Fart Monster and Me

Author – Tim MillerThe Crash Landing (Fart Monster and Me #1)The New School (Fart Monster and Me #2)

Age – 6+

Ben Dugan is excited when something green crash lands in his back yard the day before they are moving house. It’s a creature from outer space that has farted so hard, it left its planet and landed on Earth.

It eats everything Ben can think of to make it ‘blast’ off again, but no matter how many cabbages, baked beans or eggs it eats, it cannot get enough gas. Ben doesn’t want to leave it behind on its own, so takes it with him to their new house at Stone Beach.

It’s good that the creature is invisible to anyone but Ben, except for the fact that every time it blows off, Ben is blamed.

In No. 2 in this series, Ben goes to his new school and as he tries to make friends, they all make fun of him for the smell that comes with him.

Great for any reluctant readers who love toilet humour.

(Alien, Fart, Trumpet, Blow-off, New School, Invisible, Humour, Funny, Series)

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Charlie and Me

Author – Mark Lowery36254737

Age – 10+

Martin is taking his younger brother on a journey, by train, foot, taxi – in fact any way possible, as long as they get there before dusk. The only problem is that they have crept out of the house before their parents have woken, taken something precious from the house and left Martin’s cellphone behind – on purpose.

Martin knows there will be challenges. Charlie is excitable, intelligent, unpredictable and according to Martin, his best friend. It’s a long way and he has to look out for Charlie even more than usual. He feels under scrutiny from train conductors, police on platforms and other passengers. Do they know they shouldn’t really be there?

Interspersed between their journey chapters, are chapters about the previous summer in Cornwall and the dolphin they saw that captivated Charlie’s heart. But is the dolphin the real reason for their travels back there?

(Dolphin, Road trip, Train trip, Travel, Spectrum, Secret, Friendship, Siblings, Family, Poetry)

 

Wedlock

Author – Denis Wright                   KIWI!
Age – 13+

Lucy (Lucinda) and her friend have noticed the creepy guy following them and the strange lady’s ramblings at the bus stop, but being kidnapped from the school play is the last thing Lucy expected. She wakes in a small room to be told she is the chosen one. She is to marry their leader and have his child who will be the next Jesus for the world.

She fights for her freedom, thinking about how her father and grandfather will be coping – not knowing how or where she disappeared to. She has seen glimpses of newspapers where she fills the front pages.

The weeks pass and although she doesn’t admit it to herself at first, she is relaxing within the group of people who took her. She is beginning to believe what they say. Life seems so much easier with others making the decisions. But as her wedding looms nearer she has to make a choice. Stay or escape?

 Lucy is already dealing with the way she looks, drawing attention from guys at school and men her father knows. Girls are jealous of her looks and she is a caretaker for her alcoholic dad and aging Poppa, so the calm of the cult soothes her, finally making her a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. A believable character within a NZ setting and a religious cult.

(New Zealand, Cult, Kiwi, Stockholm Syndrome, Kidnap, Family)

Fragments of the Lost

Author – Megan Miranda36360076

Age – 13+

Jessa loved Caleb Evers. He was sweet, funny, good looking and attentive. But now he’s gone. The last time she saw him was on the sidelines of her cross-country competition. They say he left upset. They say the accident is all her fault.

Caleb’s mum can’t face packing up his room and asks Jessa to do it. Each thing she packs brings back a memory of their time together. A photo. A piece of clothing. A letter opener. But the more she packs up, the more she finds. Some things don’t add up, and his mum is acting weird.

Caleb’s best friend Max is grieving too. He was with Caleb and Jessa so much that he has become a close friend of Jessa’s. But how close? Should she feel guilty? Between them they discover things that were supposed to be hidden. Things that will change everything.

Another fantastic read from Megan Miranda. She weaves the intrigue and mystery throughout her books to such a point, I can’t read fast enough. This book took a bit more time to get into, but once I was in there, there was no chance I was going to leave it alone.

(Family, Secret, Grief, Relationship, Love, Intrigue, Accident)

Lucky Button

Author – Michael Morpurgo

36584192Illustrator – Michael Foreman

Age 7+

Jonah has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders at home and is bullied at school. This school used to be The Foundling Hospital – a place children were taken to save them from the 18th century streets of London.

Jonah loves music, and humming the songs his mum used to play on her piano always lifts his spirits. But one day after more bullying, he hides in the school chapel. He finds a small gold button on the chapel floor then hears beautiful music coming from the organ. He is entranced.

Out of nowhere, an ghostly old man approaches him. At first Jonah is petrified but soon realises the man means him no trouble. All he wants to do is tell Jonah about the Lucky Button he has found, where it came from, and how important it is.

Another gentle tale of family, and friendship from this popular author. Among the colour and black & white illustrations scattered through the text, the reader will meet Mozart as a boy and learn about Handel too.

(Family, School, Bullying, Music, History)

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)

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)