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Pig Heart Boy By Jessica
The book 'Pig Heart Boy' by Marolie Blackman is about a thirteen year old boy named Cameron who is in desperate need of a heart transplant. His father finds a doctor who could cure Cameron's heart difficulties, but it is experimental, controversial and risky, plus it has never been come before. I have only read the first 5 chapters but it is a very powerful stry and touching. The beginning of the book has a strange first chapter, but it introduces the main character of the book and the story line. The second chapter puts the first chapter into perspective and y understand what was happening it also sets the tone and mood of the book and makes you feel sorry for Cameron as he can't do what most boys his age do. The third and fourth chapter are intuiging and engaging for the reader because of the setting and mood from Cameron's eyes. At the present moment, I would recommend this book because it seems to engage me everything I read it and the imagery within the writing is intuiging.
Posted on: 23 Jun 2013

The Graveyard Book
"The Graveyard Book" is a book, written by Neil Gaiman, about the life of a boy growing up in a graveyard. The book describes all of the problems and difficulties that he faces during his time there. I liked this book because the plot was very well thought out. After reading the book, it was evident that a lot of work had been put into writing the book. I particularly liked the first half of the first chapter. After that however, to begin with, the story was rather confusing. I felt that the story line was lost and trailing off in different directions. However, from chapter five, the loose ends of the story line began to tie up together and the book greatly improved. It is not a surprise to me that this book was the winner of the Carnegie medal in 2010. It is the best book that I have read yet in the Shadowing project, and I strongly recommend it to others. Naru
Posted on: 05 Jun 2013

'Trash' Olivia
Raphael is a dump site boy who spends all day, everyday sorting through enormous piles of rubbish just to survive. Each day is the same- long, tiring and hard, except the day Raphael and his friends find a wallet...a wallet with big money in it, a map of the city and a key, a wallet that could well be at the centre of a huge crime... The first chapter of the story gives nothing away, the reader barely meets Raphael and his friends before they are thrown into be midst of what promises to be a fast paced story. I have enjoyed the first few chapters of the book and am looking forward to seeing the story unfold. AFTER READING THIS BOOK: Trash by Andy Mulligan is one of the most harrowing and though provoking books that I have read in a long time. The story follows three 'trash boys' and their discovery of a simple bag that happened to belong to a wanted man.. it was discovery that was to take them from the rubbish heap of Behala to the rich avenues of the city and the corrupt Senator's mansion. The tale follows the format of a treasure hunt with each scrap of paper, each shady guard and quiet remark leading them closer to the prize. Except the prize wasn't treasure or a gift, it was 6 million dollars of money stolen from the people, money that made a Senator fat while his people starved to death. The Senator was a clever man, sly and cunning, shielded by his powerful 'friends'... Two innocent men had already fallen trying to expose him, how could three poor boys who picked over trash for a living make a difference? I would give this story 5/5 stars, it is a exhilarating, fast paced and humbling, some parts of it make the reader sick with frustration, others make them leap with joy. The only element of the book I did not like was that the story was told from several different points of view, however this was not 'done' in the traditional way... random characters would appear and tell their story for a page or so, a cleaner, an undertaker, an English woman. It seemed that the writer had done this to add more texture to the story, however the resulting effect was that although the majority of the story was told by the three main characters, the parts that weren't were hard to keep track of which made the story a little bit confusing in some places! The story was inspired by the author's time working at a school in Manila and that is what makes the book so powerful. Unlike the Hunger Games or the Twilight Series the book is not fiction, it is based upon the shocking lives that real twenty-first century children lead in the real world.
Posted on: 17 May 2013

"Trash" By Steven Cushings
After reading the begining of the book I cant wait to read more! The writer in my opinion has been extremely clever to write this book from three different perspectives. The three boys each have their own idea of how to do things and it's interesting to hear the different sides of the story. After finishing this book I feel as though I have been on a with those boys throughout the book and to me this is the best book I have read in a long time.
Posted on: 02 May 2013

'Small Change for Stuart' Olivia
Small Change for Stuart Stuart’s parents are very clever, very clever but not entirely sensible. When Stuart’s mum gets a new job at a hospital hundreds of miles away from their home his parents decide to pack their bags and move away from the village Stuart had spent his whole life in, to a town called Beeton where Stuart’s father was born. The family move at the start of the summer holidays, but everyone knows that’s “the worst possible time to move”. Stuart arrives expecting to be bored out of his brain but whilst out walking with his father, Stuart discovers that he had Great Uncle who had once lived and worked as a magician in Beeton. Great Uncle Toby who had disappeared mysteriously just after a firebomb destroyed the family business in World War II, leaving no trace but a moneybox he gave to Stuart’s father. Stuart soon realises that it’s no ordinary money box… it’s a trick box full of hidden clues. Could this be the key to unlocking the mystery of Great Uncle Tony? Perhaps Stuart’s summer holiday won’t be a boring as he thought… So far I would give this story 4/5 stars. The opening of the story is intriguing and leaves the reader wanting to find out what really happened in Beeton all those years ago… After reading the book: I really enjoyed this book, which surprised me because after the fast paced beginning the next few chapters were a little tedious, describing lots of trips to the library and bike rides. The story takes us on a treasure hunt around Beeton looking for Great Uncle Tony's lost workshop... Stuart, the main character must use the clues Uncle Tony had hidden around Beeton inside the famous coin operated machinery that Stuart's family made, fifty years ago. Stuart uses his wits, the help of the girl next door and people who just happen to say the right thing at the right time to find the secret workshop...and even manages to foil an evil Lady Mayoress in the process! In a dramatic twist at the end of the book Stuart travels back in time and meets Great Uncle Tony. I really liked this book and would give it 4/5 stars, however I would not recommend it to a friend as I feel it is aimed at a younger audience.
Posted on: 21 Apr 2013

"My Name is Mina" by Steven
My Name is Mina by David Almond is a book about a young girl who doesn’t fit in and this book takes us through every thought that crosses her unique mind. At first can seem like absolute gibberish but as the book develops the reader becomes more accustomed to the ways of Mina’s mind, constantly questioning things like eggs and birds. One of her favourite phrases was “how can a bird born for joy sit in a cage and sing.” This is just one example of how deeply she considers thing others wouldn’t even notice. Although this book took me a while to understand once I did I found it one of the most interesting books I have ever read and I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
Posted on: 17 Apr 2013

'Everybody Jam' Olivia
Everybody Jam so-called because “everybody likes it”, the title of a sweet book about the Australian outback right? Wrong. Look deeper and you are sucked into a sinister world of teenage pregnancy, racism and grief on a cattle station in the middle of Australia. The story is told through the eyes of Danny, a thirteen year old boy, he has been home schooled all his life, the cattle station is all he’s ever known. Unfortunately because the story told in the first person by a young boy some of the scenes are fairly one-sided and lacking in description. Danny glosses over the serious issues in this story which could be explored a lot further- his fourteen year old sister’s pregnancy, his brother Jonny’s horrific death after falling off a roof, instead he choose to focus on describing his daily tasks, meals etc. Danny also uses a lot of Australian slang which can be hard to understand without rereading its context several times. However the author does help out the reader by introducing a “Pommie”, an English woman called Liz, she arrives as the family’s new house girl. Liz helps the reader understand the way of way of life on an Australian cattle farm, through her wide eyed questioning and her appreciation of the beautiful landscape around her, something that the reader would otherwise miss out on as to Danny it is familiar, to the point of being dull and ordinary. After reading the first couple of chapters of this book I would give it 2 out of 5 stars, so far the plot hasn’t developed further than describing the mundane daily tasks of the people who work on the cattle station and Danny’s excitement at getting a rescued camel to look after. I hope the story improves as at the moment the book is quite tedious. I would not recommend it to a friend. After finishing the book: I found this book extremely tedious, it was a struggle to reach the end, I had to read countless dry, descriptions of cattle and cattle mustering. The book had great potential to tackle some serious issues, but fell short and instead focused on describing everyday chores, landscapes, meals etc. I did not enjoy this book. After finishing the story I would give it 1 out of 5 stars.
Posted on: 01 Apr 2013

'A Monster Calls' Olivia
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness based on an original idea by Siobhan Dowd is a sad tale of loss and bravery. The story is about a boy called Connor, his mother is dying from cancer- she has been for a long time now, but Connor is clinging to the hope that she will get better, one day. Connor is haunted by a terrible nightmare, one that visits him every night- the nightmare drowns his mother in a black mist, Connor grips his mother’s hand but the mist always takes her away from him. Until the monster calls. A monster who lives in the earth. A monster who is the earth. An ancient healing being. Is he here to heal Connor’s mother? He tells Connor three stories and in return Connor must tell the truth. But Connor does not know the truth. Or does he? Connor has a secret. A secret only revealed at the end of the book, when Connor’s life can’t get much worse... bullied at school and living with his strict Grandma whilst his mother lies in hospital, Connor finally confesses. It was him. He let his mother go, he let her fall into the darkness. He couldn’t bear it anymore, he wanted it to be over. The story becomes clear, the monster didn’t come to heal Connor’s mother, the monster came to heal Connor, to make him see it wasn’t his fault. By doing this, by holding his mother tightly instead of resenting her, Connor finally let her go. I would give this book 3/5 stars. It was a sad tale with a good plot line. The ending was brilliant and I liked that it was ambiguous, we never got to find out if the monster was truly real or just a figment of a disturbed boy’s imagination. However I felt that the book was a little slow and tedious in places. I would not recommend this book to a friend.
Posted on: 16 Mar 2013

"Between Shades of Gray" Steven
For me the first few chapters of the book “Between Shades of Gray” were very gripping and made me want to read on. During the first chapter the reader becomes very attached to Lina and her family when the NKVD bursts in on them. They are then herded like mindless animals on to a filth ridden train along with many other frightened people. It’s amazing how so many unlikely friendships were formed by those who were brought together by the horrors and how they had to trust and rely on each other for survival. Lina, a brilliant artist continued her artwork despite everything in the hope that it could be passed on to her father to give him clues as to where they were. However for me personally the book began to slow down and drag on a bit, focusing on either travelling or working on the concentration camps. However this did show how long the extensive labour must have lasted for those involved. In my opinion this book seemed more factual than fictional. The characters were very believable and I really felt like I was there with them. This book brought my attention to an aspect of history that I was previously unfamiliar with. I would have liked to know more about how Lina survived as well as those left behind at the first labour camp. But that just goes to show how much the writer makes you care for the characters.
Posted on: 13 Feb 2013

'Between Shades of Gray' Olivia
Set in the Soviet Union during 1941 under the rule of Stalin, Between Shades of Grey tells the story of 15 year old Lina, her family and their deportation to Siberia. The first couple of chapters give nothing away. The cosy scene in Lina's Lithuanian home had barely been laid before it was ripped apart by the NKVD- Soviet Secret Police. Lina's story will be long and harrowing, Stalin wasn't kind to his victims. I have enjoyed the first couple of chapters and I am looking forward to reading the rest of what will be an incredible story. AFTER READING BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY: This book, Lina's story is one the most incredible things I have ever read. After being torn from their comfortable home and plentiful lifestyle, Lina, her mother and brother Jonas were separated from their father and husband Kostas, and forced to board cramped filthy train cars- barely fit for cattle. Lina’s family were tired, hungry and desperate, their horrific train jouney lasted many weeks… people fell ill, dead bodies were disposed of, Lina’s bones protruded as her family starved. But from the dark cattle cars friendships blossomed, desperate prisoners clung to one another, clung to a dim flicker of hope. Lina befriended a boy called Andrius. After the hideous journey, Lina’s train car arrived in Siberia. The weak prisoners worked long hours on a government controlled beet farm to earn their pitiful 300 gram bread ration. As their situation grew worse and worse, Jonas nearly succumbed to scurvy rescued only by a tin of tomatoes stolen from the guards. Ten months, Lina suffered on the beet farm, but as a promising artist she never lost hope… inspired by her favourite tragic artist Munch, Lina drew her dismal surroundings. Lina’s mother, Elena is a constant source of light throughout the novel, she never gave up, finding hope during the darkest days of her family’s ordeal, Elena remained strong, refusing to sign away her rights to Stalin’s hideous contract. That was, until Lina’s family were moved, forced to survive another journey, they were transported to the North Pole. The innocent Lithuanian prisoners endured the bitter Polar Winter, denied warm food, a place to sleep and even a coat. Dear friends were claimed by death. Eventually Lina’s own mother lost her battle, after she heard the news that her husband had been shot in a military prison, her broken body was too tired to fight on. There, in that horrific camp, Lina’s story ended until we reached the epilogue. Lina and her brother Jonas were imprisoned for a further twelve years. After she was released Lina returned to her home country where she was reunited with Andrius… the boy she had loved for twelve long years. But Lina was never allowed to tell her story, the Lithuanians that returned home was treated like criminals and silenced by the Soviets. People who told their horrific tales risked death. Instead Lina buried her stories and drawings in a capsule. Forty years later the capsule was found by construction workers, Lina trusted them to spread the truth, the truth millions of innocent Lithuanians had faced. I would give this book 5/5 stars, it was one of the most tragic and stirring stories I have ever read. I had learnt about this period of history before, the facts, the figures, the government policies, but I had never discovered the horrific ordeal millions of ordinary people had suffered under the rule of Stalin, a brutal and hideous dictator.
Posted on: 04 Feb 2013

"Between Shades of Grey"
The first two chapters of the book "Between Shades of Grey", by Ruta Sepetys, is not very revealing. The first two chapters concentrate on the evacuation of their house when the NKVD, the Russian Secret Police in the era of Joseph Stalin, arrive at their door to take them away. The story is narrated through the eyes of a child and leaves the reader wanting to read more as the story line is left open for any event. Naru
Posted on: 30 Jan 2013

'Between shades of gray' by Rhianna
After reading the first few chapters of 'Between shades of gray' I found myself not wanting to put the book down. It hooks you right from the beginning by starting with an exciting beginning. For example the first scene is about the NKVD breaking into lina's house and comanding her to leave and it describes the thoughts going through her head as she packs he suitcase not quite sure what is going on. I liked how the book doesn't explain everything that's happening straight away as it makes you want to continue reading due to that it leaves you with with a sense of mystery. So far I would give this book 4 out of 5 and I cant wait to carry on reading.
Posted on: 30 Jan 2013

'My name is Mina' by Olivia
After reading the first chapter of 'My name is Mina and I love the night' I am looking forward to seeing how the plot develops. Even from reading the first couple of pages of this book it is obvious it is not going to be a conventional story. The authors uses a range of repitiion, rhyme, rhythm and different styles of text to illustrate the inner workings of the mind of a child who some might say is "not quite right". Mina is a different character, a child who has already suffered tragic losses, a child who does not fit in, a child who has a vivid imagination. Mina's story will be an a colourful one and I can't wait to read more of it!
Posted on: 20 Jan 2013

'My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece' by Steven
My sister lives on the mantelpiece is a down to earth tale of a ten year old boy named Jamie, who struggles to understand and cope with the way the death of one of his twin sisters affects those around him. When I first picked up this book I was worried that it would be so sad it would be difficult to read. However the book was cleverly written from the perspective of Jamie, who never really knew Rose making it difficult for the reader to feel sad for her. I found that the way the author covered sensitive topics such as racism, drinking and family breakdowns within one main plot was very captivating. It has created an endless supply of questions simply waiting for answers soon to reveal themselves. Because of this there was a lot of tension building up for the ending and I assure you that it does not disappoint, there is sadness, relief and a shining glimmer of hope. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it.
Posted on: 16 Jan 2013

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece
“My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece”, by Annabel Pitcher, is an emotional book that shows how Jamie copes with the death of his sister, Rose, that tears the family apart. His father has severe drinking issues and, since the incident, has become extremely discriminate towards people from the Middle East. His mum had an affair with her support worker and it is also suggested in the book that his sister, Jasmine, has an eating disorder. It is written from perspective of an innocent ten-year-old child. The book also explores some of the more serious matters of childhood. For example, Jamie is thrown into a world of bullying, racism and tragedy after moving to the Lake District. He also learns that life is not as idealistic as it seemed to be, as he is commonly divided over moral issues. However, this book did have its negatives. The story had quite a slow beginning and the reader may feel that the story line of the first half was rather boring, consequently s. However, the author expressed her opinion on some of the serious topics, using Jamie, and the second half of the book was slightly better than the first. Naru
Posted on: 10 Jan 2013

'My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece' by Olivia
'My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece' is a hard hitting, tragic story about a young boy called Jamie and his family who are struggling to cope after one of their children- Rose- is killed in a terrorist attack. The loss of Rose has torn the family apart, Dad has turned to drink, Mum has cleared off with a man called Nigel, Jas- Rose's twin has dyed her hair pink and pierced her nose and Jamie- well Jamie is just trying to make sense of it all, he was only five when Rose died. This book is extremely well written, it is told through the innocent eyes of ten year old Jamie and as a result of this, the tragic story is hard to read. I would give this story 3/5 stars- I am enjoying reading it and am looking forward to seeing how the characters heal and develop through the storyline. AFTER FINISHING 'MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE': I really enjoyed reading this book, and although it had a slow start, once I got into the story it was hard to put down. The end of the story was bittersweet- Jamie finally found his mother, only to discover that she was not the long suffering heroine he had built her up to be. Jas discovered her talent for singing after years of being compared to Rose. Jamie finally understood Dad's grief after dealing with the loss of his cat, Roger and Dad learnt to let go- Rose had been gone for a long time. After finishing this story I would give it 4/5 stars. 'My Sister lives on the Mantelpiece' was a gritty, tragic read but the warmth of Jamie and his kind sister Jas made it bearable. I would definitely reccomend it to a friend.
Posted on: 29 Dec 2012

'My sister lives on the Mantelpiece' by Jessica
'My sister lives on the Mantelpiece' is about a ten year old boy named Jamie. His sister, Rose, lives on the mantelpiece in his new home in the countryside in which he lives in with his dad and older sister Jasmine, Roses twin sister. Although Jasmine no longer looks like Rose as on her fifteenth birthday she came home with short pink hair and a nose stud. Jamie's mum lives in the city with her boyfriend as Jamie's mum and dad divorced because his mum was having an affair with another man. Jamie's mum also has parts of Rose but decided not to cremate her, instead she buried her in peace. I haven't got very far into the book but what I have read is very good and I can't wait to continue reading. I like this book because it gets to the point very quickly and pulls you in so you cannot stop reading. I still haven't found out how Rose died so I'm still guessing at the moment but it will all become clear soon. 'My sister lives on the Mantelpiece' is also very intriguing and at times it is hard to stop reading. My friends are also reading this book and have mixed opinions on it. At times I seem to lose interest but then it pulls you back in and you can't stop reading. I would rate the beginning of the book 4 out of 5 stars because I am really enjoying the story line and can't figure out what is going to happen next.
Posted on: 27 Dec 2012