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William Suttcliffe's The Wall
When first picking up this book, I expected it to be another novel in which the protagonist crosses a boundary that is both physical and cultural, and somehow transcends that difference, with a predictable, happy ending. While some of this remains true in Sutcliffe’s novel, he is able to change the story up, moving away from the boundary to focus more on the individuality of the protagonist, and examine more closely the ideas of ownership, home, duty, and family. Contrary to the title, though the Wall is a critical plot device, this story turns inwards, using a first person narrative to create a sense of intimacy, and invites the reader to examine their society. The fact that the Wall is set in Israel, and the possibility that this story, which initially seemed dystopian, is reality is shocking and intriguing. Rating: 8.5/10
Posted on: 19 May 2014

Anne Fine blood family
Overwhelmingly sad and evocative, blood family follows the story of Eddie a young boy who has suffered years of abuse and imprisonment at the hands of those supposed to look after him. Upon his release, Eddie’s life, and the slow process it takes to recover from such an experience, is discussed and detailed. The multi-narrative structure enhances this well-rounded story and effectively deals with the very sensitive issues of abuse and addiction through the eyes of a variety of people including the child through to a young adult, siblings, parents, policemen and social workers. This is pretty tough going…your imagination is much worse than what is detailed so be prepared.
Posted on: 14 May 2014

Julie Berry’s All The Truth That’s In Me
This nominee for the 2014 Carnegie Award needs and deserves praise. The interesting structure ensures a fast-paced read with information dished out in excruciatingly small chapters that deliver half-memories and half-truths. Some of the subject matter is deeply upsetting and ensures a complete and dogged support of the narrator Judith; a girl who must learnt to speak after having her tongue cut out and returned to her village after a two-year absence. The fairy tale ending ensures that young adults have the justice that is needed in such a grotesque social world that places too much value on some elements and far too little on others. However, it is unrealistic, untrue and possibly as misleading for those reading it as Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty etc. I think this is going to be a popular choice.
Posted on: 05 May 2014

Susan Cooper's Ghost Hawk
There is nothing I enjoy more than fiction set in a historical background: educational fantasy…talk to me! Structurally this book is certainly experimental with sharp, sudden twists in the plot that break you out from the fictional world: at times jarring, always interesting. The narrator, Little Hawk, guides you through the traditional, tribal way of life and it is a bit like reading a survival guide for those times when you are accidentally alone in a dense and strange forest: I am reasonably confident I can can handle that now. Little Hawk’s life and that of a young boy called John become intertwined and their friendship forges the basis of the plot.Emotional and thoughtful, this novel will certainly have you considering justice, belief and prejudice and perhaps encourage research into the subject of ‘ownership’. I have done some further research as suggested in the ‘Author’s Note’ and it has led me to some further reading and interesting facts. Read away.The below is from (a language project that aims to revive a tribe’s lost language). "FUN WITH WORDS Here are some words used in our every day American language that are derived from Wôpanâak: Pumpkin: Pôhpukun (ponh-pu-kun) = ‘grows forth round’ Moccasin: Mahkus (mah-kus) = ‘Covers the whole foot’ Skunk: Sukôk (su-konk) = ‘Ejects body fluid’ Moose: M8s (moos) = ‘moose’ Powwow: Pawâw (pa-waaw) = ‘s/he is healing/heals (someone)’ “
Posted on: 30 Apr 2014

The Wall by William Sutcliffe
Woah! The Hunger Games meets Maggot Moon meets Daz 4 Zoe. There's nothing I enjoy more than young adult fiction that tackles prejudice, religion, its misuse, and its purpose. The novel is filled with mystery and suspense. Written from the point of view of a young 13-year-old boy struggling to come to terms with the death of his father, his mother's grief and his new step-dad, the subject matter becomes even more heartbreaking and the ending successfully shocks! Get reading.
Posted on: 10 Apr 2014

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Posted on: 03 Apr 2014