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KRS All Stars

My favourite of the shortlisted books so far. It reminded me of a modern day Barry Hines book. I liked the language and it made me laugh out loud and sad in the short time it took me to race through it. I am about to order other books by Anthony McGowan as I enjoyed it that much!! R. Sproson
Posted on: 30 May 2018

Release - Patrick Ness
I enjoyed this novel and found it a real page turner! I liked the was it was written in switching from the difficult day experienced by Adam Thorn and the deeper thoughts of those involved in a murder by the lake in Frome, Washington. I felt it was clear that the two would meet at the end, which they did. I was gripped by what would happen when they did. Difficult themes were dealt with throughout the book. R. Sproson
Posted on: 29 May 2018

Saint Death
I found this book very interesting. I knew very little of life in the border towns of Mexico prior to reading this novel. It seems that a spiral of crime and desperation exists, with a level of corruption that means escape from this is unlikely. My thoughts were that the novel was underpinned by a theme of fate that ran throughout. The main character, Arturo was destined throughout to meet his fatem and Saint Death, by the end of the novel. R. Sproson
Posted on: 29 May 2018

Beyond the Bright Sea
I found this book fascinating and read it in one sitting whilst returning from UK. It had so many themes running through it from, faith, kindness, fear, prejudice, bravery, greed, friendship and love. The need to know our own identity ran deeply through the book and I was interested in researching more about the Elizabeth islands - just off the coast of Massachusetts, USA. I found that much of the book was based on a factual history of the island, which has been used for a range of reasons over the last 50 years. It took me a little while to get into this book but in the end I found the prose wonderful. I thought it was beautifully written - R. Sproson
Posted on: 26 May 2018

The Hate U Give
I felt that this was a very powerful book and one that resonated with me as a historian. I was aware of the murder of Emmet Till which seemed to inspire this book. I was interested in reading the Author's notes that this book was semi-autobiographical in that both she and the main character, Starr, lived their lives in two very different worlds. I was saddened by many aspects of the book and particularly the ubiquitous nature of casual negative stereotyping from so many people across social and racial divides. It is easy to think that racism and stereotyping is much better now than in the past but we clearly have so much further to go. R. Sproson
Posted on: 24 May 2018

After the Fire
I throughly enjoyed this book - another one out of my 'comfort zone'. I liked the seamless links between before and after and trying to predict whether the next chapter would be one or the other. I was interested by how this book made me consider the impact and legacy of people involved in such cults and also the impact on the wider family, community and their dynamic. It also brought Waco to my attention, which somehow I missed in 1993! R. Sproson
Posted on: 23 May 2018

Wed Rabbit
I liked the book despite the fact it would not be a genre that would usually pique my interest. One of the key features I found interesting was the way that it was layered. That meant that it was accessible to my children as a bed time story and also had a depth for the adult reading the book. It touched on themes such as anxieties in young people and also the benefits of cultural diversity and community cohesion. All this in a setting of the younger child friendly Wimbley Woos!!
Posted on: 08 May 2018

After the fire
I really liked the story and the way it would switch between the past and present. The characters were really interesting and the plot was very gripping as it showed what happens when people are tricked into believing in the something when really the person they're following is using them. It's a really good book but at points it was disturbing to see what some of the characters did or said especially the younger children. Sophie
Posted on: 03 May 2018

Where the World Ends
Great book - I learned a lot about St Kilda's history. I enjoyed the true-story element to the narrative. Plus, I liked the links to other classic texts such as Lord of the Flies. A really interesting idea well executed. Great read - a full thumb's up from me [Mr Purdie]
Posted on: 02 May 2018