Charlotte Body is a local teenager who writes wonderful book reviews for us. If you're looking for a good book for a 13+ reader, this is the spot to find super suggestions.

 

 


 

Z for Zachariah

By Robert C. O’Brien

 

15 year old Ann Burden is all alone, and has been alone for a year, living in solitary in a valley

ever since a nuclear war. One day, a man arrives in the valley wearing the world’s only radioactive proof suit, but with him also comes all kind of problems and decisions that Ann will have to face and decide on her own.

 

This book was just, wow. It was spooky and creepy but without any jump scares or clowns, instead drawing it's suspense from the tension between these two characters and the feeling that something wasn't quite right. It is written in a diary format, which I normally hate, but O’Brien has written his novel in such a way that it captures Ann’s innocence and emotions while also setting the scene without it being boring or dull. While you read, everything that is occurring in the story is happening around you, and the valley becomes both a work of fiction and a very real place, one that is both a haven and a prison. The setting was simple but brilliant, and the same goes with the characters. No time is wasted retelling Ann’s entire backstory to get you to connect with her, instead O’Brien makes you see and hear what she is seeing and hearing, he makes you feel what she is feeling, and through this readers are connecting with her on a deeper level. This book has been studied in schools and does ask the reader many questions, bringing up important ideas such as right and wrong, morals, what a person will do in order to survive, and what happens when fear and doubt start to take over. Z for Zachariah is a subtle thriller and an excellent, heart pounding read that is perfect for boys and girls and for teenagers ages 13+. It would make a great gift, and is a great read, especially if you are looking for something different and spellbinding.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


Cell 7

By Kerry Drewery

 

In the UK, the justice systems have been scrapped and replaced with a television show, in which

people accused of crimes have their fates decided by the audience through a voting system. Martha Honeydew has been wrongly accused of a crime she has admitted to, and now faces a week on death row and on the show which will result in almost certain death. With the help of a few close friends, will she be able to claim her innocence and bring down the higher powers that threaten to turn a blind eye to the truth?

 

This year has been a really bad reading year for me and I desperately needed a book that was gripping and interesting from the first page. Cell 7 was that book. It was fascinating and mysterious and I loved how it incorporated reality tv with legal systems to get people thinking about right and wrong. Think Britain's got Talent crossed with law and boom, you have Cell 7. It made me think a lot about crimes, human rights and the rise of the film and tv industry and I loved how it was really clear with its message and themes. I didn't really connect with the characters, but loved the way Drewery showed different traits through different characters, for example, manipulation being shown through the character of Kristina and kindness shown via the character of Eve. Overall, I thought the story was absolutely brilliant. I would recommend this novel for ages 13+, and think that it is a fantastic story for both girls and boys and would make a great gift or quick read for people in a reading slump.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

And I Darken

By Kerstein White

 

After being abandoned by their father in a powerful Ottoman court, Lada Dracul makes it her life goal to return back to her kingdom and claim her birthright. Quickly she realises that in order to survive and protect her brother Rada, she must continue to be ruthless and she must never let her guard down. But after they meet Mehmed, the son of the sultan, a destructive bond is formed between the three of them, one that could push their boundaries of love and loyalty past the point of no return…



And I Darken coverAnd I Darken was a gripping tale that kept me flipping the pages right until the very end. It was dark and it was a story that wasn’t afraid to push the limits. It portrayed a young girl with ambitions who was trying to survive in a world run by men, and explored different cultures, religions and sexualities. It is a reimagined history novel, and takes place in real places during the past. This, in my opinion, was brilliant. Time and time again I feel like you get YA novels that are set in completely made up lands, and though that is okay, I do feel like it gets a bit old quite quickly. The fact that this novel is set in a real place is genius, and I think that more effort would have been put into writing this novel due to the fact that White would have had to have done a lot of research. I think that if you’re a fan of books such as The Hunger Games and Three Dark Crowns then you should probably give this book a go, but because White’s novel is considerably darker than both those examples, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under the age of fifteen. I think this book is the first novel in a trilogy, I know for sure that the second book is called And I rise, so you should keep an eye out for that.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

 

Thirteen Reasons Why

By Jay Asher

 

A package consisting of cassette tapes turns up on Clay’s doorstep. There is no return address, and so Clay begins to listen, discovering the tapes were recorded by his classmate Hannah. The only thing is, Hannah is dead, and as Clay listens to each tape, so unfolds the Thirteen Reasons Why coverstory of Hannah Baker’s life and death, and the thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself.

 

To be clear, this novel was extremely difficult to read due to its content, but I feel like Asher’s novel is one of those books where you have to finish it, because of the importance of the content. Another thing I should clarify is that though I cried multiple times throughout the book, and though it is a hard novel to read, it's also incredibly good, and is a novel that I have read multiple times. It's relevant to today's society and is written so it gets its point and plot across quickly to its target audience which is teenagers. Thirteen Reasons Why is also great in the fact that it doesn't romanticise suicide in any way, shape or form. Asher tackles difficult and taboo subjects in his book such as bullying, rape and suicide and explores how all actions, no matter how small, have consequences. I thinks it's a brilliant novel to use as a gateway to having conversations about difficult subjects like suicide, and I think that another thing Asher has managed to do is create a novel that will educate teenagers about such subjects. Thirteen Reasons Why has also been adapted into the highly successful Netflix series, which I also would recommend watching as it goes into more detail about the other characters. As always, my top tip is to read the book first before watching any screen adaptations, and if you do decide to pick this amazing novel up, my advice for you would be to take it slowly, and to have a packet of tissues at the ready.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

The Cruelty

By Scott Bergstrom

 

Gwendolyn’s father is a diplomat and has just been kidnapped, and after feeling like she is the only one taking his disappearance seriously, Gwendolyn sets off to find him, a journey which The Cruelty coverspans the globe and throws her into dangerous situations as she mingles with the criminal underworld. As the cruelty she comes across ups it's fire, so too must she, but how far is she willing to go to get her father back, and what secrets will uncover along the way?

 

Right from the get go, Gwendolyn is not your typical teenager, and as the book progresses, it's clear that she's not your typical heroine either. This disregard for cliches had me hooked, and as things got darker and more intense I found I was unable to escape the net which Bergstrom had spun through his excellent storytelling. I loved the ending because it was so unconventional in the YA genre, and I loved Gwendolyn’s determination. The thing is though, that while I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I found some scenes harder to swallow than I would have if they had been in a fantasy novel. This is because this book isn't set in some made up land where the heroine has magic to aid and heal her wounded people, it's set in our world and shows us a side to our planet that we all ignore or are ignorant about. It goes into prostitution and illegal immigration, into gangsters and criminals and all this made me understand that this novel is a hard one to stomach though it is brilliantly written. Because of this I would recommend this book for readers 16+, though if you're a mature reader then I don't see why you shouldn't give it a go. I probably wouldn't recommend this as a gift due to some of its content but for a rainy day with a packet of chips, The Cruelty is the perfect choice.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


Snow like Ashes

By Sara Raasch

#1 in trilogy

 

Meira has been in hiding for sixteen years along with a couple of other escapees after the siege on her home kingdom (a kingdom called Winter). For sixteen years she has been trained to fight, her whole life centred on retrieving the two halves of a magic locket that could help Snow like Ashes coverWinter regain their territory and defeat Spring. But after Meira manages to steal one half of the necklace, Meira begins getting visions of the deceased Winterian queen, Spring becomes set on revenge and relationships with Meira’s escapee ‘family’ and with other kingdoms begin to get a whole lot more complicated...

 

I read Snow like Ashes for a book club, the February theme being “Dystopian”. It was one of those books where you're not too sure if it's going to be good, and you're dreading it being a generic dystopian novel, and so you pick up the book a bit reluctantly but then WHAM… It turns out to be absolutely amazing, and you wonder why in the world you didn't read this sooner, and why do you not have the whole series yet and you want it to be a film or to series and you begin casting actors in your head and it's just a whole lot of WOW. Wow. This book was great. The main character was a strong but relatable female lead, the writing so descriptive you get sucked into Meira’s story, and the world itself, it was beautiful, and one where you could relate back to reality. The novel featured themes like corruption, friendships, love, greed and courage and all were beautifully woven into the plot line. To wrap up, read this book. Read. This. Book. It was absolutely incredible and if you're looking for me, you’ll find me reading Ice like Fire with chips and tea in my bed. Homework will be forgotten.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli

 

Simon Spier is trying to figure out his place on this planet, and he’s doing that through emailing a mystery person at school, someone who goes by the fake name of Blue. Blue seems to be Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda coverthe only person he can relate to and confide in, so when the pairs secret emails are discovered by klutz Martin, and the situation turns to one of blackmail, Simon realizes just how much Blue means to him, and how much he wants to meet him. He also realizes that with Martin involved, things just got a whole lot more complicated…

 

First thing’s first, this novel was absolutely amazing. It’s a contemporary fiction which is a genre I don’t read all that often, and I loved every single page. It’s a charming and witty LGBT+ story and is relatable I think to all teenagers. It’s also diverse and many racial groups, religions and people with different sexual preferences are represented in Albertalli’s novel. I loved the correspondence through the emails and how you were never too sure who Blue might be. I found the situations with friendships extremely relatable and thought it perfectly captured the essence of what it is to be a teenager. Summing it all up, I believe this book is perfect and should be read by teenagers everywhere, as you will definitely not be disappointed.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 The Maze Runner

By James Dashner

#1 in trilogy

 

Every month someone new is lifted up into the Glade, a community of teenage boys who work hard and respect order. When Thomas arrives, he arrives with no memory apart from his name, and an insatiable curiosity about his new circumstances. Quickly he learns that the The Maze Runner, Dashner JamesGlade is surrounded by a looming and unsolved maze, and that each day, a couple of glade residents will run out into the puzzle to try and find a way out. At night, the walls will close, and they are kept safe from the terrifying monsters that lurk in the maze. Quickly after his arrival, strange things begin to happen - a girl arrives, the doors don't close and the sun vanishes from the sky, and quickly Thomas becomes a cause for suspicion. But with no memory and time quickly running out for an escape from the maze, Thomas knows one thing's for certain - he has to go past the Glade walls and into the maze, come what may…

 

I had heard of James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy, and was intrigued by the whole concept of an unsolvable maze, but I never picked the novel up until years after the films had been made and the hype for the book had somewhat died down. In short, I wish I had read it sooner. Though it had plenty of qualities generic with the YA genre, I still found that The Maze Runner was not your typical young adult story. Everything is shrouded in uncertainty from the get go and makes for an interesting dystopian mystery. The characters are diverse and well formed and the writing style ensures that at the end of each chapter you are left with questions, all of which are answered logically and realistically in due course. I feel this novel is great in that fact that it's not gender based, so both girls and boys can read and enjoy the story. I did have a problem with the ending though, as I felt in the last three chapters everything moved too quickly and Dashner was maybe in a rush to introduce a few new concepts for the novel, but overall I was satisfied and I am looking forward to reading the second in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials. The last book is The Death Cure, and Dashner wrote a prequel, The Kill Order.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

The 100

By Kass Morgan

 

Three centuries after Earth was plagued by a nuclear, what is left of the human race is still living in space. But now, as the ship that they call their home begins to break down slowly, the 100, morgan kassresettlement on earth may be their last chance. So they send one hundred criminals and delinquents down to surface as the guinea pigs, teenagers and kids they see expendable. This group is humanity's final chance, and this trip down to earth is their last shot at freedom…

 

I had recently read a book that I didn’t really enjoy. There was no attachment to the characters and the plot was highly unoriginal. But then my fingers curled around Kass Morgan’s first book in her series, The 100, and from the opening sentence, I was hooked. The plot is not only creative, but interesting, and though the scenario makes the characters unrelatable, it does not take away from the fact that they are likeable. Life both on ship and on Earth for the 100 is fascinating and detailed, and the world that Morgan has created is one that I would gladly read about again. (By the way, Bellamy is awesome!) I didn’t like the names however, as most of the main characters had first names that sounded suspiciously like last names, (Wells, Glass, Bellamy etc) and it really confused me whilst reading. I will say this though, the books and the t.v series are vastly different, and like always I urge readers to read the book first before going onto the remake.

 

By Charlotte Body

Age 15

 


 

 

Words in Deep Blue

By Cath Crowley

 

Rachel and Henry have been best friends since childhood, and Rachel found herself dealing with a crush on her sidekick. So the day before Rachel moves house to the seaside, she leaves a love letter in one of his books and waits eagerly for him to reply back. Unfortunately, words in deep blue crowley cathhe never does. Rachel now is moving back to the city to escape the trauma of losing her brother Cal, and lands a job in Henry’s bookstore, a job she’d rather not have. As time passes, Rachel and Henry begin to discover hope in each other, surrounded by stories and letters of love and friendship hidden in the notorious Letter Library. What unfolds is a beautiful tale of grief and healing, loss and love...

 

I picked up this book with quite a bit of apprehension because love stories aren't my favourites. I find them generally very cliche but Words in Deep Blue was a little different. It was a simple concept that was made complex and deep through the point of views of characters and their problems and successes. It covered grief and love and introduced interesting theories about time and what happens after death. All the while it followed two teenagers trying to find their way in life and to each other. The book was charming and sweet, and I loved how it incorporated books and authors into the tale. I loved how it was set in a bookstore and I loved the idea of the Letter Library, which you will find out what it is and why it’s so awesome if you read the book. Overall, I gave the book an easy seven stars out of ten and have the book sitting proudly on my bookshelf at home. I recommend this book for teenagers, boys and girls (though it might be a bit more relatable and enjoyable if you are of the female species, but no gender specifics here!) even if you are unsure about reading a romance novel. I was unsure, I gave it a try and I really enjoyed it, and I think you will too if you pick this enchanting tale up.

 

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

 

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

 

Twelve Districts, all ruled by the Capitol, kept in place with a horrifying television show called the Hunger Games, a show where it’s a fight to the death, and the last man standing wins glory, fame, money - and their life. Each year the Games will take place, and each District will hunger games, collins suzannehave to sacrifice two tributes between the ages of twelve to eighteen, one girl and one boy. This year though things are going to be shaken up, as District Twelve’s tributes are Katniss Everdeen, an angry girl with an incredible skill for hunting game, and Peeta Mellark, a love stricken boy willing to do anything for his love to return home safely. The seventy fourth annual Hunger Games are about to begin. May the odds be ever in their favour…

 

The Hunger Games to me, is a book that everyone has read over and over again. We’ve all seen the films and we’ve dressed up as Katniss at least once for Halloween, and yet the book just can’t seem to get old. After nine years of having it in our lives (yes, readers have enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ novel for almost a decade) The Hunger Games still hasn’t gotten boring. Readers internationally are still enjoying the thrills and the horror of the concept of this truly amazing story. Though the plot is gruesome and cold blooded in nature, I think readers understand that the main theme in the novel is not about a bloody fight to the death for the wealthy’s entertainment, but is standing up for what you believe in and standing up for what is right. This theme may be a bit more subdued in the first book of the trilogy, but in the sequels, first Catching Fire and then Mockingjay, it is obvious that the whole point of this series is not to encourage violence within youth, but to continue with the whole right vs wrong, good vs bad theme so commonly used in many a fiction novel today. I thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games, and was delighted when my english teacher decided we should study it in class. If you were in primary when the hype for these books arose, or if you are an adult or a teen who has attempted to stray away from this trilogy, please, read it. The Hunger Games was a book that was about fighting for freedom, and not only that, it was a tale of friendship and love, both for family and in a romantic sense. I can easily see The Hunger Games becoming a modern day classic, and I know that it will be enjoyed for many generations to come.

 

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

Shadow and Bone

By Leigh Bardugo

 

The Shadow Fold is a stretch of darkness where those who dare venture into, rarely come out, so when Alina and her best friend Mal are sent through with their regiment, both are rightly shadow and bone, bardugo Leighterrified. The Fold is a place of man eating beasts called Volcra, rumoured to have once been humans, and when Mal’s life is threatened by the creatures, Alina acts without thinking. She throws herself on top of him - and then sets the darkness alight. Her newfound talents catch the attention of the Darkling, a man who everyone adores, and who everyone fears. Sent away from Mal and to a new life of luxury where she’ll learn how to become a prestigious Grisha, and then help the Darkling destroy the Shadow Fold, Alina realises everyone may not be who they claim to be, and that everything isn’t what it seems…

 

I read this as my choice of book for my friend and I’s @crooks.with.books bookclub on instagram and by the time I had finished, I was prepared for the rest of the trilogy. The book was clever in the fact that it made the whole dark vs light a physical thing, and original in the way it combined russian aspects throughout the plot to create a novel that teenagers and adults alike are guaranteed to enjoy. The Darkling was mysterious, Alina was relatable and Mal will definitely be joining the book boyfriend club. The second book in the trilogy is Seige and Storm and the final installment is Ruin and Rising, and guess what? ~ Shadow and Bone has been sanctioned to be made into a film! I do recommend this as a perfect gift for boys, girls and adults who like a dark but gripping read to fill their spare time with.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 Three Dark Crowns

By Kendare Blake



Every generation, a set of triplets - all girls - are born on a mysterious and magical island. They three dark crowns, blake kendareare all Queens, and each have a gift, one being a Poisoner, another three dark crowns, blake kendarebeing an Elemental and the last being a Naturalist. They are then separated and raised apart to strengthen their gifts before their sixteenth birthday and a ceremony called Beltane, where a fight to the death will ensure only one Queen rules until the next generation of triplets are born, destined for the same fate as previous rulers. This generation brings forth Arsinoe, the Naturalist, Katharine, the Poisoner and Mirabella, the Elemental. Only one can win, so where does your loyalty lie?

 

I liked Three Dark Crowns better than I expected I would. It was intriguing and exceptionally three dark crowns, blake kendaredark, and though through much of the three dark crowns, blake kendarebook not much happens, it still manages to keep the reader hooked and interested, something which I have never seen done in a YA novel before. I would recommend it for 15 years +, due to the dark nature and slight mature content, but if you’re looking for something that is the very definition of “intrigue”, then this is the perfect book for you. My favourite character, personally was Arsinoe. What surprised me is that even though only one queen will live to reign, you are still able to have favourites, (this surprised me because I’d think that readers would be a bit hesitant to have a favourite knowing that they might die). One thing about this book that is really cool is that there are four different covers: one has three crowns on it which is great if you don’t have a favourite queen, and the other three have a single crown with an addition which represents the Queen and her gift. My edition is obviously Arsinoe’s, which has a crown with a rose. I got a bit sidetracked, but I thought that that was a really cool thing to tell you all about.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

One

By Sarah Crossan

 

Grace and Tippi are sisters, twins, conjoined, and together they have defeated the odds of survival for sixteen years, surviving on Government funding and the meagre income of their one, crossan sarahparents. But now that money is drying up, and the family can no longer afford to keep homeschooling the pair nor protecting them from prying eyes, and so Grace and Tippi must start school, and together must learn how to survive the classroom and a world that is slowly crumbling around them…

 

I found One a lovely read and am glad that I own it because I’ll definitely be reading it again. Conjoined twins is a subject that we don't usually talk about, either because it never turns up in conversation or because we find it a difficult thing to converse about, but One pays no heed to that and dives right into the thick of it, examining the emotions and feelings of somebody who is a conjoined twin and creating realistic scenarios that they might have to deal with. It was a charming story and almost delicately portrayed Grace and Tippi, and because of all this I feel it was a wonderful read and definitely a conversation starter. It also is a great book to help educate teenagers as it really puts you in Grace’s shoes, and I think that is incredibly important, especially because of its target audience. I do not think this book is a good for anyone under thirteen, though thirteen for me is the bare minimum age I would hand One to unless they were an advanced and mature reader, so fourteen plus is more ideal. I loved the format of the book as Crossan write in free verse, and I loved the characters and the plot and I really do think that if you were to pick up the book and take it home, you would love everything about this book too.

 

Charlotte Body

 


 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

By Ransom Riggs

#1 in Trilogy

 

Jacob has grown up listening to his grandfather's stories of his days at a children's home on an island off the coast of Wales, each one stranger than last until finally Jacob can do nothing Miss Peregrines 1, Riggs Ransombesides write them off as fairytales to excite. His grandfather continued to swear that they were true right until his death, where after being mauled by what looks to be a pack of wild dogs, his last words to Jacob are to find the home and the legendary Miss Peregrine. So Jacob is now on an island and what he finds there is a lot more than just fairy stories, but horrors unimaginable, and it seems that he may be the only one who can really see the terrors about to be unleashed…

 

Oh. My. Gosh. Oh my gosh. This book has left me lost for words. It was a fantastic and original story about magic, friendship and adventure, and while that may sound cheesy and the book slightly overhyped, especially now with the film coming out later this year, be prepared for that first impression to change dramatically. In the book are old photographs that are both enticing and spooky, which I have never seen before except in non fiction. They add such character to the novel and even add a complimentary visual effect, bringing characters to life and the story into the real world. The characters were all well developed too, and the plot didn’t have any glitches, meaning the entire story ran smoothly. This book would be great for adults too, meaning it's not restricted to just teens and therefore is open and available for a wider audience, hence the reason why Rachel keeps it under Adult Fiction instead of YA. Out of ten, this book demands an easy eight. I enjoyed it so much and am looking forward to next two books in the trilogy, which are Hollow City and Library of Souls. As always, read the book before you watch the film, and if this is something you generally don't do, maybe because you're not the most avid of readers, I assure you that this book is gripping and a perfect book for teens and adults who need a book to get into the reading game. Another point is that the film has changed a few things, so by reading the novel you’ll get the original story, which is a treasure not be missed.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

By J.K.Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

 

Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry, Ron and Hermione are back in the eighth story. Harry and Ginny have three kids, James, Albus and Lily, and Albus is about to start his first year at Hogwarts. Quickly he makes friends with Scorpius Malfoy, but as the years pass, something strange seems to be happening with the Ministry of Magic following a late night meeting with his father, the discovery of a prototype Time Turner and a plea for its use to bring a Cedric Diggory back to life. With a building resentment growing towards his father, Albus decides to take matters into his own hands, but even with the help of Scorpius and and a mysterious girl called Delphi, will changing the past be the best idea?

 

I was at the Paradox launch for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - and let me tell you, if you weren't there then you really missed out! The atmosphere was brilliant, and upon seeing the cover for the first time, I swear the bookstore exploded with cheers of delight and excitement. So I got my copy, and I finished it in one sitting, and I was extremely aware afterwards of the conflicting views of this next step into the Wizarding World. First of all, let's point out that this is not the eighth Harry Potter book, but almost more of a sub series, side book or just the eighth story to Harry Potter, but definitely not the eighth HP book. Then there's also the fact that just some things don't really align with the Harry Potter books - it's not that they're so far askew that it's laughable, just it's more of a four degrees angle off the path. But other than these (really quite minor) “problems”, I found Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and extremely enjoyable read, and am still buzzing from excitement that it's finally out! I loved everything about the book, my favourite character definitely being Scorpius, and honestly didn't give a stuff about the apparently conflicting problems that other avid readers had pulled from this truly stunning play. Yes, that's right, you heard me correctly, play. The writing format is a play. And I think it just makes it even better.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

Illuminae: The Illuminae Files_01

By Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

 

It's starts with a fight over a planet, a small icy planet, home to thousands of civilians, a place of not much importance. But then as the two mega corporations fight suddenly spirals out of control, the fight is taken into space, and a fully fledged spacecraft chase pursues as ships the Iluminae, Kristoff Jay, Kaufman AmieHypatia and the Alexander flea from Beitech Industry's Lincoln. Both ships know that if the Lincoln catches up, they shall be dust. But trouble just seems to keep following them as the Alexander’s artificial intelligence starts to develop a conscience, a deadly virus has begun to spread across the fleet at a terrifying pace, and the only two people that can really help save the ships and the civilians onboard are exes Kady and Ezra…

 

I had heard many great reviews about this book, and was excited to see it on the shelf. Obviously, I took it first chance I got, but was scared when I found the start confusing. I didn't want it to disappoint. I didn't want it to be anything under four stars. But me being me, I kept reading, and a few chapters on, it seemed everything made sense, and the pace was starting to pick up, the tension was beginning to rise, and though the whole story is written via communications, I found I was able to read it with perfect clarity. The rating from my measly three stars straight to a solid four point five, and this was only the first quarter of the novel! By halfway I was superglued to the pages and by the end I was searching up possible sequels to Kristoff and Kaufman’s masterpiece, (and surprise! There's not just one more book, but two!) One thing about Illuminae that makes it so special, is the format through which it is written. The whole book is narrated via military communications, interviews, thoughts and top secret files. There are photos and there are lists, clever typed up pictures and surveillance camera observations. Everything in this book is out of the box, and I know with all my heart that it has been the most interesting read of 2016. A big fat gold medal for the first in the much anticipated trilogy. I am waiting for the next book, Gemina, to be on sale at Paradox, (hint hint, Rachel and Matthew ;).

 

By Charlotte Body

 


The Haters

By Jesse Andrews

 

Friends Wes and Corey find themselves at a jazz camp provided for the best of the best, only, they are the worst of the best, if they’re going to be perfectly honest with you. And things just got a whole lot more complicated when they meet Ash, a charismatic and very pretty girl with The Haters, Andrews Jessean unusual musical sound, and they get persuaded to ditch camp for a road trip they’ll never forget, because it is on the road where bands get good. On the run from the cops, and leaving behind a trail of failed shows and confusion between the trios relationship, maybe this will be a road trip that will end with a gig that doesn’t suck?

 

I loved this book, the second novel from Jesse Andrews (author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) and found it thoroughly entertaining and amusing. I did think that the three main characters were quite similar to those in Andrews debut, but that didn’t stop me from finishing the book in under two days. I laughed a lot and found that even though I know nought about music, I could still enjoy the story, which I think was really important for me and something I was worried about before reading. I warn about swearing and sexual references, and drug use and alcohol, and more swearing and more sexual references, but I’m sure you’ll be more than prepared for all this considering this is this YA genre and you’ve probably already read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, (if you haven’t read it then stop reading this review and go buy the book. Then come back and finish reading and then buy The Haters, otherwise you’re missing out big time on some seriously funny stuff.) So yeah, that pretty much sums up this book. Buy it and love it like I loved it, and when reading probably have a soda and pizza. The Haters deserves that. You deserve that.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

 

Under the Mountain

By Maurice Gee

 

Something terrifying under Auckland’s volcanic circle is stirring, and their only goal is the destruction of our planet. The only people who can stop them are redhead twins, Rachel and Theo Matheson. Up until this summer holidays they have believed they are ordinary teenagers, Under the Mountain, Gee Mauricebut when strange and horrifying events begin to add up, things like a rotten cabbage smell that lingers around the Wilberforce residence, and a familiar old man who seems to be looking out for them, Rachel and Theo will have to accept their fate - they are the only ones that can save humanity from the horrors under the mountain…

 

I picked up the kiwi classic, mainly because of nostalgic feelings that arose. We had it read to us in Year Four, and even then I remember loving the creepiness that surrounded the infamous Wilberforce family, and the huge contrast in character between the Matheson twins. This time, reading it to myself, I found myself sucked back into the world Maurice Gee created, and I loved it even more than before. I’ve come to the conclusion that Under the Mountain is just one of those books that gets better each time you pick it up - and what with the incredibly original plot line, it's awesome setting and the great depth in all of the characters, it's hard to say otherwise. My other conclusion that I’ve drawn up after reading this epic novel, is that every Kiwi kid should have a copy. It's perfect for kids 9+ and the age range spreads to adults in their twenties. Even children under nine could enjoy this story, just like I did in Year Four - just get an adult to read the tale, and set them up for the need to reread Gee’s book in the future! The story is not gender specific so anyone can read it and enjoy it and, oh my gosh, need I say any more? Under the Mountain, in my opinion, is a fantastic read that can be read to and by anyone, so why not pick up a copy? Pinky promise you'll live to never regret your choice.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

 

We are all made of Molecules

By Susin Nielsen

 

Stewart is gifted academically but somewhat lacking in the social department. Ashley is the opposite, being popular and pretty but failing at the majority of her classes. Stewart just lost his mother to cancer. Ashley’s father left them because he’s gay. Now Ashley’s mother and We are all made of Molecules, Nielsen SusinStewart’s father are a couple, and Stewart is moving in, something which Ashley is definitely not happy about. While the pair of them try to cope with their new environments and their more personal struggles, a whole lot more problems just got added to their list with the arrival of the rich and handsome, Jared Mitchell…

 

We are all made of Molecules was a beautiful and humorous cautionary tale that provided a unique insight into the mind of both bully and victim. It had prominent themes of cyber, sexual and verbal bullying, but managed to touch these subjects delicately while still getting every point across clearly to the audience. I think that this is generally a very hard thing to be able to do and yet Nielsen has done it without the slightest slip up. I also commend her for bring the LGBT+ community into this story as I feel it is quite important for everyone, teenagers especially, to be very aware and open minded about subjects and situations that are incredibly apparent and pronounced in today’s society. I enjoyed the book hugely and finished it the day I took it home, even having time to reread it twice before I had to sadly return it back to the shelves of Paradox Books. I highly recommend this story for anyone who is looking for an inspiring, thoughtful and modern read, as We are all made of Molecules will never disappoint.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

 

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

By A.S.King

 

Glory has one friend who isn't even really her friend. She is graduating and she has no idea of what she's going to do next. She thinks she has no future. So one night after her and her almost friend Glory O'Brien Novel, King, A.SEllie drink the remains of Max Black, the petrified bat, and they are suddenly equipped with the ability to see both past and future, and Glory must decide if, when she herself has no future, the future of humanity is worth saving, because the things she sees that humanity has in store for them is truly terrifying…

 

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future was a brutally honest but incredibly enjoyable book that covers a wide range of topics such as social standards and expectations, feminism and sexism, STD’s and recovering from trauma. It was funny and also managed to maintain its seriousness throughout the whole novel. I loved how it was very thought out and went into various ideas in great depth and detail, and explored intelligent and serious themes and ideas prominent in today’s society. As I said before, it was extremely funny, and so I think the humour perfectly balanced every snippet of seriousness placed within the pages of this story. A great story, and one I recommend that everyone should read in one sitting with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

The Leaving

By Tara Altebrando

 

Eleven years ago, six five year olds go missing after a school shooting occurs. Now five of them are back, and none of them can remember who took them, where they were taken to, The Leaving Coverand why they were taken. None of them can remember the final victim, the victim who did not return, Max. And now, the public want answers, which is something, the returned five, might not be able, or want to give…

 

First of all, let’s talk about the cover. I have a thing for great covers, as Rachel knows all too well, and Tara Altebrando’s book does not disappoint. I’m in love with it. I would frame it if I was allowed, but I don’t think Rachel or Matthew would be too pleased if I did. But onto my raving about how truly awesome this book it is, because it really is very good. The Leaving is undoubtedly, an addictive and mysterious page turner. The book literally explodes with twists and turns and the style of writing is so different and just adds to the book’s character. It was scary and it was interesting. It was haunting and it was beautiful. It is an absolutely incredible story and I’m definitely reading it over and over again. Every character has been created with an intricate attention to detail so that every one of them seems like they could be an actual person, and with all of them sporting such different personas, you are never bored by lack of drama. Seriously, it’s that good, and you will never ever regret the day you walked out of the bookstore with Altebrando’s truly mesmerising novel.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


Maresi

By Maria Turtschaninoff

 

The Red Abbey is a safe haven away from the normal world (a place where all girls live in fear), where many believe that the Abbey is just a snippet of myths and old folklore. Maresi maresi, Turtschaninoff Mariaknows this is not true, having arrived at the island several years ago. Life there is friendly, structured and most importantly safe, but that could all change when a terrified girl called Jai arrives at the Red Abbey, bringing with her danger, and an abundance of Maresi’s worst nightmares, both of which she, and the other Abbey girls shall have to face in order to bring peace back to their haven…

 

I loved Maresi, and officially declare it as one of the most interesting and unique novels I have read this year. I think what makes this book so fabulous is the fact that it intertwines fantasy and an ideal utopia and meshes it with an “alter ego” of sorts, a dystopia that to me reflects our history with sexism and how we could or have handled the issue. It’s feminist theme is present throughout the whole story, and I think that over the course of the book, it really helps its audience understand the true meaning of the term “feminist”, which is a word notorious for the misunderstanding and lack of support that follows it frequently. Turtschaninoff definitely emphasized equality instead of one gender being superior to another, and I applaud her for being able to so easily make the definition clear to her readers. I also give a round of applause for the cover, which is quite frankly, stunning. I am delighted to inform everyone that this is only the first book in the Red Abbey Chronicles, which ultimately means that there shall be more of this intricately dark and beautiful world to come.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

 

Firstlife

By Gena Showalter

 

firstlife coverThe life you are living currently is just preparation for the afterlife, where two realms dominate, and where you have to choose and make your pledge of loyalty to one or the other in your first life. Myriad and Troika, (the realms in question) are lifelong enemies and both are extremely desperate to recruit Tenley Lockwood, knowing whichever realm she chooses, she will one day have total control and provide a major stepping stone to the other realms destruction. Ten is extremely aware that she must make a choice before her firstlife ends, or she’ll end up in the Land of Many Ends, a place where nightmares come to life and a place where she doesn't want to end up. Soon, Ten is caught in the middle of a fully fledged fight to win her loyalty, and without the opportunity to have time to think without interference, she isn't sure which realm she's leaning toward: Myriad, a place of power and where victory is the essence to success, no matter what you do to achieve it, or Troika, a haven of light that values equality and justice?

 

I enjoyed Gena Showalter’s novel thoroughly and finished the 438 page whopper in less than three days, (a sure sign that I’m in love with the book!) I found it very well thought out with extremely intelligent ideas incorporated into the story, and quite an original storyline. I do warn that before reading it's best to know that there are quite a few sexual references, and torture is involved in the first part of the book, but I do believe that it shouldn't be anything that people can't handle, (coming from a fourteen year old). Each of the characters are extremely diverse with plenty of layers to peel away as you read onwards, all of them quite different from other YA characters I’ve come across. Again, I empathise that the plot and themes in Firstlife are very well thought out, and reading the descriptions of the different realms and settings blew me away completely. It is, in my opinion, the type of book that you can become engrossed in anywhere, something which I've proven by reading in my room, in class under my desk, during an assembly even! Firstlife was so good that I was actually willing to risk getting told off so long as it meant finishing my chapter. On final notes, Firstlife is the perfect book for someone who's intelligent and craving a book with a mature and well rounded everything, (plot, characters, ideas etc). I give it an 8.8 out of ten, and have bought the book, (10% because I bent the spine and got a spot or two of clay on the cover, but 90% because I loved it so much), and heavily recommend that you do to.

 

Charlotte Body


 

Delirium

By Lauren Oliver

 

delirium coverBefore they found the cure, they say that people would walk to the edges of the world for it, die for it even. Some would go mad, others turn to emotional wrecks. But not now. The cure for love was found, and happiness and peace was restored to our civilisation. I am scheduled for my cure in a few months, and honestly, I can’t wait to no longer have to worry about getting contaminated. But there’s one small problem, that problem being a boy…

 

I have tried reading a few of Lauren Oliver’s other books, and have not managed to make it past the first few chapters without feeling that I’m about to doze off. Delirium was the first of this authors stories that I enjoyed, and therefore, it deserves quite a bit of praise and attention. What was different about this book was that it actually made you think, you felt emotions, and the characters seemed real. I liked how instead of the main character instantly hating the cure and control people had over her community, she agreed with it, and then slowly started to realise that it wasn’t for the best. I thought that was very original and am now looking forward to reading the next in the trilogy, Pandemonium. (Also shoutout to the absolutely gorgeus cover! I'm in love!)

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

If I Stay

By Gayle Forman

 

if i stay coverIf I Stay is a tale about a young girl called Mia who, after a fatal car crash, is left in hospital in a coma, faced with the choice on whether to stay alive, or leave everything she's ever known behind. A beautiful story that will make you weep, smile and laugh as you follow Mia through her journey pondering life and death.

 

Gayle Forman's, If I Stay, is a superb story alternating between Mia Hall's past and present. The plot is authentic and explores the challenges of love, life and choices, making it the perfect book choice for young adults. The audience is automatically engaged in this real page turner that challenges the readers to ask themselves what they would do if they were in the same situations. A sweet, thrilling book that flows as smoothly as Mia's bow against her cello, If I Stay will captivate even the toughest of hearts, and keep anybody who reads the first sentence, constantly turning the pages until they reach the end.

 

I am naturally a very fussy reader, so even though I love reading, only the best books will be able to keep me hooked until the very last page, and this is exactly what If I stay did. I instantly fell in love with all of the characters, and cried after only a couple of pages of reading. I believe that a good book should be able to awaken the audiences emotions, make them so immersed in the plot that they are willing to read by torch light, (even if the consequence of getting caught is not always good) and that once the book is finished, they will be on Google frantically searching up sequels and movie remakes. Gayle Forman managed to tick every box, and I was very relieved when I found out there was a second book and a newly released movie, for I am definitely not ready to leave this story just yet. I would recommend this story for people who will read anything, readers like myself, who need the book to be perfect, and even for young adults who dislike reading, because the reading experience was so enjoyable that I can't believe anyone would want to put it down unfinished.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

 

Being Magdalene

By Fleur Beale

 

being magdaleneMagdalene Pilgrim is a young girl who lives with the strict rules and boundaries of her religious sect, The Children of the Faith. All her life she has obeyed her elders and the Rule that is meant to guide them on the path of the Lord, and all her life she has only ever had one goal, which is to protect her younger sister Zillah with her life. However, living in a broken family and in the cult has been tough for Magdalene, and things are starting to take a toll on her as it becomes harder and harder to keep her younger sister safe from the wrath of the Elders. This beautiful sequel to the bestselling I am not Esther, and I am Rebecca is sure to keep you hooked to till the very last page has been turned.

 

I was given the manuscript of Being Magdalene to read, and I swear that I didn't put it down once. Magdalene's coming of age story was just as gripping as the previous books, I am not Esther and I am Rebecca, and was fabulous tale to get my teeth into, (metaphorically of course :). I loved how all the characters seemed so real, it felt like they were standing right in front you, and how the story had a slightly different subject centre to the others, Kirby's being struggling with identity, Rebecca's being marriage and Magdalene's being the protector of her younger sister Zillah. I felt that the story perfectly captured sisterly love and family conflict, while also teaching us subtle things like how it's fine to have a separate opinion and ok to take a while to recover from incidents, and major subjects like religion and sexism. Over all, Being Magdalene is yet another splendid story from New Zealand author, Fleur Beale, one that deserves to be read by all, and is perfect for all ages, teens and adults.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 

 


 

Eleanor and Park

By Rainbow Rowell

 

eleanor and parkEleanor is the new girl in town, and with her striking uniqueness, she sticks out like a sore thumb. Park is the quiet boy who sits on the school bus reading various comics and listening to music - he is the only one who makes an effort to be nice to Eleanor. Slowly but surely, they begin to fall head over heels for each other, and though their journey through first true love is full with obstacles, struggles, and frightening step-fathers, nothing can stop their steady navigation through this emotion consuming and heart wrenching story...

 

Eleanor and Park was a sweet tale about teenagers and the power of love, that left me feeling content and complete by the end of the book. Whilst reading this story, I felt strangely relaxed, even when I came across more saddening parts to the plot. Even though I have never been in love before, this indescribable feeling that I felt while reading the two lovers story, is how I'd imagine it to feel like, and therefore how I know that I am completely and utterly in love with this book. If you are looking for a book that can force you to feel things you never would have thought to feel while reading a book, then pick this one up and give it a go, because even though I was hesitant at first about Rowell's tale, now I am so grateful I gave it a chance. I feel that the acclaimed author, John Green,{fault in our stars, paper towns} made this very accurate quote about Rainbow Rowell's story that I definitely agree with, "Reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love, but also what it's like to be young and in love with a book." So for all of you wanting a book that fits the description above, choose this, and I promise that you won't regret reading Eleanor and Park.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

Ophelia: Queen of Denmark

By Jackie French

 

ophelia coverOphelia; She is the girl who loves good cheeses and shall be Queen, the girl who has the heart of Denmark's peasants and royalty, especially the young Prince Hamlet. But as plots thicken and Hamlet's family murder and haunt each other, Ophelia starts to find her dream of leading her country slipping through her fingers, but though things seem grim, Ophelia is determined to not let anything stand in her way, and will do anything, (evening pretending madness) to get what she wants...

 

Ophelia was an intriguing book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I found myself quickly immersed in this excellent portrayal of the legendary story of Ophelia and Hamlet (William Shakespeare) and loved how attached I became to the characters, even if they be ones of fiction. There was many a time I found myself saying “No, don’t do that,” and “Seriously, if that had been me then I would have…” and many a time I have found that when I begin talking to myself whilst reading, it is the sign of an audience including, and therefore excellent book. Ophelia was a great book to curl up on the couch with, cup of tea and a shortbread biscuit in hand, and the story was the sort of the book that I would read many a time. The kind-of-but-not-really-prequel to Ophelia, “I am Juliet”, was also fantastic, and I urge you to read both of them, as they have both been incredible tales to dive into. There is certainly more to this tale than murder and madness...

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

By Jesse Andrews



maetdgGreg Gaines is aware that high school sucks, and so his strategy to survive his senior year is to remain at the periphery at all times, keep a very low profile and to make average movies with his sort-of-friend Earl. Greg's school survival plan works for a total of eight hours, before his mother forces him to become friends with Rachel, a girl who has just been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia.

 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (MAEATDG) was a hilarious book about a subject that really should not be that funny. Throughout the whole story I was laughing my head off and kept drawing the attention of my friends and family, who continuously fixed me with stares that quite clearly read "She must of had sugar this morning..." Andrews's novel has honestly been the funniest and most honest book I've read all year, and I think it perfect for those days when you're feeling down, and need a major boost and a smile to make things seem a little better. MAEATDG would make an awesome birthday or Christmas presents for teenagers aged 13+, you'll be sure they'll thank you forever if you gift them with this amazing piece of literature. Overall, a gripping, comedy packed tale about friendship and death that will keep you laughing until the very last page has been turned.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 


 

Adrift

By Paul Griffin

 

adrift coverMatt and John have no plans for their summer except to work, and it is on one of their working days where they meet Dri, Steph and Jojo. After Matt drags John along to one of Dri's parties, things take a turn for the worst when Steph decides it's a great night to go windsurfing. After racing out on an unreliable boat to make sure she's safe, the group's situation keeps getting worse, as their boats engine dies, Steph deals with a life threatening injury, a hurricane comes speeding their way, and chances of rescue continue to dwindle. Will Matt, Steph, John, Dri and Jojo make it back to land alive, or will some be left behind?

 

Adrift was a realistic and terrifying narrative following a group of teenagers and one unlucky summers night. As the story continues, their conditions worsen and their decisions become increasingly important, you will find yourself hanging onto your hat. By the end of the story you will have no nails left. Griffin's novel, though scary, is one that I would read over and over again, for the thrill and prominent sense of adventure and danger thrown at you with each page. Throughout Matt's journey I found myself so immersed it was almost as if I was another unfortunate teenager stuck on that broken boat with them, that I was another person stuck and lost at sea and I found myself with an overwhelming survival instinct that I felt I had to use, when really, I was perfectly safe in my bedroom, with only Paul Griffin's book in my hands. This is the first adventure novel I have read that I have really enjoyed and therefore recommend it to everyone looking for an emotion wrenching, action packed journey that will quite literally, leave you on the edge of your seat.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

 

The Cut Out

By Jack Heath

 

the cut out coverFaro is a 14 year old boy who looks exactly like Troy Maschenov, a dangerous enemy spy. But as this case of mistaken identity quickly thickens into a complicated and deadly plan to retrieve a hidden agent and disengage a set of bombs, Faro is thrown into the middle of it, recruited to impersonate Troy and sneak into enemy lands and stop the terror attack, before it kills everyone, friends, family, and himself...

 

The Cut Out was an awesome action/spy thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book and kept me gripped with sudden plot twists and unexpected scenarios. I'm pretty sure that this is what you'd call a "boys book", but because I'm a girl, and I enjoyed Jack Heath's novel immensely, I going to say that it's a great story for anyone and everyone. It handles the subject of terrorism very well, even though the story is set in a real/made up world, and it doesn't include a romantic relationship, which is a lovely change from basically every other book I've read. The Cut Out, overall, was a fantastic read, and I recommend it to teenagers everywhere.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

 

Goodbye Stranger

By Rebecca Stead

 

goodbye stranger coverBridge, Tabitha and Emily are all best friends, they have been since 7th grade, and each one is very different from the other. Tabitha is a roaring feminist, intent on saving the world from inequality and ruin, Emily is the pretty popular girl, great at sports and a member of the Banana Splits club, and then there’s Bridge, who hates clubs, and has a brother who always loses his bets. The trio never fight, but will that change when Emily starts sending photos to an interested Patrick? Or when Bridge meets Sherm and the group get involved in a quickly escalating plot to save Em?

 

Goodbye Stranger was a captivating tale about subjects and issues many readers will be able to relate to. It tackled bullying, social networking and the struggles of friendship and beginning relationships. As a feminist myself, my favourite character was definitley Tabitha, and when Emily began to get into trouble with class peers, I could relate to how her two friends must have been feeling. These factors made Stead’s story engaging and an overall pleasure to read. I liked the format of the novel and the style in which it was written, and (if you read the story you’ll know what I’m speaking about,) the mystery of who Valentine’s Day was. I finished the story in little under a day, something which can only be said of a good book, and therefore recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet story to read and enjoy.

 

By Charlotte Body

 


 

 Bomb

By Sarah Mussi

Genesis Wainwright wakes up in a cellar and in lots of pain after going on a blind date. Barely able to move, she is horrified when someone gives her a command via an earpiece that is fi

rmly glued in her ear. Quickly she discovers that she is strapped to a bomb, a suicide vest, and the voices plan to use her as a weapon of major destruction. With time ticking and running out fast, Genesis must re-examine everything she has ever known and make choices that will not only affect her, but everyone else in London...

Bomb is an epic thriller that will leave you clinging onto your seat as the plot takes unexpected twists and turns and Genesis's journey quickly becomes yours too. The story is not only original and relates highly to current events happening in our world at the moment, but it also is a cause for great reflection, and questions moral right and wrongs, religion, and des icons and their outcomes. Throughout the whole book I was constantly asking myself what I would do if I was in that situation, and more than once the story and the characters forced me to cry and feel surges of overwhelming emotions. While you are reading Sarah Mussi's amazing, heart wrenching tale, I server lay recommend you get something to eat and drink, find a comfortable space, and make sure you won't be interrupted, for the story is almost impossible to put down, and indeed, if you do have to put it down, you will be trying to use mental powers to try and get time to hurry up so you can back to the book. This story is also good because it isn't just for girls. Boys can read this too and I think that they also would find it highly entertaining and gripping. Bomb also provides a topic to discuss on after being read, making it a good book for educational purposes as well. I hope that I have been able to highlight that really, Bomb, is a book that ticks every box. It is great for school, great for boys and girls, is well written, tackles mature subjects (such as terrorism, religion, and choices) and is also relatable to the time that we live in currently. Overall, it's a splendid read that I would (and will) recommend to anyone and everyone.

By Charlotte Body

 


 

The 5th Wave

By Rick Yancey

 

Cassie is hiding from the Others, her only companion being her younger brother’s stuffed bear, one that binds her to her final promise. She hides from the Others, from the first four waves that brought mass destruction and devastation and towards Wright Patterson, the place where they keep Sammy, and a terrible secret that will bring about the 5th and final wave, the wave that will mean total elimination of the human race…

The 5th Wave is a book I thoroughly enjoyed, one filled with plot twists and turns that will keep you on your toes throughout the whole story. I loved how the story was told from different character perspectives, I thought it gave an interesting outlook on all of the characters personal and shared experiences. Another thing that I loved was that Yancey had managed to write the novel so that it was suspenseful throughout the whole thing, and that you were unsure of everyone, like no one was who they seemed. Overall, I found The 5th Wave a thoroughly enjoyable read, and highly recommend it for anyone who loves a gripping adventure, an in depth look at conscience and the essence at what it means to be human, and plots riddled with aliens that look like us.

 

By Charlotte Body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Falconer's Daughter

By N.K.Ashworth

Maddie Prescott is fourteen, has a best friend called Jess, and lives with her father on Waiheke Island. She hates maths, hates school in general and after finding an injured hawk, discovers a passion for hawking. After making the decision to heal and train the hawk, and to hide the secret from her dad, she takes it to the safety of her late mother's tower, and discovers her mother's unfinished trilogy of books, The Griffin Trilogy. As training begins, the stories unfold and family mysteries and secrets start to declare themselves, Maddie finds herself stuck in a game of tug of war, where the opponents are reality, and fantasy...

The Falconer's Daughter is a story for all teens and adults, balanced with just the right amount of fantasy, mystery, magic, and even a hint of chemistry. Written by the friendly Waiheke resident, Nicola (Sam) Ashworth, Maddie Prescott's story is one that I believe everyone will enjoy, one where you are guaranteed to not put down until you are finished, and one which you will certainly learn something new from. Ashworth uses her knowledge and experiences in hawking, and her passion for creativity to make the story come to life, which in turn provides a rich, intricate piece of work that I truly believe will be extremely successful and be enjoyed by many generations to come. This debut would be great as a gift to yourself or to friends and family, and for ages 11 +. I know for sure, that by the end of this excellent read you will screaming for the sequel, so don't miss out! Join Maddie, Skyla and Weaver in this enchanting story across Waiheke Island on an epic adventure through legend and real life, find yourself not disappointed, and wanting more long after the last page has been turned.

 

 


 

Carlswick Affair cover

The Carlswick Affair

By

S.L.Beaumont

Stephanie Cooper is a young kiwi woman about to start university in England, but before she does so, she has two months holiday for partying, socialising and relaxing. That's what the plan was anyway, but after meeting James Knox, things take a slight turn. Steph soon uncovers an old family feud between the Knox's and Cooper's and discovers a 'degenerate' Van Gogh artwork. Soon partying, socialising and relaxing turns into the season of murder, kidnapping and mystery. Who is out to stop her from diving any deeper into the family riddle, and who can Steph trust in Carlswick Village?

The Carlswick Affair was a very enjoyable book, filled with romance, mystery and quite a bit of interesting history too. I loved how Beaumont made each and every character very layered and with a bundle of fiery personality that in turn complimented the plot line and kept it fast paced and action packed. Mystery isn't my favourite genre, because too many a time have I come across a mystery that was all too predictable, but Beaumont's story was quite the opposite, giving me a new outlook and renewed fondness for the genre. I really liked how the story kept making you think that it was different characters causing trouble, and then quickly changing your opinion and making you uncertain and untrusting of them. All of these strategies made the book an altogether enjoyable read, and with collections of the Nazi Degenerate Artwork history, the book became fantastic, making it a story that I would re-read multiple times and will recommend to all of my friends and family, and one where I urge you to do the same, because in no way will you regret it.


 

Looking Glass CoverLooking Glass Girl

By Cathy Cassidy

Alice's family and friends are in the hospital, waiting for her to make a full recovery, and come out of the coma she acquired after falling at Savvy's sleepover. They say she fell anyway, but one of Alice's friends, Luke, thinks they might not be telling the whole truth...

Alice doesn't know how she got here, all she remembers is falling down through darkness. Now she is here in Wonderland, where strange creatures live and evil queens rule. Where she meets Hatter, the one person who can help her out, if only she can remember...

Cathy Cassidy's Looking Glass Girl is an amazing story, a tale for all ages. It is relatable and each chapter will keep playing around with your thoughts and emotions, each twist and turn keeping you gripped, a perfect trap that you won't want to escape from. It tackles real life subjects like bullying, questions popularity, and keeps making connections to Lewis Carroll's original Alice in Wonderland and Alice and The Looking Glass. I loved how well written the story was, and found it so interesting the way Cassidy would characterise the people in her book with characters from Alice in Wonderland. I also found it awesome how you could never quite tell what would happen next, which is a big problem that many stories suffer from now a days, the predictability of it. In all, Looking Glass Girl is the perfect tale to curl up with and get your teeth into, (metaphorically :) and I would recommend it for the ultimate present, or treat for yourself. A definite 8/10.


 

DandelionDandelion Clock Cover Clocks

By Rebecca Westcott

Olivia is your typical eleven year old. She has a best friend, a passion for something, (in her case it's photography,) and a very annoying mother. But when her Mother begins to start teaching her vital life lessons, Olivia senses something's not right, and she begins to realise that her Mother could end up slipping through her fingers...

Dandelion Clocks was a beautiful, heartbreaking story that made me well up more than once as I was reading. I loved how Westcott made the characters relatable to the audience, and therefore made them more lifelike. This, is in a story, is very important to me, because I believe that you need to be able to feel like you know the characters, in order for the actual story to come alive, in order for the tale the writer is trying to tell to be able to trigger your emotional side, as if you feel what the characters feel, you think and believe what the characters believe, and see what they see. I think that Dandelion Clocks did all this, and therefore made it very good reading. I also think that, (though it's a really sad ending) it would be great for 9-10 year olds +, because it was written simply but effectively, and would still challenge the younger readers, while providing a gripping tale for the older audience. Overall, Westcott's Dandelion Clocks is a well written piece of literature that would be great for all audiences, and that will keep you hooked all the way through.


 

Malala coverI am Malala

By Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was a young Pakistani girl who was passionate about women's rights, humanitarian issues, and most importantly, education being made available for everyone. But after being targeted by the Taliban, she is sent to England as a refugee with her family, to recover from the gunshot wound. This near fatal incident however leaves her with the opportunity to make the world aware of her and of others stories, and to help improve our world just that little bit more. I am Malala is an amazing true story of Malala's courage and passion, that will leave the audience inspired to do more to help humanity.

While reading I am Malala, I felt a very strong connection to her, me being a girl who loves school and helping others. I am not as brave as her though, and her courage to stand up to the Taliban and to stand up for education, even after her horrible ordeal, left me sitting on the couch feeling like I should probably do more for the earth instead of eating and sleeping in. Since Malala was shot, she has gone on to form the Malala Fund, which helps form schools and businesses for children and adults. She has also spoken at the UN and spent her seventeenth birthday in Nigeria to 'show solidarity with the schoolgirls abducted from their dormitory....by Boko Haram.' After reading Malala's story, I know that she will not stop fighting until things improve for the better. And after reading her story, I know that I too, and that everyone else who reads this book, will try their best to help make Earth a better place.


 

Wonder

By R.J.Palicio

WonderTen year old August Pullman is just like any other ten year old boy, the only difference being that he was born with a facial deformity. All his life he has had people stare at him and judge him, and now, his life is about to be turned around once more as his parents decide to stop homeschooling him, and send him to a proper school. Wonder is a heartwarming tale of courage and individuality that explores August's journey trying to fit in at school and find good friends. August's story is a tale that will leave any reader, young or old, wanting to press re-read.

I remember reading this book for the first time in year seven. We had to read it again in year eight as well. Both times I absolutely loved the book, and finished it in just a couple of days so I could read it again before I had to give it back. I've lost track on how many times I have read this beautifully written book, but I can assure everyone that it is well over the 10 times mark. Wonder is, in my opinion, one of the most original novels that a modern day author has been able to write. It is told not from just one perspective, but nine, with each view being written a little bit differently, and it is about something that children in this generation can actually relate to whether they have a deformity, disability, or are having or have had problems fitting in. The book is not only unique in the aspect of how it's written, or what the plot is about, but also in the fact that it has a few important messages for children to learn from. An example of this is to not discriminate, have prejudice against or judge someone because of how they look, or to never stop being yourself, because being yourself will always get you places.

Wonder is a book that ticks all the right boxes, and would make a great read for anyone wanting to read something intelligent, authentic, and heartwarming. It is a great book for educational purposes but also to read for when you’re bored and wanting to raise your spirits. I could honestly go and on about how amazingly good Wonder is, and how well written it is and what a good plot line it has, but it would probably take up over ten pages and by the second page everyone will have already gotten the point that it is most definitely one of the best books ever. I personally, have put it up high in my top ten favourite books, and I have no doubt that after reading R.J.Palicio's excellent read, it will be in your top ten as well.


The Here and Now

By Ann Brashares

Prenna looks like a normal teenage girl. The only difference between her and normal teenage girls is that she is not from our time. Prenna comes from the far future, traveling through time to get here to escape a deadly blood plague, an illness spread by the bite of a mosquito. Whilst living in a community with a strict set of rules and harsh consequences if any which one of them are broken, she meets Ethan, a handsome boy who she might just be willing to give up everything for. But as the future starts to unravel, and Prenna and Ethan are thrown into a race to save time, failure is not an option. The Here and Now is an appealing, well written story that will capture the hearts of it's audience, and leave them spinning, head first into the future.

 

I came into Paradox and had randomly picked a book off the shelves. My first look at the cover was when I got home a couple of hours later. I studied the front page carefully, and read the blurb, and I became instantly afraid that I had picked up a stereo-typical YA book, you know, those post-apocalyptic stories that have a love triangle, a massive rebellion and always uses trains as the main source of transport? I had taken a deep breath, steeled myself for a boring plot line, and began reading. It became very apparent to me after the first chapter, that this definitely wasn't a stereo typed YA story. I continued to read, and started to get engrossed in

 

Prenna's tale, becoming so addicted to it that I was very tempted to buy a torch so I could read it after lights out. The Here and Now turned out to be a brilliant book, that I can promise everyone I am going to re-read over and over again. I loved it so much because the characters were realistic and relatable, and they seemed, (forgive the cliche) to come alive on the pages. I also liked how the author spoke about intelligent subjects such as physics and the method of time travelling. The story also had great messages like, 'what you do today will affect all tomorrow's,' and your actions now will affect the future. Overall, The Here and Now turned out to be one of my favourite books I have reviewed so far, and I would recommend this beautiful story for anyone wanting a clever, modern read.

 


 

My Story Series

By Various Authors

Catherine of AragonPick up one of these fantastic historical reads and instantly be transported back in time, whether it's the 19th century, or when Mt Vesuvius is erupting, or during the reign of Henry the Eighth, you will not be disappointed. The My Story series are a beautifully written group of books that will capture the hearts and minds of boys and girls everywhere, and leave them saving up their pocket money for the newest editions.

These particular series, are probably my favourite. I started reading them when I was eight years old, and would get them off my Lucky Book Orders. As soon as I got home I would start reading, and I wouldn't put the book down until the last page Anne Boleynwas turned. I now have sixteen at home and am a repeat offender when it comes to re-reading the series, simply because each book provides an authentic outlook on the lives of historical figures like Anastasia, Marie Antoinette, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. It also gives the reader a chance to see how normal girls and boys lived during different periods of time, like Phyllis in The Hunger, By Carol Drinkwater, or Claudia in Pompeii, by Sue Reid. Another plus, is that all of the books are written by different authors, so each story has a different style of writing, therefore introducing the audience to a variety of different writing techniques. As it is a historical series, they are also very educational and tackle subjects like sexism, rNo Way Backacism, death sentences, and events like the Suffragette Movement in the early 1900's, and convict transportation. I would also like to point out that the series is not just for girls, (though there is definitely more books in the series for girls,) and that there are quite a few reads for boys as well. My personal favourite in the boys category, is The Trenches, by Jim Eldridge, which is about a young boy signing up for WW1. There is also Battle of Britain, by Chris Priestley, The Storm to Come, by Yankev Glatshteyn, Viking Blood, by Andrew Donkin, and Roman Invasion, by Jim Eldridge.

My top three in the whole series, which I would highly recommend for anyone wanting a book that they will read over and over again, are Catherine of Aragon, by Alison Price, Anne Boleyn and Me, also by Alison Prince, and No Way Back, by Valerie Wilding. Anastasia is definitely an honourable mention. All of the books in the series are absolutely amazing, read any one of them and you will fall in love in seconds.

 


 A Little in Love

By Susan Fletcher

A Little in LoveEponine was a good girl, even if her actions didn’t quite demonstrate kindness. She was good, and no one was going to change that. Until she finds out that the boy she loves, Marius, has fallen for a girl that used to live with her. A girl she was forced to hate. And after she decides to act upon her anger and sadness, she starts to see the consequences, and question whether she is good, or if she is just another thiefing Thenardier, with no heart, and no one to ever love her as she loves Marius...

A Little in Love is the beautiful story of Eponine Thenardier, a character from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. The story is set in Paris during the French Revolution, and retells Eponine’s story from her point of view. The story gives us an insight into the heroine’s past and of her thoughts and emotions, which left me with a very strong connection to the main character. Fletcher explores her family life, adding in characters like Azelma and Gavroche, whom you don’t actually meet in the les Miserables musical. The story also tells of her struggles with people and with her conscience, and takes us through her journey from a child to ‘Wise Eponine’, as she describes herself in one chapter of the story. Fletcher made all of her characters, settings and chapters in Eponine’s story so very realistic that it was hard to put the book down when it was time to sleep. I actually didn’t want to sleep, I wanted to keep listening to Eponine’s story. Actually, I wanted to be in the story book and make friends with her. Whilst the story did not focus on any one subject or moral, it was still very powerful and a very interesting read that left me wanting another character’s story, like Cosette’s or Marius’s. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone wanting a historical fiction, or just a great book to curl up with on the couch. A definite 9/10 rating for Susan Fletcher’s gorgeous tale.

 


 I Am Not Esther
By Fleur Beale

I am not Esther is a wonderful story about a girl called Kirby who is abandoned by her mother, (because she says I Am Not Esthershe is going to work in Africa as a nurse,) and left at her Uncle Caleb's house. Upon arriving she quickly discovers that his family are heavily religious and have very strict rules, one being that all of Caleb's family must have Christian names. As she is considered one of the family, Caleb and his wife Naomi change her name to Esther, and force her to change her personality so it will fit with the "Lords wishes." As she spends more time with her new family, Kirby begins to question her Mother's where abouts, and her own identity. Is she Kirby, a bright, happy-go-lucky girl or is she Esther, a religious young woman? A beautifully written story, I am not Esther is a book that questions love, boundaries and a persons identity, and will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Fleur Beale's I am not Esther, is a thoroughly enjoyable book with very realistic characters and scenarios that will keep you gripped until the very last sentence. Published in 1998, I am not Esther has been a bestselling classic for the last 17 years, with national fame and worldwide success. The book is very honest with every emotion portrayed kept real enough so that even the audience will experience the frustration, sadness and anger that Kirby feels during her stay with her Uncle. I felt that Kirby was a very strong woman who young girls could relate to, and that some of the male characters, (like Daniel) are people who many boys could look up to as well. As a YA (Young Adult) book I think that it touches all the right subjects that teens should be learning about, like religion, identity, personal choices, and even at some points, gender equality, and that it gets the audience to subtly think about these topics. A real psychological thriller, I am not Esther is an excellent book with an original storyline, and is perfect for anyone and everyone to enjoy and love.

 


I Am Rebecca
By Fleur Beale

Little more than a couple of months after Esther left the Children of the Faith, Rebecca and the rest of the religious cult have relocated to Nelson to join forces with another group. She and her twin, Rachel, are to be betrothed, and are curious about who they will marry, but as things start to go downhill for Rebecca, she starts to wonder if maybe there are darker secrets binding the Children of the Faith together, and if Esther was right to leave and head down the path towards hell. I am Rebecca is another gripping read by Fleur Beale that will soon become one of your favourite books.

I am Rebecca was a fabulous sequel to the kiwi classic, I am not Esther, and once again challenged it's audience to question the subjects of religion, decisions and identity. Throughout the book it shows you Rebecca's journey from when she obeyed the Rule no matter what, to when she starts to think about what she wants for herself and the motives behind the "Lords Will." Rebecca's story made me feel very frustrated and angry at times, simply because of the selectivity of the bible readings that the cult chose to learn their followers in, and because of the lack of choice that the members, (especially the women) had. At times like these I had to remind myself that it was only a story, before I would yet again be thrust into a surge of emotion. I like to think that because of the power to make the audience have such feelings, and to make the audience believe that the plot is so real, that it is an exceptionally good book. I honestly have never been so emotional while reading and therefore declare that it is by far one of the best books today, and that it would be great as a gift for someone else, or for yourself, because it really is for anyone and everyone.