Saturday, 31 March 2012

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

By Annabel Pitcher

This book is about ten year old Jamie whose sister died when he was five. He hasn't cried since she was killed and now five years later, his family is falling apart. His Dad drinks and his Mum has left, leaving him and his sister Jas to look after each other. Jamie must try and work things through with his Dad, Mum and sister to answer questions about his dead sister.

I really enjoyed this book and I read it realy quickly. It made me cry in some parts and I really felt sorry for Jamie, because he couldn't help the way his family was and it was changing the way he acted at school.

The characters were really good because I think tha if that kind of tradgedy had hit a family I'm sure their reactions would be similar. They were really believable and even through everything had happened I recognised things that even cmpletely normal kids would do.

The plot was clever, I didn't really know how he would sort things out. I really liked how some simple things that you didn't think mattered lead to more important parts in the story.

I really loved this book, although it wasnt what I was expecting, and it made me cry, but I thought it was really good. I loved the plot and Pitcher has really made me feel for the characters.

By Emily B, Year 8

Friday, 30 March 2012

A Monster Calls

By Patrick Ness

This book is about a boy called Conor being visited by a monster, but it is not the one he is expecting, not the one he is terrified of. The monster tells him three tales that help him. Conor's Mum is ill and having treaments in the book and so the monster makes him see things about himself.

To begin with I didn’t enjoy this book that much, but as I read more, I grew to like it more. My favourite bits were the ones with the actual monster in, especially as I think the stories the Monster told are very true. I liked them because although they were aimed at Conor I think they were true for nearly all humans.

I really liked the character of Conor’s Mum and I thought she really came across as someone who really really cared about her son. I also liked Conor, I thought it was really sweet how he really wanted to care for himself and his Mum without help, and I felt sorry for him, having to be so grown-up with his Mum.

Ness managed to really do the descriptions in the book well, describing everything clearly and I think that definitley added to the story. I also really liked the drawings in them, whole page ones and ones in the corner of the pages, they were really effective.

I read this book really quickly and although it didn’t take me long, I really enjoyed it. Overall, I think that this was a good book and an easy read.

By Emily B, Year 8

Thursday, 29 March 2012

My Name is Mina lover!!!!!

Hi! I have read up to SATS Day in My Name is Mina and I absolutley love it! I knew I would love it the moment I read the first page! I was recommended it by someone, comment if you want.

Eleanor  Yr7

A Monster Calls

By Patrick Ness

Love, love love this book! The illustrations are beautiful and I really enjoyed the story overall, with it making me cry! It would have been interesting to see Siobhan Dowd's interpretation of the story, however Patrick Ness did a brilliant job! It's tough to see whether this is going to win or not, but ti's definitely one of my favourites!

Abi, Yr 12

A Monster Calls

By Patrick Ness

I absolutely loved this book! It was quirky and original with beautiful illustrations and powerful ideas. It was like reading a much loved book that I's read many times before, and it was incredibly moving for considering how short it was.

Rachel, Yr 12

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

My Name is Mina.

By David Almond

‘My name is Mina’ is about a creative, eccentric little girl called Mina. It follows the life of Mina who constantly writes in her diary up on her favourite tree which she shares with a family of birds. Throughout the book we learn about Mina’s thoughts and dreams as well as her past life where Mina gets up to all sorts or problems trouble and fun! It is the second book which follows the book ‘Skellig’ where we first meet Mina.

I think this is a truly beautiful book what with the birds following her journey, her inside thoughts about her troubles and loves and the way Mina turned words in a notebook into a fantastic piece of art. The way Almond has laid out the book is amazing. The way the fonts change depending on when it was written and Mina’s emotions when she does write it and the page layout is done to full effect. In my opinion, this is what connects people with the book and makes the diary seem more realistic.

Mina is an amazing character in so many ways and this; I think David Almond has done to her full potential. Her crazy little stories and they way she looks at life can only make you smile and be optimistic about your own. Mina is so lively and feisty, and yet when she spills her emotions onto a page she seems so vulnerable and hopeless. Perhaps she would put it as she is a little egg in a nest that has no one to go to.

Overall, between the characters, plot and art work, it is a fabulous, touching book, unlike one I have ever read!

By Jess year 9.

A Monster Calls

The name "Chaos Walking" suits this book aswell, Ness really stuck to his style on this one. Dark, very dark; I'm not complaining. I really enjoyed this book, we all now know that Ness was not just lucky with a trilogy - like J.k Rowling and the seven books of drivel known as Harry Potter - we know Ness can write a decent book that isn't backed up by one before that just got lucky (I never read New World but I count it as a Chaos Walking).

Then we get to the book itself, almost poetic, the "Monster" spoke the way you'd expect a wise old man to speak but could change to a Monster in a second. He lead Conner down a dark path, no following family, he seemed almost happy at the start though. Happy he was alone, his mother had cancer, that he was bullied and plagued with nightmares of a tree monster.

The entire thing was written in the same style as the Chaos Walking trilogy; dark, twisting, a certain hint to the writing that I can see but can never quite put my finger on.

The illustrations were yet another part of this book that added up up as awesome, the darkness of it, the style of it was almost goth, the Monster was - in my point of view - exactly how I would have imagianed it. A dark, twisted monster with tendrils and leaves, a brown that's closer to black than it is to brown. Just more perfection.

So, A Monster Calls is proof that Ness is more than just the amazing author of Chaos Walking, its proof Ness is an amazing author that we all hope will write more amazing novels. GO FOR THE SECOND WIN IN A ROW!

Louis Yr 9

Carnegie Shadowing is GO!

The Carnegie shortlist was announced yesterday, and our readers are already well into their reading, having snatched up the new titles.  We're still waiting for three books to arrive from our order, but we'll rush them through cataloguing as soon as they're here!

The shortlist is:

David Almond MY NAME IS MINA

Mina writes and writes in an empty notebook, and through her stories, thoughts, lessons and dreams, her journal grows into something extraordinary. A prequel to the author's CILIP Carnegie Medal-winning novel, "Skellig".



Ten years old and small for his age, Stuart Horten moves to the dreary town of Beeton, away from all his friends. But before long he is swept up in a quest to find his great-uncle's lost workshop, a place stuffed with trickery, magic – and danger.



Under cover of darkness, two brothers cross a war-ravaged country carrying a secret bundle. One night they stumble across a town that has been reduced to smouldering ruins. Amidst the wreckage is a zoo, filled with animals in need of hope.



Danny lives in middle of the outback. His older brother Jonny was killed in an accident last year, but no-one ever talks about it. Meanwhile his sister is pregnant, the rains haven't come and it's time for the annual cattle muster, during which Danny is determined to prove he can fill his brother's shoes.


Andy Mulligan TRASH

Three friends, Raphael, Gardo and Rat live on a heap of trash and spend their days sifting through other people's rubbish. One day they find something extraordinary – a deadly secret. From that moment onwards, they are hunted without mercy, and their lives will never be the same again.



The monster shows up after midnight. It isn't the one Conor has been expecting; the one from his nightmare; the one he has had nearly every night since his mother started her treatment. But this new monster is ancient, and wild, and it wants something just as dangerous from Conor: the truth.



Ten year old Jamie hasn't cried since his sister's death five years before. Though everyone kept saying they would get better with time; things are now worse than ever. Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie still has a whole heap of unanswered questions.



One night, fifteen-year old Lina, her mother and brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia. An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun, but Lina refuses to give up hope of seeing home and loved ones again.

Details from Carnegie website

I'm so glad to see some of these titles on the list and delighted that there are some I haven't read yet!

If this is your first year of shadowing the award, please make sure that you read the tab at the top of the page, which will provide you with some simple guidelines for writing an effective review.  Don't forget, we get many authors and publishers looking at this site, so bear in mind others' feelings, particularly if you read something that you don't enjoy!

I'm starting with Between Shades of Gray.  How about you?