Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Well, it's goodbye Carnegie...

But it's hello to the Guardian Children's Fiction prize! 

You can get more information here and we'll be working through the shortlist over the summer.  There are some key differences with this award and what they're asking for from you. 

1. Your reviews should be 200 words or less.  (Sorry Jenna!)  This is going to be a bit of a challenge for some of you who have got used to writing your absolutely fantastic Carnegie reviews, but I think if you're a bit concise, you'll be fine.  Choose your words carefully! 

2. You might need to join the Guardian site and submit your reviews directly to them too.
I think.  At the moment the link that takes you to the application form is down, so I will chase it up and find out if this will be necessary.  My hope is that we'll be able to submit the blog as a whole. I will let you all know! 

The shortlist is eight books and should be really fun to read!  It looks as though we can only afford to buy two copies of each I'm afraid, but if you'd all be willing to do the 'everyone buys one book' thing, that would really help out.  

Here's the list:

My Name is Mina by David Almond
Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout by Andy Stanton
Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge
Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan
Moon Pie by Simon Mason
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Momentum by Saci Lloyd

There will be more details to follow, and I'll find out about the application.  Official launch tomorrow lunchtime!  Be there for 1.30pm.

You may have noticed a new look for the blog, which seems only right as we move on to our awesome new projects.  There's also a new page, which I'll talk to you all about tomorrow.  I though it would be really nice to have a forum so that you can leave each other messages and coordinate your efforts.  When the new school VLE comes in, we should be able to have one on there too, but for now, this is where you can start!  There are a few concerns about security issues etc so you can't access it yet, but soon...


My Name is Mina

By David Almond

My Name is Mina is about a small girl called Mina; the book actually doesn’t have much of a plot other than her life. Her life in a way is the plot; her thoughts observations, memories and dreams are the book itself.

My favourite character was probably Steepy, I’m not sure whether I liked Mina much. I liked her more towards the end of the book but I thought she was too reserved and too set in her opinions and observations to see other ideas and less complex ideas that are easier to think about. I thought she was a bit ignorant but that can be expected because of her age. However I do think she had some very interesting thoughts. This book is very thought provoking and although it does not have much plot I did enjoy it. It also makes you think of things far greater than everyday thoughts but the problem was I thought the ideas were too advanced and complex for such a young child to understand. ‘Weird’ children might indeed be that complex but it is not a general theory so I doubt it.

I think this book is quite hard to get into but once you do it as an interesting read. It wasn’t exactly a gripping story; the only thing that motivates you to read on is the interest in Mina’s thoughts. You had to do a lot of guessing and even at the end there are still things you have to guess. But I thought the ending was good; it could easily be cause for a sequel but it still had finality to it.

I think this book could easily be a reflection of the author’s thoughts and observations. If so this book is a very deep insight into is mind. I think in one way it is, after having read a few of his other books they all have similar characters in a way, or at east characters similar in the way their mind thinks; their logic. I would recommend this book to anyone that has insightful/unusual thoughts about anything in life.

Jenna Yr8

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Most Awesome Speech in the History of Awesome Speeches

Patrick Ness accepts the Carnegie Award.

Note - you'll need headphones if you're listening to this in the library. Otherwise Miss A. will hear it and will have to retreat to the office for a quiet little cry.

The Hay Festival

Hay is a HUGE literary festival, held every year. This year the line up was amazing and I was very disappointed that I couldn't go!  But Molly did, AND she got a ticket to the event that I would have pulled out a fingernail to go to...

 On the 28th May, I went to see David Almond and Patrick Ness at the Hay Festival with my sister Gwen. David Almond was talking about his new book, My Name is Mina, and Patrick Ness was talking about his new book, A Monster Calls. First, they started talking about where they got the idea for the two books from. Patrick Ness had the same agent as Siobhan Dowd, who had an idea, and a beginning. They asked Patrick Ness to finish the book. This led on to writing a book, and talking about having to let a book grow, and go whichever way it wanted to, while still being true to the story. David Almond talked about his book, and how Mina made words into pictures, and wrote a story where nothing happened, which was just two empty pages. We saw the artwork from A Monster Calls. Afterwards, some people asked questions that I can’t quite remember.
Overall, I really enjoyed this event and it was great to see Patrick Ness and David Almond talking about their books!

  Patrick Ness's autograph to my sister Gwen! 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

And the winner is....

Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness!

To quote the man himself, huzzah!

I did quite a lot of squealing and jumping up and down when I heard the news, sat at my computer desperately clicking away on Twitter to refresh the feed.  The plan was to do a group announcement at 1.15, so that everyone would find out together, but Will, Ellie and Jess's poor Maths teacher made the mistake of teaching them in the ICT room today and so the massive majority of their time was spent refreshing the news page until they found out who the winner was and sent excited emails back and forth.  Apparently they got told off quite a lot.  Worth it.

The rest of the Shadowers gathered to hear the news and let out a massive cheer.  They then demolished the huge, delicious and highly decorated three tier Carnegie cake that Jenna and Louise made.

It was amazing!  The cake, I mean.  Well, the devouring was pretty impressive too.  Within five minutes there was NO CAKE REMAINING.

Hopefully there will be a video of the ceremony up on the site soon, but for now, do have a look at this Guardian article which reports from the awards.  I love what Ness has to say about the importance of libraries and the absolute idiocy of declaring a wish to improve literacy while reducing access to books.

And our congratulations also go to Louis, who is quoted on the official CILIP press release of the award.  Good work Louis!

Quote of the day: 'Miss, there seems to be a lot of cake in this whole Carnegie thing.'
Why, yes.  Yes, there does.  \o/

Carnegie Day

It’s all coming to an end!

Yes, it’s Carnegie announcement day, which means that all of this joy is coming to an end.  But there’s been so much wonderful stuff happening this year!

Last Wednesday we were visited by the Shadowers at Sir John Lawes school across town.  It was fantastic to hear some new opinions on the books, and though some of the discussions were heated, we made some excellent new friends and are really looking forward to doing more with them in the future.  Hopefully they will join us in becoming Nerdfighters! Many thanks to Ms Warman for arranging their visit and piling them all into the minibus.

Then yesterday we had an amazing Shadowing meeting and took part in something very new to us – a Twitter interview with Patrick Ness!  We all settled down with tribute doughnuts, went through the inevitable ICT emergency (why block Twitter school?!  Why?!) but were all set and ready to go at 1.30.  Will and I typed in questions and queries, and Patrick answered them all, giving us an insight into his writing.  The tweets have been archived here, so if you’d like to have a look at our questions, please go ahead!  We’d like to say a huge thank you to Patrick for giving us his time. 

And now, the day is here.  Thursday 23rd June.  Carnegie Day.

At 12.30, they will announce the winner of this year’s Carnegie medal, and we’ll know if our Shadowing vote matched that of the judges.  So I guess it’s time to announce our own winner.

The RPS Readers Carnegie Shadowing winner for 2011 is…

Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness. 

This amazing book held us captivated right the way through as the war raged.  Our sympathies were pulled tight across all sides at one time or another and many returned from reading this book with shredding nails!  Those who read it as a stand alone enjoyed it and appreciated the story for what it was enough that some of these readers were among those who voted it their winner.  And those who read the whole trilogy were bowled over by the complexities and involvement that they felt with the characters, all of whom we came to love or admire in some way.  Yes, even the Mayor.  He may be the most wonderful villain ever created. 


The Death Defying Pepper Roux

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Death Defying Pepper Roux

This book is about a boy called Paul Roux, whose death had been predicted at the age of 14; however when he is 14 he decides it is not his time to die.

I think this book had an interesting concept but I didn’t like it. Pepper Roux just seems to change too much. I know the idea is that he does but I don’t think the transitions are smooth enough. He doesn’t try recreating the people; he just fills in their life with his personality and presence.

My favourite character would have to be Duchess. He seemed the most developed and sincere character. He is the sort of person I’d like to believe most people were like. Just because he seems to care about what happens to Pepper and he sincerely cares about more than just money. Which is what most of the book was based on I believe, money, jealousy and disappearing. I think Pepper would have been better if he stayed in one place longer. During the whole course of the book I think time only moved forward just under a year. I think he should have stayed in different places longer just so he could increase the emotions and relationships between Pepper and the other characters. I think that would have made the whole book stronger.

I also found sometimes that the book was a bit vague, most of the world was left to your imagination. Sometimes I find this really effective but in this case it happened with too many scenes. I don’t remember everything. It wasn’t an amazing book and I found it difficult to get into but I can see why some would like it. I did think this book was thought provoking but only when it was pointed out.
‘People see what they expect to see, don’t they?’

Jenna Year 8

Monsters of Men

By Patrick Ness

Monsters of Men

This book carries on exactly where the last book, The Ask and the Answer, left off. War; and Todd and Viola are stuck in the middle.

I did think that this was good but I didn’t like the way they chose to separate the story in the separate books; I thought the places chosen to start a new book could have been planned better. The Chaos Walking trilogy is definitely worth reading; the suspense and tension. The emotion behind the book was incredible. You tell and easily understand how much it must have taken to write this series.

My favourite character changed a lot throughout the series but in Monsters of Men I did like the Mayor, I think he was one for the most developed characters and he was very passionate. Monsters of Men I felt was one of the best of the series and I loved almost all of the ending (but that is because I’m really exact about details) but I think the ending it did have suited the book perfectly and tied it all together.

I have to admit this series I would recommend to everyone; however I could see why some would not like it. Indeed I thought it was an incredible book; I even have signed copies on my shelf! But I have only read them all once and I am not currently feeling the urge to read them again. The trilogy was fascinating and I could not put the book down but I thought sometimes it may not be something you necessarily want to read about (it is rather graphic).

Jenna (year 8) 

Out of Shadows

By Jason Wallace

Out of Shadows is about a boy who is sent to a boarding school soon after the War ended and Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.

I thought this book would be more intense than it was. I was fully expecting to cry in this book…but I didn’t. The book was still good; I enjoyed it (despite some of the plot being rather cruel). My favourite character was probably the main character just because by the end of the book you felt closest to him. I’m not sure I would have liked him if I had known him in reality. He is only likeable because he feels regret and wishes he could change what he does as he is pressurised into it. However I think from another point of view you would not see this and he would come across as a cruel bully. 

I think the fact that the book was written in first person increased the emotion in the book. You felt a lot closer to the character. However I still thought there was a certain extra which should have been added, something small that would just increase the depth and complexity of the main character.

Out of Shadows I found didn’t have much description; just enough to set the atmosphere and the scene. Lots happened during the book and it was generally very graphic. This book didn’t especially stand out to me, it was  what I would consider a light read with some very cruel people. The characters weren’t especially well developed; they didn’t seem to have much character outside of their outlines.

Jenna, Year 8 

Fan Fiction - Monsters of Men

By Ben and Nathan

I sit down on the  bench. I place my bag on the floor and take out my notebook and check that I’m alone.  As usual, I am.
Just me and my thoughts.
I open my book but immediately slam it shut as I hear a babble of Noise coming down the road towards me.
Amongst the mess of thoughts I hear something about me,

What a weirdo.

I ignore it. You can’t take thoughts personally here.
When I’m sure they’ve gone I open my notebook once more. On the first page is a title:
My notebook by Felicity Blackwell
After that it’s mainly mess. My thoughts. My Noise written down on paper. However if you skip to the back there is a page with just one thing written on it. A single question. A single word.


The question everyone is reluctant to answer. But I’ve never asked. Not once. I wonder about everyday. Sometimes I’m up all night just thinking about it.  About life here before we arrived.  About the Mayor and the Mistress.  About the Spackle.  About Todd and Viola and how they changed the world. About how we can only live in peace now because of what Todd and Viola did and are still doing today.
It’s time for some answers…

*          *          *

I walk hesitantly into our living room. Nan is by the window. I stand and watch her for a full couple of minutes. I watch, working out in my head how to ask that question.
“Ouch!” my Nan suddenly cries out. She’s knocked her band against the oak windowsill. She turns around and begins to walk forward. Her head is bent down studying her arm so much so that she almost walks into me.
“Oh hello dear,” she says surprised hurriedly pulling her sleeve over her band, “I didn’t see you there! I didn’t even hear you come in. What can I do for you? Would you like a drink?”

I don’t know what to say for a second I don’t want to ask but then I suddenly splutter out, “Why do the women wear bands?”
My Nan looks at me, almost sympathetically, she looks unsure. Then uncomfortable. Before finally, “Why don’t you talk to your mother about this?”

I reply ‘no’ almost immediately. For some reason I was uncomfortable around my Mother, she made me feel as though I shouldn’t ask the questions I wanted to. Besides she hadn’t even been born in then times of Todd and Viola and the bands.

She sits me down.
“Right the first thing I should probably warn you is that the story isn’t nice and it will be hard to understand why some of the people in it did some of the things they did.” My Nan soothes.
“Ok, ok. I’ll be fine.” I say.
“Then I will tell you. It all begins in a town called Prentisstown.”
“Oh yeah I’ve heard of that.” I interrupt.
“Anyway in this town there were only men. There was a war after some of the women stood up for themselves. They were all killed. The Mayor of this town was Mayor Prentiss.

We now skip forward several years to the days of New Prentisstown ruled again by Mayor Prentiss. Already you know the events that lead up to this. The Mayor wanted control over the Spackle because of a war long which had happened long before.  He made Todd and his son Davy, along with others, brand all the Spackle with a band.”
“Wait, Todd helped brand the Spackle. I thought he was the good one in all of this!”
“My dear girl you did not live then. Mayor Prentiss was manipulative. He could control people with his noise. He used it as a weapon. Viola couldn’t understand it at first but after she came to understand that the Mayor had convinced Todd to so something so cruel but she could forgive him because of what he did after and his regret.”

My Nan reclines into the chair and I do the same. I feel a spring which has been knocked out of place. I’m about to adjust my position but my Nan continues the story so I sit tight.

She continues to tell me about the cruelty of the Mayor and his desire to kill all the women. I learn that he put a slow acting poison in the band to kill them and to this I burst out, “What why would he do that! Have you still got the poison in your band? Are you ill?” I cried images running through my head.
“No, not at all don’t worry! I was one of the first ones to take the cure that the Mayor gave out-”
“Wait a minute, the Mayor gave out the cure, I thought he wanted to kill the women?” I interrupt.
“Fliss, dear I said it was confusing, but you have to understand that the Mayor was actually doing a lot for Todd. For the Mayor, Todd had become the son he had always wanted. Brave, clever he had all the characteristics that the Mayor had wanted Davy to possess.”

I picture it in my mind and I see now why the Mayor would have helped. I had seen Viola with her band even in her old age now and I know Todd would want to save her. I sit there in silence. What can I say?
It’s hard to come to terms with it. Life seems much less complicated now. Before I had thought that it was only the violence and the war they had to deal with but now I see it must have been very difficult to choose a side and to do the right thing or to even no what was the right thing. I actually find tears welling up in my eyes. Real tears.

My grandmother sees me and says, “I’ll tell you what though, I personally have seen Viola’s caring side and I know that she would never do anything which she considered not the right thing to do.”
“What do you mean? Have you met her or something.”
“Once but she won’t remember me. It was a long, long time ago. When she worked with Mistress Coyle I was one of the girls she treated at the healing house and she was very good. After that things got very complicated but she really developed herself and her character. And if there is one thing you should ever, ever remember about Todd and Viola is that it is they should be two people you always look up to because they were the only two people who others could trust.”

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A bride's farewell

This is a tale of a girl who is set to be married the following day, but does not want to be a housewife, for she does not want to make the sacrifice, so she runs away, Bean stubbornly sticking with her despite her planning on going alone. She encounters many troubles and adventures on the way to a destination not even she knew

I'll admit when picking this book up it looked like a romantic thing, which I'm not really into, however, there is little of that, and more adventure as she travels. I liked how information was not given to you immediately, but more in 'flashback' or 'memory' chapters, which was good.

I knew that being a wife in those days would not have been easy, however, this book showed me what was so horrible about it and why more like pell ran to escape it! So many children would never be easy even if you wanted to have so many, and Pell did not.

The only thing lacking at some points was pace, but even that was there at most points.


Monday, 20 June 2011

Monsters of Men

Todd and Viola. Two people trapped in a war between 3 leaders, all looking to dominate the other 2. The Mayor, who controls Prentisstown, Mistress Coyle, Head of the Answer, and The Sky, leader of the Spackle (or the land as they call themselves). And they are two people who have to create a world that is safe for an entire new convoy of Settlers on the New World, and they don't have long.

Now I look at it, I realise I have been verbally reviewing this book for ages. They have been as short as: "Read it now. It is awesome" or sometimes I have gone into a bit more detail. I have been so seriously obsessed to the extent that some people have started to worry in love with this book my Mum is reading it currently. I'm not joking.

I had already read it before last years Carnegie (where Patrick Ness had been short-listed for the Ask and the Answer. I was actually lucky enough to meet him!). Miss Adkins had put me onto them, starting with the knife of never letting go. By the time I had got to Monsters of Men I was so totally in love with the series I read it in one day (I was standing outside lessons, reading, in lessons, reading, at home, reading, I bed, reading, downstairs, recovering from its awesomeness and something else that I won't say because it would kind of be a spoiler). I have since lost count of how many times I have read it. Enough blabbering.

Why do I love it (other than it just being utterly epic)?

Well, I'll start with the characters. I love them (especially Todd and Viola) because, not only are they superbly rounded, the voices are so amazingly written that when they are speaking, you are then. I swear, whilst reading, I actually love Viola (and Todd as well!). Basically, he deviously crept in whilst I was engrossed and started playing with my emotions!

Todd. I'll begin with Todd. Viola is his world, and almost everything he does is to protect Viola, and to make the world a better place. Obviously, with such a personal cause he makes mistakes along the way, sometimes they are awful things, but he does all with the best intentions, and punishes himself more than anyone else ever could, maybe more than he should, and he always picks himself up again and continues to try his best.

Viola next. She is a wonderful character, who tries so hard to do the best, as does Todd, for the world. She is from a new convoy of settlers, as opposed to Todd, who was born on the New World from an earlier lot of people looking for a better life. She again, makes her mistakes, most are to protect Todd, but finds a way to make up for them and carry on.

Then there was The Mayor. I never loved him (obviously) but his character is so cleverly created. He's not meant to be loved (again, obviously) but he can fool you. Easily. He is manipulative and crazy, so power hungry he would do anything to stay in power. But he's clever enough not to need to be desperate. He's clever enough to stay there using manipulation and ruthless cunning. I could go on for hours about the other characters but I might just crash Google with my epic fan geek rant.!

So, I move on to the plot. I have heard people say it goes on to long, but for me, I wanted more *laughs evilly with more echoing in the background*. The twists and turns were so carefully crafted, catching you at the best times. The power struggles (for which Ivan is a good measure of) are constant, ever changing and merciless. And guess what? Todd and Viola are in the middle *wishes them luck and runs*.

So as this war unfolds Todd and Viola have to find a way. A way to not only survive, but save the world from any supreme rule (and there isn't just one way that could happen).

Now, I have used up enough of your time already. Time that should have been spent reading. Reading this. Go. Now. Read it or I might have to make you or you are missing out!

*gives Blogger a break*

(the) Will
YR 8

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Monsters of Men

By Patric Ness


War, tragedy, suffering, battlemore, projecshun, noise. In a world of war and hatred there is one force: the voice. After a devastating history Viola (i as in high) and Todd are forced into a bloody, costly battle by the mayor. With the mayor using the voice for control and the land using it as one can 1071 and Todd finally make peace?

The book tells the story of an old battle showing the monsters ang greatness of men. Missiles are fired, fire hurlers are activated, hoopers are drooped and buzzes and hums are thrown. Can tom beat his old enemy in a battle of mind? Can Viola fight a fatal illness? And can peace find a way?

This book was the best I have ever read. No doubt or wondering. Patric Ness writes like the voice is guiding him. Now having read the first one I am going to take out the others within a week. I have nothing else to say but: READ THESE BOOKS.

By Wilfred y7

Friday, 17 June 2011

Fan Poetry - White Crow

Emily B. has been busy!  This is a brilliant piece of writing.

A White Crow

A large space in a room that's small,
A terrible, fantastic fall,
A soft rock
An unexpected shock.
All the impossible, all the insane,
Not all the obvious main,
But what if there was a river that didn't flow?
What if there was a white crow?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Out of Shadows

By Jason Wallace
Robert is from England, but his family moves to Africa and he is sent to a boarding school there after the war. The school is changing because of the new government.

The storyline to this book was very good and I thought it was a very good insight to a different time period and continent than what we are used to. I thought the characters are well developed and I loved how when you forget about some of them, a few chapters later they come back.

I didn't like how at the end of most chapters it hinted how people were going to die, or what was going to happen. I found it very irritating. And also the writing wasn't perfect, and sometimes a bit clunky.

Overall I thought this book was good, but not amazing, and definitely not my type of book at all. So I give it 6.5/10
By Elle

Out of Shadows

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace

"If I stood you in front of a man, pressed the cold metal of a gun into your palm and told you to squeeze the trigger, would you do it?”
“No sir.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, sir. No ways!”
“What if I then told you we’d gone back in time and his name was Adolf Hitler? Would you do it then? Would you?"

Its Zimbabwe 1980’s, the apartheid has just been broken and Robert and his family move in to enable his father to access his new job. As soon as Robert joins school he is constantly teased for his English heritage. Forced to make a decision between his morals and fitting in, Robert befriends Ivan, the class bully. Little did Robert know that this decision could affect the peace that Mandela had worked so hard for. For the war may have stopped for everyone else, but Ivan is still in the fight.

I really enjoyed this book as it gives a real insight on to what it was really like after the apartheid and how although peace had been declared, within the confines of peoples own communities the war had just begun.

The book is written from Robert’s point of view which, although it adds some depth into what he is feeling about Ivan, I think that if we could read Ivan’s point of view we would understand his character a bit more. Apart from that I can’t fault this book in any way as it flowed easily and really made you empathise with Robert at certain parts, especially when they bury Nelson. By reading all his conflicting emotions I found it made me feel closer to him as a reader. I think that Wallace showed a very good understanding of his characters and the plot was very well laid out.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone between the ages of 12 to 16 as although I found it quite easy to read, the political aspects of this book may be too mature for younger readers. I give this book 8/10!


White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

“You are the devil. You are the devil!”

When a faith driven priest meets the twisted doctor Barriuex they orchestrate an unholy chain of events which changes the future for everyone. Rebecca, new to the town, meets the elusive and mysterious Ferelith and her life changes as dark secrets are dug up when they are best left alone. When both the past and the present come together, it exposes the macabre research which was carried out in order to discover whether there is indeed life after death. Through the grim ordeals of the candle room neither characters lives will ever be the same again.

The book is written from Rebecca, Ferelith and the priest’s point of view and I think that Sedgwick’s unique style of writing really contributed to the overall gothic feel of the book. Although the book contained many different characters, I think that it wasn’t over-complicated due to Sedgwick’s enticing style which for me made the book very difficult to put down! At some points during the book however, I felt that Rebecca’s feelings towards Ferelith changed a little too dramatically and that in real life Rebecca would probably take more time to change her opinion. Aside from that the book was really interesting from both the historical and the gothic side and I think that is a very good accomplishment.

I really liked this book as I enjoyed the contrast between what we believed in the past and what we believe in present day. If you like historical gothic horror stories with a surprising twist in the tale, this book is for you!

I think that Sedgwick showed that he was in very good command of the plot as his ability to keep on top of the complicated storyline involving several characters’ conflicting viewpoints simultaneously was executed extremely well.

I give this a ten out of ten rating. By Imogen

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Fan Art

Take a look at the amazing imagery in these fan art pieces by Imogen in Year 7!

White Crow

I love this image!

Prisoner of the Inquisition

The prisoner of the inquistion

by Thresa Berlin

“The stench of burnt flesh lingered in the square for hours”

When Zatrina, daughter of the town magistrate, is met by a filthy beggar in the streets she exerts her power and has him arrested. But her father decided mercy should not see the town on that day as his wife had died and killed him. In cold blood. Zatrina is horrified but the beggar’s son more so. Crazed with fury he promises revenge on the man who lost him his father’s life.

Saulo (the son) is taken on a wild sea battle and meets the great explorer Christopher Columbus and inherits a mysteriously heavy coat. Zatrina has her own problems though. The inquisition a great force of God has come to her town and mercy yet again is shown the door. With executions and torture her troubles rise to meet Saulo’s of pirates and the sea.

Brought together in the palace of the good queen Saulo for the first time in his life experiences a new sensation: love. Brought together in act of defiance can they- united escape the inquisition?

This is a great book and I’d recommend it to anyone between 11 and 14. Thresa Berlin captures emotions, scenes and the reader’s attention incredibly well. The writing is flawless the historical references perfect and the book: a treasure.

by Wilfred y7

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Monsters Of Men

by Patrick Ness
Chaos Walking Series

Hi guys, my first review. Now, monsters of men is a new story about a war on a far off planet in the future. It is between settlers and a native tribal race. Behind it is romance, action adventure, greed and plot all in one book. The story itself is basically seen in a few other books I have read or movies I have seen but the way he was able to word it and adds detail to the basic story.

The story has danger for the young couple and a war with red herrings and false routes but then SNAP it changes just like that. The war twists and turns and is hard to keep up, but that’s a good thing. Unlike the other two books, the Mayor and Mistress Coyle seem to be getting better but the truth is far more dangerous than just that...

The book is incredibly, cleverly, worded and written with a gripping story and fast paced action in it. Just how it is written is completely unique to Patrick Ness' work. At first I did not like the way he wrote it but it grew on me and now when I pick up a book I'm like "what on earth is this!" Patrick Ness' work is able to pull you in and carry on and adds an extra force to help push it through and almost adds depth to the story and how they think.

When I started reading the knife of never letting go I did not like it and that was my tone for the rest of the series of chaos walking. How more can I be proved wrong. With fast paced action and romance, I found it hard to put down. This book however is rather gory in parts so should be about 14+ like it was rated. It is also hard to pick up in parts so can be hard to understand but when you think "how can this work" he can pull it through and make it work

I like the book because of how cleverly it is written and how it works with the story and the use of characters that fit it and the imaginative settings. However I do think that it is far too long and the action dies down after a while. He does pick it back up but still it could be shorter as it is hard to get through it so if it is a bit shorter it would be a good book.

In conclusion it is a good book and I would give it 8/10 as a book.

Adam Smith :)

Fan Fiction Monsters Of Men

It was a warm, autumn evening and the sun was setting over Lilac Hill. I lay back on Roses Beach, letting the sand slither through my fingers and tickle my toes. The waves of the Ocean, slowly crept it's way up the beach and the Ocean remained calm. The pale blue shimmered on the Ocean's surface, making a pathway of shining, gleaming light from the lazy sun.

My eyes gazed on the rosy lilac New World sky with wonder. It still amazed me how humans and Spackle could be so cruel to New World and just completely disregard it's utter beauty. Another yawned passed through my mouth. Sandy footprints edged closer to me and a two-fingered nudge was enough to make me sit up and turn my body 90 degrees clockwise. Todd stood tgere with those solemn, sad blue eyes and dry red lips. I smiled a weary smile at him. He looked behind him, then turned to face me and smiled back.

"No need, to be anxious," I told him and patted a patch of smooth sand, beckoning him to sit down. His noise was put to sleep almost immediatly. Warmth filled me inside. I closed my eyes...'

"Viola, viola, honey wake up!" I opened my eyes to find my dream freshly wiped from my mind. I sighed. My eye's scanned the dusty shack that had been Todd's 'room' for the past 2 weeks. Todd lay beside me, eye's closed, sleeping carelessly. My heart thumped loudly as I heard his noise, like fire, burning out, slow and bright. "OH VIOLA....oh viola" he kept screaming out over and over again. I stayed with him all day, every day. Sweat was pouring from his forehead. The longer the coma went on, the more anxious I got. I could only hear his noise when he let me so that must mean he knows I am out there, beside him. He must. If only I could tell him how hard we working to heal him. So I could see those beautiful, soft brown eyes one more time.

By Kirsty Year 7

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Marcus Sedgwick Visit

It’s not often that our students manage to delight, entertain and frighten me half to death all in the same day.  The 25th of May was one of those days.

It all started last year, on the way to the Carnegie Awards.  

Didn't they all look innocent?  I began to hear whispers as we waited at the station, rumours on the Tube, hints at the possibility of a planned kidnap attempt.  Shortlisted author Marcus Sedgwick was in danger.  They’d all really loved Revolver and had had decided, in a marvellously Stephen King-esque way, that the best way to show their admiration would be to kidnap him and seal him in the library office with nothing but food, water, wine and a computer with no internet connection.  Research requests would have to be passed under the door to an eager group of volunteers. Luckily, that day passed without incident.  Marcus was warned and managed to step over the trip wires.  I though their plans had been forgotten.

I was wrong. 

The day started with delight.  Preparations for the visit had been going on for several days and from 8am that morning, there was a steady stream of baked goods being delivered to the library.  Among others, tiny sentence cakes made by Ellie, a gorgeous White Crow cake by Louise, wonderful personalised cupcakes by Elle and a huge cake topped with more glitter* than a nineties club night were delivered safely to my desk.**. The time, care and enthusiasm that had gone in to all these cakes was truly remarkable and I admit I teared up a little bit***.

It all started to change at break time, when the conversation turned suddenly ugly.  Their plans from last year had not been forgotten.  In fact, they were now being added to.  A larger Carnegie group also means that there is a larger field of crazy for all these ideas to be drawn from.  The kidnap plan was back in place, with the added bonus that the poor unsuspecting writer would innocently bring himself right here, to their clutches.  Tempted through the door by cake, he would then be fed almost to the point of death and forced to work off cake calories by writing new stories for us****.  It didn’t stop there.  The added crazy and the influence of White Crow also led to ideas of religious interrogation, chaining to chairs and possible beheading.  The crazy led to more crazy, the pitch of conversation increased as Ellie got more and more shrill, and by the end of break I was scared.  Very scared. 

I tried to warn him.  Concerns were posted on Twitter, and Marcus had the very good sense to be concerned.  

But then he arrived and was delighted by the mass of baked goods awaiting him.  

At 1pm an excited mass of Shadowers poured into the library with their packed lunches.  Slightly star-struck, everyone settled down to demolish the feast in approximately five minutes, rendered their plans unfeasible as they scoffed their way through the most shocking quantities of cake to ever be consumed in such a small time frame.  Sated by sugar and loaded up with questions, everyone settled down for the interrogation.  

Evil machinations of the Shadowers aside, Marcus was a wonderful guest and took the time to speak to everyone, answering every question incredibly honestly and in detail.  He talked about the process of writing, the way that ideas come together from the strangest places, writing as a business (I think we were all horrified at how little money from the sale of a paperback goes to the author) and the publishing process.  He told us about his evolution as a writer, from the early stories that were rejected, to finding an agent and securing a publishing deal.

There was a lot of interest about the early years and about what he’d been like a teenage reader, what he’d read then (Gormenghast) and tips for those who would like to take their writing further (Plan!  Finish everything!) and how being a writer has influenced his role as a reviewer too. 

After answering every question we had time for, the entire group lined up to have books and postcards (thanks Marcus!) signed and the last remaining questions were mopped up while the rest of us finished off the cake table.  

We’d all like to say a massive thank you to Marcus for visiting us and being so very generous with his time! 

 Anytime you need cake, you know where to come…

**   They really were safe! I ate very few of them before everyone else got there.  Very few.
***  It must be remembered that I was ill and high on cake taking lots of over the counter medication.  
****  I was later assured that this plan would have failed as Marcus, being some sort of super human, is incapable of gaining weight. 

Monday, 6 June 2011

Fancy entering this?

What do you think?  We could go for it as a group and post the books between us over the summer, add reviews to the blog.  A day as editors at the Guardian would be an AWESOME prize...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Monsters of Men

By Patrick Ness

This book is about Viola and Todd, who are caught up in a war between three different armies. They have to try and stop the war and make peace and they have to try and make the decisions of war right for the people and not make the war personal.

My favourite character in the book is Viola because she always thinks of others and the way the book is written really makes you feel for her. She has to try and not make war personal and tries to make decisions that won't harm Todd. I think this puts accross the idea that she wants to please everyone but knows that that is impossible.

I didn't have a favourite part of the book because I liked it all. I loved the way it was written from Todd, Viola and Spackle 1017's points of view. Although I liked it from 3 different points of view I found 1017's parts quite tedious and I got a bit confused about the earth and sky.

The feelings of characters in this book are put accross very well and I although the three points of view often went over the same things from different perspectives, I really enjoyed seeing what the others felt.

War in this book is a key point and the hard choices that you have to make were written well. Nearly all of what happened was unexpected for me and I thought it was great not knowing what was going to happen next.

In conclusion, I thouht this book was amazing and I would definitley recommend it to anyone. It was well written but I thought the 1017 bits could have been a bit shorter and clearer.

Emily, Year 7