Book Review: The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could… Continue reading Book Review: The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Book Review: October, October by Katya Balen

October and her dad live in the woods. They know the trees and the rocks and the lake and stars like best friends. They live in the woods and they are wild. And that's the way it is.Until the year October turns eleven. That's the year October rescues a baby owl. It's the year Dad… Continue reading Book Review: October, October by Katya Balen

Book Review: On Midnight Beach, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Seth Cullen killed a dog when he was eight...I kept clear of Dog Cullen. Till the summer we turned seventeen, the summer the dolphin came to Ross Bay. That summer I looked in Dog Cullen’s eyes – one green, one blue – and I forgot to walk away. Once upon a time, in the green… Continue reading Book Review: On Midnight Beach, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Book Review: The Deathless Girls, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

‘What did he say before you murdered him?’‘He asked me to kill him.’‘That’s convenient,’ she said.‘And told me the Dragon had made his daughter a monster. He told me she was strigoi. They say the thirst for blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.’ I remember really… Continue reading Book Review: The Deathless Girls, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Carnegie Medal 2021 Longlist

A massive congratulations to the authors on the 2021 longlist for the Carnegie Medal, announced this week. It looks like a diverse list with some familiar names - Francis Hardinge, Elizabeth Acevado. And of course Patrick Ness. Would the Carnegie Medal be the Carnegie Medal without a book by Ness appearing on it? - and… Continue reading Carnegie Medal 2021 Longlist

Teaser Tuesday: The Fountains of Silence, Ruta Sepetys

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker. I am shamelessly stealing this from Ali's blog iwuvbooks because -… Continue reading Teaser Tuesday: The Fountains of Silence, Ruta Sepetys

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Six!

Today's challenge is to identify  A book that broke your heart. There is only one contender in this category and it is Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls. I have read this novel a dozen times: initially as simply a book for myself; later as a class read for work. I have read it in my head… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day Six!

Railhead, Philip Reeve

  This is a delightfully fun and engaging tale with all the confidence you'd expect of Phillip Reeve, returning to the steampunk genre, if in a very different world, of Mortal Engines. Here, rather than walking cities, we have sentient trains and K-gates - wormholes or portals, taking trains and their passengers instantly to different worlds and different… Continue reading Railhead, Philip Reeve

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017

It being March, the CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist has been announced and I'm embarking on the ritual of trying to read them. This year, the list is:

The Girl of Ink and Stars, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

  This certainly has a distinctive and gorgeous cover on it, which has graced the window front of local bookshops for weeks! But they do say that you shouldn't just a book etc etc etc ... The book is narrated by Isabella, a young girl on the island of Joya, who has been brought up on… Continue reading The Girl of Ink and Stars, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Lie Tree, Francis Hardinge

I am coming to adore Frances Hardinge! I've only read this and Cuckoo Song to be fair, but there's something about her imagination and her writing which chimes with me: dark, intensely personal, yet somehow mythic at the same time. She captures a sense of wonder,  of terror, of awe which is simultaneously so childlike… Continue reading The Lie Tree, Francis Hardinge

Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge 

  This is a remarkable novel. Of the three CILIP Carnegie nominees I've read, this is my clear front runner. And I'm saying that having read Patrick Ness! Before I review it, however, I'm going to play a game with my sixteen year-old stepson, whose birthday it is today. Despite his protestations, he is going… Continue reading Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge 

My Swordhand is Singing, Marcus Sedgwick

Sedgwick has been on my radar for a few years now, creeping into the shortlists for the Carnegie Medal regularly. I'd previously read his White Crow, and Midwinterblood. The first of those I had thoroughly enjoyed, bouncing between time zones; the second was breathtaking, tracing echoes of a story back through generations and encompassing wartime escapes,… Continue reading My Swordhand is Singing, Marcus Sedgwick

Roof Toppers, Katherine Rundell

It's that time of year again: the Carnegie Medal Shortlist is announced! Much joy! Genuine excitement! Much fretting over how to juggle reading the Shortlist with doing work, marking, planning ... and, this year, entertaining the baby! And Roof Toppers was a lovely way to start the Shortlist ... Which I finished today by reading… Continue reading Roof Toppers, Katherine Rundell

Maggot Moon, Sally Gardner

When we got the books for the Carnegie Shadowing in school, there was a lot of excitement that this was a book about a dyslexic, in the voice of a dyslexic, written by a dyslexic. Obviously, in an educational environment, it was ... enticing. And, whilst that is all true, that is only minor part… Continue reading Maggot Moon, Sally Gardner

A Greyhound Of A Girl, Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle is a great writer. He wrote The Commitments which is a fabulous book and one of my favourite films of all time! He wrote Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha which is a fantastic evocation of a ten year old boy's childhood. Roddy Doyle does voices extremely well. He creates the voices of children… Continue reading A Greyhound Of A Girl, Roddy Doyle

In Darkness, Nick Lake

In Darkness is Nick Lake's debut novel and an extraordinarily powerful one at that. Set in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, the novel is literally set in darkness: our narrator, Shorty, is entombed in the remains of a collapsed hospital as rescuers lose hope of finding any survivors. In the darkness and rubble,… Continue reading In Darkness, Nick Lake

Weight of Water, Sarah Crossan

This is an odd little gem of a book. It is a debut novel by Sarah Crossan written in verse - free verse - rather than prose; but deals with the realities of a very credible modern situation. As such, the disjunct between a contemporary situation and the language does parallel the disjunction and disconnection… Continue reading Weight of Water, Sarah Crossan

Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick

This is my second foray into Marcus Sedgwick's writing: White Crow, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal a couple of years ago was the other. And this is by far superior, more beautiful, more powerful, more poignant. This book is shortlisted for the Cilip Carnegie 2013 and tells the tales of Eric and Merle. Tales. Tales… Continue reading Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick

Carnegie 2013 Shortlist

It's that time of year again: the Cilip Carnegie Medal Shortlist has been announced! It is genuinely one of the highlights of my year! I reserve the Easter holidays to reading as many as I possibly can of the list. I mean, we do shadow the Carnegie Medal in our school and I like to… Continue reading Carnegie 2013 Shortlist

Carnegie Medal Winner, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A MASSIVE congratulations to Patrick Ness for the historic achievement of winning the Carnegie two years running AND winning both the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Prizes simultaneously. A Monster Calls is a truly exceptional book and a mighty winner! It is one of those books that EVERYONE should read! The story is moving, evocative, primal,… Continue reading Carnegie Medal Winner, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece, Annabel Pitcher

I have read this solely because it is on the Carnegie 2012 Shortlist which I am leading a shadowing group for at my school. Something about the title, the rather pastel chintzy cover, the subject matter simply didn't appeal. At the risk of being judgmental it struck me as a rather girly book. All I… Continue reading My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece, Annabel Pitcher

Trash, Andy Mulligan

I am in two minds over this book. And I think that reflects the fact that the book itself is trying to be two things at once. On the one hand this is a gritty realistic depiction of the most poor in a down trodden society. It is based on the trash piles that Mulligan… Continue reading Trash, Andy Mulligan

Everybody Jam, Ali Lewis

So now I've finished, did this novel improve? Unfortunately no! It is entirely the fault of the narrator I think and just shows how hugely important the narrative voice is in a first person narrative. Here it is the voice of a thirteen year old boy and he just annoyed the hell out of me… Continue reading Everybody Jam, Ali Lewis