Quicksand

Spellcaster- Claudia Gray


A boy cursed with powerful visions
A girl granted the power to save him
A battle is about to rage and no one will be safe
Witchcraft has always be a sacred gift shared between mother and daughter from one generation to the next. For Nadia, who mother has abandoned the family, the use of magic is unattainable without her mother to guide her. But when she arrives in Captive sound, for a fresh start, she finds herself entrapped in a web of magic, lies, love and deceit. Ignoring her magic is no longer an option especially when it is so intrinsically linked to the boy who saved her life.
Visions have always been a curse of Matteo’s family; terrible visions of the future have driven many in his family to despair including his own mother who took her own life. Now Matteo is having stage dreams and visions of a girl he must save, when what he dreams comes true Matteo knows the family curse has fallen upon him.
When Nadia and Matteo’s path cross dark forces  will rise and family secrets will be revealed. Working together to break the curse and save the town will become a race against time. one which neither of them might survive….
There is no doubt that Claudia Gray can write paranormal fiction, having tackled vampire and werewolves already Gray puts a new twist on the magic story. The characters are charming and it made for refreshing change to be able to watch the relationships between the characters develop as the story goes on. Gray’s take on magic is also quite refreshing, magic is derived from experiences and memories rather than set spells, while the plot is enchanting with Gray leaving just enough breadcrumbs to keep one enticed. Ultimately while some of the plot is predictable, there are some nice unexpected twists and the ending is unexpected, in some regards. Overall Spellcaster is an enjoyable light read. One for fans of Magic and Claudia Gray alike.   Courtney :)

Mistakes were made

If you want some light relief in your life, then 'Mistakes were Made' by Stephen Pastis might well be the book for you.
This is a very, very funny book, full of quirky and humourous illustrations that accompany the text.
The main character is Timmy Failure (the surname Failure being a derivation of Fayleure, but, for reasons unknown, the name was changed).
In nearly every cartoon illustration, Timmy is standing looking directly at the reader whilst wearing his trademark scarf, and a 'stuck in the headlights' expression on his face.
Timmy Failure is the CEO of a detective agency which has its headquarters in his mother's wardrobe. The agency consists of Timmy and his colleague, a make-believe polar bear called Total, which makes the name of his agency, Total Failure Inc.
Timmy and Total blunder from case to case, attempting to solve crimes with hilarious results, always missing the obvious.
Take the case of the dead hamster, for instance. His school mate Max's hamster has died, and has called on Timmy to find out the circumstances. Timmy asks the following questions of the hamster - 'Did he have any enemies?' 'Did he have a lot of money?' 'Was he depressed?' 'Was he involved in criminal activity?'
No case is too small or large for him, from missing socks to the French Revolution.
Timmy lives in his own little world where he reigns supreme and those around him are ignorant. 
Teachers are frustrated with his ability and refusal to follow instructions or adhere to rules. His grades are deplorable.
Cleverly, however, his new teacher develops a plan whereby he enlists Timmy to work on independent research for him, thus Timmy quite unwittingly begins to do the right thing.

Great fun.

-Ann

Graceling


While there are plenty of Medieval fantasy novels, grand and original ideas outside the generic ‘knight in shining armour sets out on quest’ storyline are hard to come by. Kristin Cashore, author of Graceling weaves the story of Lady Katsa the niece of King Randa set in the world of the Seven Kingdoms where quite occasionally a person is born with an extreme skill called a Grace, signified by eyes of different and strange colours. Their skills can take place in almost any form, from being able to bake better than any other or read minds. Katsa is Graced with a skill she finds a curse – the Grace of killing. These Gracelings are feared and exploited in the Seven Kingdoms, but none more so than Katsa, who's expected to do the dirty work of torture and punishment for her uncle. The story follows her voyage of self-discovery and struggle between enslavement and freedom, good and evil and the mystery of the One-Eyed King.


The reason why I loved this book was because of its originality and challenging stance on mainstream views. It is fascinating to see the world through the eyes of a girl who’s been a cold-blooded killer since age eight and yet is willing to go to great lengths to save it, and more importantly, has the heart to try. Katsa makes you feel her own intricate emotions of good, evil and all of the shades of grey in-between as a person who's viewed by others as nothing more than a slave and ‘murderous dog’ – and yet she sums up to so much more.

Graceling is filled to the brim with interesting and intricate characters from the strange and quiet Prince Greening ‘Po’ Grandemalion to the double-crossing spymaster Lord Oll and her cousin Prince Raffin who turned his hair blue! In this story we find characters that challenge the way we think, with no defined set of ‘good’ guys and ‘bad’ guys, but an intriguing mix including Katsa the Lady Killer herself.

What truly made me respect this novel above all else was its romance sub-plotline, yes, I said sub-plotline. Graceling is first and foremost a mystery and adventure of both political intrigue and bare-to-the-bone survival in the harshest physical conditions. When romance is introduced to Katsa’s story, Cashore didn't let it trump the main themes, and it stands as just another angle for the characters to experience and vary their reactions to other events.

The novel (and by extension, its series) tackles several serious issues that exist in our world today in the context of their universe; there’s blatant racism against Gracelings present, alongside homophobia and class division seen in the case of Prince Raffin and Bran, child abuse as shown by the relationship of Bitterblue and her father, and the corruption in law and order led by power shown in both the Kings and certain Gracelings. Not all of these issues are resolved entirely but they do create a sense of sad familiarity in the reader and the ability to connect this imaginary world to their own.

The main and overall theme of the book is judgment, or more, judging a books by its cover. Katsa is feared throughout the Seven Kingdoms because of her Grace and has barely any people close to her. People assume because she is a killer that she is also a monster, but as the reader learns it is much
to the opposite. The story immediately begins with her rescuing the kidnapped father of the Lienid King in the name of the Council without harming anybody, sending us the immediate message that she is a good and true hero, only for that thought to be cut down by Cashore immediately afterwards as we’re shown the perspectives of others. There’s many examples of pre-judgment in the story; Katsa judging Po on his true Grace, Po miss-judging Katsa’s abilities, Katsa’s first impressions of Bitterblue and so on.

Overall Graceling is a fantastic novel and a credit to the Young Adult Fantasy genre. Kristin Cashore captures the intricacy of the world, culture and its inhabitants in a beautifully written way. I would recommend it to anybody willing to have their ideas challenged and wits measured.

- Ella (Teen Reviewer) via Celia


The Darkest Minds

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“Most of us didn’t survive the outbreak Those of us who did came out stronger Our minds powerful beyond belief. They couldn’t explain it…other than to give it a colour I’m Ruby and I’m a Green…” Follow her journey….
In time American children aged 10-17 years of age will find themselves subjected to a terrible and frightening disease that either kills or changes them. IAAN- Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration- they call it; 98% of the youth population will die from it while only 2% survive stronger and more powerful than ever. The government can’t explain it and they can’t control it, all they can do is contain it. Lock those blessed and cursed few away, labelling their new abilities by colour and sending the country into total disarray. On her tenth birthday Ruby became one of them, taken, labelled and locked away. What the government don’t know is Ruby is one of the dangerous ones…and now she’s been set free…what will she do?

This novel is not for the faint heart- like the Hunger games death and violence are prominent throughout-, it a brutally honest reflection on the human condition; life, death, loyalty and the differences that separate us and I was hooked from the minute I turned the cover. In particular I was taken with the commentary on the ability of mankind to go to extremes to protect themselves when they feel threatened. Ruby as a female protagonist is both appealing and frustrating, a ten year old stuck in the body of a 16 year old, she grows dramatically throughout the story. Secondary characters such as Chubs- who is so brutally honest- Liam and Zu are undeniably likable and quirky in their own unique ways. What really hooked me about The darkest minds was I never knew what was coming next, every turn of the page was a surprising and exhilarating- the revelation of Ruby’s back-story in particular stands out. Who is good? Who is bad? I could never tell. An unpredictable, thrilling and breath-taking read; dystopian fiction has never been so good.



Courtney :)

Girl Defective

Three cheers for 'Girl Defective' by Simone Howell.

I loved this book, and hope it wins all the awards and accolades it deserves.

Life is seen through the eyes of fifteen year old Sky (Skylark) Martin, a teenager who describes herself as being 'surface clean but underneath having a weird hormonal stew brewing.'

Sky lives with her family-a father who is a heavy drinker and whose record store business is in dire straights, and her brother 'Gully' who 'intense' and has social difficulties.

The setting-St. Kilda-is beautifully conveyed, whether it be buying fish and chips at the local shop or travelling past the St. Kilda beach the reader has a keen sense of the colour  and flavour of the St. Kilda scene.

'Girl Defective' is part-detective novel, part coming-of-age. An unknown person throws a brick into the window of the record shop and Gully throws himself into the role of trying to find out who the culprit is.

Sky is struggling to find her place in the world. Her friends, family and acquaintances are often quirky, odd-ball characters but are also very real and likeable.

Highly recommended.

-Ann

Oops!

Hi all,

I got the date wrong for the next teen book group meeting. It should be Thursday 9th of May, instead of the 10th. This key should really exist on our keyboards:


Hope to see you on the 9th!

- Celia

Teen Book Group

Hi All,

This is just a reminder that the second Teen Book Group session is coming up at Narre Warren Library. All teens are invited - whether or not you came to the first session. I can guarantee the group is super nice and we are looking for new members to join us.


The next book that we are discussing is The Fault in Our Stars by the amazing John Green. Hazel is tough, funny, awesome girl who has cancer, and is resigned to the fact that she is going to die. Then she meets Augustus at a cancer support group and things start getting complicated. If you love to have a good cry then this is a great book to read, but it is also funny and real - the way all John Green's books are. I highly recommend Looking for Alaska which is great too.





If you are keen to join the Book Group all you need to do is call Narre Warren Library on 9704 7696, and then show up on Thursday 10th May at 4.30pm. If you need a copy of the book you can borrow them from Narre Warren. Just ask for me (Celia) and I will get one for you. There will be food! I look forward to meeting you.

Below is the book trailer for the book, and below that is John Green reading the first chapter of the book. Enjoy!




- Celia

Throne of Glass- Sarah J. Maas

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A heart of Ice. A will of steel. Meet the assassin…Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful…Deadly… Destined for greatness
In the pits of the Endovier mines eighteen year old Celaena Sardothien, the most deadly feared assassin in all the lands, serves her life sentence for. Lasting a year in the horror of the mines is unheard of but somehow Celaena struggles through, then one day Captain Westfall visits with an abhorrent and unthinkable request, her freedom in exchange for her service to the King if she competes as the princes champion in the up-coming fight to the death tournament, with the best of the best from around the land. Live or Die, those are her choices but not even Celaena could have seen where her choice will lead her.
Throne of glass is best described as Cinderella who can kick ass; there is a poor girl who has been wronged, a handsome prince, a villainous king, a fairy godmother and an evil plot brewing.  This novel is less action-packed than I expected instead Maas focuses her attention on political intrigue, murder, mystery and romance. And while I found all this intriguing I have to say the romance did let me down. I felt while reading this that Maas was constantly changing her mind, first the captain, then the prince, then…who? It was never really clear what Celeaena felt for either one or in turn what they felt for her, because of this I become somewhat disconnected from the story. However what this novel does have some things going for it; there are some pretty vivid descriptions which compel the reader to read on and of course of the murder mystery too keeps the pages turning. Ultimately however Celaena, as the kick ass assassin is what really appealed predominantly in this novel. Overall not a bad read; like Twilight it’s a novel you’re either gonna love or hate it. So if your looking for a light and intriguing read that is not too heavy on the romance give it a go…it may or may not disappoint. Let me know.


Courtney:)

Go Ask Alice

'Go Ask Alice' is an amazing depiction of a teenager's life told in diary form.
Alice seems like your average fifteen year old living with various ups and downs as she negotiates school and family and potential new boyfriends.

Then comes a fateful encounter when she attends a party, and, unknowingly, her drink is laced with LSD. Alice's descriptions of her drug taking are vivid and strong. At first she is delirious and sees only the beauty and wonder of her new world whilst under the influence of drugs.

Then, as her journey with drugs continues, a more seedy side emerges. Her addiction for drugs takes over and Alice will do anything in order to achieve a drug-induced state.

Readers will be swept along with her tale, wanting her to abstain and resist the drugs as much as Alice, eventually, wants to abstain and resist herself.
This book was written in the 1970's but is still completely relevant today.
Recommended reading.

-Ann

HEART-SHAPED BRUISE


HEART-SHAPED BRUISE  by Tanya Byrne
They say I’m evil.
The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who sigh on the six o’clock news and say they always knew there was something not quite right about me.
And everyone believes it. Including you.
But you don’t know.
You don’t know who I used to be. Who I could have been.
For the first time Emily Koll is going to tell her story. Not what the newspapers will tell you, or the interviews on the late news, but her side of the story…her truth. Or as much as she dares to reveal.
Written in the form of a diary we learn that Emily is awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution. She is cold, distant, and refuses to apologise for what she has done. And what has she done?
We don’t find this out till the end of the novel and by then we want to know. By then we have travelled far with Emily, with her pseudonym Rose, and with her nemesis Juliet.
This novel is a psychological look at infamy,
so forget about Emily, now I’m Harry Koll’s daughter, about identity ,  the best thing about being Rose Glass was that I didn’t have to be Emily Koll 
and how far a person would go to seek revenge. You break it, you pay for it, and you broke me. You got what you deserved.
 This novel looks at revenge but also how we are shaped by our families. And if we could be anyone, who would we be?
Vicki @ Pak. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children


Jacob used to believe his grandfather when the old man showed him strange pictures from his past. As a child he wanted to believe that it was possible that somewhere little girls could float above the ground, boys could be invisible, and even that somewhere someone had a mouth on the back of their head. As he got older he began to doubt the truth of his grandfather’s strange playmates and the Welsh island where they once lived.

When his grandfather dies horribly, Jacob, now a teen, sees something that makes him think that his grandfather had been right all along. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children follows Jacob on his journey to sort the truth from the lies deep in his grandfather’s murky past.

Unsettling photographs are used as a very effective storytelling device in this novel. When Jacob’s grandfather shows him the pictures of the peculiar children, we see them too, woven seamlessly into the narrative. The story is at once more real and much creepier!
More pictures appear as the story unfolds, and they fit so neatly within the narrative that Ransom Riggs has developed that it is amazing to discover that the photographs used are all ‘authentic, vintage found photographs’ from a variety of collectors.

The story itself is wonderful. Suspense builds as Jacob uncovers more and more about his grandfather’s past, and the eerie photos heighten the experience. Timeslip elements are integrated seamlessly, and Jacob is a very engaging character, determined to uncover the truth.

Towards the end of the novel it is a bit disappointing to start heading into what looks like standard fantasy fare. However, I may be selling the author short, and I am sure that I will be picking up the sequel when it hits the library in 2014! I am also hanging out for the film, which apparently Tim Burton is set to direct.



Echo: Alyson Noel

A new home, a new love, a new life
Daire Santos is finally finding out who she is
But is she bound by love or evil?
It’s time for Daire to claim her destiny…
Series: Fated, Echo...
Saving her grandmothers soul has come at a great cost to Daire and the entire community of Enchantment; the balance between good and evil has been tipped in favour of the latter. The Richters now cause chaos to reign in both lower-world, where spirit animals are dying and the middle-world where people are going missing. On top of trying to repair what her actions have wrought Daire must also face the challenging training for her soul seeker destiny, her blossoming yet complicated relationship with Dace, the good Richter, and a surprise visit from mum. Travelling the path between who she thought she was and who she is destined to be was never going to be easy for Daire but to restore the balance in both worlds will require and unthinkable and ultimate sacrifice; just who will make the sacrifice to save Enchantment?


Unlike its predecessor, Fated which established the characters, the storyline and the setting, Echo the second in this four part series takes off with a bang. From the very first to the very last the pages of Echo are filled with mystery, romance and the supernatural to keep any reader hooked. Halfway through this novel I did become concerned that Noel was taking this series down the familiar ‘woe is me I can’t be with the one I love’ trail but I was surprised to find she veered off into an unexpected plot. What is appealing however is the kick-ass female protagonist Daire, the writing style of Noel, the narration swaps between Daire and Dace which helps deepened the story and answer some lingering mysteries from Fated and of course the romance between Daire and Dace, as complicated as it is, is so endearing. A mystical, action packed and romantic supernatural tale with some shocking surprises in store. Be warned than Echo ends of a very dramatic cliff-hanger; the next book Mystic isn’t set for release until July 2013

  Courtney :)

Jepp, who defied the stars

To what degree do we control our destiny, or does our destiny control us?

That is a question that grapples many of the main characters in Jepp, who defied the stars, by Katherine Marsh.
The central character in this gripping novel is a dwarf named Jepp. The setting is sixteenth century Netherlands.

Jepp's mother runs an inn, and Jepp is much loved by those around him. However, Jepp has an enquiring and intelligent mind, and as a result of listening and conversing with travellers at the inn, Jepp is keen for adventure.
So when a stranger arrives at the inn and offers to take Jepp to a royal court, Jepp agrees to go.

Jepp's excitement soon turns to horror as he becomes imprisoned at court with several others. Their chief role is to provide entertainment for the court inhabitants and visitors.
For Jepp, this involves the habitual and degrading leaping out of a pie.
Jepp falls in love with Lia, and when she begs him to help her escape, he assists her.

Tragedy unfolds and Jepp is both punished and banished. With much trepidation and after a gruelling trip across land and sea in a cage, Jepp arrives at yet another court - that of the astronomer, Tycho Brahe.
It seems that this court will be every bit as unpleasant as the last, but gradually Jepp's situation improves.

Is it luck? Is it fate? Does Jepp have any control over his life? Jepp looks to the stars for answers.

-Ann 

The Raven Boys


“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a sprit of St Mark’s Eve.
Either you’re his true love…
Or you killed him”
And so begin the next fantastical series by number 1 best selling author
Maggie Stiefvater
  There are three things about Blue Sargeant that you absolutely must know:
  1. Blue’s mother and friends all possess the gift of second sight, Blue herself does not.
  2. For as long as she can remember it has been foretold that Blue will be the catalyst that kills her true love
  3. She absolutely stays away from Raven Boys, they are nothing but trouble.
This year things for Blue will change; her mother’s sister returns with ulterior motives, Blue will encounter her first supernatural experience and become intertwined with the lives of four Raven Boys in their hunt for Glendower; an ancient Welsh king who is said to be hidden along a powerful ley line in Blue's town of Henrietta-- and can be re-awakened by whoever finds him. The journey will take Blue to places and though experiences she never thought possible. Blue will begin to question everything she ever thought she knew. Is there such a thing as true love? And will Blue ultimately kill hers?
A deeply complex and intricate story The Raven Boys with its 400+ pages is not a light read but very enjoyable indeed. Stiefvater manages to take the supernatural genre in a whole new direction. The mystery and suspense is compelling enough to keep the pages turning while the characters themselves intrigue: Blue and Gansey in particular. What particularly appealed about Raven Boys was despite the pre-determination that Gansey and Blue are the star crossed lovers of this tale there is absolutely no chemistry between the pair, unlike other YA titles where it is love at first sight in this case its hate at first sight (for Blue at least, Gansey appears indifferent), which means that the audience will get to watch the pair fall in love…perhaps??? I found this to be utterly refreshing and am looking forward to see where Steifvater takes these characters and the journey for which they will travel to get there. The only deterrent to this novel is that it is a fairly long establishment story; Stiefvater is setting up the characters and the scene for the story to primarily play out in subsequent novels. This means not a lot happens in Raven boys, there are some terrific surprises however, and the complexity of the storyline requires the reader’s full attention, but if Steifvater’s reputation is anything to go by giving Raven Boys a go will be well worth the effort. It is simply a unique and compelling twist on the supernatural genre.
 
 
Courtney :)

New Teen Book Group

Hey everyone!

I am super excited to tell you about our new book group for teenagers. It's called tbg4teens (the book group for teens), and will be held at Narre Warren Library. It's a book groups for teens who love books and love talking about books.


Our first book is going to be The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It's the story of an outsider, a boy called Charlie, who has trouble connecting with people and making friends because of some serious personal problems. All this changes when he meets Sam and Patrick at school, and starts living life to the full. It was recently turned into a movie starring the lovely Emma Watson. It was quite a good movie, but the book is better!


If you are interested in joining the club, pop over to Eventbrite and book yourself in. You will be emailed a ticket. Bring the ticket into Narre Warren Library after February 11th and swap it for a copy of the book. Read it and turn up to Narre Warren Library on Thursday 14th March at 4.30pm ready to discuss it! There will be snacks. If you have your own copy of the book there is no need to book yourself in. You can just turn up to discuss it.
I look forward to meeting you!
- Celia

Riggs Crossing

'Riggs Crossing' was recommended to the audience at a recent youth publishing event I attended, where publishers showcased outstanding examples of teenage fiction for 2013.
'Riggs Crossing' does not disappoint, either.

Written by Michelle Renee Heeter, who grew up in the American mid-west before moving to Japan, then Sydney, the strength and authenticity of the voice of the main character within this book is extraordinary.
The book begins with a mystery - a teenage girl has been found with serious injuries as a result of a car crash. Who is she? Her identity is unclear - and if she knows she is not telling.

'Len' as she is called is now living in a youth refuge. Staying with her are other young people who have varying degrees of trauma from mostly horrendous upbringings. The minutiae of interpersonal relationships between Len and other housemates, youth workers and teachers makes for compelling though not always comfortable reading.

Len herself is an interesting personality - a person who looks to her favourite TV personality lawyer 'Clarissa Hobbs' as a mentor, then begins to write episodes in which she, Len, is really Clarissa's long lost daughter!
Len is a likeable enough personality, though within the context of her home life Len can be as much of a bully as those around her.
Who can forget the couch fight scene where the new girl sits on the couch Len has designated as her own?
'Get off my couch and don't ever go near it again' Len orders.

Len has flashbacks to her previous life before the accident and the reader becomes aware that she was in a dangerous family situation where drug taking and illegal activities were the norm.
As the story unfolds the past begins to catch up with Len.

Excellent reading

-Ann

 

Seedfolks

One of my all-time favourite books is 'Seedfolks' by Paul Fleischman.

'Seedfolks' is a slim (less than seventy pages) simply told, beautiful and inspirational story.

The first chapter begins with Kim, a girl of Vietnamese origin. Her father is dead-Kim never met him-and the whole family is mourning his loss. As a reminder of her father, who had been a farmer, Kim grabs a handful of lima beans, a spoon and a thermos. She walks to a vacant lot and begins to plant the beans in the ground.
As she plants the beans she is watched by a lady in a neighbouring flat.
Kim's actions set in motion a whole sequence of events and before long many people from differing ages, cultures and backgrounds participate in a community garden.

We learn of the backgrounds of the gardeners; of Polish concentration camps; of immigrants moving to a new country suffering cultural shock; of a woman who is afraid of people since being the victim of a robbery.
We read of an entrepeneurial taxi driver who appoints himself four times the garden space of anyone else, and then proceeds to fill the space with lettuces, without realising he is planting them in the wrong season.

The garden works in magical ways to briing people together. Friendships are formed over discussions regarding eggplants and pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers.

After reading this book, I am reminded of the song 'From little things big things grow'.
Small deeds can lead to big changes in individuals and can change communities.

Highly recommended.

-Ann
 

BZRK


BZRK by Michael Grant

On the back cover of Michael Grant’s novel BZRK there is a warning. “Warning! Contains scenes of cruelty and violence”. This book, with its black matt cover broken only by a close up of an eye and embossed copper caps, is not for the faint of heart.

Michael Grant has already shown us that he can do suspenseful, action packed stories with engaging characters in his incredibly popular Gone series. He appears to be a writer who loves to play with the ‘what if?’ concept. In Gone Grant asks what would happen if every human over the age of 15 disappeared one day. In BZRK it is the more likely and therefore in my mind scarier question of what might happen if nanotechnology was weaponised that dominates the book.

In this future vision of our world, some have the power to create personalised nanobots that can crawl inside the very skin (or “down in the meat” as Grant writes) of another human and attack the brain. The aim of the baddies in this book is widespread mind control, and only a small group of mostly teens have the power and technology to stop them.

The chase scenes inside the human body are quite frankly, thrilling. We are introduced to a strange but also sort of familiar world in which blood cells fly by like Frisbees, and hair is like tree trunks, all navigated by nano creatures of Grant’s not so far-fetched imagination.

The thing that really attracts me to Grant’s writing, however, is not just the action but the heart of the story. Grant creates real characters that relate to each other and themselves in a believable and engaging way. While the story covers many points of view, the protagonist, Sadie is especially appealing, with a tough as nails exterior coming to grips with a world she never really understood. It is in this way that Grant stands out from other writers who specialise in the ‘edge of your seat’ experience, engaging readers on an emotional level as well – which only adds to the urgency of the plot.

This book is just the first in the series, so don’t expect a neat ending. Enough is resolved, however, that you don’t feel cheated. And while you wait for the next in the series there is plenty to keep you occupied on the BZRK website - http://gobzrk.com. There are comics explaining the back story of different characters, a community ready and waiting to sign you up and even a free app so you can play at being your own nanobot type creature.

I recommend this book to anyone without a sensitive stomach. After all, that warning is there for a reason!


- Celia

Anna and the French kiss


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is devastated when her dad suddenly announces that she'll be completing her senior year in a boarding school in Paris. Anna is forced to leave her best friend and family, for a forgein country where she doesn't even speak the language. 
However, on her first day of school Anna runs into St Clair who is funny, charming and of course gorgeous. As their relationship progresses Anna starts to doubt his feelings for her, and whether or not he will ever leave his long term girlfriend.
While this story has a predictable outcome, Stephanie Perkins brilliantly captures the difficulties of starting new friendships as well as the excitement and mystery at the beginning of new relationships. 
This book is now one of my all time favourites. It is difficult to fully describe how awesome it is, but once you read it you'll understand. Would recommend it to everyone, but in particular teenage girls and fans of romance with a little bit of comedy thrown in. Five stars!
~ Natalie

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