Review Blog

Feb 04 2010

Top reads for 2009 by Pat Pledger

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Teens
Fire by Kristin Cashore. Fire is the last of the human Monsters and she is feared because of her beauty and her ability to control minds. A companion volume to Graceling, this is fantasy at its best, with a strong heroine, plenty of action and a low-key romance.

Along for the ride by Sarah Dessen. Auden's sleep patterns have been disrupted ever since her parents' divorce. The quest she goes on with a fellow insomniac will change her life. If you haven't tried Dessen's novels before then you are in for a treat.

Vulture's gate by Kirsty Murray. The story of Callum, a young boy kidnapped by the dangerous Outlanders and Bo, Roboraptor Girl, who has survived alone in the desert since her grandfather was murdered.  A Science fiction survival story set in outback Australia, with overtones of Mad Max.

The ask and the answer by Patrick Ness. Todd has taken the dying Viola into Haven but it has been made into the stronghold of his enemy Mayor Prentiss. The first in the series, The knife of never letting go had gripping tension, high adventure and thought provoking themes and the second is even better!

Exposure by Mal Peet. A star footballer, Othello, meets a beautiful pop singer Desmerelda at a celebrity party. They fall in love and quickly marry much to the delight of the media. Wonderful expose of fame based loosely on Othello.

Beatle meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams. Beatle, named because his name is John Lennon, meets Destiny at a tram stop in Melbourne one Friday night and from then on the reader is led into a hilarious story of young love, astrology and weird art projects.

The uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones. For Jackson Page, the little cabin is a place to compose in. For Mimi Shapiro the snye in the wilds of Eastern Ontario is a perfect hideaway and for Cramer Lee, it is a place where he can spy on Jay. In an exciting thriller Wynne-Jones keeps the reader guessing right to the end about the uninvited visitor who is stalking Jay and Mimi .

Middle school

Waterslain Angels by Kevin Crossley-Holland. Ten year old Annie, an independent and risk taking young girl, joins up with Sandy, an eleven year old asthmatic geek, on a summer quest to find the missing carvings of angels that once adorned their Norfolk church and which haven't been seen since Cromwell's time.

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur. A terrible thing has happened to Aubrey. Now she is all alone with only her new fish Sammy for company. A memorable tear jerker.

Loblolly boy by James Norcliffe. The loblolly boy can fly wherever he wants and has eternal youth. He also has the power to Exchange - to swap places with others who are Sensitive and can see him. Margaret Mahy describes this as a new classic and it is certainly memorable.

When you reach me by Rebecca Stead. Winner of the Newbery Medal. Miranda gets a message that says "I am coming to save save your friend's life, and my own." This book is an intriguing puzzle that will have its readers following clues until its explosive conclusion.

Angel fish by Lili Wilkinson. Gabriel believes Stephan when he says that children can save save the Holy Land. Will his faith sustain him on the perilous journey that the Children's Crusade undertakes?

Picture books


Sarah's heavy heart by Peter Carnavas. Sarah has a heavy heart that she carries all the time, on the bus, in the playground, at the park.

My silent world by Nette Hilton and Vincent Agostino. A deaf girl has a rich inner life. She knows about everything, but she is afraid of the unseen monster that fits in her ear - a cochlear implant.

Isabella's garden by Glenda Millard and Rebecca Cool. Isabella's garden is a place where the soil is 'all dark and deep' and where Isabella and her friends plant the seeds that emerge into a glorious garden, changing with the seasons until Jack Frost comes and all that is left is a well-feathered nest and a handful of seeds.

First the egg by Laura Vaccaro Seegar. The book looks at how things evolve. First comes an egg and on page turn, the reader sees the egg change into a chicken.

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