Category Archives: Family

View all posts filed under Family

You against me by Jenny downham

David Flickling Books‘You Against Me’ is a look at the devastation caused to two families by one stupid action.
This is a story about loyalty, choices and above all love.
Mickey’s family are poor and he lives with his two sisters and his alcoholic mother in a run-down block of flats.
Ellie’s family is rich and she lives with her mother, father and brother in a nice house.
Mikey’s sister has accused Ellie’s brother of sexual assault and Ellie is the only witness – it is her testimony that will affect the outcome of the case.
As the story unfolds, Ellie and Mikey meet and become good friends. As Ellie reflects on the night in question, you will starts to question just what happened, as does Ellie.
This is not just a love story, it is a story of family loyalties and about what is right and wrong. It is a story of how one action can devastate so many lives, and how sometimes it is difficult to do the right thing.

Careful what you wish for by Maureen McCarthy

Careful what you wish forRuth Craze hates almost everything about her life.  Her brothers are annoying, her parents take no notice of her, their house is a mess and she has no friends.  The only time she is truly happy is when she is with his Aunt Mary Ellen. But then Mary Ellen falls ill and before she dies, she gives Ruth a stuffed rat named Rodney with instructions to give him away when he stops being useful. Ruth treasures this present and Rodney sleeps in her bedroom at night and accompanies her when she goes out. However during one outing her brother grabs Rodney and throws him into a river. Ruth is devastated.  Ruth makes friends with the new kid at school who is a loner.  She tells Howard about loosing the rat , Rodney and Howard suggest that they go back to where Rodney disappears to try and find him.

After looking for Rodney for awhile they both have a sleep.  Ruth wakes up and finds Rodney who reveals his ability to grant three wishes to create her perfect life.  She makes her wishes and one by one is given what she thinks will make her life perfect. Each wish leads Ruth on an adventure. Each life that Rodney creates for her seems perfect at first but as time goes on the imperfections begin to show.  Ruth realises that her life is not so bad after all and that she does have a family that really cares for her.

My question is does Rodney really have special powers or did Ruth dream these adventures while she slept on the river bank?  What do you think?

Now by Morris Gleitzman

Penguin BooksThis story is about Felix, a holocaust survivor, and his granddaughter, Zelda.  Zelda is new to town and is being bullied by three year 9 girls.  Zelda knows bullying can be much worse than what is happening to her as Felix was bullied by the Nazi army most of his childhood.  Zelda is named after her grandfathers friend who died during the war, she finds it hard to be as brave as the other Zelda was.This is the third book about Felix.  The other 2 are Once and Then.  It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the others as this story make sense without the background knowledge.

A good easy read…sad in places but also funny.

8.5/10 JJ

What I saw and how I lied

ScholasticBy Judy Blundell

Evie Spooner is 15.  Her mother, stepfather and Evie go to Palm Springs for a holiday even though it’s the end of the holiday season and it is like a ghost town with hardly anyone there. But when a handsome 23-year-old man, Peter, shows up and claims to have been friends with Joe in the war, her life starts to take a turn. Peter, unlike anyone else, treats her like an adult and Evie starts to fall in love with him.  But her parents don’t want Evie hanging around with Peter.  Peter and her parents go out boating for the day when a hurricane hits. The results of this storm are devastating and Evie starts to realise everything she thought was the truth was really a lie and whatever she chooses she’ll be betraying someone.

8.5/10 JJ

When I was Joe

Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Booksby Keren David

How do you lie about everything?

When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he names. Ty and his mum have to go into police protection. Shy Ty gets a new name, a new look and a cool new image.  Life as Joe is good, especially when he gets spotted as a potential athletics star.  But his mum has trouble coping and the criminals will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe meets a girl who has a dangerous secret of her own.  Then everything goes wrong.

Great read 9/10


Losing it by Sandy Mckay

Longacre Press15 Year old Johanna is in hospital – she has an eating disorder.  Her anorexia has reached crisis point and writing letters to her friend Issy is the only thing that is keeping Johanna sane. 

This book is the letters between Johanna & Issy, Johanna letters to her missing mum and her diary. 

I give this book a rating of 9 out of 10


Persepolis: The story of a childhood and The story of a return by Marjane Satrapi

Vintage BooksThis is an enlightening graphic novel. Satrapi is able to show the reader how the political and social changes in Iran affected the strong-minded, opinionated Satrapi as a child, through to adulthood. Although this sounds ‘heavy’, and there are those moments throughout the novel, Satrapi manages to ease you into her world through humour. She shows us through fantastic, funny, and sometimes confronting images and words how suddenly having to wear a veil in public impacted on her and her childhood friends. Satrapi is also able to compare the control of one country to the freedom of another, and gives you an idea of how martyrdom became to be a revered act by many in Iran. Reading this novel was a look into another world for me, one which I now understand a little better. This novel is a real eye-opener and definitely worth a read.

The beginner’s guide to living by Lia Hills

beginnersThis novel gets you thinking about your own beliefs and may even get you picking up some books on philosophy.

The beginner’s guide to living treks the main character’s attempts to come to terms with the tragic death of his mother. We find Will struggling to get through one day at a time. To cope, he writes down questions he needs answered, which leads him to philosophy to try and figure out the events in his life. These events don’t just  include death, but new love, new experiences, and new family dynamics. To cope further, Will uses his mum’s treasured camera, and the reader can see the photos he takes.

Everybody can get something out of this book if they want to. Whether it is understanding from the philosophy quotes, or new questions you yourself want answered; heartache for Will and his family as they come to terms with loss, or; finding a new ‘out’, like photography, this book is worth reading.



The complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

The Penguin GroupAn absolutely amazing graphic novel. A view of the Holocaust that will imprint on your memory.

Maus tells the true story of Spiegelman’s father’s survival of, arguably, one of the darkest periods of world history – the Holocaust. The remarkable artwork treks Vladek’s story from pre-war Poland to Auschwitz, from young love to tragedy. Each character of the novel is given an animal head on a human body, representative of their origins. For example, the Jewish characters have heads of mice and the German characters have heads of cats. The strong subject matter of the Holocaust is lightened by snippets of present-day, as we are shown the relationship between father and son and can see how the war shaped them.

The artwork, and therefore the story, stays with you long after you have finished reading. I give it a 10/10.