Thursday, 21 May 2015

All I know now

Carrie Hope Fletcher is a popular youtuber with over 550,000 subscribers. Through her wildly successful YouTube channel “itswaypastmybedtime” and her blog she has become an ‘honorary big sister’ to quite a number of young people around the world. Carrie has used her YouTube and blog to give advice and provide a safe place for teens to express their worries, hopes and dreams. She decided to gather up all her ramblings and thoughts into a book called ‘All I know now’ – wonderings and reflections of growing up gracefully.

The book offers advice on topics such as broken hearts, bullying, body image and how to be happy and content with being you. Carrie is an actress and has been
in many theatre shows such as Les Mis, as a nod to her acting background she has structured her book like a play, with the programme at the front of the book listing the prologue, overture and the acts. At the back of the book she has a props section full of websites and helplines around the world that deal with the issues she has spoken about.

The book itself is wonderfully written. She uses wit and references to well known movies to help her connect to her audience and she tells stories from her time as a teenager, so you can hopefully ‘learn from her mistakes’.

Although this book is geared towards teenage girls, which Carrie  does imply throughout the book, I think that anyone would genuinely enjoy this collection of witty advice and wisdom.

-          
            Chloe, work experience

Monday, 11 May 2015

Mind Games

Second life has become first life
And no one lives in the real world anymore
That is except Luna
Just what will they do to pull her in…
And chain her down?

In a future world where second life has become the first life for much of the population, Luna stands out as a Refuser of technology. Determined to keep her secrets hidden from the controlling corporation PareCo, Luna does all she can to stay under the radar. However it seems her attempts have failed when PareCo invites Luna as one of the select few to participate in ‘The Test’; a means for PareCo to filter out the best and brightest of each generation. But not everything nor everyone is as it seems; with hidden agendas everywhere Luna must be careful who she trusts and how she plays the game, for one wrong move will be deadly.

As a fan of Teri Terry and dystopian fiction in general I was really excited to read this; the concept I felt had a lot of leeway in which direction the story would go and based on her previous works I knew that Terry could take it exciting places. I was however disappointed, for while I loved the character of Luna, with her fighting and rebellious spirit (and also being named after one of my favourite book characters Luna Lovegood) and was intrigued by the mystery of her world, the plot was somewhat lacking. It was perhaps the pace, too slow in the beginning and too fast in the end, that perhaps put me off but I finished this book feeling somewhat unsatisfied. 

What this story needed to be was more character driven, with a greater focus on the internal journey Luna was travelling rather than the external one. The strong focus on ‘second life’, which included long descriptions of each ‘world’, certainly distracted from the characters and the conspiracy which they were embroiled in. However I will say I loved the unpredictability of the plot and the way it surprised me, for me it just needed to be more character-driven. Mind games does intrigue with its many mysteries and its characters while not central enough in the story are likeable and engaging. This read is for anyone looking for something a little different in the dystopian genre.

Courtney :)


The Crossover

Kwame Alexander is an award winning teenage author.
'The Crossover' has won the Newbery Medal in the United States.

Basketball is a central theme in this original novel, and the style and rhythm of the book conveys all the tension and action of a fast-moving basketball game.

'At the top of the key, I'm MOVING & GROOVING, POPping and ROCKING -Why you BUMPING' raps basketball enthusiast, Josh Bell.

Josh and his twin brother Jordan are talented basketball players, and are egged on by their enthusiastic father.
But as the basketball season unfolds more is revealed about their lives. Josh is jealous of Jordan's new girlfriend and their father has an increasingly worrying health problem.

This novel is a great contribution to teen fiction. The movement contained in each line practically leap off the page-

'See when I play ball, I'm on fire. When I shoot, I inspire. The hoop's for sale, and I'm the buyer.

Josh is at the top of his game!

-Ann

Friday, 8 May 2015

Heaven is for Real


Title: Heaven is for Real
Author: Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent
Type of story: Other

Tell us about it: This book is about a boy named Colten Burpo having to go to the hospital because his appendices exploded. when he is at the hospital about to die his parents ( Todd and Sonja Burpo ) are praying for him. Surprisingly God answered their prayers. Not only did God answer the prayers he even took Colten with him into heaven. Colten says that he went out of his body to heaven explaining what he did and saw in heaven. And everything that the boy said he saw matches the bible exactly.

How good was it? Fantastic

Jordan
Age 12

Weightless

Blurb:
"When Carolyn Lessing moves from New Jersey to Alabama with her mother, she rattles the status quo of the juniors at Adams High. Gorgeous, stylish, a great student and gifted athlete without a mean  bone in her body, Carolyn is gobbled up right away by the school's cliques. She even begins
dating a senior, Shane, whose on again/off again girlfriend Brooke becomes Carolyn's bitter romantic rival. When a make-out video of Carolyn and Shane makes the rounds, Carolyn goes from golden girl to slut in an instant, with Brooke and her best friend responsible for the campaign.
Carolyn is hounded and focused on, and becomes more and more private. Questions about her family and her habits torture her. But a violent confrontation with Shane and Brooke in the student parking lot is the last attack Carolyn can take."

My View:
Wow, this book should be compulsory reading for all parents and teenagers!
It tells the story of the typical "new girl" at high school. Carolyn has just moved into the area and doesn't know anyone at the local high school. She is a bright, talented student, who is just keen to fit in and make some friends. Unfortunately she befriends the ex-boyfriend of one of the clique of girls, and from there on she goes from being a normal girl to a victim of unfounded gossip. The clique even stalks her Facebook account and their comments and posts about her grow legs with each entry. It shows just how social media has changed things these days, sometimes not for the better.

The novel is told from the first person plural. "We" are not named throughout the novel but that is not important to the story. This book should make teenagers think before they make assumptions about people, and how dangerous their actions can be, both to the person they are talking about, and the consequences for themselves as well.

Weightless had me hooked from the beginning and I would highly recommend reading it. It's a debut novel by Sarah Bannan and is one author to watch out for. It would make an excellent Book Club read as well. The library has it available to borrow as a book or as an e-book through Bolinda Digital.

You might like this if you like......:
Pretty Little Liars
The Lying Game
It is a ......: Book

Janine

Friday, 1 May 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron



“Avengers: Age of Ultron”, the sequel to Marvel’s 2012 hit, had a monumental task in living up to its predecessor. It did not disappoint.
The sequel sees the titular team up against an artificial intelligence (the ominously named Ultron (James Spader)) attempting to save the human race by wiping it out, because who’s going to hurt people if there are no people left? Complicating matters is the fact that Ultron is a creation of the team’s own Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and the involvement of the mysterious Maximoff twins Pietro (Alan Taylor Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen).
The film is darker and more personal than the original while maintaining director Joss Whedon’s trademark wit, and is stuffed with fantastic action sequences. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) takes a far more central role this time around and is a stand out amongst the already tremendous cast, and Andy Serkis leaves quite an impression in his brief role as South African smuggler Ulysses Klaue. Marvel newcomer James Spader is incredible as the villainous android Ultron, being completely terrifying in some scenes and utterly hilarious in the next, and is more entertaining and, strangely, more human than most of the villains that Marvel has had to offer so far.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has his own intriguing subplot that clearly was for the most part abandoned on the cutting room floor, and Captain America (Chris Evans) is far more interesting as a character thanks to his characterization in his last solo outing. Paul Bettany is clearly loving his upgrade from voice (Iron Man’s AI JARVIS) to Vision, who has some of the best moments in the film despite not appearing until the last thirty minutes. Olsen and Johnson similarly revel in their vaguely European accents, and their powers are visually astonishing.
The only thing really holding the film back was a ham-fisted romance between Banner and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) which felt incredibly forced, and sacrificed the fantastic characterizations the fan-favourites from the first film had in order to slap them together in what can only be described as way too much way too soon. That’s not to say the duo didn’t act their hearts out, because they did do an amazing job, but it wasn’t quite enough to save the poor writing.
Overall, the film was entertaining and some truly amazing action sequences and effects, with a creative and exiting finale that leaves the first film’s alien invasion dead in the water, and worked well by itself as well as setting up the plots for movies for years to come. It’s fast moving and had so much stuffed into it that a repeat viewing or two is definitely necessary, but sits high on the list of Marvel’s triumphs regardless.
Highly recommended, 8.4/10
-Marcus

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Mountain Wolf

'Mountain Wolf ' is a stunning novel by Rosanne Hawke.
Fourteen year old Razaq lives in a mountainous region of Pakistan.
The story begins with a devastating earthquake which kills his family.
His dying father tells Razaq to find his uncle Javaid who lives in the city.
Razaq is offered assistance by a man who is a stranger to him. The man, known as Ikram, lures Razaq to the city and offers him work and money. It soon becomes clear that Ikram has evil intentions.
Razaq has to use all his wits to survive. He enters a world of exploitation and child sex slavery. Against all odds he stays true to his upbringing and beliefs.

There are moments of grim reality and horror in this novel, but they are also balanced by the kindness of many people whom Razaq encounters.
And does he find his uncle?  You will need to read 'Mountain Wolf' to find the answer.

Rosanne was employed as an aid worker in Pakistan and she captures the harsh beauty of the landscape and its people.
'Mountain Wolf' takes us on an incredible journey to another country.
Highly recommended.

-Ann

 
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