Author – Katherine Rundell
Age – 7+
Fred, Con, Lila and her 5 yr old brother Max are all in a small plane together when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. They crash into the Amazon Jungle. Frightened but alive, they have to get to know each other and learn to work together.
They are quickly fascinated by the green world around them, teeming with birds, colour and wildlife, but they know they have to try and get home. On the way, they discover things they never imagined they would find on the journey, along with discoveries about themselves – courage, friendship and determination, and then finally a pact between them to keep their secret.
Pure adventure, The Explorer is yet another wonderful tale by award winning Katherine Rundell. Fans of Hatchet and Bear Gryls will love this tale of survival, learning to fish at night, catch tarantulas to cook, and making snares among the many lessons learnt by the characters.
(Jungle, Amazon, Courage, Siblings, Plane Crash, Secret, Environment, Friendship, Family)
Author – Margaret Mahy
Illustrator – Chris Mould
Age – 5+
When their Aunt Nasty writes to say she is going to visit, Toby and Claire’s family try to find an excuse to stop her. But she’s a witch, and Mum is worried what might happen if they say no.
Claire moves out of her room, leaving the cobwebs and placing a bouquet of poisonous flowers especially for their aunt. When she arrives she orders quiet during the day, because she will be at witch meetings every night, and they dare not upset her.
When her stay is near an end, they begin to breathe easy, but in all the tip-toeing around and upheaval, they’ve forgotten something REALLY important. Can Aunt Nasty help? She is a witch after all…
(Witch, New Zealand, Kiwi, Humour, Funny, Family, Magic)
Author – E Lockhart
Age – 14+
This book is in effect written backwards. I loved the way this story was structured with the main character Jule living a charmed life of luxury, and then the further you read the more you learn, all the things she did, had to do, or was lucky enough to happen, to allow her this life. But things are unravelling and she is having to run faster to keep up with it all.
The more I read, the more intrigued I was. There were hints along the way that she wasn’t supposed to be who or where she was, and I wanted to know how on earth she got there. The plot went back and forth and I had to keep track of the dates, but it just added to the enjoyment of the book as things were revealed, piece by piece, for the past year or so of Jules life to click together – but the finale could blow it all apart again!
She’s no angel this girl, but I loved her character and that we found out what drove her to be the person she is now. We Were Liars by the same author is one of my favourite reads ever and Genuine Fraud is one to match it. I’d like to read it all over again….
(Thriller, Family, Privilege, Rich, Wealthy, Crime, Friendship, Deception, Secret)
Author – Judy Sheehan
Age – 14+
Sarah is dead. How can this be? She was at her father’s wedding. Life was good. Sure she’d lost her mum and her dad became a workaholic and they’d drifted apart. But then Karen came along and she mended the hurts and the the distance between Sarah and her dad. And they were getting married.
How did she die? And what is this place she has ended up in? It looks like a shopping mall, but there are weird people walking around with no light in their eyes, mumbling to themselves and taking absolutely no notice of her when she asks them – what the heck is going on? Is she really dead? And why is she still wearing the gross coral coloured fluffy bridesmaid’s dress. Could she at least wear something else for all eternity?
Humour, ghosts, angels, murder, revenge, love, and a mission to achieve, I woke up Dead at the Mall is an entertaining read. It sure made me look at things like sunshine, good company, friends, family and the simple things in life in a whole different way.
(Funny, Humour, First love, Angels, Friendship)
Author – Sarah Crossan
Age – 13+
Joe Moon has always looked up to his big brother Ed. He was there for him when their alcoholic mother wasn’t, attending parent interviews, walking him to school or just taking him out for some fun.
But Joe hasn’t seen Ed for ten years. And now Ed’s on Death Row, he needs Joe. His mother long gone, and his aunt pretending Ed doesn’t exist, Joe goes to the small town and the prison that holds his brother.
This is Joe’s story of getting to know his brother again, asking him the questions he needs to ask, hoping when there is no hope left, for a stay of execution. Along the way he meets someone unexpected. Someone who shouldn’t be there for him, but helps him deal with what is to come.
Stunning. The poetry format gives you all you need and no more to feel the character’s heartbreak, confusion, anger, and even happiness as he remembers pieces of his childhood.
A tale of love and forgiveness – for everything and anything, and hope for one more month, one week, one hour, one minute….
(Family, Love, Growing up, Execution, Prison, Hope, Relationships, Award winning author)
Author – Morris Gleitzman
Age – 10+
It’s 1946. The war is over and Felix and his friends Gabriek and Anya are heading back to Gabriek’s farm – keen to live a life without fear. But all does not go to plan and they are soon running for their lives.
The 6th in Morris Gleitzman’s ‘family’ of books about Felix’s life – before, during and after World War 2, Maybe he’ll finally be able to find a life without having to look over his shoulder, avoid death all around him and become the doctor he wants to be?
Maybe this will happen when he wakes up in an airbase? Maybe it will happen when he flies to Australia? But there is always the threat of Zliv, the younger brother of a man they killed in Poland, who does not care that it was in self defense.
Drawn right into the continuing narrative on the very first line, the reader is back in Felix’s life. At age fourteen, he has seen terrible things, lost loved ones and suffered throughout the war. But the war has ended and now he has hope for the future. This ‘family’ of books has been written and intended to be able to be read in any order. Once, Then, After, Now, Soon are as beautiful and heartbreaking as each other. Maybe they’ll be one more in this family?
(War, Loyalty, Courage, Australia, Series)
Author / Illustrator – Alan Brough
Age – 7+
Charlie has been given a strange, shiny, black box to look after by his even stranger friend Vivien. She gave him strict instructions to guard it – then disappeared! Something else strange happened too. A huge man arrived at their classroom yelling – “Where are they?”
Where are who, and who is he? Why did Vivien give him the intensely stressing responsibility of looking after the box and where has she gone? These are just a few of the trillion questions Charlie wants to ask. But as he’s ready to explode with the worry of it all, his army-mad friend Hils (Hilary) just might be able to help.
Just like the first story in this series (Charlie and the War against the Grannies), this adventure is just as crazy-zany-bonkers! Charlie has been given the job to protect three ancient singing karaoke cockroaches, while their real protector (Vivien) tries to lead a determined cockroach exterminator away from them. Full of charts, lists and musings from Charlie along the way, this episode is hilarious!
(Humour, funny, crazy, Friends, Mystery, Quest)