Zach King – My Magical Life

Author – Zach King35069280

Illustrator – Beverly Arce

Age – 7+

Zach is home schooled as he is part of a magical family. But when his magic still hasn’t arrived at the age of 11, his parents believe he has beeen ‘skipped’ and the best thing for him is to go to middle school and learn to be ‘normal’ like other non-magical kids.

His first day at Horace Greeley Middle School finds him inside a vending machine in nothing but his boxers. But how did it happen? When an online video of ‘the trick’ goes viral, his new friend Aaron is keen to know how he did it, and for him to do more tricks like that. That’s not his only problem – the coolest kid in school has decided to make him look a fool – as often as possible.

When Zach does finally find his magic, it’s way cooler than he ever dreamed, but how does he hide the truth from his new friends when they are keen to see more of his ‘tricks’ online?

Zach soon finds a way, but has to face the bully, his parents and an alligator!

This is the 1st in a new series, made up of both text and full page, full colour illustrations. Set mostly in Horace Greeley Middle School, it’s a fun read.

(School, Bully, Friendship, Magic, Secret, Series, YouTube, Popularity)

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The Sneaky Sweet Stealer

Author – Chae StrathieThe Sneaky Sweet Stealer (Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates #2)

Illustrator – Anna Chernyshova

Age – 6+

Tommy can’t wait to start Pirate School. This means sailing on the Rusty Barnacle, captained by Pirate Captain Firebeard, for the whole school term!

Once aboard, he learns about all things piratey including sea monsters they may encounter on pirate escapades. Between their lessons, the apprentice pirates can visit the tuck shop for on board sweets and treats – until they start to go missing. Who is stealing the lollies from under their noses?

Suspicion instantly falls on Spiky Spencer and his gang including Muttonhead Max and Greta the Grouch, but maybe the thief isn’t quite so obvious. It’s only when Tommy and the entire crew are in grave danger that the thief is revealed.

A simple, fun, pirate story for young readers with lots of ‘Aaaaaarrrrr!’

(Pirates, Sea Monsters, Pirate School, Nemesis, Theft)

 

Like Other Girls

Author – Claire Hennessy32860070

Age – 15+

Lauren is 16, a student at a Catholic Girls School and increasingly angry. It doesn’t help that her mum is the principal and seemingly too busy to notice what Lauren is going through. And she is going through a lot.

Her best friend Steph is now Evan, coming out to Lauren and the world. This is confusing because didn’t they have a night of something special together? Lauren thinks about her boyfriend Justin a lot, until she realises he is just using her.

School is a disaster as the school play has been announced and it includes boy characters. But much to Lauren and her friend’s dismay, they won’t be working with the local boy’s high school, but playing all the boy parts themselves.

Suddenly Lauren is dealing with a life-changing decision all on her own. She’s alienated her friends, her favourite teacher and stolen from her family. Reaching for alcohol, it numbs her for a while, but results in hours missing in her memory. Lauren is a mess. How will she climb out of the hole she has dug for herself?

This was a challenging read, but I was right there with Lauren and her confusion, pain and sense of hopelessness. Being a teen in 2017 is tough, and many issues they face are tackled with authenticity and courage. A great read.

(Sexuality, School, Friendship, Abortion, Trans, Bi, Lesbian, Choices)

Raptors of Paradise (The World of Supersaurs 1)

Author – Jay Jay Burridge34460118

Illustrator – Chris West/Jay Jay Burridge

Age – 10 +

Beatrice Kingsley can’t understand why her grandmother (nicknamed Bunty) has brought her halfway around the world to look at the Raptors of Aru. Sure they are said to be beautiful and elusive but it was such a long way to go. Along with them was Theodore, loyal to Bea and Bunty after being ‘adopted’ into the family many years before.

But there is another reason for them to visit the wild Islands of Aru, and Bunty isn’t ready to tell Bea why just yet.

But this island has more secrets than they know, and as they enter the jungle with the help of a plucky nine year old porter and his father, they encounter many dangers. This island may have the most beautiful raptors, but it also hides very dangerous ones too. Not to mention the arrogant, vicious leader of the island, Christian Hayter, who isn’t happy about strangers in ‘his’ jungle.

What they find is beyond their imagination, but worth fighting for. But first they have to survive!

This is the 1st in a series of 6 books – with two more out 2018. If you’re after Dinosaurs, Courage, and Action, this story has bucket loads. Both Bea and Bunty are brave and determined, despite all Bunty’s rules on behaving like a lady. Jam-packed with luscious B&W illustrations, this adventure is going to popular!

(Dinosaurs, Courage, Adventure, Jungle, Orphan, Grandmother) 

The Cat with the Coloured Tail

Author – Gillian Mears

Illustrator – Dinalie Dabarera

Age – 6+

The Cat with the Coloured Tail is no ordinary cat. Not only does its tail change colour, it guides his friend Mr Hooper and his moon-cream van, seeking out unhappy people who just might need one of their magical moon-creams. These moon-creams are no ordinary ice-cream, spun with just the right colours that the person needs to cheer them.

When they’re not selling moon-creams, or making special ones for those in need, they both love to look for heart shapes around them. One day, the cat’s tail turns black, and Mr Hooper knows something is terribly wrong. Can he help return his cat to it’s colourful self?

Shortlisted for many Australian Awards. A story of kindness, hope, song and love.

(Love, Animals, Cat, Icecream, Kindness)

My side of the Diamond

Author – Sally Gardner35698616

Illustrator – Nat Barlex

Age – 13+

Jazmin’s best friend Becky has gone. She jumped off a building with her boyfriend. But moments after they jumped they vanished, leaving Jaz with the fallout, a devastating court trial, and her life shattered.

No-one believed her testimony at the trial. No-one would listen to her. But now, a man called Mr Jones has come to interview her. She can finally tell someone what really happened.

A line on the cover gives a clue to the reader that this is a story that contains something not of this world ‘They came to Earth to find love‘. And indeed it does include alien beings. But the entire story is still set on Earth as we know it today, through a series of interviews. This style and structure was intriguing and had to be followed closely as each person recounted what happened before Becky disappeared.

Something different from a multi-award winning author.

(Aliens, Friendship, Friends, Love, Romance, Sci-Fi, Action, Fear)

 

Single Fin

Author – Aaron ToppImage result for single fin aaron topp

Age – 14+

Jamie Finland (or Fin for short), loves surfing, drinking, fighting and hanging out with his best mate Mike. But when Mike is killed in a car accident, Fin is devastated. He falls apart, seeing Mike everywhere and avoiding everyone. His surfboard gathers spiderwebs, he loses weight and moves in with Mike’s boss (Bobby) on a farm – the hard work numbing him from the world and his loss.

When Bobby’s nephew Jack comes to stay after being expelled from his Auckland school, Fin has something else to focus on. Especially when Jack’s older sister is visiting. Jess needs someone to write a final uni paper on and won’t take no for an answer. Fin’s training starts in earnest, the most exercise he’s ever done, and he notices a change in himself, inside and out.

Asked when he will ride the waves again, he can’t think of anything worse. He knows the loss of Mike will be even more real and raw in the surf. But these new people who have become close to him are helping him heal. Could he face the ocean again? Can he find the answers he needs to get over his loss?

By an Award winning Hawkes Bay Author, Single Fin has been re-released onto shelves this year. Just like his recent novel Hucking Cody, this story is perfect for boys 14+. Its straight talking, down-to-earth kiwi bloke language and realistic characters, draw the reader in. Anyone who loves to surf will devour it. Loved it!

(Surfing, Mates, Friendship, Relationships, Loss, Grief, NZ Author, Award, Kiwi, Sport)