before an event known as The Crossing. In this time she follows a woman named Lily, who is abused by her husband and living in a world of strict government surveillance, 1984, essentially.
Kelsea's also being visited by a terrifying creature that materializes out of fire. This "dark thing" promises to give her the secret behind the Red Queen's demise if she hands over her necklace, a powerful blue sapphire that appears to grant Kelsea magical powers.
On top of this, she's still gotta run the kingdom as best as she can.
I enjoyed this book, for me it took a darker turn than the first and for me that's always a good thing. There were a lot of passages that I feel were influence by Stephen King, people finding tears in their reality and influencing people in other dimensions or times, it was really well done.
I can also sympathise with some of the criticism, the sapphire necklace appears to work as a deus ex machina, solving all of Kelsea's problems whenever they arise. Also, there are horrifying rape and self harm passages written in explicit detail that might act as a trigger. In the first book, Kelsea is obsessed with how "plain" and "un-pretty" she is but in the second book her magical sapphire necklace solve that problem by making her beautiful. The fact that becoming "beautiful" for Kelsea involves losing a lot of weight is also problematic.
All of those criticisms aside, what I enjoyed the most is the feeling of family and camaraderie that is created within the Tear base. You genuinely feel for their plight and root for them the entire way along, which in my mind is the sign of a well written novel. I will be reading the third one in this series because I couldn't stand not knowing what happens.
I recommend this novel to ages 17 and up!
Joseph is 14 and just got out of prison.
He took a pill that made him go sideways and he attacked a teacher.
Now, as part of his rehabilitation he must stay away from his unstable father and join Jack and his parents as a foster child.
Living on a farm, Joseph works out his demons and tells his foster brother Jack, who's twelve, bits and pieces of his life story.
It turns out Joseph has a daughter named Jupiter, whom he's not allowed to see. Joseph's life revolves around finding where Jupiter is no matter what the cost.
Told by twelve year old Jack, Orbiting Jupiter is told in a short simplistic style that cuts like a razor. The scenes where Jack and Joseph are walking to school in sub zero temperatures reminded me so much of walking to school in Nova Scotia that I felt my bones go cold. I wish I had discovered this book sooner because it would've been my top book of 2016. A heartbreaker, don't miss it.
I recommend it to ages 11 and up!