Lyla

Author – Fleur Beale9781760113780.jpg

Age – 10+

Lyla had already been through a large earthquake in Christchurch, but nothing prepared her for another one – with much more damage to the city, private homes, schools, landmarks and devastatingly – 185 lives are lost.

Lyla and her friends are outside in the city when this earthquake hits in the middle of the day. The air is thick with dust, people are running, crying, and injured. Lyla helps an elderly gentleman with a deep gash on his head and is worried where her parents might be. She makes her way home along streets torn up and flooded by the all too familiar liquifaction.

As Lyla and her neighbours gather together in their fears and worries for other family members, they learn more about their ravaged beloved city. A boy from school who has always been a thorn in her side is suddenly on her couch, her lounge is full and she is trying to hold everything together at home and within herself. But as life changes around her, she struggles with her inner turmoil more and more. Will she ever be able to relax and feel normal again?

This story expresses the fear and horror of the Christchurch earthquakes through the life of a 14 year old girl. It gave me a clearer understanding of not only the devastation of the city itself, but also the terrible toll the continuing earthquakes (some as nearly as big as the first two) takes on it’s citizens.

(Earthquake, Fear, Empathy, NZ, New Zealand, Christchurch, Aftershocks, Friendship, PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

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The Ice Wolves (Elementals 1)

Author – Amie Kaufman35068585

Age – 8+

Twins Anders and Rayna live in a world of dragons and wolves – ice wolves to be exact. These wolves that can morph from human to wolf in a matter of seconds protect their city of Vallen from the dangerous dragons who also morph from human.

With Rayna’s savvy street smarts the twins live on the streets, pick pocketing and stealing to survive. But when something goes wrong they are caught up in a sacred ritual in front of hundreds of people. They find themselves on opposite sides of the age-old conflict, and Anders is alone for the first time in his life.

How will he find Rayna, let alone get her back? Anders has to learn to stand on his own two feet among people he’s not sure are friend or enemy.

This is the first in a new fantasy series by acclaimed author Amie Kaufman. It is chocka full of intrigue, action and wonderful world building.

The Hazel Wood

Author – Melissa Albert35997403

Age – 13+

Alice and her mum have always been on the move. Bad luck seems to plague them wherever they try to settle, and it’s only now that Alice is 17 that she realises there is something eerie about their particular bad luck.

Alice’s grandmother was famous for a book she wrote of very dark fairytales. This book is now impossible to find so she never got to read it. She’d hoped her entire childhood that she would meet her grandmother but it never happened. Her mother was adamant about never returning to The Hazel Wood where her mother lived.

Alice’s mum marries and they seem finally settled – until her mum vanishes. Was she kidnapped? Did she run away from an unhappy marriage? The strange things that have happened through her life manifest into even stranger creatures and events and the only person she can turn to is a boy from her school. Finch is ridiculously wealthy and also a huge fan of her grandmother’s tales.

After avoiding fans for years, Alice has no option but to ask for Finch’s help. He knows the tales inside out and she finds she is connected to one in particular. Despite a warning to the contrary, Alice knows she has to find and then search the elusive Hazel Wood if she is ever to see her mother again.

The writing is superb, the intrigue all encompassing, and the place Alice finds herself in – VERY Alice in Wonderland – but even weirder!

The Children of Blood and Bone

Author – Tomi Adeyemi

Age – 13+

Orisha’s lands are made up of Kosidan (nobles and non-magical people) and Maji (those with powers to heal, bring fire, move water or summon spirits.)

But the Maji with their all-telling white hair and sometimes strange eyes have had their magic taken from them by force with much bloodshed and murder.

Zelie lost her mother in ‘The Raid’ that extinguised Maji magic, leaving her with an intense hatred of King Saran and his regime. But one day she comes closer to his regime than ever before and is drawn into a quest to take three magical objects to an island. This island and these objects have the power to bring magic back to their people. With magic comes power, and a way to strike back at those that have repressed them with tyranny.

With her brother Tzain at her side, she is forced to overcome her prejudice of their enemy and she encounters many unexpected things on their journey – including love. Can she get to the island? Will her own new magic be powerful enough to stir the gods or will Saran defeat them once and for all?

An epic 1st part of a trilogy, Children of Blood and Bone is a gripping African Fantasy. Told in the viewpoints of three strong characters, the story has great pace, power and intrigue as to whether they will achieve their quest. Brutal in parts with much blood spilled, this book captured me right to the last page, which left me wondering and wanting more.

(Fantasy, Series, Africa, Quest, Magic, Siblings, Romance, Power, Kingdom)

The Yark

Author – Bertrand Santini36820770

Illustrator – Laurent Gapaillard

Age – 8+ (Not for the squeamish or gentle)

The Yark loves to eat children. He loves the crunch of their finger bones, the sweetness of their livers and their marshmallow-flavoured brains. He is a Monster!

But this monster has a weakness – a weak stomach. He can only eat and enjoy good children. Nice children. Children who are innocent, lovely, thoughtful and kind. They used to be everywhere, but these days they are harder to find. Children of today are often bullies, spoiled, teasing, sneering, complaining, boasting or just plain awful. These types of children give the Snark a terrible stomach ache, diarrhea and a LOT of gas.

Starving and at his wits end, the Yark wracks his brains as to where he’d find good children. When all is lost he meets a young girl called Charlotte who turns his world upside down.

A simple but clever tale, The Yark is not for young children or those prone to nightmares. The Yark is truly a terrible monster, but underneath he may just have a soft spot.

 

Anne of Green Gables

Author – LM Montgomery34227894

Adapted by – Mariah Marsden

Illustrator – Brenna Thummler

Age – 8+

When brother and sister Matthew and Marilla decide to take in an orphan boy to help on their farm, little did they realise their world would be tipped upside down by a fiery, red-headed, freckle-faced, highly imaginative 11 year old girl.

At first they were disappointed to find Anne, but very quickly her constant chatter and the way she wears her heart on her sleeve, wins over first Matthew then his no-nonsense sister. Anne then sets out to find her first ever bosom friend in neighbour Diana Barry.

Anne’s forthright ways and vivid imagination transforms lives around her, and this graphic novel adaptation takes Anne right through until adulthood.

I haven’t read or watched Anne of Green Gables for many years, and was looking forward to diving into this modern version of this classic. It was as wonderful as I hoped.

(Classic, Graphic Novel, Friendship, Family, Orphan, Imagination, Adventures)

Size Zero

Author – Victoire Dauxerre

Age – 14+

When approached by a stranger in the street, 17 yr old Victoire couldn’t believe her ears. He told her she was beautiful and he worked with Elite, a fashion agency that could make her into a supermodel. After giving his business card and urging her to call him, Victoire and her mum burst out laughing. Was that for real?

Victoire was in the middle of exams and stressing whether she will pass, when she decides to call this stranger. After a meeting with a photographer, she was asked if she’d like to meet important people at Elite. “Yes”. And her short but intense time in the fashion world begins.

Size Zero tells the story of a young family-orientated girl showered with attention, glamourous clothes, shoes and makeup. But then there’s the waiting around at photo shoots, the hair products and makeup that burns, the arrogant photographers, hair stylists and designers who bark instructions. And worst of all, the constant pressure to be thinner than your competition.

This book shines a light on the behind the scenes cut throat fashion industry. Models are often seen as clothes racks and nothing more and are as disposable as plastic cutlery. The ‘new look’ can change in an instant, the fashion agencies screaming for new, fresh girls constantly, with no regard for their welfare. Illuminating.

(Biography, Fashion, Anorexia, Weight loss, Dieting, Depression, Photographer, Designer, Clothing)