The List of Real Things

Author – Sarah Moore Fitzgerald36562488

Age – 10+

Grace and her little sister Bee became orphans 5 years ago, losing their mother to an illness and their father two days later. Their sun-loving, travelling Uncle Freddy returned immediately to become their guardian. Soon after their grandfather moved in too.

Five years on and they’ve done ok. Uncle Freddy forgets to pay the bills sometimes and housework isn’t his top priority, but the girls feel loved and cared for. If only they could talk about the not-to-be-mentioned subject. The loss of their parents and in turn, their grief.

Now Grace is older, she’s become embarrassed by her little sister’s quirkyness and insistence on imaginary things being real. According to Bee, their parents are still around, their dog talks to her, and there is a magical hotel at the top of tall cliffs nearby.

When Grace wants to be part of the ‘top group’ at school, she fears Bee will spoil it for her, and she does everything she can to prevent that – with terrible consequences.

Another wonderful story by this author. This is a tale of a blended family all dealing with a great loss all in their own way, and a special little girl who sees things differently. Beautiful.

(School, Popularity, Blended Family, Family, Grief, Love)

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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)

Long Way Down

Author – Jason ReynoldsLong Way Down Book Poster Image

Illustrator – Chris Priestley

Age – 13+

When Will’s big brother Shawn is gunned down in front of him, Will remembers what Shawn has taught him.

No crying. No Snitching. Get Revenge.

Will knows he has to follow through with these rules – no matter what. But on the elevator ride down his building, people from his past step inside from each floor. They all have something to say, something to share, something to tell him about the past.

Will he go through with it?

Shocking. Heartbreaking. Stunning.

Told in verse format, Will’s story is about the terrible waste and toll on lives and families through gang warfare. Winner of the US National Book Award 2017. Just read it.

(Honor, Family, Guns, Gang, Grief, Ghost, Crime, Murder, Shooting)

 

 

Girlhood

Author – Cat Clarke26224552

Age – 14+ (Strong language)

Harper is a twin, at least she was until her best friend/twin sister Jenna died. Harper blames herself and still feels the loss deeply, but life at Duncraggan (an exclusive remote boarding school for girls), has helped blunt the pain – particularly the friends she has made – Rowan, Lily and Ama.

They tease each other mercilessly, sneak out at night together, gossip, share their worries and fears, and are loyal to one another.

When a new girl arrives (Kirsty), they follow Duncraggan tradition, testing Kirsty’s mettle and locking her alone in the dark. One act of kindness between them triggers a new friendship for Harper and Kirsty, but also weakens Harper’s link with her best friends.

Harper can see it happening, but can’t seem to stop it, until it becomes a case of life or death.

Girlhood is a fantastic narrative about the chaos, confusion, and minefield that girl friendships can quickly become. This is no sweet boarding school story. These girls speak just as girls speak in reality, swearing, joking, but also supporting one another. Harper has secrets that only her friends know, but Kirsty has secrets too, and they are only discovered when it’s nearly too late to help.

(Boarding School, Friendship, Jealousy, Twin, Realism, Secrets, Loss, Grief)

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) 

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)

The Inn Between

Author – Marina Cohen25667027

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)