Author – Jay Jay Burridge
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)
Author – 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)
Author – Marina Cohen
Age – 10+
11 yr old Quinn has had a rough time of it lately, her younger sister’s disappearance turning her world upside down. And Quinn believes it was her fault. To make things worse, her best friend Kara is moving across the country and Quinn misses her already.
Kara’s parents invite Quinn on a road trip with them, so the girls can have time together before their move and on the way across the desert, they stop at a hotel. Inn Between.
Despite the staff being incredibly friendly, Quinn’s feeling of dread hasn’t diminished ever since they took the turnoff to the hotel. When Kara’s parents vanish and then her older brother too, the girls are left to try and figure out why.
What is the strange hum that Quinn can hear? Why is a strange old man following them everywhere? And what grabbed her leg in the swimming pool?
Sometimes sad, sometimes creepy and with a clever conclusion, this story is packed with plot and twists and turns to keep any tween reading. I never expected the ending. Great read.
(Creepy, Eerie, Spooky, Friendship, Guilt, Abduction, Disappearance, Siblings, School)
Authors – Kathi Appelt & Alison McGhee
Age – 10+
What happens when you die? Maybe you turn into the wind. Maybe you become a shooting star. Maybe a fox?
When Jules loses her older sister Sylvie to a forbidden place in the woods, she is left with Dad and ‘Life After Sylvie.’ She’s angry at Sylvie’s incessant need to run faster. If only she hadn’t run off into the woods that day. If only she’d grabbed Sylvie’s hand tighter?
But if onlys don’t make things any easier, for Jules or their neighbour who has his own if onlys. But a fox called Senna is growing up nearby, and she is drawn to Jules. She knows she has to help this young human full of sadness.
Maybe a Fox is a story of grief, sisterhood and wishing rocks. Some that have worked and some that haven’t. Jules and Senna become closer throughout the story and then an event links them forever just as Jules learns the reason for her sister’s need to run faster….
(Fox, Animals, Secret, Catamount, Wishes, Friendship, Loss, Grief)
ER – CAR
Author – Emma Carroll
Age – 10+
A tale within a tale – there is a gathering of like-minded souls who baulk at the expected conforms of 1816 etiquette. They are planning to tell ghost stories on this particular evening, but one of their group cannot think of anything. Mary Shelley has no ideas to share.
But when her step sister screams at the sight of someone in the window, a true tale is about to be told – more frightening than any of the stories that evening.
A girl who arrives on the doorstep, bangs on the door and collapses, is revived by Mary in front of the fire. Her name is Lizzie and she’s come to claim her sister back. But first she has to tell them how she got there and the terrible things she’s seen….
The author has taken what is known about Mary Shelley and built her own story around it, making us wonder where Mary got her ideas for her classic novel ‘Frankenstein’. For anyone who’d like to read more about Mary Shelley and her ghost story friends – read ‘Summer of Monsters’ by Tony Thompson.
(Frankenstein, 1816, Villa Diodati, Friendship, Lightning, Scary, Mystery, Historical, Science)
TEEN – NEL
Author – Jandy Nelson
Age – 16+
Lennie is grieving the loss of her vibrant, loving, carefree, older sister Bailey. When Lennie returns to school, trying to avoid all the sympathetic stares, she returns to band practice with her best friend Sarah. There’s a new boy at school called Joe Fontaine and he too attends the practice. He’s already caused a stir around school with his good looks and mystery, but he’s also a brilliant musician.
Lennie wonders how she can be so awestruck by Joe, experiencing feelings she’s never felt before, when she’s supposed to be grieving. And then there’s Toby – Bailey’s boyfriend. He too is grieving, trying to find a way to cope without Bailey in his life. When Lennie is with Toby they both feel closer to Bailey. But are they getting too close themselves?
Joe begins to seek out Lennie, at school and at home, until he becomes a regular visitor. Lennie slowly falls for Joe, all the while a tumult of grief, guilt, love, and happiness she’s never felt before. But then there’s Toby too…..
This novel with its love ‘triangle’ is beautifully written, with realistic, believable, quirky characters and emotions. It’s a complicated love story interspered with Lennie’s poetry, and sub-plot about her mother who left them when she was only one. Jandy Nelson is nothing short of brilliant!
(Not in Napier/Taradale Libraries)
Author – N D Gomes
Age – 13+
Sam Macmillan looked up to his older brother Charlie. Sam loves music and Charlie loved art and they had a close bond. But Sam can’t figure out how his caring big brother could buy a black-market gun at 1am one morning, take it to school and shoot 14 people before turning the gun on himself.
Dear Charlie is a story about a family of the shooter dealing with the fallout after the event. Constant media attention, abuse, hate mail, and bullying follow the family for months until they are not only at breaking point as a family, but each of them all but consumed in their own pain, guilt and confusion.
But surprisingly, a group of teens at Sam’s new school accept him as one of their own, giving him a lifeline out of the darkness of what his brother did. Sam discovers more than friendship among this group, even as he battles his therapist who is trying to help, copes with his dysfunctional parents and his own anger at his brother’s actions.
This story portraying the aftermath on a shooter’s family was well written, travelling through all the emotions they would encounter. Each chapter of ‘Dear Charlie’ begins with a song that portrays the feeling of the chapter. From classical to popular music, the songs add something real to the story. These can be listened to before or after each chapter read. Compelling.
(School shooting, Guilt, Grief, Love, Family, School, Music)