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.



Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Walker BooksHmmmm. This is a confronting graphic novel. It is a look into the world of the main character Kimberly Keiko Cameron (a.k.a Skim) through entries in her diary. This world is quite dark and depressing, with characters from her school trying to bring in positive light, but in such a fake way it makes everything even more depressing. Skim is trying to find her way through emotional themes such as suicide, while attempting to hold onto and find suitable friends, as well as deal with the emotions of first love. The images of the weather in this novel seem to reflect the mood of the story. Do you agree?

5/10 – not really my cup-of-tea


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.

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

Allen & UnwinAfter picking up world shaker you won’t be able to put it down. Short listed for the 2009 Golden Inky awards World shaker is amongst the best books for teenage readers.

Col lives in a giant walking robot known as the Juggernaut. He has been chosen as the next supreme Commander of the ship and has to prove he can manage the position currently filled by his grandfather. But what he isn’t expecting is the filthys, their repulsive smell, and sooty faces. So when one comes seeking his help will he turn on his family or help them in their battle for freedom.

Excellent read!  I would recommend World Shaker to any teenager boy or girl. Very well written!  Great story line that leaves you wanting more. 9/10


After by Sue Lawson

Black Dog BooksCJ (Callum) moved from the city to live in the country.
He moved from living with his mother to living with his grandparetns, who he had never met before.
Callum is feeling isolated and alone, but most of all he is angry. Angry at his mum, angry at his grandparents, angry at the school bully and angry at himself.
What is Callum’s secret?
Why does his Nan hate him?
Why does his Nan hate his mother?
What is his mother’s secret?
You have to keep reading to find out what changed Callum’s life so much and why he was sent to live with his grandparents.

Great read  JJ

Grace by Morris Gleitzman

PenguinGrace knows one world – the world of her mum, dad and twin brothers, and the strict religious community they belong to. But when her dad is thrown out of the church Grace’s world is torn apart.
Grace is so honest, so innocent and often unwittingly funny.
I enjoyed reading this book.

Swerve by Phillip Gwynne

PenguinHugh is 16.
He loves to play the cello.
He has a very important audition to do, the most important audition of his life.
He is a closet car fanatic.
He has his learners permit.

Six days before his audition, Hugh agrees to drive his grandfather, Poppy, to Uluru in a 1969 Holden HT Monaro GTS 350 V8. This road trip threatens to derail Hugh’s audition and his parents are not very happy about this.

The road trip exposes Hugh to people, places and experiences that he never knew existed and he discovers quite a few secrets about his Poppy and about his family.
Great read 9/10

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Little, Brown Book GroupWow!

Meyer has combined the genres of horror and romance to produce Twilight, an absolute page turner that is anything but your typical vampire novel. Loose yourself in this fabulous story about a special girl called Bella, who moves to the dreary town of Forks to live with her father. And that’s where ‘normal’ ends. Forget what you thought you knew about vampires and let Meyer open up a whole new world, with fantastic characters such as Edward, the male lead, who forms an unnatural and unsafe connection to Bella. The best part is, this is book number one of four. Harry Potter, move over. 10/10

The recruit by Robert Muchamore.






CHERUB BooksAfter loosing his mother, James is separated from his sister Lauren, and sent to Nebraska House (a home for boys). But little does he know, he is being kept under close surveillance by CHERUB, a British intelligence for kids. There he is offered a position, which involves 100 days of intense training and the completion of various tests. Will he be up to it, or will something stop him dead in his tracks?

This was a great novel and I recommend it to anybody who’s looking for a bit of action: especially teenagers. It is an excellent read and I was glued to it the whole way through. I rate it 10 out of 10. If you loved Storm breaker you’ll love this. I think I’ll even give the second one ago. My full praise to Robert Muchamore.


Official site for Robert Muchamore         

Reading Bookshop reviews of CHERUB series




The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Little Brown & CompanyThis is a very confronting story of a teenage girl named Susie Salmon. The first chapter is pivotal to the story and leaves the reader struggling with a range of emotions. The rest of the novel is narrated by Susie from heaven. The writer cleverly manages to show the range of behaviours and emotions that she and her family go through during their bereavement.

This a great book! I highly recommend it to all teenagers and adults. During our life on earth, we all experience the death of family and friends. I feel that reading this novel will help prepare us to handle this grief.

JT        9/10

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