Friday, 29 August 2014

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire


Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire is book one in the prequel series the Infernal Devices based before the Mortal Instruments series began. 

Magic is dangerous; but love is more dangerous still ~



When 16 year old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to England in hope of finding her brother. The time is the reign of Queen Victoria and something terrifying is awaiting for her in the London’s downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gas-lit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, Nephilim warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, in order to keep the peace among the human world. 
When she arrives in London, she is kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organisation called the Pandemonium Club; Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability. The ability to transform at will, into another person. The Magister, the shadowy figure that runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her new found power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by and torn between two best friends; Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arms length… everyone, that is, but Tessa. 
As their search draws them deep into the heart of an evil dark plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world... and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

This book is spectacular, with everything I'd wanted in the TMI series and more. The magic and mysteries are compelling and Victorian London is a fantastic backdrop to this steam-punk tale about a girl who discovers she has incredible powers...and an incredible past. Tessa is a vibrant, fascinating heroine and all the secondary characters, including Will and Jem and Charlotte, are engaging and sympathetic. I thought this book was much more mature than the TMI series, so I'm very much looking forward to reading the next two Infernal Devices instalments.




- S.Rose (Narre Work Experience Student)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

 by Benjamin Alire Saenz has won a number of American awards and commendations including the Printz Honor Book, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and Kirkus Reviews best Teen Book of the Year.

Fifteen year old Aristotle is not sure who he is. He has few if any friends. He does, however, enjoy bantering with his mother.

'What are you going to do today?' she asks him.
'I'm going to join a gang' he says.
'That's not funny' she responds.
'I'm Mexican. Isn't that what we do?'
'Not funny' she says.
'Not funny' agrees Aristotle.


Whilst Aristotle is at the local pool, he befriends a teenage boy called Dante and they form an intense bond.
Over time, Dante, an artistic teenager, is able to break down barriers that Aristotle has built around himself.

The reader slowly discovers that Dante is gay. What happens next is a journey for both young men that involves inner strength and bravery.

There are many things to admire about this novel and the relationship that both boys have with their parents is one factor.
The writing is clever and honest, depicting the lives and challenges of American/Mexican families.

Highly recommended reading.

-Ann

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Wonder by R.J Palacio





Wonder by R.J Palacio
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a severe facial deformity and this book follows his story as he attends mainstream school for the first time. The story is told from the point of view of Auggie, as well as the people in his life. Being the 'new kid' at any school is always hard, Auggie must learn to make new friends, interact with teachers and navigate new rules. Auggie has to deal with all of the usual emotions on top of his fears about how people will react when they see his face.

We, the reader, are never offered a detailed description of Auggie's face, but as the story goes on and we hear from other characters, we begin to create a picture of what we think Auggie must look like. What I found most striking about this novel was that sometimes, because Auggie's voice sounds like the voice of any regular 5th grader, I would sometimes forget about his deformity and get sucked in to the relationships and conflicts in the story.

August's down to earth attitude and bravery is inspiring. This particular quote is an example of his perspective on things:

It’s okay, I know I’m weird-looking, take a look, I don’t bite. Hey, the truth is, if a wookie started going to school all of a sudden, I’d be curious, I’d probably stare a bit! And if I was walking with Jack or Summer, I’d probably whisper to them: Hey, there’s the wookie. And if the wookie caught me saying that, he’d know I wasn’t trying to be mean. I was just pointing out the fact that he’s a wookie.

Despite Auggie's attitude and resilience, there are some awful scenes which make the book an emotional and heart breaking read. However, these scenes are balanced by moments of inspiring kindness and friendship that leave you feeling whimsical and uplifted. Ultimately positive, this book was a compassionate story, realistic and warm. I would recommend it for readers of all ages.

Jess from Endeavour Hills

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

This Is Not a Test


This Is Not a Test-  Courtney Summers

I’m so over books about zombies and vampires, angels and demons. The un-dead in any form. There are so many out there….so if you have to write one, make it good.

This is good. Although in reality the zombies, or in this case the ‘infected’ are merely a tool to throw six teenagers together.  Yes it is the end of the world and the six students are sheltering in their High School, while the dead pound on the doors and wait for them to come out. But this novel is much more.

Main character Sloane waits for the doors to open, for her world to end. In fact she feels her life ended when her older sister Lily ran away from home. Leaving her alone with their abusive father. Sloane finds no reason to keep on living, wants to give up. Has her suicide note already written. But hiding in the school with others that are fighting for survival, means she has to think of others. Not just herself.

Like a lot of readers, this novel in some way reminds me of The Breakfast Club. Teenagers thrown together, who would never become friends in normal circumstances, begin to see each other in a new light. As time inches by, tensions build, personalities war.

Then it’s time to leave, to take their chances out in the streets. Try to find a way to survive, to make it to Rayford and the shelter it promises.  I won’t give too much away, but the ending is one that I really didn't expect. Not after the fact that the group had survived so much.

Recommend read
Vicki @ Pakenham


Monday, 11 August 2014

Hidden Gems of YA




Courtney :)

 
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