Archive for the ‘young adult’ Category

Tracy Beaker is back, and she’s a mum now…

The Dumping Ground is far behind her, and Tracy Beaker has grown up, living on a tough housing estate with her daughter, Jess.

This time, it’s Jess telling the story.

Jess looks like a mini version of her mum- but she’s not quite as fiery. Well, not often. Jess and Tracy are living a hand-to-mouth existence on their estate, until Tracy meets up with someone from her past and their whole lives are turned upside down…

My Mum Tracy Beaker is a fantastic new story, reuniting readers with a much-loved old friend. Just like old times, it’s packed full of illustrations from Nick Sharratt throughout.

My Mum Tracy Beaker

Jacqueline Wilson

Doubleday

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Maree

Even the redoubtable Tracy Beaker can get stuck in a relationship that is not all it should be. We meet Tracy and her daughter Jessica when Tracy has just started a new relationship with the wealthy and handsome ex-footballer Sean. But Jessica isn’t convinced that Sean is fond of Tracy’s famously independent ways and no-filter mouth. Tracy has to battle through finding and losing, then finding, love, finding and losing jobs and looking after her daughter with every fibre of her being. A heart-warming story of what really matters in life.

Advertisements

I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen-year-old guy in the universe.’

Felix would love to have been a number. Numbers have superpowers and they’re safe – any problem they might throw up can be solved.

‘If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon … there’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.’

People are so much harder to cope with. At least that’s how it seems until Bailey Hunter arrives at school. Bailey has a stutter, but he can make friends and he’s good at judo. And Bailey seems to have noticed Felix:

‘Felix keeps to himself mostly, but there’s something about him that keeps drawing me in.’

Both boys find they’re living in a world where they can’t trust anyone, but might they be able to trust each other, with their secrets, their differences, themselves?

Invisibly Breathing

Eileen Merriman

Penguin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Piper Mejia

Each generation grows up in a world that has changed since their parents were their age. When we are children we make a promise that we will be better parents than our own, a promise we forget as easily as we forget what it was like to be young. In this ‘coming of age’ novel, Eileen Merriman explores how much things have changed (what we will accept) and yet how much has stayed the same (people can be so cruel).

Invisibly Breathing is written from the point of view of a young boy, Felix, at a moment in time when figuring himself out includes figuring out love. For Felix, school and family mean dealing with the ripple effect of bullying and dangerous secrets before someone gets hurt.

Eileen Merriman has a whimsical style of writing, her characters are both quirky and familiar individuals; a snapshot of the youth of today’s society. This is a novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy the realism that a good ending doesn’t have to be happily ever after.

An all-new collection of short stories from the world of Magnus Chase!

How well do you know the nine Norse realms? Do you get all those heims mixed up?

Well, this collection of rollicking short stories – each set in a different world and told by a different character from the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series – will help straighten you out.

And even if it doesn’t, you’ll enjoy reading about how Alex saves Amir’s pants, Samirah plucks a giant’s harp, Mallory teaches a dragon how to throw down insults, and much more.

Just watch out for Thor, who is running through the whole thing and raising quite a stink . . .

Magnus Chase: 9 From the Nine Worlds

Rick Riordan

Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Maree

I get the feeling that Rick Riordan had these spare chapters that didn’t make the cut….But they are entertaining and have plenty of trademark snark.

Niflheim, Muspelheim, Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, Helheim. Are you ready for mad shopping skillz, dragon insulting and seven other adventures from our favourite characters from the Magnus Chase series? Be nice to think that Hearthstone, Blitzen, Samirah, Alex, Jack, T.J., Mallory and Halfborn could stave off Ragnarok until Magnus gets back from holiday but maybe not…

Seven-year-old Amanda Wilson dreams of training her own wild pony, just as her sisters have done.

Then comes the chance she has been waiting for — a muster of beautiful Welsh ponies that have run wild in the hills.

Among them is Chessy, a striking stallion, and just the right size for Amanda. But small doesn’t equal easy, and first Amanda must prove she has what it takes by training a stroppy mare from Pony Club. Will Chessy ever be safe enough to join Amanda on her crazy adventures?

Vicki and Kelly must help Amanda to win her pony’s trust in this engaging story of perseverance and reward inspired by the Wilson Sisters’ early years.

Chessy, The Welsh Pony: Showtym Adventures #4

Kelly Wilson

Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Maree

Another in the series by Kelly Wilson of the Wilson sisters who starred in Keeping up with The Kaimanawas. A family who have devoted their life to horses, show jumping and advocating for wild horses around the world, taming and raising awareness about the plight of the American Mustangs and Australian Brumbies and specifically the beautiful wild Kaimanawa horses near their home. They also run Showtym Camps, riding camps for young riders.

The sisters rescue and tame wild horses and this book, written at a young adult level is loosely based around a story from Amanda Wilson’s childhood.

It’s not the size of the pony in the fight but the size of the fight in the pony. Chessy is a beautiful stallion just the right size for the seven year old Amanda to train, but he has been running wild most of his life. If Amanda is to save Chessy and train him for a forever home with a kind family,  first her parents want her to prove herself by training Magic a very difficult mare from the Pony Club. It’s a big ask.

Since his mother’s disappearance four months ago, Riley has become increasingly frustrated by the incompetence of the police and apathy of his family and friends. In desperation, Riley turns to the Whispers, creatures of legend that he believes can grant him his heart’s desire. But Riley has secrets of his own – and finding the truth could cost him more than he is willing to give.
Time-Travelling with a Hamster meets Goldfish Boy in this stunning middle-grade story of belief and magic, a tender exploration of prejudice, grief and self-acceptance.

The Whispers

Greg Howard

Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Piper Mejia

It is difficult for anyone, let alone children, to talk about loss. It is an emotion we hold close so that we can keep going day after day. In Greg Howard’s novel The Whispers, eleven-year-old Riley’s life is already difficult before his mother disappears; he is being bullied at school and has a crush on an older boy. Unable to talk to his father, and feeling let down by the police, Riley decides to go in search of the magical fairies his mother told him about; fairies that will grant his wishes if only he leaves them a worthy enough tribute.

The Whispers explores the role of escapism as a way for young people to come to terms with experiences beyond their ability to resolve. Howard’s choice of a less familiar protagonist, dealing with familiar coming-of-age issues, reflects the needs of a wider community of young readers. This is a story that reminds us that we often blame ourselves for events out of our control and that emotional healing begins with self-acceptance.  A great book for our LGBTQ youth and wider community.

Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine’s Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding-and losing love. Arianne pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first -and last- time, Daniel and Luce will spend a night together like none other.

Lauren Kate’s FALLEN IN LOVE is filled with love stories . . . the ones everyone has been waiting for.

True love never says goodbye . . .

Fallen in love: Fallen #3.5

Lauren Kate

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Maree

More tales from the world of the Fallen.

You really have to be a fan of the series to want or need to read tales of Miles, Shelby, Roland, Arriane, Luce and Daniel finding love on Valentine’s Day in Medieval England. This is fluff. Good decent fluff of the Fallen series but fluff.

If you are not familiar with the universe this book will not make a lot of sense, it gives a little bit of background for some characters, like how Arriane got her scars but that’s all.

Discovered picking pockets at Coxford’s Corn Market, fourteen year old Sin is hunted across the city. Caught by the enigmatic Eldritch Moons, Sin is offered a way out of his life of crime: join the Covert Operations Group (COG) and train to become a spy. At Lenheim Palace, Sin learns spy craft while trying not to break the school’s Cast-Iron Rules. Befriended by eccentric Zonda Chubb, together they endeavour to unmask a traitor causing havoc within the palace. After an assassination attempt on the founder of COG, Sin realises that someone closest to him could be the traitor. With no other option, Sin is forced into an uneasy alliance with the school bully, Velvet Von Darque.

But can he trust her? And will COG try to bury him with the secrets he discovers? Secrets, spies and steampunk gadgets abound in this fantastic adventure story!

The Traitor and the Thief

Gareth Ward

Published by Walker Books Australia

Purchased at Conclave 3

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

I am not sure what I was expecting when I embarked on this young adult novel, but it wasn’t a steampunk school story. It doesn’t start out that way… It starts out with a boy named Sin, who is just another street kid in an alternate England. Or so it seems. Then he’s caught and sent to a school for young spies, tasked to find the traitor in their midst. And it all goes down from there… deep into intrigue and dark and dastardly goings on.

I loved the word-play, and the way the author uses language to give each of the main characters a distinct voice. The world is well-realised, better than many steam-punk fantasies I’ve come across. And the plot rollicks on at a cracking pace. It’s a fun book, and I’m certain that many a young reader would enjoy it immensely. This book definitely deserved its SJV, and I look forward to seeing more from Gareth.